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Intel's Haswell Chips Pushing Windows RT Into Oblivion

Soulskill posted 1 year,5 days | from the hardware-killed-the-software-star dept.

Intel 321

SmartAboutThings sends this excerpt from Technology Personalized: "Intel has started shipping the fourth generation Haswell chips for tablets, which brings power-efficient processors and hence much better battery life to Windows tablets. According to IDG, Intel has now started shipping new low-power, fourth-generation Core i3 processors, including one that draws as little as 4.5 watts of power in specific usage scenarios. These new Haswell processors could go into fanless tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids, bringing longer battery life to the devices. This is a great news for Windows lovers, who have had to sacrifice performance for battery life (and vice versa) until now. Now, with almost 50% better battery life as promised by Intel for Windows tablets, the OEMs have no real need to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore."

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Now.. (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814213)

"Now, with almost 50% better battery life as promised by Intel for Windows tablets, the OEMs have no real need to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore."

Why would a manufacturer buy an OS nobody seems to want instead of using Android? What's MS's advantage here?

Re:Now.. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814225)

Exactly. They haven't had to bring out Windows RT tablets for awhile now.

and judging by Surface sales figures (2)

themushroom (197365) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814321)

it's probably another reason not to go RT.

Re:and judging by Surface sales figures (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815135)

The reason OEMs don't have to bring out RT tablets?

Microscopic - actually sub-atomic customer demand. Microsoft wrote-off almost a BILLION USD on unsold tablets!

So, an OEM would have to:
A - Sell competing against Microsoft
B - To non-existent buyers
C - Profit!

Re:Now.. (1, Informative)

bloodhawk (813939) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814231)

The millions of legacy apps that don't have to be rewritten as they would with an android device. The Advantage is massive, The OS is distant second in importance to the applications a user uses.

Re:Now.. (3, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814293)

We are talking about Windows RT here. There are precisely 0 legacy apps.

Re:Now.. (5, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814317)

No with haswell we are talking about X86 windows. RT is destined for the bin. haswell makes full windows with 100% backwards compatibility in a tablet device a desirable thing. Everything from photoshop to your VB app written a decade ago that you no longer have the developers or source code or funding to rewrite is now viable on a windows tablet device.

Re:Now.. (1)

davidbrit2 (775091) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814431)

The UX for old VB6 apps is bad enough even with a full keyboard and mouse.

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814559)

You do realize that x86 and x86-64 are still being used today, not just when VB6 was around?

Re:Now.. (2)

plover (150551) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814617)

You do realize that a UI written in VB6 was merely bad 10 years ago will be unusably awful on a tablet form-factor screen?

Re:Now.. (4, Insightful)

Rossman (593924) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814845)

You can use the mouse, still? The tablets generally have a touchpad built into the cover and there are always bluetooth options available.

If you were looking to run something old you would probably use either of these options.

Compare to a netbook (2)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814987)

The tablets generally have a touchpad built into the cover and there are always bluetooth options available.

By which time you're carrying so much bulk that the only advantage of a tablet over a netbook is that tablets aren't discontinued [slashdot.org] .

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44815191)

It has more to do with looking pretty than usability. The VB app will look awful on retina displays.

What's the point in backwards compatibility if you have to refactor code to make it look good? Might as well make in cross-platorm while you're at it so you can reach a wider audience.

Re:Now.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44815353)

Oh no, my inventory control app is all pixelated! I'd better hire a team of $150K/year ObjC developers.

Re:Now.. (0)

ArhcAngel (247594) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815439)

If you are trusting a VB6 app to do your inventory control you are probably losing more than $150K/year in shrinkage.

Re:Now.. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814449)

haswell makes full windows with 100% backwards compatibility in a tablet device a desirable thing. Everything from photoshop to your VB app written a decade ago that you no longer have the developers or source code or funding to rewrite is now viable on a windows tablet device.

I don't think anyone is going to use a tablet for Microsoft Office. A tablet screen is way too small for Photoshop or a CAD program, and nobody's going to waste a $1000 license (Photoshop) on a tablet. The only thing a tablet is good for is media consumption, and what programs does Microsoft have for that that isn't already out there, usually for free and superior to Microsoft's?

Re:Now.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814545)

I watch my sister (a graphic artist) use her tablet instead of her full desktop machine everyday for photoshop. Yes a tablet is not better, But convenience and comfort of sitting on the couch or on the train and using photoshop and her apps far outweighs the disadvantage of a small screen.

Dock your tablet (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814551)

A tablet screen is way too small

Not when you dock it. Add an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor to any tablet with Bluetooth and HDMI out, and you can carry one device that shifts between desktop mode when you're at a desk and tablet mode when away from one.

Re:Now.. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814621)

The article is about Haswell. The GP is about Windows RT.
Get with the conversation.

Re:Now.. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814639)

And that is exactly why I bought Intel stock.

Re:Now.. (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814745)

Exactly. Not to mention dragging around a tablet for your powerpoint presentation is much handier then dragging a laptop with a bad center of balance with the lid open to a podium etc.

I think RTs legacy is it pushed touch into the PC market. Haswell will make it so these devices are "real" computers. In a few years there probably will be "power user" level tablets (say 8GB ram and equivalent to a present day i7 Quad) the thickness/battery life of a iPad mini. Docking your tablet and bringing your whole computer with you everywhere without having to sacrifice a whole lot of speed would be great.

Re:Now.. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814877)

How could anything that sold so few units have any kind of legacy, other than purely negative terms?

Re: Now.. (0)

bondsbw (888959) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815393)

Let's say WinRT apps eventually dominate Windows in general, say a few years from now. Let's also say that Intel never matches the combination of power usage, size, heat, and cost of ARM for the same capability.

Windows RT devices will not become legacy if this comes true. Wintel will become the legacy, and Windows RT the successor.

I think Windows RT is just ahead of its time.

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814769)

Yes, you're agreeing with the people you think you're disagreeing with...

Re:Now.. (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814923)

haswell makes full windows with 100% backwards compatibility in a tablet device a desirable thing

Actually, if I'm not mistaken, the Atom line has been the one championing x86 tablets. Also, it is the line Intel feels is their best bet for entry into the tablet and phone market: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7263/intel-teases-baytrail-performance-with-atom-z3770-cinebench-score [anandtech.com]

The end result is the same, though:
RT is destined for the bin.
ARM SoCs are getting competition from SoCs made by a very potent behemoth.
x86 will rise in the mobile market.

To further support the latter I'd like to note that Intel is also putting effort into getting Android x86 working on the Atom, with success:
http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/asus-transformer-book-trio/4505-3126_7-35827211.html [cnet.com]

Also:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2044617/new-intel-chief-sees-150-atom-tablets-this-year.html [pcworld.com]
http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/tablets/tablets-atom.html [intel.com]

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44815351)

Yeah, good luck running your old apps on a tablet. Even if they've got the horsepower, battery life, and storage space to effectively run Photoshop (which they at best barely do if you're patient) they aren't designed for a touch interface to begin with. At least, the older versions. And the newer ones cost way too much to justify running them on an inferior machine to begin with.

Re:Now.. (1)

mevets (322601) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815407)

If the usage model of the tablet is mouse+keyboard, then I suppose you have a point (er :).
The first failed windows touch/tablets went down this path a decade ago. The usage model is quite a bit different for a fondle-slab than a lap or desk top. That is why an iPad, and increasingly Android slabs work so smoothly.

That juicy pile of apps leave a user experience closer to a juicy pile of something else, unless they are re(written|factored|shuffled|...) to work properly on the device.
That effort dwarfs a 'port' for ARM.

I think I might go into business selling bins....

Re:Now.. (1)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814347)

Exactly, we're talking about Windows RT which is going to die because Intel now have low power processors that can run "real" Windows and legacy apps with no real drawbacks over RT. Did you miss the entire gist of the article?

Re:Now.. (1)

cbhacking (979169) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814301)

That would be true - and a huge advantage for RT - if Microsoft hadn't tried to lock it down so goddamn hard. Now the only userbase for apps like that are the people who jailbreak their tablets, a market niche so small that we've had to recompile practically all of the software we use on them ourselves. The main exception is .NET apps, many of which (anything that targets a recent .NET version and doesn't require third-party native libraries) work flawlessly. ISVs have not, by and large, bothered with the (often fairly trivial) recompile-to-ARM needed for RT compatibility.

On the other hand, if you were talking about Windows x86 tablets, then yeah, you're spot on. That's their crushing advantage, although having a good OS (that supports things like multiple foreground apps and multiple user logins and the ability to run software as Admin out of the box) is also a nice feature.

Re:Now.. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | 1 year,5 days | (#44815031)

There's already an experimental branch of VirtualBox for android (on x86 processors). It's not unfathomable that you could run an XP VM on your x86 (probably Atom) powered tablet, pause and resume as needed due to battery life.

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814261)

Being able to use flash, photoshop, and do a million other useful things that I can't do on my android tablet.

Re: Now.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814793)

Flash? Next you'll be wanting Lotus123!

Yet again, its about legacy Windows software ... (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814285)

"Now, with almost 50% better battery life as promised by Intel for Windows tablets, the OEMs have no real need to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore." Why would a manufacturer buy an OS nobody seems to want instead of using Android? What's MS's advantage here?

For the exact same reason people have been using Windows for decades. They want to run specific Windows based software. With these tablets running x86 rather than ARM the legacy x86 applications become usable. Assuming drivers and other factors cooperate.

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814353)

The fact that it's not Android? That's my guess.

Re:Now.. (1, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814365)

The point is that tablets can come out with full Windows 8, which would be a game changer. You'd have full PC functionality in a laptop. Buh-Bye both Android and Apple.

Re:Now.. (1)

BeerCat (685972) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814391)

The point is that tablets can come out with full Windows 8, which would be a game changer. You'd have full PC functionality in a laptop. Buh-Bye both Android and Apple.

In theory, yes. However, the Microsoft marketing department could still drop the ball in a big way, if they overprice it, or force people to use the MS Store, or leave out key features that business wants or...

Re:Now.. (3, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814439)

It isn't "In Theory" or "or if they don't leave out key features that business wants". The devices are dribbling out onto the market NOW, you can install whatever you want on them, they run a standard full copy of windows, no lockdown like RT, it is the same version that runs installed on a desktop.

Re:Now.. (1)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814557)

Like what? Personally, I think the form-factor of a tablet is next to useless, and I'll stick with laptops and desktops, but I'm curious: where can one find these gadgets?

Re:Now.. (1)

glavenoid (636808) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814647)

Best Buy/Staples/Office{Depot|Max}... actually pretty much anyplace that sells computers.

Re:Now.. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814913)

And you can identify them easily. They're the display units with the thick layer of dust.

Re:Now.. (4, Interesting)

Omestes (471991) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815105)

Like what? Personally, I think the form-factor of a tablet is next to useless, and I'll stick with laptops and desktops,

You might be the only one, these days. In the beginning of the tablet thing, I would have agreed with you... but now my Nexus 7 gets almost as much time as my beastly desktop. My desktop reigns supreme for actual work and gaming (Android/iOS games suck, as a rule), while my Nexus 7 is for sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee while checking my email/news. The Nexus also spends a fair amount of time in the kitchen for recipes, in the living room for quick Googling, etc... I'm not going to use it for editing photos, transcoding video, coding, or typing anything about 200 characters, though.

Now if my tablet could run full-blown Windows, at a good speed (better than a shitty unpowered Windows Starter-only netbook) it would be a very nice thing. Then, for instance, I could have done some basic Lightroom work on my recent trip (the screen would still suck compared to my large wide-gamut IPS panel). My girlfriends Netbook can barely run Picasa, so its flat out. My old 14" laptop could do it, but it is another fairly heavy thing to carry around... A 10" Windows tablet would be perfect.

Hell having a tablet/phone with an OS that doesn't feel like a damn toy would be nice... I'm not just talking about Windows, having full blown whatever distro you want would be awesome. Especially if they were cheaper than Windows 8. And Ubuntu x86 tablet would be perfect. Hell, better, since it could be tailored to hardware (Like iOS or tablet Windows), avoiding Linux driver hell.

But then again, I'd own the Windows 8 tablet (not RT) right now, but for the fact that it is horribly expensive. $1000 for a convenience item is stretching it, especially when it is hardly as convenient as anything else on the market... It weighs two pounds, and has some unimpressive battery life. Fix that, drop the price by half, and then we'll talk.

Re:Now.. (5, Interesting)

larwe (858929) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815269)

So I find these sorts of comments interesting. You use your N7 for "checking" your email. Do you use it for REPLYING to email? I find it amazingly annoying to write anything longer than a tweet on a touchscreen, regardless of the input method. The instant you add a keyboard to a tablet, it isn't a tablet, it's an incredibly non-ergonomic mini-laptop with pieces that fall apart. I have the email client set up on my tablet (currently a Memopad HD7, comparable to N7) and I *READ* email on it but I practically never REPLY to email on it. I save the replies for when I've got a keyboard. Consume on tablet. Produce on laptop.

Re:Now.. (1)

InsGadget (2092854) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815431)

You had me until "drop the price by half". Power is not cheap. The Surface Pro has an SSD, nice 1080p screen, digitizer pen input, i5 processor, very nice hardware ... just not going to find those for less than $700-800, even in a standard laptop. Yet you want it to cost the same an iPad?

If you need a new laptop, and want a tablet, then the Surface Pro absolutely makes sense. If you already have a consumption tablet, and a decent laptop/desktop, it will probably be too expensive.

Re:Now.. (1)

larwe (858929) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815243)

Yeaaaah... Windows is on the same trajectory as MacOS - the endgame for which is an OS that is married to the hardware (so the hardware, while capable, will refuse to boot a non-approved OS), and an OS that will only accept signed applications delivered through a curated software store. iOS is the example of this - MacOS is following it, and Windows 8 is following MacOS more distantly still at this point in time. Microsoft wants Windows machines to be XBoxes that can run MS Office.

Re:Now.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814805)

"Buh-Bye both Android and Apple"? I don't think so, considering that iPads and Androild tablets have both been eating into the market for full-blown PCs!

Re:Now.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814863)

Just because a tablet can run Windows isn't reason enough to get me to buy one. Show me something more powerful than the ARM SoCs with more features and fully functional Linux/Android stack and then maybe you can have my money.

Re:Now.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814869)

Uh, I'll still keep my Apple, thankyouverymuch. There's a reason I left MS's mess. And it has nothing to do with running Windows on a Tablet. I've been doing that for the last decade.

Re:Now.. (1)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815311)

You'd have full PC functionality in a laptop.

I already have full PC functionality in a laptop.

Re:Now.. (2)

Stormwatch (703920) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815383)

The point is that tablets can come out with full Windows 8, which would be a game changer.

I sure as hell do not want a tablet, a notebook, a desktop, anything running Windows 8.

Re:Now.. (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814479)

The point is that now OEMs can ship regular Windows. Which lots and lots of people use. More people are already using Win8 than OSX and it's not even been out for a year.

Re:Now.. (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814567)

Why would a manufacturer buy an OS nobody seems to want instead of using Android? What's MS's advantage here?

The advantage of Windows and Windows RT over the Android ecosystem is availability of Microsoft Office.

Re: Now.. (3, Insightful)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814847)

It's more than that though office is a big deal on the desktop sure.

Lots of internal it type apps target windows. And lots of utilities. Throw in enterprise concerna and fuggetaboutit - running full windows is a requirement, not an optional thing.

Re:Now.. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815215)

Actually there was NEVER a reason to use Win RT, it wouldn't run Windows X86 programs (the only reason to prefer Windows) and thanks to Apple starting the whole "thin is in" trend with iSliver batteries and more and more powerful SoCs frankly most of the ARM devices haven't been getting great battery life either. I have seen several of the new tablets that can't even get the 5 and a half hours my AMD Bobcat netbook gets, and its running a HDD instead of SSD.

I'd say the biggest problem facing MSFT is NOT WinRT, its the fact that the PHBs have placed metro on notebooks and desktops where it makes about as much sense as having handlebars on a pickup truck. At least Google and Apple know that different forms require different UIs, ChromeOS for Google and OSX for Apple. If they don't change course the numbers clearly show win Metro is a DO NOT WANT, in fact I've been making more wiping 8 for 7 than I did wiping Vista for XP, its THAT hated.

Re:Now.. (1)

farble1670 (803356) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815239)

What's MS's advantage here?

the windows apps are familiar to a lot of people. somewhat of a weak point i admit, since 8 flipped the OS on its head, and there's not many RT apps. but if you just look at say office, it's mostly the same between RT and intel.

No time for a proper trolling... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814215)

Faggot.

At the cost of cost of a diverse ecosystem (4, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814243)

From a purely technical standpoint; this makes a lot of sense. Backward compatibility, fewer architectures that devs must target, lower dev and maintenance costs for OS vendors, and so on.

However, I can't say I'm really happy about the idea of Intel gaining even more dominance in the market. AMD is still holding on, but their answer to "low power" is "we can do better graphics than Intel in less power than Intel + dedicated graphics" which is a nice perk but also addresses neither the high end of the PC market (where they can compete on price, but not really on performance) nor the tablet/smartphone/ultrabook end (where they would need at least one and ideally two steps up in manufacturing process to match Intel).

ARM reaching into the tablet/netbook market seemed like a viable competitor; less powerful at its top end than even a mid-range Intel chip, it could operate comfortably in power ranges that Intel had no answer to. Now... not so much, and with the possible exception of legacy devices and really cheap/underpowered computers (RaPis, smartwatches, etc.) ARM risks becoming irrelevant to the "daily computer-using world". I don't care one way or another about ARM in particular, but there should be *something* out there (in reasonable usage) other than x86/x64.

ARM computers (3, Interesting)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814411)

Did noone see the announcement today about the Apple A7 processors?

Here are the specs:
1.7GHz dual core, 64-bit RISC cpu, 1GB DDR3, quad-core GPU integrated... etc

All of that in the new ARM-based "Apple A7" cpu is inside of a damn phone! How many heatsinks and fans do ya reckon are in that iPhone?

Extrapolate all that with your brain head, and think what some GHz scaling with copper heatsinks and fans (etc) could do in a desktop machine? There is not long to wait before we do have laptops and desktops running on RISC architecture again, given these new published specs.

Re:ARM computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814499)

Current ARM based designs can't even match a Pentium M on work/J for branchy ALU code.

Re:ARM computers (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814687)

Yep, Noone [wikipedia.org] saw it!

Re:ARM computers (2)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814691)

Those specs are kind of meaningless without benchmarks. Remember the DEC Alpha, that had a much higher clock-speed than some Intel chips, but still ran slower? It's very hard to compare clock speeds between different architectures, because there are so many other factors that are important. If you want to be sure, you have to benchmark.

The biggest advantage Intel has is in manufacturing (as always). They seem to be on schedule to release chips at the 14nm node by next year, and I don't think other fabs are anywhere close to that. In other words, by next year, Intel chips will be half the size of their competitors, and they will see gains in power consumption and performance as a direct result.

Re:ARM computers (5, Insightful)

Erich (151) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814747)

Woah. Woah. Woah. Woah. Woah.

I will let people crap all over a post that's basically regurgitating Intel Developer Forum drivel, and I'm certainly not going to say that WinRT has a future.

But I will NOT let you trash talk Alpha.

The Alpha was simply a much better processor than anything from Intel at the time. It was pretty much the fastest out there, though you might argue with some high end POWER or MIPS 10K or something.

Maybe you were running Windows and x86 programs on the Alpha? Those weren't blazing. But native Alpha programs were fast fast fast. And the architecture is clean and beautiful. Just beautiful.

So you can say that ARM has not much advantage over x86 today. That's probably true. You can say that ARM sucks, has too much complexity, and the system architecture is an abomination. That's probably true also. But you leave the Alpha out of your talk unless you know what the hell you're talking about.

Re:ARM computers (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815123)

I didn't talk trash about Alpha. I just said (or tried to say) that an Intel processor and an Alpha processor both having the same clock speed will have unequal power (in that case, the Alpha would be slower). But the Alpha processors had much higher clock speeds than Intel chips of the day. In other words that wasn't a valid way to compare performance.

Re:At the cost of cost of a diverse ecosystem (4, Interesting)

hamjudo (64140) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814505)

They claim 4.5 watts for the low power usage scenario. ARM will be with us for a long time. The ARM folks are climbing the feature/performance curve too. Don't worry about AMD, they are bringing out ARM chips too. Including the ARMv8, aka. ARM64. AMD describes more fruits of ARM embedded partnership [pcworld.com]

Re: At the cost of cost of a diverse ecosystem (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814871)

Amd's been dying since they went fabless imho... They've never matched intel in performance (not for long any way) and power on the desktop was less relevant (though still relevant in data centers).

The display angle was rational imho but the legacy jump (displayport) undermined that.

Haswell has a chance if it can emulate ARM instruc (0)

JoeyRox (2711699) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814253)

LOL, remember a time when Intel competitors had to torture their RISC designs to emulate x86 instructions to even have a chance in the marketplace (they all failed anyway)? How does that feel Intel? You don't have a shot in hell for making inroads into the tablet market, especially if you arrive to the ball with an ugly mistress named Microsoft.

Re:Haswell has a chance if it can emulate ARM inst (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814903)

Contrarily to what seems to be a popular belief on Slashdot, x86 and ARM aren't the real issue, it's the designs themselves which come from very different backgrounds (large high performance chips where thermals weren't a concern and fans were a given versus embedded processors which had to sip power and hide in small areas). An efficient x86 device is just as possible as a powerful ARM device, and Intel really does have a shot at tablets and maybe even phones. They've been cutting down power usage in a dramatic fashion.

Intel has been making numerous pushes for x86 support in Android (there are x86 images for most if not all Android versions) and also participated in (sadly now defunct) MeeGo. Considering Android is largely based on bytecode applications, I'd even say they're in an excellent position there, since you wouldn't even need to recompile applications for different platforms if the backend is handled properly.

specific usage scenarios (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814297)

... fourth-generation Core i3 processors, including one that draws as little as 4.5 watts of power in specific usage scenarios.

Off

Re:specific usage scenarios (4, Informative)

Macman408 (1308925) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814777)

Seriously. 4.5 watts is easily an order of magnitude higher than what you'd get from a power-efficient ARM SoC in the same scenario. Heck, 4.5W is higher than the PEAK power draw of many ARM chips. For scenarios like playing an MP3, mobile chips can measure more like 30 mW - over 2 orders of magnitude lower.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814873)

Was coming on to say the exact same thing.

Re: specific usage scenarios (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815173)

I think the key there is display. The value of not having to switch software ecosystems is high imho. Basically once both isa's can operate for 8 hours or so on a single charge I suspect the less functional one will need a much bigger jump in hours per charge to make up for the functionality loss.

I don't often go more than 8 hours without easy access to power. Once I can do that and run windows an android tablet would have to last a week or more per charge to make up for it.

Oblivion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814303)

when I saw the word Oblivion, I thought of The Elder Scrolls IV. Oblivion. Ok, i''ve been playing way too many games. lol

Which OEMs? (3, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814323)

Now, with almost 50% better battery life as promised by Intel for Windows tablets, the OEMs have no real need to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore.

Which OEMs would that be? Acer was already out, as are Samsung and ASUS. Does Dell still sell Windows RT products?

Another sensationalist headline (4, Insightful)

steelfood (895457) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814357)

The difference hardware-wise between Surface RT and Surface Pro is significant. The RT is still fairly light and easy to carry around. The Pro is significantly larger and heavier due to a larger battery and more cooling capabilities built in, and still has less battery life. In fact, the additional size and weight was sited as one reason why the Pro wasn't any good as a tablet. Cutting the thickness and weight of tablets is not just a packaging and shipping advantage.

The only way for x86 chips to reduce both heat and power consumption on load (because face it, if the processor heats up significantly at max load, an additional cooling system would have to be included in the machine's design) is to cut performance. And given x86's overhead, that'll never truly be able to compete with ARM.

Of course, RT is plagued with numerous software and hardware problems and probably was dead on arrival anyway. But new x86 chips are far from being the reason it hasn't and won't take off.

Re: Another sensationalist headline (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814939)

But it's a balancing act. And x86 doesn't have to be as efficient because they're way more functional (all that extra software you can run).

From a consumer viewpoint once you get to a certain amount of power efficiency more becomes less valuable. So if I can run a single light device for at least 6 - 8 hours on a single charge then being able to use a single stack (e.g., windows x86) increases in value.

If they get the surface down near android tablet thickness and weight then I wouldn't bother with an android tablet...

Re:Another sensationalist headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814947)

And given x86's overhead, that'll never truly be able to compete with ARM.

The micro architecture is more important for power consumption than the instruction set. Maybe if you're trying to scale down below 100mW for application specific embedded systems then the instruction set will start to matter as it's more closely tied to the circuit complexity but in terms of general purpose computing I doubt ARM vs x86 will make a difference.

Look, a dead body (3, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814361)

That Intel chips become more energy efficient have more implications than giving the last shot to a dead platform that Microsoft killed pretty efficiently already. In fact, could push more into oblivion Windows (RT or not), as could push other ecosystems that could become mainstream where Microsoft don't have presence or meaning at all, like in wearable computing, or pretty cheap devices where it would be better to install some linux derivative than paying the microsoft tax that cost more than the device itself.

Re: Look, a dead body (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814963)

Might still be valuable to keep around both as a hedge against future power efficiency changes. If arm devices can go a week om a single charge, or a month, then this cycle gets played out again.

Also good to get your high value software working well on more than one instruction set so you're not at the mercy of intel.

Haswell had jack to do with it (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814371)

Microsoft's policies with the Surface had everything to do with killing RT. They couldn't have better engineered Surface RT to fail if they tried.

Confusing name - identical to a product the same size and shape and not at all the same thing that is released at the same time. WTF?
Inferior screen compared to Surface Pro
Window 8
Missing "Start Menu" being replaced by "Start Button"
No initial boot to desktop
Apps are only available through the market and with a minimum $1.50 charge
No side-loading of apps.
No backwards compatibility
No ability to load anything that isn't approved by Microsoft. All of the disadvantage of Apples walled garden with none of the glamour
Poor CPU choice to begin with
Not enough RAM
Poor heat management
The price was far too high
No ability to join a domain
Can't legally use it for work if you read the license
Metro should have been an option and never a forced interaction
The worst thing of all was that Microsoft blatantly ignored their users feedback about Windows 8!
This arrogance left a bad taste in the mouth of many and word of mouth killed the Surface RT.

Microsoft could have made a killer Surface RT that would have done very well if they hadn't been so arrogant. The attempt to force their "market" and the Metro interface - whatever the consequences killed the Surface. By the time Haswell came out Surface RT was already dead, lost along with a few million missing tablets in a warehouse somewhere.

Re:Haswell had jack to do with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814697)

What I am confused, is how whole RT debacle was even possible ??
M$ probably wasted millions and millions on development of Windows RT OS + hardware (saddest part: probably few hundred years of human life was wasted for nothing). I am having hard grasping how MS managed to fuck up such an important project ?

Re:Haswell had jack to do with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814865)

I would also say that the Metro interface is itself wrong after 30 years of computer interfaces based on icons with subtitles. Having different size tiles makes it harder to find a program as well as wasting precious screen pixels for simple blobs of color. In other words we have replaced an image potentially carrying a lot of information with a low entropy solid color background. Does anyone believe railroad crossing signs should be text only? My impression is that the managers inside Microsoft are mainly concerned with their internal influence, status and salary while ignoring customer needs.

Re:Haswell had jack to do with it (2)

cbhacking (979169) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814925)

Oh, I don't doubt that MS fucked up RT pretty hard, though whether that was intentional or not I really can't say (I doubt it was; too much damn money down the drain). However, your list is so wrong it's hilarious.

Confusing name: The Surface Pro came out months after the Surface RT, the Surface RT has RT right in the name, and everywhere I saw that was selling them the salespeople were very cautious about making sure the customer knew the difference. The bigger "confusing name" problem is probably Windows RT vs. WinRT which not even slightly the same thing; one is an OS (desktop/tablet build of Windows NT 6.2 on ARM architecture) and the other is an API set (the APIs used for writing "Windows Store" apps, A.K.A. Modern or Metro apps, on either Windows RT, Windows 8 (any edition, including server if you want it there), and Windows Phone 8 (though only a subset of full WinRT is usable there).

Windows 8 - it was explicitly designed for use on tablets; what the hell were they going to use? It works pretty well on a smallish touchscreen; much better than Win7 does.

Missing Start menu / "replaced by Start Button": First of all, see previous point. Second, I don't know what the hell you mean about "replaced by" unless you're talking about 8.1; one of the complaints with 8.0 was the lack of a Start button (it's present but auto-hidden).

No initial boot to desktop: on the assumption that what the user really wants to do, when they boot up their tablet (not resume it from whatever they were doing last, but boot from cold), is run a program instead of stare at the wallpaper? More-so because the Start screen has the "at a glance" view of the live tiles. Even less of an issue for RT than on x86 because of the restriction on "desktop" software anyhow...

App store / minimum $1.50: Most scripts and such work fine, as do both HTML5 and Flash websites. With that said, I fully agree that they shouldn't have locked it to "Windows Store" apps. As for the cost, yes the minimum for a paid app is $1.49; good thing (if you're an RT user) that there are tons of apps that are free instead...

No sideloading of apps: blatantly false. Sideloading is officially supported and free. It's not where anybody will stumble across it by accident, but it is documented. Powershell (as Admin) -> Show-WindowsDeveloperLicenseRegistration (show-w + TAB will autocomplete) -> follow instructions to unlock, then sideloading is just "run the PS1 script that Visual Studio automatically generates along with every .APPX package".

No backwards compatibility: Mostly true (officially). Batch/CMD scripts, most Powershell scripts, and many Windows Script Host (.js, .vbs, etc.) scripts all work fine, as do .REG files.

No ability to load... approved by Microsoft: TOTAL bullshit. Even leaving *aside* the points about sideloading and backward compatibility above, there's Company apps (which is to say, private app stores).

Poor CPU choice: Tegra 3 wasn't the best choice by the time of market release, but even at that time, it wasn't a *bad* one. It's what a lot of tablets, including some very big-deal Android ones, were using / coming out with.

Not enough RAM: 2 GB?!? That's more than any other contemporary tablet I know of; it's far more than enough. As specs go, RAM is probably the *least* of Surface RT's problems.

Poor heat management: You are talking about the Surface RT, right? The one with passive cooling? It's never been a problem for me, even when running x86 games running in a homebrewed emulation layer that I had to jailbreak to install. Or running 3D games that stress its GPU to keep up. This one might be even less of an issue than the RAM thing...

Price: It was priced higher than the market was willing to bear for the features it had and the way it was advertised, yes. It was competitive with the iPad on a price/specs basis, though.

Domain joining: True (hacks aside; it is actually technically possible). Would certainly have been a nice feature, but Win 8 (as opposed to Win 8 Pro or Enterprise) can't either, nor can any competing tablet... and with the Company Apps feature and ActiveSync-pushed policies it's less of a problem than it sounds like.

Legally use for work: I assume you're referring to the included Office license (since the tablet and OS in general certainly have no such clause). Agreed that this was stupid on their behalf; though there *is* a "license upgrade" option that covers that. It's cheaper than a normal copy of Office, by a good bit, too.

Forced Metro: That only makes *any* kind of sense if the desktop apps were a viable option. Legacy software would have needed to be recompiled anyhow, and a lot of it isn't very touch-friendly... Still, I mostly agree. Classic Start Menu is available if you've jailbroken the tablet, but they *could* have made that functionality available by default.

The last two, I have no real comment about, aside from to say that a lot of people (nowhere near all, just like nowhere near everybody actually hates Metro) complained about the Office ribbon too, but most people who actually tried it out found it was, in fact, both quicker to use and more user-friendly, plus it actually requires less screen real estate (collapse it). Not everybody is as unhappy with Win8 as you seem to think. I mean I personally have very little use for Metro, but it's not like they took the desktop away.

I mean, don't get me wrong: I mostly agree with both your conclusions and with what you claim or imply Microsoft should have done instead. However, your stated "facts" are, with only a few exceptions, simply untrue. You should fix that if you want to be taken seriously.

Re:Haswell had jack to do with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815029)

You can understand the problems with the product or you can laugh at your customers.

One path sells Windows tablets in volume.

Re: Haswell had jack to do with it (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814993)

I don't think there were any good strategies. Having missed the iphone and android early leads and being linked at the hip to a power hungry x86 isa meant that any strategy was a lesser of several evils one.

That being said I'm sure they could have executed better. I don't have a problem with using the same brand since it emphasizes a break with the past level of mobility. Porting 25+ year old software to a new isa is NOT an easy thing to do.
 

Re:Haswell had jack to do with it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44815083)

As someone who owns an RT I can tell you the thing works well. It doesn't get hot, I have no problems with the screen, the battery life is manageable at 6+ hours of constant use.

For me it works to store manuals, and numerous pdfs. I take notes with it while in meetings. It shares files with windows 8 machines very well. If I need to do something computationally heavy I remote desktop into another machine and then use the tablet as a remote display for that machine to demonstrate software or whatever through the tablet interface. I think that's what tablets should be designed for...thin client terminals for operating other more powerful systems.

Metro is not a problem once you learn to use it. The start button is the start menu just much bigger and much easier customize and to use than that blasted old tiny menu in windows 7.

Not that there aren't problems. A better file browser that allows multiple selection of files is missing or awkward to perform. Sometimes IE gets bogged down on some websites and there isn't an alternative browser. The metro interface should have some features of the windows desktop (right click drop down menus?)

What microsoft needs is better PR and marketing. Moronic reviewers and commentators who don't like windows 8 and the surface are just to busy yelling at those darn kids to stay off the grass to learned to use the newer operating system well.

Re:Haswell had jack to do with it (0)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815257)

As someone who owns an RT I can tell you the thing works well. It doesn't get hot, I have no problems with the screen, the battery life is manageable at 6+ hours of constant use.

Like an Android tablet.

For me it works to store manuals, and numerous pdfs. I take notes with it while in meetings.

Which you could do on an Android tablet for much less, and have access to more apps, and have a less locked down operating system.

I think that's what tablets should be designed for...thin client terminals for operating other more powerful systems.

Then why do you need to run Windows on it?

What microsoft needs is better PR and marketing.

What Microsoft needs is a better product at lower cost. No amount of marketing will make people queue up to buy an expensive Windows tablet which doesn't run Windows in any form people are used to.

lol (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814415)

but... but... nokia just announced a new RT tablet. Obviously it was a well thought out idea, it got them.. sold to microsoft.

Just Windows? (5, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814477)

I think Linux users and Mac users will profit from it as well. Haswell chips have been in the new MacBook Air and a number of other devices, not just "Windows" tablets.

Microsoft marketing FTW.

Re:Just Windows? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814741)

I was thinking the same thing Linux and Android on X86 tablets. Yes I know Windows is more popular by far but if it can run Windows then Linux should be possible.

Re:Just Windows? (1)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815111)

Windows is not more popular on tablets. It is not even close. Windows will not be more popular on tablets with this chip.

Re:Just Windows? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815395)

True I have 3 Android Tablets. It is more popular than Linux is unless you count Android as Linux. I am also hoping for better Ultrabooks and maybe even Chromebooks as well.

Cost (4, Interesting)

puddingebola (2036796) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814507)

Isn't one of ARM's advantages cost?

Re:Cost (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814867)

Yes. Another is it's ability to be integrated into SoC's. A third is its fast interrupt response time.

"Windows lovers"? (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814561)

Is Windows-loving legal?

Re:"Windows lovers"? (0)

tftp (111690) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814713)

Is Windows-loving legal?

These days, and in enlightened countries, every perversion is legal - even this one :-)

don't you mean silvermont, not haswell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44814785)

Haswell processors are 11W, not 4.5W. i.e. you still need a fan to cool. SDP is just intel marketing bullshit.
Silvermont is a true tablet cpu though, with tdp around 4W

rt served its purpose then (1)

AlephNaut (120505) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814819)

If the purpose of rt was to get intel to take power consumption seriously then it may well have worked. Battery life was a key differentiator and on ramp for non - windows (ios and android) devices. Getting rid of that advantage strikes me as pretty crucial for the windows camp.

The question is whether or not it's too late to restore hegemony to windows in the tablet space.

Tablet apps are WinRT mandatory. (1)

Jartan (219704) | 1 year,5 days | (#44814895)

The only way to use the tablet interface is to write for WinRT. That includes x86 devices.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44815051)

"the OEMs have no real need to come out with Windows RT based tablets and hybrids anymore"

Why is that not Windows RT now more powerful? Can RT not run on x86?

In the tablet form factor RT is actually the better choice for most people, if only the apps where there to support it. Using legacy apps designed for a mouse environment on a touch interface is a huge compromise of pain.

Re:huh? (1)

0123456 (636235) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815183)

Using legacy apps designed for a mouse environment on a touch interface is a huge compromise of pain.

But if you can't run your legacy apps, why buy a Windows tablet?

That's the bind Microsoft are in.

It figures (0)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,4 days | (#44815427)

Intel makes a 5 watt soc and the best thing they can think of to use it for is yet another doomed Windows tablet.
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