Your next laptop could last 24 hours on a charge, download your email while it sleeps and stay connected to LTE at all times, if Qualcomm has its way. Today, the chip-vendor showed off the first laptops running Windows 10 on its Snapdragon 835 CPU at an event in Maui, Hawaii. We first heard about the company's "always-connected" laptops back in June, but today Qualcomm took the wraps off the first two devices: a pair of 2-in-1s from HP and Asus.
HP’s laptop, the Envy x2, is a detachable 2-in-1 with a folio-style keyboard similar to that of Microsoft’s Surface Pro, while Asus’ device, the NovaGo, is a standard convertible. As of this writing, no final prices or release dates have been confirmed, though HP is aiming for a vague spring 2018 launch.
Qualcomm suggests that most laptops using its CPU will be some form of 2-in-1, as it’s one of the fastest-growing device categories. The company first announced that laptops would run on its CPU at Computex in Taipei earlier this year, allowing for “always-connected” PCs that let you use your device the way you treat your smartphone. Representatives from the company said that they will constantly receive new data, even while in hibernation. For example, if you use a desktop email client like Outlook, you should continue to get emails while the device sleeps, rather than downloading them all when your computer wakes up again.
These devices will work not only on Wi-Fi, but also on LTE. HP’s device has a slot for SIM cards, while Asus’ laptop has an embedded eSIM.
Qualcomm is claiming that the battery life could be game-changing, and Microsoft says you'll measure real world use in weeks rather than days or hours. Qualcomm told us to expect Snapdragon-based laptops to last for 25 hours or more with mixed used and standby (a number we’ll be putting to the test when these machines start to arrive in our lab).
The HP Envy x2 has a 12.3-inch display, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of UFS storage, as well as a stylus. HP is claiming up to 20 hours of battery life, with up to 700 in standby mode. The Asus NovaGo uses a 13.3-inch screen and has similar specs, with an estimated 22 hours of battery life and 30 days in modern standby.
Both laptops come out of the box with Windows 10 S. HP Notes a “one-time option” to switch to Windows 10 Pro, and Asus offers a free upgrade prior to Sept. 30, 2018.
Additionally, we’re told that these laptops will stay incredibly cool. The company suggests that its thermal advantage means lower temperatures that don’t throttle performance.
The first wave of laptops will use UFS storage and come with 4 or 8GB of RAM. You can expect them to cost between $600 and $800 early next year, Qualcomm told us.
The computers will run all Windows 10 apps: both UWP apps from the Microsoft Store and legacy x86 apps with custom emulation. Intel previously suggested that this emulation might be in violation of its patents.
Of course, to work over LTE, carriers need to play ball. Asus says it already has deals with T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, TIM, China Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom. HP has yet to announce carrier partners.
When Qualcomm first announced the initiative at Computex, Lenovo was listed as a partner. Qualcomm said that Lenovo will announce its Always Connected PC at CES in Las Vegas in January.
Photos: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag