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Android Cellphones Handhelds Intel Software Hardware

Intel's Plans For X86 Android, Smartphones, and Tablets 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the sometime-down-the-road dept.
MrSeb writes "'Last week, Intel announced that it had added x86 optimizations to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, but the text of the announcement and included quotes were vague and a bit contradictory given the open nature of Android development. After discussing the topic with Intel we've compiled a laundry list of the company's work in Gingerbread and ICS thus far, and offered a few of our own thoughts on what to expect in 2012 as far as x86-powered smartphones and tablets are concerned.' The main points: Intel isn't just a chip maker (it has oodles of software experience); Android's Native Development Kit now includes support for x86 and MMX/SSE instruction sets and can be used to compile dual x86/ARM, 'fat' binaries; and development tools like Vtune and Intel Graphics Performance Analyzer are on their way to Android."
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Intel's Plans For X86 Android, Smartphones, and Tablets

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  • Intel Softcores (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:37AM (#38084686)

    While it is always nice to hear about companies contributing to opensource, I don't see there being a big demand for x86 android. Who would use it? It's not low power enough for most tablets/phones. And while the ability to run existing x86 apps is nice they are mostly tied to Windows which is also not likely to see much traction in the mobile space. So what is the point?

    What I would like to see is Intel creating a SoC and softcore suite. Intel has some big advantages that they could use to seriously compete:
    1) Lots of experience in chip design. I don't see why they can't create an ARM-Core competitor.
    2) They can start from scratch. Unlike ARM there is no need to legacy support or backward compatibility.
    3) They have in house designers for everything from graphics, wired, wireless, etc. chips. I don't see why they cannot design from this a whole suite of modules that work on their SoC platform.
    4) They have (to my knowledge) the best chip fab plants in the world by a sizable margin. Die shrinks offer a great way to reduce power consumption.
    5) They have produced great x86 compilers for years, so producing a new compiler for a new chip shouldn't be too difficult since they are already experienced with x86 and Itanium.
    6) They have shown that they already know how to support Android.
    7) They have the cash and business partners to make it work.

    I'm not saying they are guaranteed to make big bucks. Fighting an intrenched ARM with wide industry support will be hugely difficult. But if any company can do it it's Intel. Of course this means they would have to get over the Itanic debacle and stop trying to shove x86 down the throats of every problem.

  • Re:x86 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:47AM (#38084748)

    Given the choice, everyone who actually has to code for those CPUs (e.g. compiler makers), without a doubt prefers ARM over x86. Simply because of how shit x86 is.
    It's the Windows ME of machine code. It started out as a DOS, and kept the cruft all the way to today. While piling more and more bigger and bigger stuff on top. Ending up with a upside-down pyramid, held in balance by a billion wood sticks.
    And I know that even Intel itself couldn't stand it anymore. That's why they implemented that microcode solution with a RISC processor on the inside.
    If only they would give us direct access to that core, but leave the microcode in there for 1-2 processor generations for legacy reasons.
    Then nobody would willingly keep doing x86, and before those 2 generations would be over, it would be locked away and forgotten.

    I, for one, plan a 265-core ARM CPU as my next desktop system. (Yes, ARM cores are slower per clock cycle. But they are *a lot* more efficient and *a lot* cheaper too. [No, ATOM does not count, unless you add that northbridge that's so big and gets so hot that looking at the mainboard 10/10 people think it's the actual CPU. Which is closer to the truth as Intel ever wants to admit.])

  • Re:power consumption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by craftycoder (1851452) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:57AM (#38085550)

    I'd mod up your post, but I want to reply instead. Are you suggesting that the display uses 50-100 times the power of an ARM chip (and therefore 5-10 times an x86)? If that is true, that is very interesting. I did not realize the display was such an outlier in power consumption department...

  • by hedwards (940851) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#38085986)

    Intel's stuff is generally good, but it's expensive and I don't personally think we need to allow a foothold for the same sort of anti-competitive behavior that Intel is known for in the desktop/laptop processor market.

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