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Next year may bring Windows PCs from phone brands that we’ve never seen make PCs before, according to Qualcomm. Needless to say, that opens up a lot of speculation.




WAILEA, Hawaii—Unnamed companies that primarily make smartphones will launch always-connected Windows PCs in 2019, Qualcomm execs said at the Snapdragon Technology Summit here today.

“I think you’re going to start to see some OEMs that have driven [smartphone] expertise and have launched flagship devices also drive and develop the PC experience. I think you’ll see a little bit of an OEM mix shift in 2019,” said Sanjay Mehta, Qualcomm’s senior VP of the compute products group (second from left, above).

Qualcomm panel

Qualcomm’s Miguel Nunes (third from left, above) later clarified by saying these would be “surprising” new entrants not known for making PCs before. In other words, not Asus, Lenovo, or Samsung, all of which have big PC and phone businesses. Lenovo was the one PC maker to share the stage with Qualcomm as it announced its 8cx chipset for always-connected laptops.

Needless to say, that opens up a lot of speculation. Who makes flagship phones, but not really PCs? One bet might be Qualcomm’s big Chinese flagship partners, like Oppo and Vivo. Xiaomi makes laptops, but it isn’t primarily known for making laptops, so I’d throw it in there, too.

These new manufacturers’ PCs may be targeted at countries outside the US and Europe, where many people have traditionally not had PCs. So they could be from even more obscure regional phone brands that have worked with Qualcomm in the past.

Mehta pointed out at the event that LTE-powered PCs could open up new markets in countries where PC penetration has been poor because there wasn’t much Wi-Fi or wired internet to connect to.

“I believe they’re LTE-first markets, and it’s understandable that the penetration is so low because they can’t connect to the internet. I think the penetration is really going to drive forward [with LTE],” Mehta said.



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