Practical Analysis: Wintel's Compatibility Mess - InformationWeek
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
05:15 PM
Art Wittmann
Art Wittmann
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Practical Analysis: Wintel's Compatibility Mess

Like most everyone else, Intel and Microsoft got the tablet market wrong.

InformationWeek Green - Jun. 6, 2011 InformationWeek Green
Download the entire Jun. 6, 2011 issue of InformationWeek, distributed in an all-digital format as part of our Green Initiative
(Registration required.)
We will plant a tree for each of the first 5,000 downloads.

Art Wittmann Two weeks ago saw a dust-up between Microsoft and Intel about claims for application compatibility on smartphones running Windows on ARM processors versus Windows on Intel Atom processors. The dispute demonstrates just how late Intel is to the smartphone and tablet markets, and the ripple effect on Microsoft's already tenuous plans for smartphones and tablets.

Just like most everyone else in the industry, both Intel and Microsoft got the tablet market wrong. They saw tablets as little PCs rather than big smartphones. If you need an example of just how wrong a design can go, I offer the Avaya Flare, which for $1,500 weighs more than 3 pounds and looks more like a clunky Walmart LCD picture frame than anything else.

Even Apple didn't fully appreciate what the tablet market would become. Supposedly, it developed the iPad first and then shrunk it to create the iPhone. But the genius is that the two are much alike, sharing common design, operating system, and apps. They're intended mostly to retrieve information, with very little ability to input large amounts of complex data. The type of information retrieved, need for portability, and duration of viewing tend to dictate the size.

It appears that both Intel and Microsoft followed their own desires rather than those of their customers. Corporate group-think can be an incredibly hard thing to overcome, even in the face of the success of the iPad and the myriad failures of Windows-based tablets. It took threats from large OEM partners to convince Microsoft's top brass that Windows 7 wouldn't cut it as is on tablets. Intel's failure to grab onto the smartphone and tablet markets is even harder to fathom.

The enabling technology for smartphones is the system on chip, which attempts to combine as many aspects of a computer system as possible onto one piece of silicon. By combining cores, memory controllers, cache memory, graphics, and more, the chip allows for the vast majority of the device's work to be done in the chip's lower-power-consumption confines. The stuff off-chip includes radios, display drivers, audio amplifiers, GPS -- everything you need to interface with the outside world. This is familiar ground for Intel, which understands these systems well and should never have ceded the market to the Qualcomms and others that have made their fortunes in dumb cellphones.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll