Qualcomm brings 5G to Always On, Always Connected PCs with debut of Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2

Qualcomm believes 5G is crucial to ongoing innovation in the connectivity space in light of COVID-19.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Qualcomm has launched the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G compute platform to bring 5G next-generation wireless technology to Always On, Always Connected PCs. 

Speaking to virtual attendees of the IFA conference in Berlin this year, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said that COVID-19 has forced many of us to rethink how we study and work.

Amon says the pandemic has become a "profound confirmation to drive wireless technologies forward, and we must rise to this challenge."

According to the executive, Qualcomm predicts that over 750 million 5G-enabled smartphones will ship by 2022, and there will be over three billion 5G connections globally by 2025, making up 45% of all mobile traffic. 

As many of us are now working remotely, 5G is also expected to play a "critical role in economic development over the next decade or more."

Always On, Always Connected PCs, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, have steadily entered the market for years as slim, light, and portable laptops leveraging LTE connectivity. 

While we may be traveling less at present, as things gradually return to normal, being able to tap into 5G mobility is a lure Qualcomm hopes will entice consumers and business users to adopt these types of PCs. 

See also: Qualcomm unveils the Snapdragon 865 Plus with GPU, CPU speed improvements

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G compute platform is the latest addition to the Snapdragon family. Following on from the launch of the flagship Snapdragon 865 Plus for smartphone upgrades and the Snapdragon 690 for mid-range 5G mobile devices, the 8cx Gen 2 is focused on laptop designs. 


Qualcomm's latest offering, an evolution of the original Snapdragon 8cx, utilizes both Sub-6 GHz and 5G mmWave technology for multi-gigabit 5G speeds and supports Wi-Fi 6. The platform utilizes Qualcomm Adreno and Kryo 495 processors, X55 (5G) and X24 LTE (4G) modems, LPDDR4x memory types at up to 2133 MHz, Bluetooth 5.1, and Quick Charge 4+ technology.

The second-generation mobile platform will offer "connectivity critical to work from virtually anywhere and help alleviate home networks congested by multiple connected devices," the company says, and will also include refreshed audio features to reduce the distractions caused by home environments. 

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Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G includes Qualcomm Aqstic echo cancellation and noise suppression (ECNS) to focus sound coming from the laptop and reduce background sound -- handy features for users who now participate in remote videoconferences for work on a frequent basis. 

In addition, OEMs can take advantage of Qualcomm Spectra ISP, support for up to a 32MP single or dual 16MP cameras, and up to 4K HDR for video conferencing and live streaming. 

An interesting feature of the latest platform is support for dual 4K displays through a single Type C cable. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 also supports Qualcomm's AI Engine. 

In addition, the platform supports Microsoft Secured Core PC and Windows Hypervisor, features likely to appeal most to the business market. 

TechRepublic: Android phones could spy on users via flaws in Qualcomm chip

Laptops using the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G compute platform are expected to hit the shelves in late 2020. Acer is one such vendor that will be offering a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G Windows device. 

"Working remotely is the new reality, and more businesses are looking to quickly and securely connect their employee base," commented Miguel Nunes, Senior Director, Product Management at Qualcomm. "[...] We are excited to expand our customer reach with Acer, to continue bringing the best of the smartphone to the PC."

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