Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Mobile Innovation Outpaces PC Innovation

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the pc-aren't-trendy dept.

Cellphones 231

Sandrina sends in an opinion piece from TechCrunch that discusses why mobile systems are developing so much faster than the PC market. The article credits Intel with allowing hardware innovation to stagnate, and points out how much more competitive the component vendor market is for smartphones. Quoting: "In PCs, Intel dictates the pace of hardware releases — OEMs essentially wait for CPU updates, then differentiate through inventory control, channel / distribution and branding. Intel and Microsoft win no matter which PC makers excel — they literally don't care if it's Asus, Dell or HP. In the smartphone world, it's the opposite. Dozens of component vendors fight each other to the death to win designs at smartphone OEMs. This competitive dynamic forms an entirely different basis for how component vendors approach system integration and support. Consider Infineon, which supplies the 3G wireless chipset in the iPhone. In order to stay in Apple's graces, Infineon must do everything necessary to help the hardware and software play well together, including staffing permanent engineers in Cupertino or sending a team overnight from Germany. Do you think Intel does this for Dell?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Fine young cannibals (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643832)

It's called cannibalization. When there's an established monopoly any possible invention "cannibalizes" the markets of established product groups and must be suppressed. It takes a long time because monopoly is tremendously profitable, but ultimately this is a stagnant path that goes extinct in much the same form as it existed when it achieved monopoly.

I See It Differently (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643858)

Man, complaining about Intel's market dominance and not even one mention of AMD? If Intel was holding everyone back with your proposed CPU and Chipset conspiracy, don't you think that would just prime the market for AMD to pair up with VIA or someone and just wreck Intel?

I'm no market expert but I think the author of this opinion piece overlooked a lot of things. For example, when you make a chip or chipset that is sold to Dell or HP or whomever to be put into another device, you're not directly fleecing the customer. You get smaller margins that way than you would if you were the manufacturer, marketer and distributor simply because Dell takes a cut otherwise. There's more money to be had in making complete phones because not only are you fleecing the customer but the carrier is willing to subsidize you to get the customer into a juicy two year data plan deal to the tune of $70/mo (at least in the US). I would assume this money spurs more rapid development and innovation.

Quite frankly, I'm curious how Intel decides the "bundling" of my AM2+ motherboard running my cheaper quad core AMD chip? And if they don't, why isn't my AMD motherboard outpacing Intel and "keeping up" with mobile devices?

Re:I See It Differently (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643930)

If Intel was holding everyone back with your proposed CPU and Chipset conspiracy, don't you think that would just prime the market for AMD to pair up with VIA or someone and just wreck Intel?

AMD tried hard. They introduced 64-bit x86-compatible CPUs. And Microsoft wouldn't support them until Intel caught up. On the other hand, Microsoft supported the Inanium until 2004.

Re:I See It Differently (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644012)

Also wasn't that "Vista ready" "Vista Capable" "Really Vista Capable" "Vista capable but not really" stickers were all Microsoft helping intel because it was not ready to handle Aeroglass?

Re:I See It Differently (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644668)

Yes, and well, part of it was that the i915 chipset was before the Longhorn reset. To be more precise, they created two tiers, a "Basic" tier and a "Premium" tier for Aero-supporting hardware.

Re:I See It Differently (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644678)

It's not Intel's fault people wrote to Microsoft OS APIs.

15+ years ago, Symantec, which bought Lightspeed C, had "Bedrock", wherein you supposedly wrote to the Bedrock API, then could push a button and cross-compile your app for both Apple and Windows.

Don't use Posix, or whatever it's current descendant is. Use Win32 .Net Sharp 8.0!

Re:I See It Differently (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644050)

Microsoft supported the Inanium [princeton.edu] until 2004.

That's because they didn't know that it was asinine.

Re:I See It Differently (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644132)

Incorrect.

AMD introduced a 64-bit/32-bit hybrid CPU as a competitor of the Itanium for the server market. Opterons were and still are quire successful in that market, especially with the new g34 socket and 12-core processors (up to 48 cores per server and no tier-BS - all processors can run 1-4 SMP configuration) Microsoft viewed AMD's technology as *superior* to Itaniums because it allowed for seamless migration from 32-bit to 64-bit platform. Microsoft essentially *told* Intel that they will only support *one* 64-bit CPU and that will be the AMD instruction set. Intel had no choice but to incorporate AMD's instruction set into their processors.

Microsoft doesn't care if AMD or Intel catch up to each other as long as their software runs on those processors. They didn't "wait" for Intel to catch up. It simply took many years to migrate Windows from 32-bit code to 64-bit clean code. There was XP 64-bit, but how many people used that? Hell, lots of people didn't even get 64-bit Vista because of perception that if you don't use more than 4G of RAM you don't need it. Actually, all modern machines should be running 64-bit OS only - simplified address space management and increased register count makes it a no-brainer.

If you want an example of a company that still fails and fails hard at 64-bit software, it would be Adobe. They recently dropped support of the 64-bit plugin. Not sure, maybe they are still "waiting for Intel to catch up"?

Kernel-mode code signing requirement (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644236)

Actually, all modern machines should be running 64-bit OS only - simplified address space management and increased register count makes it a no-brainer.

As of Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft has severely tightened its requirements for digital signatures on kernel-mode device drivers. So if you have connected a home-built or low-volume peripheral to your PC, the only way to run self-signed drivers without "Test Mode" always on top in all four corners of the screen is to run Linux on the bare hardware and Windows in a virtual machine. But how well do virtual machines support x86-64?

Re:Kernel-mode code signing requirement (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644334)

But how well do virtual machines support x86-64?

Pretty well considering I am running the regular Ubuntu 64-bit distro inside a virtual machine.

Re:Kernel-mode code signing requirement (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644432)

But how well do virtual machines support x86-64?

VirtualBox runs 64-bit just fine, as an example. The better question is, "How well do virtual machines support hardware acceleration?" Progress is being made, but running things like 3D games in a virtual machine is an exercise in frustration (if it works at all).

Re:Kernel-mode code signing requirement (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644468)

As of Windows Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft has severely tightened its requirements for digital signatures on kernel-mode device drivers. So if you have connected a home-built or low-volume peripheral to your PC, the only way to run self-signed drivers without "Test Mode" always on top in all four corners of the screen is to run Linux on the bare hardware and Windows in a virtual machine. But how well do virtual machines support x86-64?

This response is just begging for this question:

Why does your device do that required it to have a Kernel-Mode driver instead of using the User-Mode Driver Framework [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Kernel-mode code signing requirement (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645204)

Maybe I want to do something evil like copy movies out of ram? or whatever the hell I want?
I thought this was my computer, not MS's. Since when did we start leasing computers?

Re:I See It Differently (3, Insightful)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644388)

Try your statement again on a Bean counter test (TM):

Hell, lots of people didn't even get 64-bit Vista because of perception that if you don't use more than 4G of RAM you don't need it.

Bean counter:Alright! Since we skipped Vista, none of our corporate PC's ever needed even 3GB. Money saved!

Actually, all modern machines should be running 64-bit OS only

Bean counter:Tell me more and I'll put in an order so we can stay competitive in this "modern" market. I'm curious.

simplified address space management

Bean counter:Huh?

and increased register count

Bean counter:Useless. More technobabble that only programmers need. I'll recommend keeping XP on our single core Pentium 4. I'll also get a raise for saving the PHB a ton on this year's budget.

makes it a no-brainer.

Bean counter:I fully agree. I'll even grin all the way to the bank!

Re:I See It Differently (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644764)

Microsoft essentially *told* Intel that they will only support *one* 64-bit CPU and that will be the AMD instruction set. Intel had no choice but to incorporate AMD's instruction set into their processors

Really? The reason Itanium support was scaled back over time was I think because it was a low-volume niche market, not that MS wasn't willing to support two 64-bit architectures.

It simply took many years to migrate Windows from 32-bit code to 64-bit clean code.

Well, I read that most of the work was done in the year 2000, then in 2001 they released Itanium Windows XP. From there, porting to AMD64 was as simple as developing a AMD64 compiler, kernel and WOW64 and a few other things.

Re:I See It Differently (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644804)

lots of people didn't even get 64-bit Vista because of perception that if you don't use more than 4G of RAM you don't need it. Actually, all modern machines should be running 64-bit OS only - simplified address space management and increased register count makes it a no-brainer.

And they're right. Those are fine technical arguments, but the end result is the same. The performance gain is negligible, end you get in compatibility problems like the mentioned Adobe plugins.
I just switched to 64bit on my AMD Neo with 2GB of RAM and I haven't noticed any improvement whatsoever.

Re:I See It Differently (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643996)

The "dominance" is the x86 instruction set. Intel and Microsoft have locked us in; AMD is just a second source for chips that use that instruction set.

Re:I See It Differently (2, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644430)

"The "dominance" is the x86 instruction set."

And the "dominance" of the "dominance factor" is that's 30 year old, mature, stablished technology.

Oh, well, why we don't see so much innovation on the VHS world? Companies should be urged! VHS is not only stagnating, is even dispearing!

Re:I See It Differently (5, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644148)

Don't forget that the mobile market gets to take advantage of knowledge and research done for the server/desktop market. Sure, there's new tech going on in there, but it's the whole trickle down approach, too. The mobile market is *catching up* to the desktop market, so there's a lot of acceleration just from using all of the prior knowledge. Building multi-core processors isn't easy and how many mobile phones do you know that are sporting them? Zero that I know of. And what about Intel's turbo processing (dropping cores and overclocking the remaining cores when not needing as many cores), how long do you think before a mobile phone will have that technology?

The innovation in a lagging area (mobile) seems faster only because the innovation has already been researched in the leading area (servers first and consumer second). It takes longer to figure out something the first time than it does to figure out how to make it "smaller" (smaller in the sense that it is for the mobile market, it may be a smaller die footprint or power footprint or whatever).

Re:I See It Differently (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644640)

The problem in the PC market is more to do with Microsoft than Intel...
Intel would certainly prefer to stagnate, but when they've done this in the past competitors (most notably AMD) have taken market share away from them. Perhaps not much, but enough to force Intel to compete. These days i would imagine processor innovation proceeds at the speed of AMD... Intel want to stay ahead, but not too far ahead.

Infact, Intel would love to be where ARM are in the smartphone market, sure ARM don't manufacture processors but they license designs to the vast majority of phone manufacturers. The smartphone market has more competition and innovation from the user's perspective because the software and packaging is far more visible to the user than what processor is inside it.

It's About Time (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643918)

Mobile innovation is outpacing desktop innovation because desktop innovation has been going on for 20+ years and mobile innovation has been stuck in its infancy for too long.

Re:It's About Time (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644114)

Mobiles have been around for over 20 years. I got my first one in 1988 and they *have* come a long way since. However, unlike PCs, mobile phones have always been more restricted by size and battery capacity. Constraints that never applied to PCs.

Laptops (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644274)

If you think "size and battery capacity" are "constraints that never applied to PCs", then I highly doubt that you have ever owned a laptop.

Re:It's About Time (2, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644394)

Mobiles have been around for over 20 years. I got my first one in 1988 and they *have* come a long way since.

Yes, they have come a long way but a huge chunk of it has been the last few years. There weren't that many "breakthroughs" after the Palm & Newtons until the mobile handsets started trying to resurrect their functionality.

However, unlike PCs, mobile phones have always been more restricted by size and battery capacity. Constraints that never applied to PCs.

These are some of the most important hurdles for mobile computing to clear. It's a mishmash of extended battery life supported by CPU efficiency supported by OS's that treat power conservation as a priority to get more out of smaller batteries with extended life ...

The smaller sizes also make a difference, but they can't get too small or we won't be able to interact with them. Things haven't gotten much smaller than an old Palm but they've crammed more and more into them (they do the same thing to laptops & desktops).

Re:It's About Time (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644154)

Of course, TFA completely overlooks the newer line of Mooreland Atom processors from Intel.

It also ignores the fact that cell phones are a throw-away market. There isn't nearly the 'data lock-in' that the x86 architecture has. Where smartphones can have their software sized to the hardware, Intel (and AMD) are forced to size to the software. Not only does this limit what Intel can do, it limits how fast they can do it.

Entrenched behavior (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645142)

One thing to also consider is how we interact with our PCs is pretty entrenched so new methods are slow to enter the market and gain acceptance. With mobiles the field is wide open and the means of their use still has plenty of openings. Consider that mobiles are much more "personal" in their interaction that PCs ever were. We hold them in our hands, that and their size requires new ways of thinking. I expect some of the usability available through mobiles to move to PCs but be interpreted in slightly different ways during that migration.

Re:It's About Time (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645230)

Only if you demand binary only apps. I run the same software on my desktop and my phone, they are not the same instruction set.

Re:It's About Time (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644162)

I think the rate at which people buy new desktops/laptops and new phones is important too. My desktop lasted years with only minor improvements. My laptop is a year old, and I will probably get another year or two out of it. I get a new cell phone every year, and I know people who get one more often than that.

Re:It's About Time (2, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644302)

In other words, we know what works well on a desktop. And more to the point, we know what doesn't work on a desktop, which is why we'll probably never see another trackball ever again.

In mobile, we're only collectively beginning to understand what we should be trying to build. There have been some real dead ends too - Palm handwriting, anyone?

Trackball user here (2, Insightful)

improfane (855034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644840)

RSI sufferers would disagree. I love my trackball and recommend it to anyone. Seriously, use one, you won't want to go back to a mouse.

It might not be that common as it's a niche. Many disabled people need them too.

Re:Trackball user here (1)

avm (660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644978)

Iprefer a trackball myself. Why move your arm when a finger will suffice? (Though I expect CLI aficionados can also use that line). Definitely tickles the carpal tunnels less for me.

Mature vs. Immature products (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643922)

In simple numeric terms, any platform or group of platforms that is not very well
established is going to appear to experience explosive growth in it's own terms.
The numbers are so small and the features so immature that the new tech simply
needs to keep up.

While mobile devices certainly have some unique interesting features and they have
the virtue of being mobile, they still lag non-mobile devices in some key areas that
key features of those devices.

It's a lot easier to seem innovative when your predecessor is a 286.

Citizen++ (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32643934)

Yes of course, the article explains with great detail the well understood facts that: Monopolies are a hurdle to innovation and capitalism is a gigantic albatross around the neck of human dignity and progress.

Good Enough (3, Insightful)

Fuseboy (414663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643950)

The PC isn't innovating because it doesn't need to - it's already perceived as "good enough" by its users. Advances in computing power generally get asorbed by the ever-increasing needs of the OS and office applications. Smart phones, on the other hand, are so constrained by their form factor and their tiny user interface that innovations in UI, usability, battery life, etc. are very meaningful. Merely making a different set of trade-offs can produce real wins.

Re:Good Enough (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644038)

The PC isn't innovating because it doesn't need to - it's already perceived as "good enough" by its users. Advances in computing power generally get asorbed by the ever-increasing needs of the OS and office applications.

I bought a laptop for $1000 in 2007. I just replaced it with a 2010 model $1000 laptop... the CPU is 5x faster, the GPU is immensely faster, and it plays all my games at medium to high quality settings with no problems when the old one had problems playing anything more sophisticated than Pacman.

So while I'm not sure that providing vastly greater power for the same price counts as 'innovation', I'd hardly say that the PC market is stagnant. I'd agree though, that if you don't play games or edit video or some other performance-intensive task then even the cheapest PC is generally 'good enough'.... probably much of the real 'innovation' in the PC market over the last few years has been getting usable performance at lower and lower power consumption (e.g. my Ion system takes 30W to play HD video that my 300W Pentium-4 system can't play at all).

Re:Good Enough (4, Interesting)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644554)

PCs are failing hard at something the same vendors have figured out is really important for mobile computing, and that is UI responsiveness.

My experience is this:I upgrade on a 4-year average, and I usually do so because I can no longer run a recent Adobe CS at a usable speed. Every upgrade allows me to work on more complex and bigger files, for sure, but the responsiveness of the UI has definitely gone down. Illustrator CS5 feels slower on my 2.8Ghz Core 2 Duo with 4gb of RAM than Illustrator 9 did on a 500Mhz G4 with 256mb of RAM. This is true even working on very simple stuff. Launch times are absolutely atrocious, cancelling a mistakenly called operation (like say, applying a texture) still virtually impossible (why the hell do they even bother with the "cancel" button on progress bars?). It's not just Adobe, Apple's never managed to claw back the responsiveness of the classic Mac OS, and Microsoft Office... well, it's got seriously nasty.

Big-ticket software has made using a modern computer like wading through molasses. Yeah, it gives you a lot speed for some things that are processor intensive, but pressing a button, opening a menu, or bringing up a dialogue are all going to be slower. In some cases, much slower. This is EXACTLY the opposite of what I want. I don't care if a filter that was going to take two minutes takes four, if I can go and do something else without everything being as slow fuck. Even as I type this, the computer occasionally failing to keep up. I mean really, typing words into a web browser while playing an MP3: I was doing this in 1998 with no lag.

If I really believed there was still innovation in PCs I would say that instant-response UIs--where cancel buttons worked and processes just got slower rather than stepping destroying responsiveness--were going going to be the next big thing. However, I don't think anyone gives a shit, because all the software vendors have gone down this road.

Re:Good Enough (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644830)

I think part of it is the emphasis on benchmarks. User responsiveness is not that easy to measure.

Re:Good Enough (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645022)

As an example, anyone remember Con Kolivas of Linux kernel fame?

Re:Good Enough (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645054)

I agree. Benchmarks seem to consist of things like filters that take over a minute. I'm a digital artist, and I work in Illustrator and Photoshop all day long. I very rarely run a filter that takes anything like that long. I do, however, switch on and off layers, change tools and look through menus thousands of times a day. I really, really don't care that a filter I would never do is going to be twice as quick (under ideal conditions presumably, without all the other stuff that tends to be running on a real in-use computer), I want all the little stuff I do to be instant.

I will take: "this will take four minutes roughly, and more if you start doing other stuff" over "this will take two minutes and you UI will barely respond and no I won't stop until I'm done" anytime.

Re:Good Enough (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645058)

That's a software problem, not a hardware problem. And to the extent that it can be blamed on hardware, there's better hardware available to fix it. Multiple cores enable you to do many things at once without slowing any of them down to an appreciable extent. SSDs allow you to drastically reduce load times for your applications. But in the end, if you want a responsive system you need to use software that's designed for responsiveness.

Re:Good Enough (2, Insightful)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645186)

It's both, I think. Sure you can argue that there are better hardware components around, but the reality is that, as sold, most hardware packages are contributing to the problem. My iMac here, for example, has all the processing power I need, but clearly has a IO bottleneck. The processor mostly sits pretty idle and the RAM unused while the disk grinds. Yes, and SSD would improve the situation, but it wasn't sold with one. The dual core was a disappointment, I thought it would drastically improve multitasking, but it's not noticeably better than multitasking on a single core G4 (loaded with software from its day).

I guess my point is that hardware needs to be better balanced. Yeah you can do this yourself, but eh.

Re:Good Enough (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644652)

If you look at the latest iPhone, how much innovation is there in it? It's thinner, has a better screen, camera lens and longer battery time, but these are gradual improvements which are really little different to what's happening in the laptop world.

Easy answer (2, Insightful)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643952)

Because there's more money! In the handsets first (look how much the iPhone 4 will cost!), then voice services and texting and finally with data plans.
Are you really able to check the bills they send to you?
Are you really willing to do it?
Or you simply PAY?
This is why!

Why Mobile Innovation Outpaces PC Innovation (5, Insightful)

pwilli (1102893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643964)

Because PCs have a headstart of decades?

It's like asking why China can have growth rates of over 10% while "Western" countries only get 1-3%. It is very hard to improve if you're already close to technical and physical limits and any made improvement won't look as impressive. Handhelds will soon enough hit the same walls that Desktop Systems currently try to tear down.

Re:Why Mobile Innovation Outpaces PC Innovation (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644344)

Even more than that: you don't want rapid "innovation" in established products. When I buy a new computer, I want it to be better than my last computer, but I specifically want a lot of things to be the same. I'm used to a certain UI, and I have a variety of peripherals already that I might want to plug into it. I want to be able to perform essentially the same tasks in the same way.

Basically, the smartphone market had a distinct shift a couple of years ago (when the iPhone was released) where vendors started offering a new kind of product. They were starting with a clean slate, and you can draw whatever you want on a clean slate. Once you've established a new product that way, you have a relatively brief period of time to refine that vision before people's expectations become established. Then people want everything to work "as expected", and they want legacy support more than they want new features.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see more innovation in the desktop/laptop market. But if someone did conceive of a new and interesting vision for the computer, they'd have a lot of inertia to overcome.

Re:Why Mobile Innovation Outpaces PC Innovation (1)

stoneform (1128969) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644556)

It's all about the $$$. Because the mobile market is a newer market and has the room for growth, companies and individuals are grabbing market share every way they can, and they're getting $$$. The big companies too are investing more $$$ to make more $$$. What drives growth faster than the $$$?

Re:Why Mobile Innovation Outpaces PC Innovation (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644598)

It is very hard to improve if you're already close to technical and physical limits and any made improvement won't look as impressive.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." Apparently misattributed as being said by Charles H. Duell of the US Patent Office in 1899, but the point stands.

IMHO the mobile market's not particularly far behind the PC, for instance my phone's 400MHz and so is my laptop, and they're both a few years old now (Freerunner and XO-1). They both running Linux, Enlightenment 0.17, Pidgin, Midori, etc.

I think the mojor problem with mobiles is the software, based on the fact that that very few people think of them as computers. To a techie, a mobile phone is a stripped-down digital computer that can barely do email. To the average mobile phone buyer it is an incredibly advanced version of the analogue phone which can even do email. Apple announce something simple and obvious, like multitasking for example, and it's apparently a huge leap for the mobile phone. When thought of as a computer, on the other hand, such things underline the lack of development for these things. Who cares if the iPhone App Store has loads of programs? There's already a shit-ton of applications out there on the Web. For example, here's OpenOffice.org http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Image:Freerunner_Debian_runs_openoffice3.jpg [openmoko.org]

I don't agree (1)

jbb999 (758019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643974)

I don't agree with the premise at all. It's just that it only recently become possible to make screens that were good enough, and mobile CPUs that were fast enough, and memory that was small and cheap enough to push mobile devices into a large consumer market. Now that it's possible to make these new things that work reasonable well in way they didn't just 5 years ago, of course lots of different companies are going to be experimenting to see what they do better than anyone else. That will likely continue for 5-10 year in exactly the same way as it did with large computers until it gets to the point where any device is "good enough" and innovation will move on to a different aspect of technology.

Not quite true (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32643978)

Intel engineers will go out of their way to get a "design win", i.e. to get the developer of a new product to commit to using Intel parts as a fundamental part of the design. It is only once they get the design win that they no longer care about their customers. It is hard to be customer-driven when you've got a 5 year road map documenting the planned obsolescence of your CPUs for the next several years, but Intel marketing does try to be responsive to it's higher-volume customer's needs... but AMD is much more responsive.

Because the PC race happend 25 years ago (2, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644000)

Re:Because the PC race happend 25 years ago (3, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644116)

That's only partially true. It happened again (in a big way) with the switch from 16 to 32 bits, and it is/has again (in a much smaller way) with the switch from 32 to 64 bits. Picture what the computing world would be like today if Alpha (and maybe Unix) had been adopted instead of everybody waiting for the Itanic to come in. Just the THREAT of Itanic was enough to scuttle SPARC, PA-RISC, MIPS, ALPHA...

Re:Because the PC race happend 25 years ago (3, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644414)

SPARC didn't get scuttled because of Itanium. Sun merely bungled up enough times with chip design that they did not have much of a product to compete with Itanium. UltraSPARC V was late, buggy, and canned. Rock, about the same thing. They managed to finish Niagara, but Niagara was mostly good for low end boxes which did web serving: it has lots of threads for doing integer processing, but lousy floating point, and lousy single threaded performance.

Sun fumbled so much with SPARC chip design they had to ask Fujitsu to sell them their SPARC64 IV processors, so they could actually have a high end SPARC server product to sell.

Yet the mobile world is so closed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644004)

Mobile developers keep reinventing the wheel. It's not unusual to find that the latest and greatest phone lacks elementary features which the predecessor had. For all the innovation that's supposedly going on in the mobile world, they quite frankly have little to show for it. The best they could come up with so far is a flood of proprietary ports of the PC platform with restricted user interfaces and wireless modems.

Chip juggling (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644052)

Apple is good at switching its chips out. From m68k to ppc, to x86-64 on the Mac and its new A4 chip on the iPad and iPhone. The fact that they can switch chips out so fast is one of the reasons Macs can stay competitive. Thats why they managed to make a really great iPad instead of making a gimped netbook.

In a few years A4 will be faster than the G5 was and you will see 1080p ipads that will laugh at your 720p intel netbook.

Re:Chip juggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644242)

Apple is good at switching its chips out.

That's because enormous chunks of its operating system are not written in ancient, unmaintainable x86 assembly code. Everybody else is stuck with Windows.

Re:Chip juggling (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644592)

Enormous chunks of Windows are not written in x86 assembly code. The NT kernel [wikipedia.org] was written from the start [wikipedia.org] to be portable across architectures.

Re:Chip juggling (0, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644814)

>> Apple is good at switching its chips out.
>>
>
> That's because enormous chunks of its operating system are not written in ancient, unmaintainable x86 assembly code. Everybody else is stuck with Windows.
>

Nope. It's because a good portion of Apple's core user base will take any amount of abuse that Apple dishes out and gladly take it with a "Thank you more sir".

Sensible portable MacOS is a fairly new phenomenon.

The iphones don't count as an example of this phenomenon because they use a separate API from MacOS.

Re:Chip juggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644540)

And because they don't care about backwards compatibility. Try running an old PPC version of Photoshop on the latest Macs. I can still run many Win95-era apps on the latest Win7 PC.

The A4 is not an Apple processor. Samsung reportedly uses the a same processor in its own cell phone models. That would make sense, as they actually make the damn thing for Apple. Let's not forget that the A4 is based around the 'old' ARM instruction set - and is still 32 bit. Seeing as how manufacturers are shipping models with 512 MB RAM, it'll be very soon when the A4/ARM hits the 4 GB wall.

Re:Chip juggling (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645010)

In a few years Apple won't be using the A4 anymore. I just wonder if it's going to be called Letter or Legal.

And yet... (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644070)

This is an interesting observation about competitiveness and innovation, because I always feel like I get more value from Intel CPUs ($2-300) and Windows operating systems ($2-300) than I do from smartphones ($3-500).

And not just by a little.

It could be because of the small screen, balky UI, limited data storage, and limited connectivity.

It could be because I'm somewhat ignoring the OEM contribution ($200 mobo, $60 case with silent power supply, $200 gigundo HD with raid striping for speed, $300 billboard-sized monitor).

Or it could be because what's driving these dozens of handset manufacturers to churn out so many new products is the low R&D cost and high unit margins compared to, say, trying to get into the CPU business.

Re:And yet... (2, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644520)

ah, but think how much they get from you.

iPhone : $$$ plus monthly voice, text and data tariffs and then you go and buy another one in 1-2 years time.

Dell: $300 for a desktop PC. One off payment.

There's money to be made in the mobile marketplace, whereas the desktop one is saturated with lowest-possible-price units.

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644736)

You get internet access for free with your Dell? Where can I sign up?

PC market in the 70s was like that (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644080)

Before IBM created the standard platform there were a plethora of competing chips, architectures, "operating systems" approaches, price-points and failures. The phone market is in the same situation now. Just as soon as some manufacturer starts to dominate and everything becomes standardised two things will happen: the software will become much more important and the hardware will start the spiral down to commodity status.

The car market has gone the same way - they all look pretty much the same - dictated by the laws of aerodynamics. It means that other features have been developed to differentiate - things like economy, safety, electronics. While this is not necessarily good for the manufacturers - the number of players shrinks as the market consolidates, it is good for the consumers. So it will be with phones (or whatever they evolve into, they're the equivalent of an Atari, today). We have yet to see the major benefits emerge, despite what Apple may tell us.

Re:PC market in the 70s was like that (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644338)

The car market has gone the same way - they all look pretty much the same - dictated by the laws of aerodynamics

Laws of marketing, definitely not laws of aerodynamics. Combined with a desperate desire for conformity, same end result, so it doesn't matter too much.

But don't make the mistake of thinking that changing marketing trends over the years means the laws of aerodynamics are evolving or something.

Re:PC market in the 70s was like that (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644772)

Laws of marketing, definitely not laws of aerodynamics.

The biggest driver in car design since the oil crises of the 70's has been miles per gallon. That has improved engine technology and made car shapes more slippery. There's only one way to reduce drag, that's to be aerodynamically efficient. There's only a small number of solutions to the laws of laminar flow. That's why all cars look the same.

Re:PC market in the 70s was like that (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645038)

There's only one way to reduce drag, that's to be aerodynamically efficient.

You forgot the most obvious way: remove the air around the car.

"forced" upgrades (1)

tscheez (71929) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644100)

The mobile manufacturers know that most people refresh their phones as soon as the contract is up and if there aren't "new and improved" features for the new lineup of phones, they are going to be left behind.

I also doubt intel is intentionally "allowing hardware innovation to stagnate"

Re:"forced" upgrades (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644484)

I also doubt intel is intentionally "allowing hardware innovation to stagnate"

Yes, they absolutely are. They are absolutely FOSSILIZED behind the x86 instruction/register set. All the pipelines and on-chip caches and multiple cores on the planet only serve to demonstrate that they're putting lipstick on a pig. In this day and age, when FSB bandwidth is the REAL performance limiter, it's ridiculous to have a single-accumulator single-stack instruction set that's that Byzantinely non-orthagonal.

At this point the fanbois jump up shouting "but it's really RISC inside" and "instruction caches". To which I reply:
REPNE SCASB

Re:"forced" upgrades (2, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644994)

*All* processor architectures are putting lipstick on pigs. Every so often a new "clean" RISC architecture comes out where the instruction set is supposed to look like the actual hardware. Then within a couple of CPU generations, the hardware landscape shifts and they slap ugly layers of abstraction between their backwards compatible instruction set and the actual new hardware. (Many years ago I listened to a pitch from a guy at MIPS, who was touting their chip named for "Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages". Guess what they added to the next version of the processor: Interlocked pipeline stages!)

Intel themselves tried the hardest to get out of this cycle by making the hardware extremely visible to the instruction set with Itanium, trusting compiler technology to handle the resulting morass. Result of this experiment: Epic fail.

At the end of the day, X86-derivatives run at speeds in the same ballpark as any other CPU architecture that can be programmed with real-world tools by real-world coders, and they do it at a fraction of the cost. Why break all of the code out there if there's no big payback?

In the low performance efficiency market, ARM currently has advantages over X86. But by the time they bloat up ARM with a few more generations of "innovation" to get into the X86 performance range, it probably won't have that much of an advantage in size or power.

The mac mini is held up by intels carp video and t (0, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644134)

The mac mini is held up by intels carp / nvidia lockout video and that is why they are stuck on core 2. At first they planed to have qpi on the i3 / i5 / low end i7 but they took that out to lock you into intel video + only x16 pci-e 2.0 lanes.

Demand? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644138)

Maybe it's because people don't want desktops so much anymore and the market is shifting to mobile devices and the technology companies want to keep making money?

Re:Demand? (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644692)

Maybe it's because people don't want desktops so much anymore and the market is shifting to mobile devices and the technology companies want to keep making money?

Demand is only a part of it I think. People buy a PC and use it for around 4ish years before they look to upgrade it, mobile devices (mostly in the terms of smartphones) are upgraded every year or 2 on average (not considering them breaking from mis-use, something you'll find in smartphones much more often then PC's/laptops). This means you'll sell at the longest stretch twice as many smartphones then PC's in the same time frame making the smartphone a higher 'demand' market even though I think PC's/laptops are more desired/demanded by people then smartphones.

Do you think Intel does this for Dell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644150)

Do you think Intel does this for Dell?

Act like Nazi's? Maybe. Maybe not. Microsoft locked in some PC makers at one point.

Mobile is just catching up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644208)

Mobile devices are just going through everything PCs have already been through, but since PCs have already been through it mobiles can progress faster. We're seeing all of the same battles and developments play out all over again. Mobiles still have a ways to go to catch up to PCs. Though I'm glad to finally see the progress, nothing out there yet meets the vision of a portable hand held computer I had over 10 years ago.

development costs. (1)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644220)

Despite the fact that PC's are 20+ years old, the development cost of a new PC is substantially larger than that of a mobile device. The BIOS development alone is a substantial part of the NRE cost. Mobile devices use open source bootloaders or run natively and so such NRE costs aren't applicable. Then add prototyping costs for the hardware and things get very expensive in a hurry.

The use and availability of operating systems is an additional burden the PC must bear. There's an acceptance in the mobile market of devices that behave differently. All pc's running windows will behave similarly, despite the shape or size. There's an expectation of behavioral consistency between PC mfgr's. If HP could have different UI than Dell, then things might get more interesting. At this point, the only UI difference is Apple vs PC. Linux on the desktop isn't at a place where it can or will drive PC development (a different discussion entirely).

Tag: articleisretarded (3, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644246)

Maybe it's because the PC market has already gone so far? In the last five years, handhelds have been gaining things--large color screens, powerful web browsers, built in wireless--that desktops have had for years. This stuff was physically impossible to do at small sizes five years ago.

Also, everyone in the world already has a PC, but people are just now buying large numbers of (only recently existing) mobile devices.

TechCrunch headline, June 2015: "Why implant innovation is blowing away handhelds"

Dell is an assembler, not a board manufacturer (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644250)

In order to stay in Apple's graces, Infineon must do everything necessary to help the hardware and software play well together, including staffing permanent engineers in Cupertino or sending a team overnight from Germany. Do you think Intel does this for Dell?"

To the best of my knowledge, dell is at most an assembler of parts, at their least they're a rebrander. I would agree there is utterly no point in stationing VLSI engineers and RF analysts at Dell, because those guys belong at the board level designers and board manufacturers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dell#Manufacturing [wikipedia.org]

It would be pointless overkill; like GM stationing a permanent automotive engineer at my local car dealership to oversee oil changes.

I also thought it interesting that Dell is closing the last of their assembly plants in the USA. Kind of hard to call it an American company if everything they do is overseas, except the expensive overhead of upper management. I would not anticipate a bright future for Dell because their only differentiation against their foreign competition would be extremely expensive upper management compared to their competitors.

Re:Dell is an assembler, not a board manufacturer (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644306)

It would be pointless overkill; like GM stationing a permanent automotive engineer at my local car dealership to oversee oil changes.

Ha! They may soon have to given the complexity level of cars and the lack of sophistication in the repair department.

My Volvo actually required a software patch only the factory engineers knew about (unique to subset of ECMs in my model year) and I've run into other people who have had problems the "shop couldn't solve" and that actually required an engineer from the factory to figure out.

Re:Dell is an assembler, not a board manufacturer (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644822)

I'm pretty sure that Dell's are assembled by contractors in China. All the major assemblies are built there and it costs roughly the same amount to ship an assembled computer as it does to ship an empty case. I have a good friend that was on the Intel product team that was supporting Dell when the Bad caps problem hit the GX260's. Those guys were located in Hillsborough, OR and had long conference calls with Dell engineers.

Article has interesting point, but is fallacious (5, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644268)

I point to this fallacy:

Consider Infineon, which supplies the 3G wireless chipset in the iPhone. In order to stay in Apple’s graces, Infineon must do everything necessary to help the hardware and software play well together, including staffing permanent engineers in Cupertino or sending a team overnight from Germany. Do you think Intel does this for Dell?

Dell is not comparable with Apple in this case. Apple develops the operating system software for the iPhone. Intel also has permanent engineers at Microsoft, just like Infineon has engineers at Apple. Microsoft develops the operating system software for the PC. Intel also funds many Linux driver developers, and has staff working specifically on Linux support.

There are multiple x86 vendors including Intel, AMD, VIA. The reason there is not more competition is that Intel exploits network effects leveraged by their market monopoly which lead to the current situation. It used to be at a time that the chipset was manufactured by different vendors than the CPU. This enabled more rapid progress in some cases (e.g. ALI and VIA had a chipset with onboard 3D graphics long before other vendors). This is no longer the case. In fact it seems chipsets are becoming increasingly irrelevant as more things get integrated in the same chip. Intel is starting to include the graphics card and high speed I/O in the processor chip. Eventually the chipset will be today's equivalent of a slow I/O south bridge. Perhaps it will even vanish completely.

Another reason that mobile devices will not leave the PC industry behind is that Intel has superior manufacturing prowess. Historically Intel has had inferior chip design capabilities: the 8086 was inferior to the 68000, the 486 was inferior to many RISC processors, the Pentium Pro was inferior to the Alpha, etc. None of this mattered because Intel had the ability to deliver in volume and price where its competitors could not. The Pentium Pro, for example, had similar integer performance to Alpha because it had superior manufacturing, even if the hardware design was worse. Today Intel enjoys a healthy manufacturing process lead over all their competitors. It is a matter of time until they develop a specific chip to attack the smartphone market, like they developed Atom to counter the rising MID market, or Centrino to counter Transmeta years before.

Because it's a new market? (2, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644278)

"Mobile" in terms of dumb phones actually isn't moving very quickly. Dumb phones have existed for a couple of decades, and strictly speaking call quality was better in the 90s then it is today. In terms of voice in remote places and durability, every phone on the market today is straight up worse then the Nokia 6160 I had 10 years ago. Voice is more of an afterthought these days.

The smartphone market on the other hand is pretty young, and is acting like a new market with rapid improvements and cut throat competition. It's also a market subject to fashion trends and full of users who will change phones as often as their contracts allow, which really isn't the case in say the PC market (where average users will buy a new computer when the old one dies and these days even gamers don't need frequent upgrades like they used to).

Simple answers: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644314)

Mobile gadgets...
Relatively new field, novel user interfaces, more design/integration opportunities (gps, cameras, whatnot). Therefore fast (early) development.

"or sending a team overnight from Germany. Do you think Intel does this for Dell?"
Nah, Intel would employ local hookers.

An alternate hypothesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644378)

Mobile architectures are now comparable to PC systems as they were in their explosive growth phase. C++ and Java are well-suited to these architectures.

On the PC side, we're going to many cores, and this is where the C++/Java paradigms begin to struggle. I suspect that when we make the leap to a language designed around many cores, tolerance of faulty cores, that takes into account the geometry of core, memory, and transducer locations, and that is designed around data dependencies and with a knowledge of how to distribute loads for heat as well as power, we will see a huge resurgence in the power and popularity of PC's, because they will be able to observe the loads we put them under and learn how to dramatically accelerate them.

Re:An alternate hypothesis (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644708)

wish I had mod points for this!

Re:An alternate hypothesis (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645018)

If you're going to do that, might as well just put an FPGA in the PC and have it dynamically reprogram it to accelerate whatever task it is doing at the time...

WinTel (1)

shriphani (1174497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644400)

In my Architecture class, our professor was always complaining about what a big kludge x86 was and how the "wintel" monopoly was holding the world back. Guess he was right.

Typical Hyperbole (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644420)

When your goddamn phone can allow me to type long documents, edit a flowchart or even watch a movie at a decent size, I'll declare the PC as dead.

An unfortunate fact for all these hyperbolic tech wankers is that actually, phone innovation (in terms of the handsets and apps) is pretty much flat now. The new iPhone has what? thinner, slightly better screen, a better camera?

I'm not saying these aren't improvements but they're just gradual improvements in the same way that processors or things like SSD drives are.

Lame. (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644550)

"A great example of this [stagnation] is the notable lack of GPS chips in laptops."

Or maybe it's because Intel did some research and found that 99% of people use their laptops indoors 99% of the time.

"Today's 3G wireless chipsets integrate GPS, Bluetooth, and 802.11n on a single chip."

And they do so at great expense because size and power consumption are an order of magnitude more important in a handheld than on a desktop. And single chips cost more to revise than individual components. But speaking of desktops, have you seen the Mac Mini? [ifixit.com] Tiny little motherboard with a two-core CPU, wired and wireless networking, bluetooth, SATA, two types of digital video output, FireWire, USB, an SD card reader, audio in, and analog and digital audio out. When the first Mac Mini came out five years ago it lacked the cardreader, had one video out, only had analog audio, and BlueTooth and 802.11 were physically separate add-on cards. Progress has been made.

Future of tablets. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644562)

It's going to be interesting to see how "tablets" go. Will they come downward from Windows PCs, as Microsoft wants, or up from phones, as Apple is doing? Or will an accepted interface not from either world be developed for them?

It's going to be interesting to see how tablets develop as business tools. Tablet machines for special purposes, like the one every UPS delivery person has, have been around for decades. Tablets for doctors, cops, and others who need info in the field are coming along. The tablet as the general business tool for those who primarily consume, rather than create, information may be the future.

Re:Future of tablets. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644742)

Up from phones. Windows makes for very poor input on a touchscreen device, as well as being someone limited in the resolutions it supports. Therefore any existing Windows apps would need to be completely redesigned and rewritten to be really usable on a tablet, in which case there is little advantage in basing a tablet on Windows.

Mobile innovation *is* PC innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644634)

The distinction between mobile and PC is way fuzzier than Microsoft wants you to believe. The only difference is where the content gets created, and as mobile devices begin to encroach on laptops, and as the mobile OS's start to resemble lean and mean Desktop OS's without the legacy crud, we'll start to see a few things happen:

1. Mobile OS's beginning to invade the thin and light notebook category after it's done pillaging netbooks.

2. Content creation tools begin to migrate as companies like Adobe realize that Photoshop would work just great on iPad 2, Mega Nexus, Dell Super Streak, etc/whatever.

The PC is dead. The only way we'll might afterwards be saying "long live PC" is if the PC industry admits and accepts that it's just an out-of-shape mobile device.

Re:Mobile innovation *is* PC innovation (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644944)

> The distinction between mobile and PC is way fuzzier than Microsoft wants you to believe. The only difference is where the
> content gets created, and as mobile devices begin to encroach on laptops, and as the mobile OS's start to resemble lean and
> mean Desktop OS's without the legacy crud, we'll start to see a few things happen:
>
> 1. Mobile OS's beginning to invade the thin and light notebook category after it's done pillaging netbooks.
>
> 2. Content creation tools begin to migrate as companies like Adobe realize that Photoshop would work just great on iPad 2,
> Mega Nexus, Dell Super Streak, etc/whatever.
>
> The PC is dead. The only way we'll might afterwards be saying "long live PC" is if the PC industry admits and accepts that it's
> just an out-of-shape mobile device.
>

+...I wouldn't hold my breath.

Mobiles haven't even reached the low bar of being suitable for posting on Slashdot yet.

Mobile tablets are fine if what you want is essentially a glorified Television set. Beyond that and it falls apart quite quickly.

Before the first consumer GUI based machine hit the market, they (Xerox PARC) already had some idea of how it would be put to productive use. It wasn't just some toy that fanboy hopefuls declared would magically brush aside everything else. The productive use cases were already running in the lab.

it's obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32644644)

Why this is news? Mobile innovation is going "faster" because handsets become obsolete in 12 - 18 month, vs 24 - 36 months for PCs.

Stagnation (2, Interesting)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644740)

The article credits Intel with allowing hardware innovation to stagnate

.
The stagnation in the PC industry has far more to do with Microsoft's monopoly-maintaining innovation-stifling policies than anything else. At least Intel had some marginal competition in the form of AMD. Microsoft had no real competition for over a decade, and the entire PC industry and its customers suffered.

Simple (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644784)

Because mobile processing ala smart phones hardly existed until 2000, and when you suck as hard as those gadgets from a decade ago, it's hard not to significantly improve.

Why Mobile Innovation Outpaces PC Innovation (1, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644868)

Because PCs sit at home while mobile devices, being mobile, get trotted out in public. They are a fashion accessory and fucktards will pay gobs and gobs of money, every fucking year, for useless, backwards shit and not give a crap about the actual good shit.

Because when you start from zero, you've got nowhere to go but up. All the useful innovation is simply copied over from the PC realm when mobile devices can handle it (size, performance, battery).

Because when you've got a "new" market, there is no status quo with regards to who owns that shit. Companies will scramble to get a good seat as a top supplier. When the smaller players get wiped out, the big players will become Intel & MS & IBM - actively attacking innovation until someone scrapes up enough money (debt) and effort (3rd-world / open-source slaves) to challenge them. The small players will enjoy some success until the big players finally react with the budget of a million SUNs and make them irrelevant again.

There's something I don't get, though: Who are the fucks that see innovation in the market? I see shitty devices that can't do a tenth of the shit that my PC can, and I see them following the same pattern as PCs did decades ago, for better (features, performance) and worse (players getting big, competitors dying off, innovation being choked). There is no innovation here. Everything has been completely predictable, completely shitty compared to existing offerings, and completely expensive.

It`s called commerce. (1)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32644974)

It`s called commerce.

Things are getting *soo* cheap! (3, Insightful)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645094)

I know, I could write that every decade or so.

When I started with computers, processing audio was hard and clunky, and video unheard of. But, increasingly, non-computer devices are getting more intelligent (in terms of really being computers under the hood), to the point where they look and feel like computers, with different peripherals.

When I first viewed video on a computer monitor, it was clunky, and in a window. Even in full screen mode, one would eventually escape back to the windowing UI, that made the TV stop looking like one, and more like a computer. 10 foot interfaces have changed all this, of course. And yet, if one does want to switch from a video entertainment device "mode" to an "internet browsing" mode to view YouTube videos, for example, the computer UI looks normal and not out of place. We are getting used to the browser being our interface to the world around us.

The point is that computers are becoming ubiquitous. From TVs to phones, to ebook readers, to netbooks, and iPads, we are using computers to present content as well as organize it. If I were to desire a "universal" remote control, I would seriously consider a netbook for the purpose because it could add so much more functionality over a universal "remote", and actually costs less than many of them! Why we still have 38khz IR remote controls instead of web-based UIs available over 802.11b/g/n escapes me, but I am sure that will start to change with the first "networked" remote, and "IR hubs" with 802.11b/g/n in and IR blasters "out" for legacy equipment. Why can't I use my smartphone as a remote? Oh wait! I can!

Just look at how UpNP has shaken out into DNLA-based equipment.

I just retired a 400 disk CD/DVD changer and replaced it with a MythTV box. I had done that before, but with false starts, and things weren't smooth enough to really retire the changer. Now, the MythTV box is quiet enough, and powerful enough, to make the thought of actually handling media for anything more than "one of" playback archaic.

Look at HDMI, at least the latest incarnations. Not only does it integrate uncompressed video and audio in a single cable, 100 Mb/s datalink layer ethernet, and SPDIF "back channels" are included. Literally, "one cable to link them all". And, it's not an expensive interface, only found on high end equipment: it is becoming the standard for computer monitors and televisions (the difference really becoming blurred).

So, certainly because of competition and "technology catchup", phones and consumer electronics are evolving at a dizzying pace, whereas computers have stagnated. but, perhaps we've reached the point where computers already do everything we want them to: compute, process, store, and retrieve data. As far as presentation of entertainment content goes, a traditional computer offers little more than storage, and second rate display: it is non portable and the display or audio capabilities are poor compared to alternative: smaller display but complete mobility in phones, netbooks, and iPads, and massive displays in flat-screen TVs. And these are the areas where we are seeing advances.

Innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32645154)

The real innovation in terms of hardware capabilities are driven by process scaling which is an industry wide phenomena. Mobile platforms just happen to benefit the most due to severe space and power limitations inherit in mobile handsets. The entire industry benefits from process scaling due to cost savings related to die area shrinkage.

Intel is far from the only x86 compatible chipset vendor so I don't see the authors point.

If my PC were 10 times faster and had 10 times the amount of memory I don't know that I would really care all that much given what I use my PC for currently. As mobile platform gets more and more capable more and more technology will be ported from the desktop platform. Its much easier to port existing technology than it invent it from scratch with no basis.

Justification (1)

bynary (827120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32645190)

Rapid advancement in mobile is often attributed to the natural disruption by which emerging industries innovate quickly, while established markets like PCs follow a slower, more sustained trajectory.

But there are deeper fundamentals driving the breathtaking pace of smartphone advancement.

Rapid advancement in mobile is often attributed to the natural disruption by which emerging industries innovate quickly, while established markets like PCs follow a slower, more sustained trajectory.

But there
had to be some way for me to create buzz for my blog so I came up with some convoluted explanation.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?