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New reference design had some minor bugs, but overall ran silky smooth

At Computex 2012 in Taiwan, Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM), the largest chipmaker of licensed ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) designs, unveiled its Windows-On-ARM (WOA) push: the long rumored and leaked Snapdragon 4 development tablet.

Both The Verge and Engadget placed their paws on the Liquid Development Tablet and took the dual-core 1.5 GHz APQ8060A Snapdragon 4 processor and Release Preview build of Windows 8 RT through the paces.

The Verge reports:

Qualcomm was adamant that the system hadn't been fully optimized yet, and that statement rang true given the difficulty we had doing some bezel gestures, not to mention some memory management (open apps kept vanishing) and rendering issues here and there, but it's plenty neat to see this stuff running even at this early stage.

Engadget appears to have encountered less frustrations, writing:

The verdict? It's smooth as silk on a 1.5GHz dual-core APQ8060A with 2GB of RAM, which means it's likely to be even more impressive on the company's quad-core offering... Most interesting, however, was a demo of Vendetta Online which ran without hiccups even when multitasking along with other apps.

Based on the mixed reviews it appears the development platform is coming along nicely, but Qualcomm is still ironing out some firmware issues.  Rumor has it that WOA devices may largely take a rain check on the 2012 holiday season, shipping in mass in Q1 2013.


Qualcomm Liquid Development Tablet [Snapdragon 4] [Image Source: Engadget]

Snapdragon 4 is a much ballyhooed design and is expected to pop up in much of the WOA tablet and hybrid stock, as well as in high-end smartphones.  The chip is build on a 28 nm process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (TPE:2330).  Notably, it lacks an on-die LTE modem, but it is expected to add one in a slightly upgraded variant which will drop early next year.

Top x86 chipmaker Intel Corp. (INTC) has already started to talk trash about the WOA experience, saying it will be inferior to x86 Windows 8.  It has some computer makers like Acer Inc. firmly on its side, but many of the larger computer makers like Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) and Dell, Inc. (DELL) have reportedly expressed interest in WOA notebooks, hybrids, and tablets.

Sources: The Verge, Engadget





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