Intel has a short and shaky history of putting its chips into smartphones, one that will hopefully go a bit farther into the future now that it has completely ported Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Intel has to go through this porting process because Android is traditionally made for ARM processors, which operate differently from Intel’s. Before this port was complete, Intel devices were only capable of running either Android 2.3 or 4.0. While no one at Intel was willing to give a timetable on when current 4.0 devices will be updated to 4.1, we can hope that the process goes smoothly. Intel’s “Medfield” Atom processors seem to be a pretty good option right now, but we’ll see how they do in the future against the onslaught of great ARM chips out there.
Consumers who purchase an ARM device running Windows 8 will not be able to load any other operating system, XDA-Developers reported on Thursday. Microsoft’s Windows 8 Hardware Certification Requirements state that “on an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enable. Disabling Secure Boot MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems.” The statement means that, unless a security exploit is found, no ARM device with Windows 8 will ever run anything other than Windows 8. The Hardware Certification Requirement contradicts what Microsoft’s Tony Mangefeste previously said, claiming the company’s philosophy is to “provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves.”
Canonical announced on Tuesday that the popular open-source Ubuntu operating system will soon be coming to multi-core Android devices. Users will be able use Android on their smartphones and Ubuntu as a desktop once the device is docked with a keyboard and monitor. Both operating systems will run simultaneously on the same device and have the ability to share contacts, messages and other common services. “The phone experience is pure Android – it’s a normal Android phone,” Canonical stated. “When the device is connected to a computer screen, however, it launches a full Ubuntu desktop on the computer display. It’s exactly the same desktop used by millions of enterprise and home users on their Ubuntu PCs, and includes hundreds of certified applications, from office productivity to photography, video and music.” The company plans to give live demonstrations of Ubuntu running on Android devices later this month at the Mobile World Congress trade show. Read on for Canonical’s press release.
In 2009, Tristan Schaap received the chance of a lifetime when he was offered an internship by Apple’s Platform Technologies Group. During his time interning with the company, Schaap was part of a team that was secretly attempting to port Mac OS X to the ARM architect, according to his Bachelor thesis published by Delft University of Technology. ARM-based chipsets are currently used in in Apple’s mobile devices while its computers use Intel processors. The thesis was originally embargoed due to the sensitive content, however the embargo has since been lifted and the paper was published in September last year. After completing his 12-week internship and graduating with a B.S. in Computer Science, Schaap was hired by Apple as a CoreOS engineer. It has long been rumored that Apple is considering a move to support ARM in its desktop and laptop computers.
The stories about the death of Google TV seem to have all been a bit exaggerated, as Google just announced a slew of new partners — including ARM processor manufacturer Marvell — on board with GTV. Before I wax too poetic (I’m a huge Google TV fan), here’s the list of announced partners:
Apple may already be working on a quad-core Apple-branded mobile processor for inclusion in upcoming iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models. Apple’s eventual move to a quad-core chipset in its iOS devices seems certain, but it looks like we now have evidence that preliminary quad-core testing may already be under way. While inspecting the source code for the Clang compiler bundled with Apple’s Xcode developer tools, an unnamed developer alerted Ars Technica to new references within the code that add support for a quad-core processor. Read on for more.
Apple will favor Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company over Samsung to power its next-generation iOS devices, DigiTimes said on Friday. The report aligns with an earlier Reuters report that suggested TSMC would build the next-generation A5 processor for future iPhone and iPad devices. TSMC will use its 20nm and 28nm technologies to create the new chips but may not begin supplying Apple with parts until next year. The Taiwan-based chip builder may have inked a deal to supply the successor to the A6 chip, too. Earlier reports suggested TSMC already started to test its first batch of A6 chipsets, which may offer dual or quad-core ARM-based architectures. Prior to its agreement with TSMC, Apple typically gave Samsung exclusive orders for its silicon. The move could be tied to multiple ongoing patent lawsuits with the South Korea-based electronics giant.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer surprised developers during Micorosft’s BUILD conference in California on Wednesday when he took the stage to talk up Microsoft’s new operating system, currently named Windows 8. Ballmer noted that there have already been 500,000 downloads of the operating system since it went live last night. “We still have a long way to go with Windows 8,” Ballmer said. “We’re retooling all of what we do.” Ballmer believes that the changes will compel developers to begin to favor Microsoft’s operating system, which he expects will ship on 350 million PCs this year alone. “There is no phone, there is nothing on the tablet, there is no operating system on the planet that will ship 350 million units of anything other than Windows,” Ballmer boasted, noting that Windows 8 supports both Intel and ARM chipsets. Before wrapping up, Ballmer, in typical fashion, called on “developers, developers, developers” to rally around Windows 8.
According to Reuters, Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini confirmed that smartphones powered by Intel’s Medfield mobile processor would land next year. Otellini also denied earlier rumors that Intel might include ARM technology in future chips. “There’s no advantage going in there, we’d be beholden to someone else, beholden to ARM. We’d pay royalties to them so it would lower the overall profits,” Otellini explained during Intel’s annual investor meeting in California. Intel’s Atom processors have been used in tablets and netbooks, but the firm has been noticeably absent in the smartphone market, which has been dominated by ARM, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments, and Samsung. “With Medfield we’re in the power envelope for phones … We’re working with several customers and we start to expect to see the revenue ramp toward the end of this year,” Intel’s CFO Stacy Smith said.
In a “Monday Note” blog post that questioned Intel’s new 3D transistors and the company’s lack of presence in the mobile space, former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee took some stabs at the chip maker and stated that the PC market is dying. “Now that the PC market is in its twilight, with mobile devices proliferating and stealing growth from the PC, surely Intel has to get into the race,” Gassee argued, pointing out that every time Intel launched a new low-power processor for mobile devices, ARM had a better one up its sleeves. Intel has its Atom processor, designed for mobile use, but it’s been primarily placed in Windows tablets and netbooks instead of in smartphones. “For the past four years Intel has told us we’d see x86 mobile devices Real Soon Now,” Gasse wrote. “The company developed its own mobile version of Linux, MobLin, and they made a big deal of joining forces with Nokia’s Maemo to create MeeGo. But Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop, kicked Meego to the curb, wisely decided to focus on one software platform, his ex-employer’s Windows Phone 7.” Gassee also took a moment to address rumors that Apple will ditch Intel for ARM-based processors in 2013, and argued that “there’s no roadmap for ARM chips to beat Intel in computationally intensive areas,” such as CAD, Photoshop, and FinalCut, today, but that multicore ARM chips could power mid-range Apple laptops in the future.
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