Intel is showing off a number of concept devices, prototypes, and reference designs at Computex this week, including the Tiger Rapids dual-screen concept that’s paving the way for devices like the upcoming Lenovo Yoga Book 2 and Asus Project Precog.

But Notebook Italia also got details about a 2-year-old prototype that Intel calls a “Pocket PC,” a name which should ring a bell for folks who have been following the handheld computing space since before smartphones were a thing.

Intel’s prototype is basically a phone-sized Windows tablet with a Kaby Lake-Y processor and support for running full-fledged desktop apps when connected to a desktop docking station.

Unlike the Microsoft Lumia 950, HP Elite x3, and a handful of other smartphones that offer a desktop-like experience thanks to Microsoft’s Continuum for Phone software, the Intel Pocket PC would have been capable of running the full desktop version of Windows rather than a stripped-down version. That’s thanks to the x86 processor and support for Windows 10 instead of an ARM chip and support for Windows 10 Mobile.

Of course, now that there’s a new version of Windows 10 that can run on ARM and which supports many x86 apps thanks to emulation, you might not need an Intel processor to build a phone that blurs the lines between a mobile device and a desktop computer.

So it’s anybody’s guess whether Microsoft’s Surface Phone, if it actually exists, will feature an ARM chip or an Intel processor.

The fact that Intel’s Pocket PC prototype is 2 years old and we haven’t seen any devices based on the design yet may be an indication that device makers aren’t enamored with the concept. Or maybe they’re just waiting for Intel’s next-gen Core Y-series chips, which should be available later this year.

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22 replies on “Intel “Pocket PC” prototype is a phone-sized Windows tablet with Kaby Lake-Y”

  1. Since it has an x86, perhaps one could run different operating systems on it?

  2. Everything I would buy is not released: Surface Mini with 4:3 display, Intel Pocket PC…

  3. Amazing that this ‘idea’ which some of us have pined for for something like 8 years now, go this close and never made it to production.

    One wonders what the real politics behind that decision were, and whether Microsoft had a hand in it.

    1. It’s not politics, it’s basic economics. “Some of us” is not big enough a market to justify the investment.

      1. Right, this is definitely the “invisible hand” and not regulation. Like I don’t even understand Apple’s market success… but hey, when the hand moves, the market has spoken. I personally am quite happy with my under-powered, full Windows mini PCs and tablets… and it’s sad to see that going away because you can do so much with a full Windows PC.

  4. Wow, it was fanless too. Too bad no vendor ended up adopting it. I’m guessing a production version would have cost a lot where even some UMPC fans would have been hesitant to buy it.

  5. omg!

    We’ve been asking for this ‘pocket pc’ type device from any manufacturer for like 8 years now?

    There’s a prototype for 2 years and nothing in the market?

    All I have to say is wtf and I doubt the ARM version will be anywhere near as useful. I’d love to know who killed this project so I can send them a mean email!

  6. If this had built-in LTE and a keyboard+mouse attachment (even a very cramped one), I would have bought it.

  7. This just makes me more and more excited for Purism’s Librem 5! Can’t wait…not too many months away.

    1. Serious question. Why would an Intel UMPC concept/reference design from a couple years ago that OEMs didn’t adopt make you more excited for the Librem 5 smartphone?

      1. The Librem does what this was designed to do: provide a desktop class experience without the identity driven, privacy harming,ad supported experience of today’s phone OS products.

        I get that some people like ‘personalization’ and don’t concern themselves overly much with privacy or the ad-supported internet, but some of us do not want it, do not care for it, and fight against it.

        1. By desktop class, are you saying you could run desktop applications while mobile or only when “docked” (ie. connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse)?

        2. “identity driven, privacy harming,ad supported”
          Have you ever used Windows 10? It’s almost impossible to use some services without a live365/outlook account, there’s telemetry *up the wazzoo* and it has targeted ads *in the start menu*!!!
          And you complain about phone OSes? Hmm.. you be shillin’.

          1. @BoBBy

            bbkm saying that the Librem 5 doesn’t have any of that. bbkm is not talking about Windows.

          2. Oh yeah, sorry, my bad 🙂
            I’ve just heard those arguments so many times I immediately thought it was a mis-informed anti-Android pro-Microsoft rant. The Librem 5 of course runs GNU Linux.

  8. With VNC I have my entire Windows PC on my phone. Not sure what the pocket pc is really for.

    1. I agree, it’s all comeback down to your personal approach. What do you want carry with you? 😉 Is it just a phone? What if the data transfer cost and cost of connectivity is extra high? I think there’s one company that’s going to somewhat right direction especially with the platform they’re making most of the experiments just now; chrome os. First Android apps, now Linux. Think there is something coming to their mobile os soon, since the hw is not the limitation anymore.

      1. At the times Asus launched their x86 Android phones I was wondering why they didn’t release a bios or a capable bootloader(aka dualboot like some Android tablets). 😉 I would guess so called Windows hackers and Linux opensource geeks would have got too much out off it or it was just against some big corp in the background policies. 😀

        1. I had a tablet with that processor and it was awful when running Windows.

    2. This device would have been absolutely *amazing*… in 2010.

      But yeah, it doesn’t do anything today that my existing devices don’t already do. The biggest shortcomings that make me say “I wish I had x86 in my pocket” have all largely been addressed in recent years. I wish them luck on it, but more than anything I wish this device had come out years ago.

  9. Back in 2015 in MS Local Office I was askin why continuum, wheres x86 Nokia phone? There was already 7″ chinese 100€ tablets, plenty of them but ms just could not integrite a modem to x86 hw and add the phone UI. That was a death punch.

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