2 hours of Slack
ok ok 2.5 hours
Vendors are rolling out their latest hardware at Mobile World Congress and among them is Lenovo, with its first Snapdragon ThinkPad. The ThinkPad X13s is built on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 compute platform, and will give those with deep enough pockets a silent (the design is fanless) always-on, always-connected laptop, replete …
Can't help feel this is just another attack vector with built-in-obsolescence if, and when, Microsoft decide to stop updating the firmware. Going by Windows 11's latest timeline, this could be 3-4 years for hardware.
Windows on Arm fledgling, is still very much up in the air, it could still go to the wall, like Windows Phone, and sooner rather than later.
Truth is if you're betting on Windows on Arm, better to test the water by buying an M1 mac running Parallels, at least the alternative M1 macOS platform is here to stay, even if Windows on Arm gets dropped.
As a platform, it's probably got 12 Months max to find its feet. Think 3D Paint, Activity History Timeline and all the others that have fallen to the wayside, before it.
I mean, did anyone ask for Pluton? By Microsoft of all people, too. It really doesn't shout "Reassurance".
> Windows on Arm fledgling, is still very much up in the air
My first thought was "Oh, like Windows RT all over again". And remember how they dropped that- and its users- like a hot potato when they got bored of it?
How many attempts at a non-x86 version of Windows has MS made? And how many times have they ditched them when they didn't take off and abandoned anyone trusting enough to have invested in it? (*)
Regardless, it's obvious at this stage that you'd have to be a mug to invest in anything based on a non-x86 version of Windows.
I wouldn't put money on this one being a success either- if it is, we can buy it once it's proven itself. Of course, if everyone follows that reasoning, it'll fail for sure.
Too bad, not our problem; let MS reap what they've sown.
(*) This is MS's modus operandi in general, throw the mud at the wall, expect everyone to go along with it- a la Silverlight- then ditch it when it fails, abandoning everyone invested in it, for the next failed attempt at whatever nonsense. Throw into this unholy mix MS's confusing marketing- using the same name for different things, different names for the same thing, similar names for different things (e.g.) .NET having been .NET Core, which "obviously" isn't the same as the .Net framework) and it makes using any non-established MS technology a minefield.
I remember Windows on MIPS, Alpha, Itanium and a few other processor platforms, heck they even allegedly had a fully working Windows NT 4 for PowerPC, back in the day.
I really like Windows on Alpha, but there were never really any native apps for it.
They was indeed a PowerPC build of Windows NT4 Workstation (for devices conforming to the PowerPC Reference Platform, so it won’t work on Apple hardware). I worked for Motorola at the time, and NT was one of the options available with its “PowerStack” PPC workstations..
"This is MS's modus operandi in general, throw the mud at the wall, expect everyone to go along with it- a la Silverlight- then ditch it when it fails, abandoning everyone invested in it, for the next failed attempt at whatever nonsense."
With all due respect, I'd like to know when megacorps DON'T drop tech that doesn't catch on. Don't go finger pointing Microsoft as if they are to blame for the world's dropped-tech woes.
(OP here). MS obviously isn't the only example of this- and there's nothing in my post that ever suggested they were- but they're both a prominent *and* particularly egregious example of this behaviour.
Often because they're prone to copycat responses to other already-successful products they want to grab the market in.
Ones they'll expect people to waste their time and/or money supporting on their behalf, then forget all about them when it's clear their uninspired cash-in won't succeed.
As I said, you'd have to be a mug to invest your time and money helping MS (not) succeed with yet another mud-at-the-wall attempt to push a non-x86 version of Windows.
I couldn't help but think this is all because there are so many with the Apple M1 systems showing great performance and battery life while their Microsoft Windows friends look sadly at their mains connected hotbox running Windows. And there's all the ARM news with systems running Linux doing robotics and thousands of other tasks and their Windows running friends look at their x86 hardware with a heatsink the size of a grapefruit and battery 2x that size. Surely Microsoft has to show something with Windows running on ARM. This laptop is for all those Windows users looking next to them seeing their buddies doing amazing things on ARM hardware without Windows.
It'll probably get a $100 million in marketing dollars or maybe even $200 to show the world Microsoft can do ARM too. And then it will fade and Microsoft execs check off the box for another 5 years.
For me, Google is still the leader when it comes to offering stuff to developers and then leaving them high and dry later. Apple also has history of abandoning developers at dead-ends with no migration path except “rewrite everything” (OSX CarbonLib?), although it has improved immeasurably if you compare now to its Don Juan attitude in the 1990s, when APIs would be trumpeted as the Second Coming at one year’s WWDC, then completely written out of history by the time the next one arrived (Just off the top of my head I can remember OpenDoc, Dylan, MacApp, OS 8 “Copland”, Appearance Manager, QuickDraw GX... and I may even have contributed my own tiny part toward this too while at Apple)
Returning to Silverlight as the example, at least there had a forward migration path to converting apps into WinRT 8.1 applications - a class-path rename would get you about 75% straight carryover of application code, and Microsoft went to some effort to provide you with workarounds when that didn’t work, which isn’t bad considering to complete platform change underneath. Sure, you lost the opportunity to run in-browser, but by that time using these browser-plugin runtimes was rightly seen as far less efficient, and no more secure, than just downloading and running a signed application.
The issue for users with these changes is that Microsoft’s third-party devs are pragmatic when it comes to the use of their time, and are slow to rewrite apps just so they can say they are using The Latest Library (in contrast to Apple’s cohort who tend to leap over themselves to be first to have rebuilt their app against whatever Apple announces).
That’s not saying that Microsoft’s current clusterfuck with GUI toolkit APIs is an any way okay, mind you. I happen to really like WinRT, or UWP as it’s known these days, (and I especially like its responsiveness on slow CPUs), but I’d be happy to abandon it and use something else that has a long-term future if only MS would just make its damned mind up about what that “something else” should be.
As for x86, Microsoft isn’t to blame for these failures. Intel has very effectively used its position as the dominant supplier of desktop and laptop chips to discourage vendors from producing non-x86 Windows machines. Remember when Windows NT was launched on about five ISAs: Microsoft really wanted to break with “WinTel”, but the hardware builders weren’t so free to do so. Same story today - x86 ISA chips have higher price and higher profit-per-unit than ARM parts, and so the suppliers of these really want hardware vendors to stick with x86. Maybe if AMD applied some of its Ryzen know-how to an ARM ISA part, we’d see real competition, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Still, a premium Windows-on-Snapdragon experience demonstrates that there remains life away from Wintel world, even if that €1,399/ $1,099 starting price (hardware is available from May) might make some wince. After all, a 13-inch Mac Book Pro with Apple Silicon starts at £1,299.
It always makes me laugh when people criticise Apple kit for being extortionate. They're normally earlier to the party (compare M1 vs Windows ARM-based offerings), better built (ThinkPads have never been the same since the Lenovo takeover) and cheaper, like-for-like.
I'd upgrade to the M1 MacBook tomorrow, if it had a removable m.2 PCIe SSD. It's that simple. The integrated SSD, means the M1 MacBook is degrading from the moment you leave the Apple Store, with a finite life.
I've also dropped my laptop from the overhead storage on a plane, where several hours of work wasn't backed up, yes it survived, and I could retrieve the data, just not the laptop. It's hard to change to Apple's way of thinking after that.
That statistic is so intentionally misleading. I'm guessing it has a dedicated decoder. I don't trust Qualcomm at all, and they've done a horrible job at being competitive. Too hot and too slow. It has hurt Android massively because the hardware just isn't competitive. Otherwise it is nice to see the ram and lenovo styling, but at the current rate of M1 Linux work and prices it would be foolish to buy this Lenovo. Qualcomm is so bad for the ARM ecosystem as a whole. Plus, it looks like in the US the cell capabilities tie it to being sold with a phone plan? No thanks.
Believe me, the bootloader is the least of your worries. With the current Windows-on-Snapdragon tablets, you do have an unlocked bootloader, Linux aarch64 can boot, but there's no graphics acceleration, making the thing entirely useless. Blame Qualcomm for that one.
Granted some people are very tied to graphics, however my main work machine is an OpenBSD and Nvidia workstation. NVidia has not published any docs or source to their drivers so I am pretty much on scfb / vesa. Doesn't really bother me too much. There is more to life than visuals.
(weirdly I am a graphics programmer by trade but I tend to cross compile / SSH / remotegdb so don't need any thing too fancy on my workstation).
Cue nonsense comparisons to WinRT. Cue, people who have never actually used an 8cx PC
This thread will definitely be full of opinion, yet very little actual experience.
As someone who had a gen1, it ran cool (at odds with mr thejoelr above who clearly hasnt used one)
It ran silent
Battery life was awesome compared to an Intel or AMD equivalent of its vintage.
If the gen2 or gen 3 8cx improves the performance it will be great. Was perfectly fine as a daily driver for basic/standard office automation.
But don't let facts get in the way of a good whine / M$ bashing juvenile nonsense. Carry on.
Firstly, I've read El Reg for going on 20 years, give the reader some credit, most are seasoned and know their stuff. The complaints about Microsoft aren't juvenile, they are valid and real.
Microsoft has an obsession with new bells and whistles, and an inability to finish things, and drop products at will. Their whole mantra is one of an abusive relationship with the customer, that Microsoft knows best, and we'll do whatever we want to push our product down your throat.
Take Windows 11, Microsoft Health Tools are malware by any other name. If you uninstall them via the Control Panel, uninstall. Windows Update, checks, and re-issues the KB4023057, installing this piece of shit again. It's another attack vector on a machine. You can't actually remove this crap.
The new message that seems to be emanating from Microsoft, malware/spyware is fine as long as it is produced by Microsoft. They have crossed the line on what is acceptable.