Microsoft and Qualcomm have officially unveiled the first wave of Windows 10 devices featuring ARM processors, and not surprising ASUS, HP, and Lenovo are among the first companies to build laptops with the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor.
Although these computers are similar to those we’ve already seen sporting Intel’s chips, there are two major differences, including the Qualcomm processor and the version of Windows 10.
Windows 10 S on ARM
These new devices will be running a version of Windows 10 specially crafted to run on ARM processors, which offers the same experience you already know, but with a few twists. Traditional programs aren’t compatible with this platform, as such Microsoft is including an emulator to run almost any app you already use on regular PCs.
Also, this is a variant of Windows 10 S, which means that it’s streamlined for security and performance — though, you’ll be limited to install only those apps from the Microsoft Store.
However, there are a few things you need to know. The emulator will work with most 32-bit applications, but 64-bit isn’t supported at this moment, and apps that use kernel mode drivers are not supported. In other words, most third-party antivirus will not work, and almost every game will not work correctly.
Apps like Photoshop, Google Chrome, and Office will just work as expected.
In addition, while these devices will come with Windows 10 S, you’ll have the option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro at not extra cost, which will allow to run any app you need.
Why PCs with ARM processors
The main reason for these devices is to enable always on and always connected PCs, similar to the iPad experience, but with a more traditional device. The promise with these devices are instant resume, insanely longer standby battery life, and cellular connectivity as you’ve never seen before in PCs.
According to Microsoft, you won’t need to carry a power cord or hibernate your device to conserve battery life anymore, because these devices will give you up to 22 hours of active use, and up to 30 days of standby so no more battery draining.
The idea sounds amazing, but it’s yet to be seen how these new always on and always connected PCs will perform in real life. We’ve seen similar attempts in the past with Windows RT, but it never really worked, in part because at the time Windows didn’t run traditional desktop applications.
Now there is a new opportunity with new laptops and convertibles that look just like any other device, and they’re a lot thinner, lighter, battery life is something like we’ve never seen before, and they’re silent like a phone because they’re fanless design.
ASUS is introducing the NovaGo, which is a convertible laptop with a 13.3-inch display running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and 256GB of storage. You’re also getting two USB 3.1 ports, a HDMI port, microSD card reader, support for pen, and LTE connectivity.
The NovaGo is expected to go for $599 for the 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while for $799, you’ll get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
HP Envy x2
HP is unveiling its Envy x2, which is a Surface-like device with a 12.3-inch display running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, up to 8GB of memory, up to 256GB of storage, pen support, and LTE connectivity.
The ASUS’s NovaGo is expected to be available during the first quarter of 2018, while HP’s Envy x2 is expected to ship in Spring of 2018.
These are just the first devices that we’ll be seeing in 2018, and if everything plays out as Microsoft and Qualcomm are promising, we could be seeing more manufacturers jumping in, and we may even see other form factors, such as tablets and phone-like devices running Windows 10.
What do you think about Windows 10 on ARM? Tell us in the comments.