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Can Qualcomm break the monopoly of Intel in PC space?

Gulf News 2017-12-07 12:04:00

Launches its 835 mobile phone chip for laptops to give up to 25 hours of battery life and 1Gbps LTE speed


Even though most of the laptops sold in the market currently are powered by Intel i3, i5 or i7 chips, the battery life does not exceed more than 7-to-11 hours at a stretch.

Qualcomm demonstrated that a laptop powered by its Snapdragon 835 chip set can last up to 25 hours on a single charge and also support up to 1Gbps speeds on 4G LTE networks.

Qualcomm showcased two thin laptops and 2-in-1 convertibles from HP and ASUS running Windows 10 with the ‘Always On, Always Connected’ processor at an event held in Hawaii.

“We’re not trying to create a PC that basically is designed to compare with what the PC is today,” said Cristiano Amon, Head of Qualcomm’s chip business. “What we’re thinking is how can we make the PC more like a smartphone.”

AMD also announced that they are working with Qualcomm to bring smooth and fast PC connectivity solutions to AMD’s high-performance Ryzen mobile processors.

With Qualcomm entering the PC space with its chip, powering the flagship smartphones in the market right now, is it going to break the monopoly of Intel?

Fouad R. Charakla, senior research manager at International Data Corporation (IDC), told Gulf News that it is too early to say about the Qualcomm’s chip for the PC. It all depends on the performance the chip can deliver.

“Offering a long battery life by itself is not sufficient. I don’t think mobile phone chips are as powerful as Intel i7 processor. If the chip has a high-performance power similar to i7, I don’t see any reason for end users to hold back from buying the PC.

“It might be suitable for a certain portion of end users, especially home users. But if people are running multiple applications, then the processing power and other factors come into play. If that is been compromised and ruining the user experience for battery life, then people might not be willing to migrate,” he said.

The ASUS NovaGo is a 13-inch tablet-laptop hybrid with 4GB of RAM and up to a 256GB Solid State Drive. It is expected to sell at $599 while the $799 model will get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Similarly, the HP Envy x2 is similar to a Microsoft Surface Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM.

Charakla said that the pricing is competitive.

“We don’t know the computing performance of the chip yet. Most people are not buying and carrying PCs now as they are comfortable with their smartphones,” said Tracy Tsai, Research Vice-President at Gartner.

There will always be a trade-off, she said and added that if a user wants a battery performance, it all depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice on the computing power. It is difficult to have both at the same time. It all depends on the user.

Microsoft has tailored its Windows 10 software to make sure that regular PC programs will work on the new chips, the initiative is a renewed attempt to get Windows into the mobile space traditionally served by tablets and phones.

Its previous attempt to run full Windows on ARM-based processors with its Windows RT failed due to poor performance.

When asked how different is it from Windows RT, Mahiuddin Khasru, country head for ASUS Middle East, said Windows RT was not full Windows. It was not able to run legacy apps (Win 32 apps). This is full Windows 10 with no limitations.

“The Qualcomm chip is more powerful than the chips of a few years ago. Unlike Windows RT, existing Win 32 apps will run in emulation on the chip,” he said.