During a media event ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show 2017, Qualcomm unveiled the much-awaited Snapdragon 835 processor for mobile devices. The first 10nm mobile processor promises a lot, not the least of which is the ability to bring Windows 10 to mobile devices.
“That’s not Windows 10 with an asterisk” is how Qualcomm senior vice president for product management Keith Kressin put it. The launch signifies a major step for Qualcomm, but the implications for Microsoft and Windows 10 are tremendous.
After the first failed attempt to create a Windows 8 platform that would run on mobile ARM processors like Snapdragon, this new processor will give Continuum a big boost. Last month, Qualcomm and Microsoft announced that they would be working on a “cellular PC” that allowed x86 Win32 app emulation on mobile devices. That means traditional desktop apps like MS Office or Adobe Photoshop will make their way in full form into the mobile space.
But that’s not all the Snapdragon 835 mobile processor can do. It also brings 25% more battery life, better graphics capability for VR and AR applications, better biometrics integration for enhanced security, gigabit-wireless support (5G?) and even 3D audio. What’s more, the chip is powerful enough to support AI applications:
“We want to make sure that any machine learning algorithm … can be done as efficiently as possible,” added Kressin.
He also said that the first commercial devices running on Snapdragon 835 would release during the first half of 2017. That’s great news for Microsoft, which is still struggling with low Windows 10 adoption rates.
And it’s also great news for premium device manufacturers like Samsung, which desperately needs the Galaxy S8 and other 2017 models to be built better and faster than any other device this year – including Apple’s iPhone 8 that’s coming out around September 2017.
If Microsoft and Qualcomm can, together, bring Windows 10 mobile devices that can run desktop applications, that’s a massive step towards blurring the lines between desktops and mobiles. The dichotomy set up by iOS and Android on one side and Windows on the other could finally be on its way to a huge convergence of sorts, with Windows 10 getting a clear lead.
Apple has nothing like it except for the Handoff feature, which isn’t the same thing at all, and Google is just getting warmed up bringing the Android experience to Chrome OS, which only has a marginal share of market anyway. Samsung could be working on something similar, but the Samsung Desktop Experience on the Galaxy S8 could just be a rumor.
As it stands, this could be the year of Windows 10. With several factors that will drive Windows 10 usage upwards this year, the addition of a line of mobile devices that can run the full version of Windows 10 is only going to help that upward surge.
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