WINDOWS AND ARM-BASED CHIPS are going to get cosier this year as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 850 processor has been designed specifically for Windows 10 PCs.
While you'd normally expect to see the latest flagship Snapdragon chip debut in the next crop of top-of-the-line Android smartphones, it seems like Qualcomm is taking a different path with the upcoming Snapdragon 850 and will only plonk the chip in so-called Always Connected PCs.
As such, the Snapdragon 850 has been tailored specifically for use with thin, light and power-efficient Windows-based laptops and hybrid devices.
Normally, such machines will come sporting power-efficient dual-core mobile processors from Intel. But a partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm has seen the two firms work on tickling Windows into working on ARM-based chip architecture rather than the normal x86 architecture found in Intel and AMD processors.
The idea behind the whole scheme is that by using smartphone chips, Windows machines could reduce their power consumption to last longer when users are working out and about, as well as provide built-in speedy LTE connectivity, a speciality of Qualcomm, and the ability to boot up near-instantly.
The first Windows machines running on Qualcomm chips made their debut a couple of months ago to a rather muted reception. But these machines were using the Snapdragon 835, a chip a couple of generations old, which is ancient in mobile chipset land. So the Snapdragon 850 could be the shot in the arm to get Always Connected PCs off the ground.
Qualcomm is touting a 30 per cent hike in performance and a 20 per cent improvement in battery life, as well as improved max gigabit connectivity speeds over the Snapdragon 835. Samsung has been touted as a key partner in the Snapdragon 850's debut, so we can expect a machine from it to be teased at Computex 2018 and then released towards the end of the year.
We can't say we're waiting with baited breath for the next wave of Always Connected PCs, given devices like the Surface Laptop already offer excellent portability and battery life. But at least it's an interesting step in the evolution of Windows and laptop devices, so we're not going to turn our noses up at innovation. µ
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