back to article Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

Qualcomm conquered the high-end smartphone world with its top-end Arm-compatible Snapdragon chips powering more than 120 smart mobes models globally. Now it's got a new quarry in its sights: the Windows 10 PC, and the x86 processors that typically power them. And also crappy Wi-Fi networks. Qualcomm wants to take smartphone- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are the chances that these won't come with an ME and that the cellular antenna and wifi will be fully controllable by those who purchase one?

    1. diodesign Silver badge

      They'll have the usual ARM TrustZone gubbins...

      C.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Trade one bad for another?

      Though possibly only on the OS level I'd expect them to not follow wifi preferences in the same way iOS and Android can snoop on things.

      It seems too tempting to the manufacturers.

  2. ma1010 Silver badge
    Stop

    No, thanks

    And it will do it fairly slowly...so you'll want to grab universal apps from the Windows Store that run natively on ARM.

    Ay, there's the rub! Buy all your software - again. And you'll be doing it forever because Office 365 is "SAAS." They've got this "rent, never sell" in their heads, and it will never go away. But I'm not interested in playing that game - or paying endlessly for software.

    1. nijam

      Re: No, thanks

      > They've got this "rent, never sell" in their heads, and it will never go away.

      Oh, the irony.

  3. Martin 47

    It’s a bit cold here in the northern hemisphere on earth at the moment, I wonder what the weather is like on whatever planet the people who come up with these ‘great’ ideas live on?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      What planet are QC on?

      Well, QC are AFAIK, based in San Diego which is almost as far south in Southern California you can get.

      Most of CA is so divorced from the real world that is scares me almost as much as the current POTUS.

  4. Joe Werner

    Battery life and form factor are welcome

    But when traveling internationally (by plane) a lot I don't want the cell phone data connection and I want a decent hard disk (500 GB, at least) for work related data. No, lugging around an external HD is not my preferred solution. No, there are not enough power outlets at most airports.

    I find it intriguing, and hope Linux runs better on this thing than on my ASUS transformer...

    1. JustJasonThings

      Re: Battery life and form factor are welcome

      So buy a laptop. Just because a product doesn't fit specifically for you, doesn't mean it isn't a fit for anybody.

      1. Joe Werner

        Re: Battery life and form factor are welcome

        I would buy a laptop - it's just that they are too big and the battery is shite. The Samsung netbook I had was a perfect match, small enough to work on it while on the train or plane, full day battery life, enough storage, parts could be replaced (keyboard, battery, RAM upgrade). They just don't make them anymore...

    2. PeterM42
      Meh

      Re: Battery life and form factor are welcome

      As long as you have one (or 2) MicroSD card slots, a 256Gb (or 2) MicroSD cards should help with the offline storage problem.

      One thing seems missing? - the opportunity to switch over to Android so that the contents of the Google app store are available.

      1. Boothy

        Re: Battery life and form factor are welcome

        Quote: 'One thing seems missing? - the opportunity to switch over to Android so that the contents of the Google app store are available.'

        Modern Chromebooks now have access to Android apps (although sometimes only in the beta channel atm), and some older models are gradually having this rolled to (dependant on device capability).

    3. wayward4now
      Linux

      Re: Battery life and form factor are welcome

      "I find it intriguing, and hope Linux runs better on this thing than on my ASUS transformer..."

      You beat me to it...

  5. Snorlax Silver badge

    So...

    Is this gonna be like Windows RT all over again, with zero apps except for Office and Skype?

    1. Zakhar

      Re: So...

      Exactly, it went so well with RT, they want to do it again.

      And that will be a lot of fun when the device reboots in the middle of phone call because it decides by its own will (or M$ will) that it has to do an update right now, and that it can't wait for another minute you finish your conversation.

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: So...

        "Exactly, it went so well with RT, they want to do it again."

        I suspect they're going to keep doing it again, and again, and again, in the hope that the idea will eventually take hold. Because: The idea of recurring £££ (or $$$ depending which side of the puddle you're on) for software and services on the SaaS model is a little too attractive to them.

        Sod that.

        Also sod: the crappy keyboard these things will come with.

        Not to mention Windows 10.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: So...

      No, no!

      This new device will emulate the x86 so all those Windows-specific malware you know and love will also run. Slower, but still there...

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: So...

        > This new device will emulate the x86

        Only 32bit, not x86-64, and who does that any more ?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Running ARM gives you two times battery life. Except when running x86 code, it has to do three times as much work for each CPU instruction it's emulating. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

    Buying one of these you'd also be betting that Microsoft doesn't abandon Windows-10-on-ARM, like it abandoned Windows RT.

    And if you want a good choice of apps which run at full speed, you'll almost certainly prefer an iPad or a Surface.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      " if you want a good choice of apps which run at full speed, you'll almost certainly prefer an iPad or a Surface"

      An iPad or surface is likely to cost 2-3 times as much, though. This is aimed at a very specific type of consumer ("consumer" both in capitalist sense and also in an Internet/ media sense), and, dare I say, very far from the type of usage that the typical Reg reader will require.

      Just because it won't work for you doesn't mean its a terrible idea

      1. nijam

        > Just because it won't work for you doesn't mean its a terrible idea.

        Just because it will work for some non-techies doesn't mean it's a good idea, either.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        >An iPad or surface is likely to cost 2-3 times as much, though.

        But unless these devices can run applications at least as well as the oldest still supported iPad (currently the iPad Air, released in 2013 and available secondhand for a little over £200), they will effectively be landfill - just like all the budget Win10 tablets today.

        From my experience, my inclination is to go with either an iOS or Android platform as these were developed from the ground up for mobile.

    2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      . Except when running x86 code, it has to do three times as much work for each CPU instruction it's emulating. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

      No, it'll work fine. Emulation will only happen for user-space code. The kernel and all system libraries/DLLs will be ARM-native. For the majority of productivity applications, 90% of time is either spent waiting for user actions, or executing system library functions, so the perceived performance hit will be minimal.

      Now, If you're doing video-coding or protein-folding, or anything that does heavy computation, then sure, you're going to take a serious performance hit, but I think very few people buying laptops at the expected price-point of these devices will expect that kind of performance anyway.

      There's precedent for doing this: When Apple moved its systems from 680x0 to PowerPC back in the 1990s, this was exactly how they managed the transition, and for productivity apps, the performance was good enough that you usually couldn't tell a native PPC app (or "fat-binary", one with both 680x0 and PPC code resources) from a 68k one without looking at the resource fork.

      Actually, this is likely to be a better experience, as Apple's percentage of PPC code in System 7.x was barely 50% at launch of the first PPC systems. Successive system releases eventually got MacOS up to 100% PPC code, but it took a couple of years (68k MacOS was built in what I would politely describe as "its own special way" and that did include injecting pre-assembled 68k binary code in a couple of places; plus there were some instances of self-modifying code in the OS too for performance reasons).

      Microsoft has pretty much all of Windows plus its DLLs as ARM code already. What people refer to as "Windows Phone 10" is basically Windows on ARM without win32.dll, but win32.dll also exists in an ARM build, as this was how they got Office to run on the original Surface RT, despite it not being a "Metro/Modern" app.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > When Apple moved its systems from 680x0 to PowerPC back in the 1990s

        Yes, but the PowerPC was several times the performance of any 680x0.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Despite a >2x clock-speed advantage, the first 601 systems only had about 1.5 x the real performance of the 68040/40 it replaced; native code versus native code. Still a considerable jump, but not the "multiple times" that Apple touted. Benchmarks tended to favour the 601 as they could run within the generous 32k L1 instruction/data cache, but real applications running under an operating system never came close to that theoretical speed. Add the effort of emulating over half of the code within the OS, and the performance benefits of PowerPC really looked questionable: Bottom-left of the linked page here shows a benchmark of the 601 Macs against the 68040 Quadra line. Even allowing for an emulation penalty of over 50%, it's not pretty: https://archive.org/stream/MacWorld_9405_May_1994#page/n95/mode/2up

          Basically, Apple's customers bought the 601 series on a promise of future performance, but it was one that Apple never delivered, and I think it was the root of the problems that nearly closed the company later in the 1990s. 604 and then 740/"G3" were the CPUs that eventually came good and showed the potential of PowerPC, but by then most people had moved to Pentium-powered Windows 95 desktops. "Fool me once..."

          Coming back to Snapdragon, based on mobile benchmarks, the 835 is about 20% faster at integer workloads than the ~2Mhz Intel Core-m3 chips that are commonly used at this price-point. However, that might be understating the ARM chip's real performance potential: a processor running in a phone has a much more restricted TDP performance envelope - especially if the handset is water (and thus air) sealed. Give an 835 access to a bigger battery and the same cooling and ventilation as a laptop has, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it handily outperform the m3.

          There should be enough extra processing power to cover the emulation overhead, especially as a lot has happened in this field since 1994. The advent of Java with its bytecode runtime later in the mid-1990s spurred on major improvements in CPU emulation techniques. By the time Apple changed ISAs again in 2004, there wasn't the same gap between "PowerPC" and "native Intel" code, and what gap there was was much less relevant because, this time, Apple shipped a 100% native-x86 OS with their new Intel systems. Microsoft is in that position too - there's a 100% native ARM build of Windows.

    3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "Running ARM gives you two times battery life"

      I'm not sure. The screen is still the big power consumer. And the OS, graphics processor, modems and comms code must add to that. It's quite possible that only 10% or so of usage would involve x86 emulation, so the effect on power consumption might not be that large.

      However, it's just another layer of complexity for someone to foul up somewhere, which from a security point of view is more worrying.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a rehash of the Atom based tablets and low end notebooks (Linx7 / HP Slate etc) which appeared a few years ago.

    At least those run x86 natively and Windows App Store is still poor / patchy.

    As for tying it in for 3G / 4G / LTE contracts, seems little sense. You overpay for the device and as data isn't as expensive to add onto phones it makes more sense to tether to a mobile device.

    For a standalone data connection a MiFi makes more sense than tying it to one device.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      You overpay

      And you keep overpaying. That's the point.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    Netbooks, sigh

    I know, let's call them "netbooks", this idea can't ever have been tried before...

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Netbooks, sigh

      If the pricetag is anywhere half a grand (sterling), it's not a netbook. IMO

      Netbooks were great. I still use my 2010 Acer Aspire One - Aging Win XP install it came with a long faded memory.

      These sound great. But if locked to Windows (whatever) or even Chrome or Android with patchy updates then forget it.

      I want to be able to put a decent OS like Arch, Void or Slackware on it.

      1. Nattrash
        Happy

        Re: Netbooks, sigh

        Hear, hear... Have a still alive and kicking ZG5 here that just refuses to die. Opened its guts so many times, to pop in a SSD, or give it a "new" RAM, wifi, or USB port (did I mention it has 3? Plus 2 SD slots? And a headphone jack?!) from Fleebay. New battery? Sure, China seems to have loads for silly prices. Crap, left the charger in my hotel room. Have to shell out another £3 to get a new one...

        And the ZG5 receives all humbly. And it just keeps running its up-to-date linux for as long as 32 bits will stay available. The missus loves it as her little Kodi box, and I just can't refuse it as a "let's do a quick dd if=/dev/zero 1st" option when (forced to) travel to dodgy destinations...

        Did I already mention that I love this little box..?

      2. wayward4now
        Linux

        Re: Netbooks, sigh

        "I want to be able to put a decent OS like Arch, Void or Slackware on it."

        I put Ubuntu on mine ...works a charm

  9. Anne-Lise Pasch
    Angel

    I hope all the kids buy one...

    Then they won't have anything good to learn to code on, and I get job security.

  10. wayne 8

    Laptops with built in cell connection have already come and gone.

    A separate hotspot allows a choice of carriers.

    A separate laptop/tablet allows choice of OS other than Windows.

    But then the majority cannot handle choices and buys what they are told to buy.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "A separate hotspot allows a choice of carriers"

      Bit if you don't have a hotspot, no Internet. And if you do have a hotspot, you can connect to that preferentially over mobile data, same as with a phone.

      The only question is does it have a physical or software-defined SIM that can be swapped from carrier to carrier, or is it a fixed hardware SIM that ties you to the carrier? In the latter case I would share your concern

      EDIT: According to this article, they have nano-SIMs, so no concern:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/06/always_connected_snapdragon_pcs/

  11. Sureo

    "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

    Get a life.

    1. kernelpickle

      Re: "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

      Apparently you've never flown over an ocean, or had a delay or layover that's lasted more than a few hours.

      When you've easily got that kind of time to kill, and have a hard time falling asleep on a plane--a device that can play streaming or downloaded content for that long is invaluable!

      1. Justin Case

        Re: "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

        >>Apparently you've never flown over an ocean, or had a delay or layover that's lasted more than a few hours.

        I prefer a non-battery dependent paper based entertainment delivery device instead of sitting there drooling whilst infusing whatever mindless pap comes out of the screen directly into my brain.

        Bookz Rool!

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

          Except (1) they're bulky and take up precious space, and (2) they're not self-limiting which means you have to use the overhead light which inevitably disturbs the passenger next to you.

        2. Randy Hudson

          Re: "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

          > I prefer a non-battery dependent paper based entertainment delivery

          Why is that medium so superior to video/audio? When Gutenberg made books a reality for common folk, I wonder if there were oral storytelling zealots who were just as annoying.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

            "When Gutenberg made books a reality for common folk, I wonder if there were oral storytelling zealots who were just as annoying."

            Actually it was a very long time from Gutenberg to cheap books - roughly 400 years. For most people until well into the 20th century, books required a visit to a library. There's always a lot of people who oppose the democratisation of information because it hits their profit margins, but today a mobile phone that can hold hundreds of books costs no more than the equivalent of a library edition of a paper book in the first half of the 20th century.

            The worry is that the cloud and streaming is being seen as a way to reverse the process and extract more money for looking at stuff.

      2. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: "binge watch TV shows for 12 hours straight"

        "Apparently you've never flown over an ocean"

        Apparently it's a while since you have. Modern planes have entertainment systems with similar content to Netflix or Prime so you can watch what you want when you want and won't run out of movies or shows unless you're delayed by a month or so. Why would I want to drag my own screen on board, and why would I want to subject my seat-neighbor to a screen without a privacy shield and keep them awake? Seriously, try a modern plane, they really are quite good.

  12. FreeRadical

    More crap for the e-waste facilities?

    "These Snapdragon Windows 10 PCs...are not workstations, they are not software development machines...and they are not hefty gaming rigs. They are consumption junctions."

    Great, just what we need. A device built exclusively for using Facebook and Netflix. I don't know about the UK, but data plans for smartphones here in Canada are ridiculously overpriced. The last thing I need is to pay more for the "privilege" <sarcasm> of using Facebook or streaming the 10% of good content available on Netflix. Wifi works just fine for both tasks thank you.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

      "I don't know about the UK, but data plans for smartphones here in Canada are ridiculously overpriced"

      Don't know about UK either, but in Switzerland you can at least get unlimited plans. Still outrageously overpriced, but reliable and good speeds, so if you have one then you don't need a fixed line at all.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

        Don't forget that EU+EEA based operators have to offer free roaming across all member states these days, so not having to rely on shitty hotel wifi (hello, Spain and Sweden) is only a good thing.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

          >Don't forget that EU+EEA based operators have to offer free roaming across all member states these days

          It's not free and what is included in your normal monthly subscription and what additional usage will cost is determined by your plan...

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

            It's not free and what is included in your normal monthly subscription and what additional usage will cost is determined by your plan...

            In my case, absolutely 0 extra, my plan cost 17euro/month.

            1. Boothy

              Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

              For comparison in the UK. One provider, Giffgaff do...

              £7.50 for 1GB a month

              £10 for 3GB a month.

              £18 for 9GB a month.

              £20 for unlimited* data.

              *it throttles speed once you hit 9GB, during the day/peak times.

              All the above are no contract, and full plans, so include calls at ever increasing minutes, and unlimited text messages. There are other plans, but that's a cross section from a minimal to max.

              Other carriers/providers are typically more expensive than Giffgaff (For example O2 charge £18 a month for 1GB, sim only, 30 day contract!).

              Curious as to how this compares with the US, Europe etc?

  13. TheFiddler

    Sounds a lot like most of the reasons I backed the Planet Gemini, only this thing is stuck with Windows and won't fit in my coat pocket. It'll be interesting if you can replace Windows on them with Linux and make them a potentially much more useful machine.

  14. inmypjs Silver badge

    Yawn

    What do you want to do with a weak computer that has no storage and expensive net connection that needs Windows 10 to do it?

    I predict a flop not quite as bad as Windows RT surface things did.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Yawn

      I predict a flop not quite as bad as Windows RT surface things did.

      I doubt this will be as hyped as RT.

      Higher they raise it on the podium hoping fabois and (more importantly to the product future) devs to worship the farther it'll have to fall.

  15. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Hello! Real World here!

    The argument ... is that people hate struggling with Wi-Fi networks - ... – so why not just put 4G/LTE connectivity into the PC and pipe the internet straight into the thing?...some Qualy staffers estimated, an extra $10 a month.

    Why? Because a lot of users in the Real World don't have the luxury of always on, unlimited data wireless plans. $10 a month? Not from any Canadian carrier. There is no way I would ever consider this in Canada - it would bankrupt me in no time. I suspect that a lot of other people are in the same boat.

    Beyond that, The number of places I'm likely to visit that lack wireless coverage is quite a bit larger than the places that don't have WIFI. The one exception to this is local hospitals which still force you onto the horribly expensive Fat Port WIFI.

    I've yet to find anyone who finds it all that difficult to log onto whatever WIFI hotspot is available.

    Hey Silicon Valley: get in your Tesla, drive 500 miles away from San Francisco, and go sign up for a cel phone plan, paid for out of your own pocket.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Hello! Real World here!

      Hey Silicon Valley: get in your Tesla, drive 500 miles away from San Francisco, and go sign up for a cel phone plan, paid for out of your own pocket.

      Aw, they don't need to sign up to a cell phone plan as long as they drive the 500 miles due west! ☺

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Hello! Real World here!

      "Why? Because a lot of users in the Real World don't have the luxury of always on, unlimited data wireless plans. $10 a month? Not from any Canadian carrier."

      Blame Canada then... My paltry unlimited 50Mb/s 4G costs €15,90/month here in real world Finland. No fixed-term contract, I can change operator any time without a penalty. This is due probably because we have 3 cellular operators with pretty good coverage each and healthy competition.

      Is it just North America where cellular (and fixed internet) pricing is pure highway robbery? The population of e.g. Toronto metropolitan area is higher than whole Finland and the population density is also much higher so in theory there should be low burden for the operators to provide good connectivity. Serving 6 million people in relatively small area should provide lot of opportunities for several cellular companies to compete.

      1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

        Re: Hello! Real World here!

        Is it just North America where cellular (and fixed internet) pricing is pure highway robbery?

        Wireless in Canada is controlled by three companies, Bell, Rogers, and Telus (less a handful of tiny outliers, who almost always wind up being bought by the big three). These companies also own the lions share of cable companies, newspapers, TV and radio stations, much of production for both, as well as sundry other things like advertising and magazines. They can and do set prices at whatever the market will bear because for the majority of the population there is no alternative. (Two of them, Bell and Telus, even share the same wireless infrastructure!)

        Back in the day, forty or fifty years ago, phone companies were well regulated by the government to ensure that they didn't use their monopoly position to gouge consumers. They made a healthy profit, but not an obscene one.

        When cel phones became a thing Canada decided that the industry didn't need regulation, that surely competition would protect consumers. Boy, were they wrong. Profits for each are measured in billions.

        Right now I pay $90 a month (about €60). That gets me a moderate amount of airtime, and includes 1 gig of data that costs $25, and voicemail for $5*. There's also a low end phone in there somewhere. Last time I checked extra data was priced at $5 a gig.

        This is the best deal I could get after being a customer for around ten years.

        * the voicemail scam is brilliant. Unless you pay extra you get a voicemail that will only store THREE messages. If you use your phone for business, or in an emergency, you can imagine how useless that is.

  16. DainB Bronze badge

    The reason

    my phone runs 2 days on battery is because it has it's screen turned off 98% of the time.

    I'm not entirely sure I have any use for laptop doing the same.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: The reason

      You might not have any reason, but MS will be able to spy on your PC's activities (e.g. wifi-based location, etc) so much better if you do have an always-on connection.

  17. Tromos

    $10/month data plan

    Should just about be enough to handle the monthly critical patches.

    1. annodomini2
      Devil

      Re: $10/month data plan

      Unfortunately it will try and download them and find there is not enough storage space on the device, crash, reboot and try all over again until the service provider cuts you off for not paying the over inflated bill for going over your download limit.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NN

    The ending of net neutrality could throw a huge spanner in your analysis that the carriers might not play ball. There will be the potential of huge amounts of money sloshing around as bribes to carriers to provide certain classes of data for free to their customers. And MS sure have loads of that. So do Google, which is hardly going to stay neutral and watch its market eaten, and will be spraying its own cash hoarde at the carriers to likewise promote its Chromebooks. Pick a side. The carriers sure will be. Expect a cambrian-explosion like event for mobile phone data plans.

    Or could some disruptive startup deliver free unlimited mesh networking, if introducing these devices could raise some coverage ratio across a critical factor that makes it suddenly feasible to route through nearby devices and always find a way onto the net...

  19. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    done it

    Done it -- I have an ARM Chromebook that I basically never use ChromeOS on -- I run an updated "Chrubuntu" (Chromebook Ubuntu, that I updated -- other than the chromebook kernel and video drivers -- to Ubuntu 16.04). As much aso commentors are poo-pooing it, a system like this is actually quite nice. Mine's basically a Nvidia Tegra K1 in a notebook package. That's a quad-core ARM (with 5th low-power core the system switches to under light usage) and a Nvidia video chip (even supporting CUDA). The performance is quite decent (and I'm pretty sure the Snapdragon's a newer, faster ARM). And, it's nice to not have to worry about topping upt he battery (12 hour battery life under heavy usage, and 18 under lighter usage.) If I'm in a 72-degree room and run the cores full-tilt the hottest spot on the case MIGHT hit 80. Under any normal use the case doesn't seem to heat up at all.

    Of course, I'm running Linux so most software is already ARM-native... whereas Windows has absolutely no tradition of having Windows software for anything but x86. The big trick will be if enough ARM softawre comes out, it'd probably get old to run absolutely everything under emulation. With that said, I do have qemu on there and have run a handful of x86 binaries. Performance under emulation with qemu's not great but is useable in a pinch. I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft didn't have a faster emulator, they did buy Connectix (makers of Virtual PC, which ran x86 software on PowerPC Mac) years ago so they likely do have emulation experts on hand.

    As for pricing -- $10? Yeah right. But, there are plans here int he States where you pay some massive up-front amount (like $80-100) for "unlimited"* but can add lines for $20 a pop. I suppose if I had one of these that's what I'd end up doing, add it for $20 to an existing plan.

    *"unlimited" usually means up to 22GB, then your data is "deprioritized", i.e. if the cell site is not slow you'll get full speed, but if it slows down you'll be slowed down before everyone else.

  20. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Big seller

    These will be very well received by corporate buyers.

  21. Paul

    Hoping these won't be locked down like windows rt v devices were

    Sadly I think these will be locked down like the original Arm Windows RT devices, which will prevent running Linux natively.

    However, maybe, the same Linux shell stuff will be built in to this version of Windows but it will be Arm binaries not x86?

  22. DeeCee

    i like the idea, but it will depend on price. those chips are finally powerful enough for day to day use, hope apple will do same - the only way i would buy anything else from them apart from my phone.

    dont underestimate laziness, yes i have power outlet 1m from my bed, still its a pita to get out from my warm bed and plug whatever device in. also dont forget that cables are always 10cm shorter than needed.

    when i need power i have my pc.

  23. Sil

    Not Chromebooks

    This article is incorrect.

    These PCs are not everything-in the cloud like Chromebooks.

    They are offered with up to 8 GB of RAM, up to 256 GB of flash storage, and many USB ports.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not Chromebooks

      Quote: "They are offered with up to 8 GB of RAM, up to 256 GB of flash storage, and many USB ports.|"

      So, just like a lot of Chromebooks then!

  24. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Add a proper hard drive..

    ..and I might have a flicker of interest. Flash is cheap these days. Offer it with a 256GB drive and not only would I have some interest, but businesses might as well. Putting everything in the cloud is great for fluffy people that use their devices for nothing but Facebook and photo collections. It's not so great for people doing data acquisition, massive spreadsheets, video editing, or numerous other tasks. Or traveling to venues where cell coverage may be spotty or insanely expensive.

    It also makes me sad that while we have more technology than ever before in our lives, that people are less and less technically savvy every year, it seems. People want their devices to 'just work', yes, but not understanding how things work under the hood makes them victims to marketing and whatever data companies want to slurp from them. Also often blind to alternatives such as Open Source software, etc. Once something doesn't work and the Microsoft troubleshooter has been tried, and rebooting didn't fix it, most folks just have a blank look on their faces. This happened with cars some decades ago too--people used to work on their cars. (and not need them to park themselves)

    I guess I'm just a Luddite. All the advances make technology and knowledge more accessible than ever to everyone, and that is wonderful, yet people understand things less and less it seems. You can lookup the Candiru fish in seconds or share cat photos, but people don't bother to try and get a grip on how things they use daily actually work.

  25. circusmole

    Just a thought

    I know little (nothing??) about threads in Windows, but what percentage of time, that the device is in use, will it actually use 8 cores.

    Just curious.

    1. Boothy

      Re: Just a thought

      Depends if they are all active/enabled, as Windows (like any OS) will use as many cores as it can.

      An idle OS, with no apps running will likely have 100+ separate processes running at any one time (drivers, services etc). Each of these will run on any available CPU core.

      Many modern heavy duty apps, now assume multiple cores are available, and so will try to max out all of them if they can, (especially encoding/compression type apps that are easy multithread).

  26. Triumphantape

    Wonderful

    Now if we could only get the telcos to lower prices and truly allow unlimited data without throttling.

  27. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Install Linux and I'll have one! Sounds ample for me, and the battery life and connectivity are on the way to what I've been waiting for so long ...

    On a point of history, I seem to recollect x86 emulation on ARM was available as far back as when I had an Acorn Archimedes in the late 1980s. Thirty years of it!

  28. Arkyn
    Unhappy

    Not convinved

    Joe Belfiore's recent Windows Phone comments haven't done this announcement any favours. Consumers and developers have sworn off Microsoft and I can't imagine those people forgetting being left out to dry after only a few short months!

  29. Cuddles Silver badge

    Where's the third part?

    "Well, now we're looking at laptop-tablet-smartphone hybrids. Forget two-in-ones. These are three-in-ones."

    No, we're really not. Tablets, and indeed laptops, with wireless internet connections have been around for quite a while. The fundamental difference between a phone and a tablet is nothing more than the ability to fit the former in your pocket; everything else that's been done in one has also been done in the other at some point. 3/4G connections are just less common in tablets because people don't like holding them up to their ears to talk to people. A 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid with an internet connection is still just a 2-in-1.

    It's a bit of a shame the marketing department got hold of it, because lightweight, low power tablet-type things with optional keyboard has been the ideal pretty much since laptops were first invented. This seems much more iterative than revolutionary (it basically reads as "We're trying to make the Asus Transformer better"), but it could still be a decent step forward if it goes well.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Where's the third part? @Cuddles

      "No, we're really not. Tablets, and indeed laptops, with wireless internet connections have been around for quite a while."

      Compaq Evo N600 series had a multipurpose slot on the display lid where you could easily attach a Wifi, BT or GPRS module. This was in 2002-2003 or so quite a while indeed...

  30. IGnatius T Foobar
    FAIL

    Microsoft FAIL

    Haven't we already established, over and over again, that ABSOLUTELY NOBODY wants Windows on any non-Intel device.

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