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Expect the First Windows 8 Snapdragon PC Late 2012

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, speaking during the San Diego semiconductor company's annual analyst day in New York, said Qualcomm is currently working with Microsoft to ensure that the upcoming Windows 8 operating system will run on its ARM-based Snapdragon SoCs. Currently he expects to see the majority of Windows 8-based products to launch after the end of fiscal 2012 which ends in September of next year. That said, Snapdragon-powered Windows 8 desktops and notebooks are expected hit the market around the same time.

During the event, Qualcomm COO Steve Mollenkopf added that Snapdragon PCs will have an edge over Windows 8 solutions provided by AMD and Intel because people mostly want the same features they love on their smartphones and tablets on their desktops and laptops. To some degree, he makes a good point, as major companies like Google, Intel, Toshiba and many others are working to bridge the portable and desktop together by integrating the "app experience" into the desktop and laptop.

"What developers are looking for will be dominated by what's happening on the phone," said Mollenkopf. "The phone itself will be the center of attention for developers. And then they'll say how can they adapt that for the car and home. It's much easier to go after the market if you have leadership in smartphones."

Naturally the big issue ARM-based PCs will face is the inability to run older Windows 7 or XP software. Windows Team boss Steven Sinofsky said earlier this year that "we've been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward that the ARM product won't run any x86 applications." But Mollenkopf said this won't really be an issue, as the key applications will be re-written for the ARM architecture. Many other popular programs are already running in the cloud and can be accessed through an Internet browser.

"For the apps that you really care about, I don't see it as a significant growth inhibitor in terms of ARM vs. Windows," he said. "I don't think the impact is as significant as what others believe."

On Wednesday the company also said that its upcoming 28-nm quad-core Snapdragon chips will initially appear in tablets in the second half of next year. These will be part of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 product line that also includes single-core and dual-core solutions. The S4 chips are designed to run Windows 8, and includes an integrated 3G and 4G modem. Clock speeds run between 1.5 GHz and 2.5 GHz, and the chip's Adreno graphics core will support DirectX 9.3.

  • amk-aka-Phantom
    That said, Snapdragon-powered Windows 8 desktops and notebooks are expected hit the market around the same time.

    Whaaaaaat the... who the hell will be dumb enough to get a DESKTOP based on ARM?!

    Tell you what, we had this Atom craze in the town starting 3 years back or so and it only stopped now. After countless board failures, RMAs and miserable user experience, I think it's safe to mock anyone who gets a low-power desktop for home use. Get real and get some good quality fast CPU... Intel Sandy Bridge Pentiums will do, just got 3 of them recently and they're great for low-budget builds.
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    I have to ask this...but seriously...WILL it be able to run Crysis? I honestly want to know what kind of power this thing will have.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    9326854 said:
    I have to ask this...but seriously...WILL it be able to run Crysis? I honestly want to know what kind of power this thing will have.

    Plain stupid, sorry to say. ARM is ARM; Crysis needs a good dual/quad core x86 to run acceptably.
    Reply
  • MAGPC
    ARM just stay out of Intel and AMD way, because an idiot would just think of buying ARM cpu for a desktop.
    I think I will just throw an egg at the one who said that smartphones control other markets, well you are blind.
    Reply
  • robisinho
    applied micro has a slide showing the relative computational power of armv8 (yeah, that's 2015ish hardware, except their dev boards that come march 2012 - dont ask) relative to sandy bridge. if you calculate what the lines would be like for ivy bridge and haswell as 1/3 better than the previous generation ( a 33% improvement overall seems reasonable if slightly accelerated), than a 128-core armv8 will com in around 95% of the computational power of a haswell part based on the high end i7 SNB today. It will also require up to 256watts to run, being about 3 times as power hungry.
    these qualcomm chips are going to ring in around the level of a15s. maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less, but certainly around that level (same instruction set, same die size). Assume the same 1/3 improvement again for arm from a15s to armv8, then the qualcomm needs 128 cores to compare to ivy bridge. No one is going to make 128 core desktops, the workload isnt threaded enough. So these are going to suck unless they are *dirt* cheap.
    Reply
  • rantoc
    In a way i'm happy to see a arm solution enter the desktop arena, that way some people will open their blinded eyes that ghz and the number of cores are far from only measure of cpu performance. Some peeps are in for a cold shower believing arm is "superior" to the SB for instance.

    Arm has its good uses in hardware like phones, pads and small electronics as those platforms is either power limited or run on a money strict budget and thats where the arm architecture shines. However when it comes to anything remotely demanding its no secret the manfacturers all of a sudden have to add dedicated hardware logic (either on die or external) due to the lack of performance rather than do it in software (decoding/endocing ect) like any normal desktop.

    In other words, both sides had their pro's and con's and both shine in their own ways - Don't try to blur that line today too much as it will end up badly. (Atom in phones with their power hunger (might change with 3dgate) or this - arm cpu in a desktop).

    My 2 cents!
    Reply
  • Bolbi
    he chip's Adreno graphics core will support DirectX 9.3.
    I don't think there is such a thing as DirectX 9.3. Is that supposed to be DirectX 9.0c?
    Reply
  • amdwilliam1985
    "Naturally the big issue ARM-based PCs will face is the inability to run older Windows 7 or XP software. "

    This means failed, we don't need a version of Windows 8 that's not backward compatible...
    I can already hear my friends asking me in the future, "why don't my windows open this ? I use to be able to run it in windows 7/xp!".
    Reply
  • chickenhoagie
    why would anyone want a desktop with a smartphones hardware? you might as well put a VGA port in my phone and hook up a shitty monitor to it. And now they're saying people want to use "Apps" on a desktop? are you kidding me? there's a reason I'm using my desktop and not my phone right now..and no, its not just for the bigger display. I pity the moron who would ever buy an ARM-based desktop..
    Reply
  • +1 I resent any processor not being able to run / benchmark Crysis.
    Reply