[Arm-netbook] ARM summit at Plumbers 2011

Gordan Bobic gordan at bobich.net
Sun Aug 28 23:48:29 BST 2011

On 08/28/2011 03:29 PM, Mark Constable wrote:
> On 2011-08-27 07:55 PM, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton wrote:
>> ...
>> i don't mind that happening: all i want is my damn 1280x800 12in (and
>> importantly $160) ARM-based laptop, damnit :)
> I would have thought someone with your experience would know that price
> is completely unrealistic at retail in the west and in the hands of
> open source developers who give a poop. I know, you jest, but why not
> initially aim for something that is realistic and could be packaged and
> delivered into developers hands in... oh say, maybe<100 days.
> Perhaps in someone elses lifetime some well heeled startup could indeed
> pull off a 100,000 unit order and get those delicious specs that you've
> outlined in previous posts delivered for ~$200USD. If that company
> started today it would take 12 months, at least, from tooled up and
> signed off protoype to finished package delivered to end-user.
> Frankly, I can't see any smartbook every showing up in the west under
> $300, ever... unless it's some kind of boutique open source'ish custom
> one off effort, and unless that is already well underway, the time to
> market factor means... next year, or the year after etc.

I disagree on your costings - Genesi Efika MX Smartbook is already 
selling for significantly less than $300, and the AC100 here in UK is 
available new for under £170.

The key point isn't the cost, though. The point is that an ARM laptop 
can be made thinner, lighter and with much, much better battery life 
than an equivalent x86 one. The problem you get into with bigger screens 
is power consumption - if you use an ARM CPU, the TFT screen is going to 
be the biggest single power drain which will even out the playing field 
against x86 at least until large OLED or PixelQi screens become available.

The big advantage of ARM CPUs for manufacturers are going to be:

1) Sexier products (thinner, lighter, better battery life)

2) Better margins (Intel would have to do some heavy discounting to make 
the Atom match the price of ARM SoCs, and even then the power budget 
would be a lot worse).

3) No MS tax at least until MS releases Windows 8 for ARM - so there is 
potentially gain to be had from joining the game early.


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