Just a quick post because I need to get away for an appointment this afternoon. For the next 48 hours i’ll have the Intel Moorestown-based Aava prototype phone. It’s a development platform running MeeGo core and an alpha-quality UI so don’t expect miracles here but I can see that at least Wifi and the browser are working so there’s at least something to demo. Stay tuned for a video look at the user interface, a few apps and maybe a look at the device from the command line. All coming up over the next 48 hours.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone is unfamiliar with the largest massively multiplayer role playing game (MMORPG, for short) in the world – World of Warcraft, but for those of you who are not… well I just described it. World of Warcraft is certainly not the most graphically demanding computer game, but I’d still be impressed to see it running at 30 FPS on a Moorestown device. Sadly, the demo given by Intel showed the game running at something like 5 FPS… which is low enough to render the game virtually unplayable. With a few interface add-ons, you’d likely be running closer to 1 FPS!
Still, it isn’t like World of Warcraft was written for this platform; it was written for full fledged computers. The video from Netbooknews.com also shows some other graphical applications running on the demo device:
UncategorizedComments Off on Intel Demonstrates World of Warcraft Running on a Moorestown device… slowly. [video]
In a press conference today, Intel presented their processor range for ultrathin laptops. Naturally, many of us want to know if the processors will reach down into the tablet space so I put the question forward to Mooly Eden (right.) It was given a surprising answer. Intel will disclose a special tablet solution at Computex.
Here’s the question and Mooly’s answer as an audio file.
â€œAs a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Intel has worked with Google over the past few years and is providing support for the Android platform at launch. The performance characteristics of the Intel Atom processor Z6xx Series are reflected across Android implementations making it a compelling platform for a range of handheld devices.â€
Support for Moblin/MeeGo is also mentioned. Windows isn’t.
This changes the game somewhat in my opinion.
Firstly, Intel now has a non-Windows platform. Politically, that’s huge. This is probably the first Intel computing platform since Windows launched, that doesn’t support Windows!
Secondly, Intel have just pulled in support for one of the most interesting and developed ‘smart’ computing platforms there is. There’s no longer any need to convince customers that MeeGo is going to be great because the trust will already be there. What a set of brands â€“ Intel, Google, Android. You wonder what the long-term aim is for MeeGo now. How long will they continue with MeeGo if Android on Intel becomes successful.
Moorestown and Android could really be a killer combination and it already scales to netbook-like performance to enable some very interesting tablet, MID and ‘smart’ book devices. 1M iPads proves that this new market is ripe.
This could also explain why Google haven’t yet opened the marketplace for tablets and other large-format handheld devices.
Here’s a video we took of Android running on Moorestown recently.
Intel have just released an news about their smartphone and tablet platform previously known as Moorestown. The platform is a follow-on from the MID-focused platform, Menlow and includes power saving and power-boosting features that could see service in some very high-end smart devices. The processing unit is known as the Z6XX (assume there will be variants) and the control unit is known as MP20.
So you’ve got some new power-saving technology there that should allow devices to be built around a standard 1500mah battery but that’s not all.
These power management capabilities, when combined with IntelÂ® Burst Performance Technology for high-performance on demand, and Intel’s Bus Turbo Mode for high-bandwidth on demand, help to deliver industry leading performance and power efficiency across a range of handheld devices.
These ‘turbo’ features will take the platform to 1.5Ghz and there’ll even be a version that will boost to 1.9Ghz. That’s more than a netbook! So if you add the low-power idle features with the turbo modes you’ve got a platform that spans a wide range of uses. With MeeGo being developed alongside Moorestown and a wave of interest in ‘smart’ devices, Intel have timed it well.
The press release even mentions Android. We saw it back in Feb but it looks like it’s become a core part of the Moorestown strategy now.
Here’s the video of Android running on a Moorestown smartphone from MWC in Feb.
We’re with Intel at Computex next month (I’ve been invited to Computex through the Intel Insider program) where I’m sure we’ll hear about launch dates, devices and a whole lot more. Expect videos and hands-on!
In a report from Morgan Stanley we find out that Intel have launched the Moorestown platform today.
Update: Information is obviously under embargo at this stage but there are a string of tweets that have just gone through that mention Moorestown and a Z6xx processor. e.g. this one. “Intel Z6xx smart-phone processor prototypes: Moorestown massacre: Intel says that fantasy phone is on its way, wit…” They all link to a Cnet UK article that has obviously been removed. The current Menlow platform uses Z5xx processors. This makes sense.
Morgan Stanley have studied Moorestown and believe that Intel is ‘well positioned with MeeGo’ and that video performance will compare with the latest smartphone platforms, including Tegra 2. They also think that Moorestown will ‘meet or exceed’ current smartphone performance. It’s a bright report that will definitely give the ARM ecosystem partners something to think about.
At its Moorestown launch on May 4, we expect
Intel to introduce and advocate multiple benchmarks to
measure and compare highly debated performance and
power consumption attributes of Smartphone
application processors. In this report, we present
several comparison frameworks, which we plan to
update after actual Moorestown data become available.
Our view is that with Moorestown, Intel will finally start to
meet the power budget for Smartphones, but will show
more favorably on processing power benchmarks.
Our checks indicate that Intel and Nokia are also collaborating on a
Smartphone device, which we think is likely to become available in the market in
Considering that this report is focusing purely on Intel’s smartphone processor and this statement appears in a section on MeeGo, the report implies that the Nokia phone will be based on Intel’s Moorestown platform and running MeeGo.
The Morgan Stanley report was published on May 3rd and has been promoted by Intel in its ‘Chip Shot’ blog. The full PDF, an interesting read if you’re comparing smartphone platforms, is available as a download here. (or via the Chip Shot blog linked above.)
I just hacked this image up (apologies HP and Apple) as an easy way to illustrate how Windows on netbooks is at risk. Add either of the touch, UI, app store and always-on features and you’ve got something that Microsoft can’t currently compete with.
This scenario would immediately affect sales of Windows-netbooks where people are buying netbooks as second devices, gadgets or for family, friend and other social and casual (online or off) scenarios . For productivity scenarios, Windows still counts because the apps don’t exist on the common app-store ecosystems yet. I don’t have figures but in the U.S. and Europe I guess 30% of netbooks are bought as a second PC, a gadget or for the sofa/family/friend social (online and off) scenario. That’s a lot of lost Windows 7 license sales.
I talked about the 4 ‘lock-in’ opportunities (more than just ‘good’ opportunities’) for ‘Social Netbooks’ in this article. Google could make it happen by enabling Marketplace on Android – A potential risk for Intel. Intel themselves could make it happen with products like Moorestown, MeeGo and AppUp or a surprise player could enter the market.
My opinion is that THIS WILL HAPPEN. Someone will add a touchable, dynamic, fun user interface, an app-store, location and always-on features to a netbook form factor leaving just the productive applications as the missing piece. Given the chance (i.e. an application store) developers will move quickly to fill those gaps in software for productive uses making the smart device BETTER than the Windows-based, traditional netbook device. What that means for Microsoft is that a huge portion of the netbook market could be served by a non-Windows OS solutions. Just think of the market positioning too. Isn’t it easier to market an ‘upgrade’ from a smartphone than a ‘downgrade’ from a laptop.
When does this happen? I’m expecting Google to announce a move into the ‘third screen’ space with Android very soon. Intel are ready with Moorestown and MeeGo in Q4 so the change starts to happen in 2011. I estimate that while netbook sales (of both sub-genres) will increase, the percentage of Microsoft netbooks will stay level or even drop. [Sidenote: Intel thinks that the non-windows sales will reduce in percentage by 2012. I think they are underestimating the ‘smart’ device opportunity.]
Is Intel at risk? Yes. If Google, Android and ARM reach the flag before Intel and MeeGo, Intel start to lose market share in the netbook market but also remember, Android could run on Intel’s new Moorestown platform offering smartbook manufacturers a more powerful computing experience. Also note that if netbooks flip to non-Windows ‘smart’ devices it serves as a nice dividing line between laptops and netbooks for Intel, restoring the need for different netbook, CULV and laptop processing platforms and allowing them to make more and more powerful Atom CPUs without hurting the laptop segment.
I’m not the first to talk about this and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve thought about it myself but that image just makes it crystal clear for me. Netbooks will change dramatically. If Google doesn’t enable it, someone else will and in any case, Microsoft will suffer.
I define a smart device as being mobile, always on, always connected, sensor-aware and having what I call a dynamic operating system. That is, an OS that is interesting to use, stylish and that is ‘point-of-sale capable’ via an active application and content ecosystem. The prime example of a dynamic operating system is Apple’s iPhone OS.
In this article I want to talk about Intel’s Moorestown, a platform Intel has been public aboutÂ for over 2 years. It’s Intel’s stab at a platform for the mobile, always-on, always connected segment. That is, smart devices. From smartphones and smart tablets all the way up to smart netbooks. As ARM-based smartphones get bigger and more powerful and already have ALL the smart features required, there’s a huge risk to Intel so clearly there’s a serious business reason for doing this and getting it right.
At IDF in Beijing today, Pankaj Kedia presented the latest information on the Moorestown platform and in his slides, he gives a good overview of where the device is targeted and what its key features are. Let me walk you through some of the slides. (Obviously I wasn’t present for the presentation and i’m not privvy to Pankaj’s notes. These are simply my opinions.)
Here’s the threat. I doubt Pankaj would have used that expression though as it’s clearly being taken as an opportunity.
For the first time, Intel have started to reference the tablet segment when talking about Moorestown. Clearly this is becoming a topic of interest for their potential customers. The ultra mobile PC years are referenced as the ‘first coming.’
Here’s a diagram that shows where Moorestown would sit in terms of products. If I had drawn that slide I would have also included the ‘smart’ netbook segment. Moorestown is likely to scale up to processing power beyond the top of what ARM-based platforms can product right now and there’s a good opportunity to defend against the risk of ARM moving into that segment of the netbook market. (See tomorrows article ‘A Smart Netbook Image’ for more on that.)
This is as much of the architecture as has been made public so far but thought leaks and discussions with engineers and developers we can say with some confidence that the graphics and hardware video acceleration is based on the GMA500 GPU (possibly clocked higher than on Menlow) and included 720p hardware encoding (for HD video recording.) The bus between Langwell and Lincroft is likely to be DMI (not PCIe) and as you can see, there are tightly coupled control and communications chips. Brierstown is responsible for power management.
As with Tunnel Creek, the CPU includes hyperthreading which can boost effective performance. Burst (bus boost) and Turbo (cpu boost) technology is also included. Intel have previously said that the nominal clockrate is 600Mhz with boosting to 1.6Ghz although we suspect there will be different versions of Lincroft spanning smartphone to netbook applications. One of the most important features and something that sets Lincroft apart fromÂ Tunnel Creek is ‘Power Gating’ which allows Moorestown to compete with high-end ARM-based smartphone platforms. It is this feature that is allowing the CPU to idle to 1/50th of the idle power we saw on Menlow.
An interesting point from this slide is ‘OS Guided’ power management. What that means is that some of the power management features won’t work with Windows. MeeGo is the primary operating system for this platform and the two products are being developed side-by-side. Overall, we should see a 50% platform (not including screen backlight I assume) power reduction in average usage scenarios, and huge improvements in idle power drain. Overall it allows the platform to run in a similar power profile as high-end ARM-based solutions such as Tegra 2, Ti OMAP 34xx and Apples A4 solution.
The next public check-point for Intel will be Computex in Taiwan, June 2010 so unless Intel (or their customers) release information before then, we’ll have to wait a few months for more details. I’ll be in Taiwan for Computex so stay tuned for more coverage.
Note: Products are still planned for the second half of 2010. Two products have been announced. The LG GW990 smartphone and the Open Peek Media Phone.
A few days ago I did some research and analysis on the new ‘Queensbay’ platform from Intel It’s a highly integrated 2-chip system comprising Tunnel Creek processing platform and I/O chip that takes the platform used on many current MIDs and UMPCs and optimizes it in a similar way that Pinetrail did for netbooks. Despite some improvements in size and graphics power and a hint that it might be capable of some cool consumer and media devices, it’s not the Apple A4 / Tegra 2 competitor that I’m guessing will get referenced in articles today. That job lies with Moorestown and I’ll tell you more about that later today on Carrypad. Update: Intel Moorestown article now available.
Tunnel Creek integrates a lot of activity on one die and offers a doubling of GPU power, an increase in memory bus speed, an open PCIe bus Southbridge architecture that allows for third party chipsets, a SATA storage interface and a promise of a lower bill of materials. It is possible to build some nice little handhelds out of it and one could imagine interesting tablets with Nvidia Ion on board but later today, we’ll hear more about something that’s been build ground-up for handheld tablets, mids, smartphones, active remote controls and of course, the ‘iPad killers.’
I’ll write about Moorestown later today but for the time being, here are some schematics for Tunnel Creek; the first showing the differences between Menlow (I’m using a PC based on Menlow right now) and Tunnel Creek and the last slide showing Tunnel Creek vs Menlow in a mediaphone scenario.
There are a couple of things there that I didn’t mention in my previous article. Number 1 â€“ hardware accelerated video ENCODE. 2) Audio DSP functions. This leads me to believe that Tunnel Creek is in fact a version of Lincroft, the processing unit used in the Moorestown platform. We’ll talk more about that later.
For the Intel IDF presentation on Tunnel Creek (from which the above slides were taken) see the IDF 2010 Beijing Content Catalogue and search for ‘Tunnel Creek’ (Unfortunately I can’t link direct as the catalogue generates one-time URLs.)
For a primer on Moorestown, see the links below. More detailed information on Moorestown architecture is expected from IDF later today.
A Samsung executive has revealed that they will be producing a ‘slate’ in the second half of the year. The keyword ‘Atom’ is mentioned alongside keywords like ‘PC-grade’ , ‘consumer’ and ‘connectivity.’
The timing and positioning sounds right for a MeeGo tablet-style device running the Intel Moorestown platform. Samsung have worked closely with Intel on mobile devices in the past and it would be the perfect partner to go alongside LG for a big Moorestown launch at Computex 2010 or even a separate Nokia/Intel/Meego launch event alongside a new Nokia smartphone.Â I’ve discussed the Moorestown thought over at UMPCPortal
Intel are certainly not scared of operating systems. While we were at the Pepcom MWC event yesterday we got to see the Aaava Moorestown prototype running Android. Clearly Aava and Intel just want to demonstrate that anything is possible so I guess next year we can expect Windows Phone 7 to be running on it!!!
Watch for two interesting items of news in the video.
Moorestown is clocking at 600Mhz on phones at the moment but has a turbo mode that will peak at 1.5Ghz.
There Windows (desktop) version of Moorestown will be called Moorestown-W
Devices, Hands OnComments Off on Mixing It Up with Android on a Moorestown phone. (Video includes new Moorestown info.)
The other Moorestown-based MIDPhone to be demonstrate at CES was the AAVA. This one is just a prototype but as with the LG GW990, it shows just how small devices based on the Moorestown platform can be.