During its quarterly earnings call, held last night, Qualcomm revealed its plans to deliver a Windows 10 on ARM-based PC by the end of the year.
While Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf was short on details about the device, he did state it would be a mobile PC – the “Cellular PC” coinde Microsoft and Qualcomm last year – fusing portability with everything you get from a Snapdragon SoC, like Adreno graphics and all sorts of wireless connectivity (advanced LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) – all of this running Windows 10 on ARM, to boot.
This development could breathe new life into the classic “Netbook” design as the SoC offers good CPU and GPU performance (as previously demonstrated by Qualcomm), and by breaking the x86 chokehold on Windows, lightweight and long-lasting devices can finally come to fruition, as none of the x86 operates in the same power envelope as Snapdragon… so far. The last piece of the puzzle resided in the app ecosystem, but Microsoft has already been busy demonstrating emulated x86 apps running smoothly on Windows 10, much to the chagrin of skeptics, as well as the Universal Windows Platform app format, which will avoid issues like those faced years ago by Windows RT.
Qualcomm is in talks with PC vendors to market this device, but has not yet announced who the lucky suitor will be.
The Qualcomm ensemble also ellaborated on their collaboration with Microsoft in the datacenter and the Cloud-orientated Windows Server on ARM which has been said to run on the company’s 10nm 48-core Centriq 2400 SoC, which the Qualcomm claims will be the first 10nm server CPUs on the market.
KitGuru Says: While the news is welcome to a stagnated “netbook” class of devices, the clincher will still be the “Killer App” that leads to mass adoption. That will ultimately depend on Microsoft’s software ecosystem, and not on Qualcomm.