Alongside today’s Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 SoC announcement, Qualcomm is also unveiling a new Windows 10-focused development kit. Collaborating with Microsoft, the two companies have put together the Snapdragon Developer Kit for Windows 10, which true to its name, is designed to serve as a dev kit for application authors to more easily test Windows 10 on Arm programs. The pint-sized PC is expected to be available this summer.

Overall, while devices based on Qualcomm’s Windows-capable Snapdragon SoCs have been around for a couple of years now, neither Qualcomm nor Microsoft have put together an official development kit for the platform. And though the idea of a development kit is somewhat foreign in the PC landscape where there is no one PC platform (x86 or otherwise), Qualcomm’s Windows on Arm (WoA) efforts hail from the mobile world, where dev kits and reference devices are common. So in an effort to better meet the needs of WoA application developers, whom until now have been stuck doing testing on laptops and tablets like the Surface Pro X, Qualcomm and Microsoft are putting together a proper mini-PC for developer testing.

At this point, Qualcomm isn’t saying too much about the PC itself, in part to give Microsoft something to announce as part of their Build conference later this week. However, given the timing of the announcement – as well as Qualcomm’s own comments on ensuring the dev kit remains affordable – it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the kit based around the new Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 SoC. Though the slowest of Qualcomm’s offerings, the 7c Gen 2 is also the cheapest option, and more than sufficient for basic compatibility testing.

Meanwhile a side-shot of the PC at least gives us a basic idea of what to expect for I/O. The right side of the box ha a single USB port, along with a SD card slot and a third, unknown card slot (SIM?).

The Snapdragon Developer Kit will go on sale this summer, with Microsoft selling the dev kit directly through their online store.

Source: Qualcomm

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  • nico_mach - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    Supposedly there were legal issues with emulating Intelx64 until recently. I haven't seen anything definitive, however, on why that emulation took so long, or why MS/Quallcomm thought these overpriced devices would be fine without broad x64 software support.

    In general, this product is 'better late than never'. Do they have Valve on board, is the real question for consumer adoption. As for corporate adoption, well, their software is all in the Azure cloud, right?
    Reply
  • eek2121 - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    Modern Intel and AMD architectures/instruction sets are heavily patented and are a legal minefield. Reply
  • ikjadoon - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    I’ve heard the state of 64-bit on WoA is not great as of May 2021.

    With the way Microsoft takes years to cancel something, I can’t help but imagine a post in March 2023, “64-bit emulation has been reimagined and now on the backburner. We have leveraged our learnings that we as a company don’t understand development obstacles and engineering abilities, but we will write press releases years early anyways.”

    At 10:20, https://youtu.be/TX9Y8T7hfnY
    Reply
  • domboy - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    That's because the x64 translation/emulation is currently only available on insider builds of Windows 10 and he even said it that in the video. It's beta software after all. It'll get better with time, just as the x86 emulation has. Reply
  • ikjadoon - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    Yes, that’s well-known it’s only in Insider builds. The problem is that it’s been months and months with marginal improvements while being “developed” in the Insider channels (nee rings).

    It is beta in May 2021. How much longer will it remain in beta quality? It does take time, but it’s been an eternity.

    I expect at least a serious update by BUILD next week, but why should anyone get any hopes up?

    WOA has been in development since 2016 and it’s still half-baked. I can’t imagine Apple launching Rosetta 2 without x64 emulation on Day 1.

    https://www.theverge.com/2016/12/7/13866936/micros...
    Reply
  • domboy - Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - link

    One of the big differences between Apple and Microsoft is Apple is (expected to be) switching their entire product line to ARM, whereas Microsoft is adding ARM support but not dropping Intel/AMD. Sure I'd like things to go a lot faster too, but their priorities are much different, as is their approach. Apple only has to translate x64 as I understand it (OSX dropped 32-bit app support in 2018), whereas Microsoft has both x86 and x64 to translate. Going with x86 first made sense at the time and enabled support for a huge chunk of the windows app ecosystem. But yeah, now we're seeing developers starting to drop support for 32-bit so its definitely time to get x64 translation. Reply
  • NXTwoThou - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    A dev kit without an ethernet port? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, May 24, 2021 - link

    Given that QC/MS are withholding photos of the back side of the box, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ethernet show up there once MS fully discloses the kit later this week. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - link

    Yes, although withholding photos doesn't exactly engender confidence.
    Showing my ignorance here, but do QC's 7cx SoCs even have hardware-based Ethernet support. Well, if they don't, could always do a Raspberry, and go via USB 3 to Ethernet. Native support would be better, of course.

    I also hope those boxes have more than just one or two USB ports.
    Reply
  • notb - Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - link

    This is a Qualcomm device and you should not be surprised by the fact that it comes with WiFi as the default (maybe only) networking option.

    Also, this is a dev kit. It's supposed to be used to develop software before the final hardware launches. So are you trying to create apps that only work over Ethernet? :)
    Reply

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