Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

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dizt3mp3r
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Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Just thought I'd post this. This might be interesting to think about as there could be some impact on ReactOS usage in the future. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
Some interesting information regarding Intel processors - Intel has just stopped any future development of their mobile processors after spending $10,000 million (US billion) on development, meaning that in the future all those Atom powered little notebooks will have to be powered by conventional power-hungry Intel CPUs or utilise low powered processors from other manufacturers.

This is an essential bit of news for Windows developers as it may be another nail in the coffin for mobile Windows devices as there will be fewer mobile CPUs for it to run on. The Intel Atom was a good chip and it succeeded in powering a range of sub-laptops but it was always a bit of a niche market as Windows on small devices is very hard to use.

Microsoft is pulling out of the mobile device sector having failed so spectacularly with Windows Phone (a very nice phone that nobody wants), Windows Mobile (old, useless and dead) and Windows RT (Windows with all the useful bits removed). The Microsoft hardware offerings were also a failure, Surface and Lumia are noticeable by their absence from most users' hands despite any inherent hardware/software innovations they might have had. Microsoft are stuck with a failing device market that cost them several billion (US) to create but one which they can't now dump as it would be admitting defeat to Apple. That last fact is probably the only thing keeping them there.

Microsoft dumped Intel instead opting for low powered ARM CPUs for their Surface RT range of laptops and the rest of the world has followed their lead, looking elsewhere for mobile CPUs. Intel's efforts in this market have shown spectacularly low levels of sucess versus ever-increasing development costs. In addition the traditional Microsoft/Intel relationship has been abandoned by Microsoft for its ARM powered Surface hardware and that has not helped Intel scale their production of mobile processors in order to reduce costs and make returns on its investment. As a result, Intel has had to abandon an unprofitable market.

The knock-on effect of these failures is that new small-factor windows devices will become more and more hard to find as time goes on. Despite RT, Windows (95-Win10) really only runs on x86 processors and without compatible low-power CPUs Windows isn't going anywhere else soon. Microsoft is not admitting defeat in the mobile market and will, in the medium term, be retrenching, just like Intel has, until it finds the next mobile avenue to pursue - but at the moment it is unclear which direction Microsoft will go. As a result of the entrenchment expect Windows RT to die, expect Windows Phone to fade away gradually. Continuum is supposed to be the next great step for Windows linking all the desktop and mobile forms of Windows into one over-arching and all-encompassing o/s but at the moment there is a big question as to exactly on which processor types it will run. Windows on x86 already works, so there's no need for Continuum there, if there are no other mobile CPU devices running Windows then there is little point in having Continuum in the first place, so Continuum looks to be dead before it even got started. Windows needs low power CPUs for mobile devices and soon there won't be any that work. Could the future be Windows on ARM (RT) after all? It may have to be, in the absence of other compatible CPUs, but I really do hope not, I don't want to have to run crippled software on a slow mobile device... it has to be x86.

The impact on Windows developers of Intel pulling out of the mobile market is that the future for Windows looks increasingly bleak. We may be hearing the very first notes of Windows death-knell, (well perhaps that it is a bit too bleak an assessment) it certainly is the first toll of the death knell for Windows on mobile devices - we can hear it being tolled now. The only way I can see this sorting itself out is for Microsoft to finance the development of the Intel Atom processor, Microsoft took a dip into hardware development with the Surface now it may have to take a dip into chip manufacture with the Intel Atom. The more obvious alternative is a compatibility layer for Continuum allowing it to run on different processors. Either way it is a big problem for Microsoft and it may not be resolvable and the end result acceptable to consumers. Do you want slow but compatible Windows or fast Android/Chrome/IOS?

Personally, I'm annoyed - We have had to suffer the indignities of having a mobile o/s interface foisted upon the traditional desktop, the result a schizophrenic dual-desktop mess. All this, for the sake of mobile devices that might never actually be...
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Konata
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by Konata »

This sounds like it was written by one of those Android fanboys who think nobody uses computers for productivity and just browse facebook all day. And calling Windows slow and Android fast? Definitely one of those Android fanboys who solely browses facebook.

Microsoft is still selling Lumias and marketing Continuum, not sure what this guy is complaining about. And I'm pretty confident the Windows Store will help market Windows Phones just fine. Especially when the Android marketplace is an oversaturated mess where you can't find anything of value. Also, if nobody's noticed, the Surface line is selling phenomenally. It's considered a hybrid, so, I count it. You can already tell people are trying to do as little on their Android phone as possible, given you can't do anything of value on an Android phone. Soon people are going to realize they can just get a Windows Phone and not even deal with it.

I'm hoping AMD can replace Intel, I think Microsoft was considering buy them a while ago, not sure if they're still going to do it. But even then, who cares? So what if Microsoft uses ARM? Nobody cares about what's under the hood, and pretty soon everything is going to be a UWP application, so it's going to be of very little consequence soon.

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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by MadWolf »

Konata wrote: Android marketplace is an oversaturated mess where you can't find anything of value
yes and so is the Windows apps Store

imho the problem with most android devices is depends on the manufacturer they only get about a year of support for example the acer iconia a1 830 it got released in February 2014 and then got a firmware update to android 4.4.2 about September 23, 2014 but that is it no more firmware updates

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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by Black_Fox »

Some interesting information regarding Intel processors - Intel has just stopped any future development of their mobile processors after spending $10,000 million (US billion) on development, meaning that in the future all those Atom powered little notebooks will have to be powered by conventional power-hungry Intel CPUs or utilise low powered processors from other manufacturers.
Note that only smartphone/tablet Atoms are being cancelled. Laptop processors built on Atom microarchitecture (branded as Celeron or Pentium) will still live, so the "little notebooks" don't need to end.

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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

I don't think so. It seems that Atom is being cancelled wholesale. The sub-laptops were a niche that won't justify Atom development on their own. Reading what the internet believes to be the case, the Atom is being cancelled and future development stopped. The article does not mention AMD and that is a possible source for future low power CPUs. AMD must be very happy - [Note - just looked around and noticed that AMD has also pulled the plug on its own low-powered mobile offerings].

It looks as if both AMD and Intel have decided to abandon the mobile market hoping that future technology advances will allow them to modify their standard range of processors to use less power.

Reading the internet further - I see that Intel may be focussing their efforts on the core M range of processors which are just as powerful in processor terms but not as thrifty in energy power consumption. They will be suitable for sub netbooks/laptops but not for phones and other truly mobile devices. They are also a lot more expensive.
Last edited by dizt3mp3r on Sat May 07, 2016 2:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Konata wrote: So what if Microsoft uses ARM? Nobody cares about what's under the hood.
I don't think you understand what that means... Microsoft already uses ARM in Windows RT. Windows runs true - but none of our applications do as all are compiled to run under Windows x86. Windows RT on ARM is as the man says, "Windows without all useful bits", ie. applications and drivers.
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Konata wrote:And calling Windows slow and Android fast? Definitely one of those Android fanboys who solely browses facebook.
You misunderstand again, he is saying that Windows RT on ARM low-powered chips with a compatibility later allowing it to run x86 apps would be slower than Android/IOS. If the future is ARM then for Windows developers, future ARM based mobile devices would be slow in comparison to the competition.
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Konata wrote: the Surface line is selling phenomenally
That is just wrong - RT isn't selling at all and that is what Surface was all about, a low-power consumption mobile device, a closed-shop version of Windows with a touch-centric UIX, gesture control and an app store. It was pitched as an Apple IPad beater but it hasn't done that. No apps, no-one wants it. No-one understands what it is for. Money on development down the drain, a huge amount.

The stopgap, a surface laptop running x86 is just another windows laptop and is not what Surface was meant to be. It is Surface only in that it has the same name. It isn't what Microsoft envisaged (their own mobile device) and in any case the x86 version is not selling anywhere near what is required to defeat Apple, its reason for existence. For Microsoft, Surface has been a failure. Just another laptop that has taken sales away from Microsoft's partners, Acer/Asus &c and that's really annoyed them.
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by Black_Fox »

OK, I googled a little and found out that Core M is not a nice word for Atom, but indeed Core architecture (I know, duh). So there's no need for Atom even in (sub-)notebook world.

As for RT, Windows RT is dead. It was on Surface 1 and Surface 2, then Microsoft gave up. Those Surfaces can be bought very easily and very cheaply - they suck. The later devices - Surface 3 and all Surface Pro and Surface Book products, are standard x86 Atom/Core M and Konata is right, Microsoft seems to be happy with the level of sales they're getting. It seems to compete partially with notebooks and partially with iPads. Hm, @dizt3mp3r, what do you mean when you say that it isn't Microsoft's own mobile device?

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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

In Surface the original concept was that they wanted to create a Microsoft Ipad. The same type of closed eco-system. They wanted Surface to compete with the concept of the Ipad and so it was in direct competition to the Ipad. Ipad won the battle. With Surface RT's demise they have given up the battle for a position in the mobile space.

The Surface 3 is a good seller but it is not an Ipad competitor and won't take any of the market away from Apple. It is just another laptop and it takes away market from Microsoft's partners... and that's really the point. It may be a nice device but its sales really do not show the underlying issue that Microsoft and Intel have - which is that Microsoft and Intel are having big problems getting into the mobile market and that the money they have spent specifically to do so (billions) has been largely thrown away.

The result of them pulling out? No low power processors, no Microsoft x86 powered mobile devices? Only desktops, laptops and notebooks...

Microsoft and Intel have been trying to make passage in the mobile market for years and if they fail there is a knock-on effect, Continuuum may be fecked, that's it.
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by Konata »

I said in a few years everything of value will be in the Store, most likely, so it won't care then whether Microsoft is using x86 or ARM. Microsoft is dedicated to filling the Store with their Bridge projects.
And I used the Surface as an argument for people wanting mobile Microsoft devices, as the Surface is indeed a tablet.

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dizt3mp3r
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

You could try using one as a phone... it might look a bit strange by your ear.
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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by Z98 »

At this point Microsoft's created its own niche with the Surface line, one that Apple has found itself having to respond to what with the larger iPad Pro, a better keyboard, and etc. The Surface line is very popular and profitable, to the point that even if the original strategic objective was not met, that objective is no longer relevant due to its overall success in the market. The OEMs might complain about being shown up, but quite frankly they only have themselves to blame for not putting out a device as high quality as the x86 Surface line.

Continuum never made sense from a pure consumer perspective. Its real value would almost certainly be derived on how creatively it might be used in productivity or business applications. In that regard, the ability to migrate application state between different desktops or laptops is by itself already a significant feature. If it is widespread usable on mobile, that's a bonus, but it is not the end all and be all.

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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by Konata »

On the contrary, OEMs are doing nothing but churning out Surface clones, it's actually quite amazing. I'd hazard to say Microsoft did for the two-in-one what Apple did for the smartphone.

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Re: Continuum - is it needed? Intel pulling the plug.

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Z98 wrote:At this point Microsoft's created its own niche with the Surface line, one that Apple has found itself having to respond to what with the larger iPad Pro, a better keyboard, and etc. The Surface line is very popular and profitable, to the point that even if the original strategic objective was not met, that objective is no longer relevant due to its overall success in the market. The OEMs might complain about being shown up, but quite frankly they only have themselves to blame for not putting out a device as high quality as the x86 Surface line.

Continuum never made sense from a pure consumer perspective. Its real value would almost certainly be derived on how creatively it might be used in productivity or business applications. In that regard, the ability to migrate application state between different desktops or laptops is by itself already a significant feature. If it is widespread usable on mobile, that's a bonus, but it is not the end all and be all.
That's a measured response. Interesting how a potential failure on two strategic aims can become a success in an unexpected way. I'm not sure how MS responds internally to that sort of condition. It could possibly result in some stability to the desktop environment with not so many Windows 8-style fiascos.
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