Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 850 Mobile Platform For Always Connected Windows 10 PCs

When Microsoft and Qualcomm announced "Always Connected" Windows 10 PCs back in late 2016, it was revealed that the first shipping systems would be powered by the Snapdragon 835 processor. The first generation of convertibles laptops have shipped from the likes of ASUS, HP and Lenovo with that processor platform on board, but a new generation will soon be upon us and today out at Computex, Qualcomm has unveiled new silicon technology to enable them. Powering this new breed of devices will be Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Always-Connected PC

The Snapdragon 850 is a dedicated SKU that will only be employed in thin and light laptop devices and convertibles, so don't expect any new flagship Android phones showing up with the SoC later this year. Compared to the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm is promising a 30 percent boost in system-wide performance, while the integrated Snapdragon X20 LTE modem promises peak speeds of 1.2Gbps.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Features Advantage
When it comes to battery life, Qualcomm says that PCs running the Snapdragon 850 will be able to top 25 hours of runtime, which is a big plus for on-the-go professionals and mainstream consumers alike. Although Qualcomm doesn't come right out and say it, we have the feeling that this 10nm SoC and its associated platform technologies are an offshoot of the Snapdragon 845, but with optimizations specific to the Windows PC platform.
QCOM Snapdragon 850 Functional Block Diagram

The first Always-Connected PCs launched just a few months ago without a lot of OEM push behind them. However, Qualcomm says things will be different this time around and it will have many more partners and a lot more device options to choose from (hopefully at lower price points).

“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,” said Alex Katouzian, SVP and GM for Qualcomm's mobile business unit. “To truly expand this category, our work with mobile leaders like Samsung is important to help us deliver the next generation of Always On, Always Connected PCs to consumers.” 

Snapdragon 850 And Windows 10 April Update

Performance of first-generation Snapdragon Always Connected PCs hasn't exactly been been class-leading, but battery life has been a clear strong suit for the platform. Hopefully with an added performance boost from Snapdragon 850, these Windows 10 devices will become a credible threat to their x86-64 counterparts. Couple that with Microsoft's new support for the ARM64 SDK in Windows 10, along with the April 2018 Update, and things could get really interesting for customers and platform developers alike. Stay tuned for more coverage of Snapdragon 850 Mobile Platform devices in the weeks ahead.