The move could shake up Intel’s x86 dominance
Qualcomm chips capable of running Windows 10 are set to make their debut towards the end of 2017, according to a transcript of Qualcomm’s latest earnings call.
“Our Snapdragon 835 is expanding into Mobile PC designs running Windows 10, which are scheduled to launch in the fourth calendar quarter this year,” said Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm’s chief executive.
With the exception of the poorly received Windows RT, this will mark the first departure of Microsoft Windows from the x86 instruction set architecture developed by Intel, which has provided the link between the operating system and processor hardware since the advent of Windows.
Qualcomm and Windows
Such a move could mean two things; the running of Windows 10 on server chips from Qualcomm, and/or the ability to run full versions of Windows 10 and the apps it supports on smartphones and tablets using powerful yet efficient system-on-a-chip processors, rather than more power-hungry Intel Core i or Celeron chips.
Given how the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ have a desktop mode activated via the Samsung DeX docking station, there’s future potential for smartphones using Qualcomm chips, which are based on ARM instruction sets, to run full versions of Windows 10, which would likely support smooth keyboard and mouse navigation via Bluetooth connection.
“We’re thinking about platform that supports small screens, large screens, devices with no screens at all, head-mounted displays, and so what can these device makers build will really be up to them,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, when the company first outlined its plans with Qualcomm last year.
“Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love – touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more – anytime, anywhere.”
With rivalry like that from Qualcomm in the mobile chip space, it is no surprise Intel has fresh ambitions for its Atom processor range.