It looks like Qualcomm, known for its popular SoCs used in a wide variety of smartphones and tablets, is entering the server business. The company has announced a socketed processor destined for enterprise applications at an event in San Francisco, bringing their expertise in SoC design to new markets.

At the event, Qualcomm showed off a prototype chip featuring 24 ARM cores, all of which are 64-bit capable, in a socketed package that looks remarkably similar to Intel's CPUs. The processor from Qualcomm also packs PCIe connectivity, storage, and other features, while the final design will include more than 24 cores, according to senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher.

Qualcomm's server chip has reportedly been in the works for at least two years, and naturally it supports Linux environments that make up the vast majority of server solutions on the market. The chip isn't quite ready for a final release, so Qualcomm will provide further updates on the chip next year.

The majority of servers currently deployed worldwide use x86 chips, many of which come from Intel, but ARM designs are seen as competitors in this space due to their energy efficient construction. It's also possible to create large, multi-core ARM SoCs without using a ton of die space, which is ideal for parallel server workloads.

Whether Qualcomm can gain any serious footing in the server market remains to be seen, but come next year, we might see the company as more than just a smartphone chipmaker.

Image courtesy of PC World