Windows 10 on Snapdragon 835: a promising demo

Today at Computex 2017, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform to help with Microsoft’s effort to bring Windows 10 to ARM-based devices. In addition, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo have committed to launching Snapdragon 835-based Windows 10 products in the next few months. These will be sleek, fanless, and always connected 2-in-1 mobile PCs with all day battery life aimed squarely at the productivity market.

In case you forgot, Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 now features an emulation layer that lets users seamlessly run x86 apps on ARM devices. With the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm already offers a powerful, efficient, tiny (10nm process), and always connected (Gigabit LTE) platform for standalone VR/MR headsets and flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Essential Phone, so it’s a no-brainer to extend support to mobile PCs running Windows 10.

In other words, Snapdragon 835 is eating the world.

Microsoft and Qualcomm invited me along with other journalists to experience Windows 10 running on the Snapdragon 835 platform, and I came away pretty impressed. The demo started with Microsoft Office, using Excel and Word to manipulate data. Next up was web browsing (with Microsoft Edge, natch) — downloading and installing 7-zip (a standard Win32 app), and watching YouTube videos at up to 4K. Qualcomm even showed off Gigabit LTE by downloading a 1.7GB file in about 40 seconds.

In the second half of the demo, we discussed emulation performance and other technical aspects, and loaded a half-dozen content-heavy tabs in Microsoft Edge. Window 10 on the Snapdragon 835 never skipped a beat, even with emulation, and multi-tab performance was actually better than using Chrome on my 12-inch MacBook. You’ll have to wait for me to review a Snapdragon 835-powered Windows 10 device for a final verdict, but prospects are looking good so far. In the meantime, watch the demo video.

I’m excited to see what mobile PCs will come out of this partnership. We’re poised to see ultra-sexy products with true connected standby, phenomenal battery life, and alway-on voice recognition, but also the ability to run desktop-grade apps and legacy programs alike. Fun stuff!