Qualcomm has introduced a new performance-orientated laptop platform for Windows 10 PCs – the Snapdragon 8cx. However, there are no devices confirmed to be using the platform as yet.
The company has been releasing PC versions of its Snapdragon processors over the last year, intended for always-on PCs that bring a more smartphone-like experience to laptops with fast-resume, 4G connectivity and multi-day battery life.
The Snapdragon 8cx is a premium product that will appear in some ultraportable laptops. It will co-exist with the Snapdragon 850 launched at Computex in June.
Snapdragon 8cx is based on the same 7nm manufacturing process as the just-announced Snapdragon 855 for smartphones and supports Quick Charge 4 for fast charging over USB-C. It'll also support dual-4K monitors via USB-C.
Qualcomm confirmed that 5G is coming to Windows on Snapdragon in 2019, but there's no confirmation beyond that - we'd expect to hear more about that late next year, perhaps in 12 months' time.
The new Snapdragon 8cx platform is 3.5 times faster than the Snapdragon 835 PCs like the HP Envy X2 and Asus Nova Go launched this time last year. However, it remains to be seen whether Qualcomm can compete with the out-and-out performance of Intel processors at the same price point.
Qualcomm has a key advantage over Intel-based PCs because of its expertise in producing power-efficient mobile hardware with integrated 4G modems, but there remains a massive practical disadvantage with Windows on Snapdragon (and ARM-based PCs in general) in terms of app performance and compatibility.
In a practical sense, that means that most people can only run Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps from the Windows Store. While strides are being made in this area, there's a lot more work to be done to make Windows on Snapdragon a practical alternative to Intel devices.