back to article Qualcomm names its Windows 10 ARM PC partners

Qualcomm has named HP, Asus and Lenovo as its first partners to sell ARM-based Windows 10 PCs. The chipmaker says the three vendors will be making PCs that will sport its Snapdragon 835 SoC (system-on-chip) and its X16 LTE chipset for wireless broadband connectivity. Qualcomm says all of the models will be fanless and will …

  1. gypsythief
    FAIL

    Stop me if this sounds familiar...

    Windows, running on ARM devices; all day battery life, full Windows App eco-system support. Sounds familiar. But where have I heard of it before...

    Let me think, it's on the tip of my tongue... nearly got it...

    Oh yes! Windows RT! That was it!

    And look where that ended up. I got burned by it first time around. It's going to take several years of success for this new attempt before I stray too far from x86 again where Windows is concerned.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

      MS has a history of "supporting" non-x86 CPUs then burning its customers (Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC, Itanium, ARM) so I would be suspicious.

      Having said that, this time round the chip should have native x68 support for traditional windows software. Remains to be seen just how compatible that turns out to be, of course...

      1. Dwarf Silver badge

        Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

        x68 - so I take it that its nearly compatible with x86 or its more relevant flavour of the last decade or so - amd64

        Microsoft definitely won't be getting any of my money though - too many cluster fsck's in recent technology and I've permanently moved on to better technologies.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

        "native x68 support"

        Does this mean AmigaOS support with proper pre-emptive multitasking? Will Fat Agnus be involved? WIll we need a KickStart(er) to get it off the ground?

        1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

          Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

          ROM towers may or may not be involved.

      3. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

        "MS has a history of "supporting" non-x86 CPUs then burning its customers (Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC, Itanium, ARM) so I would be suspicious."

        MS cut the support early for the first three as they probably didn't get too much interest for those ports. I sure as hell wouldn't have bought a rather expensive MIPS/PPC/Alpha system to run NT back then (20+ years ago), when the commodity (and cheap) 486s and Pentiums did the job well enough.

        MS dropped Windows RT because of poor sales. They burned almost a $900M on the debacle, and since there were very few customers for it why would they burn untold man-hours to port Windows 10? Windows RT still gets security updates for years to come, AFAIK.

        Itanium support lasted until 2008 R2 Server, RHEL dropped support around same time.

        I'm sure there are a lot better examples of abysmal MS support than the NT era systems or Windows on Itanium/ARM. I'd start with the different Windows Phone versions.

      4. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

        In all fairness ed hat dropped Itanium first.

    2. davidp231

      Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

      Difference is, there's going to be an x86 abstraction layer so it can run normal stuff - which RT didn't have.

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/12/microsofts_windows_10_armtwist_comes_closer_with_first_demonstration/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

        And it involves Microsoft, where pretty much everything sucks these days.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop me if this sounds familiar...

      "Oh yes! Windows RT! That was it!"

      This version runs all X86 applications though. So as far as consumers will be concerned it's just "Windows" but with support for different hardware.

      I hope someone hacks it so we can install it on other hardware and upgrade the various Android flavours to Windows.

  2. YourNameHere

    All day x86 is already here

    In looking for laptops for my daughter I see numerous laptops that already go 8-12 hours. So what is this going to buy me now?

    To me it seems that over the last several years/generations Intel has become more power aware and has reduced power their power to 5-15 watts for laptops and when you look at a high end ARM processor they now go up to 10-15 watts. So whats the difference other than one runs x86 naively and will run all of my apps and the other one will not...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: All day x86 is already here

      From the article, thinner, lighter, inferring a maybe smaller battery to get those savings but still running all day. Probably still not a good idea to run a 3D ray traced render on the battery though. Or a Windows Update.

    2. Ciaran McHale

      Re: All day x86 is already here

      According to a news article (http://www.zdnet.com/article/computex-2017-always-connected-pc-sounds-great-but-well-have-to-wait/), these ARM-powered machines will: (1) have motherboards about 30% smaller than those in Intel-powered machines (due to the Snapdragon 835 being a system on a chip), so manufacturers can make smaller/slimmer devices or fit more components into a device; (2) have about 50% better battery life than comparable Intel-powered machines (because apparently "the Snapdragon 835 only draws around 3 to 5 watts") and "should last four- to five-times longer on standby."; and (3) "should perform at roughly the same level as laptops with Core m3 or fan-less implementations of Core i5". Whether or not such hype pans out in reality is anyone's guess.

      I'm assuming that the Snapdragon 835 will be considerably cheaper than an Intel CPU, so this *might* result in cheaper laptops. But then again, it might just result in higher profitability for the laptop manufacturers.

  3. joma0711

    But will it...

    ...run Linux?

    (Excuse the obvious comment)

    1. kryptylomese

      Re: But will it...

      But it will...

      ...run Linux!

      (and run be more performant, secure, easier to update, patch without rebooting)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But will it...

        "(and run be more performant, secure, easier to update, patch without rebooting)"

        If it runs Linux, then no. You will have lower performance on the same hardware - The latest Windows 10 beats desktop Linux on benchmarks. You will still have way more security vulnerabilities and patches to assess / install than for windows. It will still be a lot harder to selectively manage them. And you will still have to reboot for kernel updates.

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: But will it...

      It would be nice surprise if it did not have locked down UEFI to stop booting anything other than Windows, as I can't see why Linux wouldn't run just fine on that hardware.

      I'm not holding out much hope for that to be the case.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But will it...

        "locked down UEFI to stop booting anything other than Windows"

        I'm pretty sure they can still pay Microsoft to sign a boot loader.

  4. Philippe

    Willing to give it a go

    Windows RT was limited to the Store, could not join a domain, and could not run .exe files.

    This thing can do all of the above, includes LTE and a longer battery life.

    Asus builds quality kit at a decent price, so I might just give it a go.

    What's the worst that can happen?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the worst that can happen?

      How about driver problems?

      I remember when Win10 was first released to x86, and for at least 1 year after its release (maybe still the case for some?) there was a chance that your drivers could randomly stop working due to faulty updates. Some people lost the use of their webcams, others couldn't use network cards, and the most unlucky were treated to BSODs. But my personal favorite was the one time my company's Hyper-V cluster went hard down, simply because a "security" update was mislabeled and actually included a driver update for DFS, which caused the cluster storage to become inaccessible.

      Sorry but Microsoft has a horrible history with drivers, and they can't even make a stable stack for x86.

      At least with Linux you can pick a computer with open source driver support, and it's near guaranteed to work on all major distributions. And if you have a device or peripheral that worked on an x86 Linux PC, it's probably going to work fine in ARM as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Willing to give it a go

      The hardware might be willing but I suspect that MS will want Windows 10S to be the main OS for these.

      Store apps only, Edge the only browser and Bing the only search engine.

      Its all about the lock in baby. Then the montly license fee will kick in.

      Deep joy. I'm so glad that I've cut the cord and dumped windows.

  5. Christian Berger Silver badge

    They don't understand what made the PC so attractive

    It was the common hardware platform which was easy to clone and extend without sacrificing basic compatibility that made the PC so important.

    Once SoC manufacturers create a common ARM-platform, they will conquer the PC business. However that's unlikely to happen, as vendor lock-in is more important to them than setting a few million more chips.

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