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Phone-like PC might be coming back again as Microsoft and Qualcomm give it another shot

by Felix Omondi

Five years ago, Microsoft and Qualcomm embarked on a very promising partnership that produced the Windows RT. The idea behind it was to create a PC so power efficient that it rivals smartphones and tablets.

The whole idea was hinged on using Qualcomm chips, the same type that is being used on smartphone and tablets. You have probably noticed that these mobile devices on average outlast your typical PC when it comes to battery life. The very best PCs average at just 10 hours battery life, while most smartphones and tablets could easily double that as their average. Not to mention they are always on, ready to connect, unlike a PC which to quickly use it, you must leave it in sleep or hibernate mode.

Windows RT marked Microsoft sharp turn from using the x86 chips by Intel and AMD that have historically been used to power PC, to using Qualcomm chips. The Qualcomm chips are also thinner and more compact, which would enable Microsoft’s Windows OS to run on remarkably thinner and lighter PCs and tablets.

Had Windows RT taken off as the duo had hoped, the Apple with its iPad would have been given a serious run for its money from competitors like HP, Dell, Microsoft itself, and any other OEMs making PCs. However, three years after Windows RT hit the market, it failed to take off, and Microsoft has since stopped focusing its energy and resource on that front.

Now, Qualcomm alongside Windows PC OEMs including Microsoft and HP are giving Windows RT a second try. This new collaboration is creating what they call ‘always connected PCs’ powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset.

This new partnership has become necessary as more consumer spend more and more time on their smartphone and occasionally on tablets than they do on PCs. Leading to shrinking of the PC market, and dwindling profits for PCs OEMs. The OEMs are hell-bent on making the PC more like the smartphone you like so much; by making the PC thinner, lighter, and with a battery that lasts longer.

Already Asus and HP have produced 2-in-1 laptops with a battery life reaching 20 hours. The devices are always-on connectivity and do instantly wake up, yet they run full Windows and use the usual Windows apps.

If Microsoft and other PC OEMs hopes to tame the growing popularity of smartphone and tablets and the choice device by the consumers. They better make their device with more smartphone/tablet like in terms of longevity of battery life, always-on and yet still able to run full desktop Windows apps.

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