One of many extra curious acquisitions within the final couple of years has been that of Nuvia by Qualcomm. Nuvia was a Silicon Valley start-up based by the important thing silicon and design engineers and designers behind each Apple’s and Google’s silicon for the previous few years. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon made it crystal clear when Nuvia was acquired that they have been going after the high-performance ultraportable laptop computer market, with each Intel and Apple within the crosshairs.


Nuvia got here out of stealth in November 2019, with the three fundamental founders having spent virtually a yr constructing the corporate. Gerard Williams III, John Bruno, and Manu Gulati have collectively pushed the silicon design of 20+ chips, have mixed over 100 patent, and have been in management roles throughout Google, Apple, Arm, Broadcom, and AMD. Nuvia raised a number of capital, $300M+ over two rounds of funding and angel buyers, and the corporate employed a number of spectacular workers.

The purpose of Nuvia was to construct an Arm-based common goal server chip that will rock the business. Think about one thing just like what Graviton 2 and Ampere Altra are as we speak, however with a customized microarchitecture on par (or higher) with Apple’s present designs. When Nuvia was nonetheless by itself in start-up mode, some have been heralding the staff and the prospect, calling for the downfall of x86 with Nuvia’s strategy. Nonetheless, Qualcomm swept in and bought the corporate in March 2021, and repurposed Nuvia’s efforts in direction of a laptop computer processor.

It’s been no secret that Qualcomm has been after the laptop computer and pocket book marketplace for a while. A number of generations of ‘Home windows on Snapdragon’ have come to market by means of Qualcomm’s companions, initially that includes smartphone-class silicon earlier than changing into one thing extra bespoke with the 8cx, 8cx Gen 2, and 7c/7 choices up to now couple of years. It has taken a number of years for Qualcomm to get the silicon and the Home windows ecosystem someplace that is sensible for business and shopper use, and with the current information that Home windows 11 on these units now enabling full x86-64 emulation assist, the purposeful distinction between a Qualcomm laptop computer and an x86 laptop computer is meant to be close to zero. Qualcomm would argue their proposition is healthier, permitting for two days of use on a single cost, holding cost for weeks, and cell wi-fi connectivity with 4G/5G. I’ve examined one of many earlier era S855 Lenovo Yoga units, and the battery life is insane – however I wanted higher have been purposeful assist (seems I’ve an irregular edge-case work movement…) and extra efficiency. Whereas Qualcomm has been engaged on the previous since my final check, and Nuvia is ready to convey the latter.

Picture from @anshelsag on Twitter, Used with permission

At Qualcomm’s Investor Day this week, the Qualcomm/Nuvia relationship was talked about in an replace. I had hoped that by the top of this yr (and Qualcomm’s Tech Summit in solely a few weeks) that we is likely to be seeing one thing concerning particulars or efficiency, nonetheless Qualcomm is stating that its authentic schedule continues to be on observe. As introduced on the acquisition, the purpose is to ship check silicon into the palms of companions within the second half of 2022.

The purpose right here is to have laptop computer silicon that’s aggressive with Apple’s M-series, however working Home windows. This implies blowing previous Intel and AMD choices, and matched with the advantages of higher battery life, sustained efficiency, and cell connectivity. From the disclosures up to now, it’s maybe no shock that the Nuvia CPUs might be paired with an Adreno GPU and a Hexagon DSP, though it is going to be fascinating to see if the Nuvia CPU is a single massive core paired with common Arm environment friendly cores, or the whole lot within the CPU aspect might be new from the Nuvia staff.

I’ve little question that at Qualcomm’s Tech Summit in December 2022 we’ll get a deeper perception into the microarchitecture of the brand new core. Both that or Qualcomm may shock us with a Scorching Chips presentation in August. With reference to going past laptop computer chips, whereas Qualcomm is joyful to state that Nuvia’s designs might be ‘prolonged to [other areas] opportunistically’, it is clear that they are locking the crosshairs on the laptop computer market earlier than even contemplating what else is likely to be within the area of view.


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