April 3, 2012 report
Quad-core Snapdragon S4 is firing up for laptop wars
(PhysOrg.com) -- Google is moving toward social; Facebook is moving to search; and now the chip kings are doing a similar dance into different territory. Intel is muscling in on smartphones and Qualcomm wants a big bite out of the laptop market. The news is that Qualcomm intends to place its quad-core Snapdragon S4 chips for Windows 8 laptops on the market later this year. Expectations are that, as Windows 8 launches in October, the Qualcomm chip laptops will be on board by the years end. News of the Qualcomm plan to make a dent in the laptop market was presented in PC Worlds exchange with Qualcomm senior vice president, Rob Chandhok.
In pacing this PC market push, Qualcomm already started shipping prototype Snapdragon-based Windows 8 machines to developers. The program combines a pre-release version of Windows on ARM with Snapdragon S4 test PCs. Qualcomm has become part of Microsofts Windows on ARM developer seeding program. The two companies are working on putting test PCs, SoC-loaded computers, in the hands of select developers, in an invitation-only program. The developers can test and optimize applications for Snapdragon-powered Windows on ARM PCs.
Qualcomm's Windows move will serve its intention to bite into Intel market share in the PC and tablet category. The Qualcomm selling point is that the Snapdragon S4 chip, with its 28nm architecture, will pave the way for vendors to issue skinny, light, powerful, yet power-efficient, laptops, head to head with Intel ultrabooks.
Chandhok is also playing on the advantages of Snapdragon-based Windows 8 machines as very light. He seemed to be suggesting they will be surprisingly light. "We think much lighter than what Intel calls an ultrabook," Chandhok said in the report. He noted that having a powerful Snapdragon chip with four CPU cores and multiple graphics cores will really enhance Windows 8 devices for applications such as games.
Those outside Qualcomm are prepared to wait and see to what extent Snapdragon on Windows 8 will boost the companys standing in ultrabook PCs, especially as to if and how Snapdragon S4 chips for Windows 8 laptops will outperform competing products with Intel on board.
Until now, Qualcomm has been known as a manufacturer of chips for smartphones and tablets. They will be going up against competition not only from Intel but also from Nvidia and Texas Instruments. As several observers note, consumers can expect to have interesting choices in ultra-thin laptops as a result.
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