Microsoft Claims Upcoming ARM-Powered Laptops Offer Multi-Day Battery Life

Microsoft and Qualcomm have revealed they hope to release ARM-powered laptops by the end of the year, with the two companies promising multi-day battery life from the new machines (via Trusted Reviews).

At its annual 5G summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm revealed new details about the PCs it is developing in partnership with Microsoft. Known as "Always Connected PCs", the laptops are powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor and rely on an ARM emulation layer to run x86 Windows 10 desktop applications.


ARM processors require fewer transistors, which enables a smaller die size for the integrated circuitry. Their smaller size and lower power consumption are two reasons why they can be found in iPhones and iPads, but the increasing performance and efficiency of the chips is making the step up to laptops a realistic proposition.

Microsoft said it is already testing "hundreds" of the ARM-powered laptops internally on a daily basis, with battery life in particular exceeding expectations.
"To be frank, it's actually beyond our expectations. We set a high bar for [our developers], and we're now beyond that. It's the kind of battery life where I use it on a daily basis. I don't take my charger with me. I may charge it every couple of days or so. It's that kind of battery life."

Bernard added: "I would consider it a game-changer in terms of the way people have experienced PCs in the past."
The first round of Always Connected PCs are said to be coming from the likes of Asus, HP, and Lenovo, but they aren't expected to be cheap. Qualcomm said more affordable Windows 10 Always Connected PCs should become available once the portfolio expands.

Apple is reportedly looking into using ARM-based core processor chips for future MacBooks, which would reduce the company's dependence on Intel. Industry sources claim that Apple would instead build its notebook chips using ARM Holding's technology, a British company that designs ARM architecture and licenses it out to other companies.


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Apple Developing ARM-Based Mac Chip to Handle Low-Power Functions Alongside Intel Processors

Apple is developing a new ARM-based chip for its Mac lineup that would "take on more of the functionality" handled by Intel processors, reports Bloomberg.

In development since last year, the chip, codenamed T310, is said to be similar to the chip used to power the Touch Bar in the new 2016 Macbook Pro. It's built using ARM technology and will work with the standard Intel processor, handling "Power Nap" low-power mode functionality.

Apple engineers are planning to offload the Mac's low-power mode, a feature marketed as "Power Nap," to the next-generation ARM-based chip. This function allows Mac laptops to retrieve e-mails, install software updates, and synchronize calendar appointments with the display shut and not in use. The feature currently uses little battery life while run on the Intel chip, but the move to ARM would conserve even more power, according to one of the people.
Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro uses an independent ARM-based chip called the T1 to power the Touch Bar, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Touch Bar, and the secure enclave that stores payment and biometric data.

According to Bloomberg's report, the upcoming ARM-based chip will "go further," connecting to storage and wireless components to take on additional power management capabilities.

Apple could begin using the new chip in an upgraded version of the MacBook Pro set to launch later this year, but it could be introduced as a quiet update with little fanfare as the chip that powers the Touch Bar was not promoted by Apple.

Despite Apple's plans to offload some tasks to a new ARM chip, Apple is said to have no intention of abandoning Intel chips in its laptop and desktop computers.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tags: Intel, ARM, bloomberg.com
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