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Intel bullish after garnering 35 tablet design wins

post #1 of 17
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Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced Wednesday that his company has resumed stock buy-backs and won 35 agreements from manufacturers to put its chips into new tablet models, which are set to compete with Apple's iPad next year.

Otellini told analysts at a conference that the new tablets will come from brands including Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba, and "roll out over the first half of next year," Reuters reports. In addition to tablets, "premier branded" smartphones powered by Intel's chips will arrive in the "second half of 2011," said Otellini.

Intel has struggled in the mobile space as its Atom mobile processor has failed to gain traction among new tablet and smartphone designs. In October, Otellini told employees that Intel was running a come-from-behind "marathon" in the mobile architecture contest.

Though Apple has taken an early lead in the tablet and smartphone markets using ARM-licensed chip processors, Otellini remains confident that "ultimately, [Intel] can and will lead."

Analysts see Intel's upcoming product news as positive, though they are also taking a wait-and-see approach. "Intel is moving in the right strategic direction but they still have a long way to go," said Gabelli & Company analyst Hendi Susanto. "They're late into the game. There is no clear visibility on what the products look like."

With Intel's growth into the mobile space solidifying for next year, the company is increasingly optimistic. "I'm happy to report that Intel has been back in the market this quarter," Otellini said. "The buy-back has resumed."

In August, Intel stock tumbled after the company lowered its third-quarter revenue forecast, citing "weaker than expected sales of consumer PCs in mature markets." The actual third-quarter results, released in October, were a record quarter for the world's largest chipmaker, but Otellini also warned that the iPad may be cutting into PC sales.

Wednesday's news that Intel is repurchasing shares of its stock, coupled with the company raising of its dividend by 15 percent in November, should bolster investor confidence in the company. "Shareholders will look at that and say management is putting their money where their mouth is," said analyst Craig Ellis.

Intel's stock was up 1.11 percent at the close of the market on Wednesday.
post #2 of 17
Will be interesting to see how this develops over time. At one time Intel was seen by we Apple fans as part of the evil Wintel empire. Now Intel and Apple are buddies in the desktop and laptop space. The question is, can Apple outdo Intel in the mobile processor world with its custom in-house ARM designs. Hard to bet against Intel in the long run, but I don't know anything silicon design so can't really venture an opinion on this. I do wonder if mobile chips are so much simpler that a company like Apple that is not a silicon specialist like Intel can outdo them. I am guessing that the key is hardware/software/chip integration. If Intel is willing to allow Apple to work with them to do custom chips this could be a win/win. If they want Apple to design their hardware and software around an off the shelf mobile chip, maybe not.
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post #3 of 17
design wins? sounds strange.
they were awarded contracts?
I don't think they "won" anything.
other than more headaches with their slow processors.
post #4 of 17
First Off what sort of smart phone is going to handle an ATOM processor? Last I knew we where still talking watts vs milliwatts. iPhone for example apparently tops out a little over two watts with everything running.

In the tablet space it could be as different story but ATOM isn't exactly a high integration device. For many AMDs Ontario would make a better tablet processor. In the long run Apple does have a problem with ARM due to the lack of a clear 64 bit upgrade path. It won't take long for this (64 bit) to become a requirement. Still as a platform for tablet like devices, ATOM is still a long way from being the SoC that manufactures need to compete with Apple.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by helmut View Post

design wins? sounds strange.

Well design wins do keep you in business! However I just don't see 30 some odd ATOM based tablets coming next year.
Quote:
they were awarded contracts?

We will see. I have about as much confidence as you. If we do see anything it will likely be axlaptop thick device with a huge battery.
Quote:
I don't think they "won" anything.
other than more headaches with their slow processors.

Slow? We shouldn't be throwing stones here as the A4 in the iPad is anything but fast. In fact I see an upgraded processor SoC as a must have for iPad 2. Ideally that would be a dual core Cortex A9 based processor or better.

There are many good reasons for one to be appalled with the idea of ATOM based tablets I just don't think speed is one of them.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

First Off what sort of smart phone is going to handle an ATOM processor? Last I knew we where still talking watts vs milliwatts. iPhone for example apparently tops out a little over two watts with everything running.

In the tablet space it could be as different story but ATOM isn't exactly a high integration device. For many AMDs Ontario would make a better tablet processor. In the long run Apple does have a problem with ARM due to the lack of a clear 64 bit upgrade path. It won't take long for this (64 bit) to become a requirement. Still as a platform for tablet like devices, ATOM is still a long way from being the SoC that manufactures need to compete with Apple.

Could you describe what you see as requiring 64 bit on phones?
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post #7 of 17
Battery life is guaranteed to be terrible on these devices.
post #8 of 17
this is pretty pointless, especially if AMD get its APU's right...

intel is a battery drain as some other pointed out.... AMD is also, but a new chip, made specifically for small stuff like tablets in its origin, i think will help that

plus AMD will have better graphics

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post #9 of 17
1. Given that Atom is still WAY too power hungry to give decent battery life in the iPad form-factor, I wonder what chipset are they promising to vendors and how many freebee's are they giving to each one to NOT use ARM?

2. Intel has been promising that they are six months away from producing a CPU that will take over the mobile phone world for what, five years now. Does anybody really believe that this time, Intel isn't lying?
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatisgoingon View Post

1. Given that Atom is still WAY too power hungry to give decent battery life in the iPad form-factor, I wonder what chipset are they promising to vendors and how many freebee's are they giving to each one to NOT use ARM?

It's actually worse than that. Keep in mind that the vast majority of 'iPad killers' are 7" tablets. That leaves a LOT less room for a battery unless you make it really thick and heavy.
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post #11 of 17
nvidia might be another competitor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolbolas View Post

this is pretty pointless, especially if AMD get its APU's right...

intel is a battery drain as some other pointed out.... AMD is also, but a new chip, made specifically for small stuff like tablets in its origin, i think will help that

plus AMD will have better graphics
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Could you describe what you see as requiring 64 bit on phones?

In any event just about anything, non trivial, could benefit from 64 bit architectures in a tablet. Especially if iOS continues eschew paging of app data. There are a couple of reasons to think this way.

First there is a lot of talk about "Retina" displays. While I don't like the term I think higher resolution displays are a given, it is just when we don't know about. Such displays will take up a large swath of RAM just for the screen buffer that doesn't include all the other memory a GPU will use. If Apple can deliver a hetrogenous platform where the GPU has full access to the same memory as the CPU then developers can make further use of the GPU. It is interesting that AMDs goals with Fusion is essentially this, make the GPU an equal partner to the CPU. I can't imagine that any engineer with long term goals isn't looking to implement the same sort of GPU access. In any event this would be encouragement for developers to use more memory.

As to developers, there is a class of developers that is currently stinker by the lack of RAM in the current iPad. It is very very easy to hit the memory limit on the current iPad. For some programs one can slice the data into chunks but that isn't always good from the performance standpoint. As it is right now the current iPad has around 120mB of RAM free (before any multi tasking) for the user app. That can be seen as either a vast landscape or an extreme headache. In many cases it makes some programs very difficult if not impossible. Many people are already expressing the desire for 1GB iPads which obviously will correct some issues. Eventually though that 1GB will become a limit itself. In a nutshell the lack of RAM is a significant shortcoming on the iPad.

Third at this point a 1GB iPad isn't going to add a lot to the machines price.

Fourth more RAM would afford them the opportunity to go with wider paths to that RAM increasing bandwidth which can aid the operation of the GPU and other processors. Obviously a wide RAM array doesn't have to also be big but it is pretty clear that the iPad is short on RAM so why not kill two birds with one stone.

Fifth multitasking demands RAM! Apple has gone well out of it's way to try to minimize the impact of multitasking but eventually demand will drive both internal and external use of multitasking. For one I could see Apple implementing some form of AI that would be running in background. Years ago Apple released some concept videos with such AI as user agents.

*****************

Even current apps like Safari can be vastly enhanced by access to more RAM. The point is without paging in iOS more in machine addressable RAM is the only way to go to improve app performance. A 64 bit machine/os just eliminates the work arounds and compromises as the hardware and iOS evolve over time. I just think it is shortsighted to believe that a 32 bit address space will last all that long even in tablet devices.

I hate to bring this up because somebody always starts to whine about how fast their iPad is but the CPU in the machine is nothing more than a fast cell phone processor comparable to a very slow desktop processor from several years back. Between that fact and the lack of RAM issue iPad has a long way to go before running complex or CPU demanding apps become as fluid as it is on the desktop. I just see the move to 64 bit as a way to accomodate many different needs as the platform evolves.

Dave
post #13 of 17
It is just 35 different designs to dilute the market, so it will be Apple and 35 other guys all trying to get a portion of the 100% market, let say apple has 50% to 70% then the other 32 design get to split 1% each, I wonder how you justify spending R&D $ on only getting 1% of the market.

Yes they will have a Tablet, and maybe it has some better features like removable SD card or a USB port. However, it does not have the ecosystem of the ipad. They have one part of the solution but are missing out on all the other reason why the ipad is attractive.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

In any event just about anything, non trivial, could benefit from 64 bit architectures in a tablet. Especially if iOS continues eschew paging of app data. There are a couple of reasons to think this way.

First there is a lot of talk about "Retina" displays. While I don't like the term I think higher resolution displays are a given, it is just when we don't know about. Such displays will take up a large swath of RAM just for the screen buffer that doesn't include all the other memory a GPU will use. If Apple can deliver a hetrogenous platform where the GPU has full access to the same memory as the CPU then developers can make further use of the GPU. It is interesting that AMDs goals with Fusion is essentially this, make the GPU an equal partner to the CPU. I can't imagine that any engineer with long term goals isn't looking to implement the same sort of GPU access. In any event this would be encouragement for developers to use more memory.

As to developers, there is a class of developers that is currently stinker by the lack of RAM in the current iPad. It is very very easy to hit the memory limit on the current iPad. For some programs one can slice the data into chunks but that isn't always good from the performance standpoint. As it is right now the current iPad has around 120mB of RAM free (before any multi tasking) for the user app. That can be seen as either a vast landscape or an extreme headache. In many cases it makes some programs very difficult if not impossible. Many people are already expressing the desire for 1GB iPads which obviously will correct some issues. Eventually though that 1GB will become a limit itself. In a nutshell the lack of RAM is a significant shortcoming on the iPad.

Third at this point a 1GB iPad isn't going to add a lot to the machines price.

Fourth more RAM would afford them the opportunity to go with wider paths to that RAM increasing bandwidth which can aid the operation of the GPU and other processors. Obviously a wide RAM array doesn't have to also be big but it is pretty clear that the iPad is short on RAM so why not kill two birds with one stone.

Fifth multitasking demands RAM! Apple has gone well out of it's way to try to minimize the impact of multitasking but eventually demand will drive both internal and external use of multitasking. For one I could see Apple implementing some form of AI that would be running in background. Years ago Apple released some concept videos with such AI as user agents.

*****************

Even current apps like Safari can be vastly enhanced by access to more RAM. The point is without paging in iOS more in machine addressable RAM is the only way to go to improve app performance. A 64 bit machine/os just eliminates the work arounds and compromises as the hardware and iOS evolve over time. I just think it is shortsighted to believe that a 32 bit address space will last all that long even in tablet devices.

I hate to bring this up because somebody always starts to whine about how fast their iPad is but the CPU in the machine is nothing more than a fast cell phone processor comparable to a very slow desktop processor from several years back. Between that fact and the lack of RAM issue iPad has a long way to go before running complex or CPU demanding apps become as fluid as it is on the desktop. I just see the move to 64 bit as a way to accomodate many different needs as the platform evolves.

Dave

My desktop iMac has 4 gigs of RAM and it is pretty sufficient. Why would you need more than that for iPad?
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post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by anakin1992 View Post

nvidia might be another competitor.

if AMD can't get fusion to its desired, low power consumption, they might, but i feel that the APU's will be a lot better than most combinations of cpu/gpu in terms of battery life, and performance

PC means personal computer.  

i have processing issues, mostly trying to get my ideas into speech and text.

if i say something confusing please tell me!

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PC means personal computer.  

i have processing issues, mostly trying to get my ideas into speech and text.

if i say something confusing please tell me!

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post #16 of 17
I think what a lot of people have overlooked is what OS are these tablets going to run? That is what will make the difference. Ipad wins because of the sleek iOS. If these 30+ Intel tablets are going to use Windows 7 , then they are doomed from the start.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Battery life is guaranteed to be terrible on these devices.

For phones, maybe... for tablets, not necessarily. Asus already have 10" Atom based netbooks with 14 hours of battery life, and if you'd remove physical keyboard and HDD, you could pack that hardware in the case not much bigger than iPad's one.

Additionally, Intel is very aggressive with shrinking their tech. 32nm parts are out in the next few months, and Intel is already showing their roadmap with planned 22 and 15nm shrinks which would do magic to power consumption (for the same level of performance).

What Intel needs is to Sandy Bridge their Atom - as in to integrate memory controller, better graphics (than what Atom is currently paired with)... and get real killer mobile platform.
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