Microsoft today unveiled its first line of “Always Connected” PCs, a new generation of computers with built-in LTE connectivity and extra-long battery life.
The PCs, from Asus and HP, fulfill a promise made by Microsoft a year ago at an event in China. Microsoft unveiled the new PCs, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset using ARM architecture at an event in Hawaii today. As CNBC notes, Microsoft’s partnership with Qualcomm stands out, as the tech giant typically gets its chips from Intel and AMD.
In a blog post about the new PCs, Microsoft Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson described the arrival of Always Connected PCs as an important technological progression, on par with the original laptop, virtual reality and cloud computing.
“We are again at the beginning of another major technology shift: the ability to be connected anytime, anywhere with Always Connected PCs that are instantly on, always connected with incredible battery life.”
Microsoft characterized the Asus NovaGo as the world’s first gigabit LTE laptop, with the ability to download a two-hour movie in 10 seconds. The two-in-one computer sports a 30-hour resting battery life and 22 hours of active use.
The HP Envy x2 can be detached and turned into a tablet. It features a 20-hour active battery life and 4G LTE2 connectivity.
A third Always Connected PC model from Microsoft partner Lenovo is in the works, the company said.
Microsoft has not said when the devices will be available for purchase or released pricing details for the PCs, which run an “optimized” version of Office 365.
In the blog post, Myerson noted that Always Connected PCs create a “new culture of work” where people can work anywhere, even in places without WiFi. Microsoft says the new PCs are safer from an IT perspective in that they don’t rely on unsecured public WiFi networks for employees working on the go. And, the devices should save money for companies, Microsoft says, because they wouldn’t have to invest in massive WiFi networks to keep employees online.