I read another article that explained the Galaxy S6’s Exynos 7420. After a lot of praise the benchmarks showed marginal performance increases over the 5433 even though it was a so called 14nm true 64bit cpu versus the 5433's 8 32 bit cores. The real performance improvement came from the GPU. ARM is touting the Cortex A72, but has been very vague about real world benchmarks. It does state in it's graphics that A57 is 20nm and the A72 is 16nm finfet which should be out in 2016. And yet Samsung is claiming 14nm on their A57 (Exynos 7420). A document Nvidia provided a couple of years ago showed that 16nm will come at a price twice as great as 28nm. So, once again, how much more will it cost and what will you get for the money?
"The Cortex-A57 simply won’t end up in a lot of devices, as it only makes sense on 20nm and 14/16nm FinFET nodes, so chipmakers will have only one choice – churn out more Cortex-A53 parts at higher clocks, with faster GPUs and better LTE support. Unlike last year, they don’t have the option of using four cores (A15, A17, A9 and A7), as they can only use A57 and A53 cores, but the A57 simply doesn’t work for most market segments. The Cortex-A17 looks like a very tempting alternative and MediaTek already tapped it for some parts, but this is a 32-bit core, positioned below the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A57. While the A17 is a good performer with a good price/performance ratio, consumers demand 64-bit chips, plain and simple."
Do you know anybody who has an Intel based smartphone? How about an Asus smartphone? Chances are you will by the end of the year. The Zenphone two comes with an Intel Atom and at least 2 GB of ram. One of the models has 4GB of RAM. Quadcore, 5.5" inch HD display with 30 megapixel camera. It starts off around $200. Currently there are million people who have pre-ordered this phone in China. Asus is expecting to sell 30 million units this year. Not bad for a company that currently isn't in the top 5 of smartphone makers.
This is just one phone model. Intel can very easily pick up 25% marketshare with no name manufacturers within a year or two. The other part of the story is that this low end phone will put pressure on the high end phones to justify their pricing. Like I said all along, when the white box manufactures in China start private labeling phones for the carriers using Intel processors and Intel marketing dollars it's going to change the game very quickly.
I believe where they are going with this is to go after the Smart TV market. I am finding that Smart TVS have around a $50 price premium. The problem with a SmartTV is that the processor lasts as long as the TV. That means that 20 years from now your TV set will have a very outdated, very weak computer.
The advantage to the Windows version is that it can run Windows Media Center. This means that you can use an Silicone Dust HD Homerun with a cable card and do without your cable box while getting all the channels you pay for. An HD cable box is around $10 a month so, this pays for itself in about a year. It will also work with Homegroup so that you can easily see pictures from other computers on the network. The downside is that Windows has a ton of DRM on it so a lot of the torrents are off limits. The 32GB is enough room to blast an evening of HD TV and movies without streaming.
The Linux version is cheaper and there are a ton of torrents you can use. Aside from the pirated movies there is a universe of interesting programing that can be found on the torrents. Special interest programing and things like video podcasts. The Linux version has no DRM slowing you down. Its also less susceptible to getting hacked. The USB out means that you can hook up keyboards, a mouse, and external hard drives. The quadcore Atom is a very capable little processor. Either version provides a lot of value for not a lot of money.
I've picked up and started playing with the Raspberry Pi newest version, the B+. It's a Broadcom ARM processor (Cortex A7 running at 900MhZ). For what it is, it's fabulous. Yet, if it was a cellphone nobody would buy it. You can think of it as a clunky smartphone board with PC IO ports such as HDMI and USB 2.0. One thing I like about it was what I thought was the IDE pins. There are 40 pins, but not IDE. They can hook up to a breadboard or control relays. It can hook up to an Arduino board to control motors and thousands of very cool projects. As a module that is designed for kids to get into programing and engineering it's incredible. You can also set it up to run an XMBC media center. It runs 1080P video and does a nice job. You can control it from your smartphone. It does have it's glitches however. You can get stuck at places and five minutes of video can play in a few seconds.
Now, as far as making it a PC, it leaves a lot to be desired. It has a native operating system for it called Raspbian. It's heavily watered down Linux in GUI. The main draw is it's ability to run scripting languages such as Python. For a little unit that boots into a command line driven environment that can run fairly elaborate scripts its ideal. But booting up into a GUI and surfing the web it chokes badly. The old Atom netbooks are light years ahead which leads me to believe that Windows 10 on this will be disappointing.
But, Intel is blowing it as well. The Galileo 2 runs at 4MhZ and is nearly twice as expensive. It lacks USB and audio and video outputs. The problem is that the Raspberry Pi was designed for kids but it seems that its the favorite of the tinkering engineering crowd. The IoT is very much alive and is in the phase of garage based start ups that that in the past have given us Microsoft and Apple Computers. We're on a renaissance of a new era. I just am hoping a bit more from Intel.
Microsoft's relationship with ARM goes back decades, til around the time of ARM's humble beginnings. Microsoft correctly predicted the importance of mobile computing. They just never figured out how to make software or products people wanted to use.