Moving One (Small) Step Closer to 8cx Powered Hardware

Posted on May 27, 2019 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 15 Comments

It was back in December when Qualcomm unveiled the 8cx, a new ARM chip designed for running Windows. Since that announcement, news around the product has been relatively quiet but that is changing today.

This week in Taipei, COMPUTEX is happening which means everyone from Intel to AMD will be making an announcement around products coming later this year. Think of COMPUTEX like CES, but for products that you actually care about, and Lenovo is announcing its new 8cx device that it is calling Project Limitless.

This new device, which you can’t buy and we don’t even know the full-specs or performance characteristics of, is the next generation of the ‘Always Connected PC’. The device is running Windows-on-ARM, supports 5G connectivity, and will have significant performance improvements over the previous generation 835 powered Windows laptops.

The device that Lenovo showed off has an 8cx running at 2.8 GHz with 16GB of RAM and according to Qualcomm, has the performance of roughly Intel’s Core i5-8250U. The device also has ‘multi-day’ battery life but knowing the 835 had somewhere around 14hrs of real-world usage, I would put this device somewhere slightly north of that figure.

The other big draw for this device is that it natively supports 5G connectivity. While 5G networks are only starting to materialize, 5G devices are quickly heading to market with most smartphone manufacturers announcing devices with support for the new networks.

But here’s the bad news, it looks like 8cx devices won’t be arriving anytime soon. According to Lenovo, this hardware won’t ship until early 2020 which means that it is roughly a year away from wide-scale availability. And that seems like a significant blow to the Windows-on-Arm platform as it will take nearly two years to get a significant refresh from the much older 835 devices that are currently available.

Even though we are still many months away from this device hitting the market, the 8cx will provide another option for the consumer and if the battery life claims hold true, a multi-day Windows laptop does sound incredibly appealing.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Moving One (Small) Step Closer to 8cx Powered Hardware”

  1. digiguy

    "a multi-day Windows laptop does sound incredibly appealing."

    For me I would be more than happy with a truly full day battery life, that I could only charge at night with some juice to spare. I have never managed to get 1 full day (12/14+ hours) with one device. And I don't put them under heavy load. However, I use my devices at 300 nits at least, I do quite a lot of multitasking , although rarely CPU intensive tasks for long (no gaming, no video editing). So still waiting fo the truly full day device, that is still quite fast and perfectly silent.

  2. dontbe evil

    nice, good job qualcomm and ms

  3. jimchamplin

    Qualcomm’s glacial R&D will sink the line. Why isn’t Windows running on other ARM chips yet?

  4. proesterchen

    I'm guessing 8cx will still be pronounced 8sucks.

  5. red.radar

    I am not certain I need multi-day battery life and always connected mobility from a workstation OS.

    i am always near a power outlet or WiFi/Ethernet when using windows...

  6. Stooks

    "But here’s the bad news"

    NO NATIVE APPS. That is your bad news. Has the full version of Office been ported to Windows on ARM yet? SSDD as Windows Phone. They need apps, native apps. Emulation sucks. It is still limited to emulating 32 bit only apps?

    • nullref

      In reply to Stooks:

      Complaining here about non-native apps is a waste of bits. If you want native apps on ARM64, complain about it to the developers of the apps you actually use. Most are not going to do it if nobody asks for them for it. And most are not going to be looking through the comments section on Paul's site to see what others are complaining about.

      • Stooks

        In reply to nullref:


        Why even release a ARM version of Windows 10?

        Windows RT/Phone/Mobile...7/8/10 was a failure because developers did NOT come to the party.

        SnapDragon 3920 does not matter to me, if the there are no apps to run on my Shiny Windows 10 ARM.

  7. waethorn

    "has the performance of roughly Intel’s <insert current Core i5 model here>"

    We've heard this all before from Qualcomm....

    Oh and any word on whether the Lenovo will have a real PCIe NVMe SSD, or if they're going with UFS 3.0 for storage? UFS has decent read speeds, similar to PCIe SSD's, but write speeds are pretty weak. Most SATA SSD's can beat them on that spec.

  8. brettscoast

    Thanks Brad good post what a pity it looks as though we are still 12 months or so away from the reality of Windows on ARM

  9. skane2600

    I imagine a multi-day Windows laptop would be a big deal for those very few users who perform most of their computing away from AC power, but if it can't run Win32 programs at native x86/x64 speeds, it's not going to really be viable as a Windows laptop. For the vast majority of users "always connected" and multi-day power are nice to haves but compatibility and reasonable performance are fundamental.

  10. Tony Barrett

    WoA is going to be one big tough uphill climb. If MS are desperate to get Windows into different form factors/architectures, they actually need to do some research first. Nobody has asked for this as far as I'm aware, and again, 'native' apps only will be a big sticking point. I get manufacturers have to experiment, try different things and see what sticks, but a lot doesn't. What I'm hearing for example is that due to the limitations of 5G, it's never going to be as prolific as 3G/4G, and it could be years until it's more generally available.

  11. nickg2017

    Wait didn't Lenovo launch a snapdragon 850 last year.

  12. glenn8878

    This means 8cx isn't widely available yet. New devices take awhile to design and manufacture. Nearly half of 2019 is gone. No one will buy it because there's nothing anyone can use it for except the browser that hopefully Microsoft is working on, which I doubt will be ready until 2020.

  13. wshwe

    Boy, in 2 years time the few that cared about WOA will have forgotten about it.