Executives said that the San Diego company’s new Snapdragon Elite X chip will be available in laptops starting next year and has been redesigned to better handle artificial intelligence tasks like summarizing emails, writing text and generating images.
The announcement comes a day after Reuters reported that Microsoft has encouraged Qualcomm, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices to come up with new chips to handle a bevy of new AI features in Windows, the world’s most popular PC operating system.
Qualcomm will be the first to market with a chip to challenge Apple, whose laptop and desktop computers have more than doubled their market share since the iPhone maker introduced custom-designed chips in 2020. The X Elite chip will be the firm’s first to feature completely custom computing cores designed by a team of ex-Apple engineers it acquired for $1.4 billion in 2021.
Qualcomm claimed on Tuesday that the X Elite is faster than Apple’s M2 Max chip at some tasks and more energy efficient than both Apple and Intel PC chips. But Qualcomm Senior Vice President Alex Katouzian said the biggest new feature is that the chip can handle artificial intelligence models with 13 billion parameters, a proxy measure of sophisticated for AI systems that generate text or images.
“These models can respond faster than what you and I can read,” Katouzian said. “No one else in the world can do that” on a laptop, Katouzian added.
Francis Sideco, an analyst with TIRIAS Research, said that with companies such as Adobe rolling out the ability to use AI to generate images for everything from real estate brochures to beer can labels, demand for laptops with AI capabilities will rise.
“You’ve got a lot of smaller businesses and individual designers and creators using these devices. They need that kind of capability,” Sideco said.