Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon is bullish on the company's prospects for its upcoming Arm-based platform for mobile and desktop form-factors. In an interview with CNET, the CEO even went as far as claiming that its chips - which won't hit the market until 2023 - will outperform Apple's recently-introduced M2 chips, which build upon the company's extremely well-received first-generation Apple Silicon with significant performance improvements via updates to its performance and efficiency cores.
Naturally, no CEO would dismiss their own products against competitors. But Qualcomm does have an extremely important, $1.4 billion-worth card clutched tightly against its chest: Nuvia, the high-performance Arm chip design company founded in 2019 by Apple's former chip design lead himself, Gerard Williams. Williams led Apple's A-series SoC chip design and roadmap throughout the years, leading to Apple's relatively unchallenged command in the smartphone SoC space - a design on which Apple's own M1 and M2 CPUs are still based off of.
At the time of the acquisition, Nuvia's mission was to design the world's most powerful Arm-based CPUs - chips that could go toe to toe against both Intel and AMD, now placed on the same side of the ring against the increasingly compute-relevant Arm architecture. To do so, Gerard brought along two other invaluable Apple engineers, which prompted a yet-ongoing dispute with Apple. The company later sued Gerard on claims that the lead designer intentionally kept Apple in the dark while accumulating knowledge that he intended to use for product development on Nuvia.
Qualcomm's aim does go above and beyond Apple, however; the company absorbed Nuvia's ethos of rivaling AMD and Intel. According to Amon, Qualcomm's goal is nothing short of claiming performance leadership in the personal computing CPU space with its Nuvia-powered Arm chips. This is a far cry from the mundane effects of its Snapdragon-based chips that have already made it into Windows-powered machines such as the Microsoft Surface Pro X.
Amon further said that the time for Qualcomm's Arm and Nuvia-powered assault on the PC sphere is now, considering Microsoft's increasing software support for Windows on Arm, as well as changes related to remote work. Customers now expect always-connected devices that feature always-on capabilities and powerful videoconferencing skills that still last through the day - something that Qualcomm feels has been finally unlocked. Time, as always, will tell.
My first question would be how have you not caught up in the past ten years?!
Well, QC haven't used an in-house architecture for years. But Nuvia is literally a bunch of ex-Apple CPU guys, so I think they know how to get this done. Eventually all these mobile CPU offerings are going to converge in performance, just a question of time.