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AMD Hardware

AMD Gives ARM License a Miss, Will Stick To x86 67

Posted by timothy
from the we're-just-friends-honestly dept.
CWmike writes "Advanced Micro Devices has shot down rumors that it is pursuing an ARM license, saying it will stick to developing chips for tablets around the x86 architecture. 'We've made a big bet on APUs, which are x86,' said John Taylor, a marketing director at AMD, referring to accelerated processing units. AMD has been criticized for a lethargic approach to entering the fast-growing tablet market, which is dominated by ARM."
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AMD Gives ARM License a Miss, Will Stick To x86

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  • by Richard Dick Head (803293) on Friday April 29, 2011 @06:52PM (#35981080) Homepage Journal
    I'm not buying a tablet until it can run MS-DOS and Lotus 1-2-3. Period.
    • by Meshach (578918)

      I'm not buying a tablet until it can run MS-DOS and Lotus 1-2-3. Period.

      Let me know how that works out for you...

    • Apparently anything running Android then. Here you go [appspot.com], although I haven't tried it myself. There's always cross-compiling qemu statically for ARM and then running it on your Android tablet.

    • by NuShrike (561140)

      You mean something like this: http://www.blogsdna.com/10151/now-you-can-run-windows-3-1-on-android-phones.htm [blogsdna.com]
      and
      http://androiddosbox.appspot.com/ [appspot.com] ?

      So which tablet are you getting?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can run msdos - and apps like lotus 1 2 3 - on an iPhone or iPad right now with DOSPad (iOS DOSBox port).

      People have win95 running on iPads.

    • I'm not buying any tablet that can't run a decent virtual paint program (ArtRage/Corel Painter) and uses a wacom digitizer for pen input. After all, if I can't use a stylus and write on it like a notepad, then what good is it for me? A pad of paper and a smartphone will suit better for my purposes.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I believe Dos-box has been ported to ARM. Quemu also runs on top of ARM. Now you have no excuse.

    • by gfody (514448)
      seriously. you'd think a form factor change as dramatic as tablets and phones would be an opportunity to lose the x86 legacy cruft and innovate. netbooks were a lame fad. the only good thing coming from super low tdp x86 is multicore desktop chips. by passing on ARM AMD are basically stating they want nothing to do with the tablet and smartphone market
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Why would you say that? The new Bobcats have sub 6w power usage while giving you a dual core CPU and a Radeon IGP. With power usage that low there is no reason why one can't build an x86 tablet and I would argue if you put a decent battery instead of these "iSliver" teeny tiny things it would be a kick ass product!

        Imagine a tablet with 2Gb of RAM that would let you run your Windows programs AND games, or let you have a full blown Linux x86 in your pocket. It sounds pretty sweet to me and I'd rather have som

        • All those desktop programs are design for desktop input, so I would expect that experience to suck in so many ways. Plus with Linux, why bother with x86? You can get full Linux pretty much anywhere; that's the beauty of open source.

        • by gfody (514448)
          what you're describing is basically netbooks/slates. bobcat and atom are just slow enough to be annoying. sure you can run windows on it, but it runs like shit and you get about 5 hours battery time. meanwhile arm chips are providing a snappy experience on a fraction of the power.
    • My name is Moses. What's all this about tablets?
    • by m50d (797211)
      My (AMD Geode-based) Vye S18 is fantastic; sounds like the touchscreen version would do what you want.
    • by Chemisor (97276)

      You can. Just get DosBox for Android [appshot.com].

    • If you run Linux ... not Andriod, you can run virtualbox with dos and lotus 123. I know you were being sarcastic, but if Windows 8 runs on a tablet it, you could run office, Visual Studio, and all your pc apps with its virtual keyboard.

      That is really cool. :-)

      My complaint why I refuse to waste money on a silly tablet is that you pay all this money and just waste time surfing the net and clicking on facebook applets etc. If I can run office and use it more like a pc then a cell phone then the value is differ

  • by horza (87255) on Friday April 29, 2011 @07:36PM (#35981370) Homepage

    The behemoths that once lay claim to be innovators are starting to drop. I buy AMD chips over Intel for my desktop, but my next tablet will be ARM. As the next generation are pretty much standardizing on Android for the OS (though Microsoft are working hard to make their OS ARM compatible), speed and battery life are going to be two key differentiators. ARM has the clear advantage here. Of course tablet sales are only a tiny drop in the sea of revenue for a company like AMD, but it does seem short-sighted none the less.

    Phillip.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by roc97007 (608802)

      Well, I don't think the behemoths were truly innovators for quite awhile. Each generation was a refinement of something that already existed, with an almost exclusive focus on Winders on conventional PCs and laptops. They're not equipped to compete in the tablet marketplace, not because the processor can't handle it, but because the tablet marketplace has already standardized on ARM. Even if, for instance, Android gets ported to x86, (I'm aware there's a project for that), or IOS surfaces on x86, (extrem

      • by the_humeister (922869) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:20PM (#35982168)

        Why, if they were x86 Android tablets, why wouldn't they be able to run Android apps? The apps are running on top of Dalvik anyway so the processor underneath it all doesn't really matter.

        • by iroll (717924)

          First time I've wished I had mod points in a long time, thank you.

        • True, x86 Android devices could run Android apps, but they would not be BETTER than ARM devices running the same apps, and they'd have much worse battery life. Who'd buy one? Who would bother building one?

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            they(x86) would run it faster, dalvik would run faster on modern x86 clock per clock, no question about it. and saying that speed doesn't matter is like saying that amiga won.

            but did they already fix the NDK(for including portions in c/native) to work over both arm and x86? i think not. SO THE PROCESSOR UNDERNEATH CURRENTLY MATTERS A GREAT DEAL. also, the friggin emulator emulates arm when doing development - and that is why it's so friggin slow.

        • by Tapewolf (1639955)

          Why, if they were x86 Android tablets, why wouldn't they be able to run Android apps? The apps are running on top of Dalvik anyway so the processor underneath it all doesn't really matter.

          I think a lot of games and things use the NDK. IIRC Android 2.3 added the ability to write entirely native games. The NDK doesn't quite seem to support x86 code generation yet, though they're working on it. Once they get that going, devs will still have to tell it to build an x86 library as well as the ARM one...

        • Some apps call native library code due to the performance of compiled interpreted code being poorer than native.

          These will be compiled for the target device.

        • by toejam13 (958243)

          An Android Java applet should be able to run on any processor that Android has been ported to, may it be ARM, x86-64 or any other proc series.

          Having said that, Java does allows you to load an external library via the System.loadLibrary() method, which could be a native binary. There are several examples on the web of how to use this for Android applets.

          I could see situations where you wanted to use native Advanced Vector Extension (AVX) ops in a program for an embedded x86-64 processor because those ops we

          • by Locutus (9039)
            FYI, Android is not Java. if anything it supports much of the Java language syntax but it is not Java and does not run the Java virtual machine(JVM) which may be what you meant by "the native Java bytecode interpreter".

            LoB
    • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday April 29, 2011 @08:37PM (#35981716)

      (though Microsoft are working hard to make their OS ARM compatible)

      Yeah, let's ignore WinMo and WinCE that have already been ARM compatible for 15 years now.

      • by hawk (1151)

        That's a good *first* step.

        Then we move on to ignoring Windows 7, XP, NT . . .

    • by Jenming (37265)

      AMD and Intel are truly amazing innovators.
      Each time they shrink the process on those chips requires feats of engineering that are staggering. 28 nm, 20 nm soon. Thats nanometers. How cool is that?
      The computer hardware companies have done incredible things to personal computing power. Intel, AMD, Nvidia, IBM. Awesome.

      Get off my lawn.

    • by jd (1658)

      The article on dark silicon really makes your point for you. Think: If the current trend is towards having specialist cores, you can have both ix86 AND ARM implemented on the same chip. The Cell processor demonstrates how to do hybrid architectures, but clearly the degree of hybridization being planned in the future will be far greater. Having a chip that can do ix86 and ARM means one chip can be used in both markets, which means greater volume and therefore lower overheads for the chip company. It also mea

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      why will you have a next tablet? why not just a laptop with detachable keyboard and all your old apps + new touch apps and a proper dock and able to decode two full hd videos at once to docked full hd screens?

      you think arm has a speed advantage? you really like to force coders do fixed point shit in 2012 ?? why do you think stuff that took a pentium 200mhz needs a 800mhz arm android?

      besides, going into arm is practically just about fabbing somebody else's designs(ask samsung).

      amd's done very, very, well fro

  • Indeed, i dont give a fuck about arm. i have endless supply of software, games and other shit i may need to run on a tablet. until tablets can provide backwards compatibility to provide for that, gtfo. im not paying $400 for something that only presents a 10 inch screen to watch videos on youtube and make facebook updates or use half assed simple widgets. my phone can do these.
    • Indeed, i dont give a fuck about arm. i have endless supply of software, games and other shit i may need to run on a tablet. until tablets can provide backwards compatibility to provide for that, gtfo. im not paying $400 for something that only presents a 10 inch screen to watch videos on youtube and make facebook updates or use half assed simple widgets. my phone can do these.

      Let me introduce you to a *new* cross platform programming language that compiles down to binary for all current platforms...

      Introducing: C

      That's right folks -- Application logic can now be written in a machine independent language without using a virtual machine!

      You see -- All of the software I need to run is open source, thus it runs on any architecture. I don't give a fuck about closed source apps. If I relied on a significant "supply of software, games and other shit" that was closed source, I

      • You see -- All of the software I need to run is open source, thus it runs on any architecture.

        Good for you. Seriously. Good for you. I'm not being the slightest bit sarcastic either. I wish that were the case for more people.

        Unfortunately that also tells us some things about what YOUR needs are not. Clearly you aren't a heavy duty CAD user, you aren't an accountant, odds are you aren't a graphics professional (Photoshop), you don't use MRP or ERP either and I could go on. I also very much doubt that all of the hardware you use is open source only. (While possible to do in theory, open source

  • What would an AMD tablet run? Surely they don't think they're going to sell a lot of tablets running Windows 7? What truly mature, tablet-ready OS runs on Intel? (And I'm not talking about Parsimonious Palembang or some other future Ubuntu release -- what's available in, say, June?)

    • by TheEyes (1686556)

      What would an AMD tablet run? Surely they don't think they're going to sell a lot of tablets running Windows 7? What truly mature, tablet-ready OS runs on Intel? (And I'm not talking about Parsimonious Palembang or some other future Ubuntu release -- what's available in, say, June?)

      Well, it might run Android... [android-x86.org]

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Yes, I'm aware of that project, but what apps would it run? Even java apps would need some tweaking, I suspect.

        • by TheEyes (1686556)

          Yes, I'm aware of that project, but what apps would it run? Even java apps would need some tweaking, I suspect.

          Most Android apps are run on the Dalvik VM; the only ones that aren't have been compiled to native code, and those from my understanding already need to be ported from machine to machine (to take advantage of the different GPUs) as it is

    • Windows 8 is supposed to be tablet friendly. Microsoft even demod Windows 8 alpha on an ARM!

      AMD is betting people will buy x86 tablets running Windows so they can run legacy and proprietary win32 apps like office and games. That is very very important for people like myself and others who will not waste $499 for a tablet that can just browse the web and run facebook applets etc. I have a phone when I need portability with communication.

      Even x86 on a linux tablet is superior in the sense that I can run Java

      • You're wrong about ARM Linux. I have an ARM netbook and it has a reasonably fast OpenGL ES 1.0 & 2.0 implementation and it runs Eclipse just fine. Note that mine is a *netbook*. If full-blown ARM laptops were made, they'd have fast OpenGL.
    • by jvillain (546827)
      I would only be interested if it ran Moblin.
  • Not a Surprise (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheEyes (1686556) on Friday April 29, 2011 @07:56PM (#35981484)

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who's been paying attention to AMD. AMD has already bet on x86-64 scaling down to tablet form factors; that is, after all, the entire point of the Bobcat architecture. Later this year when Bobcat transitions to 28 nm we'll see if it pans out; even if it doesn't there's always the 20nm transition in late 2012, and that's sure to lower power requirements enough to make an x86 tablet viable.

    At the same time, it's obvious that there really isn't any room in the ARM SoC market for new entrants*. NVIDIA is already selling Tegra 2 SoCs for a cut-rate $25 a chip, and those are going into already too expensive [pcworld.com] Android tablets. The message is clear: the only way to make a profit with ARM chips is in volume, and there's no way a new entrant like AMD is going to ramp to significant volume to even cover production and R&D costs before their own Bobcat architecture has made the transition to 28-20nm and they're basically competing with themselves.

    *- Yes, I know AMD wouldn't be entirely a new entrant, as they had an ARM license as recently as a few years ago, which they subsequently sold off, but by this point they'd essentially be new entrants all over again

    • AMD has already bet on x86-64 scaling down to tablet form factors

      That may actually pay off. Tablets aren't that far from the point where 32-bit address space becomes a serious limitation, and 64-bit ARM cores are only just on the horizon as far as I know. ARM is coming in from the low-power end and ramping up the performance, and AMD is coming from the high-performance end and cutting the power consumption. Both will benefit from miniaturization. Eventually, I could see them go head-to-head in the mobile multimedia computer race. Of course, Intel will have some tricks up

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        That is exactly it.

        But it should be noted that these mobile CPU's are also heading towards more power, not less.

        At some point batteries will be so good that power needs become trivial beyond the "how much does it cost to charge it?" question, which isnt a question anybody is currently asking (people only ask "how long will a charge last?") So in the end it will be all about performance.

        Intel has a problem in that its sort of the middle-solution in his space. Atom's arent low enough in power draw to c
        • by jvillain (546827)
          I could be very wrong. But doesn't AMD already get a piece of the ARM action as every one includes a video chip with their ARM tablet/phone and a good chunk of those are AMD. Set me straight if I am wrong.

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