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Why Intel Needs Smartphones More Than They Need Intel

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-the-only-game-in-town dept.

Intel 134

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from ZDNet: "The launch of the Orange San Diego, the first handset using an Intel Atom processor, marks a big milestone for the chipmaker: it's finally in the smartphone market. But does the market need Intel at all? ... Intel's scale and the reach of its other divisions gives [Mike] Bell's smartphone unit a boost; for example, it can reuse code optimizations for Atom done by the desktop team. ... Even so, the smartphone team has got a tough job on its hands — but it's one Intel has to tackle, according to Carolina Milanesi, mobile analyst at Gartner. 'This is certainly an attack strategy for Intel. The smartphone market is so large now that they need a piece of the pie,' she said. But will consumers care whether their handset runs on an Intel chip? Bell conceded that aside from the tech-savvy, most people probably don't know which chip is inside their phone. It's likely, given the lack of advertising on this, that most probably don't care — making Intel's job even harder."

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Games? (5, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334319)

There is games, though; some Android game engines are written in part in native code for the speed boost, and I can't imagine that an Intel phone will shine when forced to emulate an ARM CPU on the fly for those occasions.

And for most applications, the CPU really does not matter. They'll run nicely on anything able to host the Dalvik VM. At best, an Intel phone will be no different than a ARM one, and at worst it will just add an extra bit of frustration.

Re:Games? (5, Insightful)

arbiterxero (952505) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334351)

Unless intel is able to bring radical power efficiency. Then, having an intel chip would be sought after. With Cell phones, the battery currently rules the roost.

Re:Games? (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334673)

Yeah, but that's generally dominated by screen (though I guess the fact that I use the web a good bit, and my last two high-end phones were OLED could be to blame).

even if the CPU used 0 power, I would gain very little.

I've had a G1, Nexus1, Comet (it was temporary), and HTC One S for context.

Re:Games? (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335299)

Yeah, but that's generally dominated by screen (though I guess the fact that I use the web a good bit, and my last two high-end phones were OLED could be to blame)

Is it, though? My Android lasts a couple of days if I don't use it much. Looking at the stats, it's 50/50 between cell standby and phone idle, with a few percent for screen and system. My old dumbphones would last at least ten days on the same use. It seems smartphones aren't good at regressing to being dumbphones when the smart features aren't in use.

Even when I'm using it heavily, the screen is always lower on the battery stats than the system and cell standby

Re:Games? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335565)

How big is your screen and what tech does it use?
On my Galaxy Nexus the screen is always the top power user, after that comes the phone idle and cell standby.

What do you consider using it heavily? My bet is even that use might be a lot lower than some.

Re:Games? (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335663)

Screen's not huge, it's an HTC Desire. I wouldn't actually mind the screen being heavier use. It's the idle/standby that annoys me - the level of drain when the phone really isn't being asked to do much more than an old dumbphone. I only have one email account syncing, and that's not a busy one as I've deliberately set filters to minimise how much reaches my inbox.

At the moment it's literally 50% each for idle and cell standby, and that's despite having checked emails on and off, browsed a bit of Facebook - not much, but even so that use hasn't even registered in the stats.

Re:Games? (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336761)

I only have one email account syncing

That's one more than your dumbphone had.

and that's not a busy one as I've deliberately set filters to minimise how much reaches my inbox.

Really doesn't matter. Your phone has to periodically wake up, establish connections with the server, and retrieve and parse some data. It takes CPU and battery.

I'd love for there to be more emphasis on smartphone battery life than on more cores/higher speed at this point, but it just doesn't seem to be a high priority to any manufacturer. The simple reality is, though, smartphones have much more complex innards than your old dumbphone and consequently take more power to drive.

--Jeremy

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337093)

Your phone has to periodically wake up, establish connections with the server, and retrieve and parse some data. It takes CPU and battery.

And on top of that, if you are in an area where the signal is weak from a cell tower, then the phone will have to really increase power usage to boost the signal to maintain that TCP/IP network integrity. This is also something a dumbphone never does.

Re:Games? (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337181)

If you want battery life, go for a blackberry.

I like good internet, but based on browsing battery usage, Apple appears to have locked the good screen thing down tight.

Re:Games? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337053)

Right now, with heavy use (ie text/web, white backgrounds OLED, HTC one S)

screen 61%
standby 11%
wifi:7%
maps:6%
OS: 6%

I'm at 71% left on 2.5 hours since unplug. My standby times easily break 24 hours. I'm in an area with terrible reception, which typically increases the standby part significantly.

Unless I use the phone essentially none, my screen is well over 40%, and I've had it well past 80%.

the first thing that starts to use CPU is 6% usage. of my over-all usage 21% is applications/OS, the phone would still be a carry around a charger to get through a heavy usage day either way. Even if it doubles, it'd still be only 2/3's of my screen.

Re:Games? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336997)

Everybody seems to be forgetting something though, people are pushing the ever loving crap out of these devices and IPC has been Intel's ball park for quite the long time. People want bigger games, higher def, better sound, the mobile is quickly becoming like the PC where it'll do damned near any job you can think of and that comes down to IPC. Don't get me wrong, ARM is a nice chip design, but if you've looked at the benches Intel is ALREADY getting 30% more out of their chip for the same watts as the ARM chips and this is only their first attempt. Now imagine what they are gonna be able to do with a couple of tick tocks and a couple of shrinks. It'll be like having a Core2 in your pocket, really cool to think about all you'll be able to do.

People may not give a crap what CPU is in their phone but they WILL give a crap that Bob's phone does more cool stuff than theirs does. Also don't forget that with a 30% performance lead they can probably emulate ARM no problem, especially if they put a little hardware emulation on chip, while ARM can't emulate X86 without slowing to a crawl.

Re:Games? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337307)

Now imagine what they are gonna be able to do with a couple of tick tocks and a couple of shrinks. It'll be like having a Core2 in your pocket, really cool to think about all you'll be able to do.

So in a few years they'll be able to put ten year old hardware into your pocket?

Re:Games? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334685)

I think Intel's power numbers have been posted, and were neither excessively good nor bad.

Re:Games? (4, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334721)

It's been documented on anandtech before - http://www.anandtech.com/show/5770/lava-xolo-x900-review-the-first-intel-medfield-phone [anandtech.com] - results were simply middle of the pack and down to "if the hardware is updated then whatever it is will do better".

The thing is, do we want/need intel on smartphones? I say please no. Let ARM compete and grow and remain a fairly new viable competitor.

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336031)

Yes, of course, we want and need Intel on smartphones.

You speak of competition. This is exactly that. Yet you don't want Intel competing? Do you have shares in ARM? :P

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336829)

ARM isn't competing.

The only company competing (In terms of fab investment) is Samsung.

(TSMC / Globalfoundries / TI are all less than half the investment of Intel and Samsung in fabs).

Remember this is on the old process. If Intel used the best process (22nm I think) the results would be even better.

Transitive managed cpu / os dynamic retranslation with a really minimal performance loss. (Rosetta used it on the Mac - IBM bought them out).

Competition is good but it needs as many players as possible.

Re:Games? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334689)

No, not really. With everything else mostly being the same, battery life rules the roost. My Old nokia dumb phone kills everything else out there for battery life, but there is a reason why its stuck in the sock drawer instead of my pocket.

Re:Games? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335115)

Power demand is a bit more involved then you think. Sure ARM offers a very low demand CPU but what about the rest of the system? Nth/Sth bridges, USB chip, audio, radio and gpu along with the screen. All of this affects the demand on the battery and from what I've seen, Intel has finally gotten down low enough on the SoC offering to meet/beat many of the ARM based solutions, thus Intel has met the basic need for smart phone. This doesn't mean they've gotten anywhere's near what's needed for a basic feature/dumb phone as I use but I give them a decade and they'll either push ARM out of the smart phone market or they'll be another option and with Win8 coming out, they'll certainly become viable.

Slightly off topic but I've been looking at tablets lately and feel that the Acer Iconia W5xx series fits my needs. It runs Win7-32 and gets about 4 hrs of runtime off a battery that's smaller then the new iPad. If Intel pushed hard and develops a decent GPU that is low power while offering enough support for Direct-X to speed up flash and other media playback, then we'll see a major game change and I'll give it about 5 years to see a real competitior to the iPad. Keep in mind that with specs comparable to the new iPad & iPad2, the Acer Iconia can actually run Win7-Pro and connect properly to an AD along with supporting Outlook and Office in full. Sure the CPU's don't have the horsepower to handle a large Spreadsheet with pivot tables and such but for the basic features of office such as Word, OneNote and PowerPoint, it looks to be quite capable and if MS continues to improve IE as they've done with IE9, we'll see some serious competition in the Enterprise (Money) Segment where MS competes quite well. That's what Intel is betting on as they've certainly become MS's bitch.

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336037)

Do yourself a favor. Buy an iPad. You'll thank me later.

Recompile (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334477)

some Android game engines are written in part in native code for the speed boost

Are they written in assembly language or something? Because if they're written in C++ (as I suspect), game developers can just recompile the C++ parts for x86, test on a netbook running Android for x86, and deploy the x86 edition through Google Play Store.

Re:Recompile (3, Interesting)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334695)

Easier said than done. You have to test and support both versions, and recompiling C/C++ cross platform is not always straightforward. Given the already significant fragmentation in Android, I wonder when/if many places will get around to it. (The answer is when Intel gets enough market share)

Re:Recompile (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335179)

As long as the compiler for x86 works similar to the ARM one, it won't be bad at all. I've never had an issue doing cross platform C/C++. Also, you are making a big deal about an insignificant fragmentation problem. It is pretty obvious you haven't done android dev work.

Re:Recompile (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335707)

Given you complete dismissal of testing and support concerns, it's pretty obvious you've never run a serious business.

Re:Recompile (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336977)

Good thing that the discussion isn't about 'running a serious business', it's about difficulty of porting between architectures.

And given the plethora of different chips already on this "fragmented" (FUD Apple marketing word, btw) market and how well the system already works, I'm not too worried about having a couple #ifdefs to support Arm and x86 chips. Open source projects somehow manage to do it every fucking day and it works quite well.

Also, you don't seem to have any problem dismissing things you don't have any personal experience with (AGW, etc), so it hardly seems fair for you to demand higher standards from everyone else.

--Jeremy

Re:Recompile (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336009)

Are they written in assembly language or something?

Pretty much. They use special intrinsics mapped to instructions specific to the floating-point units that ARM processors have (VFP, NEON).

Re:Games? (4, Funny)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334595)

At best, an Intel phone will be no different than a ARM one, and at worst it will just add an extra bit of frustration.

You forget the "Intel Inside" stickers.

Promotional stickers is something mobile phones still sorely lacking.

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334905)

Oh, so you'll be able to get both "Intel Inside" AND "Designed for Microsoft Windows" stickers on your cellphone later this year?

Boy, am I excited! Now if only they'd add "Turbo" switch (which throttles the clock speed for power-saving and show LO or HI in friendly 7-segment LED style), and I'd certainly buy one.

Re:Games? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335879)

That's ok. I'm sure Microsoft will launch a service called "Microsoft Signature Phone" where you can pay $99 and they will remove the sticker and clear out any malware.

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334987)

and how many consumers will associate 'Intel Inside' with BSODs and all the virus/trojans/etc of the Windows platform ?

Re:Games? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335123)

Actually, at least on laptops, the strongest association with the "Intel Inside" stickers is big ugly discolored spot on the laptop's surface left by attempts to remove it. Mind you, it is not as bad as the sore skin on a wrist due to constant rubbing on the sharp-edged "Windows Certified" sticker.

Re:Games? (1)

rivercityrandom (626724) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335949)

I don't know; on my Droid X I have silk-screened logos for Motorola, Verizon (twice!) and Google(TM). Intel's "Intel Inside" logo would not be too out of place.

Intel Inside a liability? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336669)

Here's a thought:

The first phones with "Intel Inside" advertising do better because of the added brand recognition.

Then people get these phones and realize they run hot, have shortened battery life, or need active cooling (fans).

Intel Inside then becomes something to avoid in the phone market, weakening the brand.

Re:Games? (1)

oPless (63249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334615)

In another article that I read this morning, the Intel Android guy they interviewed mentioned that they had a native code translator for ARM -> x86 native code. He also dodged the question on "does that work for WP7/WinRT" ... might we also see intel WP7/8 phones?

Re:Games? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335271)

From what I've read, the Medfield CPU does binary translation. It is capable of running most Android applications, even ones that have native ARM code. I haven't seen any benchmarks, but Intel claims a performance hit of about 20%.

Re:Games? (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335651)

I was wondering about that too. Intel claims they have some sort of compiler that will translate that stuff on the fly, and works really well. I'm a little skeptical, but if they can make it work, it would be interesting.

Here's the article [extremetech.com] Here's the relevant quote:

“There are two kinds of Android apps,” Bell says. “Those that use Dalvik, and ones that run natively.” Dalvik is Google’s Java-like virtual machine which many Android apps run inside. Theoretically, as long as Dalvik works on x86, then all of the apps will. “We have a large team working on making sure Dalvik apps work well.” I push the mobile chief on the topic of native apps, and he hums and haws a little. “We have developed some software that translates native apps to x86, and it seems to work well,” he says. Seizing this opening, I ask if it would be possible to build the same kind of translation layer for Windows 8 and Windows RT. In return, I get a shrug, a smile, and a non-answer.

Actually, now reading that quote again, it doesn't give me much confidence in their capability. They might have to rely on going to a smaller size for it to work.

Re:Games? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336189)

Actually, now reading that quote again, it doesn't give me much confidence in their capability. They might have to rely on going to a smaller size for it to work.

When I was writing emulators years ago, the things that made it a right bastard were external hardware emulation (e.g. the interrupt controller), and weird software practices like self-modifying code or DRM code that ran in the interrupt vector table or modified the instruction that it was executing in order to confuse a debugger. Since you generally don't need to worry about those things on a modern OS, a straightforward binary translation shouldn't be too hard, and should be reasonably efficient.

Re:Games? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336781)

Intel discovered GCJ, now they'll surely change the world.

Re:Games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337061)

Though they might be able to tack on an ARM decoder in-chip. An x86-64 CPU has a RISC core at heart.

Intel won't have the lowest power chips immediately, but I think that their embedded chips will be at least as efficient as any ARM based CPU in short time, while still outperforming. Right now, some of the lowest end single core Atom CPUs can smoke the higher end dual core ARM CPUs.

Smartphones might not need Intel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334321)

...but do they need MyCleanPC?

Re:Smartphones might not need Intel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334459)

I'm full bootynude!

Intel inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334331)

Will we see a revival of the "Intel inside" campaign for phones?

Re:Intel inside (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335893)

Yep. Only Apple and Samsung are making money with cell phones. Everybody else would happily apply a sticker for a few dollars per handset.

Why Humans Need Earth (5, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334341)

... more than Earth needs humans and why Microsoft needs PCs more than PCs need Microsoft
and even *gasp* why mammals need air more than air needs mammals

Stay tuned for more insightful and thought provoking statements here on El Slashdotto!

Re:Why Humans Need Earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335695)

Yeah and evil profits and corporations balh blah blah puke. Gag me slash fools.

Who need segmentation fault anyway (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334365)

As long as Intel keeps its i386 architecture ( for god sakes thats older than me... ) I dont think Intel can be a real player in the smartphone.

Using emulation of ARM will just add a layer of emulation that will make the CPU less effective...
If they dont, they run natively on an architecture that sucks bad...
I think intel needs smartphone's, but the reverse is not true, smartphone dont need intel.

Tread carefully intel...

Re:Who need segmentation fault anyway (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334911)

Intel has gotten pretty good at microcode emulation lately. The Core processors are basically extremely souped-up Pentium 3s emulating chunks of the P4 instruction set. Atoms emulate nearly all of the x86 instruction set, and are more efficient watt-for-watt than the lowest powered versions of what they are emulating (mainly Core 2s)

Heck, its possible that Intel could do an ARM translator for Atom, then you could have one chip that could run Android OR Windows (or linux, or anything else you want) This is more relevant to tablets, but still.

Re:Who need segmentation fault anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335401)

You've been misled. All those translation units require more power. Intel has really good performance but almost always comes middle of the road on unit of work per watt. And in the mobile space, unit of work per watt, is what its all about. Even with Atom, Intel still has a just so-so entry into the mobile space. Made worse is the fact its not compatiable with a lot of software available in the space.

Long story short, Intel doesn't have an attractive offering and certainly doesn't offer anything compelling over ARM. Whereas ARM, at least for now, does have the premium offering here.

That's crazy! (4, Funny)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334371)

Smartphones need Intel as much as photography needs Kodak!!

Re:That's crazy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335539)

Damn it! Making me laugh at work, the boss will eventually notice!

NOT the first one (1)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334405)

There was at least Fujitsu LOOX F-07C.
Not widely available but certainly not vaporware either.
Frankly the "XP Phone" (and I don't mean the vaporware with this name) is long overdue. But if they delay more and Android gets even more and more apps it might come way too late to do any good.

always protect the low end (5, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334409)

performance wise ARM is crap compared to Intel. Just like Intel was crap compared to SPARC and all the other architectures they killed off in the last 30 years

one of the most important rules of business is to protect the low end of your market. if you don't then a competitor will establish a lower margin business and move up to take your high end. Just like Intel did.

even apple knows this and has products just good enough to keep low end competitors at bay

Re:always protect the low end (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334479)

The pre-release hype surrounding Itanic is what killed SPARC (and MIPS and Alpha, and PA-RISC). But I agree with your theory about the lower end. That's how AMD drove Intel out of the market ;).

Re:always protect the low end (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334577)

what killed SPARC and the others was the Pentium Pro which turned into the Xeon brand

AMD had their chance but they always managed to screw things up

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334771)

No.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334789)

I disagree. CYRIX was the king of screw-ups :)
My opinion - Intel simply had better marketing and SPARC relied on people to realize their product's potential I think. Heck, Apple took a performance hit and went to Intel which meant giving up any RISC advantage (from a PSP perspective anyway). That said a lot to me.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335065)

You are an absolute idiot. An unmitigated disaster in the intelligence department.

Apple has never taken a performance hit when changing architectures. You're a sad little idiot.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337033)

You have emotional problems.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40337037)

You sire are the idiot in this story. Apple took a performance hit, a giant one when they changed to intel. Any tower based G5 was better(4 cpus, 16 GB of ram) at the time than the equivalent intel. So please take your fanboygayness home and masturbate thinking of the late Jobs.

Re:always protect the low end (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335495)

No, what really killed SPARC was x64, cheap machines capable of using large amounts of even cheaper RAM was when Sun stopped being relevant. I know because we ordered one of the first production Opterons to demo our chip routing software and knew instantly that the days of needing $50k workstations to do our work was at an end.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336423)

No, what killed SPARC was the realization that consumer OTS options offered a much better performance/$ ratio and companies like Google exploiting that fact to build massively distributed applications rather than the monolithic ones that would have required something like SPARC.

Re:always protect the low end (-1, Offtopic)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334783)

Even Apple? "EVEN"???

Way to out yourself as a rabid Apple hater.

People with any sort of clue who dislike Apple will typically pay reverence to the sheer brilliance of their Marketing. Because those who know what Marketing is are well aware that it's not just memorable meme-generating Ads like their 1984 commercial or "I'm a Mac" -- but playing to and satisfying the needs of the Market. You know -- "The Market", where the word Marketing comes from?

It's Marketing that caused them to create the iPad, which killed the MP3 player market. It's Marketing that gave rise to first the iPhone and then the iPad -- which have been ripped off to hell and back by Google, Samsung and other companies. It's Marketing that gave rise to an "Ultra-thin Ultra-Portable Ultrabook" -- ohh wait -- that's what all the RIP-OFF artists are calling their "brought to you by Intel" wanna be knock-offs of the Macbook Air. It's Marketing that caused them to look at the upsurge of users buying Mac Minis and OS X Server that caused them to create the Mac Mini Server product.

And it's Marketing that caused them to come up with a product that catered to a Target Market of Home Computer Enthusiasts who wanted to putter around with an all-in-one main board and chipset.

You fanboys who come here and spouting your rabid Pro-Linux crap while shitting on Apple show no respect for a company that had a major hand in INVENTING the PC Hobbyist Era and who have contributed significantly to modern computing.

And it's their fucking MARKETING that caused them to come up with their advances and innovations by looking at what people wanted before they knew they wanted it based upon what they were doing with what they had. And it's their marketing to the Consumer that forces them to look at offering the minimum viable product they can to offer to consumers who may not want or may not be able to afford their more high end products such as their Pro series of products.

Conversely, it's their continued demonstration of their lack of ability to cater to the Enterprise Market that caused them to first lose to Microsoft and more recently, to kill off the XServe and likely future kill of the Mac Pro to focus on their core strengths: Consumer Products and Marketplaces.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335121)

I think the point was : even Apple, which is widely known for the high price of its products, does make cheaper products.

Besides, you make an easy target of yourself for the "apple fanboy" label, just by stating that the MP3 player market was killed by the iPad... who the heck goes around carrying an iPad for listening music ? If you mean the iPod, nope, it didn't, there are plenty other brands, some of them are better than Apple's iPods and less expensive.

I don't really like the way lots of brands follow Apple's lead, either... The tablet is a stupid concept for me, as well as those ultra-thin laptops one's scared to break at the slightest shock.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336279)

Ask a few random people on the street to name an MP3 player other than the iPod and you'll get a lot of blank looks. A few people might remember the Zune, more will tell you they use their phone or iPhone, but iPod dominated the MP3 arena. Sure, there's others out there, but they did very little to impact the market once the iPod took off.

Nobody cares if tablets or ultra-thin laptops are a stupid concept for YOU. As can be seen by the sales figures, obviously many, many people WOULD rather have something small and light for commuting or just for when lounging on the couch.

Your failure to grasp these pretty simplistic concepts is why you would fail HORRIBLY if you were in marketing.

Re:always protect the low end (1)

ziggit (811520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337127)

I've become a bit notorious for walking around the office wearing a pair of giant studio monitors plugged into my ipad. Its usually just because I don't want to dedicate another device to playing music, but I don't want to stop my music when I get up... that being said, I don't usually do it outside of work

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336103)

You fanboys who come here and spouting your rabid Pro-Linux crap while shitting on Apple

Linux and Apple people at each others throats is like 2 men fighting each other inside of a burning building.

Re:always protect the low end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336945)

Efficiency-wise Intel is crap compared to ARM - and in a battery-constrained environment like a phone, that's actually far more important. Or you could put your x86 phone on to charge every half hour...

Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334435)

I think the Issue with mobile phone, is the new coding standards, means less fuss about hardware level coding.
The Intel PC, had came from a long legacy where a lot of programs were programmed using a fare about of custom Assembly Coding. Mostly due to the fact that we didn't have a robust library set. So these legacy systems had passed from one generation to the next, keeping software locked on platforms. When mobile devices got popular, they put more effort into more platform independent coding. Using systems that require more on pre-made libraries, and almost no Low Level coding, allowing applications and even large parts of the OS to be ported from one Platform to the next, with very little work.

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334491)

This is an excellent point. I would add that x86 chips are really hard to use, especially hard to boot into a usable mode. This is all done for backwards compatibility. But for a phone maker, why would they want to deal with that complexity (and thus cost) if they didn't have to?

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334727)

Unless they were given the software by the chip vendor, and all they had to do was customize it.

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336723)

x86 chips are really hard to use, especially hard to boot into a usable mode

I'd put that down to some kind of Industrial Disease.

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334621)

Using systems that require more on pre-made libraries, and almost no Low Level coding, allowing applications and even large parts of the OS to be ported from one Platform to the next, with very little work.

So if one platform runs only Java bytecode, a second platform runs only .NET bytecode, and a third platform runs only native code, in what language should an application for a device without an always-on high-speed Internet connection be written?

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336819)

Sounds like you're talking about Python, using Jython, IronPython, or CPython.

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337123)

IronPython requires Emit, which is not available on Xbox 360 or Windows Phone 7.

Re:Mobile, A chance to code better. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337215)

I'm pretty sure jellomiser isn't a native speaker, and he did a lot better than I would have written it writing in Spanish. And a lot better than quite a few native English-speaking slashdotters. Here's the above comment translated into a form of English that doesn't take a literate person as long to parse as it does an aliterate:

I think the Issue with mobile phones is that the new coding standards mean less fuss about hardware-level coding. The Intel PC had came from a long legacy where a lot of programs were written using a fair amount of custom Assembly coding, mostly due to the fact that we didn't have a robust library set.

These legacy systems had passed from one generation to the next, keeping software locked on platforms. When mobile devices got popular, they put more effort into more platform-independent coding. Using systems that rely more on pre-made libraries and almost no Low Level coding allowed applications and even large parts of the OS to be ported from one Platform to the next with very little work.

Perhaps a bigger reason for using Assembly back then is that processors were 4000 times slower, or even worse, and drive space and memory were at a premium. In the 1980s most PCs had no more than 20 megs of drive space, and megagytes of memory were only seen on mainframes and minis.

Can ARM come close to intel performance long term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334445)

People may not care about their phone CPU right now, because arm architecture is the only game in town. Intel have a huge long term advantage in that they have essentially eclipsed all others in terms of performance due in part to their growing lead in the process reduction race. In the long term it's not hard to imagine intel pulling far ahead of others in performance per watt, even if purely on the merit of the reduced process, and if raw performance becomes an issue, they surely are ahead in that game.

Re:Can ARM come close to intel performance long te (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334811)

Not when it comes to the CPUs Intel is putting into phones. Hint, it's not Ivy Bridge.
But Intel has made massive strides in reducing power consumption with their Atom platform, and the SoC being used in this phone is probably comparable to ARM SoCs.

One major issue in ARM's favour is the choice of SoCs - there are many many ARM SoCs to choose from, so you can choose the one best suited for each of your products. There is one Intel SoC, you're stuck with what they give you.

will consumers care what their handset runs on ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334449)

And, from the non-tech savvy pool... How many really know what processor is inside?

Larger consumer markets go for usability. If Intel is doing performance optimizations for Android, this is a win for Google, that will soon probably see Android tablets running on Intel.

So the question is, does Google need Intel?

Apps that don't show up because CPU isn't ARM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334659)

How many really know what processor is inside?

They can take a guess based on what applications do and do not show up in a search of Google Play Store. It doesn't list applications that it deems are incompatible with the user's device, such as applications that use native code but haven't been recompiled for a particular instruction set.

Re:will consumers care what their handset runs on (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334855)

No, but, as the poster says below, competition is generally a good thing. Too much choice is a bad thing too, but, now ARM has to get it's ass in gear and improve multithreading and multicore. I don't think consumers will care one lick if it's a Medfield, Snapdragon, Tegra, OMAP or whatever.

But they'll notice a year over year increase in battery life, speed, etc. That's certainly going to mean something to the average user.

Does the Market need Intel at All? (2)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334469)

YES. Competition is good and ARM has been able to be complacent without someone else challenging them. Medfield is a solid start for Intel, but obviously they need to improve on it and everyone will benefit by having more choices.

Asking that loaded question is like saying that we already have Windows and Mac OS so the market doesn't need Linux...

Re:Does the Market need Intel at All? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334669)

ARM has had competition, MIPS. ARM has generally had a slight advantage in power utilization vs MIPS.

Intel hasn't been a factor because up until a few months ago, they haven't produced a CPU that could compete on power utilization. Now it looks like they're finally competitive on power utilization, so their expertise in performance and manufacturing process technology makes them potentially a serious competitor. However, Intel has made many improvements to Android in order to be competitive with ARM based devices. If those same improvements (or the ones made by Linaro [slashdot.org] ) are rolled into the standard Android distribution, will Intel's new chip still be competitive on performance and power utilization? Who knows. It's too early to say anything other than that Intel is finally close enough to be taken seriously.

Re:Does the Market need Intel at All? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335847)

The ARM platform is not one device. Since ARM is an IP house only there are many ARM platforms out there: Single core, multi core, we'll see 64-bit ARM soon. Then there are all the integrated peripherals around the CPU core: DSP, video CODECs, camera interface, etc. What will be interesting is that if you are bought into the Intel ecosystem then you'll only have Intel-based solutions, there will be no competition within that domain. ARM is amazingly exciting with all the offerings you can get. The designer (and thus consumer) has a lot of choices in the ARM marketspace for trading computing power for battery life.

And to the person that commented that ARM performance sucks - Well the ARMs NEON architecture is pretty sucky - but that's really not what the applications are necessarily depending on. My iPhone 4s is quite nimble at serving up webpages, playing games, streaming movies off my NAS drive. Intel's offerings will probably be just fine technically (OK, probably lacking in graphics area, but...) - It will come down to cost and features. IMHO it was stupid for Intel to have ditched its Strong-ARM holdings. Absolutely stupid. There is no advantage by having only one type of CPU architecture model - that's why we have high level languages and compilers.

Please. (1)

0olong (876791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334517)

> The smartphone market is so large now that they need a piece of the pie

Does this count for logic these days? By that same brilliant logic diaper manufacturers need a piece of the smart phone pie too!

Re:Please. (1)

equex (747231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334567)

My diapers said "Intel Inside".

Re:Please. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334573)

Angry Turds.
Draw something brown.
Beautiful wedgies.

Re:Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334579)

> The smartphone market is so large now that they need a piece of the pie

Does this count for logic these days? By that same brilliant logic diaper manufacturers need a piece of the smart phone pie too!

For all the shit that comes out people's mouths. I would tend to agree with that logic!

(Definitely posting this one anonymously.)

Re:Please. (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334947)

For the mentally challenged: The smart phone market is HUGE. For Intel to remain profitable and grow they need to move into the smart phone market.

As investors and analysts can see, the mobile market is where the growth is. Intel is a niche player in the mobile market. Tablets and smartphones rule the roost. desktops and even laptops are falling to the wayside.

It would be stupid for Intel not to make a push because if they don't, they may find themselves out of business.

Not the first Intel Atom Phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334601)

That dubious honour goes to the Lava Xolo x900. See http://www.anandtech.com/show/5770/lava-xolo-x900-review-the-first-intel-medfield-phone . It has been available in the market for at least the last 2 months

The first Intel based smartphone launched in 1996 (5, Informative)

kroyd (29866) | more than 2 years ago | (#40334613)

And, it used an Intel 386 cpu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_9000_Communicator [wikipedia.org] . It was probably one of the most brick-like GSM phones ever.

Later Nokia switched to AMD for their 9100, then to ARM for the 9210 series. I bought a 9201i in 2002, I believe I paid t something like 1500usd..

There were also a few Japanese intel based phones, but those ran Windows XP.. Not really what I would call a smart phone. So, it might be correct to say that this is the "first Intel based smart-phone which might launch in the US".

A finally.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40334829)

At last I will be able to enjoy gifts to human mankind like the A20 gateway. How wonderful. Thank you intel.

Competitive Advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40335129)

Holy crap batman! Does that mean that Intel has to offer a competitive advantage big enough to make their product attractive to phone manufacturers?

people will want intel when intel tells them to (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#40335927)

The only reason 99% of consumers wanted intel in their desktops was because of intel's marketing. I see no reason why they can't launch a similar intel inside campaign for mobile.

Re:people will want intel when intel tells them to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336307)

no, it is because of anti-competitive practices of intel for which they time and again got slaps on wrist by FTC. They also gave a small cash payout ( small for them ) to AMD last year. Their illegal practices are supported and promoted by the PC cartel of dell, hp, lenovo etc. Unfortunately for them ( and fortunately for the rest of the world), this cartel has no hold in the smart phone market ( it tried but failed to get a foothold).

that is true of all the markets (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336249)

server chips - don't need intel.
desktops/laptops - don't need intel

they have been selling underperforming, faulty products that are overpriced, for a long time, with the help of an illegal cartel (dell, hp etc) and monopoly, much as m$ has for operating systems.

world would be much better off without intel - innovation would proceed at a much niftier pace assuming of course, that another co. doesn't replace them and their model of doing business.

Intel will become insignificant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336369)

Middling performance and power efficiency even at 32nm as compared to 45nm ARM A8 that's soon to be replaced by the even better A15. All the leaked Medfield benchmarks conveniently left out video decoding performance and power consumption so I take that as one of major weaknesses. ARM already own the phone and tablet markets and will be eat into Intel's desktop and server markets. ~$100 ARM HDMI/USB dongles like the http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/products/hdmidongle.htm that can transform any monitor or TV into a general purpose computer is going to kill Intel's desktop market.

in)formativ3 trolltroll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40336789)

for a living got 4gainst vigorous

Is it just me... (1)

arekin (2605525) | more than 2 years ago | (#40336863)

Or does this phone look like a Galaxy S2 and an iPhone had a baby?

You mean... (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337027)

Intel will have to compete without its traditional legacy compatibility advantage?

They'll hate it, but they'll probably suck it up, go do some real chip engineering, and at least catch up on the useful-cycles-per-watt front.

After all, they did basically that to the PowerPC.

Why does that make it harder? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337301)

But will consumers care whether their handset runs on an Intel chip? Bell conceded that aside from the tech-savvy, most people probably don't know which chip is inside their phone. It's likely, given the lack of advertising on this, that most probably don't care â" making Intel's job even harder."

This doesn't make sense to me. Doesn't that make Intel's job easier, not harder?

If people are buying on performance-per-Watt rather than brand names (which I don't actually believe), then I'd think that would give the "outsider" (who also happens to have 22nm fabs with 14nm and 10nm coming) an advantage.

Tablets (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40337545)

Both the Atom - and the Fusion - would be great to use in tablets that run Windows RT w/ Metro. At least there, there should be some chance of running legacy Windows apps. But of the purpose of the Atom in Orange San Diego is to run Android, it's a waste - ARM, despite not being a great RISC processor, is a better platform.
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