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View Poll Results: Which combo you prefer

Voters
31. You may not vote on this poll
  • ARM + good universal apps

    17 54.84%
  • Intel + legacy doftware

    14 45.16%
04-11-2016 09:45 PM
47 12
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  1. rafal soboczynski's Avatar
    So recent thread by Daniel about the Panos phone (formerly knows as Surface phone) reignited a lot of talk about the device on the forums. Just like everyone else I'm really excited about the device, however not because x86 architecture but because it will be phone designed by Panos and his very talented team of engineers. One thing we all can expect is great hardware with great design and awesome software utilizations. However I don't share the same enthusiasm as others about the Intel chip, and let me explain why.

    First we need to talk about continuum, which in my opinion is amazing future (I haven't used it in person just yet, but I've seen a lot of videos), however people try to portray is as much more than what it actually is. It is not a mystery that continuum is still at it infancy stage, and at the minute I wouldn't call it a gimmick but more of a taste for what is to come in future. I think within year maybe 18 months this will be very capable tool to do some light office work, and indeed could replace computers for some (people who use computer pretty much for light work like office, mail and lot of web surfing, just like my mother does). Within couple of years from now I do believe we will be able to do some medium work using continuum on phones as well, like light photos editing etc. however replacing the PC entirely is completely different story. Sure computational power of mobiles increases every year, but so does demand for computational power in professional environment. I believe devices like Surface can soon replace all Pc needs, but not phones , not just yet.

    Now lets talk about Universal apps, concept which in theory could be revolutionary. At the minute most of the universal apps are already very capable programs like outlook mail and calendar or office suite, however with better development they could become equivalent to their desktop counterparts. An this can be said for many more apps, however some apps like Photoshop or Solid works are different story, these are big power hungry programs which should be left for professional grade hardware such as what surface has become. However I think development of light version of these apps could be viable option (maybe not Solidworks but Photoshop for sure). So development in Universal apps would allow for good amount of medium work being conducted on the phone with continuum support.

    Now lets talk why I (it is my opinion after all) think using Intel chip on phone would be bad idea.
    - First of all it would hurt concept of Universal apps, If you could run Photoshop from your phone using continuum, why would they create universal app, after all you would most likely use Photoshop on big screen (I'm using Photoshop as example a lot but you know what I mean). However Photoshop light could be very powerful tool even on smaller screen device with pen support (just look at note 4/5 with things like speed drawing and photo editing - very capable light weight software are available)
    - Power; sure Panos can put intel chip in the phone, however how well would programs run on this thing. We all remember surface 3 ruining on atom chip, a lot of people complained that the tablet is underpowered. If you put chip like that in phone the same situation occurs, you can run x86 software but it's not like ruining it on 300 i3 laptop. For reference apple a9x (arm architecture) in iPad pro is apparently more powerfull than m3 in surface 4 (I'm not sure how well these benchmarks represent the raw computational power, but I'm pretty sure a9x is more powerful than intel atoms). Not only power but also battery life, arm processor are much more power efficient compared to intel, and I want my phone to last at least full day.

    So here is my opinion I would rather have phone with snapdragon 820 (or maybe custom arm chip) running well designed universal apps on continuum and being able to do some light work and using phone as it was designed to be, phone first, rather than having intel powered phone which can run some legacy programs which average Joe won't care about (I mean most not techy people will use word, sometimes powerpoint, browser 90% of time, spotify an not much more). I think if Panos creates phone with intel processor now, Microsoft will have to go back to drawing board with app situation once more (sure people will create some apps, but we can forget about powerful universal apps).

    Let the discussion begin, what do you think of x86 on phone, and ask yourself how much would you really use it (is it usability you are attracted to or just idea of running x86 programs)
    sahib lopez likes this.
    12-03-2015 06:31 AM
  2. Zachary Boddy's Avatar
    I think it's a good idea, as it expands Microsoft's horizons (along with the potential of Continuum and Windows 10 Mobile). Windows 10 Mobile is set up to eventually become the most powerful mobile operating system out there but it can't go anywhere if we confine it to ARM-based applications alone, and right now the Universal Windows Applications aren't rolling it. It'll take time for us to see it and this x86 device isn't supposed to come to fruition until late next year.
    I think it'll be great to have a phone that can run the Universal Applications and run legacy applications as needed, because it really makes Continuum a powerful tool. Also with a custom Intel chip (we don't know what it's going to look like yet but apparently it's been in the works for at long time) we'll potentially have the power to have multiple windows and maybe even be able to run non-Universal applications as like a shrunk down window. Whatever happens, if Microsoft does this right, I say it's a good thing.
    12-03-2015 06:38 AM
  3. tanders04#WN's Avatar
    I generally agree. I think that x86 support is at best a stop gap. The whole idea of chip compatibility is part of what they're trying to remove with the ideal of the universal app. Thats why the big push for windows 10 upgrades, as the user base becomes larger the incentive for producing only a legacy app should be less appealing.

    In window's grand scheme of things the chip should be agnostic. Trying to force in the backwardsness just seems like additional work and problems for an issue you're trying to remove in the first place.
    12-03-2015 09:20 AM
  4. midnightfrolic's Avatar
    While x86 architecture is awesome, I have to concede it may come back biting MS. I am for x86 actually for all those legacy apps. But with x86, there's always a potential for malware. Unless MS figures out a near foolproof way to sandbox it. Honestly, MS may never make an x86 phone just for that reason alone. I supposed if I'm that eager to get x86, I'll just carry my ultrabook with me. Simple. Leave the phone biz for my phone. Took it on a trip a while back and played all manner of games on the ultrabook. With unlimited internet LTE tethering, no need for x86 phone on a small screen. :D

    But continuum is pretty awesome though.
    12-03-2015 10:35 PM
  5. trekster's Avatar
    I agree with the OP. As appealing as it is on first blush to have an x86 processor and to run full Windows on a phone, the baggage that comes with all that is inappropriate for a smartphone.

    I don't want to:

    • Wait for a big OS to load at power-on
    • Have to pay for all the memory and storage just so that I can have a true Windows OS
    • Face the very real risk of Windows malware
    • Pay full Windows program prices for an app on a smartphone
    • Pay for and lug around a battery big enough to power a CPU that can keep up with a full general-purpose OS like x86 Windows
    • Run PC apps that aren't designed to run on a smartphone (i.e., nearly all PC apps) on such a small device. I can't read the screen that well (am old).
    12-04-2015 11:55 AM
  6. WildKarrde's Avatar
    An x86 phone is exactly what I've always wanted. Of course there are hurdles to overcome, mainly battery I think, and I think they would need to modify the OS to something similar to how Windows 8 worked on a tablet, where it prefers tablet mode, and you would have to switch to desktop mode. If people's expectations are realistic for what an x86 phone should be able to accomplish, then I think it could be a big success, especially with a micro HDMI port attached to it for external display.

    Anyone who plans to use Photoshop, Solidworks, or something like that on a phone is a little delusional, but then many people used to say the same thing about running those apps on a tablet. Clearly, the Surface series proves that enough of the market feels otherwise.

    If the Surface Phone does not support x86 apps, then Microsofts plan to make porting apps from Apple is going to have to be in full swing before the phone is released, and a significant amount of developers will have to have already bought into the idea. I bought into the Windows Phone 7 when it was first released, then proceeded to wait 2 years for app support to catch up. Apparently, Windows phone users are still waiting. It doesn't bode well for me that they have canceled their plans to allow Android apps to be ported over... the same fate cannot be allowed to happen with iOS apps for future non-x86 Windows phones to have any chance of gaining market share.
    12-07-2015 01:42 PM
  7. mageman17's Avatar
    I think some people believe that having an x86 chip on a phone would solve all their problems. I also personally believe that the Surface Phone is the latest unicorn they are trying to chase because they found the Lumia 950 (a flagship two years in the making, my golly) to be rightfully underwhelming now that its out.

    Maybe what I'm trying to say is that I'm not getting my hopes up because people expect the phone to make their dreams come true but they'll be disappointed when it still might not accept programs not from the store.

    Also, the programs they want to run on the phone drive me crazy. They always talk about wanting to run AutoCAD, PhotoShop, Crysis, etc. If I can't trust a 2012-2013 laptop with Intel HD graphics 3000 to run those programs right, why should I expect an atom class SoC that might only have a heatpipe to deliver good performance?

    Also, there's a reason most of the continuum demos use the Excel app to show the ability of UWPs. Will elaborate when someone replies.
    12-07-2015 02:25 PM
  8. WildKarrde's Avatar
    Consider the thread replied to. ;)
    12-07-2015 02:32 PM
  9. mageman17's Avatar
    Thanks WildKarrde.

    So about that continuum. I read somewhere that in the days leading up to /build/ they couldn't get continuum to even open an app properly. One time they prayed, held a deep breath, and opened Excel and celebrated when it opened up like the desktop counterpart. And that's not even getting to the fact that you can't manipulate the app windows. Apparently you can't drag or snap them. I'm not gonna harp on them because they'll probably have all these by the time the Surface Phone ships.

    And one more thing that might happen when it comes out? It might reject installers out of the box. If its gonna be like RT (I believe there are screenshots showing the ARM-coded vlc player running on the desktop), there might be a registry key that controls this function.
    12-07-2015 02:45 PM
  10. WildKarrde's Avatar
    Cool. I don't really know much of anything about Continuum or what they are trying to achieve with it. From what little I read, it seems like a re-insertion of how tablet mode worked in Windows 8.
    12-07-2015 02:54 PM
  11. elindalyne's Avatar
    It's not that people believe that an x86 chip will solve all their problems, it's that the convergence between desktop and mobile has already started and based upon the bridge projects, the next logical step would be to have a phone run legacy software.

    With that, you obviously need x86. I'm not talking about throwing in an x86 processor and calling it a day, I'm talking about an x86 processor that can still perform well as a phone using something similar to Intel Houdini to run already existing apps. Plug the phone into a tablet dock that has a GPU(maybe) and additional storage and you get full blown desktop apps.

    It absolutely behooves both Microsoft and Intel to figure out a way to run x86 in concert with ARM and I'm really hoping they do. New chips come out next year that will supposedly catch x86 chips with ARM in terms of performance/power.

    The bottom line is an x86 phone has major challenges and totally is not feasible if the following cannot be done:
    • ARM applications must be able to run on them or tools must be provided to port existing apps over with no changes - This is being done with UWP
    • An x86 phone must perform as well or better than current ARM phones
    • The x86 phone must still adhere to app sandboxing in order to preserve the phone experience and prevent malware/viruses and security issues - This is being done with Project Centennial


    If all 3 of those conditions are not met, an x86 phone should not be considered.
    rafal soboczynski likes this.
    12-07-2015 03:39 PM
  12. rafal soboczynski's Avatar
    I think some people believe that having an x86 chip on a phone would solve all their problems. I also personally believe that the Surface Phone is the latest unicorn they are trying to chase because they found the Lumia 950 (a flagship two years in the making, my golly) to be rightfully underwhelming now that its out.

    Maybe what I'm trying to say is that I'm not getting my hopes up because people expect the phone to make their dreams come true but they'll be disappointed when it still might not accept programs not from the store.

    Also, the programs they want to run on the phone drive me crazy. They always talk about wanting to run AutoCAD, PhotoShop, Crysis, etc. If I can't trust a 2012-2013 laptop with Intel HD graphics 3000 to run those programs right, why should I expect an atom class SoC that might only have a heatpipe to deliver good performance?

    Also, there's a reason most of the continuum demos use the Excel app to show the ability of UWPs. Will elaborate when someone replies.
    well said this is exactly how I feel about surface phone, continuum is still very early development and I think we need to see popper functionality out of it before they attempt to bridge the gap between pc and mobile. I do believe that one day mobiles will be powerful enough to be used as main PC for public (not professionals), but this is still rather distant future.
    12-07-2015 06:22 PM
  13. WildKarrde's Avatar
    Lets see what Intel does with their new Atom processors before passing judgment. ;)

    Haswell was a huge development for the mobile PC market. Look at the gains seen between the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 for example. The Surface Pro was a nice try, but the Pro 2 was the first one to really hit it.
    12-07-2015 08:00 PM
  14. power5's Avatar
    x86 would open the flood gates for developers I think. Why design for just a phone when you can have the entire captive user base of desktop PC. If the store listed normal windows programs that is. Does it?
    12-08-2015 10:37 AM
  15. rafal soboczynski's Avatar
    x86 would open the flood gates for developers I think. Why design for just a phone when you can have the entire captive user base of desktop PC. If the store listed normal windows programs that is. Does it?
    What you are talking about here is a concept of universal app,which has nothing to do with architecture of the processor. For example take my favourite youtube app perfecttube, it is universal so I can run it on my phone (arm) and my pc (x86), also when using in continuum app running on arm will look exactly the same as one on pc.
    Reason why people want x86 for now is legacy software,so when you running phone as phone you run apps from store but when you connect via continuum you could ru legacy software, for example full blown office 2016 instead of universal version from store.
    12-08-2015 06:08 PM
  16. power5's Avatar
    Phone apps will not run on pc though. You can get the same app on pc if available. If phone is x86, all apps and programs can theoretically run on any win 10 device and should be able to do so fluidly with no porting necessary.
    12-08-2015 06:23 PM
  17. cracgor's Avatar
    I think power5 means that a lot of pc users never go into the store and still download programs from the internet, then phones would have the huge library of existing PC software. Good chance if that catches on, it will compete with the store experience. I think that's why there is no PC app for Pandora, because they already have a working software and don't want to make yet another app.
    12-08-2015 06:24 PM
  18. elindalyne's Avatar
    Their phone app is already universal, so they wouldn't really have to update the code to have it run on W10 desktops and tablets.

    That being said, their current desktop app is only available to paying customers, so that probably has more to do with the reason it's not on W10 desktop rather than dev cost.
    12-08-2015 06:43 PM
  19. cracgor's Avatar
    Even slacker stopped offering free streaming on PCs... But off topic
    12-08-2015 06:52 PM
  20. anon(7929613)'s Avatar
    It's 10 times more powerful than snapdragon. That means, you can run the entire .net framework on your smartphone. This will in turn enable more features on smartphones and make them parallel to the desktops. That will also help Microsoft because they can invest in only one version of windows. The only problem is heat dissipation. May be they require Nano tech fan
    Last edited by Satish Singh; 12-09-2015 at 01:42 AM.
    Adam Chapman1 likes this.
    12-08-2015 07:05 PM
  21. Visa Declined's Avatar
    An x86 phone would have an even bigger app problem than Windows Mobile, because only UWP's would run on it. In continuum mode, the device would be great because it could run full executable's. As a regular phone it would be quite crippled.

    Sites like the Verge would have a field day slandering an x86 phone, and they'd be quick to call Microsoft "confused" for making it.
    rafal soboczynski likes this.
    12-10-2015 03:34 AM
  22. Adam Chapman1's Avatar
    Hmm. All this has got me thinking...

    I wonder if it would be possible to stick an x86 processor into a Continuum-style dock. Continue to whack out ARM based processors in the phone, but once you hook it up to the Continuum dock, the phones storage, RAM etc., along with the x86 chip, emulates a windows PC.

    It gives x86 on the phone (but ONLY in the right circumstances), it leaves the phone in a nice power efficient harmony, it gives the ability to have different power docks for whatever your needs are, and it gives you your phone storage and OneDrive bits.

    May be over complicating things slightly when you can have a PC-On-A-Stick these days, but the dock would still hold some value.
    James8561 likes this.
    12-10-2015 08:30 AM
  23. rafal soboczynski's Avatar
    i think this concept is slightly overcomplicated, but i like idea someone mentioned of having extra gpu in dock. also if you put intel processor in dock you are required to use continuum wired (for x86 software at least)
    12-10-2015 05:30 PM
  24. rafal soboczynski's Avatar
    Hmm. All this has got me thinking...

    I wonder if it would be possible to stick an x86 processor into a Continuum-style dock. Continue to whack out ARM based processors in the phone, but once you hook it up to the Continuum dock, the phones storage, RAM etc., along with the x86 chip, emulates a windows PC.

    It gives x86 on the phone (but ONLY in the right circumstances), it leaves the phone in a nice power efficient harmony, it gives the ability to have different power docks for whatever your needs are, and it gives you your phone storage and OneDrive bits.

    May be over complicating things slightly when you can have a PC-On-A-Stick these days, but the dock would still hold some value.
    12-10-2015 05:31 PM
  25. anon(7929613)'s Avatar
    Trust me, x86 on smartphones will be the future unless Qualcomm does something extra ordinary. We cannot accept so much differences between a smartphone and a PC in terms of processing power. Those two have to match FULL STOP
    12-11-2015 09:11 AM
47 12

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