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Android Handhelds Intel Operating Systems Hardware

Intel Relying On Ice Cream Sandwich For Tablet Push 215

Posted by Soulskill
from the waiting-for-a-piggyback-ride dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Intel thinks tablets live and die by their software, not their hardware. So as they get ready for a big push into the mobile device market, they're relying on Ice Cream Sandwich to provide competition with Apple's products. From the article: 'The company has largely watched from the sidelines as mobile device makers have used processors based on ARM's microarchitecture to power their products in recent years. This despite the fact that Intel actually predicted the rise of what it called "mobile Internet devices," or MIDs, several years ago, and built a chip, Atom, for such gadgets. For all that [Intel CEO Paul Otellini] touts the software over the hardware when it comes to tablets, Intel knows it's got a lot of ground to make up to wrest design wins away from ARM. The Medfield System-on-a-Chip (SoC) is a promising but still uncertain step in that direction.' Otellini thinks the tablet market will get much more competitive over the next year as ICS devices mature and Windows 8 devices arrive."
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Intel Relying On Ice Cream Sandwich For Tablet Push

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  • by SeaFox (739806) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:41AM (#38779433)

    What makes you think Windows 8 will be terrible?

    I'm using the Developer's Preview right now and I can tell you it's annoying as Hell, and it's not gonna change. Why? Because the things that make it annoying are things Microsoft wants to push.

    There's no real Start menu. All programs have to be launched either from the Metro interface, an Explorer window of the program folder, or having the app docked on the taskbar. The Metro-enhanced apps look great on the Metro launcher, but regular apps just get their Start menu files added as tiles.I have several tiles labeled "Uninstaller" but I have no idea what program they uninstall because they aren't grouped at all with their parent programs like they were in folders on the old Start menu. Same with those apps "Read Me" files. But if Microsoft put a regular start menu in people would likely jump right into the Desktop and not even bother with Microsoft's Metro at all, continuing to use their PC like they did in Vista/7. That would threaten Microsoft's plan to steer everyone into using their Metro app store and taking a 30% cut, like Apple does on their App Store. There's also a lack of regular menus in Explorer. It's been replaced with the Ribbon interface. Microsoft sees Ribbons as the future: usability or customer preference be damned.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:06AM (#38779499) Journal

    You missed the mark... What made the iPhone break thorough was the fine integration work. I had a WinCE PDA a decade ago, too, and it was an absolute nightmare to use for anything... Little things like the power button putting the device into standby (instead of just shutting off the screen) made it useless as an MP3/Ogg player.

    The apps were all massively crippled. Pocket Office was inferior to Wordpad. Browsers were all crap, crippled compared to desktop versions, and nobody had figured out how to render full sized web pages on a 240x320 screen. They were still massively dependent on desktops. And worst of all, WinCE was just unresponsive crap. It was laggy as hell on 300MHz+ CPUs when Palm and others were snappy on 30MHz CPUs. The start menu model was never a good idea. And I despised having to go download a REGISTRY EDITOR for my PDA first thing to fix insanely stupid default settings...

    Now if you actually wanted to get stuff done, Psions were awesome. Slide-out keyboard. Office suite that allowed composing pretty full-featured documents, even embedding charts and drawings into documents, and printing them out directly to the nearest IRDA enabled laser printer. There, some of the limitations were avoided just because the portrait display eliminated side-to-side scrolling with web browsing and whatnot. Even had a PDF reader, but you'd have to squint to read the tiny fonts, or deal with side-side scrolling every line... the software that makes smartphones tolerable today just wasn't even a dream back then.

  • Re:Medfield (Score:5, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:37AM (#38779591) Journal

    maybe MIPS in the form of the Chinese-derivative Loongson?

    That's already happening, and they're selling like hotcakes. http://www.mobilemag.com/2012/01/12/79-ainol-novo-7-paladin-tablet-does-ice-cream-sandwich/ [mobilemag.com]

    The problem for Intel is the price of these SoCs:

    • $5 TI ARM Cortex A8, 500mhz,
    • $7 Ingenic jz4770 1ghz MIPS with a Vivante GC600 3D GPU
    • $7 Allwinner A10, 1.5ghz ARM Cortex A8 with a MALI400 GPU
    • $75 Intel Atom Z670 Oak Trail 1.50GHz GMA 600 GPU

    http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/ [rhombus-tech.net]

    They may not be as capable as the Atom, but they're good enough to make very usable tablets at 1/10th the price.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:56AM (#38779801)

    Thanks for that clear answer. Sounds pretty bad to me although I think non-technical users might not care,

    The Metro interface itself needs more work to show it can cut it as a launcher interface, too. In its current incarnation, it's scrolls left and right. You can move it with the scroll wheel on your mouse or drag a scroll bar that appears on the bottom, but it feels like a kludge way to navigate through all your apps. It's like someone up in Redmond suddenly realized "oh yeah, you have to have a touch-screen to swipe! That might be a problem for people who don't (like almost all desktop users)". Besides the "extra files" getting tossed into the interface in separate tiles I mentioned, there's the problem or navigating large collections of apps. On a tablet this isn't so much of an issue because of the more limited storage space on tablets, but on a desktop machines you could find yourself getting a bit weary scrolling through all those tiles to reach something at the other end. A full install of the Adobe CS4 Master Collection adds 25 new tiles to the Metro grid. There needs to be a way of dividing the "Full" Metro launcher view into sub-screens, like you can on iOS when you pull up specific "genres" of apps (or like you had programs and their support files segregated into folders named for the publisher on the old Start menu). Non-tech users will feel this as well once they have a healthy collection of free games from the Metro store or traditional apps from other places installed.

    The Metro UI (and the included apps that come with it) are also obviously written under the assumption your screen is 13" or smaller. The Metro apps all run full-screen (and can't be changed to windowed) and their controls are all oversize for a desktop environment (I have a 1920x1200 display -- waste. of. space. ). I hate it when I hit certain links in the Desktop zone (usually in control panels) and for some reason instead of Firefox launching IE is coded to launch instead. And not the Desktop (normal) IE, but the Metro full screen version that whooshes everything else I'm working on out of view. I've also been unable to find a way to actually Exit any of these Metro apps, either. I can click out of them and back to the Launcher, but I cannot stop the process without actually End Tasking them from the Process Manager. They eventually go into a "hibernation"-like state instead if you don't use them. Also amusing: the Process Manager keeps track of network utilization and data usage on a per-app basis (obviously written with tablets and metered 3G data plans in mind).

    but what interested me most was the bit about the 30% cut with the Metro App Store.

    Correction: It's 20% for above $25,000 in sales [tomshardware.com]. But it is exactly what it appears, Microsoft finding a way to take a cut from application sales revenue on programs they ha nothing to do with writing, just like Apple's store.

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