Today, we're witnessing the announcement of the world's very first 5G-enabled PC, and it of course comes packing the Snapdragon 8cx Compute Platform. It's Lenovo’s Project Limitless and it takes the form of a 2-in-1 convertible Windows 10 PC.
Looking at the device, it seems like a pretty standard-fare convertible design that would fit neatly into Lenovo’s Yoga family of products. We spy Lenovo's signature keyboard design, dual speakers flanking the keyboard deck, a large trackpad, a fingerprint reader to the right of the trackpad and dual USB-C ports on the left-hand side of the chassis.
When it comes to its 5G modem, rather than Qualcomm's first-generation Snapdragon X50 (which is being used in the first crop of 5G-enabled smartphones), Lenovo is using the second-generation 7nm Snapdragon X55. The Snapdragon X55 is a single-chip solution that support both NR mmWave technology (26GHz, 28GHz, 29GHz bands) and sub-6GHz spectrums. It provides backwards compatibility with 4G LTE (2.5Gbps Cat 22), 3G and 2G networks and offers faster peak 5G spending compared to its predecessor (7Gbps downstream, 3Gbps upstream).
As for the Snapdragon 8cx, it is an octa-core design using new the Kryo 495 architecture. Also onboard is a beefy Adreno 680 GPU, support for 8-channel LPDDR4x memory, NVMe SSDs, UFS 3.0 storage, and USB 3.1 Type-C. In addition, there is a Hexagon 685 DSP onboard for artificial intelligence operations and a Spectra 390 ISP for imaging.
“With real 5G in a PC, it’s all about satisfying users’ need for speed: faster file transfers and streaming in 4K, 8K and even AR/VR; faster and higher quality video chats on-the-go; even faster screen refreshes for mobile gaming," said Johnson Jia, who serves as Lenovo's SVP and GM for the Consumer Business of Intelligent Devices Group.
“Bandwidth-intensive tasks that involve downloading and uploading large files over a wireless connection can be exponentially faster, making remote storage feel as seamless as local storage," added Alex Katouzian; SVP and GM for Qualcomm's Mobile Business Unit. "This will change the way users create, collaborate and communicate with their computing devices.”
So, what does all of this mean for production systems using Snapdragon 8cx and Snapdragon X55? In the case of the Lenovo Project Limitless, we're talking about an always, always connected Windows 10 PC with multi-day battery life thanks to its power-sipping 7-watt TDP.
With that being said, Lenovo isn’t giving us telling us anything with regards to CPU/GPU clocks, memory/storage configurations or even pricing/availability. Qualcomm, on the other hand, says that we "can expect more to come from Lenovo and Qualcomm in early 2020".