What is the difference between a "smartphone" and a PC?
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It seems so close. A 7 inch tablet is pretty darn small for something to have a capabilities to run x86 programs natively. Now only if you could add a SIM slot and antenna it would be a true PC phone. I wonder how would Intel x86 phones perform with Linux distro running Uniti, Gnome or any other touch optimized desktop environment.
Well a Raspberry Pi or a BeagleBone Black are small, fanless computers and one can install Linux, attach them to monitors; the Pi can be connected to an HD monitor as it comes. One need only add an external HDD via the USB and ensure that all peripherals get good power and you have a whole PC. The issue to me is less that the phones/tablets are or aren't capable, the physical interface is portable, and we wrap them up in protective covers for a reason.
I can think of plenty of goods vs. bads about having a computer where all the info is all the time.
The example being, say I have a smart device which is "hardened" so that I don't have to worry much about enclosures and so forth. I saw a military grade tablet by the way, thing was great, you could hit it with the claw side of a hammer and do absolutely nothing to it. And that was a couple of years ago. To extend that example, say I can carry that anywhere. Take it to work, dock it and then see all on a huge screen, and keyboard/mouse. Similarly I can take it home and do the same. Anywhere else, I can just pull it out and use it.
I submit that at work, I'm doing work. Sure they're happy for me to take my work home. It would mean either they, or I would have to pay for the secondary parallel dock at home in addition to my desk at work, or I'd be carrying all the peripheral stuff back and forth. Or, I'd have to be in "mobile" mode when not at my desk. Sorry, but a full desktop is great, pretty much needed. Having me work on a 5-10" screen with all the secondary media added to applications would be a continual problem. Sure I could manage temporarily as I do with my tablet, but I've already said that I'm not giong to compose a lengthy document on a tablet, too much hassle, not enough size and convenience of peripherals, keyboard/mouse/big screen.
Say this is my personal computer. Well it's at my own cost, I best have a good backup of everything, because if I lose it, I lose everything including the platform. Plus, work is not going to spring for the added dock and peripherals. Already saying that there are times when a normal sized desktop is really needed/beneficial, so again, nice to have but to me again this is only useful for when I'm mobile or doing limited stuff, not full computing, like say I was developing code projects on my own time, I'd want a big screen.
So, what do I do, or practice. At home and work I back up my stuff. I can carry a USB HDD back and forth just as much as I can carry a tablet. That can bring work home or home stuff on the road or to work for my convenience, etc.
Style differences, my personal preference for a full desktop environment when I'm "working" either for employment or personal goals. I just see little use in having a "cute" little computer I can carry anywhere. After all, I have several laptops ... some are micro slim, some are super lightweight, and some are bulky. What's some smart tablet/phone going to give me in a true desktop environment that I can't achieve with the laptop? Where's the convenience where I can't get to my data? I either have it online or in ready access anyways and have multiple copies of it.
Yes, I understand that tablets and phones will never replace a desktop. Like you said content creators won't use them. They won't code with a touch screen keyboard, nobody will do 3d rendering, video encoding or any other power user stuff on underpowered pocket PC, just as you can't do extreme workload on a laptop.
But I still see where merging both platforms would be beneficial. There would be no fragmentation, software could be developed for the same CPU architecture. No more porting, no more double work to manage both platforms (Mac OS, iOS, Windows PC, Windows RT, Windows Phone).
I think this is where "Ubuntu touch" comes into play. I am not 100% sure but I heard we will have x86 build running on phones, which means we should be able to run Linux desktop programs on a phone and use it as a phone at the same time.
You could manage your server on your phone while on the go. Via bluetooth you could cast screen on a monitor (with mouse/keyboard) and use it as a full fledged OS to write documents and spreadsheets. There are plenty of uses that I can't think of right now. In some cases it could replace a laptop.
I kind of look at ARM as a toy CPU. ARM is like a Tesla car. Not as widespread, not as powerful and fast, but efficient.
While x86 is like a rear engine Porsche. A flawed design that is almost perfected.
What will happen next? Will intel penetrate mobile market with x86 architecture? They sure have the money, technology, engineers and marketing but they entered it a little late hence why their market share is so low compared to ARM.
So there's Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung, Apple and others fighting for ARM market share on the mobile and AMD is developing ARM CPUs for servers. Will competition sky rocket ARM to x86 power levels?
Will ARM ever replace x86_64 CPUs in our desktop gaming rigs and workstations? And acording to Moores Law there's not much left to squeeze out of silicon. It may seem sci-fi stuff but say that ARM becomes more powerful than x86 and is used in desktop PCs. What will happen to legacy x86 software. I'm sure all of us use some sort of legacy software that is already 10 years old (ex: old games). Will ARM instruction set get bloated to support legacy software? Or CPUs will advance so much that virtualization will solve this problem. So many questions....
This should be interesting in the coming years
The problem with X86 is that it already has two processors involved for each core- one just decodes the x86 instruction set to pass the result to a RISC processor. ARM is already the RISC processor - thus requires less overhead (both in silicon area, and in processing overhead).
I think user interface wise many of us are customized to keyboards and mice. The finger can replace the mouse to a degree, but if you're like shading pixels in an image, you zoom to the max and need the size of the pointer to be sufficiently less than the size of a pixel so you can click/unclick the pixel, just as an example. Similarly for touch, hold, drag, a'la select there are issues. For instance in a drawing I can select/unselect things by clicking and dragging to select a region, and then use CTRL-click to de-select things providing the application or interface recognizes the differences.
There certainly exists speech to text. Not sure how well it works, probably not much better than auto-correct. For instance if I were typing this on a tablet, the auto-correct would be interfering IMHO with what I'm typing. Many of us have seen cases where the auto-correct just does stuff and we don't notice, then suddenly we emit an email with really awkward/wrong wording.
Understanding that not everyone can type, or is able to type for those who have disabilities; but to me, if there were a virtual keyboard, hologram, pad, space or something which reacted as rapidly as I can type, made me feel similar to the experience I have now with a 101 key keyboard, then I'm fine with that. Further, if there were a virtual screen which was like a heads up display which could magnify and cover real estate sufficient so that if what I had would blow away the smart phone 5" screen and I'd benefit by having something 25" in size, again. Great. All for different/better interfaces, and they've done some great stuff. But to me said future computer/phone would be capable of rapdly accessing my stuff from within itself as well as remotely, so that my data was accessible, also secure. Be capable to allow me to input rapidly either by capturing my speech or my typing as fast as I can go and be correct, or at least correct as fast as I can when I make a typing mistake. Also allow me some level of preciseness at mouse and complex mouse actions. That's actually a huge problem I have with touch displays, they're touch on/off or touch-hold and that's about it. How do I touch-drag-select? That Microsoft electronic conference/coffee table concept a few years ago looked great in prototype/TV commercial/ads, but ... no one has one do they?
I recently bought an old Samsung SGH-i900 that uses an ARM Processor. It has Windows Mobile 6.1 and mobile Versions of Power Point, Excel an Word on it. (Which is nothing to be used productively, except for having the Excel perform some repetetive complicated calculations.) But even though this device sometimes calles itself Pocket PC, it's nothing like a PC.
But there is the Jolla Phone, a crowd-funded smartphone. It runs Mer, apparently a combination of Linux and Android. You can put it into developer mode (seems to be some form of root access, connect to it via ssh (http://forum.jollausers.com/jolla-ph...o-jolla-phone/) and it has fingerterm, a Linux termial of some sort. It can run Android programs fine but also brings others.
This probably is the smartphone that's as close to a linux PC you can get nowadays.
PS: They're crowd-funding a tablet now, too.
Last edited by Ratamahatta; 12-06-2014 at 08:30 AM.
Reason: clarification, link and more info added, some typos fixed