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Intel Relying On Ice Cream Sandwich For Tablet Push 215

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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  • Intel won't succeed with its first iteration but it will slow down ARM a bit in an overall growing market, Intel might even take the low to mid of the market and leave the high end to ARM for now as Medfield is only competitive with ARM processors from a year ago. Both ARM and Intel will gain marketshare and eventually the market might become split between them, I don't foresee a 3rd player, maybe MIPS in the form of the Chinese-derivative Loongson?

    • What? Intel has been announcing they are just about to release a mobile chip for phones for at least 5 years. And the chip will totally dominate and kick ARM to the curb. And with Apple's recent reorganization of the computer hardware industry with the iPad, they're complete failure to actually release such a chip just hurts more.

      Finally, both Intel and MS deciding that they mustn't hurt their margins entering this new market means their less functional, more power-hungry systems will still cost more than

      • Re:Medfield (Score:4, Insightful)

        by unixisc ( 2429386 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:43AM (#38779943)

        Problem for both Intel & Microsoft is that software for PCs are still pretty pricey, while software for tablets is really cheap, thanks to the repository stores. People who would mull over whether to spend $30 on a game would have no hesitation spending $1.99 or even $4.99 on it. Since the tablets have such inexpensive software, people can get a whole bunch of them, and Wintel can't have as many to offer there. So their trump card would be to offer Windows 8 tablets based on Medfield, and hope that it sticks. That's the only thing I can imagine bailing out Windows 8 from a fiasco in the tablet marketplace.

        Tablets ain't gonna replace office laptops or servers, so there, both Intel & Microsoft are safe. But as far as home usage goes, tablets - particularly once they go head to head w/ PCs in price - will be seen as more and more attractive. As it is, the elimination of VGA and DVI from monitors is going to make a lot of monitors outdated, even though they are functioning just fine, while there will be so many affordable software titles available that at least on the home front, it has a good chance of heavily eroding the home PC business.

    • Re:Medfield (Score:5, Informative)

      by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:37AM (#38779591) Journal

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

      That's already happening, and they're selling like hotcakes. []

      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 []

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

      • Maybe it's strictly a geek thing, but I'm not using any computer with a processor named "Allwinner".

        Sorry, it ain't happening.

      • Add to that, Intel was recently boasting that Atom chips only use 2W... idle. In contrast, the A8 SoCs that you cite won't even use 2W under full load, including full GPU load, and they'll use something like 15mW when idle. Clock for clock, Atom doesn't tend to do as well as even a Cortex A8, so Intel is selling lower performance and higher power consumption at a much higher price. About the only advantage that they have is backwards compatibility with legacy x86 software, but that's only really useful w
    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Intel won't succeed with its first iteration

      Based on what? This isn't Microsoft software.

      You do realize that "its first iteration" has come and gone already, right? This is "Mk 2", anyway. They wet their toe with the Atom, which was massively, massively successful, being used in everything from netbooks to desktops and even low-end servers (it is, by far, the most common CPU in my house right now: a low-end pfsense machine, a Logitech Revue, an Asus Eee, and a file server).

      This thing is going to be pure Evil to ARM, particularly if it can handle thin

  • Not so fast Intel... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 )

    Otellini thinks the tablet market will get much more competitive over the next year as ICS devices mature and Windows 8 devices arrive.

    Intel should know that from last year, there's not been a tallet market save for an Ipad market []. I do not think matters will change until Google and its partners tame the chaos within the Android ecosystem.

    You ask your self: Why has a hugely successful company like Samsung released a [very compelling] Galaxy Note tablet based on already outdated software? Promising an update does not cut it either. It only showcases the chaos within the ecosystem, giving trolls fodder to feed on. Sad.

  • by cffrost ( 885375 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @04:33AM (#38779399) Homepage

    Bad move, Intel. I used to rely on an ice cream sandwich. Then Häagen-Dazs stopped making 'em and everything else in my life went to complete shit for about three months. Take it from someone who's been down that road: if you're going to rely on ice cream sandwich, do not commit unless you have control of the supply chain.

  • Atom? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:37AM (#38779593)
    Yeah, it's a good chip. In performance-per-watt, it'll outdo any other Intel chip with ease. By x86 standards it sips power, even if you include the northbridge. But that is by x86 standards... by ARM, it just can't compete. If Intel really want to succeed in mobile, they'll need to take a big risk: Abandon the thirty-year heritage and backwards compatibility of x86/64.
    • If Intel does that, there was never a reason to abandon ARM, or sell XScale to Marvell. What can they do - change the Itanium product strategy (since it's failed on servers) and come out w/ energy efficient CPUs based on the Itanium instruction set? It'll abandon the 30 year old heritage and backwards compatibility all right, but what guarantee is there that it will be successful?

      Maybe they could try doing a VLIW or EPIC version of ARM?

      • None. They'll be in a market where they no longer have the technological edge, where their engineers are inexperienced, and where they lack established business contacts. ARM's designs are very well established in the field now, with many manufacturers commited to using chips based on them. It doesn't matter what Intel does, they aren't getting in easily. Unless they can invent some new super-SoC that is far ahead of anything ARM has come up with, they are just at a serious disadvantage... and they aren't g
        • Packaging techniques, and solutions, are another game altogether, and one anybody can play. You have companies like Tessera, which are pioneers in this field, and either Intel, ARM or any of the other vendors can come up w/ solutions like PoP, or other techniques that would enable tighter integration into smaller form factors. x86 itself is not a roadblock to that, but there ain't much that can be done to reduce what goes into an x86 CPU, as opposed to most others. But you are right - ARM is pretty much

          • There is a risk to that too: If ARM retains the lead in performance per watt, they may start intruding into Intel's high-performance territory in a few years. Given the choice between a a future intel processor that packs eight high-performance cores and takes a hundred watt verses a future ARM design that packs sixty-four medium-performance cores and does it on half the power... suddenly ARM starts to look rather attractive even for servers. Even ARM knows that might be coming - they're designing in 40-bit
        • ARM's designs are very well established in the field now, with many manufacturers commited to using chips based on them.

          ARM has some very talented chip designers, but interestingly the company is no longer relying on them for the success of the ecosystem. The ARMv8 ISA is now finalised, but ARM is letting other companies take the lead in bringing implementations to market. This is quite an interesting strategy. The main criticism for ARMv7 is that there is no second source at the top of the supply chain. The closest is Qualcomm, but their Snapdragon is based on the ARM Cortex A8 (just heavily modified). Complete third-p

    • what you and everyone else is forgetting is that the CPU is only part of the power consumption of a phone/tablet. There's the screen, radios, usb/micro-sd and the GPU. In the case of Intel, the Medfield system is already approaching the total power demand of an iPhone/iPad from the SoC. Another factor everyone dismisses is WIn8 and WP8 as the Medfield is x86, it'll be able to run Windows natively.

      Another factor that will come into play with Win8 is Corporate purchases. If there's one thing MS knows well, i

  • Actually, the best platform for Intel's Tablet push would be Microsoft's Windows 8 - it could do some minimal salvage of both Intel & Microsoft in the tablet market by offering a key advantage not there in iOS or Android - Windows compatibility. Windows 8 for ARM ain't gonna run those gazillion Windows apps out there, but Windows 8 on an Medfield may, and that would be the main selling point of Wintel tablets.

    Otherwise, concede that the tablet market is an ARM monopoly (unless anyone comes out w/ MIP

  • How weard is it for somebody to claim that the hardware it not important, the important thing is the software, and go on talking on how they'll create a product with the same software everybody else uses.

    Yeah, the hardware is not important... I'll belive it when you stop using Android.

  • I don't get it.
    Sure, Intel may port android to atom platform.
    But what about apps?
    The average dev builds ARM binaries, and that it not about to change.
    Even if they build for other architectures, it is hard to test without actual hardware test devices.

  • I prefer crushing them up and having them with some sugar.

    Ice cream does sound a bit more delicious though.

Forty two.