Qualcomm, HP, and ASUS announce first Windows on Snapgdragon devices

Subject: Mobile | December 5, 2017 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon x16, snapdragon tech summit, snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, NovaGo, LTE, hp, envy x2, asus

Today at its Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm has announced the first round of Snapdragon-enabled devices running Windows from partners HP and ASUS.

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The HP ENVY x2 is a detachable 2-in-1 device reminiscent of the Microsoft Surface products or the Huawei Matebook-E that we recently took a look at. The 12.3-in screen is the same size as the current Surface Pro, but the HP option will have a more traditional 16:9 screen aspect ratio.  

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Built upon the Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Envy x2 will be available in configurations featuring up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The Envy x2 will also support an active stylus that is Windows Ink certified for activities such as note-taking and illustration.

For connectivity, the Envy x2 has a single USB-C port which will serve for both charging the tablet as well as connecting external devices.

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The ASUS NovaGo, however, features a more traditional thin-and-light notebook design with a 360-degree hinge. This means that users can take full advantage of the 13.3-in 1920x1080 screen in all sorts of different scenarios from traditional notebook mode to tablet mode. 

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Similar to the HP offering, the ASUS NovaGo will be available in configurations ranging up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of Storage. However, connectivity on the NovaGo includes 2x USB 3.1 Type-A ports, as well as an HDMI Port and Micro-SD card slot for memory expansion allowing for more options than the HP Envy x2. 

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Utilizing the Snapdragon 835 SoC, both of these devices will also feature cellular connectivity from the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. This is a huge advantage for mobile users, who can simply add these devices to their cellular accounts and receive internet connectivity anywhere in the world, allowing them to simply turn on their device and start working instead of hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots.

Both of these devices will come preinstalled with Windows 10 S but will allow for a one-time upgrade to a full Windows 10 license which will allow users to install non-Windows store applications.

(For those asking in the comments, yes, this is the emaulation layer we have mentioned previously at work. Snapdragon-based Windows machines will be able to run MOST x86 (not x64) Windows applications, with some exceptions. Exceptions tend to stem from things like kernel-mode drivers that some software wants to install that won't work. Dropbox is an unfortunately example of this.)

Availability of both systems is expected just before the end of the year and pricing for both will range from $600-800 depending on the specific configuration.

It's just the beginning here at the Snapdragon Tech Summit, so stay tuned for more announcements from Qualcomm as the week progresses!

Source: Qualcomm

December 5, 2017 | 02:47 PM - Posted by Moyenni (not verified)

Wait what?
These can run "non-Windows store applications"?
x86 non-Windows store applications?
Is this the thing that Intel threatened lawsuits about?

December 5, 2017 | 03:00 PM - Posted by dragosmp (not verified)

+1 what the man said

You can't just throw a line like that without some extra details

December 5, 2017 | 06:11 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I added a bit above to Ken's story. In short, yes, this is the emulation thing we have been talking about.

December 5, 2017 | 07:07 PM - Posted by ManfortDrakeroot (not verified)

The Kryo 280 cores in the Snapdragon 835 appear to be semi-custom derivatives of the ARM's Cortex-A73 in a 4 + 4 Octa-core (2.45GHz+1.9GHz) arrangement.

So at least there is enough cores to handle some emulation but the ARM Holdings A73/Artemis belongs to the Sophia family(1) of ARM processors like the Cortex A12, A17. So that's different than most of the other ARM 72 designs. I'd like to find out what part of this A73 refrence design that Qulacomm's engineers tweaked because the A73 not a high performance core and nowhere near to an x86 core in execution resources say like the Apple A7 Cyclone/newer custom ARM cores are more similar to a desktop x86 core in CPU core execution resources. And Windows needs pleny of execution resources on any core to handle the bloat.

(1)

"The ARM Cortex A73 - Artemis Unveiled"

https://www.anandtech.com/show/10347/arm-cortex-a73-artemis-unveiled/2

December 5, 2017 | 07:14 PM - Posted by Jgr9 (not verified)

Poor unfortunately example.

December 6, 2017 | 06:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous2 (not verified)

Destiny 2?

December 5, 2017 | 03:07 PM - Posted by Power (not verified)

But, can it play ... Cuphead?

December 5, 2017 | 03:10 PM - Posted by Drazen (not verified)

ARM ISA is completely different to x86 and nothing could be reused. This means 100% simulator in software. And that's very slow. Problem is at hardware level too. This will be like running DOS on NT kernel. Behaving apps will work.
Today most x86 apps are switched to x64. Even MS is pushing x64.
If Edge and Mail are written in 'ARM' code might be useful as ChromeBook.

December 5, 2017 | 05:07 PM - Posted by Rickard Eneqvist (not verified)

Not quite...

Most of an app rely on system libraries, these I assume would run native ARM ISA but anything not compiled natively for ARM would run simulated X86.

In most cases the application logic could almost be seen as a scripting language and possibly support JIT etc etc.

I dont expect these to claim any performance charts but def. usable for everyday work/browsing/consumption tasks.

December 5, 2017 | 05:40 PM - Posted by NeedsWiderOrderSuperscalarCoresWithSMT (not verified)

Both the ARMv8A and x86 ISA based CPUs are loosely based on the modified harvard architecture so some ARMv8A instructions, the regster to register kind, are not too much different than the x86 based register to register kind as are other ARMv8A instructions that do not make use of some CISC types of Effective addressing mode instructions.

There is plenty of Microsoft App code that runs natively on ARM so no emulation/translation layers needed and it's just the Legacy x86/win32 code that needs to be translated and run as native/emulated code on the ARM chips. And that code can be loaded in and translated and cached in translated form to be run on the ARMv8A ISA based Kryo 280 variant(1) cores.

Also these Kryo cores are still not as wide order superscalar as the Apple A7 cyclone/newer or Nvidia Denver fully custom ARM cores(2). It looks like the next wave of business consolidations Broadcomm(broadcom canceled its Vulkan very wide order custom ARM server core project that was supposed to feature SMT enable custom ARM cores) wanting to acquire Qialcomm and Marvell acquiring Cavium has led to some more powerful Custom ARM core projects to be canceled and then there is the Question of AMD's custom ARM core K12 that may be more powerful as Apple's custom A series cores but these Snapdragon processor cores are going to be hard presseed to offer the kind of performance needed for Windows.

Wikipedia describes the Kryo variant as:

"A new generation of this microarchitecture, named Kryo 280, was announced along with the Snapdragon 835 chipset in November 2016.[4] The Kryo 280 CPU core is not a derivative of the original Kryo, but rather is a customized derivative of the ARM's Cortex-A73.[5] The new core improves integer instructions per clock (+17%), while having much lower (-32%) performance at floating point math relative to the original Kryo.[5]

Overview[edit]
32 KiB + 32 KiB L1 cache
2 MiB L2 cache (performance cluster) and 1 MiB L2 cache (low power cluster)
Core performance: ~6.35 DMIPS/MHz" (1)

(1)

"Kryo (microarchitecture)"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kryo_(microarchitecture)

(2)

"Comparison of ARMv8-A cores"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_ARMv8-A_cores

December 5, 2017 | 06:11 PM - Posted by NeedsWiderOrderSuperscalarCoresWithSMT (not verified)

P.S a side note that Cavium had been intrested in the Vulcan processor blueprints. But Cavium was purchased by Marvell.

So the Vulkan core is according to the register the Vulkan ARM core:

"
•Quad-issue, quad-threaded 64-bit ARMv8-A core with superscalar out-of-order execution delivers true server-class performance
•Core enables 3GHz performance in the advanced 16nm FINFET process node
•Partnership with ARM aims to define and develop an open, ISA-independent Network Function Virtualization (NFV) software environment" (2)

Cavium had acquired the Vulcan IP from Broadcom, according Realworldtech. So where its stops no one knos but Marvell. and damn I'm getting a headache tryion to keep track.

(1)

"Cavium has acquired the Vulcan IP from Broadcom."

https://www.realworldtech.com/forum/?threadid=164082&curpostid=164161

(2)

"Broadcom quietly dismantles its 'Vulcan' ARM server chip project

Avago refuses to beam 64-bit CPU aboard, sources claim"

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/12/07/broadcom_arm_processor_vulcan/

December 5, 2017 | 09:00 PM - Posted by Gd7g (not verified)

Surface RT all over again. They better hope that emulation is good for regular use, but in the end, why would anyone want to compromise for a few extra hrs of batter life.

December 5, 2017 | 09:28 PM - Posted by Rickard Eneqvist (not verified)

Why not? I think a common comparison in the "laptop" configuration will be the Apple AirBook and in that case we have a device that's thinner and lighter with almost double battery time, always connected AND sporting windows!

Performance is a big question mark but in this category I think most people wont really care as long as it does the job.

Thats the big questionmark though, not being able to use services like Dropbox is a big bummer and we dont know yet what services wont work.

December 5, 2017 | 09:00 PM - Posted by Gd7g___&&77 (not verified)

Surface RT all over again. They better hope that emulation is good for regular use, but in the end, why would anyone want to compromise for a few extra hrs of batter life.

December 6, 2017 | 07:02 PM - Posted by Max Settings (not verified)

'Up to 20 hours' is not 'a few more hours' than most <$1000 notebooks/2-in-1s, it's double or even triple some of them. Believe me, there are lots of people who travel as part of their job (or who simply don't want to carry a charging brick around) who will snap these things up.

December 7, 2017 | 12:07 AM - Posted by G()()()( (not verified)

Believe everything you read? I’ll believe it when I see it, propangada.

December 8, 2017 | 01:44 AM - Posted by bufbarnaby (not verified)

Agree.

December 5, 2017 | 10:13 PM - Posted by Gunbuster

Almost atom performance, almost has a good price, almost runs x86 software except for *, **, and nothing 64 bit, almost will have a year of support (well exactly a year, the lawyers will make sure of that, almost will get an official end of life (probably from Joe on twitter)

December 5, 2017 | 10:46 PM - Posted by NetbookReduxTheThird (not verified)

Wait the ARMv8A ISA is a 32/64 bit ISA so what's the problem with Microsoft's emulator. I guess that M$ wants all UWP code for any 64 bit compatability and its Windows 10 OSAAS/UFP(TIFKAM, renamed Modern, renamed Universial Windows Platform, apps ecosystem) busines model. Say Hello to your OS As A Service and those monthly OS rental fees.

I do not want any always on connectivity from Qualcomm on any non phone devices, hear that AMD with that Qulacomm radio crap on your Ryzen/Reven Ridge Mobile APUs. I do hope that ASUS will have some laptops with Desktop Raven Ridge APUs inside but those Kryo cores do not have the power to run Windows and really not enough power to emulate any win32 lagacy software.

What a total mess the CPU market is becoming lately and still no proper/powerful custom ARM designs out there outside of Apple's A series cores and Nvidia's Devner cores. And AMD needs to be getting its custom ARM K12 to market to hedge its bets with against only focusing on the crappy x86 ISA, because there will be more powerful ARM designs that may do better than Qualcomms Kryo weaklings.

December 6, 2017 | 11:12 AM - Posted by ceepc (not verified)

I think these are interesting products. I really want to see how x86 emulation performs, however I am mad that it will give one more excuse for developers to continue to put out 32bit apps.

/TinFoilHat

I don't understand why MS won't let dev's compile binary's for ARM windows. It could be they want to make it easy for devs and keep it simple. But in TinFoil mode, it could be a push to make sure Edge is the only browser with good performance on WoA devices, and again try to push UWP app.

December 6, 2017 | 03:37 PM - Posted by Anonymouse3223 (not verified)

How freak n hard is it to integrate the pen

December 8, 2017 | 01:46 AM - Posted by bufbarnaby (not verified)

There are a lot of people these make sense for.

December 10, 2017 | 12:17 PM - Posted by ikjadoon (not verified)

To clarify, what's wrong with Dropbox? They have Dropbox on the Windows Store and they apparently posted how it "works on Windows 10 S", too:

https://www.dropbox.com/news/product/dropbox-now-available-on-windows-10-s

What am I missing? Besides the rationale why a folder syncing application needs any drivers at all!

This Dropbox post says the kernel integration is Mac only--did they bring this to Windows, too?

https://blogs.dropbox.com/tech/2016/05/going-deeper-with-project-infinite/

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