At the Snapdragon Summit earlier this month, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 835 SoC will power Windows laptops with Gigabit LTE and day-long battery life. New reports now state OEMs are also working on Snapdragon-powered Chromebooks that can seamlessly run 32-bit x86 apps.
References to a certain “chipset-qc845” were spotted on the Chromium repository on XDA-Developers, along with a generic board for the chip named “cheza.” There were also mentions of existing ARM-powered Samsung Chromebook Plus in the comments.
So far, the majority of Chromebooks have been powered by Intel, but we have seen a few instances of ARM chipsets in the past year. The Acer Chromebook R13 uses a MediaTek chipset while the Samsung Chromebook Plus mentioned above is powered by a hexa-core OP1 processor made by Rockchip.
Using a flagship Snapdragon processor for “always-connected Chromebooks” will be an efficient way of enabling LTE support without having to rely on another modem. Google’s first generation Chromebook Pixel had LTE support and so did the Acer Chromebook 15, launched back in 2015. Alternatively, the new Pixelbook by Google can tether to the phone for LTE if there is no Wi-Fi, but it doesn’t have a modem.
However, a major reason why OEMs haven’t used Qualcomm’s chipsets so far is due to the fact that Qualcomm offers only two years of driver support, which clashes with the five years of software updates the Chrome OS devices promise.
Hopefully, Qualcomm’s strides to make an always-connected PC will convert to always-connected Chromebooks as well.