In simple terms that means a smartphone-sized device will support the full version of Windows 10, x86, Win32 and universal Windows apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and Windows 10 gaming titles. Microsoft expects these devices to be ready as soon as the new, presumably Snapdragon 835 chip is available – early next year.
Terry Myerson, executive vice-president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, said, "We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with Qualcomm Technologies. We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are. Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love — touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more — anytime, anywhere."
Cristiano Amon, executive vice-president, Qualcomm Technologies and president, QCT, said, "Qualcomm Snapdragon processors offer one of the world's most advanced mobile computing features, including Gigabit LTE connectivity, advanced multimedia support, machine learning and superior hardware security features, all while supporting thin, fan-less designs and long battery life. With compatibility with the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is expected to support mobility to cloud computing and redefine how people will use their compute devices."
What does this mean?
It is too early to know, so a little speculation is warranted. We know that Windows 10 will run soon on an ARM chip – apparently the same 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET, Snapdragon 835 chip that Samsung is making for Qualcomm.
It could spell the end of a separate Windows 10 Mobile, and Continuum as everything runs on x86, or it could mean that the ARM chip has a hardware x86 emulator – either way it will run, presumably, well written and well behaved Win32 programs that can handle the smaller screen and smartphone geometry.
Does it mean Android could also run on the device? Too early to tell but there is no reason that at least dual boot at ideally a multi-OS device could be made – the Snapdragon 835 should have enough power to support two simultaneous OS and that may solve the app elephant in the Windows room.
Does it mean Android apps will run on the W10 device? Again, too early to tell but one has to imagine that if there is a hardware emulation in the Snapdragon, then the reverse is possible.
Will we see Snapdragon processors in a notebook and hybrid form factors? Certainly especially if these support keyboards, mice, pens, touch, VR, etc. This will make computing lower cost for those users who don’t need Intel Core i5/i7 power.
What does this mean for Intel? Unless I have missed something, I think Intel market share and share price will take a denting unless this is carefully orchestrated so that the desktop/workstation/server market remains its domain.
iTWire will follow this development and report as soon as more is known.
There is an interesting video here – note the incredible speed of Adobe Photoshop.