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back to article DisARMed: Geeksphone's next high-end mobe to pack Intel x86 inside

Spanish startup Geeksphone has announced that its next smartphone model will be its first to be powered by an Intel mobile processor. The upcoming Geeksphone Revolution, which the company has been teasing since November, will be based on an Intel Atom Z2560, part of Chipzilla's "Clover Trail+" line, Geeksphone said in an …

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OS of your choice

VMS or at least NT4

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Re: OS of your choice

VMS and NT4. Both well known phone operating systems NOT. That's going to be the main problem with this phone, the attraction of X86 opening up interest from people wanting to run certain operating systems only to come down to earth with a bump as there is no support for phones available. Apart from Android, Firefox and Phubuntu (or whatever it's called), what choices are there?

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Re: OS of your choice

There are a few…

Sailfish, Tizen, Moblin…

Then there's the enthusiast route. Gentoo phone anyone? Unlikely to take the world by storm, but I'd imagine someone will be keen enough to try it.

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Re: OS of your choice

>VMS and NT4. Both well known phone operating systems NOT.

People haven't used [Statement]... [NOT!] as a credible put down since 1995.

OP wasn't serious.

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Re: OS of your choice

Of course he was serious, NT4 would obviously work because it's got TAPI and all!

(and now we spot who actually know what TAPI does...) :p

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Re: OS of your choice

And with VMS not only could you replace the battery yourself - it wouldn't drop the call while you were doing it.

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Re: OS of your choice

Dead end of your choice I think.

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TAPI

I certainly know what TAPI was supposed to do, but what it actually does is SFA.

TAPI was one of those crocks-of-shit that came from Microsoft's most arrogant period. A few people in the computer telephony industry - the company I worked for at the time included - try to get MS to put together a better API for telephony, but those bumble-butts at MS thought they'd tell the industry how it should work - even though they had no experience.

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Re: OS of your choice - VMS

With VMS you would buy 4 phones - while you would never drop a call, you would occasionally need to swap the handset you used to speak into.

When discussing this with VMS tech support, they suggest carrying a 5th phone as a fix.

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FAIL

Intel CPU + 2000 mAh battery

Good luck with that!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Intel CPU + 2000 mAh battery

Are you saying that it will be like the Zune phone?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRKIDdIaFyE

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Re: Intel CPU + 2000 mAh battery

"Intel CPU + 2000 mAh battery

Good luck with that!!! "

You mean like the XT890i RAZR? Which, lasts an easy two days of heavy use?

The main downside is the lack of (easy) changeable battery and lack of Cyanogenmod official support, but it is a cracking phone for the £150 quid Three where selling it for on PAYG. Hot swappable SIM card and SD card are also very underrated features, imho.

Personally I like ARM. But I hate silly arguments.

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Anonymous Coward

At least someone is trying something a little different.

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Not another smart phone?

When, oh when are the hand set makers going to ask EVERY sector of the market what we want and WILL pay for in a hand set? Because there are millions of us who have a need thats NOT met.

WE are actually WORKERS, who do stuff, and dont spend all day in a heated office in front of a computer with spreadsheets etc or urban types in cities. who want to know where the next coffee shop is.

Let me give you my example, Im a FARMER!! for christs sake, Im out ploughing a 50 acre fields , the last fucking thing I want is data on the move or tweets or that kind of crap. If the missus wants me its 3 rings then off then another and I know its her and will stop and take the call.

Or Bill the fertiliser rep, with a special offer , He knows if he calls when im checking the stock in the silage feed yard ill go else where.

Hell leave a text which ill check when Im finished . We compartmentalise our work.

NO calls when doing stuff, its too bloody dangerous.

We check1st thing in the morning midd day, then when were home with wellies and overalls off ,by the Rayburn with a nice cuppa and the dog and kids etc.

Then before tea, with all the family, half an hour in the office, infront of the computer dealing with all the emails letters orders etc.

It works and thats is the only way it does.

Now to the handset itself.

Ive gone on for a couple of yrs now here on the Reg and to most off the handset makers.

We can afford to pay for the right tool, we do it ALL the bloody time.

We need a:-

Solid flip type handset it its closed over the screen and the keyboard. 100 mm by 75 is ideal.

We use a keyboard on the PC? with ease, Hunt and pick of course , but fast enough .

So why cant we have a keyboard JUST the same but a bit smaller? the Psion 5, beautifully made, right size , but isnt a phone!! And a poor screen? and battey life. And too fragile

As to battery, we dont, and whont care if it 1 in thick when closed, weve pockets big enough!! A minimum of 4000mahr .and weighing say half a pound?

No problem, after al the stillsons in the pocket with the phone is 4 lbs!. Good feeling too!.

So it has to have a VERY loud ring so if im in low ratio pulling a silage trailer up hill I can hear the bloody thing.

Then a proper speaker by my ear. not on the back , stupid bloody place!!.

Then water proof , drop a smart phone in the shitty yard and its not fit for anything else. It wouldnt last a day.

So theres are rugged handsets. JCB, too bloody small to use with hands like shovels.

And the CAT range and others.

Just no bloody good at all.

We pay £100,000.00 for some farm kit so can afford up to say 6,700 quid for a PROPER tool in a handset.

AND no one makes what Ill pay for. SO, the money stays in my pocket till someone does.

The nearest handset that was good in its form factor in its time the Nokia communicator. decent screen decent keybpoard proper speaker clam shell design, and all nokia did was make it smaller all the time.

It replicated what we did in front of our pc's. A great hand set. Still available of course s.hand but could be vastly improved if someone took the trouble.

So what do i use inthe interim? Well, believe it or not I was at a car boot nosing around and there was a handset, built like a small brick.

Name Opticon, never heard of it. Go to GSM arena no write ups.What? why the hell not ?

Google for Opticon H21 1D. and there it is. An industrial bar code reader, BUT i dont need that. what else did it do, everything with the numerical keyboard. where all most there.

Waterproof, dropable 3000mahr batt loud speaker , good clear screen. lets say a bit queer os win mobile 6.5 but useable..Good brand new on Ebay around £270.00. And a great signal in a poor signal area.

Ive used it now for a month . and very pleased with it. So whay isnt it shouted from the roof tops?

Dont ask me Im a farmer!!.

I showed it my BT engineer. Hes been given a I phone it stays in the glove compartment. He uses can old nokia that he can drop in the wet dry out and use again. Hed love an Opticon.

It really doenst make any sense to me.

Stupid consumer emperor's new clothes is all that the carriers offer.

all unsuited to our needs. to hell with them.

Ted. In sunny Dorset.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

Thanks for the rant - enjoyed reading someone else's well-considered requirements. I too am frustrated that the whole b***** industry spend all their time&effort competing to produce the wrong b***** identikit product for users whose requirement is no more than to follow fashion. Doubly so that they have in the past produced a product (the Nokia E71) that came so much closer to my ideal phone than anything available today[1].

You and I may be minority interests (clearly the Industry think so, or they wouldn't be ignoring us)! But what's the use of technological advance if it can't make us a more custom product? Other industries will customise and even individualise: I bet when you pay £100k for a machine to automate your bigger tasks, your vendors are falling over themselves to listen to your needs. Even among cheap consumer things I can buy components and assemble my own PC, for a cost comparable to an off-the-shelf model!

Anyone @ El Reg have the ear of the Industry? The Long Tail of users who DON'T just want an all-screen entertainment device in this market must be huge!

[1] Its nearest supposed successor, the E6, is a sick joke in so many ways it's not funny at all. If I'd had any idea it could be half that bad I'd've switched to a second-best from Blackberry when the E71 drowned.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

Hi Nick, THANKS for your support.

Yes im keen to get it right like you, and am prepared to take it further. OK, farming is just one of the interests I have. I also, yes it might seem odd,. but do engineering consultancy.

always solving problems for co's. They ask, I deliver.

And Id be happy to do a design contract for anyone to meet our specific needs.

All the components are there, except they have not been put together in one h/ set.

Form has to follow function. Not the other way round.

Its nor just for farmers, I could list all the types of workers who come in this category.

Ive also shown friends what Ive found, and asked, Why are you using your old candy bar nokia? because they say, I CANT get on with these new fangled glass screen h/sets. They just dont work for me.

So the matket is there for a modern hardware set to meet older 's user experiences.

Not the geriatric sets like Doro,

It has tobe that theres more profit in just a screen , pcb and software than all the intricacies of harware flip fones with proper button keyboards.

They are pushing profits before useability.

Ted. We dont give up!!.

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Re: Not another smart phone? @Nick Kew

Fellow fan of E71, amazingly slim and robust. Good battery life after nearly 4 years' use. Previous owner had kept it loose in her handbag and scratched plastic screen so reading fine print a pain -- along with the fact that the screen was about half the size needed.

Graduated to Blackberry Torch -- extra screen space but keyboard much worse than similar sized E71. Nicely made, reliable OS, but previous owner's experience of two failing suggests I may be back using the E71 at some point. Which will be a faff because of the way Blackberry messes with your SIM to pipe the internet.

Friend has a Nokia E6 or similar -- first thing I noticed was wear on the plated plastic navigation knob. Clearly not an E71 successor.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

There are a few of us who agree with you, Ted, though my take on this maybe differs a little.

I am not a Farmer, or an engineer but I work in the tech sector and what you say here makes bloody good sense.

I am talking about a sort of digital coms swiss army knife and not something suitable for landfill after a couple of years.

So OI, manufacturers.

Replaceable batteries of 3000 mah or dual 2000 mah so batteries can be hot swapped if necessary.

SD card slots. Anything else is just w*nk.

A decent IPS screen. I still maintain the Nokia 620 Lumia had the best outside use of any phone I have had before or since.

I use SSH a lot, and I know there are bluetooth keyboards out there, but it would be nice if there was a clippable keyboard that also protected the screen when folded. If that clippable keyboard had nomal phone keys on the outside with a simple e-ink display.....

This phone would have the technically aware flocking. And it would be a consistent seller. They would take pride in this phone/pocket computer, to see how long they could make it last.

Oh, if you did put a ethernet port on it, you would pass into legend. If you made the various parts modular, so we could switch out the Wireless N module for Wireless Z. If the screen did break, you could get it replaced...there would be a market for parts, you could make money of this thing whilst, and get this concept, giving consumers what they need and want as opposed to those that feed back to you think they need, (Marketing, I am looking at you).

People would speak about you in years to come in the same tones they speak about the Series 3 whilst STILL BEING ABLE TO USE IT. Seriously. Companies who run engineers, hopefully farmers as above, engineers, hikers, geeks, rescue workers, academics in the field, the market would be large and it would be CONSISTENT. So who would care if it wasn't 1mm thick and as light as a feather and changed colour with your emotional state and showed the world how like Kim Kardashian you were?

STOP LETTING THE MARKETING DROIDS RUN YOUR SODDING COMPANY.

Geeksphone - maybe this is your time to shine?

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Re: Not another smart phone?

Bloody good rant. Yep, there does need to be a hard-as-nails phone that isn't teeny. However, I wouldn't be so sure about "don't need data". Even farmers these days can have all kinds of tech helping them look after the place, and some of that tech can beep you (or send a message) when something is up.

A data allowance would be a pretty good way of getting an email or other alert saying "oi, some fucker's pinched the cable to the cow shed again, grab your 12 bore and get up there before they get away."

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Re: Not another smart phone?

"to see how long they could make it last."

There's the problem. Most companies are run by accountants who are advised by marketdroids who use customer surveys to get the preconceived results they want or to "guide" the market in the "correct" direction.

A company prepared to overturn that machine and make what the market needs will be revolutionary. So much so that they will probably have to be self-financing. It's sad how few business types are prepared to risk all these days.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

@ted - it sounds like a HTC Universal wouldn't be miles off from what you're describing (apart from the fact it's not ruggedized).

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Re: Not another smart phone?

I'm a guy that watches videos on a phone... but I can understand that it is no longer just a device but a full computer running a full operating system.

Therefore - keyboard. Definitely. While I can "swype" quit quickly, I was my most productive with the keyboard in the Xperia Mini Pro. Obscenely tiny, yet still usable.

Marketing - what is this obsession with thinner and thinner? When I was looking for buying my last phone, I discounted some on the basis of them being too thin. They looked too fragile. You hear the geeks still talking about the Psion 3a? Go find one. Buy one off eBay. Decent keyboard, that. A little fragile in design, but I reckon modern carbon fibre would sort that. Now imagine - Psion 3a style case. Plenty of room for a big high-res display. Useful keyboard. Edge space for USB and such. SD cards are a must - bonus points if you have two stacked. Plenty of space inside for all the tech bits. And a small display on the outside so you can have status and a touch-slide thingy for mute/disconnect and so on for the phone functions.

Finally: "Oh, if you did put a ethernet port on it, you would pass into legend." - upvoted for that alone. WiFi is useful, but not all my kit is on WiFi; and VNC via WiFi is noticeably slower than across the LAN (thick stone walls here!). To plug into the network - this would stop being "just a phone" and would pass into workstation/terminal, a true multi-purpose device.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

There are some ruggedised handheld computers that would meet your spec.

That's the key though: in this form factor they're not considered "smart phones" but "handheld computers".

Many will run Windows CE or Windows Mobile, but there are some coming out with Android.

for example this. Not a clamshell design, but still pretty rugged.

You probably won't get a clamshell design because the hinge is seen to be vulnerable to damage. Otherwise though, there's a fair selection out there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not another smart phone? @ted frater

Shame your phone doesn't come with a spell checker.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

Market forces, alas, are not our friends here. Want to know the reason behind the technical strategies of MS, Google, Samsung and literally everyone else over the past few years? It's because Apple showed that there's a bundle of cash to be made from selling useless toys to consumers who'd never dream of doing a stroke of work on their shiny shiny toys.

It's a stupid idea for a company to chase the Professional market for people who actually do work. There's nothing like as much money to be made. Apple have a 100billion in the bank precisely because they didn't sell to the business user, they sold to the home user. Everyone else has got that message too, hence Windows 8, Android, the demise of BlackBerry, and the imminent death of the PC.

For US based companies it's very difficult. A company board isn't really able to say, "No, we're sticking to what we've always done". The board members will get sued by their shareholders for not pursuing a more profitable market. Apple made 100billion; MS and everyone else has to follow otherwise their shareholders will take them personally to the cleaners. Board members aren't going to risk their own livelihood and well being for the sake of a few million professional users when there's a few billion consumers to milk.

So I'm sorry Ted, but there just isn't enough 'Workers' out there for any of the major companies to care about any more.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

Hi Bazza,

I believe you.

I used to deal in Thinkpads, lovely kit. reliable superbly built easy to fix.

never had a problem.

IBM sold out to Lenovo , for the reasons you described.

now use a Dell D800.

Now there is a saving grace here in Dorset, The other thing I do is make stuff.

to my specs and design, controlling the whole operation to my terms of reference.

It works profitablly much sought after and beats the bigboys at there own game.

Tthe Opticon H21 1D by the way is good for me that is.

thanks for your insightful reply,

. Ted,.

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Happy

Re: Not another smart phone?

<quite interesting piece on the Opticon H21 1D >

You didn't end with "Now get off my land."

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Re: Not another smart phone?

I have to add one more thing Ted - regardless of whether you look at it as a "phone" or a "really small computer." (I'm in the latter camp, and do everything short of editing documents on my Android device.)

When will the boneheads in sunny California learn that 98% of touchscreen phones are next to useless outdoors, in the rain, and the snow.

Seriously, I got so fed up with being unable to even answer a phone call that I took to carrying my phone inside of a Zip-Lock plastic bag.

As nice as touchscreens can be, there are simply some times when you NEED mechanical buttons. Answering calls would be one. For me, entering text would be another.

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Re: Not another smart phone?

Wow

Wow

Wow

Hats off

And wow!

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Headmaster

Re: Not another smart phone? @ted frater

:Shame your phone doesn't come with a spell checker.

He's a farmer, not a Hogwarts pupil.

Or did you mean a spelling checker?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not another smart phone? @ted frater

Blackberries used to fit that bill pretty well - tough as nails, lasted forever, keyboard... And we know how *that* ended up.. ;)

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Forget Touch Think Needs - Nothing SMART About Lack of Usability

Thank God I am not alone, I still use my Nokia 6230i because it is the only phone that does what I need.

I was sent a stupid touch screen rubbish a year ago, it now fills a space in my desk tidy, I used it for a few days, I do not care what it can do, it cannot meet what I need. One touch hands free voice calling. Shopping, dog walking and many other activities do not leave hands available to fondle some shiny rubbish. Ongoing activities do not leave spare eyes available to gaze longingly at some shiny plastic or glass fondle screen. If I need to make a call to someone that is what I need, I do NOT need to dig some mini computer out of a packet hidden under layers of clothing, fondle the damned thing gaze at it, lose track of what I was really doing, fall over in the mud and drop the useless crap in the, well crap. With only second hand batteries now available I will lose the use of the Nokia sometime soon. It may not be worth continuing to have a mobile if the only available things are icons to dysfunction and excess cost.

Oh and forget Bumsbook, Losers-List and other antisocial sites for those with no life, responsibilities or demands on their precious time. If someone is ill and on their way to hospital so can I go there NOW. That is what I need to know, not what some idiot had for breakfast, or that they are having an over priced coffee/ sandwich or beefburger.

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Megaphone

@Richard Jones 1 re: Nokia 6230i batteries.

I bought two brand new, genuine Nokia BL5-C batteries a few weeks ago.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/370783627753

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Re: Forget Touch Think Needs - Nothing SMART About Lack of Usability

Well id never have thought id get such a supportive response. Thanks so much lads..

now someone has mentioned data on the move. I spoke as a farmer, its on the move thats the problem. As Ive said thats too dangerous. However all the other folk who could use such a h/set might.

thats the s/ware bit. If its there ~I dont to need to use it just like the bar code scanner on the opticon.

Till the min of ag and fish want all cattle ear tags to have a bar code.

Then easy to read and send back to the base station via the GPRS datalink.

Its because its A universal device you use what ever you need.

Interestingly, lets look at the Samsung galaxy note 3 . For the market its aimed at, then the foot fits the shoe exactly.

also I dont run a sports car to go around the fields checking the sheep. i use a quad , or pulling a trailer a Land rover.

When I take the missus out for a break for a meal , we go in her Suzuki vitara. comfortabe, 4 w drive,( were up a 2 mile muddy track)_ It has to be horses for courses.

So IS a million customers a minority market? I dont think so.

A final thought, a good signal in a rural area? youd be lucky!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Forget Touch Think Needs - Nothing SMART About Lack of Usability

"So IS a million customers a minority market? I dont think so."

In a business where 'normal' smart phones have a market of, what, 800 million? Yeah, one eight-hundredth the size is minority.

I sympathise with your situation, and there might well be money to be made. But for a Samsung or HTC? The potential for a million units probably won't even get you a meeting with the janitor. Even if it were profitable in terms of hardware, that kind of market is so different that everything about it from product definition to advertising would be a special case, and to replicate a huge chunk of the upper level structure just to get another 1/80th of a percent of sales would be absurd.

Unfortunately, it seems like it's just one of those no-man's-land things: Any company small enough to be interested isn't big enough to do it, and vice versa.

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It could open up a new industry

Kinda like the netbook which was unfortunately killed by Microsoft and the focus on the consumer market, this could be a niche for the "palmtop" market. Suddenly you could have a proper computing device in your pocket. One that would be trustworthy and efficient and you can decide where it backups your data.

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WTF?

Android.. on x86?

Am I missing something here? I wasn't aware Android was compiled to run natively on x86. Does this mean they apply some sort of virtualisation layer to allow Android to run on x86?

I know you can virtualise Android to run on X86 as I tinker with bluestacks from time to time, but I'm genuinely curious!

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Re: Android.. on x86?

Motorola XT890i RAZR. Not entirely sure how this runs Android, but I *think* the kernel is compiled specifically for it. There are a few apps that will not work with it. Firefox isn't available, but Firefox Beta is. There is no official cyanmogenmod for it, as a result of the processor.

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Re: Android.. on x86?

Android is already a virtual machine running on a Linux kernel. That's what the whole "dalvik" thing is. I guess if you compile the Android Linux kernel for x86, Android runs on x86. Same for ARM, MIPS or whatever the CPU-du-jour is. Hell, being a Linux kernel, I'm surprised we haven't seen Android kitchen toasters yet, although Sammy seem to have joined in a little with the hacker spirit and made an Android refrigerator.

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Re: Android.. on x86?

This beggars the question.. could you dual boot Android/W7? I would find this *genuinely* useful for doing WiFi Surveys, etc - Then flipping over to W7 for administering things with software.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android.. on x86?

Being x86 doesn't mean the phone is a normal x86 PC. There may be minimum requirements for Windows that are missing.

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Re: Android.. on x86?

It can be compiled for x86 - it's open source, remember: http://www.android-x86.org/

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Re: Android.. on x86?

"I wasn't aware Android was compiled to run natively on x86."

Yes, there's a port - I had it running on a VM for a while when my wife bought a Nexus 7

http://www.android-x86.org/download

http://software.intel.com/en-us/articles/intel-atom-x86-image-for-android-jelly-bean-43-installation-instructions-manually

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Android.. on x86?

Minimum specs? Hell, my Galaxy Note 2 stomps the hell out of my wife's N100 netbook in every way except mass storage, and it runs W7 quite easily. Now, stuff requiring lots of processing power, like displaying a banner ad - that brings it to its knees. But if you wanted it to do physics calculations for an entire university department back in the '80s, no sweat!

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This post has been deleted by its author

"Its the economics, stupid"

This phone is not going to win any awards BUT Intel has some good reasons to drive the use of older "Clover Trail" and "Medfield" chips in phones and tablets.

1) It fills their otherwise redundant 32nm older fabs.

2) Since they actually perform quite well, it provides competition in the mid-range of the market and reduces profitability for everyone else. This makes the competition at the high end less "competitive" as they have to charge more to pay off their bank loans.

There is a whole raft of Chinese "white box" tablets with the same 32nm chips and even Dell is in on the 32nm act. "Merrified" phones on 22nm are coming in Q1.

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Unhappy

Trouble is the customisation costs for all those niche markets

All the big boys want volume so they all chase this "perfect" customer that their products fit down to the ground.

Some kind of latte drinking Facebook updating metrosexual whose obsessed about the size of bulge it will leave in their jacket pocket.

I've never actually met one of these people IRL but they seem to be who handset mfgs build their s**t products for.

Could a smaller player with lower overheads create more "customised" handsets and (more importantly) do so at a profit?

Maybe.

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Surely Not

It's not the first x86 phone.

It won't be the last one.

It will be a failure.

A phone where you can pick your own OS is definitely niche. What percentage of laptops, notebooks, desktops are sold that way. Most people want to just switch it on and start using it.

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Lenovo K900

Also Clover Trail +, beats the Geekphone spec handsomely.

http://blog.gsmarena.com/lenovo-k900-hands-on-impressions-and-synthetic-benchmarks/

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Err.. the phone bit

Atom is an x86 CPU, what do they use for the phone bit?

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