The future of Qualcomm’s PC processor development apparently lies with Nuvia, the Arm processor design team that Qualcomm bought in early 2021. Qualcomm executives said Wednesday that a finished product designed by Nuvia would arrive in stores at the end of 2023, and that the delay does not represent a delay.
At the end of the Q&A session with Qualcomm executives following the announcement of its second quarter 2022 results, Chief Executive Cristiano Amon was asked about the laptop market and Qualcomm’s plans to enter it. .
“We’re on the right track,” Amon replied. “We have worked with Microsoft for many years. So I think with Windows 11…as I mentioned before, this is the first time you’ll have a fully compatible 64-bit emulation on Arm, the first time you’ll have a platform ready for commercial deployment and business. We launched with Lenovo in the quarter the first enterprise ThinkPad, and we have a number of designs with our [Snapdragon] 8cx Generation 3.
“As we think about the next generation, we have developed our own processor which was designed by the Nuvia team, and we are looking for that performance…. Large scale in the company, and the development is on the right track and we expect to have this by the end of 2023,” Amon added.
That seemed like a delay, given that Qualcomm was relatively precise late last year on its timeline – and it’s unclear what “having that” means in terms of room sampling or sound shipping, either. A Qualcomm representative, however, said in an email that the timing was in line with the roadmap presented by the company at its Investor Day last November. “2023 refers to device launches,” the Qualcomm rep said.
At Qualcomm’s Investor Conference in November 2021, Dr. James Thompson, Chief Technology Officer at Qualcomm, outlined Nuvia’s current roadmap at that time. “They’re pretty advanced at this point,” Thompson said, speaking of early Snapdragon processors with Nuvia technology. “We’re going to sample a product in nine months, or something like that.”
If Thompson’s timeline was accurate, that would have put the sampling period around August 2022, with shipping product expected in 2023. Amon’s statement implies that it would take over a year to sample processors at the PC companies, who would then design them and ship the finished product.
To be fair, Nuvia’s timeline was one of the only question marks on Qualcomm’s revenue report. Qualcomm reported net profit of $2.934 billion, up 67% from a year ago, on record revenue that climbed 41% to $11.164 billion. Handset sales rose 56%, Qualcomm reported, and the company captured 75% of the processors in Samsung’s Galaxy S22 handset. (Samsung typically divides Galaxy-series processors between its own Exynos processor as well as the Snapdragon, and the Samsung Exynos 2200, which used an AMD GPU for ray tracing, never really materialized.)
Amon said twice during the call that Qualcomm is no longer a communications company. Instead, he said, Qualcomm is a “leading connected processor company for the intelligent edge.”