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New reference design had some minor bugs, but overall ran silky smooth

At Computex 2012 in Taiwan, Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM), the largest chipmaker of licensed ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) designs, unveiled its Windows-On-ARM (WOA) push: the long rumored and leaked Snapdragon 4 development tablet.

Both The Verge and Engadget placed their paws on the Liquid Development Tablet and took the dual-core 1.5 GHz APQ8060A Snapdragon 4 processor and Release Preview build of Windows 8 RT through the paces.

The Verge reports:

Qualcomm was adamant that the system hadn't been fully optimized yet, and that statement rang true given the difficulty we had doing some bezel gestures, not to mention some memory management (open apps kept vanishing) and rendering issues here and there, but it's plenty neat to see this stuff running even at this early stage.

Engadget appears to have encountered less frustrations, writing:

The verdict? It's smooth as silk on a 1.5GHz dual-core APQ8060A with 2GB of RAM, which means it's likely to be even more impressive on the company's quad-core offering... Most interesting, however, was a demo of Vendetta Online which ran without hiccups even when multitasking along with other apps.

Based on the mixed reviews it appears the development platform is coming along nicely, but Qualcomm is still ironing out some firmware issues.  Rumor has it that WOA devices may largely take a rain check on the 2012 holiday season, shipping in mass in Q1 2013.


Qualcomm Liquid Development Tablet [Snapdragon 4] [Image Source: Engadget]

Snapdragon 4 is a much ballyhooed design and is expected to pop up in much of the WOA tablet and hybrid stock, as well as in high-end smartphones.  The chip is build on a 28 nm process from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (TPE:2330).  Notably, it lacks an on-die LTE modem, but it is expected to add one in a slightly upgraded variant which will drop early next year.

Top x86 chipmaker Intel Corp. (INTC) has already started to talk trash about the WOA experience, saying it will be inferior to x86 Windows 8.  It has some computer makers like Acer Inc. firmly on its side, but many of the larger computer makers like Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) and Dell, Inc. (DELL) have reportedly expressed interest in WOA notebooks, hybrids, and tablets.

Sources: The Verge, Engadget



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Mmmm...
By Florinator on 6/5/2012 4:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
I can't wait to get my itchy fingers on one of these WOA tablets... Looks like I'll have to wait until next year, though... oh well. I will install Windows 8 on my laptop anyway, but for "mobility", touch screen suitable apps and long battery life I want one of these puppies :-)




RE: Mmmm...
By fteoath64 on 6/6/2012 3:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
Well, we might see a wave of dual boot tablets. Win8 and Android. Then after a while, it will dwindle to Android only since Win8 will not have a lot of features nor apps/games for the market, it will die due to its non competitiveness. There is no legacy of x86 on ARM and Win on Arm has no real advantages compared to Android which is already very refined with ICS. And gets better with 4.2 and above.


RE: Mmmm...
By Labotomizer on 6/6/2012 7:14:49 AM , Rating: 2
I highly doubt we'll see many dual boot tablets. Originally I expected as much but Android has been a complete failure in the tablet market to this point with the Kindle Fire being the only real exception.

Also, apps written for Metro run on both x86 and ARM. The developer has to do nothing different between the two platforms. Legacy may not run on WoA but you're lying to yourself if you honestly think that apps won't be developed for Metro at a pace that will blow anything we've seen previously out of the water. The Windows developer community is still, by far, the largest out there.


RE: Mmmm...
By elleehswon on 6/6/2012 11:13:24 AM , Rating: 2
I think android tablets haven't taken off as much because there is nothing your tablet can do that your smartphone can't. (that, and you have tons of hp touchpads running cyanogenmod ICS which probably don't count to androids numbers.)


RE: Mmmm...
By JPForums on 6/7/2012 7:53:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think android tablets haven't taken off as much because there is nothing your tablet can do that your smartphone can't.

I agree. I haven't bought one, because in their current form, they don't offer enough beyond media consumption on the go (though the transformer line is getting better). This, however, is a strength of Windows 8. Just the fact that it can run Win7 compatible apps extends its utility significantly. Put a different way, a lot of people looking for an ultra portable laptop will find "transformer" style Win8 tablets tempting. Don't know about Windows on Arm though. It may be too limited, at least until "legacy" applications get ported to metro.


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