Qualcomm's Second-Gen Laptop Chip Isn't Doing Enough to Compete With Apple

Last year, Qualcomm made a big push into the notebook market with its first purpose-built laptop chip—the Snapdragon And for 2020, Qualcomm is announcing the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 which offers new 5G connectivity along with improved AI and security, but not much in the way of added performance, which kind of makes it a headscratcher when Apple is launching a competing product later this year.

Curated via Twitter from Gizmodo’s twitter account….

However, if developers see more powerful silicon become available for Windows on Snapdragon machines, they might be more inclined to port over more x86 apps to ARM 64, particularly if they knew these new ARM-based Windows laptops had the guts needed to run more sophisticated programs like video editing apps or modeling suites with similar levels of performance.

The two biggest complaints about Windows on Snapdragon machines were poor app compatibility and lackluster performance after the Snapdragon 8cx found its way into a number of high-profile computers last year including the Galaxy Book S, and the Surface Pro X (which had a Microsoft SQ1 Chip that was heavily based on the Snapdragon 8cx).

When it comes to performance, Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 8cx “delivers over 50% greater system-wide performance and battery life versus competing solutions. ” That’s pretty much the same line Qualcomm trotted out last year and those competing solutions haven’t changed much (though that will likely change by the end of the year).

Qualcomm says that by using its AI Engine, the Snapdragon 8cx will provide faster and more power-efficient AI performance for things like “stronger video conferencing interactions through tools such as accelerated eye contact and expressive avatars. ” Features like that might make people’s endless string of video meetings a little less boring, but I highly doubt people are going to buy a computer to have more expressive digital avatars.

And for 2020, Qualcomm is announcing the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 which offers new 5G connectivity along with improved AI and security, but not much in the way of added performance, which kind of makes it a headscratcher when Apple is launching a competing product later this year.

Those native x86 Win32 apps are forced to run inside an emulation layer to get them to work on ARM-based Windows systems, resulting in a performance overhead that means a system needs extra computing power for an app to run as smooth on ARM as it does on an x86 machine.

And when you combine support for both sub-6GHz 5G and mmWave 5G along with newly added Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, laptops like the upcoming Acer Spin 7 (which is the first system to feature the new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 chip), should be well equipped for mobile productivity regardless of what kind of connection you’re relying on.

It’s sort of the same situation with security, with Qualcomm saying the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 has improved “security and manageability for enterprises, small businesses, and education,” with the nature of always-on connected PCs giving IT admins quick access to remote machines, wherever they happen to be.

At the very least, improving overall computing power could address some of the sluggishness you experience on Windows on Snapdragon systems by simply brute forcing some of the emulation used to make non-native ARM apps work Windows.

Link to original article….

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