Qualcomm's Affordable Snapdragon Dev Kit Flexes Arm Muscle For Windows PCs
Are you a Windows developer who'd like to become more hardware-agnostic? Alternatively, are you an Arm hipster? Do you still mourn the death of Motorola-based Macs and the RISC dream? Do you loathe Intel, AMD, and the x86-64 hegemony—yet somehow still like Windows? Then Qualcomm has just the PC for you. Qualcomm has teamed up with ECS to release the LIVA Mini Box QC710, which the company is calling the "Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows."
You've probably already guessed from the name, but this device is part of Qualcomm and Microsoft's Windows-on-Arm initiative. The idea behind this mini-PC is that developers who want to port their software (or create new software) for Windows running natively on Arm systems can use it as a small and efficient test system. Of course, that's not going to stop the groups mentioned in the beginning of the first paragraph from buying them all up, probably.
The LIVA Mini Box QC710 doesn't have the relatively-powerful Snapdragon 8cx chip that Qualcomm developed specifically to be used in PC-like machines, and it doesn't pack either of Microsoft's semi-custom Qualcomm chips, either. Instead, it's based on a lower-end Snapdragon SC7180, also known as the Snapdragon 7c—and we're pretty sure it's the original version, not the revision. That chip is connected to 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and a 64GB eMMC package.
For network connectivity, you end up with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and an Ethernet connection in 10/100 flavor, not Gigabit. There are three USB ports, one of which supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 and another of which is a Type-C port that supports USB Power Delivery. For video, you get a single HDMI port of unspecified revision, and there's a microSD slot for storage expansion. The Snapdragon 7c supports X15 LTE, and there's apparently a microSIM slot on the LIVA QC710, but there's no mention of LTE connectivity in the specs.
There are already a number of Qualcomm-based single-board computers (SBCs) that an enthusiast could slap in a case as a development platform, but the LIVA QC710 comes pre-built and pre-installed with Windows 10 Home 64-bit Arm Edition, which can be upgraded to Windows 11 if you want to be on the latest software. Perhaps the most exciting part of this mini-PC is its price: just $219 USD. If you've gotta have it, dip on over to the Microsoft Store—just be wary that MS isn't offering refunds on the machine.