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Qualcomm today announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform, designed for Always Connected PCs. The company promises up to 30 percent increase in performance, up to 3 times increase in AI performance, up to 1.2 gigabits per second LTE connectivity speeds, and up to 25 hours of continuous usage.

This is largely an incremental release (the Snapdragon 850 is essentially an improved Snapdragon 845), though Qualcomm’s comparisons above are against the Snapdragon 835, since that was the first phone chip to support Always Connected PCs. Nonetheless, it seems Qualcomm is willing to give Windows 10 on ARM a dedicated chip, even if it’s not built from the ground up for PCs — the Snapdragon 850 will not be used in any phones.

The announcement was made at Computex 2018 in Taipei. At the event, Qualcomm also shared that Samsung would be the first to integrate the Snapdragon 850 into a future device.

“Building on the portfolio of Always On, Always Connected PCs established over the past year, we are thrilled to work with Samsung to help offer consumers true mobility, combined with the productivity and entertainment features of Windows 10,” Qualcomm senior vice president Alex Katouzian said in a statement. “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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Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Always Connected PC

When Microsoft and Qualcomm announced their vision for Always Connected PCs in December, partners Asus and HP were the first to show off Windows 10 devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets: the Asus NovaGo and the HP ENVY x2. Lenovo also joined the fray a few months later. This time, Qualcomm is highlighting Samsung as having jumped on board, although a device has not been named.

“At Samsung, we understand the unique needs of our consumers and aim to create new innovations to support their ‘on-the-go’ lifestyle,” Samsung Electronics executive vice president Kyungsik Choi said in a statement. “This collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and their Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform will allow us to provide always on, always connected mobile computing experiences for our customers.”

Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Reference Design

Qualcomm highlighted the following Snapdragon 850 specifications:

  • X20 LTE modem: Peak download speed of 1.2Gbps, peak upload speed of 150Mbps
  • Kryo 385 CPU built on Arm Cortex: Up to 2.96GHz clock speed, 8 CPU cores
  • Adreno 630 Visual Processing Subsystem: Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, Vulkan, DirectX 12, Ultra HD Premium video playback and encoding at 4K (3840×2160) 30fps, slow motion HEVC video encoding of FHD (1080p) up to 120fps, H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), VP9, DisplayPort over USB Type-C support
  • Hexagon 685 DSP: Hexagon Vector DSP (HVX), Hexagon Scalar DSP (Audio), Hexagon All-Ways Aware Hub (Sensor)
  • Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor: Support for up to single HFR 16 MPix camera at 60fps ZSL, dual 16 MPix cameras at 30fps ZSL, single 32 MPix camera at 30fps ZSL, Multi-Frame Noise Reduction (MFNR) with accelerated image stabilization, Hybrid Autofocus with support for dual phase detection (2PD) sensors, Ultra HD Premium video capture @ 4K (3840×2160) 30fps
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ad Multi-gigabit: 802.11ac 2×2 with MU-MIMO, 2.4GHz/5GHz/60GHz
  • Audio: Aqstic audio codec and speaker amplifier, aptX audio playback with support for aptX Classic and HD, Native DSD support, PCM up to 384kHz/32bit
  • RF: TruSignal adaptive antenna tuning, High-power transmit (HPUE)
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Location: Support for GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, and SBAS
  • Charging: Quick Charge 4+ technology

Qualcomm wouldn’t give a specific date for availability of Windows 10 devices powered by the Snapdragon 850, saying only to expect them in retail stores in time for the holiday season.

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