Published in Notebooks

Windows ARM chips might carve up the PC low end

by on20 December 2017

Microsoft and Qualcomm might take a huge section of cheap PCs from Intel and AMD

Diviners at Digitimes Research have been consulting the livers of freshly slain bulls and reached the conclusion that Qualcomm and its new chum Microsoft might be set to carve off a big chunk of the low end PC market.

For those who came in late, Microsoft and Qualcomm have been flat out getting Windows 10 to work correctly on Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors. The pair expect new products to arrive in early 2018.

Digitimes Research expects that ARM-powered models will dominate the midsize and low-end PC market, leaving the high-end professional and gaming segments to x86-based processors.

The analysts think that PC replacement has slowed down and users would instead choose entry-level models for replacement if they need a new one. This leaves plenty of scope for PC makers to roll out more devices with ARM-based processors that can help them reduce cost and sales prices to secure higher profitability.

Qualcomm said Window 10 devices with Snapdragon 835 processors have three advantages. They can turn on almost immediately, feature wireless LTE connectivity, and offer the kind of battery life that can let users get through a day or two of work without having to recharge.

The first two advantages can be found in many higher-end PC devices using x86-architecture processors developed by Intel or AMD, but the "wireless LTE connectivity" function will be incorporated into all the entry-level Window 10 notebooks with ARM processors, branded by Microsoft as the "always-connected devices," Digitimes Research claimed.

HP and Asustek have released some ARM-based notebooks with Windows 10S, boasting cloud convenience, Microsoft Edge and Windows community apps. But the laptops cannot run any non-community apps, meaning that any third-party apps downloaded by users cannot be executed in the devices. Users, however, will be allowed to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro free of charge to run more Windows apps.

Digitimes Research believes that computer devices with ARM-architecture processors may rival those with x86 processors in performance along with their growing technological maturity. This, coupled with lower pricing and a significant extension of battery life, will be bad news for Intel's Ultrabook and other ultraslim notebooks with x86 processors, forcing such processors to serve even higher-tier and higher-performance PC or server markets. Qualcomm will accordingly have a chance of developing a presence in the PC processor market long dominated by Intel.

Last modified on 20 December 2017
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