Intel Announces 5G-Connected Windows 10 PCs Coming Next Year

Posted on February 22, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Hardware, Windows, Windows 10 with 24 Comments

The launch of Always Connected PCs powered by Windows 10 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ARM processors was a serious threat to Intel’s chip business. Not too long ago, the company launched its own Always Connected PCs powered by its classic Core processors and XMM modems.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Intel is taking things a step further with the announcement of new 5G-connected Windows 10 PCs. The chip maker is partnering with Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, and HP to bring 5G connectivity to Windows 10 PCs. The mention of Microsoft here is particularly interesting, as it could be hinting at a potential new Surface Pro with 5G connectivity capabilities. Either way, these “high performing 5G-connected” PCs powered by the company’s XMM 8000 series of commercial 5G modems will be available in the second half of next year.

Intel is showing off a prototype 2-in-1 detachable device powered by an early version of its 5G modem and its 8th gen Core i5 processors at MWC. The company is betting big on these 5G-connected PCs, though details are arguably scarce at the moment. “5G is not just another generation of wireless connectivity. It promises new opportunities for technology innovation across the computing and connectivity landscape from the cloud, to the network and the client,” the company said in a press release.

Battery life will be a crucial factor for these new 5G-connected Windows 10 PCs. Most Always Connected PCs are capable of providing up to 20 hours of battery life thanks to Qualcomm’s ARM processors and Windows 10 S, and it will be interesting to see how these upcoming 5G-connected PCs stack up against them. By the time these new PCs launch, though, Qualcomm and its partners could introduce next-gen Always Connected PCs powered by the new Snapdragon 845 processor with improved performance and battery life. The fight for the next-gen of PCs has started, and it’s about to get a lot more interesting.

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Intel Announces 5G-Connected Windows 10 PCs Coming Next Year”

  1. Tony Barrett

    I'm still not sold on this. MS are making a big deal about being 'always on, always connected', but this does mean people are going to have to buy extra 'mobile' data contracts for these devices, and often those are capped. This would be on top of the one most people are paying for on their smartphone. Do MS really expect people to spend another large amount of cash on their Windows ARM device? 5G prices are going to be astronomical as well when they launch, with barely any infrastructure to handle it. I assume as well that these Windows 10/ARM devices will also have/require SIM slots?

    • shameermulji

      In reply to ghostrider:

      "but this does mean people are going to have to buy extra 'mobile' data contracts for these devices,"

      Of course.

    • MutualCore

      In reply to ghostrider:

      People have been buying extra data plans for iPad LTE for years. There is a market, albeit niche.

      • Stooks

        In reply to MutualCore:

        At my company 300 or so sales people all use LTE iPad's. In fact we just started a refresh for them this week. Replacing 4 year old models with the new 10.5 Pro version with LTE. They have iPhones as well.

        They got rid of their Windows laptops when they got the first round of iPad's 4 years ago.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to ghostrider:

      I think as 5G rolls out, we may see caps come off and a shift to 5G as our main internet connection. 5G has new tech that allows data sipping. So there is talk of 5G enabled thermostats, fridges, cars, TVs, etc. So imagine buying an Xbox with 5G data built in and a dataplan that gives you ten connections with unlimited data for a set price and then you can add extra connections as well. Most expect the data prices to drop over time.

      • Roger Ramjet

        In reply to jrickel96:

        Yeah exactly. I don't know the details, but these look like bets on a potential technological inflection, but many comments see only the rear view mirror, not forward. If 5G (or any other tech, say "4G enhanced") leads to data becoming cheap and widely available through wireless, you are going to see a radical new marketplace for endpoint tech gadgets. If these techs allow the consumer to cut the cord enmasse on cable/fiber modem as the primary source of broadband internet access, the humble PC benefits greatly because it is probably still the most natural device to become the new gateway to everything else (a sort of there and back again on Bill Gate's dreams). This may be what both Intel & Qualcomm are angling for here. To play out not tomorrow, but over say 5 years. And btw, I understand even now data plans are not so bad elsewhere in the world (Europe specifically), so it should not be assumed that the present telecomm pricing barriers to wide usage of LTE here are universal.

    • onetokeep

      In reply to ghostrider:

      If I understand correctly, they will not need sim slots but will use Esims - at least I think so! For me the Always Connected aspect of Windows on Arm devices is the least attractive prospect. I am more tempted by the superior battery life and instant-on capabilities. Hopefully these aspects will be stressed in any marketing as I tend to agree that persuading people that they need 4G (and 5G in future) connectivity will be a hard sell other than for the small percentage of users that genuinely have a need to regularly use devices out in the field.

  2. PeteB

    So much for windows on ARM.


  3. MutualCore

    Intel can not make chips that sip the battery like Qualcomm does. I predict Intel 'connected' PCs are dead on arrival due to horrifically bad battery life.

    • Stooks

      In reply to MutualCore:


      My 15inch MacBook Pro goes all work day and then some. Let's call it 8-10 hours. I was at a remote site today in a computer for 8 hours, used my MacBook the entire time. I never plugged it in. I got home and plugged it in and it said 42%. It is i7 with 4 real cores plus hyper threading. Hardly the battery sipping U versions that are dual core. Plus is has dual graphics, Intel and AMD. I doubt what I was doing today ever kicked the faster GPU into play.

      Throw in a the lower power dual core type U type CPU's with Intel graphics and this new modem and push out battery life to 15+ hours.

      I would gladly use a 12-15 hour battery life always on Intel computer that NEVER has to use emulation and can run any Windows software vs a 20 hour (let see some tests) ARM based computer that has NO native software and can run only some 32bit Windows software in emulation mode....aka slow mode.

      • Waethorn

        In reply to Stooks:

        All of the Core i5 8000-series mobile chips are quad-core with Hyperthreading - even the U models. There is only one i3 series mobile chip so far, and it isn't quad-core, but it does include Hyperthreading.

    • skane2600

      In reply to MutualCore:

      Certainly the high-end Qualcomm CPUs that will be used in Windows "always on" PCs aren't going to be low power as much as the average ARM device.

  4. red.radar

    Outside of some business / enterprise applications. As a consumer I don't get this always connected windows push. Unless microsoft if paying for the access fees I can't imagine why any consumer would add their PC to their cell phone bill for 20 bucks a month.

    How is this different from when OEMs offered LTE modems in PC devices?

    What am I missing? wouldn't I just flip my hot-spot functionality on my phone on?

  5. maethorechannen

    The launch of Always Connected PCs powered by Windows 10 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ARM processors was a serious threat to Intel’s chip business.

    If the prices I've seen floating around the internet are true then it's not a threat. For USD 999 I don't want to even think about compatibility issues.

  6. StevenLayton

    Partnering with Microsoft? 5G connectivity? SURFACE PHONE!!


  7. skane2600

    "Most Always Connected PCs are capable of providing up to 20 hours of battery life"

    Why don't we wait until these PCs are actually in production and available before repeating the marketing claims?

    I don't know if there's really a big market for these kind of devices but I suspect that real Windows might be more of a selling point than a few extra hours of battery life (if in fact the ARM devices actually deliver).

    • MutualCore

      In reply to skane2600:

      Believe me, if these Intel-powered 'Always Connected' PCs can actually deliver the full Windows(not gimped WoA) with 20 hours battery life that would be f-en amazing. Don't count on it. Since when has an Intel marketing claim ever held up?

  8. kingami

    What's the point!!

    You're only going to get 5G if your provider supports 5G in the city you live in. Most cities don't even have 4G yet even though your phone may say 4G on the screen you're not actually getting 4G. Only a small number of the largest cities are actually getting 4G service.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to kingami:

      T-Mobile says the nation will be covered with 5G by 2020. They have the spectrum to do it. Their spectrum also allows them to cover remote regions because they invested in lower frequency. They are the only company with the spectrum to cover every inch of the US - including Alaska and Hawaii.