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HP, Lenovo and ASUS aim to release first Snapdragon 835 Windows 10 PCs

Microsoft and Qualcomm just announced at Computex that Lenovo, HP, and ASUS are expected to be the first companies with devices that feature the Snapdragon 835. Powered by Windows 10 on ARM, the ultra-thin and always-connected devices are said to usher in a new era of mobile computing.

Dawn of the cellular PC revolution?

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, when combined with the X16 LTE modem and Windows 10, allows PC makers to create new devices with reportedly outstanding battery life, instant-on abilities, and smaller form factors.

Speaking about the motivation behind the collaboration, Cristiano Amon, executive vice president of Qualcomm Technologies, said:

The legacy computing model no longer works for today's consumers, who don't want heavy, tethered-to-a-power-cable laptops with a frustrating number of accessories. With compatibility for the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will enable Windows 10 hardware makers to develop next-generation device form factors and deliver unparalleled anytime, anywhere creation experiences with up to gigabit-class LTE connectivity.

The X16 LTE modem is expected to let ultra-mobile PCs hit 1Gbps download speeds over next-generation cellular networks, which are now in planning stages across some markets. The new "hypermobile" devices will also have 2x2 802.11ac MU-MIMO for optimal connectivity.

And the combination of an ARM processor and Windows 10 should allow for the following computing advancements when compared to regular x86 laptops:

  • four to five times longer standby abilities.
  • Up to 50 percent better battery life.
  • Up to Gigabit LTE.

There's no word on specific pricing, availability, or even designs yet. However, Qualcomm confirmed in a recent earnings call that the fourth calendar quarter of 2017 was the expected arrival of cellular PCs.

What this all means

Windows 10 on ARM was announced at WinHEC in December 2016. The surprise proclamation is the shift of the full desktop Windows 10 OS to the ARM architecture – which currently powers smartphones – instead of Intel x86.

The merger of cellular mobile devices with the power of Windows 10, inking, Universal Windows Platform (UWP) for apps, Windows Hello, and Cortana for AI could easily rival any smartphone in 2017. The big push, of course, is the ability to run full desktop-class applications including Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office.

New devices from HP, Lenovo, and ASUS could range from very thin and light laptops to devices that blur phones and PCs. Considering that the new Qualcomm boards are around 50 percent smaller than current Intel ones, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will have more freedom for category creation and differentiation.

The ability to have all-day battery life, instant-on capabilities and always-connected cellular modems mean consumers can bring the full power of Windows 10 wherever they go. Recent innovations in 2-in-1 hardware, digital inking, and apps that run on all Windows devices could result in Microsoft's resurgence in the mobile space, just not quite in the way of the current hardware paradigm.

Windows 10 on ARM: Microsoft's ultimate mobile device vision comes into focus

Lots of questions remain about OS and app performance, along with Qualcomm's battery claims, but Windows 10 and Snapdragon processors could signal the shift Microsoft needs.

Either way, the cellular PC revolution is about to begin, making 2017 an interesting year.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Liking how everything is coming together. Hope Microsoft is quick enough
  • Serious question. Is there no way to "update" the OS on existing devices (at least 2016+ models) to ENABLE Connected Standby? By legacy standby, they mean Sleep in Windows, isn't it?
    I know the Surface Laptop does this and they said even the Surface Pro (2017) will have it. They use Kaby Lake so there has to be a way to have this on existing Kaby Lake HP's, DELL's etc right?
  • The Surface RT (ARM) and later then Surface Pro 3 (Intel x86) supported connected standby/InstantGo. It's really nothing new...
  • Surface 3 (non-Pro) also. But it eats up the battery. Don't count on getting more than 2 days with maybe 2 hours usage time per day.
  • @Urbautz, Okay how does it work? Can I enable it in my HP Envy 15t?
  • @Jotaka, I don't see it in my laptop. Where is it to enable the feature?
  • I am liking this a lot allowing Microsoft to make a move into Mobile market strategically with a heavyweight classification in a serious way allowing the OEM to design and build devices with processors ranging from  ARM to Intel/AMD the later of which both are bringing more powerful chips to the X86 lineup and that practically is covering the whole computing space and that is a major reach.    
  • Indeed, considering the I9 for heavy lifting. All sorts of things will speed up even more.
  • This sounds terrific but microsoft has a history of making announcements that never reach shelves. I cite the list of phones that were to receive W10 but mysteriously failed to materialise. MS would be wise to remember that it is better to be silent and thought foolish rather than speak up and prove it because right now I find it impossible to believe anything that Nutella says about mobile.
  • I am too, but I don't think this is a time critical issue for Microsoft. They are, for once, the originator (IF it all comes together as planned) and everyone else will play catchup. Apple blew it when they made the iPad Pro run iOS instead of MacOS X. So, unless someone else has an amazingly well hidden plan up their sleeves AND Microsoft executes well THIS time, then the Redmond Beast will be the one to follow for the next 10-15 years, maybe longer.
  • Hey WC, there's news buzzing around that Microsoft will reboot Windows Mobile?!?!?
  • Saw this on MSPU too..... Wonder if it has any credibility?
  • I read that too, I wondered if it was somehow linked to w10 on Arm
  • Possibly(though MSPU author doesn't think there is any correlation). Guess its a case of wait and see, either way, I'm excited.
  • You are wondering about it, I bet on it ;-)
  • I see your bet and join you in this vision. I for one know something(whatever it may be) is cooking at MS. When it lands, my money is ready. Don't care about any other OS or devices(I've used the lot and though they are in some areas better than w10m, I'm personally not satisfied with those experiences, with w10m, it just gets me) the next MS device is my next device.
  • I'm thinking it will be Windows on ARM on a SD 835 powered phone. If so that makes Samsung DeX look like a POS considering Continuum would become much more viable.
  • Yep, problem is with Samsung they make great hardware, but the software support is pretty nifty. Every project they've done discontinues in 2 years so far, there's no continuity. S8/Note 8 may have Dex, but S9/Note 9 probably will get updated and trash the previous one.
  • It's not a reboot, its another strand of windows for another new form factor. Andromeda. It has a non-slab form factor (I think two detachable clamshell screens that form up quite small and can be used for second screening etc). So its not a refresh or a reboot, its an alternative type of product.  
  • Brad Sams spilled the beans on what he knows yesterday.  Yes...yet another reboot according to him.  New Surface phone running Win 10 S with a new small screen UI.
  • Windows 10 S defeats the main reason to use a SD835 which is x86 applications on ARM. Microsoft have the perfect opportunity to create a phone sized PC using Windows on ARM which would allow x86 applications in Continuum, that would be the game changer they need, but going on what you've said it looks like they may shoot themselves in the foot again.
  • Windows 10 S is still capable to run x86 programs, just need them to be converted to UWP through Centennal and be distributed through the Store.
  • Skip the "Mobile" in the name, it is full Windows on mobile, pocketable devices!
  • Correct...!!!
  • Mobile pcs are not that far away and that's not a bad thing
  • And there you have it. OEMs are onto pocket pcs/cellular pcs already. The future of Phines is about to change.
  • you're wrong and expected from a fanboy
  • I don't think it's wrong to believe that the future of phones is about to change. It doesn't mean the market share would instantly be in Microsofts favor, but the functionality of phones will make a really big shift to adopt the flexibility of a desktop OS with a UI to suit a phone.
  • Grow up. He could be right. Could. BTW When I look at that mouse my right arm already hurts. Do you have to use that crappy flat mouse?
  • As I've said all along, more features, better battery life, significantly smaller than Intel offerings and at a lower price, we'll see a flood of innovative creations pouring out of Asian factories.
  • So the fact that 3 OEMs have confirmed they want to get out first THIS year doesn't make you wonder? Gone are the slow, cumbersome toys with apps FINALLY. And back to fully functioning devices NOW in your pocket. Steam games the lot. This is as big as Iphone was.
  • As in all things, it comes down to the execution. People still like pocketable mobile devices, a mobile laptop hardly fits that bill.
  • Pocketable mobile and pocketable laptop? Sound the same? Only difference here is one can run xbox games and one can't...
  • Because of the 835's processor and integrated video card, it's safe to say it most installed Xbox titles won't run well. However, streaming from an Xbox should be smooth.
  • People still like and use the Nokia 3310 as well.
  • :)
  • How many exactly? 6 or 7?
  • Not sure how you plan on to fitting these laptops in your pocket.
  • Man, it's not about laptops in your pocket. It's literally MOBILITY. The Confidence you'll have that the battery will last all day. Cheaper devices. That's what this is. Intel is getting some serious completion. And you know how things become cheaper after a few years right?
    What you brought for $700 5 years back is trash. You get awesome devices for $700 now and really usable ones for $300-500. Think about the next 10 years. 😉
  • You must plan on carrying these cellular PCs in giant cargo pants pockets.  
  • What I'm wondering to see is how Microsoft is going to market this to the general "non-techie" public. Because marketing is really not Microsoft's forte... At least here in the Netherlands.
  • marketing isnt a MicroSoft forte world wide !!
  • YOU'RE wrong and expected from a moron.
  • Yeah, @mmgn, you're wrong and delusional. 👏👏
  • Based on the fact that this could run over LTE, there's little doubt you could hook up a bluetooth headset and make phone calls too. Welcome to your next Windows Mobile ;)
  • Cellular tablets have existed for ages, doesn't necessarily mean you can use a phone on them. I can but that's going to involve carriers and, ya know, a phone app.
  • Carriers are ready already to offer plans on a monthly basis. Not yearly. And with no sim card whatsoever.
  • Don't we have a phone app already? I see one. 
  • still the uwp store is a ghost town with second to none devs interested. pathetic
  • Get back under your bridge..!!
  • I think you're lost, this is Windows Central not Android Central or iMore.
  • So, you saying that Google Playstore or Apple Appstore have millions of apps. But I don't think people actually put millions of apps on their phone, hence not all apps in there are usefull, and theres a bunch of crappy (adware/fake) guides apps, ****** apps, stupid games app that no sane people buying. Right? (^_~)
  • no, people buy/download/use just the BEST app from store and the BEST app from iOS or Android are not on Windows which means nobody will be interested = fail. Just basic app like Snapchat or the latest games are not available so... lets just wait out what happens and dont be rude against non fanboys. We see the reality, you see the "alternative reality" :))
  • With Windows 10 on ARM the pocket PC can run all desktop apps (x86 apps). It doesn't matter that much if the Microsoft Store has billions of applications or it has just ten. Of course, not all old x86 applications are adapted for a smaller form factor. For example, with Windows 10 on ARM you could run Visual Studio 2017 on your pocket PC but it is going to be almost impossible to use it on a 6 inch display. Not to mention that for Visual Studio a mouse and a keyboard are extremely usefull. :-)
  • But you can play Steam on Windows 10. Blowing IOS and Android clean out of the water. And you can use over 73 billion pieces of software nit available on Android or IOS. As they are Mobile Apps only.
  • Ever heard of Bluestacks?
  • Quite exciting, will be cool to see what kind of PC's can be made from this were x86 just cannot funtion well. Also if the Xbox team were smart there is a opening for Xbox Anywhere to grow on Arm PC's as they are UWP based games they should run native on the hardware, competing against x86 Steam is too difficult for MS at least with their lack lustre approach so far. But Steam's x86 win32 library isnt going to run well on these systems hence the opening for Xbox if they would only realize it.
  • I think they know very well about the opportunity of ARM. TBH, I expect that in order to natively support ARM PCs, you need to support UWP, So for current Win32 applications, they need to convert it through centennial to full UWP.  But X86 emulation is there if you need it. 
  • Well true, emulation does not play well with games. Ideally these laptops/tablets/whatevers will need native UWP games.
  • Do you realize on a x64 machine, the x86 programs/games also run on an emulation?
  • Running win32 on a phone is pure stupid.  Only the fanboys here are so blind with MS love,  they cannot see it.   WIn32 programs have no moible useage.  The only thing you can do is take your phone with you and plug into another monitor.  All the moible useage is stripped from win32 because they were designed for stationary useage.  
  • So what about Win32 having no mobile usage. They have UWP apps for mobile and when needed they connect to a USB-C dock and run full Win32 applications with keyboad, mouse and monitor. This saving the need for a Citrix farm and RDP.
  • Seriously do you know how happy this will make the IT guys at my hospital? We have monitors and keyboards everywhere. They currently carry Surface Pro 3s around and have to hook them up. It would be a lot easier to carry a pocket pc.
  • You do know that win32 apps are not designed to be used on a phone sized screen. Grant Taylor3 has the right idea, UWP for phone use, win32 for Continuum.
  • Which in that case,  would not help microsofts position in the MOBILE space where they are dead in the water at this point...again...why do this...why not just sell more surfaces.  
  • Actually it would, Continuum has been neglected and having x86 support would go a long way towards a PC in your pocket, that same PC would also function as your smartphone as well.
  • they have UWP... yes they have it, now show me popular Android/iOS app available for UWP or just show me popular x86 app in UWP... I will be waiting :)
  • UWP - Audible, Netflix, Messenger, DuoLingo, many more x86 - Evernote, Spotify and iTunes coming, only been available for 8 months with limited APIs... what makes you think that major Programs can be converted overnight? Nevermind, youre just an ignorant troll
  • Creating a new category guides to leverage. Android and iOS are stucked with the same hardware with only incremental "new" features for two or three years in a row now. Let all the Android and iOS "toys" for the BASIC consumer segment and give us the professionals hardware/software that really covers our needs. Apps that I use and love ARE on the Windows Store, some great, some not that great, but I don´t mind if crappy Snapchat or Tinder is not on Windows Store. BTW UWP is FAR BETTER as a platform than Android or even iOS. I'm writing these from a Macbook Air BTW. And will be answering the hatred from a HP Envy 13.
  • Oh, you mean like, I don't know, an ultrabook laptop like the Surface? Win32 phablets is a solution looking for a problem.
  • Have you used Adobe Illustrator on Surface Pro? Adobe provides touch-friendly mode inside the win32 program. Anyway, it's up to the developer to provide such experience.
  • This isn't entirely true. It makes it a alot easier for devs to create apps for the store, as they simply need to A) Centennial it B) make it scale. They don't then need to change all the api's and calls etc, unless they wish to for performance reasons. But this is for laptops and tablets, to blur the line between mobiles and PCs, not to, for now at least, actually create phones that are also PCs. 
    Which has its own benefits - ie, uwp apps for mobility functions on the windows platform, as well as games that are full UWP (given the former doesn't much exist, and the later won't work well under emulation)
  • On the other hand you are spewing rubbishes like a haters do. I will agree with you when running win32 program with a interface designed for desktop is less optimal, but that does not mean running win32 programs is pure stupid. It is the interface, not the type. The developer can simply redesign the interface using the CShell and have their works scale across the devices.
  • I don't see this turning your phone into a PC anymore than it already is. Even with a Windows phone reboot Android and iOS dominate in touch based apps and desktop apps would be a joke on a phone screen. Outside of a few Microsoft fanboys and limited business use continuum has gone no where because few consumers are interested. I see this doing much better for the 2 in 1 crowd, finally something better than the inferior Atom. Thinner and lighter 2 in 1 devices and tablets with better battery life and performance, I've been waiting for this. A Windows device as thin and light as an iPad with similar battery life and good performance.
  • Think UWP apps for all W10 devices. Plenty out there. Also more apps are becoming responsive webapps. Continuum is still growing up (more people will use it)  There allready is. Tab Pro S. Except for passive standby. ARM based model will fix that. With Bluestacks a Tab Pro S also becomes an Android tablet. And that fabulous 12" OLED screen. Drool.
  • It's not for phones. Its for tablets, hybrids and laptops as you say. I'd say the minimum enjoyable experience without cshell is about 8.9 inches.  Continuum to be consumer freindly needs a few things. Firstly it needs a low cost of entry, so you can save money on device redundancy. So far, such devices have been expensive. Secondly it needs the same apps that run on a desktop (which WoA addresses). Thirdly the devices need the same kind of storage capacity as a laptop or desktop, so it can reasonably act as a replacement. 
    It will never be "the device that replaces all other devices" as some predict. People like to second screen. Many like to game on their desktop. A "tablet that can replace your desktop" or "phone that can replace your desktop" even if executed well, and that has some work to go, will simply be another device catergory that takes up a niche within the marketplace. For some people, if it was well executed, they might forgoe their PC. I wouldn't. I might go for a similar tablet, with egpu, if it could handle non-demanding games, but then I want to get into VR, so i'd still need a PC or console.  I could certain see a folding phone replacing the smartphone and tablet, to a large degree though. But equally I could see a well executed AR glasses with a regular glasses FF replacing both too. 
  • Yet there is the potential for x86 applications to run within Continuum, isn't THAT moving towards a PC in your pocket. You know being able to run the same applications you run on your desktop!!!!
  • Let the games begin.  Really hoping to see 6+" phones.  
  • I think a SD835 powered 950XL would be good
  • Yeah, I'd really like to see a device around 6.5" or maybe even 7" without bezels, like the Mi Mix. But please keep the aspect ratio at 16:9 (16:10 might even be better), I'm not a fan of the 18:9 everyone seems to be migrating to. It's a lot easier to do something productive with a bit of width.
  • Well this gave me hope, I guess 😃 .. If the new generation of mobile phone will run windows 10 S it will be the new revolution of the mobile generation and also will attract more developers to bring their apps to the universal app platform, I personally consider this as a good news to all windows phone lovers hopfully we see something to show up to the surface soon.
  • The SD835 negates the need to run W10S on mobile as it has x86 emulation.
  • Not really..... Windows 10 S on ARM will obvoiusly have it's benefits. Education is a good example.  Windows 10 Pro on ARM will be the way to go, however Windows 10 S will probably be for niche cases and is also considered more related to W10M.
  • There will only be one version, just Windows on ARM, no S or Pro versions
  • cool, now bring win 10 to cars and smart tv too
  • Would be nice if they designed a cshell for smart TVs actually. Kind of needs to happen.
  • This is what I am wanting to replace my ageing Surface Tablet..  I've given up on Windows as a Phone. Until the Windows Store has all the consumer apps that I need/use.
  • Really, what's missing from the store?
  • Apps wise?   a ******* hell of a lot!
  • All the banking apps (tap to pay etc especially), the current Facebook/Insta etc and all those 1000s of other useful apps that are on the other mobile platforms that make life easier.  There are places now that offer big bonuses if you use apps to do purchases etc that their websites don't....  Widnows Mobile might be excellent for Corporate but it's all those little apps that need to be in place for windows on mobile to take off. Consumer Apps.. 
  • A smart ring is probably more convenient than a phone for NFC payments IMO. You can also get mini cards that you attach to your phone case. 
  • I don't find much missing.  And by the way Facebook (and its Messenger app) and Instagram are on Windows 10 Mobile. In the beginning my bank's mobile site didn't work with Edge but now it's fixed... And don't get me on "tap to pay" stuff, I don't want more ways to be hacked... I ain't a big gamer on phone, so the lack of games don't really affect me and I've got most apps I need and the best phone UI in existence!
  • Just off the top of my head, my local transit agency announced they are developing apps that will allow you to use Apple Pay and Android Pay as scannable tickets.  And no, you wont' be able to do it from a website, from what I understand. Microsoft doesn't even have the beginnings of a viable mobile pay solution in the U.S.
  • Actually Microsoft Wallet is ONLY available in the US and that IS their mobile payment solution!!!!
  • Over half of what I use on my Samsung Galaxy daily isn't on Windows Store. It's why dispite liking the user interface for Windows Mobile I have zero desire to own a windows phone.
  • Combine Windows 10 S with SD 835 and you have a world beating technology. 😎
  • Not really, the biggest thing with the SD835 is x86 emulation and considering W10S can't run x86 apps unless they are packaged for the store it would negate that feature entirely.
  • I'd like to see what hybrid/laptop/tablet form factors these guys bring. Should be good for the store too, that always connected LTE will make porting mobility apps via islandwood much more attractive. 
  • is Windows 10 or Windows 10 S targeted for these ARM platforms? I would expect 10 S but it seems full Windows is what I usually read. Win 32 Apps can be bridged into the store with Centennial so Windows 10 S seems the better approach. Has Microsoft brought ANY clarity to what their intent on ARM is? Perhaps they are going with full Windows 10 to show they can - but is that what they should do?  
  • They will use BOTH Windows 10 S and Windows 10 
  • The intent with arm is to make PCs more "mobiley". Always connected LTE, better battery life, thinner and lighter forms. Think tablets, hybrids and laptops. Devs will want to bring their mobility apps to  windows, so that laptop users can use GPS based apps, banking apps, chat apps etc, because notebooks and tablets are bigger userbases than win10m.  Which will benefit mobile and other platforms in the long run, whilst giving windows that thin "ipad", always connected, type of mobility. 
  • This is all great and all but the question is will we be using BT headphones to use these "mobile" devices aka laptops and tablets and not a smartphone as we have been accustomed to? All that's being talked about and nothing is clear about designs as yet. If what is released by these OEMs is in fact ONLY laptops and tablets will we the windows phone hopefuls still be as enthusiastic then?  
  • I will. Always connect LTE and GPS on laptops and hybrids will bring devs over to UWP via islandwood.  This is what I expect is thin, highly mobile laptop, hybrid and tablet devices. Theoretically one could use a mini-tablet as a phone, if one was a business person or some such, and certainly one could use it for calls, but you'd be more likely to skype or use a messaging program than call or text. I imagine it'll still be an option.  Not sure why everyone is expecting a phone, when we all know from the CEO himself that their next phone will not look like existing phones. They ARE working on it, but its a new form factor, running a new OS branch, so anyone expecting a slab from MS running WoA is barking up the wrong tree. 
  • I would. If the device was 7-8" I'd just use headphones for calling. Making calls is only a small fraction of my phone usage.
  • Honestly, there needs to be something else out there for people. It seems like people are getting bored with the same kind of Apple and Android phones coming out every year.
  • Let's...get....dangerous!!
  • I'm guessing one of the first will be an SD835 version of the Surface... Most likely a successor to the S3. Probably just called the Surface with W10S (free unlock period for early adopters).
  • Who cares about App Gap anymore, i don't give a damn about a lot of App Windows Mobile doesn't have, i just want Adobe set of tools and other really useful tools for work, don't care about Snapchat or other stupid Apps i never used. And who care about small games available on iPhone or Android Phones when you can finally play some serious games. The futur is coming and it looks very promising, sure we will have some bugs and other problems, but after that period, things will only get better and better...
  • " Who cares about App Gap anymore, i don't give a damn about a lot of App Windows Mobile doesn't have..." I'll tell you who cares - the army of people who've given up and moved to iOS and Android.  The fact that you don't care doesn't mean much.