Apple may be hard at work on its M2 processor in advance of a reported summer release, but Qualcomm is continuing to build out its own line of silicon aimed at laptops. The latest effort, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 chipset, should find it way into entry-level computers and Chromebooks.
Announced today (May 24), the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 is a follow-up to the 7c entry-level processor Qualcomm rolled out at the end of 2019. That chip powers machines like the Acer Chromebook Spin 513, a long-lasting machine that costs less than $400. You can expect Gen 2 of the Snapdragon 7c to find its way into similar devices.
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Qualcomm says it expects laptops outfitted with the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 to start appearing the summer. Lenovo has already pledged to use the new chip in devices coming out later this year.
Snapdragon 7c Gen 2-powered laptops and Chromebooks will offer LTE connectivity via the built-in X15 4G modem. Qualcomm also makes laptop chips with 5G connectivity, but that's reserved for the higher-end Snapdragon 8c Gen 2 platform.
It's battery life where the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 should really shine, with Qualcomm promising multiday battery life for laptops that use the processor — two times the battery life of most competing platforms, the chip maker figures. That translates to around 19 hours of continuous use.
In terms of performance, look for the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 to be 10% faster than competing platforms, Qualcomm says. The chip maker also says its latest silicon is 60% more power efficient than Intel's Celeron N4020 and Pentium Silver N5030.
The Spectra 255 ISP on the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 can support up to a 32MP single camera or 16MP dual cameras. The result should be clear video conferencing aided by Qualcomm's Aqstic audio technology that delivers echo cancellation and noise suppression for clear sound.
In addition, the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 features Qualcomm's 5th gen AI engine that performs 5-plus trillion operations per second (TOPS). That can support more accurate voice recognition, Qualcomm says, as well as accelerated security features.
Besides announcing the new chip, Qualcomm also unveiled a Snapdragon Developer Kit aimed at software makers to help them test and optimize Windows applications on Snapdragon-powered laptops. Qualcomm hopes the SDK, arriving this summer, will help more developers fine-tune their Windows 10 apps for Snapdragon-based machines.