Update 12/06 12:00 p.m. PT: A Qualcomm spokesperson has reached out to Tom’s Hardware with the following statement: “We are on track to sample the first products with our next generation CPUs this year.
In a recent interview, Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon indicated that his firm’s Nuvia core technology chips would start sampling with laptop makers later than previously outlined on roadmaps. Moreover, Amon started hedging concerning the launch of consumer laptops packing these highly anticipated new chips, shifting expectations from late 2023 into early 2024.
Roger Cheng of CNet interviewed Amon as part of his Daily Charge (opens in new tab) podcast series. In a short segment, starting at about 8:20, Cheng brought up the topic of Nuvia technology. Qualcomm acquired startup Nuvia for a cool $1.4 billion last year. Amon was effervescent regarding the advances Nuvia will bring to Snapdragon processors addressing the performance segment. “With the acquisition of Nuvia we are aiming to have performance leadership on PC on the CPU period,” stated Amon. To be clear, later on, Amon affirmed that Nuvia chips would mix CPU, GPU and NPU for the performance segment of the PC laptop industry.
We reported yesterday that Amon promises to deliver Arm architecture PC chips to outperform the Apple M2, which launched earlier in the week. If you are interested in the importance of the Nuvia acquisition to Qualcomm, please check those links.
It is exciting that Arm-based PC SoCs potentially superior to Apple M1 and M2 chips are in the works. Qualcomm previously made some pretty big claims about its Snapdragon chips for PCs, but even some of the newest devices with Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 SoC could only muster middling performance if we are being polite. With this in mind, we are always cautious about manufacturer/designer claims versus shipping reality.
One of the signs of troubled development, or design target performance not being as good as test performance, is manifested by delays. Delays might be for other valid reasons, some out of necessity, but delays are unsettling.
Qualcomm execs previously said that the firm would sample its Nuvia core-packing Snapdragon chips to partners around August 2022. In the new Daily Charge interview, Amon stated Qualcomm will start "sampling chips to our customers for design next year." If he hasn't misspoken, this is a delay of at least four months.
Amon gave away some more information on timescales that tingled our spider senses. "Late next year / beginning of 2024 you are going to see Windows PCs powered by Snapdragon with a Nuvia designed CPU," he told Cheng. This statement isn't so decisive about a delay, as late 2023 is still in line with previous statements of devices "launching in 2023." However, the hedge of mentioning early 2024 is new, as far as our research shows. If Qualcomm doesn't launch early enough for the holidays, then early 2024 would make sense for CES 2024 debut.