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charlesarthur : arm   21

Apple: no Macintosh forks. But the iPad… • Monday Note
Jean-Louis Gassée:
<p>another question emerges: By letting PC-like features emanate from the bowels of iPadOS, has Apple decided that the more PC-like iPads ought to openly compete with the Mac? Owing to Catalyst, Macs will get more — and more interesting — apps from the iOS world. And iPads present and future will have a dual personality: As “pure” tablets that provide an enriched touch interface, and as laptop-like alternatives, especially if keyboards and pointing devices keep maturing.

After arguing the two sides of the “to Axx or not to Axx” case, I think a simpler Mac evolution — no forks, stay the course with x86 processors — is the likely future.

Speaking of forks, yes, there clearly is one in the iOS world. In contrast to last week’s putative dual hardware and OS Mac transition, the fork I’m speaking of is a software-only divergence: As iPadOS lets iPads gain more use cases, especially in the realm of productivity, iPhones and their immensely larger number of devices will stay in the mainstream of iOS development. Undoubtedly, there will be unanticipated complications in some iPad uses, but the scheme feels more natural than last week’s convoluted formula.</p>

Gassée's argument is that Apple won't introduce ARM processors in its laptop line because that would create a dichotomy in its products - some would be Intel, some would be ARM. (He'd <a href="">argued the opposing point</a>, that Apple <em>would</em> fork them, last week. Cakeism!) But that overlooks the fact that that's what happened back in 2005, when Apple made the reverse shift (from RISC chips made by Motorola) to Intel. That wasn't instantaneous either.

But Apple could leave the desktop (or pro desktops) as Intel, for the software, and power lower-end devices with ARM chips for the battery life. That seems the most likely scenario.
apple  mac  arm 
4 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Apple hires ARM's lead CPU architect amid rumours of ARM-based Macs as early as 2020 • MacRumors
Joe Rossignol:
<p>ARM's lead CPU and system architect Mike Filippo joined Apple last month, based out of the Austin, Texas area, according to his LinkedIn profile. Filippo led the development of several chips at ARM between 2009 and 2019, including the Cortex-A76, Cortex-A72, Cortex-A57, and upcoming 7nm+ and 5nm chips.

Filippo also served as Intel's lead CPU and system architect between 2004 and 2009, and he was a chip designer at AMD between 1996 and 2004, so he brings a wealth of chipmaking experience with him to Apple.

Filippo's profile still lists his ARM role as ongoing, but social media talk suggests that he has left the company.

Apple designing its own ARM-based processors for Macs would allow it to move away from Intel processors, which have frequently faced delays. In fact, sources within Intel reportedly confirmed to Axios that Apple does plan to transition to ARM-based processors in Macs starting next year. </p>

That's quite an aggressive hire; can't imagine ARM being charmed by it. The timetable for ARM-based Macs is going to be the focus of everyone's interest in the next few months, for certain.
arm  mac  apple 
8 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Intel’s Project Athena could make laptops better, if only it had teeth • The Verge
Sean Hollister:
<p>Project Athena isn’t going to be a meaningless marketing campaign. In fact, Intel has set its sights on killing off one of the biggest lies the PC industry ever told laptop buyers: battery life.

Intel says Project Athena laptops will need to deliver 9 hours of real-world battery life, browsing the web over Wi-Fi, with their screen set to a level of brightness (250 nits) that a user might actually have in the real world. This is important, because today’s laptop benchmarks are anything but — when a PC maker says your new machine gets 24 hours of battery life, they’re typically measuring that by playing back a video that barely taxes the processor, with Wi-Fi off, and low screen brightness to boot. Who uses a laptop like that?

Now, we’re learning that battery life is just the beginning. Project Athena laptops will need to wake from sleep in under a second, be ready to browse the web in under two seconds thanks to connected standby, and have the same sort of responsiveness on battery that they have when plugged into the wall — plus come with touchscreen displays, precision touchpads (trust us, it’s a must), the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and enough RAM (8GB) and speedy NVMe solid state storage (256GB) to tackle the basics for most users.

And Intel isn’t just going to leave these things up to the manufacturers. It’s going to test the crap out of some of these things itself, namely battery life and responsiveness, because Intel believes they’re the basis for PCs that actually satisfy modern users’ needs.</p>

Nice, but as Hollister points out, without a brand like "Ultrabook" (from 2011) it will struggle. And there's also ARM processors - which will improve battery life enormously - coming up.
intel  athena  pc  arm  processor 
12 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Huawei: ARM memo tells staff to stop working with China’s tech giant • BBC News
Dave Lee:
<p>Huawei currently sources some of its chips from HiSilicon, which it owns. However, while produced in China, HiSilicon’s chips are built using underlying technology created by ARM.

While HiSilicon and Huawei are free to carry on using and manufacturing existing chips, the ban would mean the company could no longer turn to ARM for assistance in developing components for devices in future.

HiSilicon's upcoming processor, Kirin 985, is due be used in Huawei devices later this year. According to a source at ARM, it is not expected to be affected by the ban. However, the next iteration of the chip has not yet been completed - and is likely to need to be rebuilt from scratch, the source said.

Huawei also uses ARM's designs for its recently unveiled Kunpeng chips. These are used to power its TaiShan-series computer servers, which are designed to provide cloud computing and storage to clients.

In addition, the company told analysts in January that the Tiangang chip at the heart of its 5G base stations is also ARM-based.

"The problem of the whole telecoms industry is that so much of it is based on the exchange of technology between different companies - whether that's chip companies, software providers or the makers of other hardware," commented Alan Burkitt-Gray, editor-at-large of the telecoms news site Capacity Media.

He added that Huawei would likely face other problems licensing 5G-related tech from others, and in turn US-based companies would now be unable to licence the Chinese company's 5G inventions.</p>

Terrific scoop by Lee. But this is going to destroy all of Huawei's business. Without ARM, the networking side gradually dies.
huawei  arm  chips  smartphone  server  5g 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Apple's move to ARM-based Macs creates uncertainty • Axios
Ina Fried:
<p>What we're hearing: Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year.

• Bloomberg offered a bit more specificity on things in a <a href="">report</a> on Wednesday, saying that the first ARM-based Macs could come in 2020, with plans to offer developers a way to write a single app that can run across iPhones, iPads and Macs by 2021.<br />• The first hints of the effort came last year when Apple offered a sneak peek at its plan to make it easier for developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac.

Why it matters: The move could give developers a way to reach a bigger market with a single app, although the transition could be bumpy. For Intel, of course, it would mean the loss of a significant customer, albeit probably not a huge hit to its bottom line.

Our thought bubble:<br />• If anything, the Bloomberg timeline suggests that Intel might actually have more Mac business in 2020 than some had been expecting.<br />• The key question is not the timeline but just how smoothly Apple is able to make the shift. For developers, it will likely mean an awkward period of time supporting new and classic Macs as well as new and old-style Mac apps.</p>

That sounds backward. You'd offer devs the way to have cross-platform apps first, so they can write for it. Then you introduce ARM Macs, on which the ARM-first code will run a lot faster. Unless the cross-compilation to Intel is too hard.. except we know it isn't, because there are already four Marzipan apps.

So I'd expect the app framework this year, ARM Macs next year.
intel  arm  cpu  apple 
february 2019 by charlesarthur
Amazon Web Services introduces its own custom-designed Arm server processor, promises 45 percent lower costs for some workloads • GeekWire
<p>After years of waiting for someone to design an Arm server processor that could work at scale on the cloud, Amazon Web Services just went ahead and designed its own.

Vice president of infrastructure Peter DeSantis introduced the AWS Graviton Processor Monday night, adding a third chip option for cloud customers alongside instances that use processors from Intel and AMD. The company did not provide a lot of details about the processor itself, but DeSantis said that it was designed for scale-out workloads that benefit from a lot of servers chipping away at a problem.

The new instances will be known as EC2 A1, and they can run applications written for Amazon Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu. They are generally available in four regions: US East (Northern Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland).

Intel dominates the market for server processors, both in the cloud and in the on-premises server market. AMD has tried to challenge that lead over the years with little success, although its new Epyc processors have been well-received by server buyers and cloud companies like AWS.

But lots of companies have tried and failed to build attractive server processors using the Arm architecture, which enjoys the same market share in mobile phones as Intel does in the data centre.</p>

Amazon bought its own company to do this. It's able to figure out the cost-benefit because it knows precisely what it needs the chips to do, rather than the generalised ones that other companies have tried to sell it. That's what the ARM architecture tends to be about.
amazon  processor  arm  architecture 
november 2018 by charlesarthur
ARM says its next processors will outperform Intel laptop chips • Engadget
Jon Fingas:
<p>While ARM already believes that its recently unveiled Cortex-A76 is competitive with Intel's 2.6GHz Core i5-7300U, it expects its 2019 "Deimos" and 2020 "Hercules" designs to clearly outperform that CPU. You would get "laptop-class" speed from a more efficient mobile chip, according to the company.

Of course, it's worth taking ARM's braggadocio with a grain of salt. The figures don't include Intel's comparable 8th-generation Core chips that pack twice as many cores and could easily shrink the performance gap. This is also based on one synthetic, integer-oriented benchmark (SPEC CINT2006), not a broader suite of tests that would measure floating point math and other performance traits. ARM is putting its best foot forward rather than offering definitive proof.

Even so, it's telling that ARM might be in the ballpark.</p>

The argument is strong apart from the bit where it suggests PC OEMs would switch to ARM from Intel. I just don't think it would happen. Fine, Windows could manage it. Could third-party apps? Nope. Only Apple might be able to strongarm enough developers to do that, or run an emulator able to do it.
arm  intel  pc 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple’s next laptops could be more iPhone than Mac • WSJ
Christopher Mims:
<p>mobile processors are gaining capabilities that are less common in larger computers. Today, the depth sensor on the iPhone X enables face recognition, but it could someday play a key role in Apple’s augmented-reality software. (Qualcomm has its own Snapdragon XR1 platform for augmented reality.)

Apple is also pushing capabilities such as on-device artificial intelligence, which could enable better voice recognition and other capabilities, and the company aims to support only its own graphics software in the future. Because Apple’s in-house chip designers only have one customer—Apple—they’re able to tune its silicon to run all these things as fast as possible.

“You see Intel delaying new technologies anywhere from six to eight months, and that hurts Apple’s roadmap,” says Ben Bajarin, an analyst at market-research firm Creative Strategies. “Apple in particular doesn’t want to have to be hamstrung.” By using its own silicon, Apple could potentially offer machines that do things other notebook manufacturers might not match for some time, he says.

The result would be an ARM-powered variation on the MacBook or MacBook Air, or something new that meets similar needs and runs MacOS.

There is a limit to what ARM chips can pull off. Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops are powered by Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors and—like Apple’s desktop computers—will probably continue to be for a long time.

Workhorse computers need processors that are good at general computing tasks, more than the specialized, task-specific silicon that powers mobile devices.</p>

Everyone is expecting this to happen sooner rather than later. Apple, meanwhile, seems to be moving really quite slowly when it comes to updating its laptops. Not to mention desktops. Not to mention iPads, actually.
apple  laptop  arm  intel 
june 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple’s Star project could be an ARM-based touchscreen hybrid with LTE • 9to5Mac
Guilherme Rambo:
<p>Apple is now working on a new device, codenamed Star. With an interesting model name N84, it could be the first Mac with an ARM processor, or the first iOS notebook…or something completely different.

Macs have been using Intel processors since 2006 and Apple mobile devices have been using Apple-designed processors since 2010. It was recently reported that Apple was going to move Macs to their own processors by 2020.

We have been following information about the Star project for a few months, with sources in the supply chain. It is currently in prototype stage, with prototypes being manufactured by Pegatron, Apple’s partner in China which also manufactures other Apple iOS devices.  A small number of units have been shipped to Cupertino for testing by Apple employees. These prototypes have been in production since at least January 2018.

There’s not much information on what the device could possibly be, but we do know that it has a touch screen, a sim card slot, GPS, compass, is water resistant and it also runs EFI. EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) is the boot system used by Macs, which leads us to believe that the Star project could potentially be the first ARM-based Mac, with a ship date as soon as 2020.</p>

Also: <a href="">tweet from Longhorn</a>, a hardware hacker, saying it's part of a "new device family" which runs an "iOS derivative". And <a href="">Digitimes saying Pegatron</a> (which makes laptops) is "likely to get" the order; Pegatron wouldn't comment.

But then with a bucket of ice-cold water, <a href="">Mark Gurman "is told"</a> (doesn't say by whom) that it's the low-cost LCD-screen iPhone for this year which looks like the iPhone X.

So, pick your rumour.
apple  arm  iphone  macbook 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Qualcomm plans exit from server chips • Bloomberg
Ian King:
<p>The San Diego-based company is exploring whether to shutter the unit or look for a new owner for the division, which was working on ways to get technology from ARM Holdings Plc into the market for chips that are at the heart of servers, the person said. ARM is one of Intel’s only rivals in developing semiconductor designs, and its architecture is primarily used in less power-intensive products, such as smartphones.

Qualcomm is the largest backer of an effort to find a role for ARM designs in the highest end of the computing market, where individual chips sell for multiple thousands of dollars. Chipmakers have been trying for years to provide owners of large data centers – companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Inc.’s Amazon Web Services – with processors to run them, trying to break into a business that Intel dominates with about 99 percent market share.

A Qualcomm spokesman declined to comment. In the company’s earnings report last month, Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf told analysts that Qualcomm is focused on spending reductions in its non-core product areas.

Servers, which crunch data in corporate networks and act as the backbone of the internet, are a much smaller market than phones and personal computers when measured by shipments. But the price that chipmakers are able to charge for the high-performance parts needed to run them makes the market attractive.

Qualcomm began selling a server chip, the Centriq 2400, based on ARM technology last year. At the time, the company said the chips, which were manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co., offered better results than an Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 processor, based on energy efficiency and cost. At the public introduction of the server chip line in November, potential customers such as Microsoft Corp. took to the stage to voice their interest in the offering. Since then, Qualcomm has been silent about its progress.</p>

Strange; ARM chips for servers seemed like the next big thing a few years ago. But it's gone nowhere - perhaps because it's not just about having a cooler chip.
qualcomm  server  arm 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
ARM Mac: piece of cake or gas refinery? • Monday Note
Joean-Louis Gassée:
<p>For Mac app developers, this isn’t a great picture. A new processor, better battery life, lower weight perhaps, might not make a huge difference. Instead, with an iOS-compatible processor running inside new-generation Macs, why not build a new world where the same app would run on both Mac and iOS devices?

This is a dangerous topic. We know what happened with previous attempts to build environments where one app would run on different operating systems. Often referred to as Write Once Run Everywhere (WORE), these superficially pleasing constructs didn’t please the people who actually use and pay for the products. In reality, for an app to be competitive on a given platform, details, details and details need to be attended to under the surface. Such very OS-specific optimizations do not translate to the other platform and thus defeat the WORE theory. Speaking of translations and looking more specifically at Mac OS X versus iOS, one would be facing two languages where words in one have no equivalent in the other. Consider the trouble with wabi-sabi, dépaysement, fingerspitzengefühl or, if you’re really in the mood, Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützennadel: the feather on the hat of the captain of a Danube steamship, obviously. You might get the translation by googling segments of the word one at time… Back to bits and bytes, consider iOS having no notion of a cursor, or the Mac not having a touch-screen, or a stylus, to name but a few transaltion challenges.

Recently, we’ve heard rumors of a Marzipan project, an Apple effort to get iOS apps to run on a Mac. As the saying goes, It’s A Mere Matter Of Software. Still, with Apple in control of both OS X and iOS anything’s possible  —  in theory…

… Speaking of strong words, various Apple execs spoke ill of styli or toaster-fridges, and we know what happened.

Thinking of future Macs would be simpler if its putative new processors weren’t iOS-compatible, but here we are. That being said, setting aside inopportune claims of courage, Apple is a cautious company, well aware of the risks in trading a relatively simple life of separate Mac and iOS product lines for a complicated hybrid platform. This coming transition will be interesting to watch.</p>

That last point - people would be less nervous if the processors weren't iOS-compatible - is a subtle but good one.
apple  arm  intel  processing 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Apple plans to use its own chips in Macs from 2020, replacing Intel • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman and Ian King:
<p>The shift would also allow Cupertino, California-based Apple to more quickly bring new features to all of its products and stand out from the competition. Using its own main chips would make Apple the only major PC maker to use its own processors. Dell Technologies Inc., HP Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd., and Asustek Computer Inc. use Intel chips.

By using its own chips, Apple would be able to more tightly integrate new hardware and software, potentially resulting in systems with better battery life -- similar to iPads, which use Apple chips.

While the transition to Apple chips in hardware is planned to begin as early as 2020, the changes to the software side will begin even before that. Apple’s iPhones and iPads with custom chips use the iOS operating system, while Mac computers with Intel chips run on a different system called macOS. Apple has slowly been integrating user-facing features over the past several years, and more recently starting sharing lower-level features like a new file management system.

As part of the larger initiative to make Macs work more like iPhones, Apple is working on a new software platform, internally dubbed Marzipan, for release as early as this year that would allow users to run iPhone and iPad apps on Macs, Bloomberg News reported last year.

The company has also previously released Macs with ARM-based co-processors, which run an iOS-like operating system, for specific functions like security. The latest MacBook Pro and iMac Pro include the co-processors. Apple plans to add that chip to a new version of its Mac Pro, to be released by next year, and new Mac laptops this year, according to a person familiar with the matter.</p>

The processing penalty for emulating Intel on ARM would be considerable, so Apple must either be looking at getting people to recompile (in XCode) or some other twiddly magic. The lack of named sources actually makes this seem more likely to me; they'll be people who must not explain the how, when or why. But the why is obvious: get away from Intel's timetable and pricing, use Apple's huge power in chip design.
switch  arm  apple  Intel 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
HP, Asus announce first Windows 10 ARM PCs: 20 hour battery life, gigabit LTE • Ars Technica
Peter Bright:
<p>Just shy of a year after announcing that Windows was once again going to be available on ARM systems, the first two systems were announced today: the Asus NovaGo 2-in-1 laptop, and the HP Envy x2 tablet.

Branded as Always Connected PCs, the new Windows on ARM systems are positioned as bringing together the best of PCs and smartphones. They have PC form factors, with the productivity enabled by a real keyboard, touchpad, and general purpose operating system capable of running regular Windows software, but they bring with them the seamless switching between LTE and Wi-Fi, instant on, multiple working day battery life, and slimline, lightweight packaging that we're accustomed to on our phones.

The Asus laptop boasts 22 hours of battery life or 30 days of standby, along with LTE that can run at gigabit speeds. HP's tablet offers a 12.3 inch, 1920×1280 screen, 20 hours battery life or 29 days of standby, and a removable keyboard-cover and stylus. Both systems use the Snapdragon 835 processor and X16 LTE modem, with HP offering up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage to go with it…

…The emulator runs in a just-in-time basis, converting blocks of x86 code to equivalent blocks of ARM code. This conversion is cached both in memory (so each given part of a program only has to be translated once per run) and on disk (so subsequent uses of the program should be faster, as they can skip the translation). Moreover, system libraries—the various DLLs that applications load to make use of operating system features—are all native ARM code, including the libraries loaded by x86 programs. Calling them "Compiled Hybrid Portable Executables" (or "chippie" for short), these libraries are ARM native code, compiled in such a way as to let them respond to x86 function calls.

While processor-intensive applications are liable to suffer a significant performance hit from this emulation—Photoshop will work in the emulator, but it won't be very fast—applications that spend a substantial amount of time waiting around for the user—such as Word—should perform with adequate performance.</p>

Seems like a better approach than the first time round with ARM. That's quite some battery life, too.
arm  windows 
december 2017 by charlesarthur
Intel discontinues Joule, Galileo, and Edison product lines • Hackaday
Jenny List:
<p>Sometimes the end of a product’s production run is surrounded by publicity, a mix of a party atmosphere celebrating its impact either good or bad, and perhaps a tinge of regret at its passing. Think of the last rear-engined Volkswagens rolling off their South American production lines for an example.

Then again, there are the products that die with a whimper, their passing marked only by a barely visible press release in an obscure corner of the Internet. Such as this week’s discontinuances from Intel, in <a href="">a series of PDFs lodged on a document management server</a> announcing the end of their Galileo (PDF), Joule (PDF), and Edison (PDF) lines. The documents in turn set out a timetable for each of the boards, for now they are still available but the last will have shipped by the end of 2017.

It’s important to remember that this does not mark the end of the semiconductor giant’s forray into the world of IoT development boards, there is no announcement of the demise of their Curie chip, as found in the Arduino 101. But it does mark an ignominious end to their efforts over the past few years in bringing the full power of their x86 platforms to this particular market, the Curie is an extremely limited device in comparison to those being discontinued.</p>

So Intel is retreating from a number of Internet of Things spaces. ARM stuff is likely to dominate. Strange how it turns out that ARM's RISC (reduced instruction set computing) has won, bit by bit, over Intels' CISC (complex instruction set). ARM, of course, being a British company before Softbank bought it. Just wanted to mention that.
arm  intel  iot 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 on Snapdragon 835: a promising demo • Mobile Geeks
Myriam Joire:
<p>Today at Computex 2017, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform to help with Microsoft’s effort to bring Windows 10 to ARM-based devices. In addition, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo have committed to launching Snapdragon 835-based Windows 10 products in the next few months. These will be sleek, fanless, and always connected 2-in-1 mobile PCs with all day battery life aimed squarely at the productivity market.

In case you forgot, Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 now features an emulation layer that lets users seamlessly run x86 apps on ARM devices. With the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm already offers a powerful, efficient, tiny (10nm process), and always connected (Gigabit LTE) platform for standalone VR/MR headsets and flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Essential Phone, so it’s a no-brainer to extend support to mobile PCs running Windows 10.

In other words, Snapdragon 835 is eating the world.</p>

Interesting little challenge for Apple here. Second time around for Microsoft, but seems to be getting the pieces right this time - and ARM, as an architecture, has come a long way.
microsoft  windows  arm 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
ARMing the cloud; Qualcomm's Centriq 2400 platform will power Microsoft Azure instances • PC Perspective
Jeremy Hellstrom:
<p>Last December Qualcomm announced plans to launch their Centriq 2400 series of platforms for data centres, demonstrating Apache Spark and Hadoop on Linux as well as a Java demo.  They announced a 48 Core design based on ARM v8 and fabbed with on Samsung's 10nm process, which will compete against Intel's current offerings for the server room.

Today marks the official release of the Qualcomm Falkor CPU and Centriq 2400 series of products, as well as the existence of a partnership with Microsoft which may see these products offered to Azure customers.  Microsoft has successfully configured a version of Windows Server to run on these new chips, which is rather big news for customers looking for low-powered hosting solutions running a familiar OS.</p>

Some understatement in that. "ARM servers" has been a promise for years; I recall talking to HP which said it was working on it about five years ago. Now it is becoming a reality. This is very dangerous for Intel - especially with Microsoft breaking away like this. If servers become commoditised on ARM architecture, Intel's chip business - which lately has looked to servers to keep it going - doesn't have a floor.

It might not happen overnight, but this is the thin end of a giant wedge in Intel's most profitable business.
intel  arm  server 
march 2017 by charlesarthur
Windows 10 on ARM: Microsoft's key to the Chromebook market • Windows Central
Zac Bowden:
<p>Microsoft has <a href="">announced</a> that the full version of Windows 10 is coming to ARM, with x86 support meaning your Win32 desktop applications won't be missing like they were on Windows RT. This opens up a whole world of new opportunities for OEMs, and indeed Microsoft, to build low-cost and low-powered Windows 10 devices that can directly take on Chromebooks.

If you were to tell me a few years ago that Chromebooks would actually be a big deal and a possible threat to Windows, I'd have probably laughed in your face. I remember thinking "A laptop that's just a browser? There's no way that'll catch on". I know many don't consider the rise of Chromebooks to be a threat to Microsoft or Windows 10, but they very much are. More and more schools and businesses are opting for Chromebooks over Windows 10 laptops, mainly because of price, but also because Chromebooks do what they need them to do, durably, and at a low cost.</p>

There's a lot of hope in the Windows enthusiast market that this latest version of Windows on ARM (WoA) will, unlike 2011's version, be a really amazing implementation, rather than a milquetoast version which can't run x86 apps.

The good news: they will be able to run x86 apps, through virtualisation. The bad news: they'll be doing it on really underpowered CPUs. True, you don't need a lot of power to compete with Chromebooks; but Chromebooks are already getting their market. It feels like another proof-of-concept.

For more, read Wes Miller's 2012 thoughts on "<a href="">architectural escape velocity</a>", which deals with the first attempt at WoA.
windows  arm 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
How the SoC [system on a chip] is displacing the CPU • Medium
Pushkar Ranade:
<p>The present decade represents a period of strategic inflection in the evolution of the semiconductor industry — the next five years are likely to see a confluence of several technology and market forces which will collectively have a profound impact on the course of the industry. These trajectories are discussed below.

…Trajectory #2: A Central Role for the GPU

Usage models of the tablet and the smartphone indicate that the GPU is the most heavily used block within SoCs like the Tegra, Snapdragon and the A8X. Since the GPU is the largest block and also consumes most of the power on the chip, it is instructive that the silicon transistor be designed to optimize the performance and power of the GPU. It is likely that design houses and foundries will make the GPU the centerpiece for transistor design and manufacturing — historically all the blocks including the GPU had to adapt a transistor that had primarily been designed for the CPU. The rapid evolution of the SoC and the increasing role of the GPU are evident in successive generations of Apple A*x family processors. The GPU on the A8X processor occupies almost a third of the die area.</p>

The Intel-style CISC CPU has almost reached the end of its evolution.
gpu  arm  risc  soc 
november 2016 by charlesarthur
ARM: Hold my beer, we'll install patches for your crappy IoT gear for you • The Register
Chris Williams:
<p>Processor designer ARM will squirt security fixes directly into internet-connected gadgets to hopefully keep them defended from hackers.

Manufacturers of Internet-of-Things gizmos and other embedded products have complained that updating gear in the field is too much hard work. That means devices are rarely patched when security bugs are found, clearing the way for hackers to hijack vulnerable hardware to spy on people, flood websites offline, and cause other havoc.

So ARM has come up with mbed Cloud, a software-as-a-service platform that securely communicates with firmware in devices to install fixes and feature updates. Product makers pay to remotely manage all their sold kit. Crucially, they pay for what they use – whether it's pushing updates, or connecting millions of units, and so on.

It's similar to the cloud Next Thing Co has set up for its C.H.I.P. Pro: a web-based management interface for updating firmware over the internet, plus controls on the data leaving the devices.</p>

Mmmmm don't like this much either.
iot  security  arm 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
macOS Sierra code suggests Apple could replace Intel in Macs with custom ARM chips •iDownload
Christian Zibreg:
<p>Could Apple be working on next-generation Mac hardware that would be powered by an in-house designed processor based on CPU blueprints from British fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings plc? That’s exactly the conclusion one could reach by looking closely at code strings in the macOS Sierra kernel, <a href="">discovered by Dutch outlet</a>.

It’s very peculiar that Apple would add support for ARM technology to macOS Sierra.

As you know, all Macs manufactured since 2005 run Intel chips. The Apple appears to be implementing support for ARM chips in the Mac operating system could mean that first ARM-based Macs might appear this year.

As states, developers no longer submit fully compiled binaries.

Instead, intermediary bit code is submitted which Apple uses to compile the binary code for the specific CPU architecture. Should Apple release an ARM-based Mac, developers wouldn’t need to re-submit their existing code nor would they need to add any ARM-specific code in order for their apps to run natively on ARM-based hardware.

“It is probably also one of the reasons why legacy applications have recently been removed from the App Store,” speculates the publication.

The macOS Sierra kernel indicates support for the ARM Hurricane family.</p>

It all sounds like blather until that last line. Except ARM doesn't have a Hurricane. So that must be an Apple codename.
macos  arm 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
More China firms developing own ARM-based chips » Digitimes
Monica Chen and Jessie Shen:
<p>China-based ZTE has received a cash injection from the government enabling the company to accelerate the development of its own application processors, while Lenovo also intends to develop ARM-based chips in-house, according to industry sources.

ZTE has received CNY2.4bn (US$73.8m) from China's National IC Industry Investment Fund, which will help it accelerate the mobile chip development, said the sources.

Huawei has its subsidiary HiSilicon provide ARM-architecture SoCs, which are found in many of the smartphone vendor's models including high-end ones, the sources indicated. Huawei's increasing use of HiSilicon chips is already unfavorable to the existing suppliers including MediaTek and Qualcomm.</p>

All essentially trying to differentiate themselves from rivals. Didn't know about Huawei's subsidiary, but it makes sense for a network infrastructure company to have a chip designer.
arm  phones 
november 2015 by charlesarthur

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