Microsoft and Qualcomm are pushing for ARM-powered Windows 10 "mobile PCs" and three major PC makers are already on board with the project.
At Computex 2017 on Wednesday, May 31, Microsoft announced its first partners for ARM-powered PCs with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 under the hood. Microsoft touts that these PCs will be Always Connected thanks to LTE and eSIM technology. For those unfamiliar with the latter, eSIM is an electronic SIM technology designed to facilitate the process of choosing and activating a data plan.
The first partners committed to making ARM-powered PCs with LTE are Asus, Lenovo, and HP. Microsoft further says that VAIO and Xiaomi are also committed to Always Connected PCs using eSIM. Intel also unveiled a number of Intel-based Always Connected Windows 10 PCs from Dell, HP, Acer, Huawei, MSI, and Lenovo.
Always Connected PCs
The upcoming Always Connected PCs will be mobile devices with the full Windows 10 experience, not a watered-down version like the failure that was Windows RT. The main selling points of these devices will be their LTE/ eSIM connectivity, and longer battery life.
No specific timeframe is available at this point for when these new Always Connected PCs rocking LTE or eSIMs will hit the market, but at least some ARM-powered Windows 10 PCs are expected to arrive by the end of the year.
A number of mobile carriers worldwide will support Always Connected PCs with eSIMs, including AT&T, T-Mobile/ DTAG, BT/ EE, Orange, Vodafone, KDDI, China Mobile, and more. The Always On PCs will support all Windows 10 applications without any restrictions.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835-Powered Windows 10 PCs
As previously mentioned, fueling these PCs will be Qualcomm's top-notch Snapdragon 835 mobile processor, which also powers the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship smartphones. Since the chip comes with Qualcomm's integrated cellular modem baked in, the Snapdragon 835-powered PCs will get cellular connectivity for internet on the go.
PCs with cellular connectivity are no longer such as big surprise, but the big takeaway here is that these devices will run the full Windows 10 on ARM rather than Intel x86 architecture.
No details are available yet regarding how these PCs will look, but Qualcomm noted that they will sport a thin and fanless design.
Power And Mobility
"Today's consumers experience mobility in nearly every aspect of their lives and they've come to expect more from their PCs than legacy computing models are able to provide," says Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm Technologies EVP. "With compatibility for the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will enable Windows 10 hardware makers to develop next-generation modern device form factors and deliver unparalleled anything, anywhere creation experiences with up to Gigabit Class LTE connectivity."
Lastly, it's worth emphasizing that this new version of Windows 10 for Qualcomm is not, by any means, Windows RT reloaded. It's a fully-fledged Windows 10 desktop version specifically designed and natively compiled to run on the Snapdragon 835. It will be able to run any Universal Windows Platform apps, but Win32 apps will require emulation.
To get a better idea of what Snapdragon 835-powered PCs will bring to the scene, check out the video below.