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Intel Android Programming

Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the write-once-run-nowhere dept.
smaxp writes: "Intel has solved the problem of ARM-native incompatibility. But will developers bite? App developers now frequently bypass Android's Dalvik VM for some parts of their apps in favor of the faster native C language. According to Intel, two thirds of the top 2,000 apps in the Google Play Store use natively compiled C code, the same language in which Android, the Dalvik VM, and the Android libraries are mostly written.

The natively compiled apps run faster and more efficiently, but at the cost of compatibility. The compiled code is targeted to a particular processor core's instruction set. In the Android universe, this instruction set is almost always the ARM instruction set. This is a compatibility problem for Intel because its Atom mobile processors use its X86 instruction set."
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Intel Confronts a Big Mobile Challenge: Native Compatibility

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  • Fsck x86 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:24AM (#47179233)

    I like compatability, but I've had it with x86. Let ARM hog the limelight for a while, no reason it shouldn't have its fifteen minutes. And let x86 die, it's way past its BBE date and has outstayed its welcome by several generations.

  • Re:Fsck x86 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @10:53AM (#47179507)

    This person is likely in their 20s, I am assuming early 20s. With that said, I am in my 30s, somewhat early. My first PC was an 8088 and I've deep dived into every modern processor since then. Even with the debacle that was Windows 7 and 8, I am still going to stand behind x86 as a great architecture that can stand the sands of time.

    Scalability: What other architecture has scaled so far that it was completely decimated two competing architectures from the past and the future at the same time. The original 8088/86 was 3mhz, the latest x86 offering is 4ghz.

    Popularity: Both Apple and Sun saw the writing on the wall, Sun saw it too late, Apple saw it early (or saw what happened to Sun). They both shifted from a proprietary processor and chipset to a more common and popular platform. Both platforms had specific benefits over x86 until x86 scaled far and beyond what they both offered.

    Backwards Compatibilty: I know my x86 processor is still going start in 8-bit mode and I know that I can put it in 16bit mode and run my 1992 applications. But to that extent, x86-64 just extends the instruction set. eg ARM32 does not play on ARM64.

    Let's face it. I witnessed Y2K. I witnessed every weak architecture under the sun get wiped out because it had shortcomings. Intel designed the best architecture with x86 and naysayers generally harp because it's "too big". I, for one, plan to teach my children x86 ASM so they understand the basics.. then let them find MIPS or ARM or whatever-fad-arch-is-current so they too can appreciate the design of x86.

  • Re:Fsck x86 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @11:01AM (#47179579)

    You have no concept. Many companies, including Intel, have tried to move away from x86 - the market won't let them. There is too much software out there written to the x86 architecture to move away from it. You are completely underestimating the market forces behind x86.

    Staying with x86 is *not* Intel's choice, of even their desire (they have tried to shift the market off x86). This is where real world forces/issues trump ivory tower technical perspectives.

  • by zerofoo (262795) on Friday June 06, 2014 @11:10AM (#47179659)

    Microsoft and Intel spent 20 years building bigger. Intel made bigger more complex silicon and Microsoft bloat happily expanded to fill that bigger silicon.

    I remember times in the 90s where I was upgrading CPUs for clients that were 6 months old - crazy.

    These two companies where wholly unprepared for the mobile revolution that required small and efficient. Neither company could shrink their offerings down fast enough. Unix on ARM was there to fill the need.

    I say to both companies - tough cookies. Had they had an eye toward efficiency instead of bloat from the very beginning, they would have been much better prepared for the mobile/app revolution.

  • Re:Fsck x86 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aethelrick (926305) on Friday June 06, 2014 @11:44AM (#47180001)
    ARM is massively dominant in the embedded and mobile markets. These markets make up a vast quantity of electronics gear. Intel (the X86 pushers) even make ARM chips. ARM is starting to make in-roads into larger devices and encroach on traditional Intel/X86 stomping grounds. ARM have plans for servers and PC's running with their chips. They are low cost, low power and quite good at what they do. Admittedly they won't be replacing your PC gaming rig any time soon, but they're not chasing that market (yet). You are sadly unaware of just what ARM is if you think it's had it's "15 minutes" it's just getting started at the edges of the PC market, it's backed by many vendors and I for one think it'll be around for a while yet. Look at the market share tablets have stolen from the PC, they are mostly ARM powered. Sure netbooks seem a little crusty, and havn't had the uptake their manufacturers were hoping for, but ARM server gear is taking off. Also the IT nippers are playing with ARM with their Arduino and Raspberry Pi gear. I wouldn't count ARM out just yet. Hell, I just replaced my decade-old trusty Linux server at home with a Wandboard Quad running Arch Linux for ARM. Guess what, it works really well, as a Samba, Backup and Email server for the family and I'm not even an ARM enthusiast, it was just MUCH cheaper than a regular Intel or AMD replacement and perfectly up to the task.
  • Re:Fsck x86 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ezelkow1 (693205) on Friday June 06, 2014 @12:07PM (#47180279)

    then let them find MIPS or ARM or whatever-fad-arch-is-current so they too can appreciate the design of x86.

    Mips and arm as fads? You do realize mips has been around almost as long as x86 has, and is still widely used. People all too often forget that the majority of devices out there are not full fledged computers, they are embedded devices, to which mips and arm own the space. This is exactly why mips is still widely taught in colleges as it is readily accessible, open, and still used in the industry. It also gives a good foundation to build on when looking at other ISAs

  • Re:Ha ha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wdomburg (141264) on Friday June 06, 2014 @01:47PM (#47181243)

    More to the point, the problem is that x86 is not compatible with ARM. And it's pretty much just a problem for Intel. So not really a problem at all.

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