Qualcomm points to Snapdragon's support for Microsoft's PCs, tablets and smartphones

Architecture works for Windows Phone and Windows 8

Qualcomm points to Snapdragon's support for Microsoft's PCs, tablets and smartphones
When it was announced in July 2010 that Microsoft had become a licensee of ARM's chip IP, there was plenty of talk about what it meant for Windows 8.

Perhaps the biggest surprise from the company's reveal at the BUILD conference, however, is that ARM rival Qualcomm has been the first company to highlight its support for the new OS, which is designed from the ground up for touchscreen and portable devices.

"Qualcomm and Microsoft are collaborating to enable Qualcomm's Snapdragon next generation family of mobile processors to power the first generation of upcoming Windows 8-based PCs, becoming one of the only silicon providers to-date positioned to support both Windows smartphones and PCs," Qualcomm has somewhat breathlessly announced.

Double edged IP

The irony is Qualcomm is also an ARM licensee, although somewhat confusingly its Snapdragon chips don't actually use ARM's chip designs.

Instead, its Scorpion CPU is designed using the ARM instruction set so all ARM-compatible software works with it, but allowing Qualcomm to customise and innovate when it comes to the actual silicon design.

As well as its CPU and GPU, Qualcomm also packs wireless and radio frequency smarts into Snapdragon (amongst others), hence is also highlighting how this will enable connectivity features such as wi-fi, Bluetooth, FM radio and 3G/4G LTE for Windows 8 hardware.

Other chip companies supporting the OS include Nvidia and Texas Instruments, who use ARM IP in a more conventional manner, plus x86 chip companies such as Intel and AMD.

[source: Qualcomm]
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.