At the Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit in Maui today, Microsoft and Qualcomm announced Always Connected PCs, Windows 10 computers that can turn on instantly, offer built-in LTE connectivity, and feature battery life measured not in hours but in days. Partners Asus and HP announced the first Windows 10 devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets: the Asus NovaGo and the HP ENVY x2. Lenovo is also working on its own Always Connected PC, but the company isn’t yet ready to share details.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because Microsoft has tried running Windows on ARM before with its Surface RT tablet running Windows RT. That project was largely a failure, but the company is trying again.
A year ago, Microsoft said it was working with hardware partners to build Windows 10 computers powered by Qualcomm chipsets. At Build 2017 in May, a session showed off Windows 10 running on ARM with support for existing Win32 apps (unlike Windows RT, which only worked with apps specifically compiled for the OS), but otherwise there were very few updates. Now, Microsoft is finally ready to talk, and let its partners show off devices. But they’re still not quite ready — general availability is slated for spring 2018.
Still, Microsoft and Qualcomm want to talk about the three features that Always Connected PCs boast over other computers:
The screen turns on “instantly” whenever you pick up the device. Unlike other Windows 10 PCs, you never have to wait for it to wake up.Built-in LTE means you are online everywhere you have cellular service. Anywhere your phone has data, your PC is also connected.Battery life that lasts days means you can charge your PC as little as once a week, and not have to carry around power cords.
Microsoft has worked closely with Asus, HP, and Lenovo to “push the boundary of a Windows PC,” Matt Barlow, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and devices, told VentureBeat. Barlow noted that these are truly Windows 10 computers that have everything you would expect: Start Menu, Windows Hello, File Explorer, Paint 3D, Office, Minecraft, and so on.