Microsoft's second shot at bringing Windows 10 to ARM will be seen before the year ends, as Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf revealed that Snapdragon 835-powered Windows 10 laptops will be launched in the fourth quarter.
The first attempt of Microsoft of bringing Windows into ARM-based hardware, Windows RT, was largely considered as a failure. Will the upcoming laptops redeem Microsoft, or will they still fall short of expectations and turn out like the Windows RT?
Microsoft, Qualcomm Team Up To Bring Windows 10 Into ARM
The partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm, which was first reported in December 2016, looks to successfully bring Windows 10 into ARM-based hardware.
Microsoft first tried the project with Windows RT, which was launched four years ago on its own Surface RT tablet. However, the device did not live up to the hype. It basically featured a watered-down version of Windows 8 with a desktop mode and most of the traditional Windows utilities, but the tablet was not able to run the traditional Windows apps.
Microsoft is looking to reverse its luck on the endeavor with the partnership with Qualcomm.
"Our Snapdragon 835 is expanding into mobile PC designs running Windows 10, which are scheduled to launch in the fourth calendar quarter this year," Mollenkopf said in a conference call covering the chipmaker's results for the second quarter.
Microsoft, which described the upcoming devices to be "truly mobile, power-efficient, always-connected" cellular computers, is looking to expand Windows 10 support beyond the x86 chips of Intel and AMD.
Upcoming Snapdragon 835 Windows 10 Laptops Will Not Fail
While critics will claim that Microsoft will once again fail at bringing Windows into ARM-based hardware, there are a few reasons why the partnership with Qualcomm will likely succeed.
Unlike Windows RT, Windows 10 ARM-based laptops will be able to support traditional desktop apps. This is because Microsoft is creating an emulator that will be integrated into the operating system, which will allow the upcoming devices to run software such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop.
If Microsoft is able to deliver on this promise, it will be big for Windows 10. ARM-based hardware that will be able to deliver the same experience that Windows 10 users are accustomed to in PCs will further expand Microsoft's computer offerings. Such devices will be able to offer better battery life, making them perfect options for users who need strength instead of power. In addition, the combination will lead to even lighter laptops compared to what Intel and AMD can achieve in the form factors of the computer that their chips power.
There is also the possibility that ARM-based Windows 10 hardware will come with lower price tags compared to Intel-based counterparts. If this speculation turns out to be true, it would put Microsoft at a better position in tackling iPads and Chromebooks as educational devices used in schools and colleges.