HP's first Windows Phone could save Microsoft's mobile bet

HP Elite X3

HP has launched its first smartphone since the years of the Palm Pre, but this one is squarely aimed at the enterprise market with two peripherals that could well change the way we think about mobility.

The Elite x3 borrows HP's premium laptop branding - the Elite - and add the number three, a hint at the number of mode it can take on (smartphone, laptop and desktop).

The optional desk dock (below) offers USB-C and USB-A connectivity as well as rapid charging and an Ethernet port; there's even a micro suction on the base to keep it fix on a desktop.

HP Elite x3

The Mobile Extender (below) is an even more interesting concept, giving you a full laptop experience but using the phone to power it wirelessly.

HP Elite mobility extender

The peripheral is similar to the Dell XPS 13 with a 12.5-inch full HD, near borderless display and a massive 48Whr battery, USB-C charging and a microHDMI port - sadly no DisplayPort.

Watershed moment in mobility

And HP didn't skimp on the features, opting for the absolute bleeding edge. On top of a Cat 6 LTE modem and 2x2 AC Wi-Fi, it offers IP67 and Mil-STD-810 certifications, which means it is far more solid than your average smartphone.

There's also a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 powering it, paired with 4GB of RAM (LPDDR-4) and a staggering 64GB of onboard storage to deliver the sort of compute and storage resources you'd expect to find on a mainstream business laptop.

HP Elite x3

A 5.96-inch, QHD AMOLED screen offers more than enough real estate for Windows Apps. That combined with a massive 4150mAh battery, a more sturdy construction and more connectors, would typically result in a chunky smartphone.

However, the Elite x3 is surprisingly thin and light; measuring 3.29 x 6.36 x 0.31 inches or 84 x 162 x 7.8 mm (W x D x H) and weighing 0.43 pounds (195g).

HP Elite x3

What makes it even more attractive to enterprise is how secure and extensible it is. The x3 comes with dual biometrics authentication and a wealth of baked in security features, plus Pogo pins at the rear to connect other accessories.

HP also confirmed that it is working with 60 ISVs (independent software vendors) to develop applications and hardware solutions for the x3 and the Windows 10 Mobile ecosystem.

The Elite x3 is not HP's first phone based on a Microsoft mobile OS; years ago it inherited the iPAQ family of devices from Compaq after the acquisition in 2001.]

HP has yet to announce pricing for the Elite x3, but the company plans to release more information as we get closer to its summer release window.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.