First of all, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Qualcomm has declared carrier and retailer partners for its upcoming “Always Connected PCs” running Windows 10 on Snapdragon 835 CPUs.

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13 Carriers Announced

First, Qualcomm declared that thirteen carriers headquartered in nine countries would be sponsoring Qualcomm’s Connected PC platforms with their 4G LTE services. These Connected PCs are ones previously proclaimed by ASUS with the NovaGo and the HP Inc. ENVY x2 at Qualcomm’s December Tech Summit event. Lenovo announced the Miix 630 2-in-1 at CES 2018. However, I have used both the HP and ASUS beta device, but not Lenovo.

 Clearly, Qualcomm proclaimed support from China Mobile and China Telecom (China HQ), Transatel (France HQ), Deutsche Telekom (Germany HQ), Cubic (Ireland HQ), Telefónica (Spain HQ), Swisscom (Switzerland HQ), T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon (U.S. HQ), TIM (Italy HQ), and EE (U.K. HQ). Certain carriers represent some of the leaders in their countries, and many of these carriers cover more than one state. The number of carriers and nations they cover is adequate. At this early of a stage, the Always-Connected PC program does not need every carrier in every state for the category to be successful. The focus is good.

The two, crucial remaining pieces of the Always-Connected PC puzzle related to carriers are the wireless plan terms and conditions. So, For the highest chance of success, I would like to see programs like what is available on an Apple iPad. Whereas, the user selects from a record of carriers as part of the setup and then chooses the plan using their credit card. Attaching an iPad to a current service in the U.S. can be as low as $10 per month, takes approximately five minutes, without requiring a trip to the store. I am also hoping carriers do not dump up the systems with bloatware few users appreciate. Qualcomm says plan information should be available from carriers in “1H 2018”.

12 Retailers in 6 Countries

Qualcomm and Microsoft announced that twelve retailers in six states would be carrying Qualcomm’s Always-Connected PC platforms. Individually, Amazon and Microsoft Stores (U.S.), Microsoft Stores (Australia), JD.com (China), TIM and Unieuro (Italy), Boulanger and Fnac (France). Asus Stores, BT Shop, John Lewis, Microsoft Stores, and PC World (U.K.) will carry Qualcomm-based Connected PCs.

From a retail POV, this is a “whos-who” list except for the lack of Best Buy. Best Buy is likely in the middle of maximizing their MDF by negotiating a better deal with Qualcomm. And Microsoft or have already done that with Intel on their Always Connected PCs. Given Microsoft’s investment in Best Buy marketing. I would predict the retailer at some point will carry Qualcomm’s flavor of Always Connected PC. I am sure Qualcomm is working on other plans to get Always Connected PCs in the hands of a broad range of consumers via brick and mortar retail. However, These options could encompass carrier stores, mall pop-ups and road shows.