What you need to know
- Qualcomm has announced a small, standalone Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10 PCs.
- The device lets developers code, test, and optimize apps for Windows on ARM without needing to purchase an expensive 2-in-1 Qualcomm laptop with LTE.
- While no price was given, it will be cost-effective and available later this summer at the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft and Qualcomm have teamed up to deliver something long belated: a proper Snapdragon Developer Kit. The compact mini PC is based on the new Snapdragon 7c Gen Compute Platform and lets more devs jump in on coding for Windows on ARM without having to purchase an expensive convertible 2-in-1 like a Surface Pro X.
From the Qualcomm press release:
Built in collaboration with Microsoft, this Windows 10-based developer kit is a cost-effective resource for developers to verify and validate their solutions to help ensure great user experiences for working, learning, and collaborating on Snapdragon-enabled Windows 10 PCs.
Miguel Nunes, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. went on to note:
With the smaller desktop configuration, this kit gives developers more flexibility than notebook options, and at a lower price point. We remain committed to helping developers address requests from customers, while reducing the overall cost of deployment.
The kit itself is unremarkable: a small black box with the Qualcomm Snapdragon logo, USB Type-A, microSD card slot, and presumably a few other ports, including display-out and room for peripherals.
The kits let developers build, test, and deploy apps for Windows on ARM much more quickly and cheaper than buying a separate PC. Dev kits are pretty standard as Apple released a similar Apple Developer Transition Kit back in 2020 for its new Apple Silicon. It worked well for Apple, which saw many developers convert and prepare for the eventual new MacBook Pros running the M1 processor.
Today's news follows last year's announcement from Microsoft of its App Assure Program expansion to support Snapdragon PCs. Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Edge, and Visual Studio Code were all announced as enhanced for Windows on ARM devices. The momentum continued with the revelation of forthcoming x64 emulation preview is in the works.
Also announced at Qualcomm's virtual announcement today was a new optimized app. Zoom Video Communications Inc. stated the company's commitment to releasing a "new version of the video conferencing application, optimized for devices powered by Snapdragon compute platforms." While no firm date was given to the Snapdragon-optimized Zoom app, it is slated for "this summer."
The Snapdragon Developer Kit will be commercially available at the Microsoft Store this summer as well. No pricing or firm date was announced, but it should be much more affordable than a full ARM PC since it lacks a display and keyboard.