Yep, you read that right. Qualcomm is preparing to launch Windows 10 laptops that feature its high-end Snapdragon 835 CPU. While it may not be as powerful as its competitors, it brings with it efficiency impossible with x64 CPUs while retaining full compatibility with Windows applications.
While the products themselves will be new, Microsoft and Qualcomm have actually been teasing this for quite some time, showing 64-bit Windows 10 running on a Snapdragon 820. You can watch the demonstration below:
As you can see, there are no functional differences between Windows running on a traditional x86-64 CPU versus an ARM CPU. This is thanks to Microsoft adding new binary translation tech that interprets the traditional x86 code of a desktop app and translates it to something that can run on ARM, which in turn means that it allows full desktop application support on ARM CPUs, no developer work needed. While Microsoft has tried Windows on ARM before with the Surface RT, which didn't go so well, the difference is that the Surface RT could only run apps from the Windows Store. However, now you can run any desktop applications on ARM laptops as you would with any other computer.
While it may not be as fast as Intel or AMD's offerings, you get the unparalleled power efficiency of ARM chips that desktop CPU manufacturers cannot offer. Announced at Qualcomm's 5G summit, we should start to see Snapdragon laptops in December. These devices have apparently been more efficient than expected with Microsoft claiming that they offer "multi-day" battery life. This is huge if true. A lot of laptops can only offer 5-6 hours of battery life, but if Microsoft can pull this off, this will be a great solution for average consumers who just want battery life and portability as opposed to high performance.
There are no plans to support chips older than the Snapdragon 835, so you can expect current performance and efficiency gains. In addition to this news, Microsoft is apparently looking into eSIM technology which will allow you to have LTE data as well on some devices, meaning you could potentially get a Snapdragon laptop from your carrier, much like phones.
What are your thoughts on this? Will you be buying a Qualcomm-powered laptop? Let us know in the comments below.