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Intel, Google Team To Optimize Android For Smartphones

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the get-on-that dept.

Android 187

angry tapir writes "Intel and Google announced on Tuesday that they would partner to optimize future versions of the Android OS for smartphones and other mobile devices using Intel chips. Intel CEO Paul Otellini demonstrated a smartphone with the upcoming Medfield chip running on Android during a keynote at the Intel Developer Conference being held in San Francisco. However, Otellini didn't mention the version of Android running on the smartphone. Intel wants to make x86 the architecture of choice for smartphones, and porting Android will provide a larger opportunity to the chip maker in the smartphone market, Otellini said."

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I thought (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396316)

I thought Android was written specifically for smartphones to begin with.

Or maybe Soulskill is one of the worst Slashdot editors in history and thinks that porting Android to x86 is the same thing as "optimizing Android for Smartphones".

Fucktard. Go shoot yourself you illiterate nigger.

Re:I thought (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396338)

I wonder, is Soulskill the concatentation of Soul Skill or Souls Kill? Or is it Soul S Kill?

Re:I thought (0)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396434)

I guess it depends on whether he comes across as more like the jazz trumpet sort of a guy, or the Quake deathmatch sort of a guy. I prefer the former.

Re:I thought (0)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396830)

Either one beats "So, u `ls kill`?".

Re:I thought (1, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396828)

It was supposed to be su; ls; kill, but there was a typo.

Re:I thought (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396536)

The summary is talking about optimization for "smartphones and other mobile devices using Intel chips". Totally not what you read into it.

Re:I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397126)

Also, totally not what the story title says.

Re:I thought (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397258)

In a strange reversion of normal slashdot operating procedure, I read the summary, but not the title.

Re:I thought (0)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396560)

Fucktard. Go shoot yourself you illiterate nigger.

To be honest, I respect illiterate people much more than rude, arrogant and rasistic people.

Re:I thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397512)

Says the illiterate person using the pseudonym "gaygirlie". I'm sure OP is devastated by the loss of your respect...

Should be relatively platform agnostic already (2)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396324)

Linux already runs on x86, and if google played their cards right code quality wise (bit endianness etc) It should all be just a recompile away more or less. (with new peripheral drivers of course... as with any new peripherals on a new device)

Re:Should be relatively platform agnostic already (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396410)

Of course application developers will also need to compile any native code they have.

Re:Should be relatively platform agnostic already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396494)

You sir, are a complete loony.

Android apps run on a virtual machine and will not need to be recomplied.

Re:Should be relatively platform agnostic already (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396594)

I take it you haven't heard of the Android NDK. You can compile native code - not everything has to run in the virtual machine environment.

Re:Should be relatively platform agnostic already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397058)

ARMs used in smartphones and x86 are both little-endian.

Re:Should be relatively platform agnostic already (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397200)

I am not Android developer, but they probably have, as a part of Android platform, code-generating libraries, like Sun Java Hotspot except that it comes from Google. Porting these to different CPU is obviously very complicated if result suppose to provide good performance. Other x86 code generators like gcc, icc, msvc, JVM, .NET or PathScale had many years to fine-tune their programs. Google must have competitive solution in no time.

Android already on x86; GoogleTV has Atom cpu. (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397250)

Applications are mostly Java, so that shouldn't be a problem either.

The Native code library (NaCl) will be unportable currently. However, they plan to base the next version on LLVM making that too platform independent.

Re:Android already on x86; GoogleTV has Atom cpu. (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397318)

The Native code library (NaCl) will be unportable currently.

Native code is not NaCl. NaCl is an entirely different beast, x86 in a browser, in theory sandboxed.

However, they plan to base the next version on LLVM making that too platform independent.

LLVM won't help anything be platform independent. Native code is platform specific, thats why its called native. Using LLVM to produce byte code that runs in an interpreter like Dalvik is not making native code platform independent.

Android already runs on x86 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397282)

http://www.android-x86.org/

Wintel no longer cutting it? (0)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396340)

HA - Windows support is not enough for this ancient architecture? Intel can't even keep alive Linux interest in Itanium, which if they created some low power options for it, they could do a better job than x86.

Apple would do well to replace them w/ A5/A6 CPUs. If memory or 64-bit OS is an issue, consider a 4 core CPU w/ each core having separate memory for each CPU - that would help them break the 4GB limit, albeit being capped @ 8GB. Or Apple could make A7 64-bit, if possible.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396376)

You are deluded if you think an ARM processor is going to come remotely close to touching a Core i7 in performance.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (2)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396446)

There are some really fast ARM based CPUs, like nVidia's Tegras, out there, as well as some ARMs that are fast enough to be used as GPUs. Also, does Corei7 give the power savings that are needed? Because now, both performance and power consumption are important, and ARM has always trumped x86 in power consumption. Heck, even the new MIPS platform is competitive w/ ARM on power consumption, and competitive w/ x64 on performance. I don't see what this deal would have for Android.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (2)

CadentOrange (2429626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396468)

You are deluded if you think an ARM processor is going to come remotely close to touching a Core i7 in performance.

Does it have to? How many applications actually need top of the line Core i7 performance? The majority of applications will be able to get by with significantly less. However, I agree that the GP is deluded to think that Apple will replace the Intel processors in the product line up with ARM chips any time soon.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396562)

You are also deluded if you think mobile intel processors will be as powerful as a Core i7. Intel won't magically develop a new tech that will be orders of magnitude more efficient than what ARM has been doing for years. They also won't be able to magically solder an i7 to a SoC and expect it to have decent consumption levels.
Point is, if ARM can't do something that is remotely close to an i7, then intel can't for the very same reason.

Your comparison is simply out of proportion.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396998)

Of course, intel engineers have a lot more experience in high performance design. It's probably easier to take existing high performance circuits, and make them run at lower power, than it is to design high-performance/low power circuits from scratch.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397264)

Your assumptions would be cured by a computer architecture class.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397470)

People following computer architecture classes have produced mostly stuff that didn't work very well in the real world. Alpha, MIPS, HPPA, Itanium... nice on paper, but x86 beat them all.

Even ARM is now moving away from the nice clean architecture they had. Have you looked at Cortex ? It's a mess. But that mess is exactly what allows it to perform well.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396874)

You are deluded if you think a Core i7 is going to come remotely close to touching an ARM in low power usage.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (0)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396896)

Dammit, I've got to stop posting at 6AM when I'm too slow at seeing the full context. Top of thread is yet another "ARM PC" retard.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397000)

That would be 'ARM Mac' retard - one who'd make iOS applications available on Macs by basing it on the same CPU

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397292)

Ironically, ARM's strengths may actually reduce the chance of the "ARM PC" ever showing up(in any quantity: various ODMs have slapped smartphones into netbook chassis and then failed to ever do anything with them already...).

Since they are comparatively small, comparatively cheap, and comparatively low power; but persistently weak compared to x86s, it would likely be easier to bodge one on to an x86 motherboard(with mechanisms for it to steal an adjustable amount of system RAM, if activated, embedded GPU style, and paint to some or all of the graphics output of the device. It wouldn't be totally trivial; but you could get a full x86 laptop that can also run an embedded ARM simultaneously or by itself in some sort of low-power mode for not a huge cost and board-space premium over a conventional unit. That strikes me as much less of an uphill battle than trying to adjust customer expectations for something that looks like a laptop but acts sort of like a tablet...

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396636)

Desktops against Smartphones. It's like your comparing Apples and Oranges.

Re:Wintel no longer cutting it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397046)

How can you compare a software/hardware company to mobile/broadband company? :P

Shouldn't it be the other way around? (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396362)

Shouldn't they be optimising the chips to run Android, instead of the other way around?

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396390)

Optimising an x86 chip?

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396466)

Intel should just throw an arm core in there with the x86 core.

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396480)

Too many cores spoil the broth.

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396684)

And add a Space Core for good measure.

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (1)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396904)

And add a Space Core for good measure.

Better yet, a marine core, which supports everything from C to EEE. And it has built-in water cooling.

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (2)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396870)

Intel should just throw an arm core in there with the x86 core.

Sure, and then a leg core. But that would make the cost prohibitive.

Re:Shouldn't it be the other way around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397010)

When apple start making chips they can throw in an apple core

XScale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397054)

Doesn't Intel still have XScale? What did I miss?

Re:XScale (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397314)

They sold most of that to Marvell. They retained a few bits, some hardware RAID chips and maybe NIC TCP offload; but all the general-purpose PXA* stuff is no more. I haven't kept up with Marvell's use of what they bought, so I don't know if they just changed the model numbers and kept on shipping, or whether all the old lines are dead and the just bought it for some design features/IP for their future cores...

Bye, Bye Meego (2, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396422)

Well, if you were delusional enough to hold out hope for Meego after it was dropped by Nokia and then "development hold" by Intel, this is your wake-up call.

Re:Bye, Bye Meego (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396936)

Where did you get this "development hold"? I haven't followed meego closely in awhile. Is this true?

Re:Bye, Bye Meego (1)

ttong (2459466) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397014)

It's sad to see the superior OS go the way of the dodo.

Re:Bye, Bye Meego (2)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397460)

It's not dead, it's pining for the fjords!

x86? (4, Insightful)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396460)

Why would we want to stick to x86 in the smartphone, portable device world? x86 is an aging architecture, which still pulls back the PC market, granted with PCs we need backwards compatibility. But the smartphone market is new and thus able to adopt new architectures. And the world is seemingly moving in this direction. This is just some wrangling by Intel to try to push into the portable market.

Re:x86? (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396542)

Monopolists are incapable fundamental change. They will do everything within their power to alter anything except their core monopoly. This includes lawsuits, buying legislation, corporate espionage, smear campaigns, defamation, etc. Whatever they can get away with.

I don't even have to mention incidents, just company names: IBM, MicroSoft, Oracle, Cisco, Apple, Rambus.

Remember, a lot of the time they get away with it (Windows Office, Powerpoint). Even though they are pushing an aging and ill suited CPU, through shear muscle (overt Mafia reference) they just might succeed.

Re:x86? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396792)

I'm just surprised Google would go along with this.. but I guess the tech will speak for itself in the end.

Re:x86? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396922)

Why would Google possibly object to Intel adding their pet OS to the list of operating systems that intel pushes along with their embedded CPUs?

I'd be a bit shocked if the next Nexus whatever phone happens to have Intel inside, Intel just hasn't cracked the low power problem very well; but they move Atoms like crazy for slightly higher powered applications. It isn't make-or-break; but I doubt that Google would mind displacing WinCE in a few of the ubiquitous-but-wastefully-overpowered Kiosk/Signage/etc. applications that are typically intel/WinCE or intel/XP-embedded powered today.

Plus, while it isn't officially blessed and released at present, Android already runs on x86. The "GoogleTV" products are all Android running on an Atom-based STB SoC(the CE1400 if memory serves.)

Re:x86? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396964)

What monopoly have any of those listed had except for the first two?

Re:x86? (4, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397066)

All six in order of appearance; Mainframes, OS, Databases, Routers, Fanboys, RAM.

Re:x86? (1)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397368)

Monopolists are incapable fundamental change. They will do everything within their power to alter anything except their core monopoly. This includes lawsuits, buying legislation, corporate espionage, smear campaigns, defamation, etc. Whatever they can get away with. ... Even though they are pushing an aging and ill suited CPU, through shear muscle (overt Mafia reference) they just might succeed.

Everyone always seems to forget that, at the same time Intel was rolling out the 80486, it also rolled out its next-generation RISC-based i860. Fast as hell (for the time). There was a huge push by Microsoft, which at the time was trying to be platform-agnostic (this was circa 1989; Windows NT was being developed on the i860, and NT 3.51 (1995) and NT 4.0 (1996) were released for the x86, MIPS, Alpha, and PowerPC architectures).

Even with the two market 'monopolists' (not entirely accurate; IBM OS/2 (although circa 1989 that too was at least partially a Microsoft project), Mac OS, AMD, Cyrix, all existed at the time) behind it, the i860 went nowhere. The market spoke - it wanted x86 compatibility.

Re:x86? (1)

itof500 (239202) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397160)

Yes. It would be great to see Intel's awesome process technology applied to an ARM, low power design. What a shame they want to stay with x86.

Duke out

Re:x86? (0)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397484)

x86 is an aging architecture, which still pulls back the PC market

blah blah blah, I'm going to repeat some crap I heard someone else say or some blogger post about how x86 is dead.

Show me the chip for general purpose computing that is clearly better than x86. You can't do it.

Nothing is holding x86 back, it continues to be the most popular GP cpu on the planet and is used in more and more new hardware designs every day. Sure, its not the ONLY CPU out there, others have specific advantages, but for general purpose, x86 is the choice everyone makes. ARM does great at performing reasonably while sipping almost no power, but isn't nearly as fast. Other chips are faster, but requires small rivers for cooling. RISC can do some things faster, as can GPUs, and of course some things slower.

The core architecture has multiple independent COMPATIBLE implementations, Intel and AMD both having their own core designs, and then all the other smaller players. x86 at this point is an API. What runs under it is really not important, as long as it meets the performance requirements.

Which Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396478)

Can anyone tell which Linux distro is Android based on? Debian? Fedora? Gentoo? Which?

Re:Which Linux (1)

morgaen (1896818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396522)

Yes. Because linux loves us, every one.

Re:Which Linux (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396608)

I guess in a very loose way it's kind of based on Gentoo (using ebuilds), but it's more of a from-scratch kind of thing.

Re:Which Linux (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396640)

LFS.

Optimize for what they already have! (1)

thescooterman (1538813) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396530)

My android phone is going down the same road my last windows machine did. Constant reboots, apps stop syncing, no network access, dropped calls, freezing apps, inexplicable application behavior, etc... . Maybe someone ought to fix what is in the wild before it causes people to jump ship (iphone 5 anyone?)

Optimise the damn emulator. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396550)

Please.

Re:Optimise the damn emulator. (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396618)

With an x86 port of Android, it won't need to be emulated on x86 platforms - it could just run it in a sandbox.

Re:Optimise the damn emulator. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396646)

Isn't that a Java app?

WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphones (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396552)

It's proven, it's developing and has no legacy dragging it back.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396920)

x86 legacy means large amounts of existing software that can now be easily ported to the phone. It's an advantage.

The only advantage for ARM is the lower power requirement, so if Intel can make their chips less power hungry, they can take over some of the market.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396940)

What phones need is more software designed for the mouse and keyboard.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396972)

Of course not, but there is plenty of software that doesn't deal directly with the user.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397030)

I'm not sure much of that software could be used as a selling point for a phone.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397064)

Operating systems, optimized multimedia libraries, codecs, encryption/decryption, device drivers for all the hardware, file systems, network stack. There's plenty of stuff that doesn't deal directly with the user interface, but you'd still find in a phone.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397362)

An OS which is not designed for a phone would be a very poor choice for use on a phone, why would you want to run such an OS when multiple systems specifically designed for phones already exist?

Optimized multimedia libraries would become somewhat less optimal if you ran binaries designed for a full power x86 chip on a stripped down low power variant, libraries optimised specifically for the low power variant would perform considerably better and if your reoptimising anyway, why not do it for arm.

Codecs.. well what codecs do you really need on a phone? h.264, webm, divx, xvid, mpeg for video? mp3, ogg, gsm, aac for audio? those already exist for ARM, and in source code form so they can easily be ported to other architectures. Anything else would be very niche, and probably still exist in source code form anyway... Worst case for anything else you could transcode.

Encryption/decryption - multiple encryption libraries exist in source code form, e.g. OpenSSL... Any sensible algorithm you would care to use is already available for ARM, and in source code form for easy porting to any other architecture.

Device drivers - phones already have device drivers available, they generally have custom hardware in them which require specific drivers anyway, so existing drivers would be of little or no use, especially without source code.

File systems - linux already has drivers available for virtually any filesystem you're likely to encounter, and in source code form which already compile for ARM...

Network stack - a number of network stacks already exist in ARM platforms, and most come with source code so could be easily ported.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397424)

Of course, if you're unlucky to have some optimized ARM code that you're porting to Cortex, you'll basically have to rewrite the whole thing again.

My point was that the word "legacy" was used by GP as a disadvantage. I'm saying that it's actually an advantage. Of course, you may argue exactly how big the advantage is, but it's certainly positive.

The only problem is the power consumption, and if Intel can solve that, they may end up with a superior platform.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397524)

Intel cannot "solve" it, due to the shear complexity and legacy cruft of the x86 architecture...

They can try to mask it by moving to ever smaller fabbing processes, but then they will still be beaten by an ARM chip fabbed on the same process (a while ago intel were talking about trying to stay one step ahead on the fabbing front in order to retain parity with arm - thus effectively wasting their technological advances by holding them back on x86)... That's like building a more fuel efficient car, and then adding lead weights to it in order to reduce its overall efficiency to that of a normal car. If Intel were to keep one step ahead on fab process and then produce ARM, or even a new architecture specifically designed for low power use, they would have a huge advantage over the competition.

They can also try to reduce power consumption by sacrificing performance (e.g. atom removed the out of order execution capability, which both reduced performance and requires existing code to be reoptimized for the new processor), but then they lose the performance lead over ARM.

"legacy" has both negative and positive connotations, negative being the power consumption as a result of complexity, and positive being the ability to run existing code...
However the fact that a lot of that existing code is also available with source code and can thus be recompiled for another architecture...
And the fact that a lot of the existing code is simply not relevant in the context of a mobile phone...
Means that the negative connotations of "legacy" massively outweigh any positive ones, leading to a net negative overall.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397506)

So, you'd be happy with a phone running unoptimised desktop software, in other words? Do you enjoy carrying bags of batteries with you?

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397596)

An Android phone is already running a lot of "unoptimized" desktop software, such as the Linux kernel and all related libraries. Of course, I wouldn't call that unoptimized either.

You seem to be missing the point that Intel is planning to make a lower power version, so you can run all your desktop software without draining the battery, just like you can do now with an ARM core.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397158)

Name 1 useful, headless, x86, binary-only linux application, that does not have a viable alternative that can be easily ported to ARM...

You say 'plenty of software' and 'large amounts of software that can now be easily ported', but I'm genuinely hard-pressed for even a single example that proves you right.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397184)

Why does it need to be an application ? How about an optimized codec written in x86 assembly ?

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397008)

The only advantage for ARM is the lower power requirement, so if Intel can make their chips less power hungry, they can take over some of the market.

Thankyou for finally speaking the truth. I recognize that ARM is good for mobile phones because of it's cycles/watts, but either I am seriously missing something or people are nutters for not thinking that a modern chip architected to run something as bulky as windows and it's countless applications of bloat will easily smear ARMs face in the mud when it comes to performance.

The only real question now is, does intel stand a bloody chance at lowering the power cost of their architecture? If they can do it, I am on board immediately. I do realize they and AMD have both failed to show any ability to get down to the power efficiency of ARM in the past, I'm still rooting for the chip powering my HTPC to run at a power efficiency to run my phone.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397308)

either I am seriously missing something or people are nutters for not thinking that a modern chip architected to run something as bulky as windows and it's countless applications of bloat will easily smear ARMs face in the mud when it comes to performance.

Performance as in bigger numbers on the box? Sure, x86 is always going to win that. But what can I actually do with an x86 that I can't do with my tegra 2? If it can play HD video (and it already can) then what else do I want performance for?

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397542)

If it can play HD video (and it already can) then what else do I want performance for?

By the same logic 40 years ago people could have been told about the internet and said what do they want that for? They already had all they needed.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397304)

If your porting software and have the source code then underlying architecture makes little difference...

If you don't have the source, then chances are the binaries require windows or dos, and probably have interfaces that would be utterly unsuitable for use on a phone...

In a phone, lower power is more important than being able to run desktop binaries, and arm will always be lower power than x86 due to carrying around a lot less legacy cruft (although it does have some...)

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397388)

For instance, a x86 JIT compiler doesn't require windows, dos, or a user interface, but is still tied very much to the target platform. Good compilers for the x86 already exist, and keep getting improved for the desktop platform.

The legacy cruft in a x86 that is actually not useful is very small, while other legacy cruft is actually working very well.

Actually, one of the disadvantages of ARM is that there's not enough legacy cruft. There are a bunch of different, incompatible architectures (I think they're up to v7 now). Big/little endian variations, and there's the ARM/Thumb/Thumb-2 and Jazelle instruction sets. This doesn't make it a very pleasant target, since you have to maintain several different versions of all your libraries. It especially sucks for optimized assembly code.

Whether ARM will always be lower power depends. ARM is getting to the point where they have to move into higher-performance arena, and they'll run into problems that Intel has already solved.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397608)

ARM architectures are generally backwards compatible, as are the instruction sets which makes the situation not too dissimilar to x86, where you also have multiple revisions and multiple instruction set addons...

A JIT compiler is probably one of the few pieces of code that could be useful, only you would still need to modify it in order to produce efficient code for a low power x86 variant, for instance a JIT engine targeting a core2 doesn't run as well on an Atom...
Also there are a whole different set of optimisation criteria in a desktop, power consumption is of minimal importance, there is usually plenty of memory available etc... On a mobile platform, you will have less memory, less backing storage, possibly slower memory etc, all of these things seriously affect compiler design.

Aside from ARM, it's also worth considering MIPS... There are plenty of low power MIPS designs which are capable of competing with ARM, but MIPS is already available in a 64bit variant and was previously available in high performance variants (in the 90s, MIPS was massively ahead of x86 for performance).

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396980)

I also wondered about this. Seems that the race for the best portable chip is not yet over - ARM currently has lowest power consumption but Intel has the better performance.
Google is just making sure its gonna be okay whoever wins.

Great article here:
http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/5/19/the-coming-war-arm-versus-x86.aspx
Conclusion page here:
http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2011/5/19/the-coming-war-arm-versus-x86.aspx?pageid=7

Quote:
The ARM Cortex-A8 appears to use much less power than the Atom, while often delivering comparable integer performance. Nevertheless, the Atom is significantly faster overall when considering holistic system performance, but that performance will be accompanied with a battery life penalty and significantly more heat production

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397386)

In addition to the relatively low cost of supporting Android on x86(it already works, albeit not necessarily 100% optimally or with the mothership's blessing outside of Google TVs), and hedging their bets as to whether Intel ever gets it right on truly "mobile" stuff, it could also be that Google is happy enough to go along with Intel's aspirational blather about finally getting into products without fans; but figures that whether or not they manage that, there is still a lot of "embedded" territory to cover.

The world is absolutely infested with "embedded" systems that are x86 based and more or less massively overpowered; but either need to support some legacy application, or are fairly low volume and time-to-market sensitive, so it makes more sense to just buy an industrial-rated single board PC, with a normal BIOS, and just dump WinCE, WinXP embedded, or Linux on there and let your coders get to slapping together the application-specific interface, rather than spend time fucking around with whatever weirdo boot setup and peripheral layout the ARM SoC of the day is pushing in order to save a few bucks or a few watts per unit. Most of these systems are deeply unsexy, and not really offered in the consumer channel; but there are a lot of them. It certainly wouldn't hurt Team Google if, for a minimal investment on the off chance that Intel finally manages to ship tablet/phone silicon, they also get to make inroads into the higher power embedded markets.

Re:WTF? ARM is the best architecture for smartphon (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397440)

What we really need is a new architecture specifically designed for low power... Both ARM and x86 have legacy cruft holding them back, although x86 has considerably more...

Android Plain Sucks (-1, Troll)

xaccrocheur (470934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396558)

Oooh a x86 in my pocket, yeah ! Can't wait. My balls are a bit cold. Now seriously. Now we know the google way : Troll ppl up with something mildly cool, and once everybody is hooked up, turn it into a big pile of crippled, proprietary horseshit. Android is SO lame it makes me want to check WinPhone out !! Just kidding. Oh wait, a new community SSU on my Nokia N900 ! We are basically 42,5 people/geeks to own a Maemo phone. The vendor itself dommed it, and the OS with it. And yet there is every kind of possible - useful - app, a real user base, now even managing OS updates. You don't see this kind of user commitment to Android. Why would you ? Come to think of it, Apple made a very good job at ruining the whole smartphone market.

Re:Android Plain Sucks (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397474)

I, for one have had an intel x86 in my pocket for well over a decade.
Garmin GPS-12, based on the intel 386ex.
Lasts for 12h on 4AA batteries.
I forget the exact date this came out - 96?

linke M$ running after OSS and OSX ideas (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396566)

so Intel is also in the posse chasing the cutting edge ;-/

US corporate strategy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396574)

Intel is therewith becoming the official US carmaker of the semiconductor business. Seriously, it's like putting a V8 into a Mini car.

It doesn't need porting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396658)

It works on x86 already. You can download an ISO from http://www.android-x86.org/ already.

Re:It doesn't need porting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397134)

> It works on x86 already

"Optimizing for Intel" has nothing to do with getting android working on x86. This is a classic
Intel move to fight off the competition. Buy off companies to optimize for their platform (usually
at the expense of others).

The interesting part is why would Google do this? Obviously Intel is gunning for ARM (expect some
nasty behavior). My guess is that Intel expects Apple to start to move to ARM for it's laptops, and
they are selling "Intel/Google vs Apple" to Google. Intel's ultrabook is a direct shot at Apple, and
Google certainly doesn't need Intel's money.

I also expect Windows 8 on ARM to die a slow death. Intel will do whatever it takes to make
sure that doesn't take off.

CPUID: Genuine Intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37396698)

'nuf said.

And why is this on slashdot? (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397068)

No shit? Intel is going to work with OS vendor to make OS run better on their chips ...

Are we going to have headlines that read 'Intel does research into making microprocessors!' next?

This is not news, this is SOP at any business like this.

Re:And why is this on slashdot? (1)

AwesomeMcgee (2437070) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397132)

I am interested in your idea of a 'micro-processor', and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

x86 will always need cooling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397096)

I can't wait for the fans in my phone to start howling.

Re:x86 will always need cooling (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397416)

I can't wait for the fans in my phone to start howling.

Beats the fanboys howling.

Another nail in Meegos coffin? (1)

JonJ (907502) | more than 2 years ago | (#37397298)

Or?

Google TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37397616)

This is probably more about Google TV and maybe a little bit about tablets than phones. The talk about smartphones is probably just CEOs trying to create buzz.

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