HP Envy x2 throws its hat in the always-connected Windows PC ring

At its technology summit in Maui this afternoon, Qualcomm provided some additional details of the results of its partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows to the chipmaker's SoCs. To further that vision, HP's Kevin Frost took the stage to introduce the company's upcoming Snapdragon 835-powered Envy x2 convertible.

Frost didn't provide as many hardware specs as Asus' CEO did, but the he did have some details about the Envy x2's form factor. The Envy x2 will have a Surface-like detachable keyboard and will be just 0.3" (6.9 mm) thick. HP's spokesman said the PC weighs a scant 1.5 lbs (0.7 kg). According to PC Magazine, the machine has a 12.3" screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio, a fanless 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 835, and just 4 GB of memory. The machine will come with Windows 10 S pre-installed and will only run applications from Microsoft's Windows Store.

The back of the machine will be made from machined aluminum for a high-end look and will sport a camera that will work with the new 3D features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Frost didn't mention a stylus, but the machine was pictured with such a pen attached to its case, so it probably supports Windows Ink.

The Envy x2, in keeping with Microsoft's always-connected PC vision, purportedly sports long battery life, nearly instant wake times from a sleep state, and ubiquitous LTE connectivity. Frost said the Envy x2 can provide up to 20 hours of use between charges and has an X16 LTE modem inside that's good for a theoretical maximum of 1 Gbps bandwidth.

HP didn't provide any pricing information for the Envy x2, but it did say that customers can expect to buy it next spring. If Asus' and HP's always-connected offerings aren't enough, Lenovo will be showing off its models at CES on January 9.

Comments closed
    • Anovoca
    • 3 years ago

    I just don’t get the hate these things are getting. Yes, the market for this is niche, but that doesn’t mean there ins’t a place for this. The amount of times I get called from work on a Saturday half way between home and the grocery store where I need to pull over to the nearest parking lot, grab my heavy laptop out of the trunk, sit and wait 10 minutes while the machine powers up and say a prayer that the battery doesn’t run out before I even get my hotspot connected, all to send a single reboot command to a database process and log off.

    Having a: light weight, instant on, always connected, battery friendly machine with VPN and a web browser or Citrix receiver installed would be a godsend.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      It sounds like your scenario took place about a decade ago.

      • Beahmont
      • 3 years ago

      It’s called an SSD. My ancient C2Q with PCI-e 2.0 and a BIOS from 2007 cold boots in under 40 seconds with one.

      And if all you need to do is send a command or two, your company would be much better off investing in a smartphone app. Then you could just use your smartphone and a bluetooth keyboard if you really need it.

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      I have been SSH’ing into servers for years on my phone.

      If you get called from work a lot just to do small, simple tasks, get yourself a cheap tablet (Android or Windows, doesn’t really matter and stick a PAYG data SIM in there. I reckon I could be in a remote server via VPN in under a minute using my tablet right now, and it’s asleep in the other room. As Anonymouse Coward hints at below, what decade are you living in?

        • Anovoca
        • 3 years ago

        I’m just a production scheduler not a server admin. While the admins have that kind of access I do not. My access is limited to GUI subsystems that don’t have SSH capability. I really can’t get into more details than that and my scenario above is extremely vetted and over simplified because of how restricted I am in what I am contractually allowed to talk about in regards to my employer, job function, vendor contracts, ect….

        But, at a very base level, I need vpn access and the ability to open multiple simultaneous web sessions or rdp to connect to my work PC. Sure this can be done on a mobile device or tablet, but what I was really trying to get at, is that for my specific use case, this machine would be the most optimal.

    • Pancake
    • 3 years ago

    Insanely great battery life. Check.
    Better than Atom Goldmont performance in x86. Check.
    Near Core M performance in native mode. Check.
    Made by HP. Wobbly pile of fail.

    At least there’ll be some great alternatives from other manufacturers. Maybe even with Snapdragon 845! Pancake Perfect Prediction: this will be THE Windows chip to watch out for in 2018.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Why the heck would I want one of these to run my x86 apps? Are x86 laptops in short supply?

    That said, it’s Ryzen and only Ryzen for me the next time I need a new desktop or laptop.

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      probably for the 22 hours of battery life or 30 days of standby, with lower cost than intel chips?

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        What lower cost are we talking about here? The only worthwhile system they quoted cost $799.

        I can get a quad-core Kaby Lake notebook with a discrete Nvidia GPU and still have $80 in my pocket instead of that thing.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 3 years ago

          A laptop that goes 22 hours without plugging in? Essentially pointless. 30 days of standby? No thanks.

          A product in search of a purpose, with specifications that nobody has use for, that starts with the premise of being simple and inexpensive, but ends up being a toy for those with excess cash.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            I take it you’ve never traveled much. Plugs are hard to find, and after a couple of days of flying a decent battery is awesome. Also, having lived in a very poor country with spotty electricity i can see this being a huge boon for African students and businesses. 15 hours without electricity but you’re still in business.
            I’m not in the market for one of these. I dont need that kind of battery life or performance. He asked what the advantages were and i listed them. I dont care for the misinformation in this thread but i wouldn’t buy one of these for MY OWN use right now.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 3 years ago

            I don’t believe for a second that some fragile, limited, unrepairable widget like this is the solution to any problem that the poor parts of the world have, and you’d have to be travelling [i<]a lot[/i<] to justify a device like this for that specific reason. When I've traveled with a computer, its been a 15" Thinkpad or a 17" PowerBook of the G4 era. Honestly I prefer magazines and books on planes.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            Yes. this EXACT machine is what i meant the world needs, not that better battery life, lower costs, and a few years down the road this will be hugely advantageous. I don’t know if this is a surprise to you, but computers are EVERYWHERE, including africa already. They’re used in businesses, schools, etc. and the ones with better battery life are prized.

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 3 years ago

            Do you really feel the need to tell me that they have computers in Africa?

            This device is closed both physically and on the software side, its going to be useless and unrepairable in a short number of years. Microsoft is likely to abandon the whole platform. If the poor regions of the world wanted tablets, those exist already. This is a toy for bored westerners.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<] This device is closed both physically and on the software side, its going to be useless and unrepairable in a short number of years. [/quote<] so is every other device on the market, and the VAST majority of systems used in poor nations, except they have crappier battery life. ARM systems are cheaper than intel ones. I don't know how it'll play out over the long term, but your dismissal of the advantages of battery life is ridiculous. apparently you've never been without access to electricity, so i guess i do need to tell you?

            • ArdWar
            • 3 years ago

            A quick glance at this article’s title should give obvious hint that this EXACT machine is hardly “what the world needs”.

            Certainly not in Africa.
            Hell, it might not even usable here where I live.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            you ever look at the rate of cell phone use in Africa? everyone has one, and they’ve all got facebook. I talk to people in my daughters village on whatsapp and facebook and they average $100 a year in income.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            The only misinformation is that which you are horribly doubling down on.

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    If you want Windows always-on mobile then for the love of all that is IT please go with a x64 solution such as AMD Ryzen Mobile.

    This Windows on ARM BS has to stop.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah. Like it’s tough looking for an Intel or AMD laptop. Why bother with ARM when x86 laptops have been doing just fine without complicating things further by insisting on running your x86 apps on an ARM CPU through an emulator? Unless you really hate Intel and AMD….

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    x64 is the only thing that Windows has going for it. ARM is a shot to the head.

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      x64 can only run x86 via emulation. Barf.

        • srg86
        • 3 years ago

        Nope its native, on Windows and Linux, supported in hardware.

        • End User
        • 3 years ago

        Good grief!

          • sweatshopking
          • 3 years ago

          what the heck do you think the WOW (windows on windows) system does?

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Holy hell. When will vendors and Microsoft wake up to the fact that it’s their x86-native software ecosystem propping up the sale of tablet/convertible devices?

    If people wanted to limit themselves to shonky, mobile-first software from the marked-up walled garden that is the Windows Store, they’d have stuck to their iPad or Android. Not only are those OSes vastly superior for mobile, one-handed operation, they also boast far, [i<]far[/i<] richer software ecosystems. Microsoft will just face backlash if they sell this highly-limited, Chromebook-like one-trick pony as a full x86-compatible product. Windows RT flopped spectacularly for exactly this reason and it would appear that Microsoft have learnt NOTHING.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 3 years ago

      x86 code is supported through an emulator that Microsoft put onto this machine.

      I’m curious how bad it is. But not curious enough to buy one.

      EDIT: I’m curious, why would they put an emulator on the device but then lock it down to Windows-store only? That’s just… weird.

        • psuedonymous
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]I'm curious, why would they put an emulator on the device but then lock it down to Windows-store only? That's just... weird.[/quote<]Emulating/translating x86 for UWP (which was designed for multi-platform multi-arch use from the start) is one thing, but trying to do so for unrestricted Win32 in general? That'd be nuts.

        • End User
        • 3 years ago

        Emulator=poor performance

          • sweatshopking
          • 3 years ago

          You do realize that this is the same concept that lets amd64 Cpus run x86 apps, right?

            • dragontamer5788
            • 3 years ago

            There is no emulator on AMD64 platforms.

            That’s why AMD64 won over Intel64 (aka Itanium). That the problem. Microsoft is [b<]repeating[/b<] the Intel64 Itanium mistake.

            • srg86
            • 3 years ago

            100% wrong, 32-bit x86 applications run in the compatibility sub mode of Long mode.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        I reckon they’re limiting x86 software to those on the Windows store because they first need to check if that particular software will run well and reliably on the emulator. I won’t bet $5 King’s Quest is going to run ok on these things.

        • Zizy
        • 3 years ago

        Windows S gives much better battery life on the same machine (check Surface Laptop and other Windows S devices), and the selling point here is battery life. “Upgrading” to non-Windows S would be quite dumb in this case.

        And Windows store does have x86 apps repackaged as UWA, one of the big ones there is “proper” MS Office, though I guess it got recompiled for these ARM devices.

        (also, Windows S doesn’t limit you to the MS Store, it limits you to the UWA, but you could install them from other sources, should there be any)

      • End User
      • 3 years ago

      Agreed.

      • Zizy
      • 3 years ago

      Windows RT couldn’t run x86 and worked like other Windows devices otherwise. Worst of both worlds.
      Windows 10 ARM runs x86 mostly fine if repackaged in the store and offers much better battery life than other Windows devices. Best of both worlds.

      (you can also upgrade to run any x86, even those not found in MS Store, but battery life goes down => rather buy Intel/AMD laptop with LTE if you want that)

        • sweatshopking
        • 3 years ago

        The confusion about this issue among “enthusiasts” is incredible, given the number of times these details have been reported on this very site.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        I’m not sure I agree with your statement that “Windows 10 ARM runs x86 mostly fine if repackaged”

        I’ve yet to see in person, or in a video, or even Microsoft themselves demo a typical multi-API application running on an ARM device.
        [list<][*<]Autodesk products. They're a nope with their suites relying on .NET, C++, Direct3D... [/*<][*<]Adobe products. Their solution for ARM is to run cloud variants where the ARM CPU is largely sidestepped... [/*<][*<]Take Games - Direct3D, Vulkan, OpenGL are out and not emulator-friendly. [/*<][*<]Multi-API gaming frontends - GoGG, Origin, Steam; Even if Steam are leading the cross-platform race, here, it'll never happen with Microsoft trying to fight Gabe.[/*<][/list<] This teeny tiny list is only the tiniest tip of an unbelievably massive iceberg. To date, the only Win32 x86 demos on ARM I've seen have been simple tools like 7-Zip being emulated. The real question for enthusiasts is not whether it can run 7-Zip - we're always asking "[i<]Can it run Crysis?[/i<]"

          • sweatshopking
          • 3 years ago

          ugh, chrispy,
          why do you even post stuff without doing any research or ignoring the very stuff posted on this very site? they’ve already demo’d adobe and direct3d applications.
          x86 store applications? you’ve no reason to suggest they won’t work. win32 applications should generally work. you’re just ignoring stuff half the time and making stuff up the other half. It does seem to poll well though, i see your initial tweet is sitting at a +6 despite being basically nonsense.

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            I see demos of UWP apps running on ARM. I see browser stuff, including adobe’s browser-based apps, but I DO NOT SEE native Adobe or serious D3D stuff that wasn’t a designed-from-scratch-for-cross-architecture-UWP.

            I know the snapdragon 835 has a DX12-compatible GPU but it’s not just about the GPU – it’s about software that is compiled to run closer to the metal than the Windows Store apps allow and in territory that emulation, even good emulation, is going to fail on.

            I’d like to eat my words, because that means that x86 finally has some decent competition but sadly I’ll believe it when I see it. Articles based on optimistic empty promises from Microsoft and Qualcomm do not convince me. Show me an ARM processor running StarCraft Brood War or Unreal Tournament like any PC with Windows and an x86 processor, and I’ll sit up and listen. This isn’t about the future ecosystem of things that have yet to be compiled and repackaged for Microsoft’s own walled garden of UWP limitations, this is about the existing ecosystem that is rich, full, and that people have spent collective trillions on software licenses for.

          • Zizy
          • 3 years ago

          Did you really expect 5W SoC to run stuff where even 15W chips are mostly useless?
          But yeah, they have shown Photoshop a year ago on SD 820 + Windows. It kind of ran.
          They have shown some non-demanding games as well, those also kind of ran.

          It isn’t a GOOD machine for any of that on your list, but then again CoreM is a similar class of useless junk and doesn’t even have as good battery life as those machines.

          The thing is that these machines are third generation netbooks, or perhaps 4th if you consider chromebooks to be 3rd gen. (tablets are the 2nd gen).
          They run everything you would realistically expect a Windows netbook to run, and are supposed to be great for actual netbook tasks.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            -‘d for facts.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<] They run everything you would realistically expect a Windows netbook to run, and are supposed to be great for actual netbook tasks.[/quote<] I ran Visual Studio and Virtualbox VMs on my netbook.

            • Zizy
            • 3 years ago

            Visual Studio would still work here. And it should be just great for coding (= writing text), and fail miserably when you press build or try to test the app, like old netbooks did.

            No idea what kind of netbook you had, but I would imagine typical 1GB limit of old netbooks is way too low to run VMs. And I don’t see why it couldn’t work here as well. It would be just unbearably slow and limited in what you could virtualize.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<]Visual Studio would still work here. And it should be just great for coding (= writing text), and fail miserably when you press build or try to test the app, like old netbooks did. [/quote<] Last time I checked on my old netbook, when I hit "build", Visual studio would build the program. And then it would run a 32-bit program just fine. It took way longer than other laptops, but it definitely worked. [quote<]No idea what kind of netbook you had, but I would imagine typical 1GB limit of old netbooks is way too low to run VMs[/quote<] You do realize that Digital Ocean VMs are 512MB, right? I ran my test machine on my Netbook when I needed to code PHP on the go. I think I had a 256MB Linode VM back then (or was it "Slicehost??". I forget exactly). And yes, I ran a scale-for-scale version of my 256MB Linux VPS on my Netbook for development purposes through VirtualBox. It wasn't the best test environment, but by golly it worked. And it worked for the years that I used that little netbook.

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 3 years ago

    Its bad enough that a phone is worthless in 3-5 years. Now we also have these throw-away devices in search of a purpose.

      • LostCat
      • 3 years ago

      Which will still be well supported long after (and probably before) the phone is.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]Frost said the Envy x2 can provide up to 20 hours of use[/quote<] I guess this means ARM laptops from acer and dell will last for 40 hours?

    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]and will only run applications from Microsoft's Windows Store[/quote<] I'm out.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, this is ridiculous. What happened to regular desktop apps [url=https://techreport.com/news/31908/windows-10-on-arm-could-run-x86-apps-seamlessly-at-native-speed<]at "native speeds"[/url<]?

        • sweatshopking
        • 3 years ago

        Nothing. You just need to click a button first.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 3 years ago

          I see elsewhere (below) that all it takes is upgrading the version of Windows, which isn’t so bad, I guess.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            And then you are running x86 apps on an ARM SoC via emulation. That is just awesome.

      • codedivine
      • 3 years ago

      You can upgrade to Windows 10 pro from 10S and that will enable desktop apps.

        • NTMBK
        • 3 years ago

        Can you still do that with these ARM laptops, or was that a Surface Laptop only deal?

          • Zizy
          • 3 years ago

          Windows 10S can be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro on expensive enough machines, while upgrade costs 50$ on cheap devices. No idea where is this threshold though, but I guess somewhere around 500$.

          So, yeah, these can be upgraded free of charge. You shouldn’t do it, but you can.

            • NTMBK
            • 3 years ago

            Why do you say you shouldn’t do it?

            • Zizy
            • 3 years ago

            Battery life. You should definitely upgrade it on the Surface Laptop, but if you are buying THIS, you probably want it for battery life, as there is no other meaningful advantage.

        • End User
        • 3 years ago

        Via emulation. Barf.

          • sweatshopking
          • 3 years ago

          YEAH I HATE USING X86 APPS ON MY AMD64 PROCESSOR! BARF! I MEAN, IT’S BASICALLY AN IDENTICAL SYSTEM OF EMULATION, AND WE ALL KNOW IT’S SO TERRIBLE!
          (the fact it’s essentially the same process was in the FIRST damn announcement MS ever made on the subject.)

            • ArdWar
            • 3 years ago

            The fact that x86-32/x86-64 is emulating superset ISA within the same architecture (both are still x86), while this x86/ARM situation is emulating a wholly different architecture sure will make a difference on compatibility/performance.

            If both are the same, then I dunno if the ARM emulation is damn awesome or x86 emulation one is just terrible.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            You should probably talk to Microsoft engineers then, because they went on the record stating it’s basically the same.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 3 years ago

            Reference please.

            I think its far more likely that you aren’t understanding what the Microsoft engineers tried to say. Anyone can look at the assembly language supported between the two CPUs and see that they’re dramatically different.

            My other post has the assembly language of Amd64, x86, and ARM64. You can easily see how AMD64 is identical to x86, while ARM64 is completely different.

            • Andrew Lauritzen
            • 3 years ago

            You’re either misinterpreting what they said, or they don’t know what they are talking about.

            Do you have a link to the actual wording?

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE9pfkFtCXQ[/url<] starts at 6:00

            • Andrew Lauritzen
            • 3 years ago

            Thanks for the link.

            So I presume the bit you are referring to is at 7:33 when they say “it’s a similar infrastructure to what we use on x64 PCs to run x86 apps”?

            If so, the misinterpretation here is he’s talking about how the OS handles the system interface between code with different architectures (i.e. x86 stuff talking to native x64 OS DLLs, etc) and indeed that can be handled by a similar manner with x86 stuff talking to ARM or vise versa. That’s much simpler, and almost entirely unrelated to question of how the CPU itself executes the code…

            He kind of does mention this at 7:45 in a roundabout way when he says “we have a CPU emulation which traditionally just runs in hardware”… that’s a pretty misleading way to say it but what he’s trying to say is that for x86 on x64, that box isn’t there – i.e. there isn’t an “emulator” at all – the hardware runs the code natively. On ARM – as he notes – there’s the whole new process of software emulation/binary translation.

            None of this is particularly new – binary translation has been around since the beginning and it has various caveats that I don’t expect to be fundamentally different here. They obviously know this, as the main takeaway from that video is “please enable compiling native ARM code guys”, which would obviously not be important if the binary translation layer had zero overhead 🙂

            They also don’t specifically speak to the x64 app issue… people have been dancing around this. I have been assuming that “obviously” x64 applications would work as well, but now I’m getting nervous. If *only* 32-bit x86 applications work, that’s a significant issue going forward IMO. We’re in a world where a decent number of development tools and applications are no longer bothering to support 32-bit (for good reason), and that will only continue to increase.

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            Glad for your explanation.
            I would add they’ve stated that x86 apps only at this stage. X64 support is not ready at this time.

            • dragontamer5788
            • 3 years ago

            That’s… not how AMD64 works.

            * AMD64 assembly: [url<]https://support.amd.com/TechDocs/24594.pdf[/url<] x86 assembly: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_instruction_listings[/url<] Notice that its IDENTICAL to x86 assembly. AMD64 is not "emulated", it IS x86 assembly. * ARM Assembly: [url<]https://static.docs.arm.com/100898/0100/the_a64_Instruction_set_100898_0100.pdf[/url<] ------------- In particular, in x86 Assembly (and AMD64 assembly), you can directly manipulate memory from the CPU. ARM requires any memory manipulation to be "Loaded" into registers and then later "Stored" (aka: the Load / Store architecture). ARM is a fundamentally different CPUs at the assembly / machine code level. Yes, it can be emulated through software (software which changes "LEA" instructions and direct-memory references into a load/store pair). But its very different from how AMD64 chips can directly run x86 instructions. There are also instructions that only x86 and AMD64 has. Such as "LEA" (load effective address). ARM doesn't support that kind of paradigm

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