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Operating Systems Google Handhelds Intel Portables Technology

Intel Porting Android To x86 For Netbooks and Tablets 163

Posted by timothy
from the which-dessert-will-you-have? dept.
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.
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Intel Porting Android To x86 For Netbooks and Tablets

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @02:47PM (#32681614) Journal
    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.
  • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday June 24, 2010 @02:55PM (#32681732) Homepage

    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.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:02PM (#32681814) Journal

    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.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:11PM (#32681932) Journal

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

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:11PM (#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.

  • by woolpert (1442969) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:18PM (#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.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:20PM (#32682082) Homepage

    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:Great news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:23PM (#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.

  • by Urkki (668283) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @03:23PM (#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.

  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:03PM (#32682680)

    sweet eye candy of Android to x86

    Really?

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

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:22PM (#32682982) Journal

    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?

  • by pslam (97660) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @04:30PM (#32683094) Homepage Journal

    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:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by technomom (444378) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @05:13PM (#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!"

There is hardly a thing in the world that some man can not make a little worse and sell a little cheaper.

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