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An Arm port of Google Chrome is coming to Snapdragon laptops, but when?

Qualcomm has confirmed it is working on an Arm port of Google Chrome, and offered an ETA.

Published onOctober 22, 2018

Snapdragon laptop
  • Qualcomm is working on an Arm port of Google Chrome for Windows 10 Arm.
  • The port is tentatively set to launch in the second half of 2019.
  • An Arm port should make for a faster browser than the standard Chrome app for Windows 10.

Microsoft has pushed people to use the Edge browser on Snapdragon-powered Windows 10 Arm laptops, as third-party options like Google Chrome suffer from slowdown on the new hardware. These performance woes are mainly due to the fact that the Snapdragon 835 laptops have to essentially emulate the Chrome browser.

One potential solution is an Arm port of Chrome, as opposed to emulating the desktop (x86) version of the browser, but is Qualcomm working on this?

“We are,” Qualcomm senior director of product management Miguel Nunes told Android Authority on the sidelines of Arm TechCon. “We’re still working with the different OEMs and designs. I expect you’ll see it probably around (the) second half of next year. Every OEM will decide whatever their launch timeline is, but we’re actively working on it.”

Read: Snapdragon 855 to have octa-core design, reveal in Hawaii?

An Arm port of Google Chrome means Snapdragon-powered laptops have a third-party browser that works natively. This would bring a speed boost in theory over emulating the x86 version of the app.

It’s unclear what was meant when Nunes said Qualcomm was working with different OEMs for the initiative. One possibility is that the port will be launched on laptops from specific brands (at least initially) rather than general availability for all Windows 10 Arm laptops.

Qualcomm’s laptop strategy

snapdragon 850 on windows
Windows on Snapdragon 850

Rumors of a Snapdragon 1000 chipset have also surfaced in recent months, with the claimed performance figures being pretty intriguing. I asked Nunes if Qualcomm worried that people might skip the Snapdragon 850 laptops in favor of follow-up devices.

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“No, I don’t think so… We’re gonna be creating two distinct product lines… We know you need device diversification. We know you need price diversification. And you’re not going to be able to do that with one product. So we do expect two different lines of products with two different price points. So they will co-exist.”

In other words, the older chips will form the basis for cheaper Snapdragon laptops rather than being phased out once the newer chips are available. It’s going to be interesting to see how low manufacturers will go with these laptops, especially as high price-tags have been another criticism from reviewers.

Would you buy a Snapdragon laptop or a Google Chromebook? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC guide — Qualcomm’s current SoCs and how they compare!

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