Qualcomm advises low-cost 5G chips, more powerful laptop processor

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We will soon see cheaper 5G phones and more Windows-on-Snapdragon laptops with better application compatibility, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon said at a virtual conference for the IFA trade fair in Berlin today. ‘hui.

IFA, Europe’s leading electronics show, has been split this year into several breakout events, but because Americans have been banned from traveling to Germany, much of the show is generally held online.

Amon began by announcing that 5G would arrive on Qualcomm’s Series 4 processors, low-end chips that are expected to go in phones between $ 150 and $ 250.

Amon announces the 4 5G series.

“The Snapdragon 4 Series 5G mobile platform is designed to exceed the expectations of the mass market segment by delivering an assortment of primarily high and mid-range features to a wider audience. It will keep its promise to make 5G accessible to all smartphone users, ”he said in a press release.

Qualcomm offers five main levels of smartphone chips. The 8 and 7 Series already have 5G phones on sale in the United States. There is a 6 series chip with 5G, the 690, although it is not found in any US phone. Then there are Series 4 and Series 2.

Oppo and Xiaomi have committed to using Series 4 for low-cost 5G phones. Amon also said Motorola will be on board, and it is the supplier most likely to use the Series 4 in the United States. While Moto’s current G-series phones, such as the Moto G Power, use the 6-series, so far Motorola hasn’t used the 5G-capable 690 processor and could upgrade to the 4-series to maintain a price of $ 200 while including 5G.

The Series 4 5G phones will appear in the first quarter of 2021, Amon said.


Make the millimeter wave a thing

Amon has been pushing hard for millimeter wave 5G, which has so far only been released in the US and has received a lot of criticism for Verizon’s short range and perceived poor coverage. While there are several competing vendors for lower-band 5G hardware, Qualcomm is way ahead of its competitors on millimeter waves.

“The millimeter wave performance is incredible,” Amon said, adding that he expects millimeter wave networks to be launched in Italy, Finland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore this year. year or next year.

“Millimeter waves are going to hit the mass market, but it takes time to unfold,” Amon said. “China is talking about millimeter waves for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which means we have to put them into operation in the second half of 2021. When China brings millimeter waves, China’s scale and China’s device ecosystem… it’s going to allow millimeter waves to become a mass market. “


Engaged for Windows

8cx Gen 2

The 8cx Gen 2 chipset will bring 5G to more laptops.

Qualcomm also showed its commitment to its ongoing and rocky Windows-on-Snapdragon program with the announcement of the 8cx Gen 2, a faster version of Qualcomm’s 8cx laptop chipset.

According to Qualcomm, the 8cx Gen 2 running at 7 watts is 18% faster than Intel’s 10th Gen Core i5 running at 15 watts. With 7 watts of power, it delivers 50% better total system performance and 50% better battery life than “competitive solutions”. It’s also designed for our new Zoom-heavy lifestyle, with better camera and audio capabilities than Intel’s laptop chipsets – 32-megapixel camera support and noise cancellation. audio are integrated. 8cx Gen 2 laptops will have 25 hours of battery life, according to Qualcomm.

The base processor of an 8cx Gen 2 is a Kryo 495 7nm, with support for LPDDR4x RAM and SSD. The chipset supports one 4K Ultra HD main display with two external 4K displays over DisplayPort.

Acer spin 7

The Acer Spin 7 will be the first 8cx Gen 2 laptop.

Acer’s Jerry Kao introduced the first 8cx Gen 2 laptop, the Acer Spin 7, which he said has an “always on, always connected, great design and battery life. [which] can support multiple days of use. The Spin 7 is Acer’s first laptop with 5G. Kao didn’t announce a price or release date at the Qualcomm event, but Qualcomm’s press release says the first 8cx Gen 2 laptop is coming in 2020.

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Spin 7 stylus

The Spin 7 has an active stylus.

HP will also manufacture an 8cx Gen 2 computer, which the company says is “no ordinary laptop … designed for businesses to unleash the speed and productivity of their teams.” HP did not give more details except to say that more information would be released later this year.

But all of these hardware advantages fade away due to the difficulty that Qualcomm chips have in running many Windows applications. Since Windows applications and especially device drivers are typically coded for Intel processors, they have compatibility issues with Qualcomm chips. In particular, Snapdragon processors cannot natively run 64-bit “x64” applications, which include many newer and higher-end applications.

We rated the Surface Pro X, the most important Qualcomm Windows laptop to date, at just three stars due to compatibility issues.

“We are engaging now more than ever in bringing these platforms together,” said Microsoft’s Panos Panay. “We are moving the App Assure program to all of our customers using Snapdragon… [so] now we’re going to see apps move through that ecosystem with Snapdragon and Windows. “

App Assure is an existing Microsoft program for businesses and developers to help them rebuild their apps for Windows 10, which now also includes Windows support on Snapdragon.

“64-bit is coming, and I think it’s going to change the perception today a lot,” Amon said. “We will support 64-bit applications on the platform, and we have also announced with Microsoft, the App Assurance program. I think that will resolve any remaining issues.”

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