The success of the ARM-based Apple Silicon and the new M1 Macs put not only Microsoft but also Qualcomm in a rather negative light. The two have been working together for years on ARM-based Windows laptops with very little success but neither company is willing to throw in the towel just yet. In fact, Qualcomm is reportedly working not just on a new high-end Snapdragon 8cx compute platform but also a less powerful Snapdragon 7c chipset that could be used on entry-level Chromebooks and ARM-based Windows laptops.
Qualcomm already launched a pair of mid-range Snapdragon Compute Platforms, its branding for chipsets meant for laptops and convertibles, in late 2019. The Snapdragon 8c and 7c took their cues from the mobile processors of that year but retrofitted and customized for Windows. After that event, however, the chips mostly faded into the background as did most Snapdragon-powered Windows laptops.
According to WinFuture, Qualcomm hasn’t forgotten about its mid-range Compute Platform even if the market did. The site’s sources revealed a certain SC7295 being worked on which is based on the SM7350, a.k.a. an upcoming Snapdragon 775. The implication is that it would closer to the mobile chip in terms of features and performance, which might not exactly be what the Windows on ARM market needs.
Compared to the first-gen Snapdragon 7c, this SC7295 almost sounds like an upgrade with a 2.7GHz maximum clock rate. That, however, is actually true only for one of four “gold” Kryo cores while the other three run at 2.4 GHz only. The other four “energy-efficient” cores, on the other hand, max out at only 1.8GHz.
Qualcomm’s strategy of trying to target all tiers in the smartphone market may not exactly apply to this still nascent ARM computing market. The higher-end Snapdragon Compute Platforms, including the custom one in Surface Pro X, already failed to perform to satisfaction. Less powerful chips running Windows on ARM might prove to be even more disappointing.