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Samsung chooses Intel CPU for new iPad-competing Android Galaxy Tab - report

post #1 of 88
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With Intel largely absent from the current booming smartphone and tablet markets, the chipmaker has reportedly secured a deal with Samsung to power one of the company's upcoming 10-inch Android tablets.

At least one version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 will run on Intel's Clover Trail+ mobile chip, Reuters reported this week, citing unnamed sources. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 series is a direct competitor to Apple's full-size 9.7-inch iPad, which has dominated the premium tablet market since it launched in 2010.

Galaxy
Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 debuted in April. A new 10.1-inch model will reportedly feature an Intel CPU.


Samsung's decision to use an Intel chip for an Android device was portrayed as a "coup" for Intel in the report. Most smartphones and tablets currently sold, including Apple's iPhone and iPad, are powered by chips based on ARM reference designs.

Earlier this month, Intel's outgoing CEO Paul Otellini revealed that his company had the opportunity to provide chips for Apple's first iPhone, which kicked off the current smartphone revolution in 2007. But Intel ended up passing on a potential deal with Apple, and Otellini admitted that "the world would have been a lot different if we'd done it."

The rise of smartphones and tablets, which rely on low-power chips and offer strong battery life, has contributed to significant struggles in the PC market, where Intel's CPUs are most common. The latest data from IDC in April showed that traditional PC sales declined 13.9 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2013, marking the largest drop in the industry's history.

While PC sales plummet, sales of tablets ? led by Apple's iPad ? are surging. IDC predicts that tablet shipments will eclipse notebook PCs this year, and surpass all PCs by the year 2015.

Samsung's new Intel-powered Galaxy Tab 3 could be introduced at a company event in London scheduled for June 20. There the company has promised to show off new Galaxy products, as well as devices from its Windows lineup, branded as Ativ.

As Intel looks to get its foot in the door of the tablet market through Samsung, there have even been rumors for years that Intel could also partner with Apple and build its custom A-series chips for iPhone and iPad. Those claims cropped up again in March, when Reuters suggested that executives from both companies over the past year had discussed a possible partnership that would use Intel's foundries to manufacture Apple-designed chips.

Currently, all of Apple's custom A-series chips are built by Samsung, which is also its chief rival in the smartphone market. Speculation that Apple could partner with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has also persisted for years, but some reports have suggested that TSMC alone simply does not have the capacity to build enough chips for Apple.
post #2 of 88
That's interesting. I'm sure the Samsung semiconductor head isn't happy to lose business to Intel. Intel must have made a compelling case.
post #3 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

That's interesting. I'm sure the Samsung semiconductor head isn't happy to lose business to Intel. Intel must have made a compelling case.

That's been my point too, that there will be divisions within Samsung that are more than happy to do business with Apple.

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post #4 of 88

So what does this mean? Incompatibility with everything made before it?

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post #5 of 88
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So what does this mean? Incompatibility with everything made before it?

Yeah I don't get it. So Android will compile x86 and then emulate ARM for the apps?

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post #6 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So what does this mean? Incompatibility with everything made before it?

Exactly what I was thinking. Are there currently x86/x86_64 builds of Android? If not, I assume it's not a huge deal to do it, but then you have to get all the developers to recompile their apps for it. This just seems like a giant mess of work for ... what benefit? It would make more sense that it would be a Windows tablet rather than Android.

post #7 of 88

There's x86 builds of Android out there (including Jelly Bean) but they're not official. I'm guessing that Google have their own internal builds.

 

App compatibility shouldn't be a problem as most third party apps already run in the Dalvik virtual machine.

post #8 of 88

Samsung is churning to market a large variety of devices that most consumers, at large, don't want. So this would be consistent with that behavior. Or the article is incorrect and speaking about a Windows 8 product. The latter is more likely.

post #9 of 88

Hm, as was said before, running Android on an x86 architecture would be quite a surprise. I do not quite see Google porting Android to x86 at this point. Most of their tablet apps are scaled up phone apps already. Making it even more difficult does not make any sense.

 

Could that be a "Surface" competitor running Chrome OS instead?

post #10 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah I don't get it. So Android will compile x86 and then emulate ARM for the apps?

 

Or, that Intel will produce an ARM chip

post #11 of 88
Acer apparently has an All-in-One coming out soon using Intel's Haswell and Android as the OS.
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post #12 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

Exactly what I was thinking. Are there currently x86/x86_64 builds of Android? If not, I assume it's not a huge deal to do it, but then you have to get all the developers to recompile their apps for it. This just seems like a giant mess of work for ... what benefit? It would make more sense that it would be a Windows tablet rather than Android.

Intel ported Jelly Bean to x86 last year.  Intel's plan to get ARM-compiled, non-Dalvik apps to work on x86 Android is to have the user download a version of the app that has undergone binary translation.

 

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5770/lava-xolo-x900-review-the-first-intel-medfield-phone/3

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

Or, that Intel will produce an ARM chip

No, Intel won't be doing that. They sold off their ARM business long ago.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Hm, as was said before, running Android on an x86 architecture would be quite a surprise. I do not quite see Google porting Android to x86 at this point. Most of their tablet apps are scaled up phone apps already. Making it even more difficult does not make any sense.

 

Could that be a "Surface" competitor running Chrome OS instead?

Surprise?  How?  Google's been working on internal x86 builds since 2011 and Intel ported Jelly Bean last year which ran on the Lava Xolo X900 which used an Intel Medfield chip.

post #13 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

There's x86 builds of Android out there (including Jelly Bean) but they're not official. I'm guessing that Google have their own internal builds.

 

App compatibility shouldn't be a problem as most third party apps already run in the Dalvik virtual machine.

 

Thanks. That makes sense. I never looked very closely at Android but if everything is running in a VM perhaps that explains some of the battery issues. I can't imagine that running in a VM would be as efficient as native code.

 

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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Or, that Intel will produce an ARM chip

Clover trail is an Atom I believe.

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post #14 of 88

The motorola i had an intel cpu and ran android.

post #15 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So what does this mean? Incompatibility with everything made before it?

No, most apps, sans games, are Dalvik apps which will have no problem running on x86 Android. The issue is only for those things that use the NDK. That's what Intel's binary translation is for. You should definitely read: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5770/lava-xolo-x900-review-the-first-intel-medfield-phone/3

post #16 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnfetteredMind View Post

Exactly what I was thinking. Are there currently x86/x86_64 builds of Android? If not, I assume it's not a huge deal to do it, but then you have to get all the developers to recompile their apps for it. This just seems like a giant mess of work for ... what benefit? It would make more sense that it would be a Windows tablet rather than Android.

Ding!

 

So samsung builds an x86 tablet that doesn't ship with a Win8 license... but potentially can be hacked on it later.   Sell a Device that boot Win8 (let the buyer beware of the issues of licensing), with no Windows tax up front...   

 

in pharma we would call this off-label profits.  I don't think millions would be sold that way... but maybe 100,000's of thousands.  And if it works, then it's a 3rd party configurator who sells Win8/Surface on Samsung to the enterprise accounts who are still reading Gartner.

 

But as I see it.  Intel needs to get volume to make it's chips cheaper... So it front sells the run rate discount to Samsung who can pack a production run easily... while pricing appears to undercut it's own semi-business, it also forcing Samsung tablet competitors who are 'committed' to ARM to pay more for a similar chip, and they then have to compete on the race to the bottom with the other Android tablets... lowering the threat against Samsung, as well as allow Samsung to focus on the key rivals who have entire tablet stacks under their control (MS and Apple, and a lesser degree Google).    feint, parry, thrust, touche'

 

"...Clever Girl..."

 

As for developers... moving to a Intel platform ensures that Samsung can start building a app store separate from google play for this box, and allows it to better control app quality for the experience (ala Apple).  If it's purely a conversion at first, they'll do it, and then compile native later (I'm sure Intel has a compiler for that as well;-).  

post #17 of 88

Android app is basically java app, where does this application "compiling" issue come from?

post #18 of 88
I see we've veered off to SamsungInsider again...
post #19 of 88
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Originally Posted by xuemingshen View Post

Android app is basically java app, where does this application "compiling" issue come from?

From when the app uses the NDK which is quite common for things like games.

post #20 of 88
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Originally Posted by AZREOSpecialist View Post

Samsung is churning to market a large variety of devices that most consumers, at large, don't want. So this would be consistent with that behavior. Or the article is incorrect and speaking about a Windows 8 product. The latter is more likely.


Yeah, consumers sure don't want their stuff, hell, just look at their last quarter profits....    er...   scratch that.

post #21 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah I don't get it. So Android will compile x86 and then emulate ARM for the apps?

 

This is probably another Windows based tablet, Samsung has made them before, Samsung is even hinting at it with their upcoming 20th June announcement.


Edited by hill60 - 5/31/13 at 8:47am
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post #22 of 88
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post
This is probably another Windows based tablet…

 

But it's a Galaxy. Specifically the Galaxy Tab. Specifically the Android Galaxy Tab, according to the article.

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post #23 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

 

This is probably another Windows based tablet, Samsung has made them before, Samsung even hinted at it with their upcoming 20th June announcement.

No it's not. If it was a Windows-based tablet it wouldn't have the Galaxy name. It would be called part of the "ATIV" line.

post #24 of 88
This just continues the fragmentation of the Android platform. Poor bastages!
Edited by MotivDev - 5/31/13 at 8:57am
post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotivDev View Post

There is a version of Android that runs on X86 platform that Intel and Google have been working on. I don't know what kind of bastardized version it is, but then, does it really matter? This just continues the fragmentation of the Android platform. Poor bastages!

Porting Dalvik to x86 is "bastardizing" it? Because that's what most of porting Android to x86 has involved.

post #26 of 88
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Originally Posted by Applelunatic View Post

Surprise?  How?  Google's been working on internal x86 builds since 2011 and Intel ported Jelly Bean last year which ran on the Lava Xolo X900 which used an Intel Medfield chip.

 

Surprise as in:

 

- There are some Android apps (mainly games and e.g. VM clients) using the NDK, they won't run on x86

- Android is already the most "hardware intensive" mobile OS (requires more and faster cores, more RAM etc. than iOS, WP8, BB10 to deliver the same performance); Intel CPUs and their power consumption don't seem like a good fit. Who wants a tablet running scaled up phone apps and delivering the battery times of a Surface Pro?

post #27 of 88
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Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

 

Surprise as in:

 

- There are some Android apps (mainly games and e.g. VM clients) using the NDK, they won't run on x86

Already addressed that point in the link I provided from Anandtech in that very same post. Intel has the device download a version of the app that has undergone binary translation from ARM to x86. Again, there is nothing at all surprising here. In fact, it's old news by this point.

post #28 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

There's x86 builds of Android out there (including Jelly Bean) but they're not official. I'm guessing that Google have their own internal builds.

App compatibility shouldn't be a problem as most third party apps already run in the Dalvik virtual machine.

First, it's not technically a virtual machine if it's running a different architecture - it's an emulator.

Second, emulation is slow.

Finally, emulation isn't perfect - some apps will break even if lots of them run.

Just one more example of fragmentation.
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post #29 of 88
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


First, it's not technically a virtual machine if it's running a different architecture - it's an emulator.

Sure it is. The point of a virtual machine is that it abstracts away the hardware so it can be run on multiple architectures. Your statement makes absolutely no sense and your definition of what constitutes a virtual machine is completely non-standard. By your logic the Java Virtual Machine is not actually a virtual machine, right? Because you do realize it runs on many different architectures?

post #30 of 88
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Originally Posted by Applelunatic View Post

Already addressed that point in the link I provided from Anandtech in that very same post. Intel has the device download a version of the app that has undergone binary translation from ARM to x86. Again, there is nothing at all surprising here. In fact, it's old news by this point.

 

Well, this is a manual transaction by the programmer. No idea what the Lava Xolo's market share is (I have honestly never seen one), and how many developers did actually re-compile their apps for it... But I know how many developers made an effort to bring their Android apps to the Amazon Appstore (which should be a lot bigger than than the Lava Xolo's audience and most certainly "old news", too). Not many, to put it politely.

post #31 of 88
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Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

 

Well, this is a manual transaction by the programmer. No idea what the Lava Xolo's market share is (I have honestly never seen one), and how many developers did actually re-compile their apps for it... But I know how many developers made an effort to bring their Android apps to the Amazon Appstore (which should be a lot bigger than than the Lava Xolo's audience and most certainly "old news", too). Not many, to put it politely.

I never said the phone had any significant market share and I don't really see what relevance that has to do with what I said. You seem to be focused on some irrelevant point. My point was that Intel's port of Android and how they intended to have ARM compiled programs run on x86 Android is old news. This is stuff they had been talked about from around mid 2011 to early last year. In fact, it's more surprising that you find it surprising since it was talked about on numerous tech sites.

post #32 of 88
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57586918-92/acer-$400-pc-will-run-android-pack-intels-haswell-chip/

"Less Windows, more Android. Acer is about to give us a taste of this trend, as Android PCs begin to creep onto the market.
The ($400) Acer all-in-one (AIO), due to be announced next week, will pack an Intel 3GHz Core i5 4430 "Haswell" processor and run Android.
Acer confirmed the AIO with CNET on Thursday.

Expect this trend to pick up steam as PC vendors announce new systems based on Intel's upcoming Haswell and Bay Trail chips. Intel is already dropping not-so-subtle hints that Android laptops running on the Bay Trail chip are on the way and will be priced between $200 and $300."
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post #33 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Applelunatic View Post

Sure it is. The point of a virtual machine is that it abstracts away the hardware so it can be run on multiple architectures. Your statement makes absolutely no sense and your definition of what constitutes a virtual machine is completely non-standard. By your logic the Java Virtual Machine is not actually a virtual machine, right? Because you do realize it runs on many different architectures?

jragosta is correct.

Running MS Windows on a PPC Mac is emulation because Windows only had binaries for x86. Running MS Windows on an Intel Mac is virtualization because Windows understands the HW. That means it al had to be emulated so that the processor code understand what the OS was requesting. This made it very slow even on the fastest systems. Many Intel chips are even designed to allow a VM to take advantage of the HW with less overhead but the OS needs to understand x86 or x86_64 HW for this to work.

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post #34 of 88
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

jragosta is correct.

Running MS Windows on a PPC Mac is emulation because Windows only had binaries for x86. Running MS Windows on an Intel Mac is virtualization because Windows understands the HW. Many Intel chips are even designed to allow a VM to take advantage of the HW with less overhead but the OS needs to understand x86 or x86_64 HW for this to work.

So that I understand would Acer's new AIO with Haswell and Android use emulation or virtualization?
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post #35 of 88
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

So that I understand would Acer's new AIO with Haswell and Android use emulation or virtualization?

What architecture is the HW? What architectures do the OSes support?

Edit: It appears Windows supports ARM and Android supports x86, which Intel lists as Atom which I take to mean no 64-bit support. That would then depend on what architecture is run for the second OS but I'd think only native binaries make sense if they are available.
Edited by SolipsismX - 5/31/13 at 9:32am

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post #36 of 88
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Originally Posted by Applelunatic View Post

I never said the phone had any significant market share and I don't really see what relevance that has to do with what I said. You seem to be focused on some irrelevant point. My point was that Intel's port of Android and how they intended to have ARM compiled programs run on x86 Android is old news. This is stuff they had been talked about from around mid 2011 to early last year. In fact, it's more surprising that you find it surprising since it was talked about on numerous tech sites.

 

My point (it might well be irrelevant, what do I know) is simply that I would consider it surprising if Samsung would release a mass market device (supposed to compete with the iPad, Amazon's and Samsung's own ARM devices) that would be incompatible with quite a few Android apps, especially since Android is still short of dedicated tablet apps. What is the actual benefit of a x86 CPU when running Android? A product needs at least one selling point. It won't be lighter, it won't be cooler, it can't be cheaper, and it definitely won't have more battery life... so, what is the point?

post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What architecture is the HW? What architectures do the OSes support?

If it's Haswell i5 wouldn't it be x86? You're much more knowledgeable than I am about architectures.
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post #38 of 88

I see talk of virtualization. Is that one of the many reasons as to why Android runs like complete shit?

post #39 of 88
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

If it's Haswell i5 wouldn't it be x86? You're much more knowledgeable than I am about architectures.

Ah, you did mention Haswell. I completely overlooked that.

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post #40 of 88
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Ah, you did mention Haswell. I completely overlooked that.

. . . and?
Would it then be using emulation or virtualization? I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like that and so would defer to you.
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