The image featured at the end of a presentation delivered in Paris earlier this month by Philipp Tomsich, who heads up the software committee at RISC-V International.
“The big question everybody is asking themselves…[is whether] we will see the first RISC-V laptop announced this year,” he said. “There’s a mystery laptop pictured on the right, and I’ll just leave you all with the question: might there be a RISC-V in this one already?”
RISC-V forges ahead
RISC-V is a free, open source instruction set architecture (ISA) built around the same design principles as Arm’s proprietary cores, which command royalties each time they are integrated into an SoC.
At the moment, RISC-V-based processors are far less common than either Arm or x86-based chips, but the movement appears to be gaining in momentum.
For example, China is now leaning heavily into RISC-V in the hope of minimizing its reliance on western semiconductor companies. And even Intel is dabbling in the space, having presumably come to the conclusion that x86 cannot compete for power efficiency in the long term.
The recent success of Arm-based processors like Apple’s M-series chips is proof that RISC designs have a future in the PC and workstation market, something that has not been lost on RISC-V International.
The organization has been open about its ambitions to bring the world’s first RISC-V-based laptop to fruition by the end of the year. Until now, there have been few specifics to work with, but the recent tease will give the community something to get excited about.
Whether the specific laptop pictured in the presentation turns out to be the real deal is anyone’s guess, but the nature of the hint suggests RISC-V International is confident in its predicted timeline.