Mac desktops aside, fairly quiet:
Tag Archives | Intel
What’s up, ladies and gents?
Late today–I’ve been airborne:
Special Mobile World Congress edition!
after the news broke, it’s still kind of stunning. One day, the Steve Jobs keynote at Macworld Expo is arguably the most famous ritual in all of technology. The next day, it’s gone–apparently just because Apple was ready to move on. For a number of reasons, I wish it wasn’t ending. But as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber notes, it’s hard not to stand in awe of Apple’s general willingness to break cleanly with the past rather than just keep doing things because it’s always done them that way.
Apple’s move has left me in the mood to question everything about the reality I thought I knew. So why don’t we reassess a bunch of other long-standing traditions in the world of tech–Apple and otherwise–whose expiration dates may have come and gone? Sixteen nominations after the jump; your contributions are welcome.
Asus and Intel have launched WePC.com, a Web site that’s a marketing vehicle, but an entertaining one: It lets you noodle out ideas for new PC designs, then publish them so that other folks can vote on them and discuss them. The designs will supposedly be taken into consideration to serve as the basis of new Asus systems, but even if your dream machine stands no chance of ever becoming reality, it’s fun to piece it together.
(Side note: The site provides a configuarator that lets you specify your computer’s specs, including the number of FireWire ports…and the minimum number of FireWire connectors it permits is one. Guess that whoever designed this configurator agrees with those who say that even the idea of a FireWire-free laptop is a travesty.)
(Further side note: The configurator doesn’t involve specifying the CPU inside your dream PC, but you get the chance to describe the machine using free-form text. I’m happy to see that some people are proposing PCs that run OS X and/or use AMD processors, even though the site is sponsored by Asus and Intel.)
I spent a few minutes at WePC roughing out a machine I’m calling the Foxbook, which continues the idea behind my series of articles about working in the browser by proposing a thin-and-light notebook that’s designed to run Firefox really well and which has enough connectivity options to ensure that you’ll be able to get online anywhere on the planet. It’s not a standard netbook, since it has a largish 14-inch screen. And I wouldn’t be stunned if it cost more than a grand, especially if it had a nice aluminum case. But I’d sure like to have the chance to buy one–and I’m reasonably confident that laptops that bear at least some resemblance to it will arrive in the not-too-distant future.
If you find WePC intriguing enough to design your ideal machine, why not leave a link in the comments on this article so we can check it out?
(Full disclosure: Federated Media, Technologizer’s advertising partner, helped Asus and Intel launch WePC.com…and in fact, there are ads for it in this site. There might even be one on this very page. But I’m not writing about it because of those ads, and I won’t make any money if you click on the ad or otherwise make your way over to WePC. I just think it’s clever enough to deserve a quick mention.)
It’s been a possibility for a while, and now it’s a reality: AMD, the perennial number-two CPU company to Intel and one of the few chip companies that both designs and manufactures processors, plans to break itself up. The company behind Phenom, Athlon, Opteron, and other CPUs will become two companies: one that designs chips, and one that makes them. The design company will end up partially owned by Mubadala, a company which is owned by Abu Dhabi; ATIC, another company owned by Abu Dhabi, will own the majority of the manuacturing company. Both of those Middle Eastern investments will provide an infusion of cash which is designed to help AMD with its next-generation chips and therefore its overall competitiveness with Intel.
Emotionally, the move may be a big deal for AMD, which has spent decades taking on Intel by, essentially, trying to be Intel. But nearly everyone else involved in the designing and building of processors has decided that financially, it makes sense to separate the building part–which involves massive, massively expensive plants–from the designing.
I’m neither an economist nor an expert on chip manufacturing, so I can’t judge the deal on its merits. But if it helps the two new companies produce more advanced chips more quickly, it’s a good thing for consumers. And, of course, a good thing for AMD, which has struggled to stay even vaguely competitive with the products from its much larger competitor in recent years. (The golden age of the Intel-AMD wars were back around the turn of the century, when AMD rolled out the excellent original Athlon CPU, giving every PC user a reason to consider an AMD-powered computer–and giving Intel a scare that ensured it wouldn’t spend the next few years resting on its technological laurels.)
The chip wars matter to most consumers only because they’re a driver of healthy competition that results in faster, cheaper CPUs that power faster, cheaper computers and other devices. For that reason, I’m happiest when AMD is at its most competitive versus Intel–and hope that this corporate breakup makes as much sense as AMD thinks it will.
Some Apple rumors make the T-List because they sound plausible. Others make it because they don’t. Item #1 today would be fall into that second category–which doesn’t mean it’s not true, of course…
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The iTunes App Store is off to a good start. Wonder how many of the 60 million apps downloaded to date are in active use? And how quickly, if at all, the downloading frenzy will start to tail off?
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