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Intel CEO Paul Otellini.  (Source:
Intel: Android is too fragmented, Windows 8 ARM devices won't be compatible with legacy apps

Intel Corp. is having a busy week. 

We reported yesterday that Intel is prepping to roll out more than 35 Atom-based tablets by the end of the year, including a number for Google's Android OS. But, according to CNET, Intel CEO Paul Otellini recently called Android's fragmentation "chaos."

"Apple's objective is to control everything end to end so they can control the experience and the pricing," Otellini said at an Intel's investor. "Google's model is to get as broad a base as possible because, how do they get paid? They don't get paid by selling Android. They get paid by clicks. At the end of the day, the more pervasive Android is, the more money Google ultimately makes because advertising revenue can accrue from it."

Otellini added that the software is going through "growing pains," but that it will eventually be rectified. His hopeful tone was similar to that of NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's statements earlier in the week about Android's slowly being worked out.

Otellini compared Android's current state with Microsoft in the past, which ran on platforms such as DEC's Alpha, IBM's PowerPC, ARM, and MIPS "before settling predominantly on Intel's x86 architecture," CNET reported.

Speaking of Microsoft -- statements made by another top Intel exec have angered Microsoft. 

EWeek reported yesterday that Renee James, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group, suggested during an investor meeting that Microsoft will make different versions of its upcoming “Windows 8” for Intel and ARM-based devices. The ARM-based devices, she said, won't be able to run legacy Windows apps, which were designed to run on Intel's x86.

"There will be four Windows 8 SoCs for ARM. Each one will run for that specific ARM environment, and they will run new applications or cloud-based applications," James said. "They are neither forward- nor backward-compatible between their own architecture – different generations of a single vendor – nor are they compatible across different vendors. Each one is a unique stack."

According to Business Insider, Microsoft was not happy about her statements. The company replied:

Intel’s statements during yesterday’s Intel Investor Meeting about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading. From the first demonstrations of Windows on SoC, we have been clear about our goals and have emphasized that we are at the technology demonstration stage. As such, we have no further details or information at this time.

The vagueness of Microsoft's statement means that James might have been at least partially correct. More details should be announced in September, at Microsoft's developer conference.

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Load of BS
By Da W on 5/19/2011 9:52:04 AM , Rating: 3
"There will be four Windows 8 SoCs for ARM. Each one will run for that specific ARM environment

At least for this part, all SoC use the same ARM instruction set, and Android runs on all different SoCs. Why would Windows be different? There's no 2 versions for intel and for AMD CPUs.

x64 Windows not compatible with ARM Windows would be disapointing though.

RE: Load of BS
By therealnickdanger on 5/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Load of BS
By Flunk on 5/19/2011 10:25:16 AM , Rating: 5
Microsoft is slowly moving towards a .NET based environment. Windows Phone 7 already only runs 3rd party applications written in .NET.

The reason I mention this is that .NET can run on any architecture that supports .NET (as every Windows does) without recompiling*. This means that one version of the code can support ARM, x86 and x64.

If you blend together the ideas that Microsoft is moving towards a .NET environment with the idea of different architectures you can see the big picture emerging. Microsoft doesn't want to be tied to x86 forever.

*Because of JIT compilation.

RE: Load of BS
By poi2 on 5/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Load of BS
By Flunk on 5/19/2011 11:21:52 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, the problem you're describing is caused by calling native code from your .NET program. If you call 32bit native code from .NET and install your app on a 64bit system the call will fail until there is a 64bit equivalent installed.

This isn't an issue with .NET but with your code specifically. Setting the compile to force 32bit mode will get around the problem, as will fixing the underlying problem with your code.

RE: Load of BS
By omnicronx on 5/19/2011 12:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
That would be my guess. I've never had a problem with VS 2008 or 2010..

RE: Load of BS
By cjohnson2136 on 5/19/2011 11:29:56 AM , Rating: 1
Why not try using VS 2010?

RE: Load of BS
By niva on 5/19/2011 4:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting, I've not been doing any software development for over 10 years and had very little VS experience. Can someone please clarify what the .NET environment is like? Is it similar to how Java programs run on top of a software layer that knows how to interface with the native environment?

RE: Load of BS
By Gnarr on 5/19/2011 4:49:57 PM , Rating: 1
.net is nothing but a vm made by MS. Just like the java VM.

RE: Load of BS
By Justin Time on 5/19/2011 6:56:52 PM , Rating: 3
It’s essentially a framework wrapper to abstract the underlying Windows API’s. Your apps use the .Net abstraction layer and effectively become independent of the Windows platform version. It uses a common language runtime, which allows independence from high-level languages, allowing support of multiple languages as plug-ins...

RE: Load of BS
By Da W on 5/19/2011 11:47:25 AM , Rating: 2
True. Microsoft is moving away from "close to metal" code and it wants you to write for it's operating system, the OS will be the middleman between your app and whatever CPU is under the hood.

So Intel didn't say all wrong, only them will run x86 LEGACY applications on tablets. But who wants to run a program written in 1996 anyway? But i think any new apps written for Windows 8 will be forward compatible between Intel-ARM architecture.

RE: Load of BS
By StevoLincolnite on 5/19/2011 12:15:20 PM , Rating: 5
But who wants to run a program written in 1996 anyway?

I do!
Lots of games came out in Windows 9x era that I would love to run on an ARM tablet like:
* Duke Nukem 3D
* Command and Conquer.
* Master of Orion.
* MechWarrior.
* X-Com.
* Kings Quest.
* Doom.
* Wing Commander.
* Freespace.
* Jagged Alliance.

I think people forget how x86 has the largest game library over any other platform, it spans literally decades with thousands of titles, it makes the iOS platform look deserted in comparison.

On my Windows 7 tablet, Master of Orion 2 works rather well with touch controls, they don't make games like they used to unfortunately. :(
How many games can you look at today and think: I might play that in 10-20 years time? I cant think of many, most games don't have single player/offline re-playability like they used to.

RE: Load of BS
By nafhan on 5/19/2011 12:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
One word for you: virtualization! I'm thinking several of those games won't run at all straight from Win7 or any other modern OS.

RE: Load of BS
By lol123 on 5/19/2011 2:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
Virtualization does not make x86 code run on ARM processors and it also does not make an ARM SoC an IBM compatible PC that would be able to run those games. Emulation is another story and I'm not sure that even games from 1996 would be able run at an acceptable frame rate on today's ARM processors under emulation.

RE: Load of BS
By Guspaz on 5/19/2011 3:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
Quake is from 1996. Quake should run perfectly fine with a high-performance x86 emulator on a modern ARM device.

DosBox runs Quake just fine, and runs on ARM, but is known for having very slow processor emulation (it's interpreted). QEMU is much faster, and you'd probably have better success there.

I suspect that 1996, though, is getting pretty close to the limitations of what's possible to fully emulate performance-intensive stuff on an ARM processor, but luckily you don't really need to... If you take a similar approach to what Apple did with Rosetta, you emulate the application itself, but translate to native API calls whenever possible. As such, you're only emulating a portion of all the code that's run, only the code the application itself executes. Anything that is handled by the OS is still handled by the OS. Not emulating the entire OS saves a lot of CPU time.

RE: Load of BS
By nafhan on 5/19/2011 4:15:25 PM , Rating: 2
True. I was more commenting on the guy directly above's post about running DOS and Win95 era games under Win7.

Anyway, I don't think emulating x86 will be a limiting factor IRT playing legacy games in the future. I think the real problem will be emulating outdated non-open source hardware API's like Glide, DirectX7, etc.

RE: Load of BS
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 12:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
How many games can you look at today and think: I might play that in 10-20 years time?

Pretty much anything made by Blizzard. Hell WoW is pushing 10 years old, and when it hit's it I'm sure there will still be like 11 million subscribers.

RE: Load of BS
By omnicronx on 5/19/2011 1:17:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree..

I'm pretty sure I could still play the original StarCraft and have more fun than most games out today ;)

RE: Load of BS
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 2:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Oh hell ya, Lan party!

RE: Load of BS
By lol123 on 5/19/2011 2:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm backing you up on that 100%.

RE: Load of BS
By JediJeb on 5/19/2011 4:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
I wish I could find a good emulator for the Xwing, Tie Fighter, XvT, games. Those were great and since my last DOS/W95 box died I haven't been able to get them to run on anything else :(

RE: Load of BS
By Reclaimer77 on 5/19/2011 7:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Emulator? They won't run on XP or XP Compatibility mode?

RE: Load of BS
By mcnabney on 5/19/2011 12:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
You have MOO2 running on a tablet?

/highly jealous

RE: Load of BS
By mindless1 on 5/22/2011 11:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
Who wants to run a program from 1996? MOST PEOPLE!

Despite what you might have been mislead to believe because you hang out on tech sites with computer enthusiasts, the average computer user (most people) aren't upgrading their hardware and apps all the time, they run the same hardware till it fails and if the app they are used to using still serves the purpose (or else why would they have used it in the first place?) there is little reason to pay money (one way or the other, everything has its costs) or relearn a new interface just to run some newer thing because someone else assumes newer is automatically better.

On the contrary, if you run the oldest app that will get the job done you tend to have a simpler interface, less bloat, fewer security holes. Yes there are downsides such as when a feature you want isn't there, limits to memory allocation, poor use of modern monitor resolution screen space, etc. Even if these things matter 2/3rd of the time it doesn't justify buying the other 1/3rd of your apps over again till you *need* to, or even spending the time to hunt down freeware, install, test, migrate files, etc.

I just wish I had consolidated more of my 1996 apps, I'd be able to do 200 things with the same amount of hard drive space it now takes to do 5 things (apps). If and when I need something newer, I can add that too and not be concerned about the old apps because it's such a small % of HDD space, memory or CPU utilization. Oh, and their smaller codebase makes them more easily/quickly ran from removable media, USB thumbdrives and such.

RE: Load of BS
By bug77 on 5/19/2011 11:03:21 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone remember when intel was telling businesses not to buy AMD chips because they won't run software written for intel?

RE: Load of BS
By omnicronx on 5/19/2011 1:16:54 PM , Rating: 2
No, I remember them telling businesses they won't be able to run certain applications to their full potential.

The SSE2 instuction was at a time exclusive to Intel and actually gave certain applications quite the speed boost.

In a way they were specifically written for Intel hardware, as AMD at the time had not yet implemented SSE2.

Photoshop was a perfect example, pretty much all shops made use of Intel chips as the software heavily relied on SSE2 for intensive tasks (heavy effects etc) and definitely sped up the process.

RE: Load of BS
By nafhan on 5/19/2011 1:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
I think everything you mentioned below is true. I think there may have also been something with Intel compilers looking for AMD chips and specifically running un-optimized code... Don't feel like looking it up right now.

RE: Load of BS
By JediJeb on 5/19/2011 4:40:52 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't that part of the reason AMD was eventually allowed to use SSE2? Part of the settlement in the antitrust case?

RE: Load of BS
By omnicronx on 5/19/2011 12:24:41 PM , Rating: 3
My guess is he is talking about optimization for each SOC.

Even with Android, Google had to put a lot of work into working with each SOC vendor (TI, Qualcomm and Samsung) to optimize each variant for Android. (which from my understanding was eventually left to the manufacturers to implement and not Google)

So my guess is that he is saying that if you buy say a Samsung based ARM machine, then you will have to have a targeted version of Windows for that variant.

I don't think he is trying to imply that an app will work on one SOC and not another.

Remember not one of these ARM variants are merely reference ARM design, they have made some kind of changes. (from logic design to the way cache is handled, to additional extentions etc etc)

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