As the race to roll out 5G networks and devices continues, Qualcomm is introducing a new processor that will offer the latest cellular standard to computers. At the virtual edition of the IFA conference in Berlin on Thursday, the chip maker announced its Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G processor, touting such features as superior performance, multi-day battery life, enterprise-grade security, Wi-Fi 6, and last but not least, 5G connectivity.
SEE: Future of 5G: Projections, rollouts, use cases, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Aimed at Always On, Always Connected PCs, the new processor will drive ultra-thin and 2-in-1 laptops introduced this year, including the 2020 edition of the Acer Spin 7, the PC maker’s first 5G laptop.
This isn’t the first go-round for Qualcomm in the 5G arena. The new Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G chip follows the introduction of the Snapdragon 865 Plus for smartphone upgrades and the Snapdragon 690 for mid-range 5G mobile devices. In this case, though, the 8cx Gen 2 5G is aimed squarely at laptops.
In terms of 5G, the 8cx Gen 2 5G is the second processor from Qualcomm to offer 5G connectivity through both Sub-6 GHz and 5G mmWave, allowing for faster multi-gigabit speed. But the new chip also supports Wi-Fi 6, the latest Wi-Fi standard hitting more routers, mobile devices, and laptops.
Based on performance and power tests conducted by Qualcomm, the 8cx Gen 2 5G will offer a 50% greater performance and battery life over competing products, according to the company. The multi-day battery life was designed specifically for computers that are always on and always connected.
The new chip also promises security benefits for enterprises, small businesses, and educational facilities. By powering PCs that are always on and always connected, the 8cx Gen 2 5G will give IT administrators the ability to manage their on-premises computers from just about anywhere. The chip also supports Microsoft Secured Core PC and Windows Hypervisor.
Further, the 8cx Gen 2 5G includes an artificial intelligence (AI) engine that can help support AI accelerated programs on the computer, Qualcomm said. As one example, video conferences can deliver better eye contact and more expressive avatars. The AI processing also gives developers more leeway to design applications for Windows.
With the transition to remote work and remote learning, the processor is designed to enhance audio and video performance. The 8cx Gen 2 5G will use Qualcomm’s Aqstic echo cancellation and noise suppression (ECNS) technology for clearer audio. Outfitted with a Qualcomm Spectra ISP for mobile camera technology, the chip will provide support for up to 4K HDR and up to 32 MP cameras.
“Working remotely is the new reality, and more businesses are looking to quickly and securely connect their employee base, accelerating the need for always on, always connected PCs that are thin, light and truly mobile, equipped with blazing fast 5G cellular and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and coupled with multi-day battery-life to boost productivity,” Miguel Nunes, Senior Director for Product Management at Qualcomm, said in a press release.
The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 5G processor is expected to make its way to commercial devices in late 2020, according to Qualcomm.