Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chips to power Windows 8 laptops

Chip maker looks to take the fight to Intel Ivy Bridge.

Bicheno added that the latest ARM-based chips have sufficient processing and graphics power to handle most business tasks, but lack of support for legacy apps could hinder adoption.

"There is no reason why chipsets like the Snapdragon S4 can't meet the majority of business needs," he continued.

"The lack of support for legacy Windows apps on WoA is more likely to deter business users from using these devices. Microsoft has said the next version of Office will be WoA-compatible, but many other key pieces of software will need to be re-written for devices running Windows 8 on ARM-based SoCs."

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The Snapdragon devices are likely to go head-to-head with second generation Ultrabooks later this year. The Ultrabooks will ship with Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture and it will be interesting to see the performance to battery life ratio of the two chipsets.

This move from Qualcomm comes after Intel announced plans to make a concerted push into the smartphone and tablet market at CES. The chipmaker showcased its Intel Atom Medfield chips that will be used in some forthcoming smartphone releases, including the Orange Santa Clara.

It also remains to be seen whether NVIDIA will look to counter Qualcomm by throwing its hat into the laptop market. NVIDIA was the first manufacturer to provide a quad-core chip for use within tablets. Its Tegra 3 chipset was used in the Asus Transformer Prime tablet, which shipped at the start of this year.

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Interestingly, in early tests of the dual-core S4 have been benchmarking higher than the quad-core Tegra 3. This bodes well for the quad-core version of the chip.

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