Now, as Qualcomm looks to push 5G connectivity into laptops, it is pairing modems with a powerful central processor unit, or CPU, Amon said. Instead of using computing core blueprints from longtime partner Arm Ltd, as it now does for smartphones, Qualcomm concluded it needed custom-designed chips if its customers were to rival new laptops from Apple.
As head of Qualcomm’s chip division, Amon this year led the $1.4 billion acquisition of startup Nuvia, whose ex-Apple founders help design some those Apple laptop chips before leaving to form the startup. Qualcom will start selling Nuvia-based laptop chips next year.
The processor industry is scrambling to catch up to Apple, and every Intel and AMD OEM is looking for something that can give the same or merely vaguely similar kind of performance and power draw in laptops like the M1. Qualcomm is claiming here that they can, and will – this year, without relying on Arm.