When HP introduced its flagship Elite x3 phablet earlier this year at MWC, the smartphone made a very positive impression mostly because HP decided to make a bold move and create a Windows Continuum device aimed purely at the business professional on a company contract. It drew a little ire from some industry analysts, thinking that HP building a Windows phone would never see the light of day. To them it was a paper announcement, but this week shows that the Elite x3 is still alive and well, and coming to consumers and business users. What the company did not announce in February was its recommended price as well as countries, where it planned to make the product available. This weeks details show that the Elite x3 will hit the market in August and will be sold in 46 countries worldwide.

The HP Elite x3 smartphone is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 SoC, as well as Microsoft’s Windows 10 Mobile OS. The device is equipped a 5.96” AMOLED display and comes with 64 MB of eMMC 5.1 NAND flash storage, 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM as well as all the necessary connectivity features, including 4G/LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and a USB Type-C connector. Developed specifically for enterprise and business users, who value security, the device is FIPS 140-2 certified and features Secure Boot (with iris and fingerprint scanners), full disk encryption with a 256-bit key, fTPM 2.0, and so on.

  HP Elite x3
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
2x Kryo @ 2.15 GHz
2x Kryo @ 1.59 GHz
Adreno 530
64 GB eMMC 5.1 NAND
microSD 'up to 2 TB'
Display 5.96-inch, 2560x1440 AMOLED (494 PPI)
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Network X12 Cat 12/13 LTE-A
Single Nano-SIM or Dual Nano-SIM Models
Micro-SD Shared with Nano-SIM
Dimensions 161.8 x 83.5 x 7.8 (mm)
6.36 x 3.29 x 0.31 (in)
Weight 195 grams
0.43 lb / 6.88 oz
Rear Camera 16 MP, LED Flash
Front Camera 8 MP wide angle, Iris Camera
Battery 4150 mAh, 3.85 V, 15.98 Wh,
PMA and Qi charging
OS Windows 10 Mobile
Connectivity Intel AC-7260AN WiFi (2x2 802.11ac + BT 4.0 LE)
USB 3.0 Type-C
Additional Windows Hello (Iris and Fingerprint),
FIPS 140-2, fTPM 2.0
128-bit Unified encryption, 256-bit full disk
Disaster recovery Protection
Win10 includes 128-bit BitLocker and Enterprise Grade VPN
Bang&Olufsen Sound
3x Noise-Cancelling Microphones
Water/Dust Proof Certification IP 67
MIL-STD 810G (salt/fog/humidity/shock/thermal)

While the internal specifications of the HP Elite x3 are impressive, the company does not position the device as just its flagship smartphone. HP believes that there are enterprise customers interested in using one device for multiple workloads and in various situations by taking advantage of Microsoft’s Continuum technology, which allows you to run your phone as a desktop PC. To support such clients, HP intends to offer a special dock (with an Ethernet adapter, DisplayPort USB connectors, etc.) that can work with desktop displays as well as keyboards. When purchased from the HP online store, the dock should come as standard. In addition, the company plans to sell the Mobile Extender laptop, which does not have its own processor or storage, but relies on the Elite x3. The Mobile Extender has a 12.5” display (with 1920x1080 resolution), USB-C ports, speakers as well as a spill-resistant keyboard with a drain and backlighting.

Current competition, at least in the Continuum space, comes from Acer's Liquid Jade Primo which was demoed at MWC and quietly shipped several days ago, and the Lumia 950.

According to Engadget, which cites a representative of HP, the phablet itself will cost $699 in the U.S. and $799 when acquired with a dock, starting from August 29. Slashgear claims that the Elite x3 will cost €863 in the Netherlands and 8,624 SEK in Sweden. Unfortunately, the price of the Mobile Extender is still unknown. 

Sources: Engadget, Slashgear, HP Netherlands, HP Sweden.

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  • cygnus1 - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    Continuum does give you an actual desktop. You just can't run Win32 apps since you don't have x86. The API restriction is in place because it doesn't run on ARM.

    Once Intel puts out a chip even remotely capable of decent performance in this power envelope and somebody puts that in a phone, then maybe they'll release a version of Windows 10 Mobile for x86 and maybe they'll put Win32 in that version... but probably not any time soon. Intel only just last year started putting their performance cores in larger fanless consumer devices (Core mX). At a miniumum, we're 4 years away from seeing a performance Intel core in a phone.
  • inighthawki - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    Continuum does not give you an actual desktop. It's behavior is more akin to tablet mode on the full version of windows where you have fullscreen applications and a very simplified taskbar. The start menu is also not the same, and resembles the mobile start menu. That said, it seems like they're actively moving towards the full desktop model, and if that's the case, I think they're going in the right direction.

    It's worth pointing out that Win32 is an API, and the relationship between win32 apps and x86 is merely the fact that it's the only platform that really has any. Windows RT that shipped on the original surface tablets had ARM versions of win32 apps (e.g. the built in apps like notepad, WMP, etc), but required them to be digitally signed to run, preventing third party applications from being created (imo a foolish move in an attempt to lock down the platform from malware). A more accurate statement is that you can't run win32 apps because it's missing most of the win32 api, and it's mostly locked down to UWP apps at this point. There is nothing that really prevents them from integrating the missing portions of the API on phone and allowing developers to target ARM as the platform for win32 based applications. It's just that it's almost certain they won't do it because they're pushing for UWP as the future.
  • cygnus1 - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    I did say "a desktop" not the full Windows desktop. It's a KB/mouse controlled, windowed desktop.

    Also, you're right, the full Win32 API isn't tied to x86 for technical reasons. But that doesn't say it's not tied to x86 for other reasons. MS is in the process of de-spaghetti-fying Windows. Win32 is not really part of that plan any more than it has to be. So it makes sense that they wouldn't propagate it to architectures it didn't already exist on.

    I can imagine the only reason any of Win32 was on WinRT is because Windows at that time wouldn't work without the parts they did put in. Go listen to MS developers talk about how, in the making of things like UWP, API contracts, and Nano Server they found the kernel making calls into higher API's like Win32. That's probably the only reason any of Win32 existed on WinRT or in Windows Mobile 8 and higher.

    Go look for the Defrag Tools episodes where Larry Osterman was interviewed. Pretty interesting stuff.
  • melgross - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    The problem is that it's too little, too late. With a worldwide, and USA (their most important market), marketshare of 0.3%, and dropping, why would a business get excited over this? As for consumers, we do know that Win Phone prices over the low hundred's aren't going to sell.
  • zodiacfml - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    It is not the chip. It is the decision of WinTel not to put a PC desktop experience in a smartphone size device. It took me a long time to realize this as it is not a technical problem at all. In the device above, the employee wielding such will still need a PC for his work.

    Intel also decided not to use the Core in smartphones, because they have better margins. In my rough estimate, they will need to sell Core smartphones at the prices of Apple flagship devices.
  • inighthawki - Friday, July 22, 2016 - link

    >> In the device above, the employee wielding such will still need a PC for his work.

    That depends on the job. A basic office worker or secretary who needs Office and access to files on the cloud and/or local intranet can probably do their entire job with it. They can then take it home and connect it to a dock and do whatever little bit of facebook and internet browsing most people typically do.
    Of course there are going to be people like programmers, graphics designers, etc who need fast beefy computers with specialized software to do their job, and even then that's still a subset of programmers. This would also be useful for someone on the go. Being able to hook this up to a dock in a hotel room and sync my GitHub or Perforce projects from a server and do some basic coding would be wonderful.
  • Murloc - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    monitor too small, not ergonomic.
  • inighthawki - Saturday, July 23, 2016 - link

    What? The dock connects it to a monitor. The phone becomes nothing other than a very small computer.
  • elitewolverine - Monday, July 25, 2016 - link

    Say that to my 950xl hooked up to a 24in Monitor...
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, July 21, 2016 - link

    Continuum for mobile.
    Remote desktop for serious work.


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