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Qualcomm, Microsoft Announce Snapdragon 835 PCs With Gigabit LTE (arstechnica.com) 102

Microsoft and Qualcomm have announced that Windows 10 is coming to devices made by Asus, HP and Lenovo that will run on the Snapdragon 835 platform. "The Snapdragon 835 chip, incorporating Qualcomm's latest X16 LTE modem, forms the basis of the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform," reports Ars Technica. "Qualcomm claims that using the Snapdragon platform will offer a combination of the PC form factor and breadth of software with features that are standard in smartphones: on-the-go connectivity, light weight, silent operation, long battery life, and no fan." From the report: Qualcomm says that PCs built using the new chips will offer up to 50 percent more battery life than x86 systems, with four- to five-times longer standby times. They'll take the Connected Standby capability already found in some Windows PCs -- this allows the system to do things like sync mail and receive notifications even when "sleeping" -- and make it better, thanks to their LTE connectivity. With a Snapdragon inside your PC, you'll no longer need Wi-Fi to fetch your latest e-mail and catch up on Twitter. Instead, you'll be able to get online wherever there's cellular connectivity. The X16 modem supports up to gigabit LTE connections, too. So as long as your network operator is cooperative and has embraced the cutting edge, this mobile connection will be fast, too. Asus, HP, and Lenovo are all planning to introduce Snapdragon Mobile PC systems at some unspecified time in the future, for some unspecified price. These machines will be laptop-style systems, just without the traditional x86 processor on the inside. Snapdragon 835 has a higher level of integration than Intel's mobile chips, enabling smaller motherboards. This in turn should tend to increase the space available for battery, or reduce the size and weight of machines, or perhaps even both.
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Qualcomm, Microsoft Announce Snapdragon 835 PCs With Gigabit LTE

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    a working product is still nearly zero. Too many teams have competing priorities plus our reviews compare us against competing teams so we try to drag everyone down to the same level. It sucks that after over twenty years at Microsoft, nothing I've ever worked on has ever made it into a customer's hands because of stupid infighting.

    • for this product is probably zero.

      As I noted in my post below, there's a shit ton of work to do provide the apps and ecosystem of the basic Win 10 (S?) x64 platform.

      Along with the comments by the ACs, I don't believe that Microsoft will put in the investment to make the product competitive in terms of apps and available software.

      • I haven't read the TFA so I don't know if it's mentioned there but Microsoft was said to be integrating an x86 to ARM translator so that x86 software would work on CPUs like the mentioned.
        So this new systems might be able and intended to run x86 software after all
  • Other than asking if this hardware will run Linux (I know the basic answer is "yes", but I would like to see the network driver release plan for Linux) I have to wonder about Microsoft pushing a Snapdragon solution in terms of apps.

    I would expect that Office 365 (and probably not basic Office) will run under the resulting version of Win 10 (S?) but what about 3rd party applications which includes games? I guess web apps that run decently on Edge will not be affected, but what about the rest of the Windows x86 (and 64bit) catalog?

    Would Microsoft subsidize development houses to get their apps on this platform?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Other than asking if this hardware will run Linux (I know the basic answer is "yes", but I would like to see the network driver release plan for Linux)

      WinRT didn't allow dual boot, I'd say probably not these devices either.

      I guess web apps that run decently on Edge will not be affected, but what about the rest of the Windows x86 (and 64bit) catalog?

      UWP -> yes, obviously
      Win32 ARM -> yes, no longer restricted to Microsoft's own applications
      Win32 x86 -> yes, software emulation (but probably slooow)
      Win32 x64 -> no

      Would Microsoft subsidize development houses to get their apps on this platform?

      I would think not, people can run "legacy" software in emulation and pester developers for an ARM-compiled version. It's not RT where if it doesn't exist as UWP/ARM you were screwed.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        where is your information from? did MS seriously confirm this or is this just logical wishing?

        seriously curious, because everything else ms has been doing with their stuff lately would point to UWP FROM THE FUCKING STORE ONLY AND NO WIN32 LEGACY ACCESS.

        win32 arm would be sort of interesting, but ms has done NOTHING OF THE SORT FOR THE PAST 7(about) YEARS NOW.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Microsoft demoed last year Photoshop running on Snapdragon 835 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GlGglbu1U

    • Other than asking if this hardware will run Linux (I know the basic answer is "yes", but I would like to see the network driver release plan for Linux)

      It's not so sure: It's a Qualcom chip.

      If cyanogen/lineageos has taught us anything, it's that these chips have some weird design. The summary says :

      Snapdragon 835 has a higher level of integration than Intel's mobile chips,

      That sometimes means that on some chips, the wireless modem is the CPU's northbridge.
      i.e.: the device that - by laws (specifically laws around licensed frequencies) - runs 3rd party closed binary firmware, some of which gets automatically updated by the service provider, is in charge of b

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Microsoft heavily promotes .NET for Windows Store apps, so those should work just fine on ARM without any effort from the developer. Beyond that they have an x86 emulation layer.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @09:06PM (#54522389)
    Can it run linux or *bsd?
    Because the odds of MS continuing to support this in the next cycle of management change are very low.
    I'll bet they drop it just like an old version of "windows phone".

    Of course, if you are only planning to use it for a maximum of a couple of years go ahead - the stuff that came with it will work and you probably won't miss the new stuff coming out that will not run on it so much.
    • The short answer is "yes" but as to whether or not it is usable depends on the drivers Qualcomm makes available and somehow I think they'll give Windows drivers priority...

      • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @09:21PM (#54522473) Homepage

        The short answer is "it depends"... not on drivers, but on the status of SecureBoot.

        I believe since at last Windows Phone 8 they've been using it on phones, though unlike your average desktop/laptop PC running Windows on UEFI, you cannot turn off SecureBoot on phones (not unlike the original Surface & Surface 2).

        • I thought "Golden Keys" were designed into the Win 10 OS as backdoors

          And roundly denounced as a serious security flaw: http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]

        • Redhat/Fedora is completely fine booting on a Secure Boot system, so is Ubutnu. There are plenty of distros that don't support it, of course, and if your preferred one doesn't go poke at them. Despite being driven by MS it is a standard part of UEFI and open to all. A distro just gets their bootloader signed with the proper X.509 certificate and is good to go. It does require a bit of time and money, and more than a bit of planning and design, but it is 100% doable and not a bad thing security wise. No silv

        • At least the "SecureBoot" part of the equation is more or less solved.

          Most distro can use signed shims to chain into their bootloaders (eg.: UEFI SecureBoot -> shim -> .grub -> Linux kernel or whatever you pick from the grub menu).

          driver on the other hand..

          You'll probably be still stuck with a very old 3.xx kernel that qualcom provides to manufacturer of smartphones and tablets built around the same chipset.
          and/or
          you'll need to use libhybris to leverage the android drivers on a normal full blown GN

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Can it run linux or *bsd?
      Because the odds of MS continuing to support this in the next cycle of management change are very low.
      I'll bet they drop it just like an old version of "windows phone".

      Of course, if you are only planning to use it for a maximum of a couple of years go ahead - the stuff that came with it will work and you probably won't miss the new stuff coming out that will not run on it so much.

      Of course it can, it's a standard ARM processor.

      Some OEM or other will want to release an Android phone

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Of course it can, it's a standard ARM processor.

        And other bits. Drivers for wifi hardware on similar things have been a bit of a stumbling block.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "With a Snapdragon inside your PC, you'll no longer need Wi-Fi to fetch your latest e-mail and catch up on Twitter. Instead, you'll be able to get online wherever there's cellular connectivity"

    Yeah, right... Data only plans start @ 60$/m for 5GB here in Canada. Things might be different in the US market however over hear we still want wifi with our laptops. Besides, wireless AC = 1.8Gbps while LTE-A is only 300Mbps.

  • "So as long as your network operator is cooperative"

    Translation:
    "So as long as you fork over all the extra cash that Verizon/AT&T/etc want for the privilege, you can use your cellular data plan directly without Wifi just like a normal mobile device"
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @09:28PM (#54522503)

    For years I've been searching for a way to blow through my monthly 5GB data cap in under a minute and this can do it with 20 seconds to spare! Dreams do come true! ;)

  • I have no interest in yet another device that requires an overpriced, locked-in, data plan from a US carrier that could learn better customer service from a fast food cashier. Unless these devices are paired with the fabled Microsoft data network and reasonably priced, they are a waste of the promise of the ARM/Qualcomm port of Windows to the chip. I want a great WiFi tablet based on this technology. All other parties need not call.

    • So, don't activate the LTE?

    • They lost me too with their "always connected to LTE". My 10" tablet does have a SIM card slot, so does my 6.5" phablet which I use as a small tablet. I don't have a SIM in either of those and I don't see the point. It's not like I use a laptop or a 10" tablet while I'm walking around outside. Cafe's have WIFI, trains have WIFI, buses have WIFI, I've got WIFI at home and every place I visit has WIFI.

      I know Qualcomm is all about LTE always and everywhere (I've seen their presentations, I didn't get it then
  • Emulation? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackel ( 10452 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @09:42PM (#54522577) Journal

    Is this including some kind of amd64 or x86 emulation? I can't imagine most Windows users will be too happy to find out they purchased a PC that's only capable of running software compiled for ARM! It would be a wonderful device to install Linux on, however, where we should have 100% compatibility. That is, of course, assuming we can reverse engineer Qualcomm's shitty proprietary drivers.

    • Windows is coming back to ARM, this time with 32-bit x86 compatibility [arstechnica.com]::

      the full desktop Windows 10 variant is coming to ARM. It will be a 64-bit version, running on Qualcomm's latest and greatest processors (probably the Snapdragon 835), ... with the ability to run not only Universal Windows Platform apps [and] regular Win32 desktop applications.

    • Yes, of course if they actually ever release it they'll have some crappy software x86 emulation based on bootlegged parts of wine. And yes, of course the performance will drag really hard and Microsoft will just blame the ARM architecture concept as a whole and use it as an excuse to sell users an "upgraded" ATOM model next year.

  • by oakgrove ( 845019 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @10:38PM (#54522769)

    I'm posting this on my Thinkpad T420 with the 2520m Sandybridge i5 chip. A Snapdragon 835 benchmarks at almost exactly half the speed of this 6 year old laptop. So a chip that at best is half as fast as a low end device of more than half a decade old is now going to be loaded down even more doing "binary translation" of x86 calls into ARM. And I'm supposed to be excited?

    FWIW, I dipped my toes into the Atom powered 2-in-1 market with the Acer 10 thing. It checks most of the boxes from this announcement regarding battery life, portability, etc. yet it collects dust. Why? Because it is slow. I don't care how pocketable a full Windows device is, if trying to do any real work on it is a frustrating experience of waiting that makes me want to chunk it out the nearest window, I think I'll pass.

    Based on the fact that Intel couldn't even be bothered to stay in the market for this stuff leads me to believe that most other consumers agree with me.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday June 01, 2017 @02:47AM (#54523543)

      There are a lot of people that use laptops for extremely low powered shit. They literally do nothing but surf the web, send e-mails (often also from a browser), consume media (again from a browser), and maybe write a document or spreadsheet (yet again, maybe in a browser). You can get away with a pretty low spec system for that and still have an ok experience. So maybe they find this worth it in trade for a longer battery life. Remember the reason we get long batteries these days is not because they've increased in storage a ton, but because we do better with low power states.

      Remember that the low end keeps getting better, whereas the target they are trying to reach largely stays the same. The needs for office productivity work haven't really grown in a long time, but computer power has. That makes it an easier target to reach. We even saw this with desktops: Around the Core 2 days desktops stopped sucking. What I mean is that back in the day, even when you got a brand new computer it still sucked. The fastest 486 out there was still slow as dogshit for normal work. Booting up an OS with GUI took minutes, printing out a document took 100% of the computer's power. So every upgrade was noticeable better but regular work. However around about the Core 2 that stopped being true. They were "fast enough". Newer ones were faster and that was nice, but not so much that you'd notice or care a ton.

      Plus don't underestimate the worship of the Cult of Thin(tm) these days. This should be very low power compared to a normal laptop, and thus something they can potentially slim down to stupid proportions. That alone is a selling point to some people.

      Not saying I'll buy one, but I understand my standards for computers are much higher than many people's.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      doing "binary translation" of x86 calls into ARM. And I'm supposed to be excited?

      Yes. Watch a demo [youtube.com] of x86 emulation. It works well.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Benchmarks and old Atom CPUs are a poor comparison. Benchmarks measure raw compute power, and the old Atoms were single or dual core at best. The Snapdragon 835 has 8 cores to start with, and most application performance is still either I/O bound or can be hidden by processing on background threads.

      For most applications this will be an excellent trade-off of very slightly lower performance in a few, largely irrelevant areas in exchange for much improved battery life and/or reduced weight.

  • As proprietary as Qualcomm stuff has been, will it run something more than what Microsoft intends?

    • I think it's more reasonable to ask how hard they're willing to work to try to stop it.

    • by DrYak ( 748999 )

      Regarding DRM ?
      Yes.

      SecureBoot has been since long worked around. Most distributions use signed shim (signed with the official Microsoft keys) which can then in turn whatever they want (UEFI SecureBoot -> shim -> grub -> Linux or whatever else you picked from grub's menu).

      Drivers ?
      Meh...

      You'll probably be stuck with some old 3.xx kernel version that Qualcom provides to manufacturer of smartphones that use the same chipset.
      and/or
      You'll need to use libhybris to get the drivers (normally designed by Qu

  • Finally, my dream of having a laptop loaded with apps is coming true!

    Gone are those days of being productive with actual software and reasonably powerful processors.

  • Even before your self-driving Lyft car left the curb, it knew you were;

    - headed home
    - would stop on the way to pick up the makings for dinner

    and it booked a charger at the grocery for 15 minutes to top off. Your 'phone' was charging wirelessly the moment you touched the car door handle.

    When it could calculate arrival accurately, Lyft notified your net, and things started...

    - A/C came on, high speed first to rapid cool.
    - No oven, you bought a steak.
    - Downloading today's viewing package; old Babylon Five epis

  • But will it run OpenOffice? Firefox portable? Neh heh.

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