It takes HOW LONG to build an SOC??
"Don't tell me it takes 9 months to make a baby, I know three women in China that can do it in 3" - B Krzanich
Thing is ... he's probably right!
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has announced Chipzilla's lastest move in his effort to "take pragmatic and different approaches" to tackling the low-end of the tablet market: partnering with Chinese fabless semiconductor company and mobile SoC maker Rockchip to design an Atom-based, Intel-branded platform that will be targeted …
Actually this makes sense for Intel - essentially they are buying a Chinese brand. ARM delivers profits to the vertically integrated so Intel are doing the same. They can subsidise all the kit to get a decent volume of testers for android (or windows) on atom so they can improve that half of the stack without looking bad in the profitable West.
Like MS, Intel's advantage of a huge software base is nullified by the fact that the software assumes AC power supplies and is not power efficient. Doing a straight Linux install would result in a rubbish phone product. That's what Apple learnt by making iOS not the same as OSX.
I can't see success for Intel here though. Their profit margins are just too high to compete in the phone or tablet space. What they need is a phone/tablet-specific CPU which won't eat into their desktop profit but which they can price to match ARM. Again, this is the same as MS' dilemma with RT. Success in one area destroys profit in another.
First Microsoft gave the Chinese government the source code to Windows XP!
Now, Intel is letting a Chinese company have the plans to an x86 CPU!
This means that China will be able to make its own real computers, without importing key parts from the United States, for use by its military! They won't have to make do with Linux running on imitation MIPS chips any more!
The implicit idea here is to have an Intel ARM-killer.
But as others have noted, will the Chinese now be able to fab their own Intel knock-off chips? Yeah, I know, an Atom is not a Xeon or an i7 or even an i3, but is still a damned powerful chip, especially quad core.
The good thing, of course, is that they won't be able to export them. In fact, if unlicensed chips made from these plans even showed up on the Chinese market, Intel would be able to sue, China having joined the world economy. But this technology can certainly be used clandestinely for chips only used in secret Chinese military equipment.
Is that a serious threat? For the most part, probably not. After all, China already makes not only the Godson, but several other microprocessors of its own, so reverse-engineering an Atom core won't necessarily advance the state of the art in microprocessor design in China.
But I wasn't entirely facetious, despite my tone. After all, there is a lot of Windows software out there with potential military applications. Having x86 chips that are "off the books" is of some value to the military.
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