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Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Chips Powering Windows 8 Laptops

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Chips Powering Windows 8 LaptopsQualcomm chips will power Windows 8 laptops, though we don’t know when.

Windows 8 tablets will be launching with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, as the company want to move beyond desktops

Qualcomm Snapdragon chips are set to power Windows 8 tablets, despite reports that Microsoft won’t be launching with a huge range of tablets when Windows 8 goes to retail later this year.

Senior vice president of Qualcomm, Rob Chandhok, will allow manufacturers to make laptops that are lighter than Intel-based ultrabooks. The S4 chips will allow laptops to have “high-resolution screens, longer battery life” and always-on connectivity. In the ever-competitive market of ultrabooks, particularly against the MacBook Air, improvements in screen resolution and battery life are needed.

The problem which ultrabooks, particularly as they are compared against the MacBook Air, is that touchpads haven’t been as responsible and haven’t been as well built. Even clones of the Air have failed to emulate the great design, so I don’t think chips alone will bring Windows ultrabooks to the forefront even if they are priced at a low price point. The fact of the matter is that tablets are booming, and with Windows 8 launching on tablets this year then the Metro UI could be more appealing than a laptop.

The S4 chips also bring built-in modems, supporting 4G connectivity. For users on the move, that could be an attractive option with 4G being supported by devices such as the new iPad.

Scott Bicheno, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said that Intel will see the S4 chips as a threat and even more so considering the chips are made by Qualcomm. He added, though, that Intel will feel relatively secure about their position considering they support legacy apps and an established ecosystem.

Windows 8 supporting ARM architecture

That despite Microsoft saying Windows 8 will support ARM, because “many other key pieces of software” will need to be re-written.

Ultrabooks are also going to launch with Intel-based chips this year, so there’s no immediate threat to Qualcomm. Whether device with S4 chips will have better performance remains to be seen.

It’s also important to remember that Nvidia is in the mix with chips, showing off its Tegra 3 chip in the Transformer Prime. In benchmark tests against the new iPad, it lagged behind in performance.

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Published: Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Last Modified: April 27, 2014

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