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Apple M1 is the boost the Windows ecosystem needed: Qualcomm

ZDNet logo ZDNet 12/2/2020 Chris Duckett
a close up of a device: The Snapdragon 888 Image: Qualcomm © ZDNet The Snapdragon 888 Image: Qualcomm

With recent tests showing that putting Windows onto Apple Silicon absolutely spanks the performance currently available on Qualcomm-made processors, one could be forgiven for thinking Qualcomm was apprehensive about its future desktop prospects.

However, Qualcomm SVP and general manager for mobile, compute, and infrastructure Alex Katouzian told journalists on Wednesday that Apple's new chip was a validation for putting mobile chips into laptops.

"As we've seen during the pandemic age and I think this is going to continue for many years to come, video conferencing and remote working locations are going to become more and more important which means you have to have the capability of great video conferencing, you have to have the camera capability, you have to have the longevity of the battery, you should be able to work from any place that you are, inside your house or outside your house, and reach your work environment in a secure fashion," he said.

"All of those things are validation of what we've been preaching and I think the strength is going to come from the fact that our partnership with Microsoft is going to be much stronger and extended into the future.

"I think many, many parties realise that the Windows-based ecosystem needs a boost like this, and we're the partner of choice to make that happen -- so, it's a great opportunity and a great validation for Qualcomm."

Hours earlier, Qualcomm took the wraps off its new Snapdragon 888 chip, which will support 5G at millimetre-wave and sub-6GHz frequencies on "all major bands worldwide". It will also support carrier aggregation, standalone and non-standalone modes, and dynamic spectrum sharing.

The company said it "completely re-engineered" its Hexagon processor that can now perform at 26 tera operations per second and updated its Sensing Hub to allow for lower-power, always-on AI processing.

On the image front, the chip can capture photos and video at 2.7 gigapixels per second, a 35% boost on the prior generation.

A notable absence among the list of Android phone makers that said they would use the 888 was Samsung. Those on the list included Asus, Lenovo, LG, Meizu, Motorola, Nubia, Realme, OnePlus, Oppo, Sharp, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

Last month, it was reported the United States had granted approval to Qualcomm to sell 4G chips for mobile phones to Huawei.

Speaking on Wednesday, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said the company was in the fortunate position of being able to "meet the objectives of both sides" of the trade war.

"We look at ourselves as probably a company that provides a lot of stability ... in our sector of technology between the two countries, so I think if you look in the essence of our business model, we have a licensing business model. We don't need to transfer technology. We open license that technology, and there's respect of intellectual property which is consistent with some of the United States' claims," Amon said.

"I think all of our customers in China are licensed, and when we see the respect of intellectual property, we provide export of semiconductors which is in, from my United States perspective, it's in the direction of increasing commerce of exports to China.

"We allow the China ecosystem with the Belt and Road Initiative building, on our platform, the mobile ecosystem of China to not only support the transition of China domestic to 5G, but to expand to other markets."

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