Qualcomm leans heavily into the future of AI at Computex keynote

Qualcomm Computex 2024 keynote
(Image credit: Future)

Qualcomm kicked off Computex with a Copilot+ PC sizzle reel, entirely shot on Snapdragon. The short video was based around the concept of “The PC Reborn '' with Snapdragon X and Copilot+. As Qualcomm President and CEO Christian Amon enthused, AI is “fundamentally changing how we interact with PCs.”

Amon’s keynote is the second keynote speech at Computex proper after AMD announced the Ryzen 9000 series of desktop chips and the Ryzen AI 300 series of laptop processors.

CES 2024: A new direction for Qualcomm

The Snapdragon X platform proves that “Qualcomm is changing from a communications company to a connected computing company.” The new chipsets and the Computex keynote represent something of a “graduation day” to Amon, as it is his first keynote at Computex Taipei. And it is a graduation that has been highly anticipated. “It’s kind of incredible,” to see competitors benchmarking against Snapdragon X Elite chipsets.

Amon confirmed that the Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus will launch with 22 different Copilot+ PCs. Snapdragon X Copilot+ PCs come in multiple form factors, from desktops and all-in-one computers to laptops, tablets, and convertibles. For a company that only barely dipped its toes into computers over the last few years, the Snapdragon X platform does represent a pretty sizable change in culture.

Qualcomm played a video by Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella, confirming Microsoft’s commitment to the Snapdragon X chipset on Copilot+, as the “fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built.”

In addition to showing off all 22 Snapdragon X laptops, the Computex keynote focused heavily on the future of generative AI.

Qualcomm Computex 2024 keynote

(Image credit: Future)

Future of Generative AI, according to Qualcomm

Qualcomm focused on the future of generative AI in a short video, showing what truly personalized AI assistants could do for users in the near future. From assisting with emails and business tracking to helping edit music, Qualcomm is heavily invested in AI and the Snapdragon X Hexagon NPU.

“The AI needs to run all the time… always in the background,” Amon said, iterating how Qualcomm approached building the Hexagon NPU. “In addition to TOPS, they need to be talking about Watts,” because AI requires power and performance. So Qualcomm compared the Snapdragon X Elite XIE-80-100 to the Macbook Pro M3 and Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, with the Snapdragon X Elite providing more power per watt than the Apple or Intel silicon.

Qualcomm did pull a number of its partners from Microsoft, Asus, Acer, HP, Samsung, Dell, and Lenovo to talk about the new Snapdragon X machines. In addition to the video by Nadella, Microsoft also confirmed that because Qualcomm Snapdragon X devices are Copilot+ PCs, they are able to use the Windows Copilot Runtime for better AI performance. Making AI function better on Snapdragon than its competitors.

At least for now. 

A short stint at the top?

AMD’s Ryzen AI 300 laptops will also become Copilot+ PCs, and Intel’s Lunar Lake chipsets are expected to also become Copilot+ PCs. Meaning Qualcomm’s early lead on Copilot+ and the most TOPS on an NPU will be irrelevant in a matter of weeks. But that early lead is commendable for a company that has never been a major computing company until this year. 

Qualcomm has also worked heavily with Microsoft and app developers to ensure that Snapdragon X computers will have access to all the same applications as Windows 11, so there are no optimization issues when moving over from Windows x86 to Windows on ARM.

There is plenty to be proud of when it comes to the Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus, but it is hard to sit through a keynote about how Qualcomm is a leader in AI when we know Intel is set to announce the Lunar Lake chipsets in less than a day that will outpace Qualcomm’s AI performance.

Outlook

Hopefully, that partnership with Odesza that Amon hinted at by the end of the keynote sets off enough fireworks to keep Snapdragon X Elite on the map, even with AMD Strix Point and Intel Lunar Lake waiting in the wings. If nothing else, the dig on Apple's old "I'm a Mac" ads with actor Justin Long ordering a Snapdragon X Copilot+ PC got a chuckle out of the audience.

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Madeline Ricchiuto
Staff Writer

A former lab gremlin for Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, and Tech Radar; Madeline has escaped the labs to join Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer. With over a decade of experience writing about tech and gaming, she may actually know a thing or two. Sometimes. When she isn't writing about the latest laptops and AI software, Madeline likes to throw herself into the ocean as a PADI scuba diving instructor and underwater photography enthusiast.