Qualcomm executives have spoken up at their Snapdragon Summit regarding the impact of Apple Silicon, in some indirect statements. They’ve said that the introduction of ARM validates their investment in Windows on Snapdragon.
Qualcomm executives talk about 5G and Windows on Snapdragon as benefits over Apple’s M1 chip
In a response to journalists, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon spoke about the M1 chip:
“We invested early in Windows on Snapdragon, and we’ve been on a journey to build this ecosystem together with Microsoft. What we have seen in the past month is a broader validation that was the right bet.”
Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm SVP for mobile further added:
“It’s a great validation of what we’ve been doing for the past few years and [Qualcomm’s product line] is just going to get stronger and stronger as we broaden our scope,”
However, Alex somehow considered that their chips are superior when compared to Apple’s M1 chips, even though actual performance numbers paint a very different story. At the moment Windows 10 running on M1 chips via virtualization beats Windows 10 running on a second-generation Surface Pro X powered by Qualcomm’s SQ2 chip. Despite virtualization overhead, Windows 10 on M1 performs twice as fast as Windows 10’s native performance on SQ2.
Alex believes that laptops powered by Qualcomm provide many price tiers, which could potentially start below MacBook Air’s $999 starting price. With optional 5G connectivity, Qualcomm can also provide another advantage over M1 chip-based Macs, however, we have yet to see a Surface Pro X with 5G connectivity. There are very few devices actually on sale that offer 5G along with Qualcomm’s 8cx laptop-class ARM chips, and none of them start below the $999 price range that Alex highlighted. He also highlighted the video call experience for laptops with 5G by talking about their camera and mic quality, but these features usually rely more on the camera hardware, rather than the processing chip.
“For many years laptop makers didn’t want to bother with improving their front-facing cameras. With laptops powered by Snapdragon, you can have a video call experience that feels like you’re right there in person … with 5G connectivity built into your PC, you can be productive and connect securely from virtually anywhere. You don’t need to buy a separate camera, or mic, or modem dongle.”
So far, Microsoft’s previous attempts at ARM have not been fruitful, and the company still has to rollout x64 app compatibility for Windows 10 on ARM. Until Microsoft can achieve what Apple achieved with Rosetta for macOS, users will have concerns with buying into Qualcomm’s ARM chip-based laptop ecosystem.
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