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HP Launches Windows 10 Phablet at Mobile World Congress

HP is readying a new Windows 10-based combination of a phablet, laptop and desktop PC for business users, planned for release this summer. The HP Envy x3, revealed this week at the annual Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona on Monday, could provide a promising new use case for Microsoft's Continuum technology and perhaps create a new niche for Windows 10 mobile among business users.

It includes a new six-inch Windows 10 mobile phone with a WQHD (2560 x 1440) AMOLED multi-touch display  that will include built-in native support for's Salesforce1 CRM offering and will come with HP software that supports virtualized application environments.

The new HP Envy x3 aims to bridge the functions of a phablet and a pc using Continuum, the technology introduced in Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile that allows users to connect large displays, keyboards and mice and run both Universal Windows Platform apps from the Microsoft Store and traditional Win32 and .NET applications. "HP's new Elite x3 is an innovative new Windows 10 mobile device," wrote Terry Myerson, executive VP of Microsoft's Windows and devices group. "With a unique new docking station, the Elite x3 brings Continuum to life in new ways, seamlessly transitioning between a phone, notebook or desktop.".

The new HP Envy x3 phone, powered with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor enabled for access to mobile LTE-based networks, also utilizes Microsoft's Windows Hello biometric authentication technology. It's equipped with 4GBs of RAM, a Cat 6 LTE modem and 2×2 AC Wi-Fi. The phone's storage capacity is 64GB eMMC 5.1, with support for up to 2TBs using an optional SD card.

Among other new mobile Windows 10 devices at MWC, Myerson showcased were the new Vaio Phone Biz, the Alcatel OneTouch, the Trinity Nuans NEO and the Huawei Matebook. Microsoft also announced its largest Lumia phone to date, the 5-inch, $200 Lumia 650.

This week's show also demonstrated that HP is developing more than just a phone that can plug into standard desktop peripherals using Continuum alone. The Envy x3 will include HP Workspace, a software update for Windows 10 that will give users access to catalogs of x86-based apps bundled as a virtualized solution.

According to HP, HP Workspace is a client side app that supports a group of back-end services that give IT administrators the ability to manage a catalog of virtualized legacy apps for end users based on their Active Directory profiles. Organizations will be able to use Citrix XenApp or Microsoft Azure RemoteApp to provide virtual app experiences on the Elite x3 clients, the company said. It will also support monitoring and reporting.

The optional Desk Dock will include two USB-A and a USB-C connector ports, Ethernet port and DisplayPort to let users connect external monitors. Another option is the HP Mobile Extender, which HP said gives the experience of a laptop with a near-zero bezel 12.5-inch diagonal HD display, weighing in at about 2.2 lbs. The Mobile Extender won't store any data and users must authenticate from the Elite x3.

HP hasn't disclosed pricing or a release date for the Elite x3, but it's an interesting sign for Windows Phone fans that have seen Microsoft's mobile market share continue to decline. The fact that a player like HP is making a push with a new twist could at least help move the dial in the other direction, even if it only finds niche uses.

Don't expect to find this device at Best Buy or your local AT&T dealer. "This is for large businesses and organizations, not consumers," wrote Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Technology, who is over at MWC in Barcelona. "HP, with its Elite x3, is attacking smartphone modularity and extensibility in the enterprise. HP is spot-on that mobile-compute power is skyrocketing, enabling PC-like capabilities. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 is an absolute beast of a performer, too. The reason I add the '-like' is that the x3 can't perform all PC use cases well, and if that's your bar, [you're] missing the point. The x3 isn't intended to replace your full PC experience just as the iPad Pro isn't intended to replace the Mac experience."

If you're a fan of Windows Phone, are you encouraged by the launch of this new device, and the hope that others will follow suit?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/24/2016 at 2:00 PM


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