US carriers AT&T and T-Mobile will join Verizon and Sprint to sell Windows 10 on ARM PCs in the country, Qualcomm announced today (via The Verge). This comes just a month after Asus, HP and Lenovo unveiled the first Always Connected PCs powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, and these devices are expected to start shipping in select countries in the first half of 2018.
In addition to AT&T and T-Mobile, Microsoft and Qualcomm also announced today that more carriers are embracing Always Connected PCs around the world including Australia’s Telstra, China’s CMCC, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and Spain’s Telefónica. “In collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and with the support of these mobile operators, consumers will be able to enjoy up to gigabit 4G/LTE connectivity and stay connected to the things that are most important to them,” said Matt Barlow, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices at Microsoft.
Microsoft and its OEM partners will really need great support from carriers around the world if they want this new Always Connected PC category to succeed this year. Last week, Microsoft published a document detailing the "necessary limitations" for Windows 10 on ARM, including the lack of support for x86 drivers and legacy 64-bit apps. It remains to be seen if these shortcomings will be a big deal for consumers, but the Always Connected PCs should still be a breath of fresh air and innovation for a PC market that has been declining since the recent rise of mobile devices.
Updated February 22, 3PM EST: Qualcomm announced yesterday that the four major US carriers will support Always Connected PCs on their networks, but the company only confirmed that "select operators also plan to stock Always Connected PCs in their retail locations,” without giving additional details.