Chip-maker Qualcomm makes low power processors for smartphones and tablets. A few years ago the company also wanted to see its chips in small laptop-like devices it called smartbooks, but that form factor never took off.
That could change when Windows 8 hits the streets later this year.
Windows 8 will be the first full version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system to support ARM processors as well as x86 chips from Intel and AMD. We’ve heard a lot about upcoming Windows 8 tablets which will go head to head with the Apple iPad and with Android tablets.
But now PC World reports that Qualcomm is also preparing a 28nm quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor designed specifically for notebooks.
They won’t be the only thin and light laptops designed to get long battery life. But Qualcomm says its low power chips should allow PC makers to build computers that are even thinner than the machines based on Intel’s ultrabook platform, while offering longer battery life and always-connected capabilities.
One thing that a Qualcomm-powered smartbook wouldn’t be able to do is run legacy Windows applications. There are thousands, possibly millions of apps designed to run on Windows 7 and earlier operating systems which may not be able to run on Windows 8 computers with ARM processors unless developers update the apps to support ARM architecture.