Here Come the Intel-Powered Always-Connected PCs

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft, Mobile, Windows 10 with 13 Comments

A month ago, we thrilled to news of new Qualcomm-powered Always-Connected PCs. But with CES underway this week in Las Vegas, Intel is promoting what promises to be a much bigger market of devices: Always-Connected PCs based on its x86 hardware platform.

As you may recall, I feel that Always-Connected PCs are the future of the mainstream Windows PC platform. These PCs bring mobile device advantages like great battery life, instant-on, and cellular data connectivity to users of Windows.

But there is some confusion around Always-Connected PCs, since PC makers will be able to choose between two basic architectures, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Intel.

The Snapdragon-based PCs are a bit of an unknown. But PCs based on this platform will get over 20 hours of battery life, a huge win. But in the minus column, performance isn’t great, especially for emulated x86 Windows applications.

Always-Connected PCs based on Intel are, of course, a known quantity: These PCs will offer the best performance, plus good to very good battery life. They will be powered by Intel Core processors will utilize Intel’s XMM modem for connectivity.

And on that note, we know about three Intel-based Always-Connected PCs already, here on the eve of CES 2018. They are:

Acer Swift 7. Announced this week, Swift 7 is just 8.98 mm thin.

HP Envy X2. HP announced the Snapdragon variant of this PC a month ago. The Intel version offers up to 17 hours of battery life, compared to 20 hours for the Snapdragon version.

Dell Inspiron 5280. Announced in late December, this new 2-in-1 will be made available in China with two months of free LTE data.

In an interesting twist, and perhaps a poke at Microsoft for partnering with Snapdragon, Intel also notes that these new devices join a growing lineup of Always-Connected PCs that include, wait for it, Google’s Pixelbook.

“All these devices offer an optimal, always-connected PC experience,” Intel says. “And because of the outstanding performance powered by Intel Core processors, users will enjoy immersive entertainment, a seamless and trusted Windows experience enabling productivity in the office or while on the go with all the favorite apps, world-class connectivity, uncompromised battery life, and sleek, thin and light designs.”

Methinks we will see more Always-Connected PCs—of both Intel and Qualcomm variants—soon.


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