Microsoft’s latest initiative brings always-on LTE notebooks with embedded SIM technology

Windows maker Microsoft's new “Always Connected PCs” initiative focuses on helping computer manufacturers bring to market LTE-enabled notebooks that incorporate eSIM technology (not to be confused with Apple SIM). The company said at the Computex 2017 show this morning in Taipei that it will partner with PC vendors, carriers and chip makers like Intel and Qualcomm on the new initiative.

Created a year ago by Apple, Samsung and other players, these SIMs are embedded directly into a device and cannot be removed. But perhaps more important than that, eSIMs are universally compatible with all carriers and as such allow customers to sign up for a wireless service right on their device.

First LTE-enabled Windows notebooks featuring eSIM technology (via Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chipset) are on the way from ASUS, HP and Lenovo, said Microsoft. These new Intel x86-based devices will feature Windows 10, always-on LTE connectivity and “great battery life”.

Huawei, VAIO and Xiaomi are committed to Always Connected PCs using eSIM technology, too.

“There is a new generation of users that need to be connected to the cloud at all times. They are students, creators, freelancers, small businesses and enterprises,” said the Redmond firm.

“This means sharing experiences across screens and leveraging the latest network technology like gigabit LTE and eSIM.”

The eSIM standard works virtually anywhere in the world, meaning customers are able to switch carrier instantly, no paperwork or a physical SIM card required whatsoever. Apple owns a patent for an LTE-enabled MacBook with wireless antennas integrated within a hinge mechanism, as depicted on the patent drawing below.

Updated Mac notebooks are expected at WWDC next week, according to Bloomberg.

Ahead of the WWDC keynote, an Apple regulatory filing in Russia has identified five unreleased Mac notebooks, plus a next-generation Magic Keyboard and new iPad Pro models.

It's unclear if these refreshed MacBooks will feature embedded LTE connectivity, but if a next-generation MacBook with an eSIM is lying around somewhere in Jony Ive's basement now would be a good time to bring it to market.

Lenovo breaks Apple’s MacBook in half in “hidden” camera prank vid

You may recall that Lenovo recently teamed up with Microsoft on a television commercial which dissed the MacBook Air because the ultra-thin Apple notebook is not a convertible machine like Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro. Now the computer maker is back at it with a new video Tuesday.

Crafted in co-operation with UCB Comedy's funniest prank shoppers and presented as a hidden camera prank, the clip depicts a guy pitching Lenovo's new Yoga 3 convertible to mall shoppers.


By breaking MacBooks in half to demonstrate how the Yoga 3 combines two devices into one, a traditional laptop and a tablet.

New Microsoft ad pits Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro convertible to MacBook Air

Microsoft's Windows channel on YouTube yesterday released a new commercial painting Lenovo's Yoga Pro 3 convertible laptop as a better portable computer overall than Apple's ultra-thin MacBook Air.

Titled 'Let's Dance', the 30-second commercial is critical of the Apple machine's lack of a touchscreen while praising multi-mode flexibility of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, concluding that once you add the touchscreen to the mix, “it’s game over” because the Yoga 3 Pro proves there’s “more than one way to do what you want”.

Tim Cook on bigger iPhones, ‘crappy’ Android experience, not making junk and more

Following notable excerpts from Daisuke Wakabayashi’s interview with Tim Cook in The Wall Street Journal, the financial newspaper has now posted the whole thing on its Digits blog.

The full interview gives us a more detailed insight into the mindset of Tim Cook's Apple as the CEO discusses recent topics of interest, including Lenovo's $2.9 billion purchase of Google's Motorola Mobility unit and additional information regarding Apple's share buyback program.

He also took time to touch upon the ongoing discussion concerning supposedly bigger iPhones in the pipeline, the current products not yet hitting the ceiling and lots more. I've included the best quotes and tidbits for your reading pleasure after the break...

Lenovo CEO: Motorola purchase part of mission to surpass Samsung, Apple

When news hit earlier this week that Google had agreed to sell its Motorola Mobility unit to Lenovo for $2.9 billion, it surprised a lot of people. Not only was the sale price some $10 billion below what Google paid for Motorola 3 years ago, but Lenovo? Where'd that come from?

According to a recent Fortune interview with Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yan, that was the plan all along. Yan says that his company has been eyeing Motorola since before Google came along , and it has major plans for it. Lenovo wants to become the #1 smartphone-maker in the world...

Google selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.9 billion

Well this is an interesting turn of events. It appears that Google has decided to sell its Motorola Mobility arm to electronics giant Lenovo for $2.91 billion. The deal is said to include the entire Motorola division and some 10,000 of its 17,000 patents.

If the deal gets approved, Google would be selling Motorola for far less than the $12.5 billion it paid for it back in 2011. It looks like it's holding on to some of Motorola's IP though, and retaining licenses to its other patents, so it wouldn't be a total loss...

Samsung leads Apple, Lenovo in China smartphone market

An interesting report on what smartphone brand is leading in China leaked over the weekend. It's interesting because most market updates are distributed far and wide. Instead, the South Korean news agency Yonhap published a private report indicating that country's Samsung leads Apple and others in the huge mobile marketplace.

According to the Strategy Analytics report obtained by Yonhap, Samsung is the number one brand in China with 17.7 percent of the market during 2012. Intriguingly, Samsung's rise coincides with a plummeting Nokia, which previously held the top spot...

Apple slips to sixth place in China smartphone market

Apple's standing in the growing China smartphone market has taken another hit, slipping to #6 during the third quarter, research firm IDC announced Thursday. The drop comes as the iPhone maker faces concerns its iPhone could lose ground to other smartphone makers, such as Samsung and Nokia, whose handsets cover a wider range of price points. Apple share of smartphones shipped to China fell below ten percent during the quarter, a drop which coincides with Chinese smartphone shipments topping 60 million handsets, a new high...

China’s love affair with the iPad still strong

China is going nuts over the iPad as Apple's tablet commands more than 71 percent of sales in China. That's welcome news for Apple which has watched Samsung and other competitors erode its once secure market share. Apple's lead in tablet sales among Chinese consumers has remained steady over the past six months.

The latest third-quarter market figures show Apple's position slid just one percent from the previous period. It's unclear, however, how long China's love affair with the iPad will last. Two home-grown tablet firms are #2 and #3, with Samsung a distant fourth...

Gartner predicts Lenovo will become China’s #1 smartphone brand in 2013

China is fast becoming a key market for Apple and other smartphone makers looking to cash-in on the nation's enormous population. However, the top player in 2013 could come from closer to home. Lenovo is expected to become China's leading smartphone brand next year, up from its current #2 slot, one research firm announced Tuesday.

According to Gartner, Lenovo's share of the smartphone market rose to 14.8 percent in the third quarter of this year, a dramatic increase from a year ago, when the company held just 1.7 percent of the market. That puts its Android-powered LePhone within striking distance of Samsung, which is the leading smartphone maker in China with 16.7 percent of the market.

What advantages does Lenovo have? Name-recognition and reasonable pricing, the latter being of the utmost importance in China...

The iPhone drops out of China’s top 5 list

More than ever before, Apple's iPhone faces relentless competition, namely in markets where Android cheapos are all the rage. China, home to 1.33 billion people, is Apple's fastest-growing market, amounting to an ever-growing portion of its fortunes. But Apple's China problem is two-fold. First, the company's retail presence in such hugely important market leaves a lot to be desired, even with new flagship stores such as the recently introduced massive Beijing outlet. And second, China's buyers have always been price-sensitive. Outside the elite, folks are picking up inexpensive phones in droves, with local Chinese vendors happily providing low-cost handsets...

Lenovo CEO Isn’t Afraid of Apple, Plans to Dominate Tablet Market

There was no shortage of media coverage last week as Apple officially passed Lenovo in revenue by hitting $3.8 billion on Lenovo's home turf of greater China (thanks largely in part to the iPhone and iPad).

However, according to a report from the FinancialTimes, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanquing doesn't want to believe the numbers claiming the comparison is unfair. His reasoning? Basically, Lenovo's phone business doesn't make as much money as Apple's...