Qualcomm, the biggest maker of semiconductors for smartphones, unveiled a new chip, said Samsung Electronics is already on board as a customer and offered free wireless data for devices based on the processor — all part of a push to get its mobile technology into the computing market dominated by Intel.
Samsung is committed to offering a computing device based on a new Snapdragon 850 chip from Qualcomm, the two companies said on Tuesday at an event in Taiwan. The new product, whose details aren’t being disclosed yet, will debut before the end of the year, they said. Samsung joins Asus, HP and Lenovo in offering computers running Microsoft’s Windows that are based on phone chips and include connections to cellular networks.
US consumers who buy machines with the Qualcomm chip beginning on Tuesday will get free data service through Sprint until the end of the year. Those who’ve already bought the “always-connected PCs” based on the company’s processors will also be able to sign up, the San Diego-based chip maker said. Similar offers with local carriers are being arranged in other countries.
Qualcomm rose 1.2% to $59.42 at 10.06am in New York onTuesday. The shares are down 7% so far this year.
Qualcomm and Microsoft are trying to nudge forward what they say is a long-term effort to bring the benefits of mobile technology to the laptop market, where growth has stagnated. The new chip will move Qualcomm-powered devices closer to the kind of performance consumers get from notebooks that are powered by Intel processors.
The data offer is aimed at getting people hooked on the benefits of having larger devices — not just smartphones — connected to the Internet all the time. Most tablet and laptop owners stick with Wi-Fi for their connections, and have been reluctant to take on additional subscriptions to get always-on service from their fuller-size devices.
The push to expand mobile computing so far hasn’t loosened Intel’s stranglehold on the PC chip market. The world’s second largest semiconductor maker, behind Samsung, has about 95% revenue share in PC processors, and nine out of every 10 laptops are based on an Intel chip. The rest of the market is in the hands of AMD, which uses a similar technology to Intel.
Reviewers of laptops that are already on the market using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip have praised the machines’ battery life, which typically lasts all day, while saying that the performance lags behind traditional PC processors. — Reported by Ian King, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP