This week I’m at Qualcomm’s Summit 2023 where I get to work while my wife gets to enjoy Hawaii. But given I love tech more than I love swimming or sunbathing, I’m okay with this. This year, Qualcomm’s event is all about AI, whether it is new smartphones like the amazing Xiaomi 14 launching this week, or PCs like the coming batch of category-blasting products based on the Snapdragon X Elite 2024 (2024 is when the PCs using this technology will show up), the potential for AI disruption has never been greater, and Qualcomm has jumped into this technology with both feet.
Let’s talk about what is coming with Snapdragon X Elite laptops this week.
A Revolution in Laptops
Qualcomm is the major player in smartphones and has promised a massive improvement with Snapdragon 8, but the new Snapdragon X Elite solution has made the biggest jump. My favorite laptop is the last-generation HP Folio which, while a bit slow in use, sported almost unbelievable battery life and a design that had me leaving my backpack at home or at the hotel most of the time. Having all the battery life you need made me want to scream “freedom” every time I used the device, so I’ve been looking forward to the next-generation part that would address the performance issue and at least make it competitive with products using chips from other providers.
As most know, the ARM-based Apple M2 chip has been surprising the market with its market-leading efficiency and adequate performance, leading many to conclude that Apple laptops using this unique part are the best in the market. Well, Qualcomm represents this latest chip that outperforms the Intel I9 monster chip while using 30% less energy than Apple’s M2 chip. That is so far beyond my expectations that I’m truly looking forward to trying this myself.
Be aware that there are huge improvements coming from AMD and Intel as well, but these changes likely wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Qualcomm driving this change. It is very unusual for a vendor that isn’t in the PC segment to wake up the vendors who are, but this entire segment is about to get one hell of an adjustment thanks largely to Qualcomm and Microsoft which collectively are driving this move to create solutions that are better on paper than what Apple has. I expect Apple won’t be standing still either.
Wi-Fi 7 and 5G are part of this platform, and the laptops will have things like screen sensing to keep your stuff private. Think near-instant photo editing, AI on the desktop with a massive AI performance boost, and the ability to not only use AI to alter pictures but being able to use AI to identify when AI was used to alter pictures (so you can better determine whether someone is trying to trick you).
Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Microsoft’s amazing Copilot running natively on your laptop helping you edit, create, and alter content at unheard of speeds and being able to have a conversation with your PC are all coming with these new PCs that promise to change dramatically both how we use these machines and what we use them for. They’ll be able to run LLMs with 13B+ parameters and still be able to respond near instantly, which is another amazing advance for this new platform.
Higher integration with tablets and smartphones allows the seamless use (the feature is called Snapdragon Seamless) of all three products together as combined screen real estate.
Wrapping Up: Holy Crap
That is really the only comment that came to mind as I was being briefed on this platform. Talk about a revolution! Laptops with better battery life than most smartphones that significantly outperform most non-gaming laptops for typical tasks and that outperform even gaming laptops with AI is pretty much unbelievable, but Qualcomm is known for doing the unbelievable, so this shouldn’t be a surprise (though I was, frankly, very surprised).
This year in Hawaii at the Qualcomm Summit I saw the future, and I can hardly wait until next year to try out for myself the coming Snapdragon X Elite laptops as they drive a revolution into the laptop market worldwide.