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Intel Confirms That Android 3.0 Is Coming To x86 Tablets 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-to-a-tablet-near-you dept.
timothy writes "Considering that x86 and ARM have been playing leapfrog in at least their future *promised* efficiencies, and that there are a ton of x86 tablets in the works, it's good to see cross-platform OS choices. The most popular Linux distro (Ubuntu) as well as several other conventional Linux options, Windows (even if so far confined to tech demos), and Android — interesting mix."
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Intel Confirms That Android 3.0 Is Coming To x86 Tablets

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  • What about Meego? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Meego is really dead, then.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)

      To head off the stupidity before it infects Slashdot, no.

      Intel sells processors. Any OS that will run on their processors is OK by their standards.

      Of course, contributing to Android is to undermine open source as a whole, seeing as how they continue to hide the Honeycomb source but deliver it to Intel. If you truly appreciate open source and want it to succeed in the mobile space, you should support and push for MeeGo (and stop buying shit from companies like Motorola.)

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Intel doesn't manufactures any ARM processors, do they? Which is probably what's going on there. An attempt to derail the OS by adding in support for their own processors. Given how they've been behaving, I wouldn't be surprised if they started leaning really hard on anybody using ARM chips with Android.

        • by Microlith (54737)

          Intel can't do that though, they don't control the OS. And they have no real foothold in the mobile space to do that with just yet.

        • You mean like every single phone manufacturer in the world? Intel doesn't even have horse in the race below the tablet level, ARM is pretty much the only game in town for ultra mobile deceives like phones and PDAs.

          • by Kjella (173770)

            You mean like every single phone manufacturer in the world? Intel doesn't even have horse in the race below the tablet level, ARM is pretty much the only game in town for ultra mobile deceives like phones and PDAs.

            Yes, pretty much. It's no secret that Intel wants to get into ARMs market, having Android run on x86 is a start. Or at least make sure the battle lines are as far towards ultra mobile as they can. I imagine they're looking at a reverse iPhone -> iPad, first get their CPU in tablets then bring out a smartphone version.

            I know ARM has and probably ever will have an advantage in the ultra-low power dumb phone game. But "entertainment" phones have a much higher power budget when playing, it's not certain ARM

            • by Anonymous Coward

              I guess it comes down to can intel beat a dual core 2 Ghz ARM?

              Intel just wants to take away a piece of the market from ARM processors. Once the netbooks went down the hill intel was fucked and a lot of their roadmap was relying on the netbook market, which is now dead. The new tablet and high-end smartphones market doesn't even remember who intel is.

              • Re:What about Meego? (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @03:41PM (#35885136) Homepage

                I guess it comes down to can intel beat a dual core 2 Ghz ARM?

                Yes, easily. Can they beat them in the same power budget? Will the ARM do as much per clock cycle as the Intel? Those are better questions. ARM has a lot to learn about high performance chips. Intel has a lot to learn about low power chips. I wouldn't be so quick to wager ARM can learn Intel's tricks faster than Intel can learn ARM's tricks.

                The Atom wasn't targeting ARM, it was more about choking AMD by creating a very low cost, low power chip that'd steal a lot of the "value" market from AMD with battery life AMD couldn't match. In that I would argue it was a success and has been a thorn in AMDs side until the Brazos platform launched this year. It is of course a stepping stone on the way to competing with ARM, but it's hardly the best Intel can do.

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  AMD has Athlon 64 processors on a power budget competitive with Atom, but they gave up on them. I'm typing this comment using a machine powered by one right now. The only operating system it supports properly is Vista. AMD never bothered to even contribute support for its power saving to Linux, and they don't make downloads for the processor or the chipset available, you have to get them through your OEM. And the only support files are for Vista. The machine has a pretty peppy ATI integrated GPU, which agai

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Intel still holds a full ARM license. They sold the XScale to Marvell, but retained a license. Why couldn't they build ARM again?

          • Re:What about Meego? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @01:47PM (#35883946)

            Intel still builds ARM processors. Their entire line of "IO Processors" are basically dual-core ARM chips used for RAID cards. Adaptec and Highpoint both use these chips, for example.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            The bigger question would be "why would they need to?" as people are expecting their phones to do more and more AND MORE which means that whole "ultra low power' thing is quickly becoming passe'.

            Apple with the iSliver batteries that everybody and their dog are ripping off are training people as we speak to carry a charger with them everywhere, the EU getting the OEMs to agree to standards (mini USB I believe was the final verdict) means that if you forget your charger somebody else will have one, phones are

      • by icebike (68054) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @01:47PM (#35883950)

        Of course, contributing to Android is to undermine open source as a whole, seeing as how they continue to hide the Honeycomb source but deliver it to Intel. If you truly appreciate open source and want it to succeed in the mobile space, you should support and push for MeeGo (and stop buying shit from companies like Motorola.)

        Really? http://www.androidcentral.com/gpl-portions-honeycomb-entered-aosp [androidcentral.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Microlith (54737)

          Yeah, probably only related to changes made to the kernel as everything else is Apache licensed. Nothing of use or real value, seeing as how little of it ever gets into the mainline, and nothing contributed to any other parts of Android help any other open source software.

          • by dfghjk (711126)

            As though that were in any way unusual.

      • Re:What about Meego? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @02:50PM (#35884632) Homepage

        That is a short-sighted perspective. There are some "real world" considerations to be think through.

        Open Source, the way we know and love it today, is filled with projects that struggle with direction. GNOME, KDE and other extremely well known projects suffer from having too many people in charge. Meanwhile, commercial projects have the advantage of having stronger direction which is great from a perspective of getting a project planned, built and "completed."

        (I know, I will catch hell even for talking about this but go ahead... say what you're gonna say.)

        Google is attempting to keep the project as open as it can while still maintaining its direction. As has been said, Honeycomb was designed for a higher resolution display and offers functionality intended for a specific set of capabilities. So in addition to being an OS, it is also an "experience" that needs to be consistent and reliable. It WILL be released. Of that I am certain, but I believe Google is trying to maintain a strong direction element in the project so that this open source project will have the same advantages as Windows and Mac OS X.

        And keep in mind that this tablet computing is a new format of computing. It is one in which Microsoft cannot successfully participate at this time. Therefore, this time is crucial for the development of this OS platform and for the tablet market in general. If ever there was a way to take Microsoft down, it is through a market in which they cannot compete and interfere. They can't do tablets and they can't do phones (tiny tablets).

        I think Google is doing the right thing at the moment. But I guess time will tell.

        • by Microlith (54737)

          Open Source, the way we know and love it today, is filled with projects that struggle with direction. GNOME, KDE and other extremely well known projects suffer from having too many people in charge. Meanwhile, commercial projects have the advantage of having stronger direction which is great from a perspective of getting a project planned, built and "completed."

          Which is beside the point, as the kernel itself has a small number of people that decide which way things go, but is wildly successful at achieving

        • by IICV (652597)

          Open Source, the way we know and love it today, is filled with projects that struggle with direction. GNOME, KDE and other extremely well known projects suffer from having too many people in charge. Meanwhile, commercial projects have the advantage of having stronger direction which is great from a perspective of getting a project planned, built and "completed."

          Really? Do you have any statistics on the ship rate of commercial projects vs open source projects?

          Because even though it is readily apparent that o

  • ARM has it since Cortex A9
    How is it coming along for the Intel Atom?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      OOO requires a huge silicon footprint, and it is tricky to avoid increased power consumption. Not exactly an embedded-friendly feature.
    • What is the benefit of out-of-order if your binaries were compiled with the optimizer set to Atom? In that case, the compiler will already have reordered the instructions to fit Atom's microarchitecture. And what is the benefit of out-of-order compared to simultaneous multithreading [wikipedia.org]?
      • by AcidPenguin9873 (911493) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @05:18PM (#35885842)

        In that case, the compiler will already have reordered the instructions to fit Atom's microarchitecture.

        Sort of. There's not much a compiler can do when you have a last-level (L2, L3) cache miss, which takes hundreds of clocks to service. Even an L1 miss hurts somewhat. OOO processors can execute other, independent instructions for which it has data available in registers or in the L1, and which are in the processor's OOO execution window. In-order processors can't do much. Atom does have some limited ability to hide cache miss latency via some bypassing around L1 misses, but not as much as true OOO.

        And what is the benefit of out-of-order compared to simultaneous multithreading [wikipedia.org]?

        SMT gets you throughput on multiple threads, for a cheaper area/power budget than just stamping another core down on the die. Obviously it's not as good as another real core, but for some applications that lightly load the processor, for example memory-bound or I/O-bound apps, it is pretty good. It does nothing for single-thread performance however; it can even hurt it single-thread IPC, in fact.

  • Intel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @01:09PM (#35883512)

    Easy to see why Intel thinks it's worth using X86 for Android devices. Hard to see why anyone else would think it's a good idea - except perhaps AMD.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Well with Android I just don't see the value but with Windows I do. At least with a Windows X86 tablet you will look like a PC so idiotic websites like Hulu and CBS.com will not restrict content because you are on a "mobile" device or on an "embedded device" and not a laptop or PC.
      I can watch Big Bang Theory on my laptop but not on phone because??? And if I hook a box to my TV like Boxee it is different than watching it on my pc because???
      Other than that I would agree but I do wish that we where seeing more

      • .. to realize that mobile is the new desktop. And devices that do one thing really well are better than devices that try to do everything not very well.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          ???
          A desktop does a large number of things not one thing really well. mobile is the new desktop... So mobile must do many things well and not one thing really well? Or it isn't really the new desktop and should stay specialized mobile device that isn't as flexible as the desktop?
          You are really contradiction yourself.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        Don't know about your phone, but as far as boxee goes...

        You're still allowing direct egress from clients on your network, which is wrong, and our your http(s) proxy is for some reason not striping information that could identify a specific client behind your gateway like user agent strings, which is wrong.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          And the average consumer.. Of course it is hackable.
          I don't have a Boxee I got a ROKU which is really cool and cheap.

        • your http(s) proxy is for some reason not striping information that could identify a specific client behind your gateway like user agent strings, which is wrong

          What HTTPS proxy? A proxy is a man in the middle, exactly the sort of thing HTTPS is designed to prevent. In order to make an HTTPS proxy work, one would first have to add the proxy's root certificate to the device so that the proxy can sign its own TLS certificates. And as I understand it, tivoized devices are designed specifically not to allow this.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Might be nice to be able to boot into android on a standard laptop, or just run it in a VM (not an emulator). I would like to be able to use android, without having to buy a dedicated device.
      • by Tom9729 (1134127)

        You can do this now [android-x86.org], albeit with Android 2.2.

      • by DdJ (10790)

        Likewise, it'd be nice to be able to run DOSbox on a tablet with good performance. I've got DOSbox on my iPad, and its emulated x86 CPU is good enough for some old DOS software, but performance is not spectacular.

      • by c (8461)

        There's the Android-x86 Project [android-x86.org]. I had an older build booting off a USB key on my netbook. Quite frankly, all I found it good for was as a reminder that a UI designed for a 3" touch screen is a poor, poor fit for a 9" screen with a trackpad and keyboard.

      • by Wild_dog! (98536)

        Yeah... I have it on my parallels 6.0 running as a VM on my Mac. Still haven't done much with it, but I thought I would like to play with it.

    • I'm surprised even Intel is interested. Nobody is interested in non-Apple tablets. RIM's playbook was a dud, the XOOM sold basically nothing, the Galaxy did okay, but only if you don't measure it against iPad sales.

    • by camperslo (704715)

      Easy to see why Intel thinks it's worth using X86 for Android devices. Hard to see why anyone else would think it's a good idea

      What's the point of running it on x86 when all the app out there are compiled for ARM? Unless they're planning to ship with both families of CPU in one device and support both Windows and Android apps, it really doesn't make much sense. If x86 has been too power hungry, emulating ARM or something would likely be pretty poor in the performance per Watt department.

      • by ZosX (517789)

        You do realize that android runs on the dalvik virtual machine and that most of the code is basically java right? They are therefore compiled for dalvik as bytecode. 2.2 added support for JIT. In my experience with a G1, JIT doesn't make a huge difference in the real world because there are penalties for using it as well, especially when it comes to opening apps. There are also examples of native code, say C++ compiled for arm v6 processors, but I would imagine every app out there is running purely on the V

  • by darjen (879890) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @01:18PM (#35883634)

    I have an ARM based tablet running Android 2.3. Why would I want to use Android on x86? Is it really that much faster?

    • by jcombel (1557059)

      the point isn't that you can use android on x86 (chips will always leapfrog eachother season to season on performance capabilities)
       
      the point is that once android does support x86, theoretically there could be more tablet homogenization - a company could release the same model running both android and, say, windows, or you could purchase one and install your favorite linux distro, customized to suit the tablet

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        But it will lead to app fragmentation because you will have to include X86 as well as arm in the binaries for any program that uses the NDK. Which will increase the size of the apps or you will have to include an ARM to X86 JIT compiler or maybe an ARM to X86 install time compiler.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Since most *apps* are compiled to Dalvik bytecode, most developers won't care. Not many features/apps require use of the NDK. Durr.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            I would hope that it actually helps by discouraging anyone from using the NDK that doesn't absolutely have to. Hardware banging is a pretty bad idea in this day and age. It isn't always avoidable, but it should be avoided any time it can be.
            • by npsimons (32752) *

              Hardware banging is a pretty bad idea in this day and age. It isn't always avoidable, but it should be avoided any time it can be.

              As a past embedded, kernel, and driver developer, I'm always tempted to laugh at people who think they "need to program closer to the hardware", but I usually refrain and ask them these questions instead:

              • Are you writing embedded/kernel/driver code?
              • Have you profiled your code and found the hot spots?
              • Have you analyzed your design to find a better algorithm?

              If the answers to all of

              • by LWATCDR (28044)

                That depends how low you feel you must go. Now that Dalvik is a JIT there is probably less need but still not zero. And yes I agree with you that one should do all of the above but the leap from Dalvik to C++ using OS calls is not exactly what I would consider bit banging the hardware. Now bypassing the OS and going to the hardware... Well that is just not what one should do on a Mobile device IMHO.
                I am pretty sure that a lot of games use the NDK and OS calls for a bit more speed.
                Oh and I have worked on Lin

                • by npsimons (32752) *

                  Oh and I have worked on Linux driver code. I was shocked with just how much you can do at such a high level. I was afraid I was going to have to brush off my assembly but I added the features I needed with just c.

                  It is lovely and at the same time scary just how much OO has creeped into the Linux kernel [vilimpoc.org], just out of pure necessity. It's been awhile since I've had to hack on the Linux kernel, but I'm glad to hear things have continued to improve.

            • Say you have an application designed for both PCs and Android devices. The core logic is identical for all versions of the application [pineight.com]; they just have different front ends. Now say the application wasn't written in the Java programming language to begin with but instead in standard C++. Can one compile standard C++ to Dalvik bytecode? Or would it involve a line-by-line rewrite by hand into the Java programming language? Such a rewrite would likely introduce errors, and it would require all future changes to
      • Re:Atom vs. ARM (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @02:33PM (#35884418)
        and the point ends up enabling Microsoft to come in and pay vendors to put Windows on the device at the expense and exclusion of the other OS's. ARM means you'll have vendors adapting and competing while x86 means you get Microsoft's vision of the world and you only get Windows unless you are creative enough to install another OS yourself. We know most of the world does not install their own OS and couldn't if their lives depended on it.

        We are already seeing Intel paying vendors to push out x86 devices so they'll also be taking Microsoft's funny money because on x86 they can throw Windows while on ARM they can not. Consumers lose because of the lack of choice and they'll lose because the x86 and Windows solutions will not have the staying power in the portable device segment because of the bloat. IMO

        LoB
        • Well, Microsoft already announced that they're doing ARM for Windows, so looks like it's going to happen either way.

          • by Locutus (9039)
            Microsoft saying they will do something does not mean it will happen or it will be desired. They would much rather the whole ARM platform went away just like they worked hard to limit the netbook segment by bloating the hardware requirements to run Windows and bloating the price if you wanted an OS which wasn't artificially limited. Look at all the past tablets based on Windows and you'll see they were big, heavy and expensive. It was not because of hardware limitations so Windows for ARM is currently a mar
    • by vivek7006 (585218)
      YES
      • by oakgrove (845019)
        That's interesting. I have an Acer Aspire One with an Atom N270 running at 1.6 GHz and a Motorola Xoom with a Nvidia Tegra2 overclocked to 1.4 GHz. The AAO is running Ubuntu natively and the Tablet has it installed in a chroot environment. Every benchmark I have ran, the tablet has inched out the netbook by a few percent. If anyone has an idea for a benchmark, I'd be happy to run it.
    • I have an ARM based tablet running Android 2.3. Why would I want to use Android on x86? Is it really that much faster?

      Most consumers don't give a diddle about arm vs x86, they just want a tablet that works. Intel wants in on some of the tablet money running around and this is their only way in. Meanwhile it'll also give the consumers more choice and nvidia/qualcomm/arm/whoever more competition keeping innovation running. Wins all round as far as I can see.

  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday April 20, 2011 @01:23PM (#35883688)

    Adobe already requires each phone manufacture to send their phones to adobe to make sure flash might work on the platform, with a whole other processor to support for the same OS adobe will never be able to keep up.

  • Great to see Apple's architecture agnosticism is catching on.

    • by mschaffer (97223)

      How long until they sue someone.
      Who haven't they sued yet?

    • They learned this from BSD, which is a grandparent of OS X
    • by DrXym (126579)

      Great to see Apple's architecture agnosticism is catching on.

      Android has always been reasonably portable. The kernel is Linux after all, and most of the user land doesn't care too much aside from JIT / interpretter code. Indeed Android has been running on x86 [androidx86.org] and MIPS [mipsandroid.org] processors for a while now.

      Biggest issue are probably native apps. I don't understand why there is no LLVM target so that devs don't have to care or worry what processor is running in the tablet / phone / box but still benefit from native runtime performance. Curiously Renderscript (a new API) in 3.0

  • I would rather have a slim Ubuntu on my phone than have Android on my x86 box/slate/tablet/whatever.
    There are plenty of good operating systems out there and I would rather not have Google's also-ran, closed-source OS in front of me.

  • So it means that MeeGo is even more dead? Intel was last standing supporter if it, and now Intel is interested in different, competing OS. Sad.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Go read my response near the start of this topic. No, MEEGO IS NOT DEAD. People should think before they vomit all over Slashdot.

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