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:
Miguel Nunes, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. went on to note:
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.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
This is much needed, hopefully not "too little, too late". It seems the pricing will be 349.00, so not entirely out of budget. Would like to see products launch around this and I hope it is open enough that hobbyists could dual boot Linux and such.
It might be even cheaper. Remember this is just a 7c with no display, no complex form factor engineering...
I don't know why and for what, as I'm not a developer or something like that, but I really want one.
They should do a PC Stick too.
Until Windows 10 ARM allows 64 bit apps to run smoothly, I'll never get an ARM PC.
App emulation isn't the future for ARM PCs anyway, it's re-coding for native performance, which is what this device is about. Emulation is nothing but a temp bandaid, not a permanent solution. No one ever wants emulation as the default standard for software, ever.
Understood. Native apps should be the focus.
Sure in principle, but there are thousands of small software companies out there who don't even write their apps for 64-Bit.
Microsoft isn't too good in new platforms promoting ;(
64-Bit apps take up more memory space. The key is to get 32-Bit apps to run smoothly first. Also because there's thousands more of them. A tonne of small software companies don't release 64-bit apps. Off the top of my Evernote is 32-bit only. Adobe Acrobat Reader 64-Bit is only available in Australia, New Zealand, UK (oddly not USA) and they're a huge company. Microsoft have only just released a 64-Bit OneDrive client (they say ARM is in the works).
Nice. I wonder how will they test battery efficiency of their app? Probably not as big of a deal, but they'd still need a real Surface Pro X/WOA device for that.
The use of Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 CPU for the dev kit is actually a clever move, come to think about it. If Microsoft put 8cx Gen 2 or SQ2 in it, there is no guarantee that the ARM64 app in question will work on cheaper laptops with 8c and 7c. If the ARM64 app can work with 7c without a flaw, it should be a breeze with SQ2.
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