Microsoft, Qualcomm unveil world's first 'Always Connected' PCs from Asus and HP


Qualcomm referred to the machines as "Always Connected", to drive the idea of a laptop that does not have to depend on nearby WiFi to be able to browse the Web.

In case you thought that the above sentence was a typo, it's not. HP's Envy X2 and Asus' NovaGo convertibles are both based around a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip, up to 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, and with the pair offering a minimum of 20 hours of active-use battery life - the key selling point over similar devices running on Intel's mobile processors.

Currently, Windows on Snapdragon devices all look to be some type of 2-in-1, whether its something with a 360-degree rotating hinge like the 33cm Asus NovaGo, or a Surface Pro-like detachable such as HP's Envy x2. What sets them apart would be the version of Windows 10 and the accompanying processor by Qualcomm that powers the device.

The Envy x2 is also powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset which is coupled with 8GB RAM and support for up to 256GB storage.

"ASUS NovaGo is a convertible laptop with leading Gigabit LTE connectivity and battery life that revolutionises what the personal PC can be for consumers", Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Technologies Inc, said in a statement.

The Asus NovaGo has a 13.3-inch full-HD display while the HP Envy x2 incorporates a smaller 12.3-inch WUXGA+ display that makes it better to use as a tablet.

Both devices will, the companies have confirmed, launch with the restricted Windows 10 S and run only software available from the Windows Store. It too has support for a stylus as well.

Asus had not revealed much about the pricing - the 4G RAM and 64GB storage model will cost $499, while the 8GB RAM and 256GB storage model will cost $799. That brings us to now, where nearly another full year after that initial statement, we finally have some real Snapdragon-based systems running Windows to talk about.

Now running a fully-fledged edition of Microsoft Windows on an ARM environment is a tad hard because apps just aren't coded or optimized to work on them like that. More details will be shared by Microsoft in the coming weeks. Unless you dive into the task manager or take a peek as the system info, it's pretty hard to differentiate between Windows 10 running on Snapdragon and Windows 10 running on x86. The NovaGo can runs on Microsoft Windows 10 S which can bring new features like Windows Ink, Windows Hello, and Cortana. This means that all Windows processes and the shell itself will run on the hardware without need for a separate emulator. The hope is that by broadening the platform to makers of mobile devices, Windows on ARM-based chips will lead to cheaper, more accessible systems than the standard laptops we have now. Additionally, the emulation technology does not emulate applications that require kernel-mode drivers (e.g. some anti-virus applications).

This is the third model which is always connected to the computer or laptop known as the "Always Connected PC" is in the range which can work for the gadget. In this week's announcement, Microsoft indicated that these new Snapdragon ARM-based devices can run "a new optimized version of Office 365".