Qualcomm's Snapdragon ARM-based systems-on-chips are mainstays of the smartphone world, but the company is now positioning them as more than just smartphone processors: in conjunction with Microsoft and the new Windows 10 for ARM processors, Qualcomm is now pitching the chips as components of a new PC platform that brings together the best of the PC and the smartphone.
The Snapdragon 835 chip, incorporating Qualcomm's latest X16 LTE modem, forms the basis of the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform. Qualcomm claims that using the Snapdragon platform will offer a combination of the PC form factor and breadth of software, with features that are standard in smartphones: on-the-go connectivity, light weight, silent operation, long battery life, and no fan.
Qualcomm says that PCs built using the new chips will offer up to 50 percent more battery life than x86 systems, with four- to five-times longer standby times. They'll take the Connected Standby capability already found in some Windows PCs—this allows the system to do things like sync mail and receive notifications even when "sleeping"—and make it better, thanks to their LTE connectivity.
While still not out yet, we're learning a little more about what Windows 10 S, the imminent version of Windows 10 that'll run Store apps but nothing more, will and won't be able to do.
First, a thing 10 S won't do: run command-line applications. CMD and PowerShell, the two built-in Windows command-line interfaces, won't be supported. Neither will the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that allows the use of Linux software on Windows. The rationale is that the built-in command-line applications include dangerous tools (for example, the diskpart partitioning program) that can break things, and the Store has no third-party command-line tools at all. To keep Windows 10 S protected against user error, they're all prohibited.
Oddly, at Microsoft's Windows 10 S launch event, I was successfully able to run both CMD and PowerShell on a number of the Windows 10 S machines that were on display. Although the obvious ways of launching these things were removed (no entry in the Start menu or the Win-X menu, for example), the programs themselves did run. Leaked builds of Windows 10 S do appear to properly prevent their execution.