It has been almost a year since we first heard that Microsoft and Qualcomm were going to get together and build devices that would run Windows 10. That announcement, which happened at WinHEC in Shenzen, China, brought us some of the first details of these future Windows on ARM devices.
Last December this class of computing devices was referred to by Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, as cellular PCs. That was a nod to the plan that these devices would have the capability to be online and connected at all times using the cellular network. With today's announcements from Qualcomm and Microsoft, we have a much clearer understanding of what these devices are all about.
On Tuesday we learned that this class of computing devices, referred to as Always Connected PCs, will deliver on-the-go performance in the form of laptops with long battery life. That performance and connectivity comes courtesy of the Snapdragon 835 processor and Qualcomm LTE modems. With Qualcomm's plans to have 5G connectivity up and running in the first half of 2019, these devices will soon enjoy connection speeds that have never been experienced on any existing mobile platform.
To take advantage of those speeds, Microsoft and Qualcomm have been working with OEMs such as ASUS, HP, and Lenovo who will all be releasing new devices over the next few months that will run this Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC platform chipset. In addition, this new hardware will take full advantage of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update features like Windows Hello, touch, and inking.
All of these devices, and others like them that are sure to follow, will build upon a core set of features to deliver the following benefits and capabilities:
- Instantly On
- Always Connected
- Week of battery life
- New culture of Work
- Better Security
- Lower Costs
Here are details for two of the new devices that were announced this week.
According to ASUS, the NovaGo will have:
- 22 hours of video playback; more than 30 days on modern standby
- x16 LTE Modem - 1 Gbps
- 14.9 mm thin (.58 inches)
- 1.39 kg (3.06 pounds)
- All metal construction
- Storage options up to 256GB
HP ENVY x2
HP's latest version of the ENVY as an Always Connected PC includes specs and features such as:
- 20 hours of local video playback; 700 hours of connected standby
- 90 minute charge cycle from 0% to 90%
- 4G LTE connectivity
- 2-in-1 device with magnetic hinge and detachable keyboard
- 6.9 mm thin (.27 inches)
- 1.21 kg (2.66 pounds)
Lenovo shared on Twitter that its new Always Connected PC will be on display next month at CES 2018. AMD also unveiled plans to partner with Qualcomm and put its LTE modems inside of devices running AMD chips to create Always Connected PCs with OEM partners. No time frame was given for when these devices will become available.
Microsoft's Myerson said that this new category of device, one of which he has been using over the last few months, is going to bring about an entirely new approach to the culture of work:
"IT is always thinking about the culture of work they enable through the technology they choose: how a given device enables teams to collaborate and be productive. The Always Connected PC is a cultural shift, enabling teams to work effectively, whether they are on a corporate campus, visiting customers or on the bus commuting, freeing a real constraint on the creativity of employees today."
He added that on average he was only required to charge the device just once per week; even using a laptop a few hours a day that is not even remotely possible right now. It is hard to imagine laptops with long battery life like this but it should be exciting to see them in action very soon. Long battery life will come to these devices running Windows 10 S for additional security along with Microsoft Store versions of Office 365 apps, which have been in preview since earlier this year.
This class of devices is going to change how we approach our daily work routine by providing laptops with long battery life that appear capable of helping us get through more than our normal workday and then some. I am excited about seeing these in real world usage scenarios and the results of those experiences.