Tech

Is Microsoft's Surface Pro The Ultimate Mobile Computer?

By Victor Thomson , Dec 09, 2016 04:18 AM EST
Microsoft has now all the tools to transform it Surface Pro in the ultimate mobile PC. (Photo : Tested/YouTube)

Windows 10 ARM compatibility opens up a new range of hardware options, offering Microsoft the right tools to transform the Surface Pro in the best mobile computer.

Microsoft Surface Pro

ARM compatibility in Windows 10 opens up device innovation opportunities in gaming, mixed reality as well as mobile PCs. According to the Windows Blog, partnerships with Qualcomm and Intel and Windows 10 Creators Update empower Windows hardware engineering community to design the next wave of mobile computers.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a powerful, lightweight computer that could be used everywhere. Despite its lack of current processors, the year-old Surface Pro 4 wins over other options that have come out this year. It is a very good mobile computer, being fast, thin, light, and versatile.

But while the Surface Pro 4 represents a very good choice of mobile computer right now, with just a few additions it could become great in the future version. Integrated cellular connectivity and a longer battery life could make the Surface Pro 5 expected to be launched next year a perfect mobile computer.

Windows 10 Compatibility With ARM Processors

According to The Verge, Microsoft has announced on Wednesday, Dec. 7, that its Windows 10 operating system and all of its legacy apps will soon be able to run on ARM-based processors. ARM processors are essentially the same chips that are powering your smartphone.  

Compared to the x86 Intel chips currently used in every Windows laptop, ARM processors offer a different set of benefits. Among the most important are integrated cellular connectivity and better power efficiency.

An ARM processor powering the Surface Pro could potentially solve the two major issues with the current device: its lack of cellular connectivity and short battery life. Other ARM-based tablets such as the Google Pixel C or the iPad can last days on a fully charge.

It would be great if the upcoming Surface Pro 5 could do the same, while still providing users with a full Windows 10 experience. Also, integrated LTE would allow users to connect to the internet quickly and easily no matter their location.

The Surface Pro would truly become Microsoft's "ultra mobile" option. Currently, the tech giant has in its lineup an ultra-powerful computer, the Surface Book. Next year, the company might go for a product lineup split between the Surface Book for those users with more powerful needs running on Intel's latest chips and the Surface Pro for mobile professionals running on ARM processors.

This scenario depends on how well Windows 10 is working on ARM processors. It's important that the Surface Pro remains a device for professionals. The future versions need to be at least as powerful and fast as the Pro is now.

While Microsoft has poor history of both Surface computers with integrated cellular and Windows on ARM, we hope that the company has learned from past mistakes. The poorly built Windows RT and Surface RT were the company's first efforts at designing a device running on mobile processors. But the results were disappointing due to lack of applications that would work on it and poor performance.

Back then, RT was a different platform entirely. This new effort is different, because Microsoft is promising now that full-fledged Windows 10 and all of its legacy apps will work on devices running ARM chips. We are hopeful that the tech giant's new effort with mobile processors and ARM technology will go a step further than just making the smartphone a full PC.

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