Throughout the history of the technology giant
Microsoft, laptops and PCs released by the company have mostly been Intel-and AMD-based. Therefore, it was a surprise to many when Microsoft recently introduced a new laptop that does not contain
Intel chips; instead it uses chips by
Qualcomm, another major chip producer and also a key player in the smartphone market.
Such plans for Microsoft to introduce Windows 10 laptops with ARM chips have already been announced in 2016. Earlier last year, the company also released a list of some manufacturers of choice including Asus, HP, Lenovo, Huawei, Vaio, and Xiaomi.
In 2012, Microsoft created some ARM-based PCs at the same time as the release of the first generation of the Surface tablet, which included a variation with an ARM chip and a new operating system – Windows RT. Unfortunately, Microsoft then had to announce a
$900 million write-down mainly due to unsold inventory of the Surface tablets.
Recently, Microsoft revealed some new laptops in Hawaii, which included devices from big brands – HP and Asus. These devices have Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chips using ARM’s architecture, while also including a modem offering LTE connectivity which allows users to be free from relying solely on WiFi.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft Windows and devices group executive vice president, his own
Asus NovaGo “always connected” laptop can be used for seven days without charging it in between. This is quite an impressive performance for a laptop, as most other laptop batteries would be unable to last more than 24 hours.
The new application of Qualcomm chips by Microsoft is aimed to increase the company’s appeal to the mobile audience that was previously more dominated by Apple and Android products. This is however bad news for Intel and AMD, who may potentially lose a big chunk of revenue if their processors stop being applied in Windows devices.
Intel threatened an intellectual property case regarding the use of Qualcomm chips on Windows 10. The company stated that it expects other companies to respect their intellectual property rights, and will not tolerate unlawful infringements of their patents.
On the other hand, cooperating with Microsoft provides a new potential revenue for Qualcomm. According to executive vice president
Cristiano Amon, the chip giant has previously performed mobile device research and development, which stands the company in good stead in this new venture.
In a separate statement, Microsoft mentioned that it is still “working closely” with Intel, and the company is looking forward to offering clients a wider range of PCs by working together with Intel.
ARM chips have gained some momentum in the laptop sector, where Google has made attempts to improve their Chromebooks with integrated ARM chips. Apple has also been reported to be looking into Mac computers using ARM silicon.
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