ARM as a primary architecture

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at
Fri Mar 23 09:59:55 UTC 2012

Le Jeu 22 mars 2012 21:13, Przemek Klosowski a écrit :

> Fair enough, but the trends are well established,

Like the netbook trends were well established?

In the last years there has been a clear struggle between users that want
cheaper computing and hardware manufacturers that want either to up-sell them
(Apple, ultrabooks), or if they can't, sell cheaper secondary devices
carefully neutered ('tailored') so they don't compete with full-power
computing devices.

I've lost the count of the new 'revolutionary' form factors that were promised
hegemony by journalists and that flopped after promising starts when either
the consumers realised they were being short-selled devices with limited
capabilities, or were quietly killed by the industry when they threatened to
replace more expensive offerings.

And yes smartphones are booming, but they're not booming because they are a
good desktop substitute, they're booming because they are a good dumbphone
substitute (and before that digital cameras replaced chemical cameras, and mp3
readers replaced walkmans, and I'm sure if someone had counted the chips in
them it would have made an impressive established trend dwarfing the number of
computers of that era)

And tablets (as general-computing devices, not as e-ink book readers) are an
unknown. The only people not realising this are affluent professionals who can
afford to participate in the latest fad and whose budget is barely dented by
experimenting with the latest gadget. (the same people swore laptops would
extinguish desktops – last I've seen desktops were still there ; and a laptop
with a docking station, a separate screen/keyboard/mouse/printer, that barely
moves from the docking station table, is just a desktop with a new central
unit design)

The general population worries more about cost-effectiveness. The tablet costs
are there but what of its effectiveness? An average user may spend most of its
time consuming, but with e-trade, e-administration, e-taxes he needs a
computing device too nowadays. Anything that can not handle those tasks is not
a desktop substitute it's a separate entertainment device, that will need
budgeting in addition to the computer.

And I'm not saying they won't find some place in the computing landscape, just
that a lot of this is hype fuelled by new entrants that desperately need some
VC funding. They have a vested interest in papering over the costs of
rewriting from scratch existing software catalogues, and obscuring the fact
that to be successful, a new platform must find a way to run most of this
software legacy (and doing so morph into something very close to the thing
it's supposed to deprecate).

Nicolas Mailhot

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