Qualcomm hopes its success and experience in the mobile phone market will translate into worth competition for Intel's massive ultrabook push. The San Diego chip giant is preparing a line of ARM-based processors for super-thin notebooks and/or tablets running Windows 8.
Snapdragon is a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design that includes a CPU, a GPU, a 2G/3G/4G modem and a baseband processor, so everything you need to build a smartphone comes in one processor that's just 14mm by 14mm.
There are four lines of Snapdragon processors, the S1 through S4. The S1 is used in lower-end smartphones while the S2 is in higher-end phones, including the much-lauded Nokia Lumia 900. The S4 is relatively new and can be found in at least one tablet, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity.
Qualcomm believes it can compete with the Intel juggernaut by offering a better mobile experience. "The difference will come from choosing a technology that's grown up from mobile versus one from the PC space that's trying to be mobile. We're from a place of devices designed not to fit in a briefcase, but designed to fit in a pocket," said Tim McDonough, vice president of marketing for Qualcomm CDMA technologies.