back to article A Snapdragon in a ThinkPad: Lenovo unveils the X13s

Vendors are rolling out their latest hardware at Mobile World Congress and among them is Lenovo, with its first Snapdragon ThinkPad. The ThinkPad X13s is built on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 compute platform, and will give those with deep enough pockets a silent (the design is fanless) always-on, always-connected laptop, replete …

  1. knarf

    2 hours of Slack

    ok ok 2.5 hours

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Seriously

      What is the target market for this thing at this price point?

      1. Not Irrelevant

        Re: Seriously

        Enterprise market.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Pluton

    Can't help feel this is just another attack vector with built-in-obsolescence if, and when, Microsoft decide to stop updating the firmware. Going by Windows 11's latest timeline, this could be 3-4 years for hardware.

    Windows on Arm fledgling, is still very much up in the air, it could still go to the wall, like Windows Phone, and sooner rather than later.

    Truth is if you're betting on Windows on Arm, better to test the water by buying an M1 mac running Parallels, at least the alternative M1 macOS platform is here to stay, even if Windows on Arm gets dropped.

    As a platform, it's probably got 12 Months max to find its feet. Think 3D Paint, Activity History Timeline and all the others that have fallen to the wayside, before it.

    I mean, did anyone ask for Pluton? By Microsoft of all people, too. It really doesn't shout "Reassurance".

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Pluton

      Pluton is not the (only) problem. The CPU is from Qualcomm. I expect support to disappear in the same amount of time it takes Qualcomm to end support of Android phone CPUs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

      > Windows on Arm fledgling, is still very much up in the air

      My first thought was "Oh, like Windows RT all over again". And remember how they dropped that- and its users- like a hot potato when they got bored of it?

      How many attempts at a non-x86 version of Windows has MS made? And how many times have they ditched them when they didn't take off and abandoned anyone trusting enough to have invested in it? (*)

      Regardless, it's obvious at this stage that you'd have to be a mug to invest in anything based on a non-x86 version of Windows.

      I wouldn't put money on this one being a success either- if it is, we can buy it once it's proven itself. Of course, if everyone follows that reasoning, it'll fail for sure.

      Too bad, not our problem; let MS reap what they've sown.

      (*) This is MS's modus operandi in general, throw the mud at the wall, expect everyone to go along with it- a la Silverlight- then ditch it when it fails, abandoning everyone invested in it, for the next failed attempt at whatever nonsense. Throw into this unholy mix MS's confusing marketing- using the same name for different things, different names for the same thing, similar names for different things (e.g.) .NET having been .NET Core, which "obviously" isn't the same as the .Net framework) and it makes using any non-established MS technology a minefield.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

        I remember Windows on MIPS, Alpha, Itanium and a few other processor platforms, heck they even allegedly had a fully working Windows NT 4 for PowerPC, back in the day.

        I really like Windows on Alpha, but there were never really any native apps for it.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

          They was indeed a PowerPC build of Windows NT4 Workstation (for devices conforming to the PowerPC Reference Platform, so it won’t work on Apple hardware). I worked for Motorola at the time, and NT was one of the options available with its “PowerStack” PPC workstations..

          1. Waseem Alkurdi

            Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

            Surprisingly, there's also an early build of Windows NT 5.0 (which later became 2000) for PowerPC PReP out there ...

      2. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

        "This is MS's modus operandi in general, throw the mud at the wall, expect everyone to go along with it- a la Silverlight- then ditch it when it fails, abandoning everyone invested in it, for the next failed attempt at whatever nonsense."

        With all due respect, I'd like to know when megacorps DON'T drop tech that doesn't catch on. Don't go finger pointing Microsoft as if they are to blame for the world's dropped-tech woes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

          (OP here). MS obviously isn't the only example of this- and there's nothing in my post that ever suggested they were- but they're both a prominent *and* particularly egregious example of this behaviour.

          Often because they're prone to copycat responses to other already-successful products they want to grab the market in.

          Ones they'll expect people to waste their time and/or money supporting on their behalf, then forget all about them when it's clear their uninspired cash-in won't succeed.

          As I said, you'd have to be a mug to invest your time and money helping MS (not) succeed with yet another mud-at-the-wall attempt to push a non-x86 version of Windows.

          1. Doug 3

            Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

            I couldn't help but think this is all because there are so many with the Apple M1 systems showing great performance and battery life while their Microsoft Windows friends look sadly at their mains connected hotbox running Windows. And there's all the ARM news with systems running Linux doing robotics and thousands of other tasks and their Windows running friends look at their x86 hardware with a heatsink the size of a grapefruit and battery 2x that size. Surely Microsoft has to show something with Windows running on ARM. This laptop is for all those Windows users looking next to them seeing their buddies doing amazing things on ARM hardware without Windows.

            It'll probably get a $100 million in marketing dollars or maybe even $200 to show the world Microsoft can do ARM too. And then it will fade and Microsoft execs check off the box for another 5 years.

        2. Kristian Walsh

          Re: Seduced and abandoned by yet another attempt at a non-x86 Windows?

          For me, Google is still the leader when it comes to offering stuff to developers and then leaving them high and dry later. Apple also has history of abandoning developers at dead-ends with no migration path except “rewrite everything” (OSX CarbonLib?), although it has improved immeasurably if you compare now to its Don Juan attitude in the 1990s, when APIs would be trumpeted as the Second Coming at one year’s WWDC, then completely written out of history by the time the next one arrived (Just off the top of my head I can remember OpenDoc, Dylan, MacApp, OS 8 “Copland”, Appearance Manager, QuickDraw GX... and I may even have contributed my own tiny part toward this too while at Apple)

          Returning to Silverlight as the example, at least there had a forward migration path to converting apps into WinRT 8.1 applications - a class-path rename would get you about 75% straight carryover of application code, and Microsoft went to some effort to provide you with workarounds when that didn’t work, which isn’t bad considering to complete platform change underneath. Sure, you lost the opportunity to run in-browser, but by that time using these browser-plugin runtimes was rightly seen as far less efficient, and no more secure, than just downloading and running a signed application.

          The issue for users with these changes is that Microsoft’s third-party devs are pragmatic when it comes to the use of their time, and are slow to rewrite apps just so they can say they are using The Latest Library (in contrast to Apple’s cohort who tend to leap over themselves to be first to have rebuilt their app against whatever Apple announces).

          That’s not saying that Microsoft’s current clusterfuck with GUI toolkit APIs is an any way okay, mind you. I happen to really like WinRT, or UWP as it’s known these days, (and I especially like its responsiveness on slow CPUs), but I’d be happy to abandon it and use something else that has a long-term future if only MS would just make its damned mind up about what that “something else” should be.

          As for x86, Microsoft isn’t to blame for these failures. Intel has very effectively used its position as the dominant supplier of desktop and laptop chips to discourage vendors from producing non-x86 Windows machines. Remember when Windows NT was launched on about five ISAs: Microsoft really wanted to break with “WinTel”, but the hardware builders weren’t so free to do so. Same story today - x86 ISA chips have higher price and higher profit-per-unit than ARM parts, and so the suppliers of these really want hardware vendors to stick with x86. Maybe if AMD applied some of its Ryzen know-how to an ARM ISA part, we’d see real competition, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  3. Al fazed Bronze badge
    Unhappy

    Is this price tag correct ?

    WoW WTF ? Is this chopped down little brat the same price as the old bugger of a MACBook Pro of the same screen size ? Well again I have to say WTF ?

    Go for it muppets..........

    Gob agape........

    ALF

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Is this price tag correct ?

      Microsoft marketing is a disaster.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pricing

    Still, a premium Windows-on-Snapdragon experience demonstrates that there remains life away from Wintel world, even if that €1,399/ $1,099 starting price (hardware is available from May) might make some wince. After all, a 13-inch Mac Book Pro with Apple Silicon starts at £1,299.

    It always makes me laugh when people criticise Apple kit for being extortionate. They're normally earlier to the party (compare M1 vs Windows ARM-based offerings), better built (ThinkPads have never been the same since the Lenovo takeover) and cheaper, like-for-like.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Pricing

      I'd beg to differ as for Apple kit being well-built. How is that relevant when it's not repairable at all? Do I throw away a one-year-old laptop just because Apple was greedy and made TI sign an NDA for the USB-C controller chip?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd upgrade a M1 MacBook tomorrow, if it had a removable SSD. It's that simple.

      I'd upgrade to the M1 MacBook tomorrow, if it had a removable m.2 PCIe SSD. It's that simple. The integrated SSD, means the M1 MacBook is degrading from the moment you leave the Apple Store, with a finite life.

      I've also dropped my laptop from the overhead storage on a plane, where several hours of work wasn't backed up, yes it survived, and I could retrieve the data, just not the laptop. It's hard to change to Apple's way of thinking after that.

  5. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    fscking hell i'll stick with my t440p with full hd screen and upgraded touchpad running xp

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And two-hour battery life and anemic CPU performance on both :-(

  6. jake Silver badge

    Presumably, I'll want Pluton ...

    ... because of Microsoft's impeccable record on security.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Presumably, I'll want Pluton ...

      Where's the upvote x 1000 button?

  7. thejoelr

    28hrs of playing local video.

    That statistic is so intentionally misleading. I'm guessing it has a dedicated decoder. I don't trust Qualcomm at all, and they've done a horrible job at being competitive. Too hot and too slow. It has hurt Android massively because the hardware just isn't competitive. Otherwise it is nice to see the ram and lenovo styling, but at the current rate of M1 Linux work and prices it would be foolish to buy this Lenovo. Qualcomm is so bad for the ARM ecosystem as a whole. Plus, it looks like in the US the cell capabilities tie it to being sold with a phone plan? No thanks.

  8. karlkarl Silver badge

    If the ARM machine is open from the bootloader onwards, it will become popular. If it isn't, it will be dead within a year.

    Simples.

    1. jake Silver badge

      I'd rather see it open (fully open!) from the point that the POST routines see power. Far too easy to hide shit pre-bootloader.

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        Well yeah, absolutely agreed. However that really is asking simply *too* much from the criminals running the IT industry these days.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Perhaps it is too much ... but then again, there is no harm in asking and/or making your feelings known. Squeaky wheel & all that.

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      Believe me, the bootloader is the least of your worries. With the current Windows-on-Snapdragon tablets, you do have an unlocked bootloader, Linux aarch64 can boot, but there's no graphics acceleration, making the thing entirely useless. Blame Qualcomm for that one.

      See: https://github.com/aarch64-laptops/build

      1. jake Silver badge

        "there's no graphics acceleration, making the thing entirely useless"

        I don't use graphics acceleration for anything. Somehow my businesses run just fine.

        Methinks the phrase "entirely useless" doesn't mean what you think it means.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          99.9999999999999% of people don't. Most people aren't using an ARM tablet simply to SSH into servers.

          Therefore, it *is* entirely useless. Your use case is already covered with an Android tablet running Termux or pmOS, or something like the Pine64.

      2. karlkarl Silver badge

        Granted some people are very tied to graphics, however my main work machine is an OpenBSD and Nvidia workstation. NVidia has not published any docs or source to their drivers so I am pretty much on scfb / vesa. Doesn't really bother me too much. There is more to life than visuals.

        (weirdly I am a graphics programmer by trade but I tend to cross compile / SSH / remotegdb so don't need any thing too fancy on my workstation).

  9. Tilda Rice

    Cue nonsense comparisons to WinRT. Cue, people who have never actually used an 8cx PC

    This thread will definitely be full of opinion, yet very little actual experience.

    As someone who had a gen1, it ran cool (at odds with mr thejoelr above who clearly hasnt used one)

    It ran silent

    Battery life was awesome compared to an Intel or AMD equivalent of its vintage.

    If the gen2 or gen 3 8cx improves the performance it will be great. Was perfectly fine as a daily driver for basic/standard office automation.

    But don't let facts get in the way of a good whine / M$ bashing juvenile nonsense. Carry on.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      It claims to be a PC ... while it clearly isn't, being nowhere as open. Qualcomm not releasing the BSP (why would they?), and ARM not having a PC-like unified architecture means that it'll never truly "be" a PC laptop.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft Bashing juvenile nonsense? No, it's valid criticism.

      Firstly, I've read El Reg for going on 20 years, give the reader some credit, most are seasoned and know their stuff. The complaints about Microsoft aren't juvenile, they are valid and real.

      Microsoft has an obsession with new bells and whistles, and an inability to finish things, and drop products at will. Their whole mantra is one of an abusive relationship with the customer, that Microsoft knows best, and we'll do whatever we want to push our product down your throat.

      Take Windows 11, Microsoft Health Tools are malware by any other name. If you uninstall them via the Control Panel, uninstall. Windows Update, checks, and re-issues the KB4023057, installing this piece of shit again. It's another attack vector on a machine. You can't actually remove this crap.

      The new message that seems to be emanating from Microsoft, malware/spyware is fine as long as it is produced by Microsoft. They have crossed the line on what is acceptable.

  10. Prabesh

    No Linux support. Nope, not for me.

    1. mathew42

      You can order a current model Lenovo X13 Yoga with Linux (Ubuntu) installed, so we can hope there might be a Linux edition. That would be very tempting.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        That'd require Qualcomm either building their proprietary drivers for specific Linux kernel versions (and we all know how fun binary kernel modules are), or them releasing the BSP to the general public (which they admittedly can't).

      2. Doug 3

        This is clearly a Microsoft funded design so thinking that Qualcomm or Lenovo will do any work on their own(unfunded) to ship a version with Linux( if it is even allowed ) is what's called a pipe dream.

    2. Not Irrelevant

      They make the Linux-compatible X13 if you're really burning for a Linux version.

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