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Microsoft ‘Cloudbook’ is looking increasingly real

It seems more and more likely that Microsoft will release a new cheap, portable, device running a Cloud-based version of Windows, in time for the next back-to-school shopping season.

It’s been a busy 12 months for Microsoft. Early on we heard Windows running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon hardware. Even a trial test at Xiaomi that allowed users to install Windows on their Android phones. Then we heard mumblings of an upcoming Cloud-based version of Windows. More recently we’ve been hit with rumours of new Microsoft hardware such as the Surface Pro 5 and a major education event booked for May 2nd.

It turns out that all of it might be just about one major device launch, a Chromebook-killer tentatively monikered the ‘Cloudbook’ (although we doubt this is a real name, as Cloudbook is already a series of Acer devices).

According to the latest reports, the ‘Cloudbook’ will be using a Snapdragon 835 SoC from Qualcomm, like the one used on the Xiaomi 6 or Xperia XZ Premium. The tiny Snapdragon 835 includes an Adreno 540 GPU (claimed to be 25% faster than its predecessors), octa-core Kryo 280 big.LITTLE CPU at up to 2.45 GHz, Snapdragon X16 LTE modem (1 Gbps peak download) for wireless communications and possibly more important for head-in-the-cloud teens… Quick Charge 4.0, which Qualcomm claims to deliver 5 hours of power for 5 mins of charging.

Qualcomm 835 side-by-side with a penny.

Apparently, Microsoft may have clued-up to the fact that there is money to be made by releasing its own version of a lightweight, inexpensive laptop device, which will stave off the Chrome OS juggernaut. Recent research from Futuresource Consulting, shows that Chromebooks have massively eroded Apple’s share of K12 sales in the US, rising from 38% market share in 2014 to 58% market share in 2016, almost exclusively at the cost of Apple’s iOS (i.e. iPads) and OS X (i.e. MacBooks). If Microsoft does nothing, it’ll be next.

KitGuru Says: We’ve grown accustomed to seeing Microsoft as the “OS company”, but that picture has been changing in recent years with the Surface family of devices. There is no reason Microsoft cannot pull this off, if it really fields such a device.

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