HP Elite X3 phone with Windows 10 here next month

HP Elite X3 Windows smart phone (Image: HP)

19 July 2016

Not many are using smart phones with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile, but HP’s flagship Elite X3, available here next month, could boost the OS’s sagging fortunes.

The premium smart phone will be priced starting at €699 excl. VAT. It feels more like a phablet, but HP believes it could also be a PC in a pinch with its top-line mobile processor, OS and innovative accessories.

HP first announced the Elite X3 at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February.

It has a 152mm (5.96”) AMOLED screen that can display images at a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution, matching top smart phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and LG’s G5. The rugged screen has Gorilla Glass 4 technology.

The device weighs 194 grams and is 7.87 millimetres thick. Other features include dual-SIM slots, a 16-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front camera, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 64GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for expandable storage up to 2TB.

The Elite X3 has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip, which has a graphics processor capable of processing 4K video. The smart phone also has biometric authentication features like iris detection and a fingerprint reader.

The launch signals HP’s re-entry into the smart phone market, which has not been kind to the company. HP’s last big play in smart phones came with the ill-fated 2010 acquisition of Palm, which it jettisoned in 2014.

Re-entering the competitive smart phone market was not an easy decision for HP. But as a premium device, Elite X3 fits into HP’s plan of selling high-priced, high-margin devices to professionals and businesses. There are no plans to sell budget handsets.

The Elite X3 can deliver a PC-like experience when the mobile version of Windows 10 is in Continuum mode. It is much like the experience Microsoft has portrayed with some of its Lumia handsets. The Snapdragon 820 chip can deliver adequate processing power, though it doesn’t match the capabilities of Intel’s Core PC processors.

It will be possible to connect an external display and accessories to the smart phone via a Desk Dock accessory, which HP will bundle with the Elite X3 €1,199 excl. VAT. Users get the desktop feel when browsing the web or editing Microsoft Office documents. The dock has a DisplayPort port, an Ethernet slot, and USB-A and USB-C ports to attach a keyboard, mouse or external storage.

HP will also sell an accessory called Lap Dock to turn the smart phone into a laptop. The laptop accessory has a 318 mm (12.5”) full HD display and keyboard, and it can be hooked up to the Elite X3 wirelessly or through a USB Type-C cable.

Over time, HP will help companies export desktop applications into Microsoft Azure cloud as it tries to make Elite X3 a more viable PC alternative. Elite X3 users will be able to run cloud-based desktop applications via HP Workspace, a virtualised desktop program.

The smart phone will ship in many countries including the US, HP said, without providing specific details.

Windows phone shipments totalled 2.4 million in the first quarter of 2016, which gave the OS a meagre 0.7% market share, according to Gartner. That’s a decline from 8.27 million units shipped in the same quarter in the previous year, which was a 2.5% market share. Windows was behind Android smart phones, which held an 84.1% market share with 293.8 million units shipped, and iOS, which held a 14.8% market share with shipments of 51.6 million units.


IDG News Service and TechCentral Reporters

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