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ARMs Race | Qualcomm’s acquisition of former Apple chip chief’s startup Nuvia will deliver faster Snapdragon PCs

Qualcomm just completed a $1.4 Billion acquisition of silicon design startup Nuvia. Nuvia was founded back in 2019 by former Apple chief architect Gerard Williams III with Manu Gulati and John Bruno. Williams is behind several major Apple CPU’s and chipsets from 2010 to 2019. Williams’ LinkedIn profile details that he was worked on Cyclone, Typhoon, Twister, Hurricane, Monsoon, Vortex, Lightning and Firestorm CPUs featured in the A7, A8, A9, A10, A11, A12, A13 and A13 chipsets. Before working at Apple, Williams worked at ARM from 1998 and 2010 where he worked on Cortex-A8 and Coretex-A15 CPU cores.

“NUVIA comprises a proven world-class CPU and technology design team, with industry-leading expertise in high performance processors, Systems on a Chip (SoC) and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications. The addition of NUVIA CPUs to Qualcomm Technologies’ already leading mobile graphics processing unit (GPU), AI engine, DSP and dedicated multimedia accelerators will further extend the leadership of Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms, and positions Snapdragon as the preferred platform for the future of connected computing.”

Qualcomm press release

Where will we see Nuvia’s CPU’s?

In the press release, Qualcomm that Nuvia “industry-leading expertise in “high performance processors, Systems on a Chip and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications.” Nuvia’s CPU tech is expected to be integrated across Qualcomm Technologies’ broad portfolio of products. What that means is Qualcomm will replace Arm’s Cortex CPU’s for their new in-house Nuvia-derived solutions. This means we will see Nuvia CPU’s “powering flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops, and digital cockpits, as well as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, extended reality and infrastructure networking solutions.”

“Creating high performance, low-power processors and highly integrated, complex SoCs are part of our DNA,” said Jim Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of Qualcomm. “Adding NUVIA’s deep understanding of high-performance design and integrating NUVIA CPUs with Snapdragon – together with our industry-leading graphics and AI – will take computing performance to a new level and drive new capabilities for products that serve multiple industries.”  

Qualcomm’s partner show support

Microsoft: “It’s exciting to see NUVIA join the Qualcomm team. Our partnership with Qualcomm has always been about providing great experiences on our products. Moving forward, we have an incredible opportunity to empower our customers across the Windows ecosystem,” said Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Microsoft. 

Google: “Compute performance, connectivity and power efficiency are critical ingredients that make the billions of Android and Chrome OS devices shine,” said Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP Platforms & Ecosystems, Google. “The addition of NUVIA extends Qualcomm’s capabilities in these three areas and we’re excited to see the next generation of Snapdragon with NUVIA.”

Samsung: “With NUVIA joining the Qualcomm team, we look forward to continuing to innovate and building incredible experiences together. Qualcomm’s commitment to platform technology will help us offer the premium smartphone performance to our users around the world,” said ΤM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. 

Acer: “Together with Qualcomm we have delivered a new generation of thin and light always connected PCs and Chromebooks.  The acquisition of NUVIA will enable Qualcomm to continue to advance Snapdragon’s industry leadership and help Acer to continue to innovate and bring high performance, 5G connected devices to our customers globally,” said  James Lin, General Manager, Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc.

ASUS: “We have had the pleasure of collaborating with Qualcomm for many years to deliver premium smartphones, such as our flagship ROG Phone for gaming, as well as PCs powered by the exceptional performance and connectivity of Snapdragon platforms. We are excited for the future of our partnership as Qualcomm advances and expands its portfolio and capabilities with the addition of NUVIA,” said S.Y. Hsu, co-CEO of ASUS.

HMD: “Qualcomm has always been a best-in-class partner globally and our ongoing collaboration has enabled HMD to bring unique mobile device innovation to the market and deliver on the Nokia brand promise of being trusted, always secure and built to last.  We are excited for the NUVIA team to join Qualcomm and congratulate the company on its commitment to ensure Snapdragon continues to be the industry’s leading mobile platform,” said Florian Seiche CEO, HMD.

HP: “HP and Qualcomm have been strong partners in addressing the needs of our mutual Personal Systems customers, most recently on the Elite Folio, the world’s first pull-forward business convertible, launched at CES,” said Alex Cho, president of Personal Systems, HP Inc. “The PC is more essential than ever, and we’re excited to see the industry and Qualcomm invest in innovation to support the needs of the 5G world.”

Lenovo: “With Qualcomm we delivered the world’s first 5G connected PC. As we look to create the advanced capabilities PC users demand, we are excited that the world class CPU development team from NUVIA is joining Qualcomm and we look forward to continuing to work together to deliver breakthrough PC experiences to users across the globe,” said Gianfranco Lanci, President and COO, Lenovo.

LG Mobile: “Congratulations to Qualcomm and NUVIA for joining forces to create a new breed of platforms that will push the envelope on compute performance and connectivity,” said Morris Lee, President LG Mobile.

Sony:  “We have enjoyed a great collaboration with Qualcomm for many years and are excited to hear the NUVIA team will be joining Qualcomm.  As a leader in delivering amazing camera and gaming experiences on mobile devices we understand that to continue to lead will require the next generation high performance & low power computing and connectivity solutions that only Snapdragon platforms can deliver,” said Mitsuya Kishida President, Sony Mobile Communications Inc.

Update:

Qualcomm confirmed that its acquisition of Nuvia is completed for $1.4 billion. Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon says “The world-class NUVIA team enhances our CPU roadmap, extending Qualcomm’s leading technology position with the Windows, Android and Chrome ecosystems,” said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-Elect, Qualcomm Incorporated. “The broad support of this acquisition from across industries validates the opportunity we have to provide differentiated products with leading CPU performance and power efficiency, as on-demand computing increases in the 5G era.”

What about ARM PC CPU’s?

Qualcomm said that Nuvia’s CPU’s will be found inside of next-generation ARM-based PC’s and they will see major performance boots beyond the Snapdragon 855 based 8cx Gen2 5G and Microsoft’s derivative SQ2. The first Qualcomm Snapdragon platforms to feature Qualcomm Technologies’ new internally designed CPUs are expected to sample in the second half of 2022 and will be designed for high performance ultraportable laptops.  

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