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back to article Chipzilla Atomises fondleslabs with new reference designs

Intel has released reference designs for 7” and 10” Android tablets, based on the Atom chips. In the 7” form factor, Intel's design calls for an Atom Z2420 CPU processor running at 1.2 GHz, using Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The system config would include 1 GB of memory and 8 GB of multimedia card storage. For I/O, Intel …

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Biggest issue for Intel

Lots of games use native code either directly or through the SDKs they pick up. I expect the Play store looks a little bit barren if you visit from an Intel device.

I don't get why Android NDK (native development kit) doesn't offer a LLVM backend so devs could just target that and let the runtime make it work with the local architecture. Android already uses LLVM for Renderscript so it doesn't make much sense that devs have to bundle up binary libs of every architecture they support.

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Re: Biggest issue for Intel

I think having a fully-featured LLVM backend is more work than anyone is so far prepared to do. Of course, Intel has the resources to help make a difference but in doing so it would have to do work that would also benefit other architectures. And, of course, LLVM requires more memory on a device and isn't a win in every situation.

Anyway, for games isn't access to the graphics system more important than CPU? How compatible are Intel's graphics with Mali, et al.?

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Re: Biggest issue for Intel

I don't see producing an LLVM backend as being any more work for Google than the effort of producing cross compilers and binary blobs for MIPS, various ARM architectures (e.g. v6, v7, NEON fp support etc.). It would make the NDK smaller and more maintainable and obviously lessen the burden on developers who use it too since they only have to run the compiler once. I assume the NDK could ship with an gcc-llvm compiler, the developer would distribute the bitcode with their package and the runtime would throw the bitcode through a compiler first time it was invoked and cache it somewhere.

I think Intel could have a motivation to help provide this since it would benefit them first and foremost since they are the underdogs here. Anything which gets code to work with their platform more easily is an advantage.

This would benefit not just games mind, but also any C/C++ codebase. For example LibreOffice, VLC, Firefox etc.

As for games, most of them will stick closely to OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0 or now 3.0 as far as practicable. I know from my own experiences that certain GPUs can be fickle and some interpret the spec more loosely than others so there are still occasions where you might have to special case a GPU, or use an extension, but generally the default is use the API until a reason arises not do so.

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Why Android 4.0 (Ice cream sandwich) for the 7 inchers, surely since Jelly bean 4.1 source has been around for over a year this should be the minimum for any new tablets.

If unbranded Chinese 7" tablets on ebay can come with Android 4.2 then i expect intel should be able to do it too.

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Sounds like a 7" China pad

The sub $100 ones you can buy on bestbuy.ca (or even less on ebay or China town).

Are they targeting Surface RT buyers with an over priced tablet with no apps?

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Anonymous Coward

Are they targeting Surface RT buyers with an over priced tablet with no apps?

Seems to be becoming a rather hotly contested niche that, what with the forthcoming SurfaceRT2 about to follow MS's previous success.

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Not just power

Atom, a product they've mostly ignored today because its previous incarnations couldn't match ARM-derived rivals for power consumption

To be honest, Atom chips have been pretty close to ARM in power / performance for a while now but they are still significantly more expensive. In a tablet retailing for € 150 - 200 how much is actually available for the processor over say the screen, the radios and storage? And if the target market are developing economies then drop the retail price by € 100, even less budget for Intel's premium silicon.

Things might improve once Intel has SoC's but the competition isn't standing still: both Samsung and Mediatek are sampling 8-core ARM designs and Qualcomm, nVidia and TI can't be far off.

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Re: Not just power

They were shown to be cheating!!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/12/intel_atom_didnt_beat_arm/

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