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Dual-core Smartphone Runs Android and Ubuntu

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the two-is-better-than-one dept.

Android 148

nk497 writes "ARM is showing off a test handset at Mobile World Congress, which runs Android 2.3 and Ubuntu 10.04 at the same time on a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip. ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone and with Nvidia announcing it will be putting quad-core mobile processors into tablets by autumn and smartphones by Christmas, that prospect looks to be approaching faster than anyone expected." Video is attached if you're curious.

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Battery life must be bad (4, Interesting)

EricTheRed (5613) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222576)

but that will improve.

Saying that this sort of thing will happen eventually, with Meego being mothballed after Nokia defected to Windows we need a good Linux based OS other than Android

Re:Battery life must be bad (5, Funny)

migla (1099771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222594)

Did you watch the video. You could fit a battery the size of a cat on that phone.

Re:Battery life must be bad (2)

EricTheRed (5613) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222730)

yes I did & obviously this is a prototype so it would be big.

Thing is when it gets to a production model - will batteries cope with a dual core phone? A lot of current phones have problems especially with low signal areas draining the batteries regardless of 'optimum' conditions they tend to use when stating battery life.

Re:Battery life must be bad (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222926)

Most of the Dual cores draw less power than the single cores at idle, which is where your phone's CPU spends most of it's time. There are only a very few applications that seem to peg even my 1.5 year old Motorola Droid, mostly games and whatnot. I would expect the average battery life to improve when moving to a new dual core compared to a single core simply because they can slow the clockrate and disable unused parts of the die. Of course, maybe the new single cores will perform even better battery life wise, I'm just saying compared to what is common now.

If I'm not playing games the display is typically the number one power user at something around 35%. Next is cell standbyat 18%. Only after that is OS related things which all added up together come to about 17%. CPU just isn't the biggest power draw on most smartphones, unless you're playing graphics intensive games. If you're doing something like browsing the web you'll see the transceiver and display numbers jump up faster than the browser's because there really isn't that much to think about when it comes to displaying a page.

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223184)

Thing is when it gets to a production model - will batteries cope with a dual core phone? A lot of current phones have problems especially with low signal areas draining the batteries regardless of 'optimum' conditions they tend to use when stating battery life.

Well, the question is how much signal strength will matter at all. I play many games on my iPhone that are relatively CPU/GPU intense as opposed to communication intense. I can easily play Angry Birds in flight mode, sure from time to time I want to compare my scores online but it's mostly irrelevant to short time use. From laptops we know that higher power CPUs often means it executes faster and returns to sleep stages faster. Obviously if games continues to max the hardware we'll see shorter battery lives but the same games may end up lasting longer on a more powerful phone than a less powerful one. I at least know with myself that I often trade battery life for gaming because I know I'm on a 4-8 hour trip with a socket to charge it with at the end. If you can give me a more flexible device with better gaming for those hours, I'm all for it even though if total battery life sucks in that mode.

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222798)

Its not quite cat-sized. I'd say bat-sized.

Re:Battery life must be bad (2)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223212)

Wow. Cricket or baseball?

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223380)

Its not quite cat-sized. I'd say bat-sized.

Is that a brickbat?

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223860)

So far, none of you are funny.

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

zzottt (629458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225316)

I find your comment the funniest :D

Re:Battery life must be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222908)

And then you wouldn't have to carry it, it could just walk beside you.

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223664)

When was the last time a cat walked beside you? If you and a cat are moving in the same direction, the cat will be exactly where your foot needs to go at all times.

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224260)

Don't be silly! A cat will spend much of the day sleeping. They're much more likely to be using the new quad- hamster power cells.

Re:Battery life must be bad (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222650)

Intel has announced that it is going ahead with Meego development. Meego was never just about mobile phones, but extends to netbooks and in-vehicle devices as well, so the loss of Nokia was no crushing blow. Nokia was the only major handset manufacturer committed to the Meego edition for mobile phones, there are also several smaller firms who planned to release Meego smartphones by the summer (Aava was preparing Meego cores for multiple firms). Meego has in no way been "mothballed".

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

EricTheRed (5613) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222690)

Well the way everywhere else was hinting it sounded like it was. If Intel can go it alone (they're big enough) then it may succeed. Time will tell

Re:Battery life must be bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223292)

And Intel are well known and respected for their support of ARM, so no worries there!

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223982)

Meego was never just about mobile phones, but extends to netbooks and in-vehicle devices as well, so the loss of Nokia was no crushing blow.

It's nice to see Baghdad Bob has found work as an Intel spokesperson.

"Yes," says Intel: "We have always have great MeeGo sales penetration in Eurasia".

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222768)

Is this the Ron Jeremy of phones or what? Won't you need straps so you can carry this thing on your back? And then walk funny anyway?

Re:Battery life must be bad (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223124)

What exactly is your issue with Android?

Re:Battery life must be bad (2)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225152)

What exactly is your issue with Android?

I've recently had the pleasure of playing around with an Android device. So, let's see...

It wasn't able to correctly recognize the foreign-language hardware keyboard...no accent characters.I would have needed to root it in a rather complicated way, potentially bricking the device during the process, just in order to change the keyboard settings! (That was the Toshiba AC100 and I've returned it.) Moreover, the "marketplace" didn't look very interesting to me, there is just too much proprietary crap software for Android there. I'm really not interested at all in having to pay for software on my phone and would prefer to have access to all the applications available on one of the large Linux distros. Even worse, I had to get a Google account in order to use the "marketplace", even though I was only interested in free applications. That sucks. Now, what else there is...Android also has an ugly "corporate drone" GUI design and look-and-feel that I personally dislike. Lots of shiny buttons, but I want to be able to choose and adjust the look of my phone's GUI as I like. Perhaps this possible with Android, I just didn't find an obvious way to do it. Android also seems to have a tendency to submit data to 3rd party sites without asking me (e.g. to Google, correct me if I'm wrong). I'm not even using Google as a search engine and certainly don't want any Google searchbar on my phone. Finally, I'm using Emacs for my work, notes, schedules, coding, and so on, but Emacs doesn't seem to run on Android.

What I want is a phone running Ubuntu or some other decent Linux distro. The phone could look similar to a N900 but perhaps the keyboard should have one or two additional more modifier keys. Once one of these is out, I'll buy it.

(This is not a joke, it's my honest opinion. Sorry if it disturbs some people...and no, I'm not RMS.)

Do you want a computer or a phone (1)

Karljohan (807381) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222642)

I'm thinking that I'd rather have a computer on which I can run different kinds of phone services. The computer should of course be small and have good battery time. The difference? I don't like having a SIM card connecting my phone to a specific provider. ISPs have much less power than phone providers.

Motorola is going to be selling this soon (3, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222652)

Motorola Atrix 4G.

It runs Android 2.2 and Ubuntu at the same time and you can buy it (for a crazy high price) soon.

Re:Motorola is going to be selling this soon (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222802)

It's a promising concept. But from the reviews I've seen, their implementation of Linux is pretty severely flawed. :(

So I'll be waiting for next year.

Re:Motorola is going to be selling this soon (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222864)

Given how much Motorola butchers Android I'm not shocked that they manage to break Linus as well.

Re:Motorola is going to be selling this soon (2)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223728)

I'm not shocked that they manage to break Linus as well.

You mean to tell me, this time, it's personal??

Re:Motorola is going to be selling this soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224700)

by crazy high price i'm assuming you mean $199 after at&t contract? isn't that what most high end phones cost?

Not a handset (2)

tokul (682258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222670)

If presenter is not dwarf, then that thing is tablet pc and not a smartphone.

This could have been Nokia with Maemo/MeeGo (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222678)

But we all know that Nokia is now being Microsoftisized. Wow! I've never used Ubuntu (I'm a SuSE boy), but I guess it's time for me to create an Ubuntu VMware image. When that thing hits the market, it's number one on my list of stuff that I don't need, but must have!

That's not a phone! (5, Funny)

Arab (466938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222686)

That's a space station!

What's interesting? My phone runs Debian already. (2, Interesting)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222698)

Oh, Nokia fucked it up. Drat.

(Yay for N900 comunity release!)

Re:What's interesting? My phone runs Debian alread (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223052)

Only a fuckin' no-life no-ambitions geek cares about this shit.

It's not even cool in the way true inventors were when they got their designs to fly and pushing the boundaries of their science/art.

It's just a fuckin' mastabatory excercise to see how may things you can get a fucktarded OS to run on. Who really cares?

Re:What's interesting? My phone runs Debian alread (1, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223130)

I bought an N900 because I needed the functionality. I can manage servers using it. That's handy when travelling.

Re:What's interesting? My phone runs Debian alread (2)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223814)

And why can't you manage those same servers via an Android phone? RDP, Citrix, SSH, ect...all supported just fine.

Re:What's interesting? My phone runs Debian alread (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225170)

You can even run the actual stuff in your N900 before putting it in a production server, if were for just ssh you can run a java client in most phones. But if you want to run Android's ssh, you can in the n900 too, there are at least 4 different OSs that run in that phone. Is not perfect, but still have functionality that no other smartphone provides yet, even after a year and half of its release.

Re:What's interesting? My phone runs Debian alread (0)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225172)

You'll want the keyboard for the command line, hell even just writing emails. Way too many Android phones are touch only.

If your just an admin, then I'd imagine you'll run scripts on your work boxes. If your needs are more mobile however, then you'll want the ability to run perl & python on the phone itself. I know one nut job who uses an N900 as his primary computer for example.

You can run Android applications on an N900s [youtube.com] anyways. So the question is only : Are Debian apps or Android apps first class citizens or 1.5th class citizens?

I personally chose an N900 primarily for the integrated, gsm, sip, and skype calling and breadth of im support integrated into the sms app. Android, iOS, etc. cannot touch that because that'll only work when Linux apps are 1st class citizens. And I'm less excited about a phone running Debian and Android simultaneously for exactly these reasons.

Ideally, all the social networking sites should be shoe horned into one application+plugins as well. I could imagine MeeGo developers pursuing this approach, but not Android, iOS, etc. developers. Apple's "there's an app for that" cop-out has poisoned real innovation too deeply.

Imho, Nokia should've pursued Android over WP7, releasing both pure Android phones, as well as MeeGo phones optimized for Android apps. Ideally, they could've integrated printing, Zphone, OTR messaging, and gpg encrypted email into the MeeGo phones, making them truly full fledged handheld computers and attracting 'certain market segments', and differentiating themselves from the mass of Android venders.

I believe a flashy encryption friendly phone will capture the inner-city market, i.e. people emulating the drug dealers, and make serious in-roads into professions like law and finance, plus all the tech heads would buy it.

Re:What's interesting? My phone runs Debian alread (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223356)

The N900 sucks compared to modern phones anyway. You'd do better with a normal Android phone running Debian [android-devs.com] .

N900 wasn't even that great when it was new (eg. crappy touch screen) but nowadays it's outdated as hell.

Personally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222786)

I think smart phones are dumb. Yeah they can do some neat things, but the trade-off is not worth it. Too high of a price to pay both monetarily and figuratively, I will always want to be unplugged most of the time; no desire to be a capitalist Matrix power source.

Been trying to do this for a while... (3, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222812)

People have been running ARM Debian / Ubuntu on their Android devices for some time:
http://www.android-devs.com/?p=152 [android-devs.com] (albeit you'd only be booting one or the other OS at a time)

A simpler way is by using the chroot method such as the one described at: http://www.misfit.co.zw/?p=144 [misfit.co.zw] , that way you can still run the Android OS with all the drivers and everything, but be able to SSH or VNC into a full Debian ARM install running on a chroot on a partition in your SD card.

I haven't had too much luck with it yet (TnT-Lite on my GTablet didn't let me use the loopback device to mount an img file... will try again using a straight ext2 partition on my SD card). Looking forward to being able to apt-get stuff onto my phone/tablet, though :-P

Re:Been trying to do this for a while... (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223674)

People have been running ARM Debian / Ubuntu on their Android devices for some time

True. I've been running Ubuntu Lucid on my Droid for a while now. It works great for things like rtorrent and many other cli tools that are just an apt-get away.

The thing is, and I hope the device the submission is about might solve this is: no X server on Android so you have to run a vnc server and viewer killing any hope of video acceleration. You end up with choppy browsing in Midori, choppy video playback, etc. And no sound. Forget using mplayer to listen to your mp3's if that's your thing. It's a mixed bag. You definitely have true dyed in the wool Ubuntu, Debian, whatever on your Droid but it's a bit limited in its utility if I may say so myself.

not a quite a phone, not quite a iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222814)

It won't fit in my pockets and if I tried to hang it off my belt I'm afraid it would pull my pants down so it's too big for me to think of as a phone. But, the screen isn't big enough to make it an iPad like device. It looks like it has ports to drive a regular monitor and keyboard so it might fit between a netbook and an iPad and serve as a kind of kids notebook carried in a backpack. I hope they don't charge too much for it.

Why??? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222854)

Why do I wan't to run 2 OS's on my phone (and/or tablet).
It's a handy device that should give me simple and fast funktions.

I don't want to split my stuff up.

Know where did I put X, and Y program runs os OS1 but the data is streamed to OS2.
the picture I just took is now on OS1 but my upload/mail program is on OS2.

It might sound cool, and really few can use it to something productive.
But the most of the users just want there smartphones/tablets/computers to work. And not swits between OS's that takes up system power, and HDD space.

Re:Why??? (1)

nloop (665733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223024)

You know where picture 1 and picture 2 are? On the sdcard. Amazing how two things can access the same data.

Try again.

Re:Why??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223978)

Two OSes read/write the same filesystem at the same time? Are you sure about that?

(Ever try to access the SD card in your phone via USB and via the phone's OS at the same time? What happened? Why?)

Re:Why??? (1)

nloop (665733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224888)

That's the fault of your phone, not a technical limitation. There are many scenarios where multiple pieces of software can read and write the same hardware.

Re:Why??? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223150)

Most Symbian phones already run two operating systems, using the nanokernel as a hypervisor. One is a realtime OS for running the networking stuff, the other is a general purpose OS for the user apps. I wouldn't mind a similar isolation taken a bit further, so the phone dialling stuff is all contained in one OS that is locked down to a paranoid degree, while all of the fluffy smartphone stuff is done by a separate OS. In this case, someone who compromises the Ubuntu install doesn't get to run up your phone bill, for example.

Having a hypervisor on the phone is also interesting for migration. Samsung had some prototypes a few years ago where you could migrate live-migrate your phone's OS to a TV when you got home. With an HD TV and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you've got a more convenient working environment than a mobile phone, but when you want to go you just live migrate it back and your computing environment stays with you. You can also do fun things like snapshot before moving, so if you lose the phone you only lose the stuff that changed since you last left the house.

Re:Why??? (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223372)

The problem is, their currently is no OS which has an interface which works well on small touchscreens and on big screens with keyboard/mouse.

Or maybe it is just a gimmick ?

Re:Why??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224428)

I'd love to have one for work. My workplace has been talking about doing a "you buy the phone, we pay you a monthly fee to be available for support, and we'll throw in ActiveSync so you can get your corporate email" rather than just buying us smartphones like they have been.

Problem is, once they have email on it, the company's gonna want to be able to remote-wipe the phone, set the phone to lock after 5 minutes, and all the stuff that is obviously and logically necessary to protect their data. But if I'm buying the damned phone, it's MY phone.

So I'd love to get a phone that they could just give me a SIM, I put the SIM in a secondary slot, and spin up a second OS that they can do whatever the hell they want with. Meanwhile, the phone itself is mine, and if I ever leave the company I allow them to nuke their partition off my phone and hand them their SIM on the way out the door.

Yes, I could carry a second phone, but that's two bits of hardware I gotta schlep around and charge and maintain. Screw that.

Re:Why??? (1)

stoanhart (876182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225492)

Why? Simple - a single device for all purposes. I can't wait until this technology has matured, and is common place.

Most of the day, you'd be in Android using your smartphone for the things it's good at. If you need to get work done, you plug your phone into a screen/keyboard/mouse/speaker station via HDMI or something, and you're ready for serious work.

in other words (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222874)

ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone

ARM dreams of a time when they are making the cash of Intel and AMD combined.

Re:in other words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35222962)

The thought of all that $$$ must be causing corporate hallucinations.

ARM must be dreaming of a time when all people do is text, tweet and check their social networking sites. That probably does account for most the daily activity of most teenagers, but even on a tablet, until they can manage a screen that will allow you to touch type, they're out of luck on that...

Re:in other words (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223172)

Actually, they don't. They imagine a future where ARM, TI, Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, nVidia, and so on are making the cash of Intel and AMD. Which doesn't seem too improbable...

And it will beat .... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222918)

The next batch of smart phones are so smart they will beat Rutter and Jennings in Jeopardy too!

Where are all the neo-luddites? (1)

gotpoetry (1185519) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222954)

I've yet to read a comment proclaiming smart phones are a waste of money and I just want something that acts well as a telephone.

I thought I was reading Slashdot, but I guess I am on some other website.

Re:Where are all the neo-luddites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223020)

I've yet to read a comment proclaiming smart phones are a waste of money and I just want something that acts well as a telephone.

I thought I was reading Slashdot, but I guess I am on some other website.

Here I am! These phones are so useful you can't even make a phone call with them without starting the phone "app". It's suppose to be called a *phone*! Hell, the only phone I have is wired and that's the way I like it! (ok, it's a SIP phone, sue me)

Re:Where are all the neo-luddites? (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223116)

My son-in-law just got an iPhone. He is paying for Roadrunner for the home PCs and paying for a data plan for the phones to access the same internet. This is a waste of money and I refuse to do it! Thanks for the set up.

Re:Where are all the neo-luddites? (2)

gotpoetry (1185519) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223302)

He must want to access the internet away from home.

Re:Where are all the neo-luddites? (5, Funny)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223602)

Just download the internet and put it on a SD card when you want to access it away from home.

Really, and if you are an active trader? (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224360)

Some people actually need real-time info and access. If the markets are open and I don't have access, I'll have a meltdown.

Re:Really, and if you are an active trader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225398)

Whoooooooooooosh!

Re:Where are all the neo-luddites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223502)

I've yet to read a comment proclaiming smart phones are a waste of money and I just want something that acts well as a telephone.

Here's [slashdot.org] one so far.

A tablet is just a laptop without a keyboard (1)

unil_1005 (1790334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222964)

(OK, maybe they're also short a spinning platter, too)

But think about it guys -- there is no magic here.

It happened this way: Jobs wanted to save hardware costs on his laptops, so he decided to junk the keyboard and sell the sizzle, or "less is more". (If you don't understand Apple as a hardware manufacturer which regards software as NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering costs) you don't understand Apple's strategy of selling over-priced hardware.)

Other tablets had a rotating screen that locked over the keyboard when you needed to use it that way. Much more useful.

So if you can put 4 cores in a laptop, why not in a keyboard-less laptop?

Re:A tablet is just a laptop without a keyboard (2)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222980)

One of the motivations for tablets is that they have vastly longer battery life than laptops. Tablets are not simply keyboard-less laptops.

Re:A tablet is just a laptop without a keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223616)

My macbook air has about 6 hours of battery life vs. about 8 for my ipad.

8 vs 6 isn't "vastly longer" IMHO.

Re:A tablet is just a laptop without a keyboard (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225634)

Actually, Steve Jobs' innovation was to make his tablet a giant iPod touch rather than a keyboardless laptop.

ARM needs to get real (1, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35222970)

This "Your phone will be everything!" idea that some people tout is just stupid. No, no it won't. Even presuming we arrive at a day where battery life is no longer a problem and you can have more CPU power than you need in a phone, it still won't be your only device. Why? Because phones are designed to be mobile, that is their primary requirement. They need to be small and light so they can travel with you. That is wonderful, but that isn't what you always want.

A good example would be a TV and watching media. Could I watch movies on my phone? Sure, it can play them and I can even get Netflix on it. Yet I have a big HDTV sitting in my living room. The reason, of course, is I don't want to hold a tiny device in front of my face to watch movies (never mind killing the battery) I'd rather lay on the couch and watch movies on a large screen. I don't have to choose bit TV or small phone, I get to have both.

Same deal with a computer. You aren't going to want to do all your web browsing, all your work, etc on a tiny phone screen. Much nicer to have a larger screen, a full size physical keyboard, a mouse. Again it isn't a choice you have to make. You don't have to choose phone or computer you can have both.

Now I realize that with advances a phone could potentially integrate with other devices. Add an HDMI port and it could output to my TV, or monitor. Still I can't see the appeal. Why would I want to have to fetch my phone and hook it to my TV, meaning I can't easily use it as a phone if needed, when instead I can just have a little Blu-ray/network media box hooked to it so I can play media when I want? Heck it even means that others can use it and not need my phone.

Same deal with a computer. Even if you get to the point where your phone is powerful enough, why wouldn't you have a desktop and/or laptop as well? Easier to just have all your data stored on an accessible network location rather than having to take your phone out and hook it up as a computer when you want to use it as such.

Also I think all this ignores the very real problem of battery and processing power. While it is easy to say "Oh things are more than powerful enough as it is," that is just lacking foresight. Yes, even fairly low end processors can handle the basics of current computing. However maybe we'd like something better. How about a computer that can understand your speech or writing? Where you can talk to it, in normal, natural, conversation and it can give you what you want? That would be a major improvement in user interface.

However such a thing will not come cheap processing wise. You can see the first glimpses of it with Watson, IBM's Jeopardy playing computer. It takes some massive strides towards dealing with natural language, but is still very limited and has problems. To accomplish that feat requires a whole room of Power7 servers. Not going to be fitting that kind of power in a phone any time soon.

There is a real over obsession with the whole smartphone thing from some people. They are cool, and they are certainly on track to become a part of everyone's computing experience. I think the day is not far away when most people will be able to quickly get information on their phones as needed. However that is real different from wanting to use the phone and nothing but the phone. There's a lot to be said for a desktop, a TV, and so on.

Re:ARM needs to get real (1)

nloop (665733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223142)

I think you underestimate how much people hate having a room full of devices.

From your post you propose having: a computer (complete with screen and input devices), a television, a phone, a network media box, and whereever that network data storage is happening. That's 5 devices. That's a lot of shelf space, cords, and monetary investment. Mom hates setting that up and I hate setting it up for her.

I live in a pretty small place. I have a Wii for streaming netflix, a laptop, a phone, a tv. If I could take that down to a phone with HDMI/bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and a screen, I'd be really happy.

I think people also make more of battery issues than they are. Sure, my old dumbphone could go the better part of a week without recharging. However, my smart phone never dies unless I forget to charge it at night.

Re:ARM needs to get real (2)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223144)

I would buy a PC-replacement phone with HDMI or even better WiDi [intel.com] . Add a proper data storage backup server (which syncs wireless from anywhere) and I would be able to work anywhere by hooking the device to any monitor. Theft or loss will not be a problem with a good semi-online backup solution and mobile really means mobile, just get up and move somewhere else without interrupting any program or logging in and pulling up all files again. Once you get proper mobile PCs with some power the need for more useful interfaces when not connected to a larger display will create a perfect opportunity to develop better speech and writing interaction because the power needed is finally combined with the necessity. This will certainly be so common it's almost boring 10 years from now, mark my words.

Re:ARM needs to get real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224674)

You my friend are right?

Re:ARM needs to get real (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223420)

I don't see the problem with the phone being the pervasive computer device. Another way to look at it is that your pervasive computing device happens to have a phone built-in to it. The ARM chips being put into phones are already becoming more than sufficient for most smart phone uses. The Atrix is exploring the concept of docking the phone in a device that makes it more like a computer. In five years such things might be a lot more common place. Hell, eventually companies might set up kiosks for people who need to get some quick work done but don't want to drag their notebook-dock device around with them. While in phone mode, the device only uses one or two cores, but once it's docked it starts using all of its cores to deal with heavier workloads.

Apple's already solved the problem with hooking your phone up to the TV. If you have an Apple TV the two devices can communicate wirelessly. There's nothing stopping someone from creating an open standard that any device can use and just building the wireless capabilities right into the TV itself so you don't need the box. Similarly, you could wirelessly connect to a projector and control a PowerPoint presentation right from your device.

Of course PCs aren't going to go away. They'll always be a few orders of magnitude more powerful and for professional work you're going to want that extra power. I don't foresee people doing their Photoshop work or heavy 3D rendering jobs on their phones, but they might take the finished product with them on their phone rather than carrying a notebook with them.

Stop thinking of these devices as phones that are trying to be computers and start thinking of them as computers that conveniently have a phone built-in. Getting everything else to work is just an engineering problem and the people who solve those problems are going to be rich. PCs aren't going to go away, but they may not be anywhere near as important in fifteen years as they are today. The personal computing device that does damn near everything and fits in your pocket is the way forward.

Re:ARM needs to get real (3, Insightful)

VirginMary (123020) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223536)

What is this silly "phone" thing you speak of? I just want a universal computing device that fits in my pocket and has an always-on Internet connection! Yes, I would be running a VoIP application on it amongst hundreds of other applications. But anything that is phone-centric? No interest in that at all! Finally I would like to be able to wirelessly have this device talk to my 46" screen, keyboards, mice etc. And yes, it must run a form of UNIX and I do want command-line access, too!

Re:ARM needs to get real (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223816)

You have to start thinking beyond phones. For most home users, the computer will be going out of main stream use and back to the realm of geeks. It will be replaced by tablets and appliances that run "apps". In my own house there isn't even a traditional "computer" anymore. (well a couple old ones in boxes). My iPad and Xbox360 do every thing I need at home. (I have a docking station for the iPad as well as one of the thinkgeek keyboard cases)

On my old projection TV I used my Xbox360 mostly to stream Netflix. Well when the TV died last christmas, the TV I bought to replace it has Netflix and a bunch of other apps built in. I don't even need the Xbox anymore.

At work I still have an iMac because I still have to do some coding from time to time and on occasion build/compile a program. But that is less than 5% of my time anymore. Everything else the iPad handles. Shoot, my iPhone handled 80% of the stuff I needed I laptop for 5 years ago. And since the iPad has iWorks for it, that's good enough for my presentation, spreadsheet, and word processing I do.

Re:ARM needs to get real (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223968)

What I'd really like is some kind of standardized wireless communication, coupled with induction charging. Maybe a universal mat of some sort that does Bluetooth and induction at the same time.

Drop your phone on the mat and it charges and connects to whatever peripherals are attached to the mat.

Then you just connect your keyboard/mouse/giant TV/optical drives/printer/monitor/whatever to the mat. You get all the portability of a smart phone, along with all goodies that you get from a desktop or a big TV or whatever.

Re:ARM needs to get real (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224758)

You can do all of that stuff. Just plug your big monitor and your real keyboard into your phone.

"Why would I want to have to fetch my phone and hook it to my TV, meaning I can't easily use it as a phone if needed"

Why not? Presumably all the connections are wireless. I saw a commercial just last night with a person talking on their smartphone as they surfed.

Ha! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223012)

ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone [...]

Maybe if all you need is AOL. I don't easily foresee a time when any telephone is going to replace my desktop for Photoshop, Premiere, serious gaming, decent word processing, etc.

Re:Ha! (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223098)

You can run the GIMP on the N900, whose tech is already two years old.

Now, you can complain about the screen limitations and processing power of smartphones, but 1) smartphones are starting to feature HDMI out, and 2) a smartphone running X will allow you to run GIMP on your powerful home computer and just interface with it through your mobile device.

Re:Ha! (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224102)

Can and Should are two different words.

I can 'run' Linux on 4 megs of ram, and much like GIMP on a N900, it would be effectively worthless.

Re:Ha! (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224210)

Nor is GIMP a truly suitable replacement for Photoshop to begin with...

Re:Ha! (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225672)

Can and Should are two different words.

I can 'run' Linux on 4 megs of ram, and much like GIMP on a N900, it would be effectively worthless.

But hey, were talking 1ghz dual core devices with programmable DSP's, graphics acceleration and a gigabyte of ram. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a image editor can run on those resources.

Re:Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223506)

ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone [...]

Maybe if all you need is AOL. I don't easily foresee a time when any telephone is going to replace my desktop for Photoshop, Premiere, serious gaming, decent word processing, etc.

You counter with AOL? Seriously?

Re:Ha! (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223570)

Bluetooth keyboard/mouse + wireless HDMI = your phone is the only computer you need.

Re:Ha! (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225192)

photoshop on a smartphone? That's crazy talk, you'd need a 64bit supercomputer for that! :-)
I don't know what extreme performance office suite you've been running but for most folks a dual core 1ghz cpu is more than adequate. And using a lot less power than those P4 desktops running office 2003 that dominated corporate workplaces within living memory.

Looks like a small laptop (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223068)

Big sucker isn't it? The evil plot here is to make cell phones slowly morph into connected laptops so everyone has a computer that is required to have a data plan that pays out $100/mo to Verizon instead of $50/mo to Time Warner.

Android *and* Ubuntu? (1)

Karellen (104380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223076)

OK, I've read TFA, and this makes no sense to me. It's kind of implied that they're running 2 copies of Linux at the same time (Maybe one on each core? Is that the significance of the "dual-core" part? Or is that just a coincidental red herring) - because that's what running Android and Ubuntu would mean - but that's just bonkers.

WTF?

"The only computer you'll ever need" ... (1)

jabberwock (10206) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223102)

"ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone." I'll keep my keyboard and ginormous monitors, thanks. Maybe in a generation or two, when humankind fingers have evolved and are short and pointy ... but not now,

Re:"The only computer you'll ever need" ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223246)

Keyboard can connect via usb or bluetooth, monitors of hdmi. There are already phones on the market that can do both of these.

Re:"The only computer you'll ever need" ... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223458)

If your phone can connect to your monitors, then your monitors aren't big enough (I'm on a three panel, 1600x4960 desktop as I type). It may happen someday, but computing is going to have to advance a couple of orders of magnitude and programmers are going to have to get more efficient so as not to take up all those new cycles with waste. The former I expect to occur, the latter I do not.

Re:"The only computer you'll ever need" ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223744)

I say two years. No reason not too, Nvidia already showed an SoC pushing 2560*1440, and that is hardware no need for hardware acceleration on work desktops.

not with todays data plan costs (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224144)

not with todays data plan costs and that per device data costs with locked in app stores.

Re:"The only computer you'll ever need" ... (1)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224926)

"ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone." I'll keep my keyboard and ginormous monitors, thanks. Maybe in a generation or two, when humankind fingers have evolved and are short and pointy ... but not now,

Wait a minute, your keyboard is a computer? Your monitors are computers?

Oh I see, you just had no idea. I'll clear it up. Those things we all use and love? Those are *peripherals.* They're supposed to be plugged into, typically, a *computer.* And right now you can plug said peripherals into quite a few types of computer, including small ones that fit in your hand. That way you can make their displays really big and easy to input stuff with a keyboard.

Technology's just amazing isn't it?

It already is... (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223154)

For many non-typical computer users, their smartphones already *are* their only computer. These are people for whom a computer is basically an advanced communications device. It surfs the web and enables social networking. And that's most of what they need. Throw in a few basic apps and games and they're happy to fork over $500 and $60/mo for the rest of their lives.

At the other end of the spectrum, it's likely that smartphones will become the portable hard drives of the future, attached to a generic monitor and keyboard as necessary. This is the reason that Microsoft is fighting so hard for the mobile market even though they are obviously far behind. Their desktop bloatware doesn't run on phones today, and there is an opportunity for others to unify the desktop and mobile software markets with apps that operate seamlessly everywhere.

Phone "external monitor and input" standard (4, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223294)

I really wish they would come up with a standard for external displays and input for mobile phones.

A standard would allow things like a phone slot in your car that would enable your phone's full UI to appear on your car's larger touch display, enabling music/phone/apps in the car in a way that exceeds "ipod integration" and the lame, out of date software experience most cars provide on in-dash electronics, as well as providing an ergonomic experience (steering-wheel mounted controls for music, volume, phone) more appropriate for behind the wheel.

I'm semi-surprised Apple hasn't already gone there, given the number of carmakers that provide interfaces compatible with Apple's iPod. Are there technical limitations that would preclude this for the iPhone? Even if it "only" included the standard display 2x zoomed (ala the iPad's execution of iPhone apps), it would be a lot nicer than even a phone on a Pro-clip type mount.

And this is just cars -- I can imagine TVs with these slots and "remote controls" that provide touch interfaces, etc.

Re:Phone "external monitor and input" standard (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223434)

There's currently (as far as I am aware) no way to send that sort of data to and from the iPhone via the dock connector. If they added more to the data interface then possibly - right now it's pretty much only an avenue into the iPod sections of the device - database of tracks and playlists and all metadata and ability to control and search and then the actual music data itself (when the head unit is in control it copies/streams the music over the USB interface and decodes it in its own hardware) - although the dock connector has line-out pins, they are not often used in this context.

It does already have video output, but at the moment no way to receive any input from a touch sensor to control the UI as if you were using the phone itself.

Re:Phone "external monitor and input" standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224540)

The new acura presents a similar UI as the iPod it has jacked into it but you're right in that it mimics the UI only

Re:Phone "external monitor and input" standard (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224790)

Ever heard of "X Windows"?

Re:Phone "external monitor and input" standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224830)

A standard would allow things like a phone slot in your car that would enable your phone's full UI to appear on your car's larger touch display, enabling music/phone/apps...

Despite what the people in the cellphone stores tell you, cell phone parts are only like $100-200 at most, which could be resold in a car for like $2-4000. These data are accurate for navigation devices today, and people love their phones more than nav.

Also, what in the world does your phone have that is so valuable? I would prefer to pull data out of the air than tote it around with me and worry about it being missing. People posit that the phone will be the center of everyone's universe, and I contend that they will go away. The hardware is already good enough and cheap enough that I could take a bag and a gun and walk around my office at work and collect 100-200 cameras without even trying. In 1970, I couldn't even get 10 credit cards, and I would get zero cameras.

I predict that something, probably an implanted device will act as an identity token and you just use public phones, cameras, and HDTVs. Why people prefer to tote around these little things is beyond me.

Re:Phone "external monitor and input" standard (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225132)

With a wireless protocol I think you'd find Apple no longer enjoying the control they presently have over the iDock interface.

That said, I believe there are already standards for input (Bluetooth) and display (Widi). Integrating them into a small device shouldn't be a problem.

To be frank, I've always thought the hardware of the phone should be bulkier (with battery) and lighter on display, and allow external wireless displays to be used, much like we use USB headsets instead of talking on the phone itself.

Technically you could make a PDA with almost no physical I/O and leave it in your pocket or purse, communicating with it via headsets, HUDs or portable Widi capable screen/keyboard combos.

Re:Phone "external monitor and input" standard (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225424)

Look at how QNX does terminal mode, its exactly what you're talking about.

The only computer I ever need? Hardly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35225120)

"ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone "

These days, laptops and netbooks are hot items. Lots of people have them, however they have limitations. Even if we fast-forward however many years it takes to have a device smaller than a netbook and more powerful than a desktop, it will not replace everything.

Game consoles. Sony has their little PSP phone. This is great, however what you will never see is a SonyMicrosoftNintendoPhone. Oh, you want to play games from more than one big name? That means another device. "Oh but someday they will focus on software, and that might be possible." I doubt it. Locked hardware makes development easier. Everyone plays with the same device hardware, everyone gets the same experience. Our consoles might all be phone-sized, but many of us will have more than one.

Televisions. Not for the reason some might think. Yes, you could have a television with a phone slot, or a wireless link, which is great, but this necessitates everyone having one of these superphone things. My five year old doesn't have a computer yet. I want him to have one, but I don't want to replace it because he treats it poorly, and we don't have any space in our current home to have a shared computing space, where we could supervise him. I don't want him having A) a smaller, portable, more expensive device that B) I can't monitor as easily. I also don't want to use my own superdevice to drive his television watching, when I want to do something else. Well, now we need at least two. (I have two Xbox 360s for this very reason. The kids play Kinectimals while I play Fallout New Vegas.)

Computers. Yes, computers! I know, virtualization, you can have lots of operating systems on one piece of hardware. I'm struggling with getting Xen running on Arch right now. This is great, however sometimes it is nice to have separate physical hardware. And, no, pushing everything to the cloud just doesn't cut it. I want a media server that doesn't depend on Comcast's awful bandwidth and bandwidth caps, thanks. Once bandwidth is as free as the air we breathe, then, THEN the cloud will be a place of magic and unicorns. Right now, it is a great idea that can't be fully utilized.

On top of that, power and size often scale together. The more space you allow for components, the more components you can have, or the more powerful components you can use, the more power you can accumulate. There aren't many i7 laptops for a reason. There are no i7 smartphones. Sure, a 16-core ULV processor from the year 2017 or whatever it may be will probably be more powerful than my Core2Quad. I don't care. I want the 64-core desktop processor that makes that 16-core processor feel archaic. I also want an absurd amount of RAM, assuming we still use that, and more storage than I can fit in a smartphone form-factor. (Again, I don't want EVERYTHING in the cloud.)

Everyone wants the superdevice, the phone that drives a monitor and keyboard without wires, that is your alarm clock, and your toenail + nosehair trimmer, and your car keys. I get that. I want one as well. Actually, I want more than one. The existence of a superdevice does not remove the need and / or desire for other devices.

Now, that being said, with Microsoft showing their Windows on ARM thing, I could see a day where ARM drives a lot more of our devices than currently. I just don't see the device count going down to 1.

So now the phone company gets to lock down my PC (1)

alazor (3947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225456)

My wireless provider is a ravening control freak about the software I can run on my phone. I don't want to think what they'd do to my PC. I'd love an unlocked, open smartphone like the Atrix though.

That's great! (0)

crhylove (205956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35225724)

But why Ubuntu? Linux Mint is much more feature rich, easier to use, more complete, has a better package selection, a better default layout.... In fact I can't think of a single way in which Ubuntu is even ON PAR with Mint, much less superior.

This is not a troll. Before you start flaming me, go ahead and run 10 Mint installs. Experience is the only real way to garner fact based information, and otherwise your opinion is just that: An opinion, and probably ignorant.

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