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Key Takeaways

  • Qualcomm rebrands its PC processors to the Snapdragon X series, aiming to differentiate them from its other product lines.
  • Qualcomm's acquisition of Nuvia, a company founded by former Apple engineers, suggests a direct competition with Apple's M-series chips
  • The launch of Snapdragon X-powered products is expected in 2024.

Qualcomm has announced a rebranding of its PC processors, which will now be known as the Snapdragon X series, in order to better differentiate them from the company's other product lines. Beyond the name, the logos and platform badges will be getting a refresh, but Qualcomm has yet to show these off, aside from a teaser image that you can see at the top of this page.

Of course, this isn't very exciting news on its own, what's more interesting is the upcoming chips that will debut with this new branding. Senior VP of Qualcomm, Don McGuire, says "Snapdragon X series platforms build on our years of experience engineering heterogeneous compute architectures across the central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU) and NPU."

"Now, harnessing our next-generation custom Qualcomm Oryon CPU, a quantum leap forward in performance and power efficiency will anchor Snapdragon X and - when combined with our NPU - will deliver accelerated on-device user experiences for the new era of generative AI," McGuire claimed.

It's all pretty vague at the moment, but it won't be long before we find out more, as the annual Snapdragon Summit starts on October 24, 2023.

How Qualcomm is taking the fight to Apple

While we might not have concrete details about the upcoming platform at this stage, there's one key thing that makes this launch very exciting. The announcement reveals that the Snapdragon X platform is based on the Oryon CPU, which is a result of Qualcomm's $1.4 billion acquisition of Nuvia in early 2021.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 in laptop mode with attached blue keyboard on a countertop.

If you're unfamiliar, Nuvia is a company founded by former Apple engineers who worked on the company's A-series chips for iPhone and iPad. Based on this, it would seem that Qualcomm is taking direct aim at Apple's M-series, which is currently leading the pack with its efficiency and performance as a laptop platform.

The chips have more in common, too, both feature dedicated NPUs for on-device AI processing. At present, these aren't utilised all that much, as most Generative AI tasks are carried out in the cloud, but companies like Qualcomm and AMD have been quite vocal about their belief that it will be integral to the future of mobile workloads.

There's at least one area that Qualcomm will have the leg up over Apple, and that's connectivity. The brand already offers 5G connectivity with its 8cx Gen 2 platform, and it's clear that this will continue with the X-series. Apple, on the other hand, has yet to offer cellular connectivity on its laptops, and we're currently unsure when or if this option might materialise.

Of course, Windows on Arm is a whole different kettle of fish, and while Apple has demonstrated the great potential of Arm-based computing with its M1 and M2 MacBooks, it might be the operating system that holds things back in the PC space.

When will the Snapdragon X series launch?

At this stage, all we know is that we should be seeing products with Snapdragon X series chips inside at some point in 2024. Qualcomm hasn't revealed much about this upcoming platform just yet, but we're expecting more news to come out of the brand's Snapdragon Summit in late October.