With Microsoft and Qualcomm working on getting Windows 10 onto the ARM platform, it was a bit of a surprise to hear that Qualcomm and AMD were also working together. This week at a special conference in Hawaii, Qualcomm announced that they were working with AMD to integrate their X16 LTE chipset to allow for always-connected standby on AMD-powered notebooks, along with Gigabit LTE support. This is a big shot over the bow against Intel, and it’s likely to start Intel off on a spree to get wireless internet on all their future devices.
A few weeks ago, you might remember that I covered AMD’s announcement and launch of Ryzen processors with Vega Graphics processors, currently shipping in select notebooks from HP and Lenovo. At the time, AMD made no mention about their partners’ notebooks shipping with any kind of LTE technology, and in fact were very coy about the platform as a whole. Thanks to Qualcomm’s announcement, we may now know why.
For the moment, the only notebooks shipping with Ryzen processors with Vega Graphics are the HP ENVY 360, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S, and the Acer Swift 3. AMD said more notebooks and more information about their mobile offering would be coming at CES 2018, but they didn’t say anything about network connectivity.
Qualcomm’s official announcement at the Maui event was that AMD included their X16 LTE chip on the Ryzen mobile reference platform to show laptop manufacturers what it was capable of, and several brands expressed interest in building out products with the chipset inside. This might mean that in currently-shipping Ryzen mobile devices, there’s a Gigabit LTE modem waiting to be turned on once AMD is happy with the drivers and power management. How AMD builds it in is anyone’s guess, but I will reach out to them today to try find some answers.
Intel, of course, has their own mobile connectivity options, but they have next to no products shipping with it included, and they might have no way to respond quickly to the recent developments thanks to Qualcomm blindsiding them. We can certainly expect Intel to start rolling out their LTE modems at a lower price to encourage adoption, but they’ll have to be quick about it.