MediaTek Plans To Muscle In On Arm-Based Copilot+ PCs, Should Qualcomm Worry?

MediaTek chips (front and back) on a black background.
Call it a temporary coup if you want, but Qualcomm was remarkably able to position itself ahead of AMD and intel to drive the first wave of Microsoft's Copilot+ PCs, with further plans to eventually inject its Arm-based hardware into all form factors, including desktop systems. Impressive as that is, however, it's not just x86 rivals that Qualcomm will be going up against as Copilot+ takes off. MediaTek, another major player in the Arm space, wants in on the action as well.

That's based on what "three people familiar with the matter" told Reuters. Two of those unnamed sources say MediaTek is targeting late 2025 to launch a PC chip for Windows on Arm. MediaTek could likely have something ready sooner, perhaps even now, but the projected time frame is due to Qualcomm scoring an exclusive deal to supply laptop chips.

It takes time to develop advanced processors for specific segments, which in this case is Windows on Arm and Microsoft's big Copilot+ push. However, MediaTek is reportedly taking a different approach than Qualcomm. According to the sources, MediaTek plans to launch PC chips based on Arm's ready-made designs. If true, this would play into Arm CEO's prediction that Arm chips will overtake 50% of Windows PCs by 2029.

The upshot of going the ready-made route is a much faster release schedule. Ready-made designs require less development time and less testing, since much of the heavy lifting has already been accomplished.

On the flip side, however, leaning on Arm's ready-made solutions means the chips are not as specifically tuned as custom designs, such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus silicon. Viewed from that lens, we'd be surprised if MediaTek's eventual PC chips ended up being more performant than Qualcomm's offerings.

Closeup angled view of a laptop with "Copilot+ PC" text in white.

In addition, we fully expect that AMD and Intel will be entrenched in the Copilot+ program by the end of next year. Both chip makers have already announced next-gen silicon (AMD Strix Point and Intel Lunar Lake) with onboard neural processing units (NPUs) to offload AI workloads, so it's only a matter of time before we see officially branded Copilot+ PCs with x86 hardware inside.

All that said, MediaTek could flex its hardware in lower cost laptops. MediaTek doesn't have to win the benchmark battle, so long as its chips can deliver the type of experiences required for the Copilot+ program. Instead, MediaTek can focus on undercutting the competition on price and make a dent in the entry-level market, and perhaps encroach into mainstream territory as well.

It's not clear if Microsoft has given MediaTek's reported Copilot+ plans the green light, but even if not, the company has over a year to get its ducks in a row.