Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Intel Porting Android To x86 For Netbooks and Tablets

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the which-dessert-will-you-have? dept.

Operating Systems 163

According to Liliputing, Intel is bringing the sweet eye candy of Android to x86, which — if all goes well — means it will land on (more) netbooks and tablets soon. I'm more excited about ARM-based tablets, for their current advantage in battery life, but the more the merrier, when it comes to breaking up the tight circle of OSes available for any given arbitrary class of computing devices. Given all the OS swings that the OLPC project has gone through, maybe it should be thinking of Android, too.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

if you want to put it on your machine now (5, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681566)

1.6 has been ported by the community for some time now.
http://www.android-x86.org/ [android-x86.org]

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (4, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681590)

oh, and i guess it isn't mentioned in the summary, but the port that intel is working on is for 2.2. (but it is mentioned in the article, as well as android-x86)

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682340)

I'd be willing to bet that most Android phones still won't be running v2.2 (or newer) by the time Intel gets around to release.

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682180)

I tried Android-x86, but its hardware compatibility seems to be rather dismal. My netbook booted into 800x600, and I didn't have wireless connectivity at all.

Hopefully Intel will do better.

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682702)

Do you know how computers work?
Because it sounds like you don't.
Intel will not be writing drivers for the 3,000 different wireless cards on the market.

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682968)

Probably not, but I hope they will at least write drivers for their own wireless cards that are in use in existing netbooks (mine has WiFi from Intel).

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682982)

By the way, as far as WiFi goes, Android is just Linux, so far as I can see. At least I've spotted /etc/wpa_supplicant there. So it should just use normal Linux wireless drivers, no? And same for other stuff, except for video?

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (2, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682754)

So what happened to Chrome OS?

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684504)

A quick look at the repos should give you your answer; vaporware going nowhere. I think Chrome OS was a bluff, there is certainly no chance of a usable product coming out of it

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32683508)

I say this an extremely avid Android and Linux user. Putting Android on a mouse/keyboard device makes about as much sense as putting Windows 7 on a tablet. Probably even less as although 99.999 percent of the Windows ecosystem will never work well on a tablet, at least win7 can be made to work well enough. Android and all of its 50000+ apps are designed with a capacitive touch screen and a finger in mind. Google gets this. That's why there are no official Google ports of Android to netbooks. Where is everybody else's malfunction coming from?

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684348)

So all those new netbooks with touch screens and optional keyboard/mouse setup will be left with no OS at all by your logic!

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684506)

So all those new netbooks with touch screens and optional keyboard/mouse setup will be left with no OS at all by your logic!

Where do I go to buy one of these? What you're describing sounds like one of those convertible laptops with the screen that flips around. They have almost always came with resistive screens and Windows and have been a decidedly niche product. Now, if you're talking about something with a capacitive multi-touch capable screen with some kind of detachable keyboard, I'd have to think about it. Though, off hand, it sounds like a job for Meego since it's more of a traditional Linux so older applications that are designed for a keyboard and mouse would work great as well as the new Meego only applications that would be good for touchscreen mode.

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684748)

Lenovo has such product recently.

Re:if you want to put it on your machine now (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684560)

I say this an extremely avid Android and Linux user. Putting
Android on a mouse/keyboard device makes about as much sense
as putting Windows 7 on a tablet. Probably even less as although
99.999 percent of the Windows ecosystem will never work well on
a tablet, at least win7 can be made to work well enough. Android
and all of its 50000+ apps are designed with a capacitive touch screen and a finger in mind. Google gets this. That's why there are no official
Google ports of Android to netbooks. Where is everybody else's
malfunction coming from?

The funny thing though is that a basic touchscreen film for a netbook can be had for $20-$40 retail - sure it won't do multitouch, but most apps don't actually need that...

Good (5, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681614)

As a Mac "Fanboy" as some would say here, I'm glad this is happening. I think the more competition in OS's the better. Apple changed the whole smartphone landscape with the iPhone, and Google challenged Apple to step up their game with Android. No need to start a flame war. When tech companies compete, the consumer wins because of more choices in the market.

Re:Good (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32681722)

When tech companies compete, the consumer wins because of more choices in the market.

And when tech companies do not compete, the consumer becomes a slave to lock-in and 'the share holders bottom line'

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682088)

flamebait ... really?

Pointing out that a lack of competition is bad for consumers is .... flamebait .... wow

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682262)

+1 idiotic/redundant.

What does stating the exact opposite of a post do to a conversation? Absolute waste of time.

But do apps work with x86? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682896)

But will current android apps with this port? In other words, are apps interpreted or binary?

If they are binary, then google has to make sure developers make a universal binary, like apple did with their PPC->intel transistion.... or this effort will be DOA.

Re:But do apps work with x86? (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683060)

But will current android apps with this port? In other words, are apps interpreted or binary?

If they are binary, then google has to make sure developers make a universal binary, like apple did with their PPC->intel transistion.... or this effort will be DOA.

Most apps should work. It's just Java, after all!

The ones that need porting are things that have native code in them. In which case they need to be recompiled. Not sure if there exists a universal binary format for Android to support this though, but I'm assuming it's regular ELF at the lowlevel so there's a chance.

There's also MIPS android as well - MIPS wants to get back into the phone game. Would be interesting to see a triple architecture binary...

Re:But do apps work with x86? (2, Informative)

Night64 (1175319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683716)

If you are talking about the type of App that you find in Android Market, those aren't neither binary nor interpreted per se. They run in Dalvik, a Java virtual machine made for hardware with constraints in terms of memory and processor speed (wikipedia). In plain english: yes, they will. No, there are no applications with native code in the Market. If you port kernel, middleware and key applications, every single app in Android Market that runs in Android 2.2 will run in x86.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

technomom (444378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683774)

What's really fun about the Apple-Android fight is watching Steve Ballmer all the way out there in left field yelling, "Hey! Wait! We have cool stuff too! HEY! LOOK AT MEEEEEEEE!!!!!! REMEMBER US? HEY!"

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32683934)

What, exactly, did Apple change? The amount of money thrown at marketing for mobile phones?

Seriously: before the iPhone, how many phones had any advertising? Apple did not a thing significant with the iPhone; their marketing alone was contributory to its success.

There were, and have been, better products than the original iPhone. Arguably, WinMo is a better product as it stands in the 6.5 implementation. Maemo, Qtopia, OPE etc. etc - all significantly more mature and featureful.

Marketing, and push-based sales technology: that's all the iPhone is.

Re:Good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684056)

Arguably, WinMo is a better product [than the iPhone] as it stands in the 6.5 implementation.

Dude, you really, really need this [na.org] . You don't have to suffer anymore.

Response to meego (3, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681630)

I guess this is a reponse to Meego 1.0 coming out for netbooks as a free download. I don't think meego will amount to much, but if it creates enough competition to push android ahead, that'll be cool.

Still... regarding Android on x86, I'd really prefer to see an ARM/OMAP-3 release, to run on N900s etc. There's a hack available now, but device drivers are still an issue.

More importantly... what's the status of Marketplace on this "port"? Is marketplace now open for anyone to use if they install Android? If not, this port will be useless, except as a dev platform or an interesting proof of concept.

Re:Response to meego (2, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681678)

Oh, wow. I read this as Google is porting android. Intel porting android is a much more interesting bit of news. Either Intel is so big that they have multiple departments with the same goal, and completely contradictory strategies, or they've decided that Meego is crap already, and are abandoning it for Android.

Re:Response to meego (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681732)

Or perhaps Intel is a company with more than a dozen employees, and is able to do more than one thing at a time.

It doesn't always have to be Dilbert-style "Battlin' Business Units", but there's no reason why the left hand can't work on something different than the right hand is.

Re:Response to meego (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681830)

yes - companies can do more than one thing at once - however, business units are always in contention with eachother.

everyone's issues are the most prominent/most profitable/biggest money savers and thus should deserve immediate attention. that's how every business unit feels.

Re:Response to meego (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684420)

"...but there's no reason why the left hand can't work on something different than the right hand is..."

Dude, what you and your computer do in your free-time is nobody's business.

Re:Response to meego (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681814)

Why would you say that?

Perhaps the goal, and always has since the beginning of Intel, is to sell more devices with Intel hardware, and they think Android on top of Meego will help get them to that goal? Perhaps they don't have ports for everything is because they don't QUITE have the manpower to pull that off.

Re:Response to meego (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682082)

Oh, wow. I read this as Google is porting android. Intel porting android is a much more interesting bit of news. Either Intel is so big that they have multiple departments with the same goal, and completely contradictory strategies, or they've decided that Meego is crap already, and are abandoning it for Android.

Or, they've done what any sufficiently large organization does ... Don't leave money on the table. If you can collect from both piles, do it.

Intel wants to increase the market for all of their products. They're not going to let a little ideology about which is better stand in the way of generating money. There's a lot of hoopla surrounding mobile computing, and they don't want to get left behind.

Large companies frequently want to have it both ways. You 'or' isn't an 'xor' -- 'a or b' can actually be both.

Re:Response to meego (1)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683758)

The irony here is that Microsoft lets ideology stand in the way all the time (.Net only for Windows, OpenXML versus ODF, etc). Come to think of it, so does Sony (crippling hardware platforms due to their music business). And look at where that's gotten them.

Re:Response to meego (3, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682126)

Oh, wow. I read this as Google is porting android. Intel porting android is a much more interesting bit of news. Either Intel is so big that they have multiple departments with the same goal, and completely contradictory strategies, or they've decided that Meego is crap already, and are abandoning it for Android.

Hmm, I think it's more like, Intel is "afraid" of ARM processors, and wants to be an alternative for a device, no matter the OS. I bet they'd be porting iPhone OS to Intel if it was open... Also it doesn't sound too good for Intel imago-wise, if they aren't an option for both Android and Meego, but ARM is.

Also, Intel involvement with Android is quite different from their involvement with Meego, as far as I can see. So I don't think this tells anything about Intel-Meego, one way or another.

Re:Response to meego (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683820)

Once you factor Google's ChromeOS in too, it starts to look even more incestuous.

Of course not all that surprising from Intel's perspective. They make their money from x86 chips, not selling software; they don't care what OS you run, as long as it runs on their hardware. If that means splashing a little cash on porting all the popular OSs to their hardware, I'm sure it's probably worth it for them.

Re:Response to meego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684784)

Umm.... a response? You know Meego is largely an Intel project, right, the merger of Intel's old moblin and Nokia's old Maemo? I guess they could be responding to themselves, but I'd see it more as bet-hedging.

Meego? (4, Interesting)

Spykk (823586) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681632)

I personally prefer the direction Intel was going with Moblin/Meego to Android. I wonder if this means Intel is going to leave Meego development up to Nokia?

Re:Meego? (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681786)

I personally prefer the direction Intel was going with Moblin/Meego to Android. I wonder if this means Intel is going to leave Meego development up to Nokia?

Unlikely.

However, I wonder when there'll be first Android VM for Meego... Obviously with Android App Store support, or wouldn't be all that useful. Shouldn't be too hard, now should it?

Re:Meego? (1)

BRSloth (578824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682210)

I was wondering the same thing ("MeeGo is now on Nokia's hands")

Well, one thing, this could be Intel cheating Nokia after Nokia cheated Intel porting MeeGo to ARM processors (or so it seems, from what I read somewhere.)

Re:Meego? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682346)

Well, one thing, this could be Intel cheating Nokia after Nokia cheated Intel porting MeeGo to ARM processors (or so it seems, from what I read somewhere.)

Cheated? Somebody expected them to abandon their nxx0 users and hardware on Maemo?

Re:Meego? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682484)

"Cheated"? MeeGo/Maemo is available on ARM since inception, Intel knew perfectly well what they're getting into.

And anyway, Symbian is the powerhouse on which Nokia will ride for a long time; MeeGo is a quite periphery project / expect experimentation and some shifts in direction.

Re:Meego? (1)

wick3t (787074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683818)

I personally prefer the direction Intel was going with Moblin/Meego to Android. I wonder if this means Intel is going to leave Meego development up to Nokia?

I suspect both MeeGo and Android x86 are just part of Intel's plan to drive the Atom market. At the end of the day, they probably don't really care what OS is running on it.

Best option for OLPC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32681664)

Apple - get them locked in and keep the cash flowing. All these open OS's are bad for business i say!
Give them an Apple, they'll never get out! We can keep them down!

Re:Best option for OLPC (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682034)

Can I feed this troll mommy?

Re:Best option for OLPC (0, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682128)

The truth hurts. Doesn't it?

Re:Best option for OLPC (0, Troll)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682190)

In this context it is impossible to say, because Apple actually makes their own Free and open source OS, and gives it away to anybody who wants it.

It'll be fun to see how ugly, slow, and choppy Android is on a bigger screen though. I was actually shocked to discover how awful it really is.

Cant wait... (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681734)

Till we have x86 pocket computers on par with the droid or the iphone, hopefully they wont be as locked down however...

Re:Cant wait... (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681940)

If you're going to switch to a new OS, which doesn't run any of your existing apps anyway, why care about what processor its using?

ARM is far more power for the battery usage, using x86 without some paradigm shift would be taking a step backwards.

Just go buy a Droid or an iPhone rather than wait for some bad version of the existing technology to come around.

Re:Cant wait... (0, Offtopic)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682170)

...except the beauty of source code and an easily adaptable tool chain means that your existing apps won't stay away for long.

A platform where the end users and developers are free to do what they want with it is very handy this way.

Re:Cant wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684278)

ARM is far more power for the battery usage,

This is simply untrue. At low power, Moorestown is at least competitive in terms of power/performance, probably still somewhat behind. But Moorestown offers _far_ more performance at the high end than current production ARM chips, meaning it can do things ARM can't. Things get very interesting with Medfield.

Re:Cant wait... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682418)

If it will be only "on par", what difference does the x86 make? (well, besides waiting for huge improvements in battery technology and process shrinkage to have the same level of experience, of course)

You missed it (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682650)

Cloud-based touch-centric resource efficient virtual desktops running on x86 virtual machines, from any client running any architecture.

What this means, literally, is that Intel has decided not to go down with the ship.

Great news (0)

thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681792)

... and I hope the goal is not just netbooks or tablets. It has the potential to replace XP on the desktop as well.

Re:Great news (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681972)

The mention of arm tablets in the same arena makes me want to puke!. Arm cannot do enough to be a real computer, only a pocket toy. I want to see more X86 tablets and Atom isn't good enough either. AMD or Via has a good enough x86 for this though. I actually would prefer the Via Nano if they ever get a bit more horsepower in it.

Re:Great news (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682116)

Actually I think you have is ass backwards.

The tablet computer is designed to be carried around, and have long battery life. It is not designed for serious computational work. The proper way of doing stuff these days, is to have a big ass computer at home which can do your real work, and the tablet as a sort of mobile interface to its power when that kind of owe is necessary.

Most of the time it won't be because you don't need that kind of power just to browse the web.

Re:Great news (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682120)

Really? Because I'm using an iPad right now in the form of a computer because it replaced my MacBook Pro. It seems to have plenty of horsepower to run browsers, iWork, and Skype. Which is pretty much what I ran on my old laptop and that is what most people using desktops are doing. Seems to be powerful enough to do what I, and most people not on Slashdot, need.

Re:Great news (1)

PBoyUK (1591865) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682938)

The absurd part is the 'seems to be powerful enough', and 'browsers, iWork and Skype'. You're defending the iPad on the basis of it being "good enough" when for half the price it costs, you could get a low end laptop/high end netbook with no need for qualifiers like that. And rather crucially, this would be a platform that could expand easily to meet future unseen needs you may have, unlike the iPad, from which you must get a permission slip from Hallmonitor Jobs.

Re:Great news (3, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682954)

How many USB ports did your old MacBook have?

Re:Great news (1)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683392)

How many usb ports does your Ipad have and, for that matter, how much SD memory can you plug in. For much less money, I have a netbook that does so much more. No permission needed to install what I want. I really want a tablet in the same (or a little higher) price range that do the same thing.

"Sweet eye candy" (0, Troll)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681802)

sweet eye candy of Android to x86

Really? Some of the themes for rooted Android phones are a step up and the UI is effective, but Android's default look is hardly "sweet eye candy." I submit that new even Blackberries have a "prettier" UI than Android.

Re:"Sweet eye candy" (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682220)

No kidding. OP needs to dial down the fanboi-ism a bit. I like android quite a bit, but it's not due to "sweet eye candy" of which there is precious little present by default. Android is notable foremost because it works nicely for certain use cases (small form factor touch screens, small focused micro applications) not because it looks pretty.

Re:"Sweet eye candy" (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682390)

Seriously. The whole reason I bought an incredible was because I felt the default UI of android devices was so ugly. It's worth a big delay in updates just to move a bit beyond that.

Re:"Sweet eye candy" (2, Insightful)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682680)

sweet eye candy of Android to x86

Really?

Pointing out to delusional people that they are delusional is rarely productive.

Re:"Sweet eye candy" (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684408)

I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all but as an owner of a Motorola Droid that switches back and forth from Eris to Froyo, I have to say I think the interface looks very nice. I love the Droid Sans fonts, they're very easy to read from a distance. I like the style of the widgets. The buttons, toggles, radio buttons, menus, etc. are all attractive. The gradients are dialed in very well. They aren't too much like you see in some themes and they aren't too overly subtle either. The default colors look good. Not over saturated like you get elsewhere. I'm really curious. I mean, what is it exactly that you are wanting here?

Eeeexcelent! (-1, Flamebait)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681906)

As a rabid M$ hater, anything that keeps the garbage-ware that is Windows out of the hands of the typical idiot consumer and helps break the retarded view that "Computer must mean windoze" is good for technology in the long run. Good work Intel, and good luck to ABM*. May the beast from Redmond continue to die the death of a thousand paper cuts..

*Anyone But Microsoft

What power advantage? (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681932)

In terms of performance per Watt, the Core i7 family beats ARM significantly, last I checked. In terms of idle performance, the ARM tears it up, of course, coming in at a quarter watt versus about ten times that for the Core 2 Duo. The Atom, in turn, slaughters comparable ARM CPUs in idle power, with comparable performance-per-watt, but has lower total performance-per-clock, IIRC.

What does this tell us? Maximizing battery performance of a device depends on expected load. For a device that's idle most of the time (e.g. a phone), go with Atom if you don't need faster total performance, otherwise go with ARM. For a device that's expected to be doing work much of the time (e.g. a laptop), go with a C2D or something. Not only do you get better performance per watt, you also get better total performance, better compatibility (e.g. Wine instead of a full emulator stack) with existing computer-based applications, etc. I can't imagine an i7 in my phone. I similarly can't imagine an ARM in my laptop any time in the near future.

Re:What power advantage? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682016)

I can image an ARM in a "laptop". Because I'm using one right now in my iPad, which replaced the laptop I used to carry around. I looked at the number of times I actually need a full computer and it's not often anymore. I've gone from being a Geek to a more "typical" user. So far I have great battery life and plenty of power for email, skype, iWork, and websurfing. And with docking stations at home and the office I have a full keyboard when I have to write longer email messages or type up a proposal in iWork.

Re:What power advantage? (0, Flamebait)

dfghjk (711126) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682188)

Just because you don't need a "full computer" often doesn't mean the lame excuse for one you've substituted is a "laptop". I have an ARM processor in my phone but that doesn't mean ARM is suitable for a laptop either.

I expect my laptop to run my laptop software. ARM doesn't do any of that.

Re:What power advantage? (3, Informative)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682774)

You are aware that ARM *started* as a computer CPU, and a desktop one at that (Acorn Archimedes)? People were doing very serious work on machines with much less power than an ARM mobile processor not so long ago.

Re:What power advantage? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683580)

are you saying that ARM chips can't run an office suit or a full web browser? If so, you might want to try a Beagleboard or one of those Nvidia dual core Tegra boards to see something pretty amazing. But, if you saying that the vendor of those applications you are using does not or can not provide those running on an ARM chip then you are suck with the hardware that vendor supports. Some products provide choice, others not so much and you must accept the limitations of your choices.

LoB

Re:What power advantage? (5, Insightful)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682046)

What does this tell us? It tells us you need to compare apples to oranges.
Compare a ARM SoC to a x86 processor and all its support chips.

Re:What power advantage? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684172)

But what about an Atom SoC with integrated controllers (ie no support chips - at least none you'd not find on an ARM device) like the newest Atom offerings? You know, the Mooreland that doesn't have a PCI bus and competes favorably (middle of the field) against all the current smartphones with comparable specs (Apple's iPad and iPhone; Snapdragon, etc.)

What planet are your figures from? (5, Insightful)

pslam (97660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683094)

In terms of performance per Watt, the Core i7 family beats ARM significantly, last I checked. In terms of idle performance, the ARM tears it up, of course, coming in at a quarter watt versus about ten times that for the Core 2 Duo. The Atom, in turn, slaughters comparable ARM CPUs in idle power, with comparable performance-per-watt, but has lower total performance-per-clock, IIRC.

Bizarro world, apparently. I just searched for the DMIPS/mW figures for a Core i7 and an ARM Cortex A8. Guess what, the first clue is that the Core i7 is listed in DMIPS/Watt. A Core i7 is about 1DMIPS/mW, while a Cortex A8 is about 16DMIPS/mW. The ARMs are an order of magnitude more efficient. I didn't really have to search - it's common knowledge in the industry and it's always funny seeing Slashdot articles and posts which haven't got this yet.

The Atom is still nowhere near: about 2DMIPS/mW. Even that sucks for idle consumption compared to pretty much anything ARM even from 5 years ago. Most ARM SoCs made for a portable device idle - and we're talking total system with background processing here - somewhere between 5-50mW depending on whether you're talking about an MP3 player or a big tablet. The clue, as always, is that Intel stuff is talked about in Watts, not milliwatts.

Basically the only thing Intel CPUs are better at is peak performance, and by a large margin. Not performance/watt. Not idling. Atom, when we're talking complete system, doesn't even have a peak performance advantage compared to Cortex-A9 based SoCs. And all that peak in an Core i7 goes to waste because you just don't need it for the target devices.

Re:What planet are your figures from? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683544)

Sorry, I was looking at performance-per-clock and thinking performance-per-watt. I retract that part of my comment. Idle performance, though, is better on Atom (if my numbers are right), assuming you ignore the rest of the chipset. (As you're no doubt aware, the Atom chipset power consumption is still embarrassingly high, but at least it has gone down from a couple of years ago by a large margin.)

Re:What planet are your figures from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684450)

Partial BS. Moorestown has idle power numbers competitive with ARM.

Re:What power advantage? (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683106)

For a device that's idle most of the time (e.g. a phone), go with Atom

Utter rubbish. ARM idle power consumption is measured in microwatts, and has always been leagues more efficient of anything that an x86 core can do. If Atom is so good, why aren't there any phones based on Atom?

Re:What power advantage? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683238)

Depends on which ARM chip you're talking about. The Cortex A8, if my numbers are right, idles at about a quarter watt. The Atom idle consumption is about 0.01W, more than an order of magnitude lower. Maybe my numbers are wrong---the manufacturers really try their hardest to avoid giving numbers that are in any way comparable across product lines....

As for why there aren't any phones based on Atom, I'm guessing that's more inertia than anything else. Why bother to port your OS and apps to a different CPU family?

Re:What power advantage? (1)

pslam (97660) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683844)

I'm afraid your numbers are off by orders of magnitude. A raw Cortex A8 core idles in microwatts, not even in milliwatts. The SoC itself will be idling - with keepalive of radios etc - somewhere more realistically on average 10-50mW depending on the device. The figures Intel give are drawn up by weasels: the power consumption of 25mW they state for a system playing MP3s is with the Intel core basically switched off and the IO processor doing all the work (which is, and I'm sure this is too ironic to be true, rumored to be an ARM).

I'm sure you can get an Atom based handset idling at roughly the same power cost as an ARM based one. That just means they've got their silicon process finally optimized for power, not performance, and Intel has a huge advantage in general when it comes to this stuff. But that's not where all the interesting stuff is. It's the realm somewhere-between-idle-and-peak where all the efficiency counts: browsing a web page, flipping through contacts, playing a game, watching a video. That's where efficiency really counts, and Atom will struggle. Again, Intel has very carefully provided "number of hours of playback" for some figures and "watts" for others, but never "battery size". So they've made very sure you can't connect the dots and get a power figure for any of those tasks.

Guess we'll have to wait and see, but I'm not holding my breath. Even the most optimistic interpretation says they're competitive with handsets... from about 5 years ago.

Re:What power advantage? (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683858)

The Cortex A8, if my numbers are right, idles at about a quarter watt

I don't think that can be right, the numbers don't add up.

My HTC Desire has a 1400mAh 3.7v battery in it, which means there's 5.18Wh in a perfect battery. Even if we assumed that the only power consumption is the battery (ignoring the radio or other electronics), the maximum possible battery life wouldn't even get you though a day.

5.18 / 0.25 = 20.72 hours

Admittedly the phone has a Snapdragon which is only 'similar' to a Cortex, but the maths is suggesting that 0.25W must be out by an order of magnitude.

Re:What power advantage? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684848)

5.18 / 0.25 = 20.72 hours

You're on the right track there but it isn't quite that cut and dry. A 5 Whr battery, yes, will run a 5 watt load for an hour. Thing is, it will actually run a 2.5 watt load for a bit more than 2 hours and so on. As the wattage gets lower and lower, it will run for more and more than you would expect just from the Whr rating itself. It gets pretty significant the lower and lower the draw is and .25 watt is pretty low. Unfortunately, I don't have exact numbers but a few years ago, I was doing a lot of studying into it when I was running an inverter in my motor home and trying to figure out which marine battery to get.

Re:What power advantage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684590)

The quarter watt figure probably comes from the Moorestown Intel material. That is, however, idle consumption of a smartphone WITH radio modules enabled, NOT just CPU (aka apples vs oranges). A cortex A8 when idling is in the range of nanowatts (adds up to a few mW when you count in the whole SoC but or ARMs that includes RAM, etc - again, something conveniently forgotten in Intel docs).

I must agree. (4, Interesting)

Rantastic (583764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32681946)

I have been running Android 1.6 on an old eeepc 701 for quite a while now, thanks to the good folks over at android-x86.org [android-x86.org] . Android is quite well suited to a low power, small screen machine like the 701.

Also, consider this: When running the android bowser, more and more sites default to a mobile version. I've found that the mobile versions of many sites are preferable to the full versions. I suspect this is at least partly to do with the mobile interface being streamlined.

MS Will Not Be Amused (3, Funny)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682004)

"Eeep!" - Microsoft

Re:MS Will Not Be Amused (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682424)

It's OK. MS has been seeing AMD on the side since the early 2000s. When Intel gained too much IA-64 weight, MS made Intel go on the x86-64 diet to fit into the dress made by AMD. Seems to me that both Intel and MS want the Wintel to be an open relationship. Somewhere in Redmond exist a build of the NT kernel with ARM support just like Apple kept the MacOS X on x86 for years before revealing it. My guess is that going forward, MS is going to really support AMD's vision of the GPU/CPU relationship. Admittedly, the Intel vision is pretty close to AMD's vision (CPU+GPU) vs the nvidia (GPU main, CPU support).

I see as android as the toe in the door for.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682058)

actual games on linux. I'd like to see plain jane linux distros with the ability to run android 'apps', from the android marketplace, for this reason.

Re:I see as android as the toe in the door for.. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682882)

Canonical demonstrated a prototype version of an execution environment for Ubuntu that lets it run Android apps, says an industry report. The environment acts like a simulator, and is based on the Xorg X Window environment, says the story.

Ubuntu sponsor Canonical demonstrated the Android emulator at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Barcelona, Spain, according to a Ryan Paul story in ArsTechnica. Based on the Xorg open source implementation of X Window, the execution environment functions like a simulator, enabling Android apps to run alongside conventional Linux applications, writes Paul.

The simulator is said to be compiled against Ubuntu's libc instead of Android's custom libc, and runs on a standard Ubuntu kernel. Canonical plans to excise Android-specific components that are unnecessary in order to make the software run on Ubuntu, says the story.

The developers are said to have fashioned a temporary workaround to bypass Android's "Binder" interprocess communication system, but the final version will instead depend upon a Binder-compatible patch to the Linux kernel that will be added to the next Ubuntu release. In addition, an interoperability "shim" is said to be under development "that will expose native platform services and hardware to the Android execution environment," says ArsTechnica. Open source code is expected to be released for the Android execution environment soon.

http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS7172257171.html

OLPC OS Swings? (1)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682174)

What OLPC OS swings? The ones being shipped today, like million plus that have been distributed over the last few years, still use Sugar on top of customized Fedora.

OLPC/Android is coming (3, Informative)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682240)

Given all the OS swings that the OLPC project has gone through, maybe they should be thinking of Android, too.

Funny you should mention that. According to Negroponte, XO-3 will most likely use Adroid. http://www.zdnet.com/blog/education/one-laptop-per-child-android-meet-dr-negroponte/3976 [zdnet.com]

Give it a rest, please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682324)

Can we please stop the OLPC bashing? OLPC has never distributed anything other than Fedora Linux based laptops with the Sugar shell.

Oh, and see this thread for a discussion about android on the XO: http://lists.laptop.org/pipermail/devel/2009-December/027049.html

Chrome OS? (4, Interesting)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682402)

So where would this leave Chrome OS theoretically?

Re:Chrome OS? (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682924)

Android for x86 -> x86 based tablets
ChromeOS -> netbooks

And where.... (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32682586)

... Is Microsoft's tablet/small device OS?

Yes, there are "tablet" versions of Windows ever since XP, but where is the small, lightweight, finger friendly OS for tablets?

I brought this very fact up earlier in another post with regards to Microsoft's ability for growth here: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1695766&cid=32667752 [slashdot.org]

Fine, we've got a computer on every desktop as Bill Gates dreamed, and Microsoft has 90 percent of the market, since the late 1990s. When this happened, the question to have been asked was "Now What?" Apparently nobody asked, not in 10 years, at least. They got soft. Complacent.

Vaporware and demo products don't count. I had someone honestly tell me that KIN was not meant to be profitable, or even good. What? Is this what softies actually believe?

Microsoft: Google is eating your lunch. Apple is eating your lunch. Every mobile device maker is eating your lunch.

Oh well. That's like telling the same thing to IBM in 1980s when the clone makers started making "IBM Compatible" PCs. IBM didn't listen then, and Microsoft won't listen now. The King never listens when he's been told he's naked.

--
BMO

Re:And where.... (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683802)

I think MS is killing their ability to make a strong tablet platform by choosing to add tablet functionality as just an extension to the existing OS that already has a huge installed base of non-tablet devices. There's something to be said for making a new platform whose apps only run on tablets to prevent developers from seeing tablet users as just a niche of the existing market rather than its own market. If they see it as just a niche they are more likely to ignore it or to make apps that hit more squarely on the non-tablet part of the market "but are also not-completely-crappy on the tablet." If they see it as its own market they hopefully build apps from the groundup with a tablet interface in mind, and they're much better apps because of it.

Of course there is a chicken-and-egg problem there where few developers will target a new platform unless the hardware is selling, and people won't want to buy the hardware until there is a good set of applications. That's a hump that the iPhone got over with non-stop hype, and the Palm Pre seemingly never got over.

Android would be great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32682716)

As a firmware based OS for "instant on" functionalities..

Re:Android would be great.. (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683028)

I'd love to have that functionality in my android phone.

How about no? (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683306)

Android is (almost!) free and that's cool and all. But see, I don't really want to run such OS on a PC.
Give me my standard library, and C. Then I can build whatever I need.

ARM the Atom (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32683398)

I'm more excited about ARM-based tablets, for their current advantage in battery life...

This advantage seems to have gone away, more or less. ARM chips use less power because they're RISC, which means fewer transistors. And guess what? Intel's low-power Atom is also RISC (the complex x86 instruction set is emulated using "micro-ops") and seems to do OK with power consumption. My own Atom-based Netbook can make a battery last all day.

Re:ARM the Atom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684396)

It all depends on how short your days and how big your pockets are.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?