Qualcomm Embraces AI PC Future with Big Copilot+ Showcase at Computex

The AI PC phenomenon is undoubtedly real, and this year’s string of CEO keynotes at Computex has cemented that fact. Copilot+ PCs have been a key element of every presentation, and the buzz and discussion around them have highlighted that the entire computing industry – from component suppliers and manufacturers to software developers and PC makers – hasn’t been this excited about its future prospects in a very long time.

Nowhere was that trend more apparent than at Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon’s presentation.

As the sole chip supplier for the first round of Copilot+ PCs, Amon was eager to share the company’s enthusiasm for the category and for what he called the company’s “graduation” into being a true computing semiconductor company.

Long-time PC industry watchers know this is actually the company’s third attempt at delivering an Arm processor for the PC market, but it’s clear that this effort is completely different from previous ones.

Not only has the company lined up a significantly larger and more impressive array of partners and system designs – many of which were trotted across the stage during the keynote – but the performance levels and software support are significantly better than ever before.

In a surprising move, Microsoft has decided to more strongly support the new Snapdragon X series than the x86-based alternatives from AMD and Intel. Although Copilot+ processors from AMD will be available in systems as early as July, they’ll only be considered Copilot+ “Ready” and will need a software update that’s still months away.

This decision has caused consternation among industry players, but it’s a strong statement for how important Microsoft considers Qualcomm’s efforts on the Snapdragon X Series.

With that, Amon wanted to emphasize the capabilities that Copilot+ PCs enable as a category. He offered numerous current and future examples of what these devices could potentially do, including digital agent-based demos performing actions on a person’s behalf without them even being there.

While much of the news about Copilot+ PCs had come out three weeks ago at Microsoft’s launch event, it still made sense to reinforce the key messages at Computex, given the context of other semiconductor competitors’ keynotes.

Representatives from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo shared time onstage with Amon, showcasing new system designs and their own software initiatives that leverage the 45 TOPs-capable NPU in the Snapdragon X SoCs.

However, Qualcomm made no reference to the potential for a 5G-equipped Copilot+ PC, which could prove to be an important differentiator in the world of hybrid AI.

The big question for Qualcomm moving forward is how all these partners will juggle the many competing offerings they will create and sell using new Copilot+ capable chips from AMD and Intel.

Competition for AI PCs and chip sockets among PC vendors has grown dramatically more intense, and the impact of that competition has come into clear focus here at Computex.

As Amon finished his keynote, he reminded everyone that the competition isn’t just among Windows PC vendors and suppliers – it’s also with Apple.

To that end, he debuted a clever new ad featuring former “I’m a Mac” actor Justin Long, showing him searching for a Snapdragon-powered PC. It was an entertaining way to highlight that the battle for personal computing hearts and minds extends beyond Windows and into a wider world.

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