Qualcomm launched its second-generation Snapdragon 7c processor, which aims to add integrated LTE, extended battery life and camera and audio upgrades to entry-level Windows PCs and Chromebooks.
In addition, Qualcomm said it is launching the Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10 PCs, which will give developers the ability to optimize applications on its platform.
With the Snapdragon 7c, Qualcomm is hoping to enable more premium features and multi-day battery life to PCs in the $300-range. Miguel Nunes, senior director of product management at Qualcomm, said the company's plan is to extend its PC reach from entry level experiences up. Qualcomm first launched its PC processor plans in late 2019.
"If you look at the PC market, it's a market of features only for premium systems. We're bringing premium down to new price points," said Nunes.
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Here are the target markets.
The first devices based on Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 will land this summer. Lenovo will launch new devices on the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 platform later in 2021. The Snapdragon Developer Kit will be available on the Microsoft Store this summer.
Qualcomm, like Samsung, is looking to bring more smartphone-like experiences to the PC market via laptops. Qualcomm-powered laptops aim to be always on and connected similar to a smartphone. One big perk of the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 is that it will switch between trusted Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
Qualcomm has also packaged its systems in one module to make it easier for PC manufacturers to integrate LTE. The always connected approach enables connectivity in the home and outside as well as applications for GPS and geofencing. Qualcomm enables location access via Snapdragon.
The always on approach also enables IT admins to manage and secure devices more regularly. Other features of the next-gen Snapdragon 7c include:
- More than 19 hours of continuous use battery life.
- The fifth generation Qualcomm AI Engine to support security and voice recognition.
- Virtual surround sound with echo cancellation and noise suppression.
- A 32-megapixel camera.
- Support for Windows 10 Hypervisor and Microsoft Secured-Core PCs.
Can Qualcomm encroach on Intel and AMD's PC market share? Qualcomm is getting some traction with developers for software support. For instance, Microsoft is optimizing Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Teams and Visual Studio Code for Snapdragon. Zoom Video Communications is also optimizing its video conferencing platform for Qualcomm Snapdragon.
The Zoom optimization for Qualcomm Snapdragon means a Zoom video conference with screen sharing can run more than 7 hours on battery.
Qualcomm's bet is that its ability to integrate AI, extended battery life and camera features found on smartphones will entice customers, developers and PC vendors. Nunes said Qualcomm is hoping to leverage the vibrant Arm ecosystem for mobile devices in PCs too.