It's a little reassuring to learn that, if ARM wins the day, we won't necessarily be relegated to using low-power processors.
Well, I don't know if that's really the largest or object concern with respect to processor platforms; a more realistic concern is Intel/AMD and/or their OEM 'partners' selling out to Microsoft pressure for various exclusive implementations of TPM and UEFI that exclude alternative operating systems (including downgrades) and software
like this latest news gem
and of course the the 'Secure Boot' Microsoft is mandating from OEM partners... With only 3.2 licensees (Intel, AMD, VIA, and Transmeta) x86 on the surface appears more likely to imperil itself through limited licensure, platform restrictions, DRM, and walled gardens that sours anything that interfaces with Microsoft into 'the' unappealing platform rather then just being run over by ARM.
ARM Holdings by contrast will license its architecture(s) to anyone; with over 25 of the biggest names in hardware design development and production, and over 20x that in total licensees at a average license/royalty cost of about 7¢ per processor -- just about anyone that has the means to get a chip in production can license ARM and build anything they want from a phone, to a PC, to a massive multi core servers
. And while any OEM that builds on ARM can create their own walled garden (as Apple and Google have), there's no way to exert pressure over the ARM platform for licensure to exclusivity.
That ARM architecture has been primarily rolled in low power implementations is in no way a design limitation of the architecture; but that it got it's foot in the market there I think will be a tremendous boon to the platform's success; as the x86 PC is now the most expensive consumer appliance to leave running, surpassing even the refrigerator; with most PC consumers having more processing power then ran Fortune 500 companies just two decades ago, use less then a fraction of a percent of that processing capability and are only enriching power companies...
But what will become of our "legacy" x86 applications as our PCs die and need replacing? At that point, I suspect, we'd be sucked into the
Matrix world of pre-approved apps in a Microsoft cocoon, right?
Well as far as the Microsoft OS that certainly appears to be their plan to make it appear
that way. But ARM architecture already will run any Microsoft x86 OS and software in a Hyper-Visor, as well as under a number of emulators -- in fact ARM servers are already doing exactly that hosting Microsoft enterprise servers and applications...
By way of contrast, AFAIK pretty much any of my post-DOS programs will work on my current PCs if I choose to run them there.
I suspect if the Microsoft/x86 becomes a really ugly hegemony, by that time we'll have ARM/*NIX machines aplenty, and all the user friendly emulation you'll need to run Windows 7, XP, DOS and concomitant legacy applications will be good to go -- in fact if you're a modestly capable Linux geek this is already a done deal.
There's also a cost factor here; ARM and *NIX can easily undercut the Microsoft+Intel/AMD proprietary platform; and with $85 billion
in quantitative easing a month
with no limit
-- inflation and costs are going to prevail on the future of what happens in this market as much or more, then any 'plan' a big mucky muck of a company might have...
P.S.: NCI = Nameless Crap Interface -- jaclaz's designation, devised after MS dropped "Metro" without apparently coming up with a new name that sticks.
LOL missed that one, thanks Jorge; "NCI" is certainly going to stick with me!
Edit: An interesting article on the Intel/Imagination Technologies/Microsoft collusion just appeard here
on Slashdot, and this article
on the AMD x86 APU roadmap to Hondo -- sounds like Microsoft is throwing cash from their enormous slush fund out the window before it's devalued by inflation...
Edited by hoak, 17 September 2012 - 03:25 AM.