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Wednesday, 20 April 2016 08:33

Reuters (and to be fair, probably most others) Fails To Understand What Happened To Intel and the PC Industry Featured

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Reuters reports "Intel to cut up to 12,000 jobs as PC industry swoons". I disagree. Yes, it does appear that Intel will be cutting a lot of jobs, and quite likely ~12,000, but its not because the PC industry is swooning. It's because the PC has been undergone a paradigm shift. Personal computers have literally become handheld and Intel missed the boa, which has now sailed.

Reference my writings from 2010 where I made it clear what was happening. 

The Creatively Destructive Pace of Technology Innovation and the Paradigm Shift known as the Mobile Computing Wars!

  1. There Is Another Paradigm Shift Coming in Technology and Media: Apple, Microsoft and Google Know its Winner Takes All Monday, 21 June 2010 18:36 
  2. The Mobile Computing and Content Wars: Part 2, the Google Response to the Paradigm Shift Friday, 09 July 2010 16:12

  3. An Introduction to How Apple Apple Will Compete With the Google/Android Onslaught

Fastforward six years into the future and you'll find this stuff was most prescient. What do all of these articles have in common in relation to today, besides being right? And more to the point what does this have to do with Intel fireing 12,000 people? To answer that, let me paste a few excerpts of an email exchange I had a few days ago...


...  Almost all the mobile products license the ARM design for at least the CPU logic.  ARM has only gingerly increased the processing horsepower per-core over it's lifetime.  Apple took the world by storm not only moving 1st to the 64-bit ARM design, but they did a 'custom' job.  Essentially they ripped out the 85hp motor and dropped in a 225hp custom design.  It's night vs day in terms of CPU performance.  That on the iOS side.

Apple bought an engineering firm that specialized in customizing ARM archictecture. The rest is history...

Android devices were beholden to ARM's standard (low horsepower) design. Until Samsung S7.  Or more precisely until the Qualcomm 820 inside it, or alternatively the amsung Exynos 8890 (Samsung uses either but for different markets). To get an idea of the difference that made, check AnTuTu's TOP 10 report (1st chart). Either chips used by the S7 plus the iPhone's A9 blow the doors off everything else. What happened as of this moment is that ARM mobile devices have thrust up into or near the high-performance space that Intel has occupied.  Huge shift!

According to the most updated ranking of TOP-10 performance smartphone chips, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor won the first place and it got a score of 136,383, which is nearly 4000 higher than that of Apple A9. Besides, Samsung Exynos 8890 also performed well, and its performance is already close to that of Apple A9.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 820-powered smartphones include: Samsung Galaxy S7, Letv MAX Pro, Mi5, LG G5, Sony Xperia X Performance, etc; currently, only one smartphone is Exynos 8890-powered, i.e. Samsung Galaxy S7.


Apple's design is by far the most high-powered in CPU terms, though Qualcomm is midway between ARM & Apple.  But, Qualcomm/Samsung have more cores and system improvements including high-horsepower GPUs, which frankly is where the modern battle is at (games, VR, AR, mobile media editing, ...)  In the last few chips from Apple, they have nearly plateaued in CPU horsepower, and for good reason. They have hit a point where it's better to spend the design hardware on other resources like more GPU, more CPU cores, etc.  Apple is in Intel performance class.

I repeat this... Apple is in Intel performance class. Don't fret, it gets better...

 Though currently I believe their design (the A9) is a bit lopsided, shown by the reversion from 3 cores in A8 to 2 cores in A9.  A bigger motor in the engine bay forces trading-off other hardware. As a consequence, they get smoked by Qualcomm in multi-core tests.

Qualcomm has designs on the ARM server market, shown by public rumors of interest from Google to use their chips, and public statements that they're working with Chinese
outfits for ARM servers.  Thus I have zero doubt they will continue to tweak performance and have the skills to make full Intel-class performance chips.  For mobile though, the sweet spot is a bit lower.  My guess is that Qualcomm's next mobile chip will be smack in the sweet spot.  And that their server designs will keep encroaching on Intel's turf, which is a huge margin-compressing nightmare for Intel.

Fwiw, Samsungs Exynos 8890 is also a custom design.  I don't have data on it, but the reports are that it's similar to Qualcomm's 820.  Btw, the Qualcomm 820 is in damn near
every flagship Android coming out this year!  What this all means, is that as of now, Apple's performance lead (in everything except single-core benchmarks) has vaporized.  And their single-core performance lead cost them the top spot for more material benchmarks like GPU (see 2nd chart).

In recent years, smartphones are attaching increasing importance to the GPU performance, since the GPU performance is closely related to the game performance and using fluency of a mobile phone, and it has a direct impact on users’ actual experience. Currently, the GPU with the highest performance is Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (Adreno530), and its GPU score has already reached a score of 55,000. Samsung Exynos 8890 (Mali-T880 MP12) nearly equals Apple A9 (PowerVR GT7600). As for HiSilicon Kirin 950 (Mali-T880 MP4) that is well known to all, its GPU performance is not good enough, and its GPU results are similar to Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (Adreno418) and Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 (Adreno510).

  In fact, the GPU performance is also directly related to the screen resolution of your smartphone. Currently, the mainstream resolution is 1080P, and 2K resolution has become a development trend of high-end smartphones. Without the support of strong GPU, even 2K resolution will still leads to worse user experience.

What will really challenge Apple going forward is Google's project Tango. This ties together GPU horsepower, CPU cores, cameras, sensors, AR, etc. I gather they have
pushed this technology further than people are aware and that a huge amount of efforts have gone into it.  It's public that Google has been hiring for their own SoC (chip)
team, so they can achieve exactly the hardware mix they need. One could imagine that would include vision processors like were in the prototype Tango smartphone.

Oh, and in case you get it twisted, reference my posts from 6 years ago...

  1. The Mobile Computing and Content Wars: Part 2, the Google Response to the Paradigm Shift Friday, 09 July 2010 16:12

  2. An Introduction to How Apple Apple Will Compete With the Google/Android Onslaught

Then recognize the facts as they stand today...

Is this what happened to Intel?

Not really. This is what happened to Intel and the PC industry, and even Apple...

Whoa!!! You can't say I didn't tell you so at least 6 years in advance, through. If you're still bearish on Intel relative to arm manufacturers or GOOG and Apple, here's how to use Veritaseum to create a custom contract to monetize your thesis even if the equity markets take a dive, or spike due to QE 25, or something like that. Go short INTC and pay for it with GOOG or QCOM exposure. The bold can throw 10x leverage into the mix.

 intel short thorugh Veritaseum

Anyone interested in knowing more about the first company to issue public smart contracts traded on the public blockchain, or the company to file the first patent applications for the use of blockchain tech as applies to capital markets (yes, we were the first) or the only company that is creating on-ramps to the blockchain-powered peer-to-peer economy (think peer-to-peer capital markets vs. the legacy hub and spoke model) should contact me directly (reggie AT We have a lot to talk about.   
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1 comment

  • Comment Link Robert Horn Friday, 22 April 2016 15:43 posted by Robert Horn

    do you have a primer on acquiring and using ultra-coins
    seems above my grade level
    I have followed your old blog , and done quite well on a few of your recommendations.



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