During the annual Snapdragon Summit, Qualcomm as expected showed off its next generation of processors for mobile, augmented reality and even audio, but they did also tease us with their next generation CPU for Snapdragon platforms, currently codenamed Qualcomm Oryon.
Oryon looks set to be the result of years of research and development, fuelled primarily by Qualcomm’s acquisition of Nuvia back in early 2021. Nuvia was founded by a group of ex-Apple engineers who had worked on Cupertino’s A-series processors, and were working on their own processors when Qualcomm came knocking on the door. The Oryon CPU will be the first product from this team, coming in 2023, with Qualcomm saying it will bring the ‘best-in-class’ user experience.
“Building on our leadership across on-device AI, 5G connectivity, performance and efficiency which deliver best-in-class user experiences, we’ve designed a new, custom CPU core to unleash a new level of performance.
This groundbreaking technology will usher in a new class of incredibly powerful and efficient devices, transforming the industries for our customers,” – Gerard Williams, Qualcomm senior vice president of engineering
That being said, there are still a number of questions lingering over at Qualcomm and the team at Nuvia that they brought over to tackle Oryon, the most notable one being the fact that they’re currently being sued by ARM. Back in September, ARM—the firm that licenses their architecture designs to Qualcomm among others—sued Qualcomm over their acquisition of Nuvia. ARM claims that by taking over Nuvia and using their research (which was also done using licenses from ARM), Qualcomm had breached its licensing agreement and infringed on its trademark.
ARM believes that as Nuvia was acquired by Qualcomm, its license is no longer valid, and as such Qualcomm shouldn’t be able to use Nuvia’s research without the British firm’s approval. They add that Qualcomm should’ve discussed with ARM on a new deal to use Nuvia’s research and a new royalty rate. Qualcomm of course thinks otherwise, and fired back with counterclaims among which says that ARM was basically trying to squeeze more out of Qualcomm, potentially out of spite as they had lobbied against the proposed takeover of ARM by NVIDIA—which ultimately failed.
ARM even responded to Qualcomm’s counterclaims right smack in the midst of the Snapdragon Summit, saying that Qualcomm is continuing to violate its licensing agreement by continuing its ‘improper development of the unlicensed Nuvia technology’.
Overall, it’s a pretty messy situation between two companies that by and large have mostly thrived off each other in the years leading up to this. We would love to see Oryon actually be released of course, as it would mean a big step forward for Windows on ARM, but it will need to see two of the industries biggest names make peace again after spending a good chunk of the year bickering in public.