Qualcomm's chief executive told Reuters about his ambitions. Within a year, he would like to be able to present a chip to laptop manufacturers looking to compete with Apple's M1. And by the way, it could be a chip that would do without the ARM architecture.
Last March, we learned that Qualcomm was spending an insane amount of $ 1.4 billion for the takeover of a startup called Nuvia. Behind this company unknown to the general public was Gerald Williams III, former head of SoC development at Apple from 2009 to 2019.
His two other co-founders are said to have participated in the development of high performance ARM chips, work of which we see today the fruits with the M1, well ahead of its energy consumption compared to Intel and AMD in particular.
New CEO, new goals
Cristiano Amon took over as CEO of Qualcomm on July 1. And in his first interview, given to the press agency Reuters, he might well have delivered the first concrete consequences of the takeover of Nuvia. According to him, Qualcomm should be able to offer a chip to manufacturers of laptops capable of holding out against Apple, all by next year. He added that he even believed his company might even have the best chip on the market, with the help of the Nuvia team.
These declarations occur in a very particular climate between the two companies. Apple is currently a Qualcomm customer. The Apple brand indeed equips its iPhone 12 with Qualcomm chips dedicated to telecommunications. The two companies are also emerging from a long legal fight, after Apple sued Qualcomm in 2017, before reaching an agreement in 2019. Apple is also in the process of creating a chip to replace that of Qualcomm present in its smartphones.
Bye bye ARM ?
So far, Qualcomm's SoCs have been based on the ARM architecture. But to compete with Apple, the San Diego firm would like to switch to a design designed by itself. The former director of the chip division at Qualcomm justified this choice quite simply: “We had to have the best performance for a device running on battery.”
Cristiano Amon, however, leaves the door open to his partner: “If ARM, with whom we have had a relationship for years, ever develops a better processor than we can build on our own, we will still have the option of licensing ARM. “
Perspective the acquisition of ARM by Nvidia for 40 billion dollars, which Qualcomm opposes, is perhaps no stranger to these statements.
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