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Intel Demos Phone and Tablet In New Mobile Chip Push

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the we-can-make-it-smaller dept.

Intel 99

holy_calamity writes "Intel is making another assault on the mobile processor market, showing off a prototype phone and a tablet using its newest mobile processor Medfield. The company claims that products based on the chips will appear in the first half of next year. There's reason to believe that Intel might get somewhere this time. Its chipsets traditionally comprise three separate chips, a design that guzzles power. Medfield introduces an all-in-one chip, mirroring the power efficient design of the ARM-based chips that run smart phones and tablets in the market today."

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Intel brand fading? (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 years ago | (#38451004)

Surely, it is no longer the "Intel Inside" mantra we had become so used to seeing and hearing in the late 90s and early 2000s. Agree?

Find a new market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451048)

Why can' they expand the market for powerful desktop/business computers, instead of trying to push their inefficiency into people pockets?

Re:Find a new market! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#38451242)

They tried that! The market is now saturated. (Mostly with sweat from the heat output.)

Re:Find a new market! (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#38451516)

Dunno, I remember Centrino being a very good mobile processor line back in the day. I'm more surprised they didn't enter the market until now, maybe it's because they've been dominating the desktop market pretty hard? I have a hard time recommending AMD with a straight face nowadays for desktops... haven't read too much about what came in the past few months, I know AMD released something decent, but all they're doing is joining in on the party, not starting one there.

Re:Find a new market! (4, Insightful)

asliarun (636603) | about 2 years ago | (#38452034)

Dunno, I remember Centrino being a very good mobile processor line back in the day. I'm more surprised they didn't enter the market until now, maybe it's because they've been dominating the desktop market pretty hard? I have a hard time recommending AMD with a straight face nowadays for desktops... haven't read too much about what came in the past few months, I know AMD released something decent, but all they're doing is joining in on the party, not starting one there.

They didn't enter the market because they rested on their laurels like they often do, and also got completely blindsided by how quickly smartphones and tablet computing took over the world. Intel is a great company in many respects, but too often relies on a kick in the pants to get moving. Traditionally, AMD has done the kicking like they did with x64 and Athlon, which is why Intel got blindsided when the whipping came from ARM. They responded eventually to AMD with Centrino, Merom/Conroe/Woodcrest, and eventually with Quickpath and Nehalem, and AMD is still recovering.

They are finding it harder to do the same with ARM because both companies are moving in different directions - ARM has an extremely low power and low performance architecture while Intel's x86 is extremely high power and high performance. Plus, Intel has to deal legacy support in every subsequently new "tock" which is why x86 improvement will always remain evolutionary in nature. ARM also found it much easier to scale up its performance at a similar power envelope while Intel has found it much harder to scale down its power consumption while maintaining adequate performance.

Atom was probably the first x86 redesign that targeted power consumption first and only then performance. Even with this design goal, it only managed to scale down to single digit wattage while ARM operates in the sub-watt to milliwatt range. This is still a crucial difference - it is the difference between the weight and size of a netbook sized laptop and a handheld device. On top of this, ARM has been steadily integrating more and more peripheral chips back into the chip while keeping the same power envelope, which makes it even simpler and more attractive to device manufacturers.

Anyway, rambling aside, I suspect that Intel gave up the race for a brief period of time and instead waited for its manufacturing process to shrink to a level (22nm) where it could finally combine its process node lead with the Atom architecture to reach the sub-watt power level. It still hasn't got there, but it will - by 2013. Don't count them out, and I say this mainly because Intel is still the only surviving company that still designs AND manufactures its own chips. The advantages of this kind of vertical integration is huge. Companies love to talk about outsourcing everything but there are significant advantages to being vertically integrated as well. To digress slightly, look at how mainframes continue to survive and thrive in this age of commodity computing.

It is also interesting to reflect that this fortuitously coincides with Microsoft's Win 8 release and MSFT's own struggle to compete in tablet and handheld computing. Again, their true credible answer will be Windows 9 if not Windows 8. I suspect that at least in the tablet playing field, Win 8 will be a very credible competitor, and Win 9 will probably merge back almost fully with x86 architecture. The allure of x86 and its backward compatibility should not be underestimated. Legacy app support is extremely attractive for enterprise IT even if it is not so much so for normal consumers.

Re:Find a new market! (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#38452384)

I have a hard time recommending AMD with a straight face nowadays for desktops...

Sure, they're getting their asses handed to them on the bleeding edge... but what kind of imbecile recommends bleeding edge, anyhow?! A four or six core Phenom II coupled with a cheap AM3 board BLOWS THE DOORS off anything from Intel in terms of value...

Re:Find a new market! (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#38453696)

My time $ for dev work > $ of most expensive hardware, that's an IT philosophy and anybody that says otherwise is blatantly ignorant (want != get here). My experience is not off of hard numbers made by benchmark tools, but by building and watching people use both intel and amd machines around the same price points around the same time (within 6 months). The intel processor rips amd at number crunching, they seem about even on multi-tasking. Intel has hyperthreading, doubling the logical cores allowing multithread apps to really rip the amd equivalent. Compile Linux on amd and on intel, according to Tom's hardware> discussion thread they say the benchmark difference is 15%, when in r/l observing the above, it's more like 50% in my experience. [tomshardware.com]

When you go dirt cheap $130 processor, then AMD starts becoming the better value, but I don't build trash typically either. I mostly build mid-high grade, I don't build gaming grade either except for self xD.

Re:Find a new market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38467510)

Does it really? I recently bought a new laptop and did tons of research beforehand. I could not find a single six core Phenom II laptop, so I bought a quad core i7 (Sandy Bridge). I'm glad that I did too, because this i7 is faster than all of the Phenom II X6 models [cpubenchmark.net] ; the only AMD CPUs that can beat it are the AMD FX eight core and high-end server Opterons.

My new laptop is an ASUS G73SW-XN2 with the aforementioned i7 2630QM, 8GB RAM, Geforce GTX 460M, 17.3" display and a 500GB Seagate hard drive. Total cost was $1200 USD. I have been unable to find any Phenom II based laptop with similar specs/performance.

Re:Find a new market! (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574982)

Hmm, I hate to correct you, but you bought a desktop replacement, an i7 is the probably the worst processor on the market for power consumption, the extreme edition pretty much requires a distinct connector off a rail (not available in laptops). I have an alienware w an i7, but that's also for heavy mobile IT processing in mind and I carry the cord in the backpack as a result, if I wanted a laptop, I'd buy an ASUS / Toshiba w like an i5/i3 (intel's turbo boost or w/e again let's it crunch faster than AMD on a laptop, the AMD is probably more power efficient, but gotta draw the line for performance somewhere). I'm positive regardless of battery life, your not disappointed though, i7 is powerful period.

Re:Find a new market! (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38455492)

Centrino (i.e. pentium M) was a leaps and bounds improvement over the P4 "mobile" chips (I use the "mobile" bit very lightly).
I seem to think they started at around 25W TDP and worked down to as little as 5 or 10W with die shrinks and lower voltage cores.

However, ARM stuff is usually much less than that still, and those numbers don't account for chipset and video, which is generally integrated on the ARM devices.

Justify? (3, Informative)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457308)

I just want to see if I understand this correctly. You're suggesting that the world's biggest and most powerful processor company who has shown repetitively that they can produce the processors capable of the greatest performance per watt for general purpose computing shouldn't be able to produce an efficient processor as well?

I'm just wondering... do you really believe that the inefficiency you're talking about is related to an instruction set? Really? It's actually like saying that people are less efficient if they speak Mandarin as opposed to English though maybe more efficient if they speak Spanish. There are obviously advantages and disadvantages of each instruction set, but in truth, all a processor is is a device capable of processing a list of instructions.

Now, to compare it to something more intelligent... if you can cope with intelligence... I hope so.

It is possible to write directions to the your house for someone. Assuming that you have a starting point, you can provide instructions with multiple levels of detail. You can put a great deal of effort into every minute detail and even over compensate. On option you have is :
    "Try every single road in this town until you find a blue house with a purple roof and a green football flag on the lawn".
The alternative would be
    "Take this road to this road. You'll recognize this road because of the gas station at the corner on your left side. Turn right at this intersection." and so forth.

Which is more efficient? It doesn't matter what language or instruction set you write it in... what matters is the quality of the instructions you provide.

Desktop operating systems which are generally what's run on x86 processors tend to be written by people who know they have access to what feels like unlimited CPU power. The operating systems focus entirely on user experience and not specifically on efficiency. If an OS is designed to be efficient and usable, then there's much to be gained. At this point in time, we're limited to pathetic half breeds like versions of linux that are so covered in band-aids to make it run on small devices you almost want to cry, Symbian which wasn't functional, but was power efficient. Windows CE which was the same... a few others and soon a version of Windows 8 that will be similar to how Linux has been bastardized to run on small devices.

Android has had some of the greatest work done on it to make it more efficient. To compensate for the obvious short-comings in the Linux kernel, Android implements itself on top of something similar to Java which in effect makes it more power efficient. It's not that Java itself or Java programmers are more efficient. It's that by having a virtual machine layer that performs more "traffic control" on the system, power efficiency can be more easily achieved. This would be true for an MSIL or LLVM virtual machine as well. The extra layer makes it so that the virtual machine can do things like shut down or decrease the priority of a given virtual processor as a software function and makes it so that software developers don't have to instrument their apps to achieve it.

The next really big difference between Android/IOS and a desktop OS is simple. All the applications written for these OSes are designed to be run on telephones or "power efficient devices". You could in theory put these operating systems on any processor and their power performance will be quite good.

So... while I'd like to hear from you why you think Intel can't do power efficient, I doubt you'd have much to offer other than stupid buzzy wordy kinda snips.

Try learning something

Re:Justify? (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38458518)

Now, to compare it to something more intelligent... if you can cope with intelligence... I hope so.

Something snarky this way comes.

Re:Intel brand fading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451068)

Maybe for mobile (smartphones and tablets). Laptops and desktops, I know AMD plays well in the low-end, but otherwise Intel Inside I think beats an AMD sticker. We'll see how this "ARM in everything" pundit trend turns out in the real world but we won't know for another year or two.

Re:Intel brand fading? (1)

sinij (911942) | about 2 years ago | (#38451070)

Your Mileage May Wary, but *I* purchase my computing devices, including CPUs, based on cost-performance analysis adjusted for ease of future-proofing. I'd still buy it if it called "S**t Inside" as long as it delivers.

Re:Intel brand fading? (4, Informative)

gasmonso (929871) | about 2 years ago | (#38451072)

Disagree! From their 3rd quarter financials...

"Intel managed to exceed analyst predictions, posting record revenue of $14.3 billion -- up $3.2 billion, or 29 percent year-over-year. The company also set new records for microprocessor units shipped, and expects further growth over the next quarter, with notebook computer sales driving $14.7 billion in predicted Q4 revenue."

gasmonso ReligiousFreaks.com [religiousfreaks.com]

Re:Intel brand fading? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38452096)

They cannot be a fading brand. Apple have them inside these days.

SoC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451042)

I think it is known as System on Chip, SoC.

Every time I read about a new Intel chip ... (4, Funny)

JabrTheHut (640719) | about 2 years ago | (#38451084)

... I eagerly scan the article to see if the predictions here were true: http://www.tealdragon.net/humor/startrek/power.htm [tealdragon.net]

"It's that miserable 80986 with the 512K bit bus multiplexed down to one pin."

That's so Intel...

"mirroring the power efficient design of the ARM" (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#38451088)

That's a bit of a cheap shot. Increased component integration has been a driving force for longer than Intel has been a company, and Intel has been as much of a driving force as anybody else. In fact Intel should excel at system-on-a-chip, since it's all about getting lots of transistors on a small piece of silicon, something they happen to be pretty good at.

Re:"mirroring the power efficient design of the AR (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451376)

That's a bit of a cheap shot. Increased component integration has been a driving force for longer than Intel has been a company, and Intel has been as much of a driving force as anybody else. In fact Intel should excel at system-on-a-chip, since it's all about getting lots of transistors on a small piece of silicon, something they happen to be pretty good at.

Except that full system-on-a-chip designs, including X86 versions courtesy of AMD's Geode, have been around quite a while, but Intel has seemed hesitant to actually do it.

Though I will point out that it's cyclical... at some point, people will start saying "Hey, why don't we make that bit there modular, so we can upgrade is separately without having to redesign the rest of the chip?".

Re:"mirroring the power efficient design of the AR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38452024)

Does the 8051 count? *tongue in cheek*

Re:"mirroring the power efficient design of the AR (1)

markhahn (122033) | about 2 years ago | (#38452382)

though it's interesting that Intel hasn't done much in the way of SoC until recently - they've traditionally kept the CPU quite separate from support chips. from a fab perspective, this makes a certain amount of sense, since the cpu needs transistors that perform quite differently (voltage, drive, frequency, etc) and the limited SoC integration present in, say, sandybridge, is mixed in performance (good memory and pcie controllers, mediocre gpu).

the real question with intel mid SoCs is whether they can drive down power to ARM levels. my smartphone has a 6.11 W-hour battery, and it better last (idle) for at least two days, or one day with reasonable activity. idle-on-net needs to be 1W...

Why we might possibly care (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#38451098)

Apart from just rooting for different companies as if they were in a horse race, which seems to be a popular pastime in the press and blogosphere, the summary omits any reason why we might care about Intel's new offering. In what way is it different from the prevailing ARM chip? The answer is buried on page 2 of TFA:

Intel has tested its reference handset against a handful of the leading phones on sale today. It says these tests show that Medfield offers faster browsing and graphics performance and lower power consumption than the top three, says Smith.

and

"Medfield is based on 32-nanometer technology, while the biggest fabs making ARM-based processors are today shipping either 40 or 45 nanometers," he says.

So it looks like a bit of incremental leapfrog (if that), not some kind of breakthrough. Meh.

Re:Why we might possibly care (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#38451370)

The prevailing difference is it isn't an ARM chip. It is an x86 chip, meaning off-the-shelf x86 programs and OSes should run on it. Getting an x86 processor below the performance/power threshold of an ARM chip (while keeping it small enough to fit in a phone) is a pretty major breakthrough.

Re:Why we might possibly care (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451492)

Who is going to run current desktop software/OS on a mobile device that has a drastically different spec in other areas (memory, screen size, touchscreen, etc.)?

Intel getting better performance/power threshold compared to ARM is a great selling factor; but x86-compatibility especially for off-the-shelf program isn't one of them.

Re:Why we might possibly care (2)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38451722)

Who is going to run current desktop software/OS on a mobile device that has a drastically different spec in other areas (memory, screen size, touchscreen, etc.)?

It looks like sgt scrub, Baloroth, and Gothmolly so far.

Re:Why we might possibly care (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#38451746)

it is not that they are going to run the desktop software unaltered but they can recycle most of the code and simply rewrite the gui rather than rewrite from scratch

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

vipw (228) | about 2 years ago | (#38454194)

Because the other portions were written in x86 assembly? I just don't get it.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38455516)

no but just because it is written in a higher level language does not make it portable, despite that being the original intent of thing like c and java as well as many other languages

Re:Why we might possibly care (3, Interesting)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 2 years ago | (#38451774)

ARM level performance and power consumption with X86 compatibility would open up a whole new world for netbook-type devices. Think 48 hour battery life with your average 50Wh laptop 6-cell...

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

makomk (752139) | about 2 years ago | (#38452236)

Except that Intel doesn't want to improve netbook-type devices because that would cut into their sales of more profitable x86 chips.

Re:Why we might possibly care (2)

bemymonkey (1244086) | about 2 years ago | (#38452450)

Hmmm, I don't see a problem with charging a premium for this tech. Say the processing power of a mid level Core 2 Duo (running a P8400 right now and that's pretty much the sweet spot for mobile computing power when it comes to me), but 3W power draw for the whole system running at full tilt including screen and radios (which is roughly similar to the iPad and other tablets)... with a 100Wh battery, you'd be looking at over 30 hours of heavy use, and far longer runtimes with more realistic use.

I'd pay upwards of $2K for that, easy.

Hell, if an iPad with a keyboard case (which would contain a nice flat extended battery and have a trackpoint) could run Windows or even just Ubuntu, I'd be looking at scrapping my Thinkpads.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#38451936)

Who is going to run current desktop software/OS on a mobile device that has a drastically different spec in other areas (memory, screen size, touchscreen, etc.)?

Smartphones and tablets are currently adjacent to (rather than replacing) PCs. But if I could have one tiny portable computer for everything and just plug it into larger peripherals for heavy-duty work, I would.

Re:Why we might possibly care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38454072)

"But if I could have one tiny portable computer for everything and just plug it into larger peripherals for heavy-duty work, I would. "

That's the direction the smartphone world is pushing heavily. It isn't quite there yet, but it will get there. In 15 years, you won't have a desktop PC. You'll have a smartphone that is capable of talking wirelessly to whatever peripherals you need, and it'll be capable of doing 99.9% of what people do with desktop PCs today, including 3D gaming. For that other 0.1%, you'll have to pay through the nose, because it won't be commodity use any more, but almost no one will need it either.

The future is mobile.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | about 2 years ago | (#38454654)

I'm becoming convinced this is the future direction. It sure would be handy to have a limited phone view and then a full-scale desktop interface when plugged into a docking station; a tablet like monitor could be plugged in as a secondary docking station. In either case the processing core is the size of a mobile and the interface is exchanged.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about 2 years ago | (#38454942)

That is Win8 in a nutshell.
I have a feeling (having played with it for several months now) that it will be OK, but that MS will learn a lot on this gen and Win9 will be the next WinXPEmbeded while Win7 will stay mainstream in the enterprise.
-nB

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457138)

Who is going to run current desktop software/OS on a mobile device that has a drastically different spec in other areas (memory, screen size, touchscreen, etc.)?

Hence Win8, Unity, Gnome3 etc.

Arguably, x86 support would be most important for Win8, since on Linux you'd just recompile the apps. But there are still some binary-only packages there.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#38451624)

Mod parent up. Low power x86 = win.

Re:Why we might possibly care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451764)

Your parent doesn't even know what "below the performance/power threshold" really mean.

Re:Why we might possibly care (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#38451372)

Intel has tested its reference handset against a handful of the leading phones on sale today. It says these tests show that Medfield offers faster browsing and graphics performance and lower power consumption than the top three, says Smith.

But have they done something like taken 3 of the fastest android phones out there, and benchmarked it against Medfield on iOS, and then performed tasks that cause Android's lack of hardware accelerated UI to suck the battery and speed out of the chip?

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | about 2 years ago | (#38451802)

I imagine they've tested Android on x86, since they've had it running for a while now and that's the main target for 2012. iOS does NOT run on x86 at this point. The stated goal is to double the pace of Moore's law for mobile processors in the next few generations. They have the room to do this for 2-3 more cycles, which would imply intercepting ARM pretty soon.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#38452154)

Actually, iOS probably does run on x86. The iOS simulator runs on x86, and runs iOS programs compiled for x86.

There's no reason Intel would try to run it on their chip and compare to Android though.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#38452238)

iOS does NOT run on x86 at this point.

Doesn't it? Funny, I ran the iOS simulator (iOS on x86) on my Mac earlier today.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#38452482)

Saying that iOS runs on x86 because of the iOS simulator is like saying that Windows runs on PowerPC because of WINE. It's just an implementation of the iOS APIs, not the OS itself. The simulator just makes a set of iOS-like APIs available to Mac applications.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | about 2 years ago | (#38452856)

I always thought it was running the compiled iOS program through some sort of virtualized hardware.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about 2 years ago | (#38453010)

Given that the APIs and apps are pretty much the only thing that differ between Mac OS and iOS, that's pretty much iOS running on x86. I'm sure it would take *very* little for apple to provide a full x86 build of iOS to intel – especially if intel is sat there saying "we have chips we could sell you".

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#38454402)

True, a larger concern is that even if existing applications CAN run on x86 with just a recompile, you still need all those developers to recompile their apps. I've got more than a few apps on my phone that are no longer actively updated. I'd lose them all in a switch to x86.

Fundamentally, it comes back to the basic question: why should Apple switch? ARM's licensing fees are cheap, Apple makes their own SoCs (and they've consistently moved in the direction of doing *more* of the design themselves, rather than less) so they'd lose all control over that if they moved to an Intel SoC, and their existing platform all relies upon it.

Yes, they could switch, but Intel needs to do better than "just as good as". They need to be "better than". It's doubtful Intel could compete on price, because ARM is just licensing the design to Apple. It would have to come down to power and performance, and they'd have to be substantially better than what Apple could get out of ARM or there'd be no benefit to switching. Especially if Apple would be required to give up control of their SoC by replacing it with an entirely outsourced solution (an Intel SoC).

If anything, I think Apple is much less likely to switch to x86 for their mobile devices than an Android vendor, because with a few exceptions, most Android vendors are not nearly as vertically integrated. Most of them don't make their own SoCs, and even those that do like Samsung or Ericsson don't even use their own SoCs in some of their phones; I'm not sure if any Sony Ericsson phone has ever used an Ericsson SoC, and Samsung makes a bunch of devices like the Galaxy S II HD and the Galaxy Nexus that are using Qualcomm's Snapdragon rather than the Exynos.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451380)

You might possibly care because this will create additional competition in the mobile processor market which is a good thing(tm). Like all competition it will spur innovation on both sides and provide you with better, faster, cheaper products. Unless, you know, you don't like that kind of thing.

Re:Why we might possibly care (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#38451392)

the only reason ARM is more power efficient is that it's SoC. everything is on one chip so less electricity gets used traveling around the motherboard and PCI bus.

for years intel treated Atom like a bastard with the oldest manufacturing lines when they should have put it on their newest processes. they would have killed ARM a long time ago

Re:Why we might possibly care (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451698)

This is not true.

ARM is more power efficient because it has a simpler ISA which requires much less logic to execute. Intel chips take CISC instructions, and have a pile of optimization and translation logic to turn instructions into smaller micro-code RISC instructions. This is all necessary just to support a legacy ISA. ARM chips don't have this problem, at least to the same extreme.

Re:Why we might possibly care (3, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#38452480)

Everyone says this, but it's nonsense. Modern x86 chips have a RISC back-end; the x86 instruction set is really more of an API than anything else. And the amount of silicon needed to do the translation is comparatively tiny. (The oldest and least-used instructions can be shunted off into microcode.)

Re:Why we might possibly care (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38454950)

Really? A relatively large portion of an x86 chip is the instruction set decoder, compared to ARM. It's CISC in the sense that its external-facing microarchitecture is CISC which has to be decoded into RISC instructions. That's a waste of power.

Re:Why we might possibly care (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#38452190)

No, there's a hell of a lot of other reasons ARM is more power efficient - the core designs themselves are fundamentally more efficient than any x86 core I've ever seen.

Re:Why we might possibly care (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#38451438)

Apart from just rooting for different companies as if they were in a horse race, which seems to be a popular pastime in the press and blogosphere,

I'm always up for making fun of fanbois. But on reflection, I think rooting for companies is a better pasttime than rooting for professional sports. When it comes down to brass tacks, multi-billion dollar organizations like the NFL, NBA, etc are nothing more than bread and circuses. At least what these companies do has the potential to make a significant difference in people's daily lives.

Why I care as a developer (3, Insightful)

Necroman (61604) | about 2 years ago | (#38451490)

If you have ever touched the Android SDK, you learn very quickly that doing development on a desktop is rather painful. The main reason is their dev test environment completely emulates an ARM processor (on top of your desktop x86 system), which is extremely CPU intensive. If we get android running x86 (there are already a number of people out there working towards this), we can then do our testing in an x86 based simulator, which will be much easier on desktop system.

Re:Why I care as a developer (2)

daviee (137644) | about 2 years ago | (#38451630)

This is in terms of application developer. The x86 for Android is much faster than the one with ARM emulation, but is the ARM emulation speed that much of a hinder for usual development?

What about the actual application usage by end-users? Will the x86 Android phone come with an ARM emulator to run applications that has native ARM libraries (at least until there are enough generic or x86-specific Android apps)?

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | about 2 years ago | (#38451858)

I imagine that, since Google is partnering with Intel on this, we'll have a sort of fat binary like during the Mac's transition era from PowerPC to x86. An added benefit would be that developers stick to bytecode libraries if they want to be able to run anywhere, and everyone will benefit from the added portability.

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#38452006)

What about the actual application usage by end-users? Will the x86 Android phone come with an ARM emulator to run applications that has native ARM libraries (at least until there are enough generic or x86-specific Android apps)?

Andoid apps are run on a platform-independent, Java-esque virtual machine. All that would need porting is Dalvik, not the individual apps.

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#38452518)

Unless that app was written with the Android NDK, or links to a library built with the NDK. Then it's running native code, and is not platform independent.

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

expatriot (903070) | about 2 years ago | (#38454802)

Android on ARM development on an ARM-based laptop would give the best of both worlds. Remember that ARM has not had any motivation for high-performance chips until recently. The ARM11 was fast enough for almost all phone and embedded applications. Within two years there will be eight-core 64-bit socs with high performance GPGPUs.

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38451810)

If we get android running x86 (there are already a number of people out there working towards this), we can then do our testing in an x86 based simulator, which will be much easier on desktop system.

Very interesting comment. It might be possible to create a VServer instance and install the SDK. There wouldn't be any emulation needed.

Re:Why I care as a developer (2)

doctormetal (62102) | about 2 years ago | (#38451828)

But why use the emulator if you can debug directly on a physical device attached to the USB port of the PC. Works much better and easier to test as some sensors cannot be emulated easily. Use a physical device for devlopment and the emulator for automated unit testing.

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | about 2 years ago | (#38451890)

If we get android running x86 (there are already a number of people out there working towards this)

Actually, I am running Android on my x86 tablet [android-x86.org] . The speakers and touch screen don't work so you have to plug a mouse, and it's unstable, but it does run already.

Re:Why I care as a developer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38452760)

Or, alternatively, we need an ARM desktop machine.

Re:Why I care as a developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38453850)

The android emulator is too slow to be useful (even on my i7-2600k).

Go buy a device.

Re:Why we might possibly care (0)

tyrione (134248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38455146)

Apart from just rooting for different companies as if they were in a horse race, which seems to be a popular pastime in the press and blogosphere, the summary omits any reason why we might care about Intel's new offering. In what way is it different from the prevailing ARM chip? The answer is buried on page 2 of TFA:

Intel has tested its reference handset against a handful of the leading phones on sale today. It says these tests show that Medfield offers faster browsing and graphics performance and lower power consumption than the top three, says Smith.

and

"Medfield is based on 32-nanometer technology, while the biggest fabs making ARM-based processors are today shipping either 40 or 45 nanometers," he says.

So it looks like a bit of incremental leapfrog (if that), not some kind of breakthrough. Meh.

The statement about faster graphics is bull shit. ARM doesn't make GPGPUs. ImgTec makes them and sorry but Intel's OpenCL and OpenGL graphics against the VR tech from ImgTec version 6 is nowhere near their 600 series that has OpenCL 1.1/2.x and OpenGL 3.2 full support. That's right up there with Intel claiming it's graphics support compares to Nvidia and AMD. It's a crock of shit.

as the article says (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 years ago | (#38451276)

Faster than the current top 3. Hmm not really surprising since you are demoing something 6 months out. What does ARM, or Apple have coming up in 6 months? Still good to see Intel come out with a much stronger offering.

Re:as the article says (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#38452652)

Today: 1.5GHz 45nm dual-core Cortex A9 or 1.3GHz 40nm quad-core Cortex A9
3-6 months: 2.0GHz 32nm Cortex A15.

Samsung expects to get that out in 2012Q2, which would be in less than 6 months. Inside of 2012, we should also see 28nm Cortex A15, as well as quad-core parts.

So, the problem is that Intel is touting these performance advantages for their next-gen part, but are comparing it to current-gen ARM stuff. An accurate comparison would be between the next-gen Atom and the next-gen ARM, since that's what it'll be competing with. Merely providing a comparable part to ARM's stuff isn't good enough, Intel has to do something BETTER (or cheaper), or there will be no reason for anybody to switch.

If Intel can offer you a part with the same cost, power, and performance as ARM, but you need to take a bunch of extra effort to switch to the new platform, why would you ever switch?

Maybe we will see Tizen on this . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#38451304)

Since Intel and Samsung are the driving forces behind Tizen, a new "open" Linux project for phones and tablets, maybe we will see Tizen running on this processor next year? When I say "open" I mean as in door; full access without jail breaking. Although the details about Tizen are still murky, at best.

Or maybe Mer, the folks who are picking up where Meego left off, could use this. But they need to get a hardware manufacturer on board.

Re:Maybe we will see Tizen on this . . . (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#38453074)

Intel was also the driving force behind Meego and Moblin and Maemo and lost interest in all of them.

Intel is terrible at seeing software through to completion, other than their compiler.

Re:Maybe we will see Tizen on this . . . (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#38453834)

Err, no. Intel has continued to be a driving force behind them, despite the setbacks. Moblin merged with Maemo because Nokia approached them with the goal of creating something that wasn't so tied to one vendor, and created MeeGo. Then MeeGo got taken over by Microsoft, damaging the relationship and catching MeeGo in the middle. So Intel has gone off looking for another partner and found Samsung.

And since it looks unlikely that Samsung is going to drop everything and go Microsoft-only, I doubt that we'll see Tizen vanish into thin air.

Re:Maybe we will see Tizen on this . . . (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#38453880)

Then MeeGo got taken over by Microsoft

should read

Then Nokia got taken over by Microsoft

But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#38451346)

If it's Windows 8, penetration may be in the single digits. In the tablet marketplace, Microsoft, and by extension Intel based processors, are not major players. It's not just the power consumption. I've heard a rumor that Android would be ported to X86, but how will that work, I wonder? Would there be a separate marketplace? Development requirements to compile and test on two different architectures?

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451856)

I've heard a rumor that Android would be ported to X86, but how will that work, I wonder?

Did you read TFA?
From page one of the article:

The phone prototype seen by Technology Review was similar in dimensions to the iPhone 4 but noticeably lighter, probably because the case was made with more plastic and less glass and metal. It was running the version of Google's operating system shipping with most Android phones today, known as Gingerbread; a newer version, Ice Cream Sandwich, was released by Google only about a month ago.

From page two of the article:

Intel's reference tablet, which used the same Medfield chip as the phone, was running the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. It had a slightly larger screen than the iPad 2 but was about the same in thickness and weight. A limited trial suggested that it was noticeably nicer to use than older tablets based on the abandoned Honeycomb version of Android.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#38451888)

There would be no need for a separate marketplace. The current marketplace will filter based on device. The only apps that should have a problem with a processor change are the ones that use the NDK. This is why I would rather have developers stick to the standard SDK whenever possible. Processors will get faster, but they don't become more compatible.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

pablodiazgutierrez (756813) | about 2 years ago | (#38451938)

I can tell you Android runs on x86 already [android-x86.org] , albeit in an unstable state. I expect with Intel behind this, things will develop faster. Regarding the compatibility issues, Android is bytecode with only specific libraries compiled natively, and they're being ported. I imagine we'll see some sort of fat binary support for both architectures on the Android Market.

They need to beat on the JIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38452988)

Dalvik compiler for x86 and get it to be as fast as they can.
Should be do-able, since they have experts in compiler
technology, AND can drop in an instruction here or there
if it looks as if it will really speed things up. This is hinted
at in the article.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

ensignyu (417022) | about 2 years ago | (#38453862)

Google TV currently runs on Atom (x86) hardware. I'm guessing the main issues for broader x86 support are drivers and performance.

Re:But what OS will it run? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451964)

x86 vs arm should be oblivious to most app developers thanks to the use of Java. Even the use of C shouldn't be too bad depending on the C libraries. Compiling for both will take longer but that's a minor issues in the greater scheme.

And yes, Intel is working with Google to port Android to x86, it's not a rumor.

As for testing, they generally have to test it against specific phones anyways so it won't be any different. It will increase the amount of testing for those companies that only test minimally which is a good thing I think.

In terms of marketplace, there is a few ways they can deal with it; From simply keeping both packages within the same marketplace (showing only those apps that are compatible with said phone which is what it already does) or as stated, a separate marketplace which Android can easily do.

Re:But what OS will it run? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38452130)

I think this has much more potential than most people appear to think here on ./. Smartphones are becoming much more powerful and capable. I for one would love to be able to run the same apps and access the same environment on my phone as on all my devices. Windows 8 and efficient x86 mobile SOC's will ease the transition, but in time the x86 compatibility will become irrelevant. I think both Microsoft and Intel are working to stay relevant in a future of one device / OS that does it all. A powerful CPU does not mean inefficient with heterogeneous computing, we'll have specialized cores appropriate for the task and availability of power (battery / 120V AC, etc) at hand.

With wireless carriers fighting tooth and nail to charge per-device access charges, ASUS may be on to something with the padfone (http://event.asus.com/mobile/padfone/). I see a phone that can dock into a touchscreen / battery to become a tablet, use a bluetooth keyboard, and in the future potentially dock into a desktop device. The desktop device may have some extra horsepower in terms of additional CPU's / GPU's / whatever computing power is needed, and perhaps an automated backup system for the phone. All on one data plan, since it is a single device being docked into accessories.

Your data will optionally live in the cloud, mirrored by your phone, possibly mirrored by your desktop docking station. You can run any app on your phone / tablet / desktop and you're always in sync since it's really one device. You may prefer to use the desktop to do development work, but since you always have your phone with you, you have your entire dev environment in your pocket, and can dock it to any available desktop dock.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#38452358)

> I think both Microsoft and Intel are working to stay relevant in a future of one device / OS that does it all.

Yeah, that's the thing I don't want any part of at all, and I don't think I'm alone. M$ is pretty much a given on the PC, but Winders on every other platform has been, let's say, an acquired taste. I had to live through Windows Mobile 5 and 6 on a phone, and it sucketh mightily. I've worked with Windows Phone 7, and it's just not relevant and not anything I'd ever want to own. I've had the questionable privilege of having to do real work on Windows XP and Windows 7 "tablet editions" on stylus tablets, and it's just a good way to spend hours being frustrated.

I know Microsoft beats the "compatibility" drum incessantly, as a reason for having "windows everywhere", but it just isn't relevant anymore and hasn't been for a very long time. I have full access to all Outlook resources on my Android phone, and can open and manipulate every Office document save perhaps Visio right on my phone. To give a presentation, I mail myself the powerpoint file, open it on the phone, plug the phone directly to the overhead projector through HDMI, and show the slides from Android, no Winders PC or laptop required.

Windows Everywhere is no longer a blessing, hasn't been for years, and I suspect never really was. Given Microsoft's OS offerings this century, Windows Everywhere is a curse. One of those really bad curses that requires horrible midnight procedures to eradicate. Or, you know, BUY A DEVICE THAT ACTUALLY WORKS.

But you know, it's all good. As Microsoft continues to pursue One OS To Rule Them All, they'll continue to put out PC operating systems that are reasonably functional, and try to shoehorn the same bloated code and inappropriate paradigms onto mobile devices, which almost nobody will buy. And they will continue to be reasonable relevant in the PC world, and pretty much nowhere else. Because they still don't get the mobile market, and as long as they insist on Windows Everywhere, they never will. And yes, I know about Windows 8. It's just existing products rebranded and somewhat enhanced, when what they really need, and they will never do, is to start over.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#38452192)

iOS apps virtually always compile for both x86 and ARM, with no distinction. Why shouldn't Google be able to do the same thing?

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#38452414)

I have no idea why Google shouldn't be able to do the same thing. But before I touch an Intel tablet, I'd want to know what I'm getting into. If it isn't completely interoperable with ARM devices in the Android universe, it's not interesting. And Windows 8 is a complete non-starter.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38457144)

Microsoft, and by extension Intel based processors, are not major players. It's not just the power consumption.

Yes, it's the fact that Windows was simply not designed for touch-centric mode of use. Not even the various "Tablet PC" editions, which really required a stylus to be useful.

However, the whole point of Win8 is that it is designed for touch - that's what the new Metro stuff is all about. And yet it will still run old x86 apps if you need them. And if it'll also have a 12-hour battery life, like Transformer Prime does? pray tell, why wouldn't it be a major player?

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460210)

> However, the whole point of Win8 is that it is designed for touch - that's what the new Metro stuff is all about. And yet it will still run old x86 apps if you need them. And if it'll also have a 12-hour battery life, like Transformer Prime does? pray tell, why wouldn't it be a major player?

I've looked at Metro, and it looks like repurposed Windows 7 Mobile and Windows Media Center stuff. Indications are, Windows 8 was a small amount of "designed for" and a much larger amount of "rebrand and reuse these phone and accessibility and media center products we already have", going with the philosophy of code reuse and "windows everywhere". Windows 8 has to work on a standard KVM interface, because that's where Microsoft gets most of its revenue, and I think we'll find, working with a standard KVM will be Windows 8's main strength, and the interface you have to resort to in order to get serious work done. Just like the other "touch based" windows in the past.

I'm personally going to miss it and see what they come up with for 9. In the meantime, Android and iOS work more than adequately on touch devices; why would I switch?

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38460574)

Something to think about: The various *nix solutions tend to fall into a pattern -- a GUI for KVM (OSX, Ubuntu) and a different GUI for touch devices (iOS, Android). This is because touch is a whole different paradigm from KVM and trying to make one GUI do both leads to incompatible design decisions. Mind you, the underlying OS can be the same (if it's decent, and supports resources required by both paradigms). But the actual interface design choices are radically different. In the past, Microsoft has tried to repurpose existing accessibility stuff and call it good. And it wasn't. What I see in Windows 8 is not so much a different interface as a different marketing campaign. And that's not going to fly well or far, almost by definition.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38461396)

Something to think about: The various *nix solutions tend to fall into a pattern -- a GUI for KVM (OSX, Ubuntu) and a different GUI for touch devices (iOS, Android).

True. This is exactly what Win8 does, too, except it lets you switch between two modes as you go.

What I see in Windows 8 is not so much a different interface as a different marketing campaign.

Are you seriously claiming that Win8 Metro is "not so much a different interface" compared to classic desktop?

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38466376)

> True. This is exactly what Win8 does, too, except it lets you switch between two modes as you go.

...which means that as a practical matter you'll be able to play music from the Metro interface but will always have to drop back into the KVM interface to get work done. That's not a tablet, it's a computer that happens to have a touchscreen. So, for instance, we have a Windows Media Center, but the media center interface has just enough drawbacks (example: will not play mkv files, which requires exiting WMC and bringing up an alternate player) that we at first found ourselves bringing up media center and then shutting it down and then bringing it up again, and finally after a year of that, we just stay in the windows 7 desktop and do everything with a wired mouse and a long extension cord. The media center / remote paradigm was incompletely visualized, which led to switching back and forth, which led to abandonment.

A point that I didn't think I had to make, but maybe I do, is that it's possible to do real work on a properly designed touch-only device. People use ipads and Android tablets to do actual work without ever needing a real keyboard or a real mouse. Microsoft, on the other hand, appears to see the touch interface as an additional feature that might control simple things but for real work you'll just naturally dock the device and use it like a PC, which is a platform they thoroughly understand. It's this basic misunderstanding of the tablet market that will continue to prevent any significant acceptance of a Windows tablet.

> Are you seriously claiming that Win8 Metro is "not so much a different interface" compared to classic desktop?

I am not. I'm seriously claiming that Win8 Metro is "not so much a different interface" as a combination of Windows 7 Mobile, Windows Media Center, and the Windows Accessibility Suite. I'm seriously claiming that Win8 Metro is designed to meet the minimum line items necessary to be considered a touch interface for marketing purposes, not designed from the ground up to be a cohesive human interface.

Often in the field I take photos, dress them up on a laptop, then upload to a website, burn to cd or email to clients. I'm -) (- this close to being able to do everything on Android. When that day arrives, the Windows laptop stays home, and a 7" or 10" slate accompanies me in the field. And life will be good. Why not a Windows slate? Because inevitably there would be that two or three operations that need a keyboard and a mouse.

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38467380)

...which means that as a practical matter you'll be able to play music from the Metro interface but will always have to drop back into the KVM interface to get work done.

The same goes for iPad and Android, except that you have to "drop back" to a different device in that case.

Your basic argument is flawed from the get go because you assume that Metro has something in common with WMC. Not only it doesn't, the far more important point is that it's extensible in the same way iOS is - you install Metro apps that let you things you need to be done.

Microsoft, on the other hand, appears to see the touch interface as an additional feature that might control simple things

Not true either. If anything, the classic desktop in Win8 feels more like an "additional feature", what with Start menu's replacement by the Metro home screen. In fact, most people who're complaining about Win8 are complaining about that - that it's way too touch-centric, even on a desktop where it's not needed.

At this point I have to asked: have you actually used Win8 (leaked builds with Metro, or dev preview)? Or are you basing your conclusions on a few screenshots floating around?

Re:But what OS will it run? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38473420)

>> ...which means that as a practical matter you'll be able to play music from the Metro interface but will always have to drop back into the KVM interface to get work done.

> The same goes for iPad and Android, except that you have to "drop back" to a different device in that case.

At the moment. Adobe has some ports coming out that promise to sever my last connection to the PC. And I'll let you in on a secret -- I don't own a tablet yet, of any kind. I own an Android phone because Microsoft makes crap phones and my company has lost the ability to keep BES up. (A tragedy, really, as I loved my blackberry.) My company issued me a tablet (iPad 2), I played with it for a couple weeks, and gave it back, because it wouldn't quite do everything I needed and I didn't want to carry two devices. The Android phone, a lot of reading, and occasional visits to the store let me track the state of technology and decide when it's really time to make the jump.

I'm not an iOS or Android fanboi. The interface is there, but the apps aren't, yet. Whereas, with Microsoft the apps are there but I truly believe there are powers within Microsoft that result in the interface never really materializing. (More on that later.)

My daughter jumped too early, got a Windows 7 "touch edition" slate because it'd run an app she needs that hadn't been ported to Android yet, and after three months it stays docked permanently and she hasn't pulled out the stylus in probably a month. What a waste.

> In fact, most people who're complaining about Win8 are complaining about that - that it's way too touch-centric, even on a desktop where it's not needed.

First I have a hard time believing that, as I think I read that you can configure it to come up in desktop, just as you can configure media center to not start on boot. Second, if true (Fred and Ethyl not having the smarts to figure out how to keep Metro from starting), does this really mean metro is a *good* interface, or just that it gets in the way? I suspect the latter.

> At this point I have to asked: have you actually used Win8 (leaked builds with Metro, or dev preview)? Or are you basing your conclusions on a few screenshots floating around?

I've had personal experience with Microsoft's other touch interfaces -- XP touch edition, Win7 touch edition, Mobile 5 6 and 7. Way too much experience in some cases. I really wanted a touch interface to work on a platform where most of our apps reside(d). My daughter is an artist, does computer related art, and as a result we were early adopters of many different touch and digitizing technologies. Pretty frustrating, for the most part. Windows just doesn't dig touch and does stylus very clumsily -- forcing the user to memorize non-ergonomic gestures that mimic the actions of a three button mouse. Microsoft never really "got" touch.

Windows 8 represents the easiest migration from the touch devices we have now, so I examined it very carefully. I read everything I could find, and attended demonstrations, watching videos of demos over and over to get a feel for what they were trying to do.

And my conclusion is that they're not serious. The required gestures, the limitations, having to dump Metro to do certain things ... it's not fully cooked. And at the core, I don't think it will ever be, as the company's structure prevents it from developing something that isn't just a variation on something they already have. There are brilliant people working at Microsoft, but when a team creates a ground-breaking product that really *does* work, like Surface, the company will kill it if it can't be wrapped into Winders. And so, Surface, for instance, is relegated to TV prop status.

Let me summarize: The way the company is structured and managed, it is *impossible* for Microsoft to create a viable touch-only interface, because it's counter to the paradigm that is their root competency.

In the mean time, the other vendors are well aware that interoperability with basic M$ apps is necessary to be a viable product. And so, despite Microsoft's claims to the contrary, Android and iOS (and even RIM) work with Office documents quite well, thank you, and have a high degree of integration with Exchange. In fact, starting from ground zero, a contest between Android/Touchdown and Windows Mobile 7 to manage a series of dissimilar messages with various attachments and the necessity to accept, postpone and originate appointments, the Android user will be done first because the interface is faster and more ergonomic. (Speaking from experience.) Which completely invalidates the philosophy behind "windows everywhere".

Used to be, my company defaulted to Microsoft on most things. For a long time the only smartphone you could be issued was Windows Mobile and a single model Blackberry (as a nod to execs who needed to get work done) because of the concept that Windows Mobile worked and could be managed just like Windows on the desktop, which has value to the support organization.

IT organizations have known for a long time that this isn't true, but it was the iphone that finally broke down the barriers, because every manager wanted one and IT was finally given permission to de-emphasize Windows touch devices, which most people hated, and adopt something that worked.

The point is, just that it's called "Windows" isn't good enough anymore with corporate IT. And that's got to be a scary thing for Microsoft.

Will it be able to run X86 apps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38451358)

That's the question on everyone's mind now.

Battery life? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | about 2 years ago | (#38451778)

When someone shows it has battery life comparable to the current dual-core ARM A9 SoCs, then they will have something to talk about. Until then, it's just a PR pipedream.

Fif time? (1)

leandrod (17766) | about 2 years ago | (#38453560)

How many times Intel has tried to compete against Risc?

First, ð [wikipedia.org] ere was ðe iAPX 432 [wikipedia.org] . I never saw any use of it.

Ðen ðere was ðe i80860 [wikipedia.org] , today remembered for being ðe demonstration vehicle to Microsoft OS/2 3.0 NT.

Next try, ðe i80960 [wikipedia.org] , was actually succeß [wikipedia.org] ful — in printers, network and I/O controllers.

Ðen we had Merced, later named Itanium [wikipedia.org] , AKA Itanic, ðe biggest flop around.

Intel actually ditched perfectly fine StrongARM [wikipedia.org] and Alpha [wikipedia.org] architectures it bought from Hewlett Packard [wikipedia.org] because, as Digital Equipment Corporation [wikipedia.org] ’s inheritance, Intel got a bad case of ‘Not Invented Here’ syndrome [wikipedia.org] over ðem.

Forgive me, but colour me sceptic ðis time around.

Re:Fif time? (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | about 2 years ago | (#38454534)

How many times Intel has tried to compete against Risc?

[...]

Forgive me, but colour me skeptic this time around.

It's true that Intel hasn't achieved great success with it's own RISC designs, but what about the times that Intel competed using its CISC designs against:

  • Alpha? [wikipedia.org] (You mentioned Alpha as something that Intel threw out, no something that it competed against)
  • SPARC? [wikipedia.org]
  • POWER? [wikipedia.org]

It's also worth noting that all of the modern ARM-based SoCs that Medfield will compete against are CISC designs, not RISC, so I guess my list doesn't even matter :-/

Re:Fifth time? (1)

leandrod (17766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38454978)

> It's true that Intel hasn't achieved great success with it's own RISC designs, but what about the times that Intel competed using its CISC designs against:

[]

> It's also worth noting that all of the modern ARM-based SoCs that Medfield will compete against are CISC designs, not RISC, so I guess my list doesn't even matter :-/

Yes, but all ðese were hampered in ðe desktop by ðe prevalence of binary, proprietary software. While binary, proprietary software also dominates ðe mobile market, it is compiled against iOS and Android, where it is Intel, not Risc, which fights an uphill battle.

Ðat, and talking about a proceß-derived advantage in a not yet ðere product is easy. Most probably ARM (and MIPS) will be already ðere if and when Intel hits ðe shelves.

Now, how is ARM Cisc? Last time I checked, it stood for Advanced Risc Machines has technology subverted the acronym?

Re:Fifth time? (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#38464708)

Now, how is ARM Cisc? Last time I checked, it stood for Advanced Risc Machines has technology subverted the acronym?

ARM chips since ARMv7 have supported the Thumb-2 instruction set, which has 32-bit instructions with CISC features like making an optional left shift available to most instruction, and allowing each comparison to be followed by up to four conditional statements. It's what most JIT and my compilers target now, IIRC.

While binary, proprietary software also dominates the mobile market, it is compiled against iOS and Android, where it is Intel, not Risc, which fights an uphill battle.

It's absolutely true that it's Intel whom must the uphill battle here. The fact that many Android applications are compiled to DEX, and the emergence of HTML5 runtimes offer some relief. I still think that despite Intel's dominance of the desktop market, it faced an uphill fight in the server arena as well, where it was competing against OSes which generally did not (yet) run on IA, using Linux and Windows.

Re:Fifth time? (1)

leandrod (17766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38465478)

ARM chips since ARMv7 have supported the Thumb-2 instruction set, which has 32-bit instructions with CISC features like making an optional left shift available to most instruction, and allowing each comparison to be followed by up to four conditional statements. It's what most JIT and my compilers target now, IIRC.

Ðat is quite different from being a Cisc proceßor in ðe mobile market, being able to choose some Cisc instructions wiðout carrying ðe full Cisc legacy is an advantage. And ARM has chosen ðe Thumb 2 instructions not to go back to Cisc, but to achieve a code density which is a furðer advantage over anything Intel can do wiðout throwing out its only real competitive advantage, which is ðat people are familiar with ðe x86 instruction set. Not ðat it buys Intel much in a market ðat will not use any legacy binaries, nor hand code much aßembly.

It's absolutely true that it's Intel whom must the uphill battle here. The fact that many Android applications are compiled to DEX, and the emergence of HTML5 runtimes offer some relief. I still think that despite Intel's dominance of the desktop market, it faced an uphill fight in the server arena as well, where it was competing against OSes which generally did not (yet) run on IA, using Linux and Windows.

Not ðe same situation at all. In servers, Intel has only really displaced Unix and Risc where MS Windows reached, or where x86 systems could be deployed wiðout ðe full feature set expected from Risc. In any case, Intel was carried by its traditional OSs. Now, it must adapt to new OSs, as even MS Windows Phone is quite a different beast from its desktop version, and all but irrelevant anyways.

What planet are you on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38455560)

How many times Intel has tried to compete against Risc?

First, ð [wikipedia.org] ere was ðe iAPX 432 [wikipedia.org] . I never saw any use of it.

Ðen ðere was ðe i80860 [wikipedia.org] , today remembered for being ðe demonstration vehicle to Microsoft OS/2 3.0 NT.

Next try, ðe i80960 [wikipedia.org] , was actually succeß [wikipedia.org] ful — in printers, network and I/O controllers.

Ðen we had Merced, later named Itanium [wikipedia.org] , AKA Itanic, ðe biggest flop around.

Intel actually ditched perfectly fine StrongARM [wikipedia.org] and Alpha [wikipedia.org] architectures it bought from Hewlett Packard [wikipedia.org] because, as Digital Equipment Corporation [wikipedia.org] ’s inheritance, Intel got a bad case of ‘Not Invented Here’ syndrome [wikipedia.org] over ðem.

Forgive me, but colour me sceptic ðis time around.

LOL. Didn't you hear? Intel won the last round of the RISC vs. CISC wars with a knockout blow. See: Xeon.

quickiphoneunlock.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38454692)

The prevailing difference is it isn't an ARM chip. It is an x86 chip, meaning off-the-shelf x86 programs and OSes should run on it. Getting an x86 processor below the performance/power threshold of an ARM chip (while keeping it small enough to fit in a phone) is a pretty major breakthrough.
Michelle from quick iphone unlock [quickiphoneunlock.com]

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