Qualcomm has announced that the first ARM-based mobile PCs running Windows 10 are on the way.

Asus, HP, and Lenovo are the first device makers to confirm they’re working on ARM-based Windows 10 computers. And according to Qualcomm, all of those upcoming device will be fanless computers.

Microsoft has been working on a version of Windows 10 that can run on ARM chips, and we’ve known for a while that the Snapdragon 835 would be the first to support that operating system. Unlike past attempts to bring Windows to ARM, the version that will run on these upcoming devices supports Win32 apps as well as Universal Windows Platform apps downloaded from the Windows Store.

That’s thanks to emulation technology which allows Qualcomm’s ARM-based chip to run software that’s been compiled for x86 architecture.

Wondering why you’d want to run Windows 10 on an ARM-based PC? At a time when there’s no shortage of small, cheap, fanless tablets and notebooks with Intel chips, that’s a reasonable question.

But Qualcomm says there are a few advantages to its platform. First, the integrated X16 LTE modem enables support for cellular connections at up to Gigabit speeds.

Second, the company says its chips offer up to 50 percent longer battery life than competing solutions… in some scenarios. The difference isn’t all that great when you’re doing things like editing documents. But Qualcomm says it’s chips enable longer run time while web browsing, video conferencing, watching videos, or playing games.

The difference is even greater in standby mode, where Qualcomm says you get smartphone-like standby time in a laptop-style package. Note that Qualcomm is comparing “connected standby,” though, which is a newish thing for laptops, allowing your laptop to sync data, instantly resume, and generally offer smartphone-like features whether you have an Intel or ARM chip.

Third, Qualcomm’s solution may be able to fit into smaller spaces than computers with Intel or AMD chips. While laptop and tablet motherboards are a lot smaller than they used to be, a PC with a Snapdragon 835 processor can essentially have a phone-sized system board, leaving more room in the case for a battery and other components… or just leading to thinner and lighter Windows computers.

Update: Mobile Geeks has posted a demo video of Windows 10 on ARM from Computex, showing a device running a Win32 app downloaded from the internet as well as Windows Store apps.

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9 replies on “Asus, HP, and Lenovo are building Win10 PCs with Snapdragon 835 chips”

  1. Look for this segment to take off if the TSA
    and FAA ban anything bigger than a smartphone
    from being carried on.

  2. A snapdragon 835 is definitely a step above an Intel Atom so I could see these replacing those kinds of systems in the market.

    The x86 emulation looks good enough for most productivity users, these are not gaming machines.

  3. This is back to the future, again. I loved my Surface RT. While it had its limitations, it did everything I needed. My iPad 2 was a failure in comparison.

  4. Hmmm.. I wonder how well the Win32 emulation runs a Android app through an adroid emulator…


    More to the point, having seen a 821 running the ‘lighter’ mobile version of Windows, I’m not sure I buy that the 835 will do all that well. Toys to play with till meaningful improvements in ARM power most likely, or a real platform for a portable Desktop Classs phone sized mobile device…

  5. Low-end laptops currently powered by Atoms and Celerons are going to be switched over to SD pretty fast then, I can’t imagine Intel is very happy with this (yet another thing they need to worry about!).

  6. I really need to see how this would run native x86 code. My guess is that as long as you want to run TotalCommander and Notepad++ you are in the clear, but Photoshop and other heavier apps won’t run in a meaningful speed. Try as you might, emulating x86 on ARM is 10-100 times slower than the real thing. What would make sense is a hybrid CPU that has both ARM and x86 cores.

      1. I’ll believe it when I see it.

        I still think something as weak as a 2.0GHz Cherry Trail (Z8750) will equal/outperform the 2.5GHz QSD 835 when it comes to running x86 applications. And both SoC’s run at an Ultra Low-Power state of 2W TDP as well. So I don’t see why anyone should get a Windows10 device with a QSD 835 instead of a Core M3.

        And remember, there will be Mobile RyZen chips debuting at the same time (2017-2018), so you might as well forgo the Core M3 chips as well… there should be something equivalent yet cheaper coming from AMD’s camp.

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