Qualcomm launches Snapdragon 8c, 7c platforms aimed at mainstream PC market

The bet is that Qualcomm can combine connectivity with thin and fanless devices to win over mobile workers. The company adds that its PC plan is a marathon not a sprint.

Qualcomm has lined up its Snapdragon platform to take on the likes of Intel and AMD in PCs, but it remains to be seen if the software ecosystem follows.

At its Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii, the company unveiled an expansion into the mainstream PC market. The company previously announced that Snapdragon 8cx platform, which is designed for always-on, thin devices with cellular connectivity.

Now Qualcomm has rolled out the Snapdragon 7c and 8c platforms for PCs. Those two platforms are designed for entry-level computing as well as mainstream PCs. Add it up and Qualcomm is clearly looking to take on all the PC markets.

The bet is that Qualcomm can leverage its smartphone knowhow into the PC and also ride along with new dual screen form factors such as the Surface Duo and Surface Neo. In addition, Qualcomm is betting that the PC application market will also move to support Arm-based processors. Of course, so many applications are tapped via a browser that support may not matter as much.

Qualcomm officials acknowledge that entering the PC market at every price point is more of a marathon than a sprint, but the company can gain share and then nurture a software ecosystem.  Qualcomm isn't chasing the AutoCAD market, but mainstream customers and mobile workers. The PC effort could gain traction a bit faster than Qualcomm's bet on augmented and virtual reality. The company earlier announced Snapdragon XR, a platform designed to meld 5G, AI and augmented and virtual experiences. 

Add it up and Qualcomm has come a long way in a year and now adding some scale to its PC efforts. Here's how Qualcomm is looking to segment the PC market.

Snapdragon 7c will be aimed at entry level devices. Qualcomm claims it can boost system performance by 20% vs. competing platforms and add the Snapdragon X15 LTE modem. Snapdragon 7c is powered by the Octa-core Qualcomm Kyro 468 CPU and Qualcomm Adreno 618 GPU. The platform includes an AI engine and runs Windows 10.

Here's the 7c reference design.

snapdragon-7c-compute-platform-reference-design-front-maui.jpg

Qualcomm

Snapdragon 8c is built on 7nm process technology and boosts performance 30% over the Snapdragon 850. The Snapdragon 8c platform includes the integrated Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, a more powerful AI engine and the Adreno GPU. The target device form factor is an ultra-thin, fanless and mainstream laptop.

Here's the 8c reference design.

snapdragon-8c-compute-platform-reference-design-tent.jpg

Qualcomm

Snapdragon 8cx is also getting an Enterprise Compute Platform that has connected security software in addition to what already exists on the platform. Snapdragon 8cx is for the premium PC market.