At the beginning of last year Qualcomm completed the acquisition of Nuvia , a startup specializing in the creation of chips for mobile devices that will represent the fundamental step of the company’s future strategy: to build its first fully custom SoCs to dedicate to the world . PC .
Qualcomm’s ambitions are certainly not a mystery and the set goal is to beat Apple and its M1 chips ( including future iterations ) on the other side of the fence, or on the front of Windows laptops, where a real one is still missing. alternative able to offer the same level of performance and energy efficiency proposed by the solutions of the Cupertino house.
To be able to do better than Apple – or at least to achieve it – it is therefore necessary to break away from the standard architectures proposed by Arm and start working on custom solutions that respond more precisely to the needs of manufacturers and the Windows world . Qualcomm aims precisely for this and during the last call with investors – following the communication of the company’s financial results – CEO Cristiano Amon gave some updates regarding the timing with which this could happen .
QUALCOMM CUSTOM CHIP: WE NEED TO WAIT AGAIN
The development of custom chips seems to proceed according to the timing expected by Qualcomm, however it seems that in order to witness the launch of a commercial product based on this architecture, we will have to wait at least 2023 , so still just over a year. As for the manufacturers, it seems that the first prototypes could already be available from the second half of 2022, so the work on the development of complete commercial devices could start right from the end of the current year.
Recall that at the moment Qualcomm already offers solutions for the Windows world, more precisely the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c + Gen 3 , however these chips are based on Arm’s stock architectures (such as the Cortex-X1 cores and down), so they do not have particular specific innovations for use in the PC environment. In addition to this, having to rely on stock solutions – which we recall are only slightly customized by Qualcomm in its Kryo cores – inextricably binds the company to Arm’s roadmap , thus making it impossible for it to proceed with development according to its own times.
The transition to proprietary architectures – obviously compatible with ARM instructions – will instead allow Qualcomm to have greater flexibility , since the entire development process will be entirely controlled. In addition to this, it will also have the opportunity to work on much more customized solutions for any partners who will require specific optimizations or functions for their products , thus going to propose chips that the competition – think for example of MediaTek – could not provide it. way.
In short, Qualcomm’s work could represent that turning point that is necessary in the Windows world , especially now that the transition to ARM architectures appears inevitable at least on the portable solutions front. It will be interesting to discover the characteristics of the first completely custom product, in order to understand if the gap with Apple can be reduced in an acceptable time.