Is your data safe? What about your family?
Actually, my wife and son will probably perish, but at least I'll know that my email and bookmarks will be redundantly backed up by Google.
What about the radio firmware?
Most people have absolutely no idea that an entirely proprietary RTOS runs the baseband processor of their mobile phones, and that this RTOS has direct hardware access to all of the peripheral IO devices and sensors (GPS, microphone, data modem, etc). In many cases, the RTOS firmware is encrypted. In almost all cases it is more or less impossible for "the average consumer" to reprogram the baseband processor.
It does not matter whether you run an unlocked Android phone with whoever knows how many Cyanogen mods. I highly doubt that Cyanogen has deciphered, disassembled, reprogrammed, reassembled, and reencrypted any baseband firmware images at all.
All baseband firmware is proprietary as regulated by most governments. Well... except for OsmoconBB
This is essentially the same thing as wiretapping, which has been a legally regulated capability for telco's for decades. Keep in mind, that wiretapping also 'transmitted' location information, but since the location information was known a priori by the sender and receiver (of the tap), then it could be omitted from the communication channel (zero information gain).
When internet usage boomed, governments also regulated that ISPs must have the capability to 'tap' your internet connection (also from home), which is why ISPs are now regulated to log everything that users do for several months.
Cellular wiretapping is essentially a combination of voice, location, and data monitoring. The location information is encoded by which cell towers acknowledge your IMEI (and GPS receiver coordinates). Nothing has changed in the least about who has control over the infrastructure (except here). Users of Free Software on communication devices can at least have SOME control over the backdoors - i.e. who can turn on your GPS receiver remotely or force a firmware upgrade over the air. Unfortunately, most of the important software that has anything to do with communication is still proprietary, and locked (encrypted?) in the baseband processor stack on most mobile phones and wireless communication devices. For older GSM mobile phones, some users have the option to swap out the baseband processor stack and run OsmoconBB.
Until cellular voice / data / location information can be sufficiently anonymised there is really little difference about which technology Big Brother uses to monitor you. Keep in mind that you (the sender / receiver) can often be tied back to a specific IMEI number or MAC address (and even communication pattern).
ifconfig hwaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 <=> iwconfig hwaddr 00:11:22:33:44:55 <=> imconfig imei AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D ?
And the reason why x86 is so power hungry? It's because it's on big bits of silicon. And why's it on big bits of silicon? Because it support hyper-threading, out-of-order executon, has hardware virtualisation extensions, has extensive branch prediction, and tonnes of on chip cache.
And then there is of course the lack of 1.3 GHz memory bus speed. Yeah... that might also be a biggie, although ARM might win due to interconnect distance alone if a licensee ever decided to get in the high-speed memory game. Package-on-package, baby.
"Itanium relies on the compiler to optimize code at run-time."
I definitely would NOT buy an Itanium unless they change the compiler to optimize code at compile-time.
To the systems programmer, users and applications serve only to provide a test load.