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66 comments

Yeah, but will they guarantee the fab space? (2)

hendric (30596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39794703)

When push comes to shove, they make more money on PC CPUs. When they have a choice of making a wafer of high-margin vs low-margin CPUs, who do you think will win? Don't be surprised if there are major supply problems every time the PC market takes an uptick.

Re:Yeah, but will they guarantee the fab space? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795009)

depends how many (they think) they will sell, I'd say..

Design (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39796385)

Not to mention the design, which seems to be a complete iPhone lame rip off, much worse than the Samsung iClones.

Well at least Nokia seems to be able to make some innovative designs.

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2012/01/06a7d1e7b2ceae089894da3bb745d168.jpg [gawkerassets.com]

Re:Design (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39798827)

I'm sorry but all of them even the one you linked to is the same design, they are just polished different. same as how jet liners are the same design they just are done differently.. it's called a dominate design

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominant_design [wikipedia.org]

Emulation layer? No thanks. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39794809)

So - the first mobile x86 system requires an ARM emulation layer? This is not progress. In fact, it feels like a giant step backwards. Whoever thought that designing a future product to use an ISA from the 1970s which emulates an ISA from the 1990s would be a good idea?

Oh yeah, marketing trumps technical merit if you actually want to sell things. I forgot.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39794935)

Aside from abstract contemplation of "progress" vs "backwards" it probably burns power and generates crazy heat.

I have a X86 netbook on my desk running Android ICS. An old Asus EEE model 900. (my wife has like a 700 also running ICS). It works great, really. The keyboard, although icky netbook size, is better than any smartphone I've ever seen, and the speakers, although icky netbook speakers, are better than any phone or tablet speakers I've ever experienced. The problem is that even running non-emulated (limited selection) apps without an emu layer, it pumps out so much heat even just idling that the cooling fan never turns off. Whirr 24x7. I would imagine an emulation layer would consume even more power.

I would theorize that much as laptops which burn laps are VERY old news, in the future, phones that burn ears and hands are going to be news.

Who will make the first smartphone with a cooling fan? Or a monster solid aluminum heatsink case like a handheld land mobile or ham radio HT?

My experiences show Android X86 would make a pretty good desktop OS for the average user. I'm looking into adding a desktop running android and putting it on the KVM with the other 4 machines on my desk at home (I guess making it my 5th machine)

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795025)

I would imagine an emulation layer would consume even more power.

Not always. A game running in PocketNES on a Game Boy Advance SP, especially later versions of PocketNES that can recognize common idle loops in NES games, doesn't use substantially more power than a native GBA game. And with a lot of Android applications spending most of their time either in libraries or blocking on I/O, the emulator isn't going to be running all the time.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795227)

nes is what like 30 years old now? emulating it could probably be done by a dumb phones possessor with out to much strain. A modern arm system will take a lot more power.

Most of an app isn't emulated (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795371)

Only those methods in the application that use JNI have to be emulated. The main body of the application runs in the Dalvik VM, and the Android system libraries are still native. Besides, the article mentions Intel's tech evangelism to the developers of top applications to get them recompiled.

Re:Most of an app isn't emulated (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795731)

Only those methods in the application that use JNI have to be emulated.

Presumably those are by far the most computationally intensive routines, otherwise the developers wouldn't have bothered with JNI.

Could just be in a non-Dalvik language (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799973)

Presumably those are by far the most computationally intensive routines, otherwise the developers wouldn't have bothered with JNI.

That or they're just ports of an application for another platform whose model layer [wikipedia.org] is written in C++ or another language that doesn't compile to Dalvik bytecode.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39798781)

A native game is likely to be doing a lot more than a NES game, a NES game ported to run natively would use considerably less power than the emulation or a more modern game.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799979)

You'd be surprised how bad some of the code was in GBA games, even first-party ones. WarioWare Mega Microgames, for example, didn't even have the CPU sleep between frames.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (5, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795213)

Instead of theorizing why not look at their measured stats? The phone was pretty much as power efficient as current OMAP4 phones. Secondly, Intel is using static binary translation for native ARM NDK apps so there is no emulation layer running on the phone itself for that. In those cases Intel pushes an x86 binary out to the user that has been translated and validated on their side. For most things, though, they are straight Dalvik apps and so there is no more translation overhead than Dalvik on ARM.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795969)

[...] it pumps out so much heat even just idling that the cooling fan never turns off. Whirr 24x7.

That sounds more like a serious bug ICS on x86 than an indication of platform efficiency.

I would imagine an emulation layer would consume even more power.

That's a reasonable assumption, but the Anand review didn't see any indication that emulation was a big power draw. If anything, the battery life and efficiency (battery life normalized to battery size) were middle of the pack. Disappointingly unexciting for people rooting for either a big win or a big loss.

Of course you're going to have to emulate (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39794959)

If all the existing applications for a given device class are designed for a different instruction set, then of course you're going to have to emulate if you want users of said applications to buy your device. Power Macintosh required a 68K emulation layer, Macintel required a PowerPC emulation layer, and Wii requires 6502 family, Z80, 68000, and MIPS emulation layers to make Virtual Console work. As for this device, it appears only NDK applications not yet distributed in an x86 edition will run in emulation. The rest (over 75% according to the article) will run in an x86 port of the Dalvik VM, and just as with the Macintosh ISA switches, library calls will of course run natively.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795105)

They are doing a static binary translation before you download the app. Sure, that won't be as efficient as something compiled natively, but according to their power stats it seems to make little difference as it is just as efficient as the OMAP4 SoC.

Nokia's magic blue pill (0)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796033)

Nokia Lumina series based on windows is the single roll of the dice bet for Nokia it appears. Obviously to be viable it needs to migrate to the upcoming windows OS. The Nokia runs on ARM. But by all accounts Windows on Arm (WindowsRT) is a half-baked disaster. So Nokia is toast... unless there some way to get an intel processor into a nokia phone that could still run ARM software. Then they could use the new OS but still retain all legacy drivers and applications for ARM.

Switiching to Intel would also fit with NOKIA's "were not android" strategy. You might not believe int his strategy but they do. It would be consistently radical to go to intel to differentiate themselves.

Re:Emulation layer? No thanks. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799227)

Whoever thought that designing a future product to use an ISA from the 1970s which emulates an ISA from the 1990s would be a good idea?

Well, yeah, except that's not all- AFAIK all Intel x86 CPUs since the Pentium Pro and Pentium II have been designed around a non-x86 RISC-like core, using an internal translation layer to convert x86 instructions on the fly (and hence are still "x86" compatible chips to an external observer).

Actually, I've heard some say the core isn't really that RISC-like, but the point is that it's still *not* x86 and relies on translation.

And yes, I did note in the other comments that Intel's solution uses static translation, but the whole thing is still quite silly when you think about it- a chip using a sort-of-RISC core pretending to be an x86 via a dynamic translation layer is being used to run ARM instructions converted to x86 format.

Hmm

Why.. India? (2)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39794843)

Am I the only one wondering why they're trying to make money off a $420 phone in India of all places? Surely that's a better market for cheaper, sturdier feature phones, like Nokias for example...

Re:Why.. India? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39794937)

You'd be surprised just how large and healthy the cell phone market really is in India. Everyone there has a cell, from grannies to temple priests to guys on the street pulling carts of produce. Among the youth, smart phones are status symbols just like they are in North America, except probably even more people have them.

I bet India is a vastly larger market than you think.

Re:Why.. India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39798999)

Except that few in India would sink Rs 20,000 on such a phone when they can get a lot of Android phones far cheaper. Blackberries are now really popular in India, but I've yet to see anyone with a Nokia Lumia. Incidentally, this Lava phone would have been fine had it run Windows RT - don't tell me that it's only for ARM. As for Medfield running ARM binaries, that'll be even worse than the Itanic having to run Pentium binaries.

Re:Why.. India? (0)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39794963)

Yeah, no one in India really has any money.

Re:Why.. India? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39794983)

> Nokias
?? There are plenty of expensive Nokia smartphones too (and some are flimsy too).

Re:Why.. India? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795003)

30% of 300 million in the USA is 90 mil
They're poor in India despite sending most of our middle class jobs there and also to China, so we'll give them only 1/3 of the market penetration
10% of 1.2 billion in India is 120 mil
Looks like India is a better market than the US, or at least as more theoretical customers.

Re:Why.. India? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795055)

you'd be stupid to not place it more on the lines of 5% or even less for the india figure.

the point is though, that whoever pushed this brand and phone had sales channels in india and india does have a sizable portion of tech geeks with money to burn on new platforms.

Re:Why.. India? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795103)

I based it on some wikipedia estimate of about 10% in India being in the middle class and about 30% in the US being in the middle class, and the middle class being the target market for a non-iphone smartphone.

Re:Why.. India? (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795115)

the point is though, that whoever pushed this brand and phone had sales channels in india and india does have a sizable portion of tech geeks with money to burn on new platforms.

Except that most of the brands Intel has tied up with are popular in India primarily for selling ultra cheap chinese rebranded phones
Noone really buys phones worth more than USD 50 (100 at best) from them

Re:Why.. India? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795007)

We are FLOODED with feature phones here
Need more stuff in the high end range which is typically delayed by 2 - 6 months compared to US, if ever released
The cheapest Nokia costs less than USD20, other brands have even cheaper models

Indian Middle class is bigger than entire USA (5, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795149)

The population of India is huge. About 25% of them live below the poverty line. And another 25% have barely enough income to survive. 500 million such people drown out the other 500 million people with some disposable income. The top 25% of India are solidly middle class by American standards. They have steady income, are willing to spend humongous portions of their pay on their children's education. The predatory education industry makes more money than you can imagine. Anyway the richest of the rich live in a kind of opulence that defies comprehension. One guy named Mukesh Ambani built a private residence in downtown Mumbai for the cost of some 1 billion US dollars. It is a 25 story high rise as a private residence! Then some astrologer dude told him such wanton flaunting of wealth would attract the evil eye, and the owner decided not to live there!!!

Re:Why.. India? (0)

mystikkman (1487801) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796633)

It looks like a total iPhone rip off.

Maybe they're targeting it at people who want iPhones but cannot afford them?

Re:Why.. India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39796943)

Flame Bate

Re:Why.. India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39800107)

No, its a total IBM Simon (1992) rip off, you know, a smart phone..

Re:Why.. India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39801905)

Yep, it's a rectangle with rounded corners.

Re:Why.. India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39798219)

Posting this as anonymous for obvious reasons. The reason Intel is launching medfield in India and China is because they don't have an LTE modem in their Soc yet. US market will be next with dual core medfield successor coupled with LTE modem early next year

Battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39795037)

The interesting bit is that they are apparently getting average batterly life, rather than Intel's usual abysmally bad. Clearly Intel is making progress and ARM, while still in the clear, should watch its back.

W H Y ? !!!! (-1, Troll)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795083)

Why would anyone want a intel-based smartphone? Are idiot games so goddamned bloated that you need all the power you can get? Does India have a big market for $420 hand-warmers? Do people just hate batteries and want to make them suffer ? Why? WHY? WHY?

India? (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795163)

Is this a first? Premiering a phone in India?

Going forward, as Chindia [google.com] rises in income, is this going to become the new norm? With the huge markets in China and India (even as a fraction of their total populations), will they become the global arbiters of taste?

Consider the case of 1920x1200 monitors. They're harder to find than a girl on Slashdot. They've all been replaced by 1920x1080 monitors because of economy of scale issues. So ... 15 years down the line, will 350 million people each in China and India dwarf the gadget markets in the US? (Yeah, I know, the mini-countries of Europe. But, again, two countries, two markets, hundreds of millions of people vs 35 markets.)

Re:India? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795343)

Is this a first? Premiering a phone in India?

No, Nokia does launch some of their absolute cheapest range in India exclusively IIRC

summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39795183)

Performance is roughly on par with the Cortex-A9 SOC's released a year ago, accounting for the clockspeed advantage. Compared to Krait, it's behind in performance, and likely battery efficiency based on the One S. Outside on Win8 tablets, I don't see any compelling reason for using this...unless it's cheaper than the ARM equivalent, which I don't think is the case.

Re:summary (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799925)

What process are the chips built on? Last i heard intel were trying to stay at least one process shrink ahead of arm in order to make their chips competitive...

My summary for those that can't be bothered (2)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795237)

It is not amazing, but it is competitive. Battery life is average, performance is average. GPU performance is currently a bit below average, but this is a solid first attempt. It clearly proves that x86 CPUs can compete on battery life.

The important question is this: why would you pick Intel over the established Android ARM cortex architecture? It is possible that price and Intel's famous production and supply can win over some manufacturers, but you'd expect something a bit more amazing was required to gain a considerable market share.

Re:My summary for those that can't be bothered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39798629)

Like ability to run Windows XP (or Windows 7) and Microsoft Office on a phone (This is Android version but as soon as they make drivers i am sure you could install Windows also)?
yes I don't know who would like to own stupid thing like that either (wink)

Missing the one real advantage of x86 (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795251)

Why didn't they just put Windows XP on it? Then it would be *really* useful and have one clear advantage over every other phone. A simple dialler application wouldn't be hard to write to make phone calls. (Linux is better technically, but lots of people are tied to Windows for particular applications and would love to have something more portable than a netbook to run them. In my case, it's a VPN client used to connect to work.) I know Intel wants to push x86 as an embedded platform, and Android is kinda the standard for phones these days, but I'm surprised they give up on the old Wintel model so easily. Heck, I would suggest that replacing Windows Phone with something based on Windows XP and x86 processors is an easy way for Microsoft to grab marketshare in the corporate market.

Re:Missing the one real advantage of x86 (1)

mitzampt (2002856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795479)

Except there aren't really apps for that kind of screen in Windows... Same goes for Linux DE-s. They used Android because there are apps for that kind of screen and input type. Intel wants to get a grip of the mobile market so I guess it's natural to promote Android x86 and start from there up. Do you see a better alternative?

Re:Missing the one real advantage of x86 (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795861)

"Why didn't they just put Windows XP on it? Then it would be *really* useful ..."

Sir, I was taking a sip of coffee when I read your post and you now owe me 1 keyboard.

Re:Missing the one real advantage of x86 (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796613)

Why didn't they just put Windows XP on it? Then it would be *really* useful and have one clear advantage over every other phone.

You mean like THIS? [xpphone.com]

"Tons of thousands of internet application"

Re:Missing the one real advantage of x86 (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796945)

It is my understanding that the 'medfield' platform is missing some legacy details(like a PCI bus, or something that looks like one) without which XP, and possibly later versions, simply won't run.

It's an x86; but it isn't really a member of the venerable 'IBM compatible' wintel family...

Re:Missing the one real advantage of x86 (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39836951)

Good point. The phone could run Virtualbox or VMWare, and XP inside that. Come to think of it, it's suprising low-end PCs like netbooks don't so the same - it could cut hardware costs.

Re:Missing the one real advantage of x86 (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799037)

Not XP, but this is precisely the type of phone that would be perfect for Windows RT. Not the Nokia Lumia 900.

An x86 pocket PC (4, Interesting)

nephridium (928664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39795689)

So it looks the performance and battery life are on par with the current crop of Android phones, but no one has mentioned the main advantage of the Intel device: binary compatibility with x86 architecture, i.e. tons of software that already exists. So there is huge potential of this being the first phone able to run windows and linux binaries by side-loading Debian/Ubuntu with Wine/Virtualbox.

A 1.6GHz Atom should be enough to run Windows XP sufficiently fast, imagine using all your favorite desktop apps on your phone, the screen's not too shabby either with 1024x600. Sure, most won't be optimized for touch input, but that trade-off is worth it for this kind of flexibility. Apps with source code can have their touch-friendliness added, for those that really require a mouse and/or keyboard, those could be added via Bluetooth (or USB?). I see no reason why it wouldn't be able to run apps like desktop Firefox/Chrome (with touch-input extensions), Gimp/Photoshop, MS Office, VLC, maybe even XBMC, or games like Warcraft/Starcraft titles, Counter strike or Quake (I was really missing the Quake3 benchmarks in TFA ;)

Connect it to a monitor and use it as a *real* PC that fits in your pocket and you can bring anywhere - how cool is that?

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796311)

The screen is way too small for Windows. I mean, yeah, 1024*600, but keep in mind that it is only 3-4 inches across. Your fingernails will hate you.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796399)

Argh, coming from the N900 I forgot for a second that Linux apps, due to lack of X-Server in Android, are run through localhost VNC, which basically rules out hardware 3D acceleration. Still, all the standard "productivity" apps should still run sufficiently fast. Here's hoping for a Meego port for this phone (which should be able to run 3D accelerated binaries).

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39796807)

There is a (real) X-server for Android now, search the market for it. It goes by the prozaic name of 'X server'...

Re:An x86 pocket PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39797917)

And it is still beta, and horribly basic in what it supports.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

nephridium (928664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39798283)

Sounds promising, though it's apparently implemented in Java which doesn't bode to well for the performance, especially when considering 3D acceleration for games. Might be sufficient for streaming apps like youtube though. I can't try it out myself right now, but maybe someone can get it running with chrooted Debian/Ubuntu and post some results. The app's Google market webpage [google.com] says it can run remote X applications, though I believe running them on localhost shouldn't be a problem either.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799349)

I have a Xoom running Ubuntu in a chroot and have been fiddling with it since it first went up a couple of months ago. It works for very basic applications like xeyes and xterm but it's missing too many X extensions to run practically anything else. I test it out every so often in hope though. I will say that the performance for what does work absolutely stomps any vnc solution I've tried so far.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39806393)

You can run a native X server (Not the piece of junk in the market).
Should be possible before too long to have something semi decent working with either cornerstone or e17 as window manager and support for Linux and Android apps

Re:An x86 pocket PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39796405)

^ this.... is stupid

Re:An x86 pocket PC (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39799425)

The ability to run x86 linux binaries isn't all that useful, the vast majority of linux software is open source and is just a compile away from arm. The arm port of debian has pretty much all the same packages available for it as the x86 version.

Firefox, chromium, gimp, vlc, xbmc, quake etc already run on arm, although on a touchscreen device people generally run touchscreen specific versions because the mouse/keyboard ui would be difficult to use.

There is already at least one arm based phone that has a dock available to turn it into a laptop, although i believe the default software is quite weak there's no reason you couldn't install a full version of debian or gentoo on it.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39799449)

Eh, I'm a lot less impressed with that notion than I used to be, thanks to my U2010. Sure, it's the size of a paperback, takes a jacket pocket rather than jeans, and so forth, but it's also got a much better display (1280x800), better keyboard, and was around a couple years or more. An updated version of that with a modern processor (I still want an ARM version, but I get the draw of x86 for MS Office and gaming) and wacom penabled digitizer would kick so much ass, but of course they cut it down to the clamshell UH900 instead, giving up the resistive screen's stylus capability, and losing the flip-top slate mode.

For the bigger keyboard, more screen, and better ergonomics (e.g. the perfectly positioned clitmouse), I'd gladly wear a belt holster if that's what it takes to keep a U2010-successor handy.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 2 years ago | (#39800289)

imagine using all your favorite desktop apps on your phone

No thanks, that would suck. The success of iPhone followed by Android shows that people want new software (or at least software with a new UI) suited to the form factor. In any case, my favourite desktop apps now consist of a web browser, and ... um. An IDE? Good luck using that on a phone.

Re:An x86 pocket PC (1)

carou (88501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39801293)

Apps with source code can have their touch-friendliness added

Apps with source code don't need binary x86 compatability.

Good news for Windows Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39795949)

competitive battery life on a x86 architecture + windows -> Victory

Apple and Co should be very very afraid.

Why gingerbread? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39796889)

OK, this is getting ridiculous on the Android side. It's been six months or more since ICS was released, and new phones are still coming out with Gingerbread? Really?

Yeah yeah yeah, a lot of phones are getting upgrades to ICS, but why aren't there more ICS running phones on the market (especially the upgraded ones)?

Yes, I'll give Intel a LITTLE leeway since they have to x86 ports for Dalvik and add the binary emulator, but still.

And don't get me started with all the phones still on sale with 2.2.

Medfield (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39799657)

So if an x86 phone is useful in the medical field, I'm wondering why it wouldn't be useful in other fields as well....

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