Intel splits on Atom after the mobile relevance of x86 whacked by Apple's Ax

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  • Reply 61 of 102
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    melgross said:
    knowitall said:
    Other bad news for Intel: Apple will likely make its own modem in the near future.
    Qualcomm modems are a major pain in the ass for Apple, software and hardware isn't stable and causes many defunct devices (happend to my iPhone 5ses twice), Apple knows this of course and is developing its own solution to be able to guarantee quality in the future.
    In the meantime they asked Intel to deliver a modem for iPhone 7 and on.
    Everyone knows (I assume) that Intel has no modems and bought Infinion (modem division) to be into that market. But - as I assume Apple knows now - Infinion modems are not better than Qualcomm (probably worse), so that will be the end of that chapter and Apple will make its own, probably fully integrated in one chip package (and save a truckload of money in the process).
    Well, Apple is moving to Intel modems. The new phones should have at least 40% using Intel modems. It doesn't matter that intel bought Infinion, it's a long time past, and Intel has been making major improvements to their line. If Apple thinks they good enough, then likely they are, or Apple wouldn't move to them.

    maybe Apple is investigating making their own chips there, but it will take years, and the first ones out won't be great.

    Hmm, I don't think so, Apple has lots of problems because of modem quality issues, and that's not new at all. I expect them to have an alternative already.
    I don't expect Infinions code to be changed a lot, code bases like that don't move fast, it will take Intel years to fix what's wrong and I don't expect them to be ready.
    Apple does know what it's doing of course, but judging a code base like that is very difficult. 
    But we will see how happy Apple is with Infinion (nee Intel) modems in its products.
  • Reply 62 of 102
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,921member
    Herbivore2 said:

    And if I were Nadella of MSFT, I would be on the phone to Cook attempting to acquire A10X SOCs to build out a Windows phone anyhow. 
    Or maybe MSFT should just design its own ARM chips.
  • Reply 63 of 102
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,824member
    melgross said:
    Perhaps writers should stop having Apple as the cause of everything that happens. Even before the slump Apple had this last quarter, iPhones composed just 16.3% of worldwide smartphone sales. Intel didn't look at that and decide to discontunue its products in the mobile area. They looked at Android device sales and the lack of movement there in the direction of x86 SoCs.

    they also looked at the continuing drop in the sales of Win Phone , and area in which it looked as though x86 has a chance. And as the very first post here said, the M series chops are what Intel is pushing for tablets, such as the lower end Surface models, and light weight notebooks. No doubt, if there is an interest in it, we'll see an SoC with an M series chip.
    It most certainly is an Apple story!

    Apple was successful, derived most of the profits mobile and with those, created a SoC line around ARM that still defines the high end of mobile. I don't know what factor that Intel looked at, but I'd guess that they looked at their pathetic penetration in smartphones and tablets, and the fact that they couldn't compete.

    Intel made a string of bad decisions beginning a decade ago, and did not or could not acknowledge that there was a mobile market for other than x86 processors. Apple's iPhone was the prototypical new device, followed by iPad, that did not require x86, and since Intel sold Xscale to Marvel, Intel was committed to a competitive low power processor family, Atom, that ultimately could not compete on price, power efficiency or performance with the rate of ARM advance, the choice of almost 100% of the mobile market, including ubiquitous Android devices.

    Apple innovation drove the "ARM' race well past what Atom what able to deliver, so yeah, this is correctly an Apple story, and frankly, Intel's vaunted technical abilities haven't been a factor in that; they picked the wrong horse, same as MS.

    Sucks to be Intel, but they have never been successful with any architecture other than x86 so why would we even expect them to be competitive in mobile? 

    As for Core M, it's just going to drive x86 hybrids, and how's that working out?
    cornchip
  • Reply 64 of 102
    tmay said:
    melgross said:
    Perhaps writers should stop having Apple as the cause of everything that happens. Even before the slump Apple had this last quarter, iPhones composed just 16.3% of worldwide smartphone sales. Intel didn't look at that and decide to discontunue its products in the mobile area. They looked at Android device sales and the lack of movement there in the direction of x86 SoCs.

    they also looked at the continuing drop in the sales of Win Phone , and area in which it looked as though x86 has a chance. And as the very first post here said, the M series chops are what Intel is pushing for tablets, such as the lower end Surface models, and light weight notebooks. No doubt, if there is an interest in it, we'll see an SoC with an M series chip.
    It most certainly is an Apple story!

    Apple was successful, derived most of the profits mobile and with those, created a SoC line around ARM that still defines the high end of mobile. I don't know what factor that Intel looked at, but I'd guess that they looked at their pathetic penetration in smartphones and tablets, and the fact that they couldn't compete.

    Intel made a string of bad decisions beginning a decade ago, and did not or could not acknowledge that there was a mobile market for other than x86 processors. Apple's iPhone was the prototypical new device, followed by iPad, that did not require x86, and since Intel sold Xscale to Marvel, Intel was committed to a competitive low power processor family, Atom, that ultimately could not compete on price, power efficiency or performance with the rate of ARM advance, the choice of almost 100% of the mobile market, including ubiquitous Android devices.

    Apple innovation drove the "ARM' race well past what Atom what able to deliver, so yeah, this is correctly an Apple story, and frankly, Intel's vaunted technical abilities haven't been a factor in that; they picked the wrong horse, same as MS.

    Sucks to be Intel, but they have never been successful with any architecture other than x86 so why would we even expect them to be competitive in mobile? 

    As for Core M, it's just going to drive x86 hybrids, and how's that working out?
    No one is denying Apple ARM development is not great. The correlation comes in the fact that the market to make mobile device SoCs is NOT dominated by Apple. I will not even guess what percent of the Mobile landscape Apple commands but I and willing to guess around 20-40 meanwhile every flagship Android has a snapdragon inside. Most of the midrange is snapdragon. Intel lost its chance in mobile to Qualcomm not Apple. Qualcomm is the grand daddy in the SoCs. Samsung, LG, and HTC compete for #1 Android phone while a snapdragon 820 is in all of them they are the true winners.
    duervo
  • Reply 65 of 102
    IanSIanS Posts: 39member
    SnRa said:
    apple ][ said:
    Were those the chips that were being used in various tablets that had fans in them?

    What a joke. Talk about a low class tablet.

    Imagine having a phone or a tablet and there is a damn fan inside of it? 

    Do people who buy those have plumbing and running water at home? 
    Atom tablets do not have fans. For that matter, most core m devices don't even have fans.
    Yep your right they have no fans, I think this is why Intel is abandoning them, I am definitely not a fan. ;-)
    cornchippscooter63
  • Reply 66 of 102
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,824member
    tmay said:
    It most certainly is an Apple story!

    Apple was successful, derived most of the profits mobile and with those, created a SoC line around ARM that still defines the high end of mobile. I don't know what factor that Intel looked at, but I'd guess that they looked at their pathetic penetration in smartphones and tablets, and the fact that they couldn't compete.

    Intel made a string of bad decisions beginning a decade ago, and did not or could not acknowledge that there was a mobile market for other than x86 processors. Apple's iPhone was the prototypical new device, followed by iPad, that did not require x86, and since Intel sold Xscale to Marvel, Intel was committed to a competitive low power processor family, Atom, that ultimately could not compete on price, power efficiency or performance with the rate of ARM advance, the choice of almost 100% of the mobile market, including ubiquitous Android devices.

    Apple innovation drove the "ARM' race well past what Atom what able to deliver, so yeah, this is correctly an Apple story, and frankly, Intel's vaunted technical abilities haven't been a factor in that; they picked the wrong horse, same as MS.

    Sucks to be Intel, but they have never been successful with any architecture other than x86 so why would we even expect them to be competitive in mobile? 

    As for Core M, it's just going to drive x86 hybrids, and how's that working out?
    No one is denying Apple ARM development is not great. The correlation comes in the fact that the market to make mobile device SoCs is NOT dominated by Apple. I will not even guess what percent of the Mobile landscape Apple commands but I and willing to guess around 20-40 meanwhile every flagship Android has a snapdragon inside. Most of the midrange is snapdragon. Intel lost its chance in mobile to Qualcomm not Apple. Qualcomm is the grand daddy in the SoCs. Samsung, LG, and HTC compete for #1 Android phone while a snapdragon 820 is in all of them they are the true winners.
    I think you missed the point, which is that Intel made some bad decisions at the time when the iPhone and Android phones were still in their infancy, and then compounded that by sticking to x86, which wasn't even close to being a requirement for mobile, on the promise of MS success. Apple took to lead with its A series, and then followed it up with a 64 bit ARM implementation 12 to 18 months prior to Qualcomm or Samsung, and none have yet exceeded A series processors for mobile.

    There was no room for Atom or Core M in smartphones or tablets because Apple pushed ARM to better performance than Qualcomm or Samsung did, and Intel couldn't compete on power efficiency. 

    edited May 2016
  • Reply 67 of 102
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,135member
    If anything Intel lost to Qualcomm as did TI instruments and Nvidia. Citing Apple as the reason is foolish. They had no competition with apple in this market. They knew when they where developing this chip it was a .0001% chance it would end up in an iOS device. The devices they wanted it in was LG, HTC and all the growing Chinese OEMs. 
    Seriously?  They passed on the iPhone because they didn't see the value of it.
    bb-15
  • Reply 68 of 102
    Apple has very little profit on their Processors. So this article is extremely deceiving. The profit generated from the iPhone/iPad etc is combination of small gains from many parts AAPL buys from desperate majority Chinese producers.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 69 of 102
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 862member
    Apple has more than enough cash on hand that if they wanted to they could launch a hostile takeover attempt and force intel to break itself into a few component parts (though I doubt that will happen).  I could see Intel being forced by activist stock holders forcing the issue though.  They are cutting Atom and 12,000 people because they need the capital to invest in their high growth areas -- that they think are the future of the company.  Lets face it Intel has spent years trying to recover from their mistake.... and it has only cost them resources without much to show for it.  It would be stupid to focus on that business as it reaches it's peak -- since they would be fighting an intrenched competitor in a market that is no longer going to grow at the same rate.   Intel focused too much on the per unit profit being much lower without calculating that it would be made up in volume.  

    Why is it peaking?
       - Because everyone already has a phone that wants to buy one, many have the newest models....
       - It is no longer seen as "free" to upgrade to a new phone every 2 years because the costs are no longer hidden.
       - The phone market is going to start seeing a much longer replacement cycle

    This is the same cycle the PC market went through -- though the PC market was also hit by people finding other ways to do basic tasks... meaning less people really need to buy a full computer....  (especially in the developing world - lots of people here have iPhone, Samsung and iPad devices and no computer).  

    I could see a future where Intel's old fabbing business competes for Apples Ax business (i.e. Ax + Intel Modem fabbed by Intel).
  • Reply 70 of 102
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 862member
    Apple has very little profit on their Processors. So this article is extremely deceiving. The profit generated from the iPhone/iPad etc is combination of small gains from many parts AAPL buys from desperate majority Chinese producers.

    That is silly.  Apple is a customer for processors, Intel is a supplier.  If a company came to me and told me that by the very nature of being a large company that manufactures in volume -- I can make that chip for 10x the amount that you can do it yourself.... I would show them the exit. 

    Apple is not in the business to sell processors....  

    Other than Windows legacy (currently) .... the world is no longer locked into an x86 world.....  
  • Reply 71 of 102
    duervoduervo Posts: 72member
    This move has just as much to do with the recent release of the current Core m processors, as it does anything else. In fact, it's probably safer to say that it has more to do with it. It makes little sense for Intel to continue manufacturing a line of processors that are seemingly in direct competition with another line of processors that they make. There's some serious overlap there, and it's normal to see them doing this type of thing (discontinuing the older of the two.) This just alerts people to what Intel's plans with Core m may be. It's just the beginning for what they have in store with those.

    I get the need to put things in a way to propagate controversy and build up one party over another ... It gets clicks and reads. I'd do the same thing if I were running a site like this.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 72 of 102
    zimmermannzimmermann Posts: 309member
    SnRa said:
    apple ][ said:
    What did the Surface tablets use, because I remember some of them having fans inside.

    That is a total nonstarter for any tablet.
    The Surface 3 is the only Surface tablet to use an atom chip and it was fanless.

    The Surface Pro 4 is fanless for the Core m3 version. Only the Core i5 and Core i7 models have a discrete fan, but it only turns on when the device is at high load.
    I work together with several people that use Surface's. More often than not you hear fans going.
  • Reply 73 of 102
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 862member
    duervo said:
    This move has just as much to do with the recent release of the current Core m processors, as it does anything else. In fact, it's probably safer to say that it has more to do with it. It makes little sense for Intel to continue manufacturing a line of processors that are seemingly in direct competition with another line of processors that they make. There's some serious overlap there, and it's normal to see them doing this type of thing (discontinuing the older of the two.) This just alerts people to what Intel's plans with Core m may be. It's just the beginning for what they have in store with those.

    I get the need to put things in a way to propagate controversy and build up one party over another ... It gets clicks and reads. I'd do the same thing if I were running a site like this.
    Atom price is 1/10th the price of Core-M.... it was a different market.  Similar to Core-M vs i series.
    tmay
  • Reply 74 of 102
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,976member
    knowitall said:
    robjn said:
    My next door neighbor here in Cupertino is an engineer at Intel. His job is (or was) to run benchmark tests on Atom chips in Android devices.

    This guy heavily praises Apple's chips when in casual conversation with me. He says they have some kind of secret in the way they "schedule" operations through the processor. He laments that no one at Intel knows how Apple do it!

    Of course, like most engineers here in Silicon Valley, he chooses to use an iPhone. This isn't "fan boy" fiction. The Atom chip has utterly failed to compete in the tablet and smartphone market.


    Don't know about special pipeline scheduling or special pipelines compared to other ARM processors, but Apples Ax chips are very efficient (like other ARM cores) because they are designed from the ground up to be so. The step to 64 bit is most recent and did chance a lot, more registers etc, my guess is that pipelining behavior changed also ...

    Intel chips have one huge disadvantage compared to ARM (and other suitable processors) in that they use a RISC (like) core (like ARM) and a translation (hardware) layer (unlike ARM) that translates x86 code to the internal RISC equivalent which makes predicting pipeline behavior from x86 source code a nightmare.
    ARM has no such problem and a good compiler can layout the code in such a way that pipelining goes smooth, which is impossible (much more difficult) for x86 code.

    Maybe Intel doesn't know what's going on because compiler technology isn't there strong point? (Yes I know Intel has the most capable compiler officially, it could very well be that they do know the problem, but cannot fix it because of the reason I gave).

    Edit: Intel tried much earlier to get rid of its ancient x86 architecture by defining a 64 bit architecture without backward compatibility, but that failed miserably and they had to follow AMD into 64 bit land, but that included 32bit x86 compatibility ... (rats)
    So why stick to x86 instruction set?
    Couldn't they work an open source complier like LLVM to bypass x86 code and compile straight to their internal rise instruction set.
    Get control over the pipeline that way. 
  • Reply 75 of 102
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 628member
    That's a shame. As recently as three years ago, I had firsthand knowledge of a few companies still making things with 400 MHz Celeron chips (left that company, so any knowledge now is not firsthand). I swear, they must have been digging them out of a dumpster behind an Intel fab, but the products they were in (network security "appliances") sold for $8k or so. I was really, really hoping Intel would force them to move to a more current architecture, but if the phone-grade Atom is going away, I doubt that's going to happen.
  • Reply 76 of 102
    bkkcanuckbkkcanuck Posts: 862member
    zimmie said:
    That's a shame. As recently as three years ago, I had firsthand knowledge of a few companies still making things with 400 MHz Celeron chips (left that company, so any knowledge now is not firsthand). I swear, they must have been digging them out of a dumpster behind an Intel fab, but the products they were in (network security "appliances") sold for $8k or so. I was really, really hoping Intel would force them to move to a more current architecture, but if the phone-grade Atom is going away, I doubt that's going to happen.
    Network security "appliances" and things like that should just move to ARM based processors - a long of Network "appliances" work on a Linux base anyway.  
  • Reply 77 of 102
    SnRaSnRa Posts: 65member
    SnRa said:
    The Surface 3 is the only Surface tablet to use an atom chip and it was fanless.

    The Surface Pro 4 is fanless for the Core m3 version. Only the Core i5 and Core i7 models have a discrete fan, but it only turns on when the device is at high load.
    I work together with several people that use Surface's. More often than not you hear fans going.
    Then they're probably using a Surface Pro 3 (Haswell) or older (Ivy Bridge). For the Surface Pro 4 (Skylake), you often need to be running a demanding application for the fan to kick in.
  • Reply 78 of 102
    redstaterredstater Posts: 49member
    Intel did not so much lose out to A9 chips, as A9 chips are only used in Apple products. Instead, Intel - and AMD - lost out to Asian manufacturers of ARM chips such as Samsung, Nvidia, Qualcomm and especially MediaTek. The more expensive and midrange Android phones and tablets tended to use Qualcomm and occasionally Samsung, plus Nvidia every now and then. The problem was that Intel utterly failed to gain traction on cheaper phones and tablets against MediaTek. The only manufacturer that they were ever able to get on board was Asus, and even Asus started using MediaTek in their latest models. Another problem is that Windows and ChromeOS got to the point where they run fine on ARM architecture, so most cheaper 2-in-1 and tablets passed up Intel also. For example, the Asus Flip ChromeOS convertible and the Chromebit (think Roku Stick except with ChromeOS, or perhaps a Chromecast except the full ChromeOS instead of just the Cast Receiver app) Asus chose to use Rockchip ARM CPUs instead of Intel.

    The problem with Intel is that during the 90s and 00s, most PC manufacturers were based in the United States: HP, Compaq, Dell, Packard Bell and of course IBM. So they were more likely to use components from American companies like Intel and AMD. However, with the exception of Apple and a couple of other companies who combined may only push 5 million tablets (and no phones) a year such as Amazon and Dell, mobile means Android and Android means Asia: South Korea (Samsung and LG), Taiwan (HTC, Asustek, Acer), Japan (Sony, Sharp and Kyocera) and China (Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, Foxconn etc.) plus India. They have lots of cost, business, logistical etc. reasons to favor component manufacturers in their region over Intel, despite Google trying their level best to help Intel by putting a lot of work into making Android work on x86 architecture.

    Of course, Google also hampered Intel's efforts by not making Android useful on large-screened devices. Several companies especially Dell, Toshiba and Samsung did waste a lot of money on trying to come up with compelling Android-based tablet and 2-in-1 products, but got no help at all from Google on the OS or software side. The reason: Google feared that if you could get a quality big tablet or laptop running Android, who would buy Chrome OS devices? The problem is that Chrome OS runs just as well on ARM as does Android, and its main selling point was the ability to make cheaper devices out of cheaper components than were needed to make Windows 7 and Windows 8 devices. (Windows 10 has now been engineered to run on ARM just as well as Chrome OS and Android does, though too little too late.) But Intel badly needed Google to make a productivity-based OS that would justify the advantages that their processors do enjoy over ARM, but they got no help. Google is now finally working on making Android a productivity OS, but that is too little, too late to help Intel. It is also too late to prevent Samsung, Xiaomi and others from using Windows 10 for their latest line of 2-in-1s and convertibles, not Android. It really is just a huge screwup by Google from which they and their partners will never recover. ChromeOS will never make a dime for Google, and Android is never going to be anything but an OS to drive phones that cost $300 or less.

    Intel could - and should - have just manufactured their own devices using their own chips. They had a non-compete agreement with Microsoft and IBM that kept them from doing so with PCs, but that never applied to mobile devices. So the billions that they spent subsidizing Bay Trail and Cherry Trail could have instead gone towards their own tablets, phones and even laptops. They could have built them with Google's help, even built a Nexus device for them, and made headway in the American and European markets based on their name recognition. Or in a less risky move, they could have licensed Foxconn or another company in Asia to build and perhaps even supply their devices for them. Anyway, pretty much anything would have worked better than what they did, which was offer gigantic wads of cash to anyone willing to use their hardware and still finding no takers.


    kevt
  • Reply 79 of 102
    redstaterredstater Posts: 49member
    bkkcanuck said:
    Network security "appliances" and things like that should just move to ARM based processors - a long of Network "appliances" work on a Linux base anyway.  
    Lots of them already have. Incidentally Linux and ARM have nothing intrinsically to do with each other. Instead, it is merely that UNIX - and Linux - workstations, mainframes and servers used to run on high performance RISC CPUs because Intel and AMD did not make high-performance CPUs, preferring instead to focus on the more lucrative general purpose CPU market (desktops, laptops and later smaller servers for Windows Server and SQL Server). ARM just happens to be one of the many RISC-type CPUs (along with MIPS that was used for most second-gen gaming consoles as well as graphics workstations) plus Sun SPARC and IBM Power (workstations). ARM was used for mobile primarily because it used less power - and is generally cheaper - than other architectures, but the tradeoff is that it was much less powerful. Which is an interesting contradiction: Linux and UNIX used RISC-based servers in the 80s, 90s and 00s because it was more powerful than x86, and now Linux-based mobile/IoT operating systems like iOS, Android and Chrome OS (and Tizen, Ubuntu Mobile, Firefox OS and LG OS formerly webOS) use RISC-based devices because they are less powerful than x86.

    Bottom line: Linux works - and works well - on practically any architecture, including even 30 years old - and possibly older - mainframes that have been repurposed. So there is no reason to favor ARM or disfavor x86 on any hardware that will run Linux. Instead, the decision would have to be made on things like cost, scalability, power etc. So if your network security appliance runs a lightweight application and only requires adequate speeds for a small network then ARM is fine. But if the security application is heavy-duty, high-speed, high-bandwidth or for a large network then you are going to need a server type x86 or Oracle/IBM RISC CPU.
  • Reply 80 of 102
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,921member
    vision33r said:
    robjn said:
    My next door neighbor here in Cupertino is an engineer at Intel. His job is (or was) to run benchmark tests on Atom chips in Android devices.

    This guy heavily praises Apple's chips when in casual conversation with me. He says they have some kind of secret in the way they "schedule" operations through the processor. He laments that no one at Intel knows how Apple do it!

    Of course, like most engineers here in Silicon Valley, he chooses to use an iPhone. This isn't "fan boy" fiction. The Atom chip has utterly failed to compete in the tablet and smartphone market.


    The secret is simple, design the CPU and have the guys next door in your office make the OS and APIs built for it.
    Exactly. It's not like some kind of deep dark secret Apple keeps buried under 1 infinite loop (possibly already moved to the new campus). It's called direct cooperation. Apples hardware and software integration is only going to further distance them from their competitors in the coming years, especially in light of their new chip fab. Now the details of what's happening there, that is a secret.
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