Qualcomm ARMs its way into Windows laptops with Snapdragon-powered kit from Asus...

Qualcomm ARMs its way into Windows laptops with Snapdragon-powered kit from Asus and HP

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Asus NovaGo

The Asus NovaGo is among the first Snapdragon-powered Windows laptops

MICROSOFT AND QUALCOMM have, just as promised, unveiled the first ‘Always Connected’ PCs running Windows 10 on ARM-based Qualcomm SoCs.

Microsoft previously experimented with ARM-based processors in when it launched the Surface RT in 2012 but this, er, didn’t go exactly to plan. Now, the firm has buddied up with Qualcomm to give ARM-powered laptops another shot. 

While Microsoft itself isn’t launching hardware, the firm on Tuesday showed off new Windows 10 devices from Asus and HP that it’s touting as the first ‘Always Connected’ Windows 10 devices. 

With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor powering them, Microsoft claims that, in terms of battery life, these devices will blow traditional laptops out of the water, with users set to get “20 to 30 hours” of juice from a single charge. 

“Once you start using this new category of PCs that are instantly on, always connected with a week of battery life and the full Windows 10 experience, you can really feel what a big shift this will be for consumers,” Microsoft’s Terry Myerson in the blog post.

Always-on LTE connectivity is also promised, and Microsoft claims that Qualcomm-powered PCs will resume “instantly” once opened, unlike traditional x86-powered laptops. 

The first of these devices is the Asus NovaGo convertible (above), a Surface look-a-like that pairs its Snapdragon 835 internals with 4GB or 8GB RAM, 64GB, 128GB or 256GB UFS 2.0 storage and support for smartphone-like gigabit LTE.

Elsewhere, the NovaGo packs a 13.3in Full HD touchscreen with ASUS Pen support, two USB Type-A and one HDMI port, and support for Microsoft features including Windows Ink, Windows Hello and Cortana. 

HP’s Envy x2 is the second Snapdragon 835-powered Windows device, and it packs a MacBook-esque 12in screen, 8GB RAM, and up to 256GB internal storage. The fanless device is crafted from aluminium, and measures in at just 6.9mm thick.

HP Envy x2

Both of these devices will run Microsoft’s stripped-back Windows 10 S operating system, designed to only run 32-bit apps from the Windows Store, both ASUS and HP are offering free upgrades to Windows 10 Pro before 30 September 2018.

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it has developed a special emulator to run traditional x86 apps on these new devices, news that didn’t go down well with Intel. 

Lawyer Stephen Rodgers and Director of Intel Labs Richard A. Uhlig said at the time: “There have been reports that some companies may try to emulate Intel’s proprietary x86 ISA without Intel’s authorization.”

“We do not welcome unlawful infringement of our patents, and we fully expect other companies to continue to respect Intel’s intellectual property rights.”

The Asus NovaGo will be available from $499, but HP hasn’t yet revealed how much the Envy x2 will cost when it goes on sale next year. µ

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