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Microsoft seeks former glories with ‘Always Connected PCs’

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Microsoft is going to be having a crack at reinventing personal computing with the introduction of constant connectivity.

The move itself seems to be an attempt to recapture some of the fortunes Microsoft experienced during the 90s and 00s; essentially the period where Microsoft was top of the world and the tablet-horror show hadn’t started writing the obituary of the personal computer. Constant connectivity would allow Microsoft to potentially regain some of this fortune; it’s early days for the moment, but your correspondent finds the idea appealing.

“There is a new generation of users that need to be connected to the cloud at all times. They are students, creators, freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises,” said Peter Han, VP of Partner Devices and Solutions at Microsoft. “This means sharing experiences across screens and leveraging the latest network technology like gigabit LTE and eSIM.

“This starts with a close partnership at the silicon layer, with Intel and Qualcomm and with our mobile operator partners to provide seamless eSIM connectivity. Microsoft device partners ASUS, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, VAIO, and Xiaomi, are committed to this new category of Always Connected PCs using eSIM technology.”

To support the dream, Intel will be making current and future modems compatible with e-SIMs, saving the hassle of fiddling around with SIM cards and easier connection to LTE networks. In theory, by entering account details, you should be able to access the cloud relatively simply.

Microsoft will also be working alongside Qualcomm to develop mobile PCs powered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform featuring the X16 LTE modem. It’s a useful little tie in as the chipsets currently power upmarket smartphone handsets including Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Windows devices on Snapdragon will also come with embedded e-SIM support.

“Today’s consumers experience mobility in nearly every aspect of their lives and they’ve come to expect more from their PCs than legacy computing models are able to provide,” said Cristiano Amon, EVP at Qualcomm Technologies.

“With compatibility for the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Snapdragon Mobile PC Platform will enable Windows 10 hardware makers to develop next-generation modern device form factors and deliver unparalleled anything, anywhere creation experiences with up to Gigabit Class LTE connectivity.”

Part of the attractiveness of the tablet is its accessibility. It’s smaller and lighter than a laptop, though there are still certain things you can’t do. It is most likely Microsoft will only be fighting to reclaim those customers who work on the go. For the more casual users, those who only want to watch movies for instance, a tablet will still be more attractive.

That said, it doesn’t really matter. Reclaiming any of the lost revenues would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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