When chipmaker Qualcomm acquired startup Nuvia a year ago to advance the development of a competitor for new Apple Silicon chips (including the Apple M1), hope arose among many pc users. But things are not going so fast, as we have just seen.
Apple has obviously taken the main chip supplier in the ARM field on the wrong foot: Qualcomm has certainly been offering SoCs for use in laptops for some time now, but the development is at best half-done. This is also the reason why the sales results remained rather meager, while Apple was able to boost the sales figures of its Macs with its new ARM chips.
At Qualcomm, we want to turn the tide and also deliver high-performance ARM chips, capable of competing with competing products from the x86 camp in laptops and PCs.
But so far, we haven’t seen anything like this in practice and that won’t change in the course of the year either. Qualcomm’s first SoCs developed in collaboration with Nuvia will not be commercially available for the normal user until “late 2023”this is at least what the director of Qualcomm Christian Amon pointed out, as reported by Ars Technica.
At the end of 2022, Qualcomm wants to at least deliver the first samples to hardware manufacturers.
Intervene deeply in architecture
However, these will only come from prototype series. Mass production will only be implemented in the following months and feedback from PC manufacturers should then help eliminate the last errors in the architecture. In addition, the process technology will be optimized in order to avoid excessively high scrap rates for large quantities.
The chips developed with Nuvia follow a paradigm similar to that already observed at Apple. The processors certainly rely on the ARM instruction set, but they are not content to assemble the standard Cortex cores with slight modifications. Indeed, the latter are rather designed to serve all categories of devices well than to achieve maximum performance. This is why Qualcomm also wants propose a largely new chip platform by intervening deeply in the architecture — which of course takes time.