Snapdragon 835 Powered Windows 10 Ultraportables Expected To Rule Low-End PC Market

Intel is not the only one making bold moves these days. So are Microsoft and Qualcomm, two other tech giants that recently formed a partnership to deliver Windows 10 laptops and 2-in-1 devices powered by Snapdragon 835 SoCs. Unlike Microsoft's earlier foray into ARM territory with Surface RT, these devices will be able to run legacy Win32 applications, in addition to Universal Windows Platform apps. Combined with stellar battery life, some are expecting these new devices to rule the low-end PC market.

Snapdragon Laptop

That's assuming these devices live up to the hype. These new devices with Snapdragon inside come with claims of extended battery life in the range of 20-25 hours, or even higher. As it stands, a laptop with a claimed run time of 8-12 hours is considered to have excellent battery life, and these new Windows 10 devices will purportedly last twice as long. In some cases, we are talking several days before needing a charge.

The folks at Digitimes Research are certainly optimistic. Their analysis leads them to believe that these ARM-powered models will "dominate the mid-size and low-end PC market," with x86-based systems being relegated to high-end professional and gaming systems. It's an interesting prediction, particularly as it applies to the mid-range sector. If Snapdragon-based systems can capture the low-end and mid-range segments, Qualcomm would own a huge chunk of the market.

It's not just battery life that has people excited, either. These upcoming devices will feature wireless LTE connectivity. That could prove a boon for road warriors who often find themselves searching for a Wi-Fi connection, and either having to settle for offline usage or go through their phone.

On the flip side, there are some challenges Qualcomm and Microsoft face. One of them is performance. Can an ARM processor really handle the kinds of tasks that are currently performed on x86 hardware? We have seen some impressive demos so far, but will have a better idea when we get our hands on a shipping system for a full review.

There is also the price point. It seems that most of these systems will range in price from $600 to $800 (or $599 to $799, as hardware makers like to present the figures). It remains to be seen if buyers will be willing to plunk down that kind of cash for an ARM-based laptop, even with the promise of extended battery life.