Laptops may have become sleeker and lighter over the years, but they are not fully mobile. Unlike iPads that have a built-in LTE, a handful of Windows laptops offer high-speed connectivity on the go.
Shailendra Katyal, Executive Director and Head of Consumer PCSD, Lenovo India, says the cost is too high to bring 4G LTE to the mainstream laptop. “The technology is there, some of our competitors are also working on that. So by next year, when 5G comes in, you will have a seamless experience. The cost of technology is still a little high.”
“So the average price point is looking like maybe $1,000. If we are able to scale it over the next one or two years and make it affordable, I am sure it will happen. If it starts at $1000 there’s no reason why it should not start coming down as more and more consumers buy the technology.”
At Computex 2019, Lenovo and Qualcomm showcased an always-on PC that’s due in early 2020. It’s the world’s first 5G laptop that runs on Qualcomm’s new 7nm Snapdragon 8cx processor. Katyal said Lenovo has plans to launch an always-on connected laptop in India next year, but he was tightlipped on the model and price.
The always-on connected PCs are seen as the new age laptops. Qualcomm along with Microsoft launched Snapdragon-powered Windows laptops (based on ARM architecture) way back in 2016. These laptops behave like smartphones, feature ‘always-on’ 4G connectivity and promise longer battery life.
“It’s like a phone being on all the time. The bigger challenge there was if it’s on all the time what happens to the battery… it turns out very quickly so that engineering problem has been solved. The more high powered processor, the more it drains the battery and it requires a lot of cooling which is where it becomes thicker and thicker and less mobile,” he adds.
Katyal agrees that the always-on connected PCs are designed for highly mobile consumers who want to do lightweight content creation, browsing and consuming multimedia content. Although it has many benefits like longer battery life and seamless connectivity, there is a limit to what it can achieve.
“With the always-on connected PC, if you want the battery to last only 24 hours, it will not be as high powered as other laptops. So we are talking about a very different customer segment. If you want to play games, you can’t run it on an always-connected PC. And if you want mobility, browsing, amazing battery life and lightweight content creation, those machines will be available in India next year which will be always connected.” he said.