HP and Asus Reveal Windows 10 Always Connected PCs Powered by Snapdragon 835

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft, Mobile, Windows, Windows 10 with 48 Comments

At the Qualcomm Tech Summit today, Microsoft and Qualcomm are finally showing off the first set of devices powered by Windows on ARM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processors. Microsoft is calling these new type of devices the Always Connected PCs, and they promise to offer up to 20 hours of battery life, instant-on capabilities, and a month of standby.

Right off the bat, Always Connected PCs will ship with Windows 10 S, which means you won’t be able to run full desktop apps like Photoshop and other Win32 apps that aren’t available through the Microsoft Store. You will, however, be able to upgrade these devices to Windows 10 Pro if you want to. This means you will be able to run full desktop apps, thanks to Microsoft’s x86 emulation tech built specifically for Windows on ARM. The performance of Microsoft’s emulation tech remains a big question, so we will just have to wait and see for the time being.

Asus showed off its first-ever Always Connected 2-in-1 device at the stage today. The company’s NovaGo Always Connected 2-in-1 comes with the Snapdragon 835 processor, up to 256GB of storage, up to 8GB of RAM, and a 13.3-inch HD display. It’s the world’s first gigabit LTE laptop because of Snapdragon’s X16 LTE modem.

The device is expected to offer up to 22 hours of video playback, but your mileage will vary, of course. It comes with Windows 10 S out of the box, but you will get free upgrades to Windows 10 Pro until September of next year. NovaGo starts at $599 for the 4GB RAM variant, while the more powerful 8GB RAM variant will come at $799.

HP is also launching its first-ever Always Connected 2-in-1 device today, the Envy x2. The device comes with up to 8GB of RAM, expected to offer up to 20 hours of life, and 256GB of storage like the Asus NovaGo.

Qualcomm is teaming up with some carriers in the United States, including Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile to offer the Asus NovaGo which comes with an eSIM. The company will release the device in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Mainland China and Taiwan as well. Worth noting, Lenovo will be unveiling its Always Connected PC at CES in January.

Paul and Brad are present at the event in Hawaii, so stay tuned for hands-on videos and more pictures of these devices later today. 

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Comments (50)

50 responses to “HP and Asus Reveal Windows 10 Always Connected PCs Powered by Snapdragon 835”

  1. CmdrZod4R

    > free upgrades to Windows 10 Pro


    Sounds good but it still means no updates once Qualcomm doesn't provide SoC support for it anymore and I will have to compile software like PuTTY to use on ARM Windows? If so no thanks, I will stick with the less battery life x86 - I don't need to be anywhere without power for 20 hours.

  2. Waethorn

    Wait....


    What is Google Play doing on that thing?....(~0:16s in)

  3. Jeffery Commaroto

    My thinking is that battery life and performance will take hits if you take it out of Windows 10 S. We will see I guess.


    I am almost always within reach of an electric outlet so I am not the target market.

  4. wshwe

    In the US the big missing carrier will be AT&T. Before jumping in I will wait for the 2nd generation. Hopefully most of the bugs will be fixed by then.

  5. Waethorn

    I'd like to see the kinds of PC's Chinese OEM's will provide with this: possibly Windows + Android dual-boot hybrids.

  6. Waethorn

    "So why did Microsoft’s Terry Myerson get up on stage and claim that the unnamed Always Connected PC that he’s been testing deliver fully one week—one week!—of battery?"


    Connected Standby? It takes battery power to run networking and drive functions while in Standby mode on SoC's. A regular PC can get far longer sleep state when the networking functions are shut off in S3 Standby.

  7. lilmoe

    Looks like AMD is also in with Qualcomm modems. Makes Windows on ARM even less compelling.

  8. Dan1986ist

    Looking at the information specs page for the Asus NovaGo, smallest amount of disk storage offered in that device is 64 gigabits not 32.

  9. jimchamplin

    Are Store-available versions of desktop apps going to run on here using 10 S?


    Also, are we going to see more downmarket devices? A 7” or 8” tablet maybe? I’d happily pay priced equal to an iPad Mini to get a Windows device with similar size.

  10. Ugur

    I don't get the appeal of this to end consumers at all at this price point. If it was priced super low, at 100-400 max (and that in the Euro region, too), i'd see it. sure, you don't get as good performance nor can reliably run all x86 apps, but in return you theoretically get longer battery life and the whole thing at way lower price, that makes sense to me as proposition.

    But at these prices, yeah, why not just buy a lower end Intel chipset and then have as low if not lower price and likely still can run more.

    Regarding the claims of how long it can run playing video, well, that is a super unrealistic scenario, because most people use their laptop when they don't want to just run videos all day, no?

    Has to be tested in real life of course, but I'd expect the actual battery life in real world usage to be way lower when doing anything else than running videos and especially way lower as soon as one runs anything x86 in emulation then (where i'd assume it could even use more battery than an intel chipset running the same app/game without emulation needed).


    So yeah..i'd expect them to have to massively lower the prices of the arm versions of these.

    If they just put them out there without making it very right away clear that out of the box they don't run x86 apps/games and try to sell them as if they were regular windows pcs and then on top charge pretty much the same as for intel based ones, this smells very windows rt marketing by cheating mistake like to me, where then few bought into it and it had a very high rate of people returning the devices they bought once realizing it doesn't run what it was presented as running bay making it seem like regular pcs.


  11. RobertJasiek

    What does ARM and 32b mean for RAM? Are more than 3 or 4 GB recognised? I saw devices with 8GB but why can we use the full RAM? I thought 32b operating systems limit the available RAM.

    Why is there the limitation to 32b? ARM chips can be 64b nowadays. Why does Windows emulation have to be restricted to 32b? Will we see 64b Windows on ARM in a few years and will 32b Windows on ARM be a dead end like RT was?

    I do not believe manufacturer statements on battery life. Real world real use will be decisive.

    I am used to 64b Windows, 64b software and 64b drivers of peripherie. Again temporarily restricting myself to 32b means trouble. Currently, an ARM - Windows device cannot replace an office computer well.

    The real use battery life might come out similar to modest Intel CPUs on mobile devices, which already reach up to ca. 13h for office use indoors (with at most 50% brightness). So it is unclear what ARM - Windows devices would be good for.

    Despite all those questions and objections, competition is good. Especially for one aspect: Intel must be brought to its knees with respect to Management Environment. We need no spyware, especially none enabled by default and always-on. Qualcomm CPUs offers competition and so might motivate Intel to become reasonable again sooner rather than later.

  12. dontbe evil

    glad to see some real pc with arm and not just toys like ipad, android and chrome os

  13. Daekar

    I'm excited about ARM, but the "always connected" angle is NOT how I would market it. Nobody, not even many companies, are going to pay for yet another data plan for these devices given the gouging that carriers engage in. As far as always connected via any other means, we've already got that. I've got a desktop PC with a WiFi card that has been on and connected since the day I built it.


    Battery life and super long standby time are the selling points to me, not the ability to fork out still more money to companies that are famous for screwing consumers.


    EDIT: These are lovely, but I won't be getting one at this price point. Drop closer to $350 and then we'll have a conversation. Hopefully the next wave will have more value-priced hardware available. Until then I've got a Windows 10 tablet I got for 70 dollars that is lighter and thinner than the last iPad Mini I had experience with, and does Office, OneDrive, web browsing, YouTube and Netflix fine with or without bluetooth keyboard and mouse. And it wakes up darn near instantly.

  14. jaredthegeek

    This is what I really want. I don't need a powerhouse for portability. I would prefer a 10 inch screen device more akin to a Surface 3 non pro variant than a 12 inch but as I get older I am sure the 12 inch screen make it more usable. Also HP leveraging an existing chassis is a great move.

  15. cybrtitan

    umm.. They used a google play icon in the asus video .. Ugh

  16. lilmoe

    I really don't get this while ordeal, especially at those prices and poultry specs. Really? HD screen and 4gb of RAM? I thought ARM would significantly reduce the total cost of these devices in comparison with similar entry level Intel powered ultrabooks running i5s and even i7s with respectable battery life and otherwise identical specs, some Intels are even cheaper with a good deal (and there are many). Heck the price difference might even afford a 4G modem and have Windows 10 set up a 4G plan.


    Is connected standby (that really never worked as first advertised 3 years ago) really worth this degradation in PC performance?


    Anyway, I want to see some benchmarks, application load time and real world light productivity battery life tests. This might shed some light on the compromises made to be not-so-much lighter and thinner, or even cheaper.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to lilmoe:

      The ASUS NovaG is priced comparably to their existing Flipbook, which has 14" HD screen, 4GB RAM, 128GB eMMC storage and a Core m3 processor. I guess ASUS would tell you that you're trading a bit of performance for longer battery life and an integrated modem.

      Regardless, PC manufacturers are not looking at this as a way to undercut their own Intel-based products, at least not initially.

      • lilmoe

        In reply to Chris_Kez:

        "The ASUS NovaG is priced comparably to their existing Flipbook"


        Well yea, that's basically my argument. Are the 10 hours of battery life you currently get from the comparable Intel device not enough? Is it worth the potentially significant drawbacks in performance? I initially believed that ARM would deliver thin-and-light and always-connected at a more affordable price, with the added benefits of full Windows, but with a reasonable compromise in performance. Shouldn't this also compete with Chromebooks, and get rid of Intel's Atom (BS) processors for good? Surely it's not just about OEMs making more...


        "Regardless, PC manufacturers are not looking at this as a way to undercut their own Intel-based products, at least not initially."


        What's the point then?? Again, is 10 (or even 15 hours) of battery life not enough for laptop users? You can't be sure these ARM laptops won't need a charge every day with regular use. Cheaper tablets are arguably better for the advertised "video playback" stamina. Instead of keeping all the savings, they should improve the quality of their hardware and base specs (or with part of these savings at least).


        Is instant wake THAT better than a 5-10 second boot on a device that only need to be turned on a couple of times a day, and are mostly stationary on a desk or an airplane seat (that already have charging ports)? This isn't a smartphone that you put in your pocket and check several times an hour......


        Don't get me wrong, I'm anything but an Intel fan, and I HATE Chrome OS with a passion. But I'm genuinely wondering about the value proposition here. There's also the lifetime aspect of these devices, would they outlast or at least match current offerings in terms of longevity? You don't buy a laptop every year you know.


        Either way. I'd still want to see how Rizen Mobile fairs in terms of performance and power consumption. These chips will employ Samsung's 14nm LPP the way it was meant to (low power, lower voltage, slightly lower clocks).


        Not very compelling so far, IMHO. But I'll also give it some time before dismissing it all.

        • Chris_Kez

          In reply to lilmoe:

          I don't think most laptops get "10 (or even 15 hours) of battery life"; I could be wrong. Let's say it is 10 hours. If a comparable ARM-based device can give you say 15 hours, isn't that the difference between wondering about bringing a charging cable and knowing for sure that you don't need to bring a cable?

          Long standby life means fewer instances where an intermittent users picks up their laptop after a few days only to find that it is dead or nearly dead. That kind of thing erodes people's desire to turn to their PC. I ran into this all the time a few years ago. I had a Dell Venue 8 Pro that I liked for occasional browsing or catching up on Twitter or Facebook or watching videos. I would pick it up after not touching it for a few days and it would be dead. I would grab my wife's iPad instead. Guess what? After a few months of this I found myself reaching for that Dell less often, even though I preferred it to the larger iPad. I just had no confidence that it had retained its charge. And as an infrequently used device that required a special charger I didn't want to be bothered actively maintaining its charge on a daily basis. Nor did I want to go through the shut down and power on process every time I picked it up and used it for a few minutes.

          Yes, instant wake would be better than a 5-10 second boot. Just like a 5-10 second boot is better than a 15-20 second boot. It removes one more bit of friction from choosing to use your laptop. Ditto for the always-connected aspect. Can you tether in less than 20 seconds? Probably, but again it is an extra bit of friction that makes you less likely to use the laptop.

          Sometimes you can't break down a user's experience into a discrete set of incremental improvements. Sometimes the sum is greater than its parts. I think one of the overall goals with Windows on ARM is to reduce the friction and the barriers to PC computing, to make it just as easy to pick up a laptop as an iPad or a smartphone.

          • lilmoe

            In reply to Chris_Kez:


            I don't disagree with anything you say, and I get the standby aspect pretty damn much. As a matter of fact, I was very excited when this was first announced.


            This is not the issue. These are NOT my concerns. AGAIN, the devices showcased above are overpriced for the specs (A $499 OnePlus 5T comes with 6GB of RAM, same SoC, and a more expensive screen). These devices are priced like an iPad Pro (since we're talking ARM here) and like a similarly specced Surface Pro (since, you know, Windows), but aren't NEARLY as premium, neither in specs, nor in looks. These devices should come standard with better screens and 6-8GB RAM (yes, RAM helps a LOT when you're using Windows when it comes to battery life).


            Sure, you're gaining standby battery life, but you're also giving up performance (at least in emulation mode). Are the people buying these WANTING more standby? You can easily hibernate the thing or shut it down; no more battery drain.


            That being said, battery life while the screen is on (IE: where it mostly matters) is still questionable. Video playback is hardly a benchmark, since most of the rendering is done by dedicated blocks on the Snapdragon platform (like Exynos and other ARM SoCs), not even by the GPU or CPU. Security and privacy is also a concern (not from store apps, but mostly from rogue x86 applications you don't know are running in the background). As a whole package, I'm not really sure this was what I was hoping for.


            I'm not rushing in, I'll wait for some reviews. I also want to see what AMD has to offer with Mobile Ryzen (which I believe will be the more compelling option). Also, this is still a first generation product; I'll wait to see what Microsoft has to offer with a non-Pro Surface running a Snapdragon 845 as rumored.

            • Chris_Kez

              In reply to lilmoe:

              Fair. I guess this is just about exactly what I expected-- existing products lightly re-dressed for ARM. I didn't expect PC makers were going to come out of the gate with something that was a significantly better value proposition than their existing Intel-based products. Maybe OEMs just always want to play it safe. I think this gets interesting in a year or two when there are a wider range of ARM chips that can run Windows, and when PC makers play around with different form factors. And then we also see whether/how Microsoft adapts Windows to this "always connected" world, and see what happens with 5G and how pricing changes as we see more and more connected devices.

              Like you, I'm interested in an 845-based Surface. Knowing Microsoft they'll build it with an 835 ;)

        • Waethorn

          In reply to lilmoe:

          Atom is pretty much dead for PC's. Intel only sells it in the embedded channel, and OEM's have to sign special agreements to obtain them, unlike standard chips, soldered/BGA or not.


          Not sure why you hate Chrome OS. It's freeing when you try to simplify your IT use. Windows is a big bag of hot mess. There isn't a perfect OS out there, but Chrome OS and Linux both straddle the line for me. macOS needs Mac hardware, and it's far too expensive (I hate the unified system menu too). Modern Linux flavours like Ubuntu 1710 is also really good, but it still needs tweaking, whereas you can buy a Chrome device (cheaply) and it just works. Much like Windows Store functionality though, developers have to take Android seriously and build desktop-quality apps with it. I think computing software right now is in this stalled state where developers just aren't making enough money to put enough time and effort into building desktop-quality apps for additional platforms from what they're used to, and that's why "mobile" platforms are getting full-function software. It's still Win32 API's, and macOS apps that have always been on OS X. Developers are just grinding out the same out fluff year-after-year. Even now, Microsoft still doesn't offer the Office 2016/365 apps on the Windows Store for all Windows users (still only 10 S, more like a beta version), and it took them over a year to fix the Android version to run on Chrome OS to detect the screen size just to enforce the subscription license requirement of over 10" screens - no doubt because they didn't want Chrome OS users to use Office. And the mobile versions of Office are lacking a decent Outlook client that can replace Win32 Outlook, and Project, Visio, Access, and Publisher still have no mobile versions at all. Mobile is only viewed as a consumer-friendly platform, made for tech startups and trendy hipster programmers, and until developer attitudes change, we won't see much change in platforms either.

    • Bats

      In reply to lilmoe:

      ARM will reduce the cost for them, not necessarily you/us.

      • lilmoe

        In reply to Bats:


        Not a winning recipe for consumers in relation to current offerings if you as me. But I guess that's where we're headed in the age of $1k+ smartphones which suddenly makes $500 offerings "affordable".

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to lilmoe:

      Why did you think that ARM would reduce the cost? Snapdragon 835 phones start at $650. You can get an cheap Windows laptop with ARM-like CPU performance for $200-300 (and smaller tablets at low as $99). Why would a Snapdragon-powered laptop cost less than a Snapdragon-powered phone? Sure, if Microsoft were partnering with Mediatek or Rockchip, things might be a bit cheaper, but Qualcomm high-end chips certainly can't undercut the pricing on Intel's low-end chips.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to lilmoe: Connected standby never really worked as advertised...on my Intel and AMD devices. Works great on my phones and iPads. May be something no one wants, but the concept of a 'smartwatch' connected to an always on/connected standby PC, which alerts me to important incoming e-mails/messages and is instantly on when you open it, might have some appeal to some segment of user.


  17. hrlngrv

    Does that 'optimized' version of Office 365 mean the same thing it did for Windows RT: no VBA, no add-ins, no object model exposed for 3rd party scripting languages?

    • SvenJ

      In reply to hrlngrv: Actually, no, it don't think it does. The store version of Office, that I am running on my S test box (Dell Venue 11) is fully featured as far as VBA (Access), macros, etc. I can't speak to add-ons, as I don't use any on 'full' Windows/Office. I imagine there is a potential for doing add-ons within the store environment. MS has provided an add-on to a store app via another store app. I think it was Photos. It would seem such a thing is possible.


      • skane2600

        In reply to SvenJ:

        Not all Office automation scenarios involve internal macros as hringrv touched on. Being able to automate Office from the outside via a scripting language through an object model is very powerful.


        It offers the advantage of being able to automate an Office program without having to alter the program's configuration or the configuration of the document (as would adding macros).


        I doubt the UWP environment would allow this kind of interaction.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I think that is a safe assumption.

  18. maethorechannen

    What's the bet that hardly any notice of this is taken, and 2 or 3 years from now Apple will release an ARM based MacBook (that can run x86 apps) with similar battery life and almost every news outlet on the planet will be praising how innovative Apple is?

  19. sandeepm

    Everything you people write (about Microsoft) is sensational, Paul and Mary Joe. But how about speculating on answers to some difficult questions? What is the future of Continuum post demise of Windows (mobile)? Can you try and get us the scoop? I'll be listening to the next WW for your insights.

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