Qualcomm eyes budget Windows 10 laptops with Snapdragon 7cx SoC
Qualcomm announced not long ago that it intends to take the Windows-based notebook market more serious by introducing the Snapdragon 8cx SoCs directed at premium devices. This would be Qualcomm’s second attempt to break into the Windows-based market. Back in 2017, Qualcomm started the Windows-on-ARM initiative, modifying its Snapdragon 835 SoC and later the Snapdragon 845 model in order to lower the production costs for Windows 10 laptops, but the SoC performance was quite underwhelming compared to what Intel and AMD were offering for marginally higher prices. Realizing that premium is not what brings in the profits, Qualcomm is now considering to introduce a SoC for budget laptops.
In a recent interview with Mobile Tech Podcast, Qualcomm’s VP of Global Product marketing Don McGuire announced that the more affordable version of the Snapdragon 8cx is provisionally named Snapdragon 7cx and will target the US$300-800 laptop range. McGuire believes that a budget chip is more likely to draw attention to OEMs and developers, but, for now, the exact specs for the Snapdragon 7cx are not known.
Keeping in mind that the Snapdragon 8cx is supposed to offer similar performance to Intel’s latest Core i5 Whiskey Lake-U CPUs, yet promising double the power efficiency with 15-20-hour battery life, we could extrapolate that the Snapdragon 7cx may end up being a competitor for the Core i3 and lower Core i5 quad-core chips from Intel.
While the improved performance could redeem this latest SoC generation aimed at Windows laptops, it is still unclear if the implementation of Qualcomm's chips is more cost-effective than Intel’s and AMD’s offerings. Additionally, we should not forget the software development and optimization issues that are still a thing for ARM-based Windows 10 devices.