Microsoft’s take on its Always Connected PC initiative
Initial reviews of Qualcomm’s (QCOM) and Microsoft’s (MSFT) ARM[1. Advanced RISC Machine]-powered ACPC (Always Connected PC[2. personal computer]) are weak. That made many analysts anxious that the project could suffer the same fate as the failed Windows RT project. There were other concerns that Qualcomm’s entry into the PC space would see Apple and Microsoft no longer favoring Intel (INTC) processors.
Erin Chapple, Microsoft Windows’ general manager, eased those concerns in an interview with TechRadar. He stated that Snapdragon 835-powered laptops are just the beginning of the ACPC initiative and that the company would improve these devices with future versions of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors.
The end goal of the Always Connected PC initiative
Chapple also stated that building on this initiative, Microsoft would expand its chipset partners beyond Intel and Qualcomm to include Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and some Chinese manufacturers. Currently, Windows 10 can only run on the x86 chip architecture. The ACPC initiative aims to bring flexibility to the chip architecture for Windows applications.
He also explained Microsoft’s definition of ACPC as a device that is always connected to the Internet through LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and can continue the progress in Internet-connected apps while going to sleep. In the future, the company wants to bring these features beyond laptops and notebooks to any IoT (Internet of Things) device, irrespective of the chip architecture.
Microsoft has already launched an LTE-connected laptop, the Surface Pro LTE, powered by Intel’s processor and Qualcomm’s LTE modem. That eased concerns that Microsoft would ditch Intel’s x86 processors in favor of Qualcomm’s ARM processors.
While the ACPC initiative looks fruitful for Microsoft, Intel, and AMD, will it be beneficial for Qualcomm, which has no presence in the PC market? We’ll look at that in the next part of this series.
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