Fresh from MWC 2019, Qualcomm has made yet another announcement — this time related to 5G and laptops. The company has unveiled the industry’s first 5G PC component, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G platform.
As the name suggests, the chipset combines the 7nm Snapdragon 8xc SoC, unveiled in Maui back in December, with a 5G modem. The platform utilizes the newly announced Snapdragon X55 5G modem that was unveiled just before MWC. Combined, we’re looking at a platform offering much improved laptop-grade performance compared with first and second generation Windows on Arm products, with future-proofed 5G always-on capabilities and multi-day battery life.
The inclusion of the X55, rather than the X50 found inside newly announced 5G smartphones, means that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx 5G platform boasts peak download speeds of 2.5Gbps on 4G networks and up to 7Gbps on capable 5G networks. The modem also supports 5G Standalone as well as Non-Standalone networks, making it ready for more advanced 5G networks heading our way years down the line.
Although always-on connected PCs still only account for a small part of the PC market, their appeal is growing as performance improves. The Snapdragon 8cx is already targeting a more mid-range performance point rather than the low-end associated with previous generation products, while still offering multi-day battery life. Combined with bleeding edge networking hardware for data on-the-go, rivals Intel and AMD will be under serious pressure to match Qualcomm’s value proposition for both consumer and enterprise consumers.
Manufacturers are already onboard up to make use of Qualcomm’s 5G laptop chipset. Lenovo appears set to be one of the first to offer a 5G connected PC. Lenovo Vice President, Johnson Jia, notes that the platform will enable “better, faster and more seamless experiences for consumers, small businesses and large enterprises.” The Snapdragon 8cx 5G is currently sampling to customers and is expected to be in commercial devices late 2019 and early 2020.
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