Qualcomm, Microsoft 'Always Connected' PCs to hit store shelves

The companies have announced the soon-to-be availability of the new concept mobile devices worldwide.

(Image: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm and Microsoft have announced that international retailers have signed up to stock the new "Always Connected" PC range.

On Wednesday at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, the tech giants said that a range of the Always Connected Windows 10 PCs, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile PC platform, will soon be available in stores.

During Spring, the product range will be available in the US through Amazon and Microsoft Stores in Australia. Microsoft Stores will also stock the PCs. In China, JD.com has signed up, and in Italy, consumers can purchase these devices through Unieuro.

In addition, French retailers Boulanger and Fnac will stock the mobile devices, and a number of stockists in the UK -- Asus Stores, BT Shop, John Lewis, Microsoft Stores, and PC World -- will be offering the range.

Stockists will offer the products online as well as at select retail outlets.

"Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies have worked closely with leading PC manufacturers to push the boundaries of what a Windows PC can do and how it performs, while still offering the features and innovative experiences that Windows 10 users expect," said Matt Barlow, corporate vice president of Windows and Devices at Microsoft. "We are thrilled that consumers around the globe can now experience Always Connected PCs to enjoy incredible battery life and great performance."

Operators that will support Always Connected PC 4G/LTE connectivity include China's CMCC, France's pre-paid provider Transatel, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Swisscom, EE, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

"In Europe, the rates of awareness [of connected devices] are much higher," Peter Burns, staff manager of Wireless technology Marketing at Qualcomm, told ZDNet. "In the US, the awareness is lower, but the demand is swelling."

"The big barrier to adoption was affordable data plans," the executive added. "In Europe, the pricing and flexibility of plans in much greater. I think you're going to see some change in the US as well in how we add these devices to plans. The market is ready for it."

It was back in December that Qualcomm announced the introduction of Windows 10 on the mobile PC platform.

Qualcomm and Microsoft's "Always Connected" PCs aim to bring the on-demand connectivity we now expect from our smartphones and tablets to our laptops and hybrid devices.

Rather than wasting time and hampering productivity due to sleep states, start-up requirements and the need to find and connect to Wi-Fi networks, the product range aims to give users "always connected" access to the mobile networks with up to Gigabit LTE connectivity.

"It's a different era from five years' back," said Burns. "The speeds of the networks are infinitely faster, we're in a gigabit era, and this is rolling out globally in many markets. From a capacity perspective, the networks are there."

Miguel Nunes, senior director of Product Management at Qualcomm, said that the company "took what it could from a mobile phone and put it in a bigger shell," which includes fanless, thin form factors, a boost in size for vendors to adapt hardware, and Qualcomm modems for a speed boost.

Models available include the Asus NovaGo and HP's Envy x2. During CES 2018, Lenovo joined the lineup by announcing the Miix 630, a 2-in-1 convertible Windows tablet.

Read also: First 'Always Connected' Windows 10 on ARM PCs are coming from ASUS, HP, Lenovo

Earlier this month, Qualcomm revealed the new Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, which has increased support for up to 2Gbps and is based on a 7-nanometer FinFET process.

The X24 LTE modem has been constructed with 5G networks in mind and also carers for up to 7x carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers.

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