Windows 10: Ultralight PCs based on ARM smartphone chips set for Q4, says Qualcomm

By the end of the year, you'll be able to get a lightweight, power-efficient, ARM-based Windows 10 PC.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft demoed Windows 10 Enterprise edition running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor late last year.

Image: Microsoft

Qualcomm has confirmed that new mobile Windows 10 PCs running its ARM-based Snapdragon 835 system on chip (SoC) will arrive by the fourth quarter.

Microsoft and Qualcomm announced in December that a new line of always-on cellular Windows 10 PCs running on Qualcomm's ARM chips would be on the way at some point in 2017. But at Qualcomm's Q2 results yesterday, the chipmaker's CEO Steve Mollenkopf offered a firmer fourth quarter 2017 timeframe.

"Our Snapdragon 835 is expanding into mobile PC designs running Windows 10, which are scheduled to launch in the fourth calendar quarter this year," Mollenkopf said, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript.

The ARM partnership between Microsoft and Qualcomm is notable as it expands Windows 10's existing support of x86 chips from Intel and AMD. It also looks set to overcome the constraints of Microsoft's previous ARM effort with Windows RT.

The Snapdragon 835 PCs will run full Windows 10 desktop, which has been compiled natively for Qualcomm's SoCs. They'll also run Win32 apps via an emulator, as well as universal Windows apps. Microsoft billed the forthcoming devices as a "truly mobile, power-efficient, always-connected cellular PC".

The Snapdragon 835 is Qualcomm's high-end chip, which powers Samsung's Galaxy S8, and Xiaomi's newly announced Mi 6, but so far no PCs.

Qualcomm sees the chips bringing smartphone technologies, such as Gigabit LTE and battery-saving efficiencies, to newer lightweight mobile PCs that are designed to be always on and always connected to a network.

The SoC's key features include the Qualcomm's Kryo 280 octa-core CPU, Adreno 540 GPU, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem with one gigabit per second downloads, Bluetooth 5.0, and Qualcomm's latest Quick Charge 4.0 technology.

Microsoft's Windows boss Terry Myerson told ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley the Windows 10 on Qualcomm chips would be offered to OEMs in the six-, 10-, and 14-inch display categories.

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