As you all probably know, Qualcomm and Microsoft worked together and launched always-on, always-connected Windows 10 mobile PCs powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Arm processor earlier this year.
Battery life is spectacular, but considering the fairly high price of such devices, many were disappointed by performance which in many cases is not much better than much cheaper Intel Apollo Lake laptops.
But performance of future Qualcomm based Arm laptops will improve significantly thanks to Snapdragon 850 Mobile Compute Platform featuring eight Kryo 385 cores clocked to close to 3 GHz, and other enhancements.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 “Mobile Compute Platform” specifications:
- CPU – 8x Kryo 385 Arm cores clocked @ up to 2.96 GHz
- GPU – Adreno 630 Visual Processing Subsystem with
- Open GL ES 3.2, Open CL 2.0, Vulkan, DirectX 12
- Ultra HD Premium video playback and encoding @ 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
- DSP – Hexagon 685 DSP with Hexagon Vector DSP (HVX), Hexagon Scalar DSP (Audio), and Hexagon All-Ways Aware Hub (Sensor)
- Memory I/F – 4x 16-bit LPDDR4x up to 1866 MHz
- Storage I/F – TBD
- Cellular Modem – Snapdragon X20 LTE modem with peak download speed of 1.2 Gbps, peak upload speed of 150 Mbps
- Wireless Connectivity
- 802.11ad multi-gigabit WiFi & 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO WiFi @ 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or 60 GHz (Tri-band WiFi)
- Bluetooth 5, Qualcomm TrueWireless
- Location – 6 satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS; low power geofencing and tracking, sensor-assisted Navigation
- Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec and speaker amplifier
- Qualcomm aptX audio playback with support for aptX Classic and HD
- Native DSD support, PCM up to 384kHz/32bit
- 14-bit Spectra 280 Image Signal Processor with support for 16MP camera @ 60 fps, dual 16MP camera @ 30 fps, or 32MP camera @ 30 fps.
- Video capture up to 4K UHD (3840×2160) @ 30 fps
- Security – Qualcomm Processor Security, Qualcomm Mobile Security, Qualcomm Content Protection
- Charging – Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ technology
- Manufacturing Process – 10nm
Snapdragon delivers up to 30 percent increase in system performance, and up to 3 times the AI performance over the previous generation. LTE is now also a bit faster at 1.2 Gbps, and battery life is claimed to be even better with “up to 25 hours of continuous usage under normal usage conditions”.
Snapdragon 850 will exclusively work with Windows 10, so if you expected a Chromebook, or even hoped to eventually run a Linux distribution on Snapdragon 850 laptops, you’re out of luck.
Snapdragon 850 devices will start selling later this year, and according to the press released linked in the introduction, Samsung is on-board. You may want to visit the product page for some extra details. Further down the road, there have been rumors about Snapdragon 1000, possibly based on Arm Cortex A76, for even better performance.