Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 850 Chipset Built For Windows PCs

Saul Franklin
June 6, 2018

The Snapdragon 850 SoC has been designed for the Always On, Always Connected Windows PC category that was unveiled by Microsoft and Qualcomm past year alongside the such first PCs, meant to deliver long battery life and constant cellular connectivity.

According to Miguel Nunes, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm, Gigabit LTE connectivity and extended battery life are two major areas of value for today's consumers.

The chip-maker is looking to go beyond extraordinary battery life with devices containing the 850, and to also address some of the biggest criticisms surrounding the previous generation of Snapdragon 835-powered PCs.

While you'd normally expect to see the latest flagship Snapdragon chip debut in the next crop of top-of-the-line Android smartphones, it seems like Qualcomm is taking a different path with the upcoming Snapdragon 850 and will only plonk the chip in so-called Always Connected PCs. Announced at Computex 2018, the new chipset follows the Snapdragon 845 and its predecessor the Snapdragon 835, themselves already finding their way into Windows 10 on ARM notebooks and convertibles.

In addition, there is increased support for artificial intelligence (AI) and multimedia applications. The company promises up to 30 percent increase in performance, up to three times increase in AI performance, up to 1.2 gigabits per second LTE connectivity speeds, and up to 25 hours of continuous usage. Thermal tuning should be more fitting to a laptop form factor than a smartphone and will still allow for sleek, fanless designs. "To truly expand this category, our work with mobile leaders like Samsung is important to help us deliver the next generation of AlwaysOn, Always Connected PCs to consumers".

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"We believe that 90 percent of all operators can now provide Gigabit LTE", Nunes said. Native DSD playback, virtual surround sound, high dynamic range audio, and aptX HD wireless audio are also supported. Microsoft Edge is also going to be re-optimized for the platform.

"Qualcomm is a committed to the Always Connected PC revolution", Nunes said. While it could power your next laptop (maybe), you nearly certainly won't be seeing the Snapdragon 850 in your next phone. "We will stay for the long run".

Qualcomm is yet to spill the beans on new hardware, but it has revealed that Samsung will be releasing a Snapdragon 850-powered device later this year.

Last month, the USA chip maker launched the Snapdragon XR1 Platform. XR1 has been designed for vendors that wish to offer AR and VR to mainstream users.

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