Let’s first be clear. Windows phone is not dead, despite what some lesser articles reported a few weeks ago following the Microsoft reveal of less-than-spectacular market share numbers. Since those false claims of its demise, a few really impressive Windows phone OS powered devices have been announced and even more are on the horizon. That is not to say that Windows phones are not struggling; they are. Or to say that the OS does not have a difficult uphill climb ahead of it; it does. But reporting it dead is outright misleading and dishonest; it is. I submit as proof a Juggernaut of a device announced today by HP and the host of impressive accessories accompanying it: the HP Elite x3.
Windows 10 is meant to truly unite mobile and desktop computing. A more universal OS and features like Continuum are making it more and more possible to carry a very functional PC right in your pocket. While other companies are fighting over pixels, app launchers and gimmicks, Windows is evolving in a more functional, if not less-consumer-friendly direction. HP is taking this head-on with the Elite x3; a phone combining all the best that Windows 10 has to offer and backing it with some quality design and leader-of-the-pack specs.
The screen is a 6″ (5.96″ to be exact) quad HD display that HP themselves are marketing as a phablet-sized display. Below the screen are really unique looking metal Bang & Olufsen speakers that provide a nice accent to the plastic covering the rest of the phone. The volume and power buttons are on the right side of the device, but missing is the dedicated camera button that most Windows phones have thankfully retained. As far as cameras, you are getting a 16MP shooter on the back and an 8MP sensor up front that will incorporate the Windows Hello feature. The final production model will also have a fingerprint scanner on the back. Speaking of the back, towards the bottom you will notice 5 pogo-pins. Since this is meant to be a work-focused device, HP is hoping that companies will create accessories, such as sensors, to take advantage of those pins.
Powering the Elite x3 is a Snapdragon 820 with an equally impressive 4GB of RAM. You also get 64GB of internal storage with an SD slot that can take cards up to 2TB. Hiding inside that deceptively svelte frame is a monstrous 4100 mAh battery. And for the world travelers there is a dual SIM slot as well. Kitchen sink indeed.
Again and again HP stresses that this is a productivity tool and is really only meant to function as a phone in between you connecting it to a monitor at the office via Continuum, or on the go, wirelessly to the Mobile Extender laptop; which brings us to the accessories HP is pushing with the x3.
The first is a dock that is HP’s version of the Microsoft Display Dock. It has a number of ports on the back and connects the Elite to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse allowing access to some desktop-sized apps. The second piece looks like a laptop but is basically a shell that contains a 48Wh battery, 12.5-inch screen, keyboard, and trackpad. Lacking a processor and memory of its own, it is fully powered by the phone to provide the same Continuum experience without the wires (reportedly using Miracast), similarly to the NexDock we covered a few days ago. Remember when people said the Motorola Atrix and its Laptop Doc were ahead of their time? Well here you go. It’s time has come… more or or less.
Of course the biggest drawback here is that even with all that power and flash, you still can’t run x86 apps. And make no mistake, that is a huge shortfall. HP is working with multiple partners to bridge the app gap with virtualization tools but it has yet to be seen how well that works.
The Elite x3 is being planned for an official release later this year around summer with pricing for the phone and accessories to be announced then.Source: HP