The Snapdragon 845 wasn’t the only thing Qualcomm announced at its Snapdragon Technology Summit in Mauwi, Hawaii on Tuesday. One of the highlights was Always Connected PCs, a new Snapdragon-based platform for compact, modular 2-in-1 Windows PCs.
Always Connected PCs deliver gigabit experiences on the go, but without compromising on thinness, form factor, or battery life. They’re informed by Qualcomm’s research, which found that 65 percent of U.S. customers want faster connectivity and 51 percent want better battery life.
“[Always Connected PCs] allow you to work for the day and not take the PC power cord with you,” Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President of Qualcomm’s QCT division, said. “They change the definition of what you should expect in a PC.”
Always Connected PCs wake from sleep nearly instantaneously, and download emails and social media updates even when switched off. They also ship with an “optimized” version of Office365 and familiar Windows 10 features like Windows Hello authentication, Ink, and Touch.
But what’s really special about Always Connected PCs is that they’re ARM-based, just like most Android smartphones. They contain an x86 emulator that allows most 32-bit x86 applications to run unmodified, and the system libraries are compiled to respond to x86 calls. Performance isn’t always up to par with x86 hardware, but if you want to install Adobe Premiere on an Always Connected PC, there’s nothing stopping you.
Always Connected isn’t much good without the support of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), of course. Luckily, Qualcomm trotted out a lot of them on Tuesday.
Asus announced the NovaGo, a stylus-equipped, gigabit LTE Windows 10 S laptop packing Qualcomm’s X16 modem, 4×4 MIMO antennas, and 4CA. It runs on the Snapdragon 835, comes with up to 256GB of UFS 2.0 storage and 8GB of RAM, and lasts 22 hours of video playback and up to 30 days on standby. The 4GB RAM configuration (with 64GB of storage) will start at $600, and the 8GB RAM model (with 256GB of storage) will retail for $800 when the NovaGo hits stores shelves in U.S., China, Italy, the U.K., France, Germany, and Taiwan.
HP took the wraps off the Envy x2, a Windows 10 S 2-in-1 that measures just 6.9mm at its thickest point. It packs a Snapdragon 835 processor and up to 8GB of RAM, like the NovaGo, and lasts up to 20 hours on a single charge. HP said it’ll ship in Spring 2018.
Lenovo, which was also in attendance, said it’s saving its Always Connected announcements for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in January. But AMD was more than willing to talk about its collaboration with Qualcomm on high-performance Ryzen notebooks. AMD’s reference Ryzen Mobile design has a Qualcomm-designed modem, and Kevin Lensing, Corporate Vice President and General Manager at AMD, said the company’s committed to “extending 4G to other elements of [its] ecosystem.”
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