Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / ARM

  • Jun 23 / 2014
  • 1

Russia Finally Moving To */Linux

Several years ago the Russian government announced a plan to move to GNU/Linux.“Russia’s Industry and Trade Ministry plans to replace US microchips Intel and AMD, used in government’s computers, with domestically-produced micro processor Baikal in a project worth dozens of millions of dollars

The Baikal chips will be installed on computers of government bodies and in state-run firms, which purchase some 700,000 personal computers annually worth $500 million and 300,000 servers worth $800 million.”
Years later we’ve seen little progress but now there’s news that Russia will swap Intel/AMD CPUs for their own design of modern ARMed CPUs. These will, of course, run some */Linux operating system. At the rate the government replaces PCs this changeover could take years or, if they accelerate the change, just a year or two. I expect countries like China and India have the will and ability to make such changes. This is a clever move because the savings on hardware could more or less pay for the cost of changing software. The move to */Linux accelerates.

See Russia wants to replace US computer chips with local processors.

See also, Russian Government will soon utilize the Baikal Processor based on Homegrown ARM Design – Intel and AMD x86 Processors to be phased out

  • Jun 17 / 2014
  • 0

Legacy PCs Being Squeezed Out By Smartphones

I think IDC has finally accepted reality, that smartphones are displacing the legacy PC for much of IT. “The PC will be the new accessory to mobile as smartphones become the first and primary computing device for many. IDC expects smartphone shipments to outpace total PC shipments by more than 6 to 1 in 2018.
The smartphone installed base is quickly approaching two billion units, and vendors are scrambling to find the next two billion users in new markets.”
It took them a while. Like many they kept seeing the decline of the legacy stuff year after year but they kept looking for light at the end of the tunnel. That was not an opening but an oncoming train, Android/Linux on ARMed smartphones.

What’s changed is that IDC and others have been conditioned by M$ to see IT as a highly competitive market with every OEM competing to sell one of M$’s OS but the world has left monopoly behind and now the world is competing to sell small cheap computers with FLOSS operating systems. That’s the right way to do IT. FLOSS gives products with the lowest cost per unit which is what the market is demanding. Since M$ no longer controls the market, good things happen. M$ was worried about competing on price when legacy PCs were ~$1K but now that consumers can buy what they want for less than $200, and even less than $100 with no contribution and no “tax” from M$, M$ can no longer dictate to OEMs all and sundry details. Gone are the days when M$ could destroy an OEM by raising the price of licences a few dollars. Now M$ almost has to pay OEMs to install M$’s OS.

What’s shocking people, including IDC, is how rapidly this change has come. In less than a decade Android/Linux has gone from curiosity to commodity. In the last two years, Android/Linux has overtaken that other OS in installed base. M$ has lost market-share, mind-share and even bottom line for client OS. M$ is having to work for a living and all its bloat accumulated in the days of monopoly prevent M$ from doing that well.

It’s ironic. In the early days of the legacy PC, M$ and Intel did work hard to persuade the world that the legacy PC was necessary even though very few needed all the capability. Many PCs were simply glorified typewriters. Now, the world appears to believe personal computers are necessary but Moore’s Law, and ARM and Linux and Google and Samsung and Android have made an entirely different platform front and centred in people’s mind. Further, the new PCs don’t make whirring noises pointlessly stirring the air and wasting energy. They run all day on a tiny battery. What money people spend on them mostly goes to getting the best bang for the dollar in CPU power, storage, and networking rather than filling M$’s coffers. Intel, too, has been cut out. Instead of running a $200 chip from Intel that needed a dozen other chips to interface to the real world, the smartphone does it all with just a couple of chips that cost much less. The network connects the smartphones to any real big storage/compute engines and there might be 1K smartphones connected to just one server. Wintel is no longer necessary anywhere in IT.

It’s been a long time coming but it’s a great day.

See Smartphones to Drive Double-Digit Growth of Smart Connected Devices in 2014 and Beyond.

  • Jun 10 / 2014
  • 31

Smartphones Are The New PersonalComputer

Small cheap computers are what everyone wants who is not in bed with Wintel.“the transition toward mobile and cloud-based computing is unstoppable, with tablet volumes expected to pass total PC volume in the fourth quarter of 2014 and on an annual basis in 2016. Even smaller tablets are facing stiff market competition from large-size smartphones (phablets)….If you look at the development of the smartphone market through today, the increased functionality of the devices has killed off the digital camera market and it has killed off the GPS device and MP3 device markets. All of that functionality has become standard across all smartphones. Now if you embed a SlimPort Pro Tx into a high-end smartphone, you can exploit the increased performance that is being supplied by the wave of new quad-core and 8-core processors hitting the market. You now have a PC in a pocket.” If you add to the capabilities of the legacy PC huge portability, low price, flexibility, GPS, good camera and connectivity to all kinds of stuff, you have a better PC, not a low-end PC. With FLOSS running the machine, you get a reasonable price for better IT. You see, all those restrictions in the EULA (End-User Licence Agreement, where you agree to slavery) cost you money. That’s why M$ and “partners” put those restrictions in there.

If you want to use your hardware to its maximum capability, you have to use Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) such as GNU/Linux or Android/Linux. Rather than pay ~$100 to M$ for permission to use the hardware you own, spend the $100 on better hardware in a competitive market not a private playground for the rich, or, buy groceries. That gives you a better deal, just what you need. It’s not in your best interest to be anyone’s slave.

See Turning a smartphone into a PC in a pocket: Q&A with Analogix.

  • Jun 05 / 2014
  • 0

Calxeda May Yet Rise From The Ashes Like The Phoenix

The Phoenix was a mythical bird, possibly the first zombie, which burned but flew again.“the Thunder X SoC is a 28 nm device with up to 48 custom 64 bit ARMv8 cores at 2.5 GHz, running the whole show at between 20 and 95 W.” So might huge multi-cored ARMed chips for servers. With these specs one could do just about anything. My Beast is shivering, using the same power-consumption to run just 4 cores at that clock-rate.

ARM is too good an idea to have died with Calxeda. At 64-bits and 48 cores and designed for servery, I think this thing will fly.

See Calxeda co-founder unleashes 48-core ARM SoC.

  • May 30 / 2014
  • 20

Pride and Prejudice: Smartphones

I laugh when trolls who come here seriously claim, “You get what you pay for”, implying that FLOSS is a broken model and that PCs running FLOSS are somehow second rate.“Android will undoubtedly remain the clear market leader among smartphone operating systems with share expected to hit 80.2% in 2014. Looking forward, IDC expects Android to lose a minimal amount of share over the forecast period, mainly as a result of Windows Phone growth. Android has been, and will continue to be, the platform driving low-cost devices. ASPs of Android smartphones were well below market average in the first quarter of 2014 and are expected to be $254 for full year 2014, dropping to $215 in 2018. Growth of Android phones is expected to outpace the market in 2014, rising 25.6% with volume just shy of 1 billion units.” According to what IDC finds, Android/Linux smartphones are taking 80% of the market shipments while having an average selling price ~$70 less than those other operating systems, you know, on Blackberries and iPhones.

The obvious advantage of FLOSS is that it is a cooperative product of the world and no organization has to pay the full shot. Further, there is no per-copy charge. So, OEMs can charge much less and make a sale and make a profit. Obviously, consumers love it. FLOSS works. It’s the right way to do IT. It will be the way software is prepared on nearly a billion smartphones this year, according to IDC. FLOSS smartphones are cranking out almost as many units per annum as M$’s total installed base and 4 years of production of those other operating systems.

See Smartphone Momentum Still Evident with Shipments Expected to Reach 1.2 Billion in 2014 and Growing 23.1% Over 2013, According to IDC.

  • May 15 / 2014
  • 22

A Million PCs Per Week Are Being Installed Of GNU/Linux

There are a couple of assumptions here:

  • page-views, which StatCounter records, are proportional to units installed, and
  • there are about 1500 million, more or less, desktop and notebook PCs out there, in the world.

Those are pretty reasonable. Being a bit off may change the number somewhat, but it’s still huge. The GNU/Linux numbers include Chrome OS which is about 0.2% share of page-views.

Week GNU/Linux (%) Millions (base 1500) Growth (millions)
1 1.38 20.70 0.00
2 1.45 21.75 1.05
3 1.53 22.95 1.20
4 1.64 24.60 1.65
5 1.75 26.25 1.65
6 1.80 27.00 0.75

However you slice it, the world is either pumping out of OEMs, converting from that other OS, or building from parts, about a million PCs each week running GNU/Linux. It’s a far cry from the ~1% number often mentioned. In the last six weeks, the growth has been 0.42%. That growth has come from seed planted by OLPC around the world and a bunch of computer-teachers like me… That growth has come from Canonical getting close to a bunch of OEMs shipping Ubuntu GNU/Linux. That growth has come from Google starting another beach-head with ChromeOS. That growth has come from a lot of consumers buying GNU/Linux PCs. That growth has come from some businesses and organizations seeing the light and getting off the Wintel treadmill at XP. That growth has come from everyone that escapes the mental lock-in that M$ has fostered by fair means or foul over decades of monopoly. I think Android/Linux has opened a lot of eyes. If */Linux works on servers and smart thingies, why not desktops?
See Top 7 Desktop OSs from Week 14 to Week 19 2014

  • Apr 25 / 2014
  • 4

Maxing-out Production Of Smartphones

I have for years touted small cheap computers as the future of IT“China-based vendor Huawei Device has set a goal of shipping 80 million smartphones globally in 2014, growing 53.8% on year

In 2013, Huawei Device shipped 52 million smartphones, up 62.5% on year”
but I never imagined they would so rapidly eclipse the ubiquity and power of legacy PCs. The small size, low price, adequate performance and an abundance of software applications has allowed Android/Linux on ARM smartphones to blow away all my expectations.

The love of mobility and capabilities of the devices have made them nearly ubiquitous. At these rates of production, nearly everyone on the planet who wants one will have it in 2014 or 2015. The installed base already eclipses the legacy PC. 3Q13 Shipments
Further, the installed base could grow to the point where the replacement production could continue to eclipse the legacy PC forever. It’s not that legacy PCs will disappear but they will become a specialty device for folks who need more CPU/storage/throughput than a small fanless device can manage. The legacy PC may become rare within a few years as folks realize they don’t need/want one or can get the grunt stuff done on a server.

Flash back to the early days of the PC. Businesses needed them as word-processors and calculators and databases and communications devices. Ordinary consumers didn’t need them at all until e-mail and the web took off, except for gaming. Now, the consumer can get all he/she needs from these small cheap computers. There are a lot more consumers than business-employees. The small cheap computers can be connected to large/multiple screens, keyboards and pointing devices to do a lot of the work businesses do on servers these days. So, the Wintel empire will shrink to a fraction of its present size. 8 quarters of declining shipments of legacy PCs shows that. M$’s desperate attempts to produce small cheap computers and still claim a tax shows that. M$’s constant advertising shows that.

The world has entered an entirely new phase with an abundance of choices and competition for consumers’ business and for businesses’ business. It will be interesting to see whether the smartphone will do it all or tablets will become giant smartphones or smartphones will dock into whatever. It’s all good.

See Huawei Device aims to ship 80 million smartphones in 2014.

See Record Smartphone Shipments Grow the Market 38.8% in the Third Quarter of 2013, Making Way For A Strong Holiday Quarter, According to IDC

  • Apr 24 / 2014
  • 5

Acer And Australia Are Loving FLOSS

Australia has been dragging its feet in adoption of FLOSS but that is changing.“Acer also revealed to ARN that it has also just picked up the contract for Victoria’s police force, providing 12,500 devices, including 1000 laptops. It already provides hardware and support to the South Australian and Tasmanian police forces. Further details will be made available shortly.
Already in 2014 it has won a major joint-tender contract from a consortium of Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales’ Electoral Commissions, that will see the company provide 5100 tablets for vote counting purposes at each state’s forthcoming elections. All of these Acer branded devices will run Android, and deployment begins shortly.
"Traditionally if you look at those spaces they use enterprise software, such as Windows 8, so using Android is quite unusual," Simmons said…
As part of Woolworth’s new move to the Cloud, Acer also won the contract to provide the supermarket giant with 5000 of its Chromebooks.”
The struggling OEM, Acer, is selling FLOSS like hotcakes in Australia. I told you small cheap computers sell. Acer knows that. Australia knows that. With modern hardware and no tax from M$, the price/performance of FLOSS on ARM or Intel is irresistable.

This is a good indicator that Wintel has lost huge mindshare, the kind of mindshare that allowed M$ to bundle its software with almost every PC in production as recently as 2005. Today, many realize that we are better off running software on servers and reaping the benefit of thousands of small cheap computers running FLOSS as PCs. Call them thin clients, dumb terminals or other terms of denigration, the benefits of the networked computer are too great to resist any longer. The network gives us independence from M$ because the network uses open standards not controlled by M$. Hundreds of millions of consumers have seen other operating systems at work in their own hands so there is a lot less resistance to change at work. In fact, consumers as employees are demanding IT in organizations finally work for us rather than against us as happened for a decade or longer under M$’s brutal regime.

See Acer turns a corner with another big contract win in 2014.

  • Apr 23 / 2014
  • 3

China White-Box Tablet Competition

Not only is Wintel feeling the pressure in price/performance for ARMed tablets running FLOSS“Ex-factory pricing of a 7-inch white-box tablet is expected to drop to between US$30-40 in 2014 and every inch larger will add US$10 to the price range, indicating that a 10-inch white-box tablet’s ex-factory price will be about US$70-80.” The lowering of prices will continue for a year or more longer. Information will be $free, nearly, in the future with Wintel no longer able to tax the roads, rails and air-waves. Intel is giving away its processors to stem the tide but Google’s dream of exposure to every human on the planet is another year closer.

See China white-box tablet prices expected to drop in 2014.

  • Apr 23 / 2014
  • 0

Intel Hears Footsteps

When IBM insisted on alternative sources of supply for processors back in the day“Wistron and Inventec will begin ODM production of ARM-architecture servers for Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the second half of 2014, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.” this is not what Intel was thinking… ARMed CPUs in servers. Servers were barely on the radar and ARM didn’t exist. Now Wintel is surrounded by alternative operating systems and hardware. Competition would be great, eh?

See Wistron, Inventec to start ODM production of ARM-architecture servers for HP in 2H14.

  • Apr 22 / 2014
  • 13

Intel Desperately Struggles To Maintain Relevance Against ARM

Intel, despite Moore’s Law advantages, and serious price-cutting, still has difficulty competing against ARM.“Intel is currently offering its dual-core Atom Z2520 for 7-inch models and Atom 3735G for 8-inch ones, while MediaTek is mainly pushing solutions such as 8382 for the white-box tablet market, the sources said.
Intel’s 7-inch tablet solution is currently priced at about US$20 and the 7.85-inch one around US$27. With a LTE module, which raises the overall cost by about US$20, a 7-inch Intel-based white-box tablet currently has an ex-factory price of about US$50, the sources detailed.
A 3G white-box tablet using MediaTek’s solution has a competitive ex-factory price of US$39.9, the sources added.”
They even have ASUS going exclusively with Intel thanks to huge discounts.

OEMs are paying attention. They will demand similar sharp price-cuts for desktop/notebook PCs and M$’s price will stick out like a sore thumb. GNU/Linux, here we come…

See Intel, MediaTek become favorites in China white-box tablet industry.

  • Apr 16 / 2014
  • 1

Wintel Sinks Further

As expected, Intel has raised prices in an attempt to maintain profits as long as possible rather than trusting the market to yield them a reasonable living.“PC Client Group revenue of $7.9 billion, down 8 percent sequentially and down 1 percent year-over-year.” This will hasten the demise of Wintel as consumers see greater advantages to switching to */Linux on ARM. Without the monopoly on retail shelves for legacy PCs there’s no way Intel would raise prices at all and consumers should vote with their wallets. Expect 2014 to be the greatest year yet for FLOSS on ARM.

See Intel News Release.

See also, CFO Commentary on First-Quarter 2014 Results