Acer confirms at IFA: No ARM Laptops before Windows 8

Posted by – September 4, 2011

I got it confirmed by a high-ranked product strategy manager (on Ultrabooks) at Acer that Acer will likely not release an ARM Powered Laptop before Windows 8 is ready. That probably means, he says, not before the beginning of next year. He says though that he does not know about Acer making ARM Chromebooks or not. I have to emphasise that this guy is in charge of the strategies around Acer’s new Ultrabook, so he might not know everything that is being worked on in his 7757-employee, $20-Billion-revenues-per-year company.

Sorry about my article posted on July 23rd, quoting yet another turns-out-to-be-a-false-rumor Digitimes article where the Acer CEO was reportedly saying that Acer’s ARM laptop was imminent.

Another perhaps interesting aspect of Acer’s business to consider is that while Acer complains of lowering profit margins and lowering consumer spending on Intel Powered Laptops and Desktops (in exchange for more spending on ARM Powered Smartphones and Tablets), companies like Lenovo and Dell seem to be suggesting in other speeches that they are doing ok. I do not know if Lenovo’s numbers about them being the fastest growing PC maker has something to do with them having recently acquired NEC and Medion, it surely is interesting to follow the profit margin and growth-disruption that ARM devices are doing to the PC business.

The imminent $199 ARM Powered Chromebook is the single most disruptive threat to Intel, Microsoft, Apple and the PC/Mac profit margins business.

  • damaged justice

    Translation: “We won’t sell any ARM laptops until that bloated piece of shit is released so we can justify charging the same old laptop prices instead of the cheaper prices we’ve been promising for years. Suckers!”

  • Maventwo

    PC-makers will use ARM processors when these come with higher signal speed and more cores instead of Intel processors because the price of the processors difference so much as $10.
    http://www.cpu-wars.com/2011/08/intel-wants-20-for-atom-chipset.html
    In laptop pc the lcd-display and the processor are the most expensive parts.

  • Pingback: Acer: Don’t expect an ARM-powered laptop until next year - Liliputing

  • Pingback: download » Blog Archive » Acer: “Kein ARM Smartbook vor Windows 8”

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    An ARM Powered Chromebook can be made and sold for 80% cheaper than the Intel Powered Ultrabook. The ARM Powered Chromebook uses cheaper and less Flash memory, cheaper motherboard since all components are on the ARM SoC, cheaper processor since ARM is cheaper to make and competition in the ARM business means cheaper prices, cheaper battery, cheaper build. An $199 ARM Powered Chromebook can look better than a $1199 Intel Ultrabook.

  • Pingback: Acer Windows 8 çıkıncaya kadar ARM tabanlı dizüstü bilgisayar çıkarmayacak - Teknoblog

  • Pingback: Mr. Android » Blog Archive » ARM laptops wait for Windows 8

  • Pingback: Pas de portables ARM avant Windows 8 chez Acer | Exanders.fr

  • http://soltesza.wordpress.com/ sola

    Acer is making a huge mistake here. They are not very smart at strategy, ASUS is just much better at these things.

    First of all, even if they actually want to work only with MS operating systems, they should have a two-pronged OS strategy in order to keep Microsoft’s license fees low (stick and carrot).

    They should release an Ubuntu version of the ARM laptop now and refine it until Windows 8 comes out. Even if they don’t make a penny on it, this will save them a lot of money on Windows8 license fees because Microsoft will continuously feel the pressure from Linux so it will give huge discounts.

  • Anonymous

    Apples and oranges comparison between a Ultrabook and a ARM Chromebook.  80% cheaper doesn’t change over 1000% performance difference, more capabilities, and more options that a Ultrabook would provide a end consumer.

    While $199 ARM Chromebook may be a lot less appealing than you may think.  Existing ARM $200 netbooks, like the one you previously covered based on Freescale, are behind the curve in performance and the build quality is very low for even a 10″ netbook design.

    Chromebooks are 11.6″/12.1″ and there’s reasons why it costs about $100 more than the same N570 in a 10″ netbook and it’s not like any of these companies will cut into their profit margins unless they absolutely have to.

    Cost of parts like the LCD would also remain exactly the same, and there are possible other costs like whether the ARM solution is using any closed drivers that would add to the setup cost for the company making the product.

    Google is working to get full hardware support for Chrome as it is, to maximize potential and performance of native apps, but their native client is still not finalized and that’s just for x86 support.

    Chrome itself requires a certain level of performance to run properly and ARM hardware that barely runs Android well may not be enough to run Chrome well, especially for those who want to game. 

    While next gen ARM offerings are finally rivaling ATOM performance, but until they get fully mass produced they’ll be more expensive than existing ARM solutions.

    All of which just screams wait to any company considering switching to ARM in this slow economy.  When they can offer better hardware by the time Windows 8 comes out, along with better support, and they’re also more likely to draw in more customers with Windows 8 rather than Chrome.

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    The ARM Chromebook has 10x better performance since it can last 10x longer on a battery using a Pixel Qi screen and the same full performance comes from cloud computing no matter which architecture your client device is running.

    ARM Laptops can have any size screen, a good ARM Chromebook can be manufactured for $100 and sold for $199 easy. Add $20 if you want a 13.3″ screen instead of 10.1″ or 11.6″, ARM Laptops have NO limitations set by the manufacturer in what screen sizes are allowed.

    Google is ready with ARM Chromebooks, they are just waiting for the manufacturers to let them know when they are ready.

    The manufacturers have no problem investing what is necessary in creating the best ARM Laptops, the truth is rather that those mega manufacturers don’t yet do it because Intel and Microsoft are threatening them not to move away from the Wintel monopoly or they will experience added hardware and software prices, it’s illegal, but that is how Intel and Microsoft operate.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry but in no way is a ARM Chromebook going to have anywhere near a Ultrabook performance.  Suggesting it would is a joke at best and I’m at least trying to be serious here. 

    I also made absolutely no reference to any screen size limit for ARM!  I simply pointed out the FACT that larger system will cost more and there are already examples of smaller 10″ systems that cost $200 but offer less than a Chromebook.  So a $199 ARM Chromebook will have to be pretty limited to reach that price point by either having to go smaller or use lower quality parts.

    You seem to not want to face the reality of actual manufacture costs when you should be factoring things like how much profit margin the companies are likely to put on top of it and that many of these manufacturers have to do their own set up to get a given OS to work properly with their chosen ARM hardware.

    Google provides Android too, but that doesn’t change the fact that many manufacturers have to optimize it for their hardware.  Closed hardware drivers especially puts the emphasis on the manufacturer and is one of the reasons why WebOS faltered as much as it did.  Even a big company like HP couldn’t rush the optimizing of the OS for hardware and it cost them.

    While even a cloud based OS like Chrome isn’t completely immune to hardware requirements, since they want to enable features like gaming, HD video, etc.  All of which require hardware acceleration support, while as I already pointed out Google is also trying to push native app support for Chrome with their native client and that’s still a long way from being perfected.

    You’re also exaggerating the run time advantage.  Really, they’re not going to offset their weight and price advantage with keeping large batteries.  Especially when they don’t need to and since batteries are one of the biggest price factors and thus one of the first things cut to reduce price. So they’ll get small capacity batteries and that means much less than 10x difference in run times.

    Pixel Qi screens will also add to the cost, so not likely to be added to a Chromebook if they want to keep the price below $200.  Also they won’t be unique to just ARM systems, and so won’t be a ARM specific advantage.

    While Ultrabooks will provide enough run time for most people, and will provide even more once they update to Ivy Bridge.

    So the truth is it’s not as easy as you think it is and those big companies are more worried about their profit margins than anything else.  Especially after seeing HP fail with the TouchPad, and they were the second biggest company next to Apple and now they’re going to spin off their PC department into a separate company. 

    It’s why even Intel had to set up a fund to help promote Ultrabook adoption.  Since keeping the $1000 price point will threaten their profit margin.  Most of the first models out aren’t even fully fitting Intel’s design goals and they probably won’t be able to really push Ultarbooks until Ivy Bridge comes out and reduces cost and increases run time performances.

    Really, in this slow economy, rushing new products is a bit of a gamble as it is already.

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    The fact is Intel has setup a fund to discourage the PC makers from releasing ARM Laptops yet. It’s called bribery, corruption, price dumping, it’s illegal but Intel has always done business like that.

    The ARM Chromebook means ARM is fast enough to run a full web browser, and also even with native code and 3D stuff, but most importantly to run a full web browser with full tabs, full flash and all that. ARM can now do that.

    ARM and Pixel Qi means 10x longer battery than Intel and Pixel Qi, quite simply cause Pixel Qi only improves Intel laptop battery time with about 30%, while it improves ARM Laptop time by 500%, quite simply cause the backlight of the LCD represents 90% of the power consumption on an ARM laptop and it’s only about 40% of the Intel laptop.

    The Pixel Qi laptop will not cost more than conventional LCD as soon as one of the PC maker giants orders millions of Pixel Qi screens, in fact those Pixel Qi tablets are likely cheaper to make cause they can then save money on build size, battery size, components can be optimized and no need to optimize for high power consumption but they can just build the stuff much more efficiently.

    The fact is quite simply, for any of those PC maker giants, they are being threatened by Intel and Microsoft, once they start doing ARM and Linux stuff, they will loose all their illegal rebates on Intel processors and Windows software. So the Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, those guys think, that hey, even launching ARM Laptops now to a popular success, it still would take at least a year or two before those ARM Laptops could become the bulk of their sales, so they still need those Intel and Microsoft rebates and they thus have to wait to launch the ARM Laptops until they are sure they can quickly completely destroy Intel and Microsoft and that the demand for ARM Chromebooks will be huge enough to in reverse threaten Intel and Microsoft and force those evil companies to lower their costs regardless of their previous rebates business practice.

  • Pingback: Acer to hold out for Windows 8 before leaping to ARM? | The Tech Central - Technology News, Latest Gadgets, Latest Reviews & Opinions

  • Anonymous

    No, the Intel fund is to encourage adoption of Ultrabooks and not to discourage development of ARM laptops.  They are having enough trouble right now just establishing Ultrabooks!

    I also already pointed out that ARM may need the next gen ARM processors to properly even run a Chromebook and most of them won’t be out till next year anyway!  Something you also seem to want to ignore.

    While Pixel Qi also means more cost!  It’s not ready for low cost release and is more likely to be included in premium products that will push it out of the range of many ARM products.

    For run time, you’re forgetting that with Ivy Bridge Intel is significantly lowering their power requirements, they’re ahead of ARM for manufacturing shrink.  They’ll be 22nm while next gen ARM like Tegra 3 will still be 40nm, also the next gen ARM processors power requirements are going to start going up for ARM!  SoC design only can make ARM so efficient before the demand of performance forces an increase in power consumption. 

    Even with Sandy Bridge, they already have systems that with just a battery slice added can run for around 23 hours and unlike mobile devices they can justify larger batteries for their laptops!

    Introduction of desktop OS will start to decrease ARM’s power advantage as well because those OS aren’t optimized to be as power efficient as Android or iOS. 

    Many over estimate ARM’s power efficiency advantage because they assume all the factors that gives that advantage would apply in all situations when they don’t!  Much of the efficiency comes from being able to idle a lot, which a desktop OS usually doesn’t allow.  The performance demands of a desktop OS are also much higher than Android or iOS, it would be much like constantly gaming as these OS will push the limits of the hardware.  While also underestimating how Intel is going to be improving their power efficiency, which in the laptop market only has to reach all day computing to be good enough. 

    So sorry Charbax but you need a reality check if you think the only reason ARM isn’t getting fast tracked is because of Wintel conspiracy.  It may be a consideration but it’s far from being the main reason.  We’re in a slow economy, most of the technology needed to make a ARM laptop competitive isn’t coming out till next year anyway, and the development costs are not something many companies are in a rush to get into right now.

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    Paying people to use your stuff is the same thing as paying people not to use other’s stuff. And you do not know anything about Intel and Microsoft’s negociations with the big PC makers, you do not want to understand the obvious scheme Intel and Microsoft are using.

    The new ARM Cortex-A9 have double the memory bandwidth now, those processors are coming out now. For example the OMAP4460, but also, before Christmas processors such as Qualcomm’s 1.4Ghz Scorpion, Samsung’s upgraded Exynos, even Nvidia Tegra3 in quad-core configuration, all those provide ample enough power to run a full Chrome web browser in a full Chrome OS setup. They are also powerful enough for a full Windows 8 and Ubuntu if needed.

    Using Pixel Qi today would be cheaper for Samsung or anyone else than things like large Super AMOLED Plus screens, Super Clear LCD, Super LED, IPS v6, etc, Pixel Qi is only a question of deciding to make them and that is not a cost. It’s only a cost if they don’t decide to make many of them, because the whole LCD factory has to be adapted for Pixel Qi, and so it’s about the same price to make as normal LCD only once one of the big makers decide to make over a million of them.

    ARM has shown 20nm already, and the Apple A6 is going to be 28nm. It makes no sense to lower the process size if you don’t plan to make hundreds of millions of the processors, which is what ARM companies do and Intel does not. Intel does not have better technology, no way. The ARM people will use 3D fin fets also when it’s ready to be used.

    Anyways, I still believe we will see ARM Laptops before the end of the year. Google is keeping their Chrome OS on ARM stuff very secret cause they know it’s the key for them to destroy Microsoft and Apple in the PC market. The ARM processors are now designed to be fast enough to run a full web browser OS 100% as fast as any other processor, because the OS is now the Web. That is all, the thin client is now becoming a reality.

  • Pingback: Acer to hold out for Windows 8 before leaping to ARM? | Blog

  • Anonymous

    No, paying someone to use my stuff doesn’t stop them from still buying other stuff.  It only effects them buying my stuff!  Sorry but that much is at least just you being paranoid.

    While ARM is still 32bit, many have yet to improve their memory bandwidth and add 64bit memory support, and driver support is still a mess.

    For running Chrome goes beyond just running Chrome!  Google and end users are pushing it for gaming, HD Video, etc.  And all those require hardware acceleration to even run properly on ARM.  A Tegra 2 can barely run Ubunutu without being too sluggish.  People expect speedy performance and ARM isn’t ready yet until the next gen ARM processors come out and right now only Tegra 3 is coming out before the end of the year.

    Using Pixel Qi will not be cheaper for Samsung an wouldn’t be in their interest when they are trying to promote their own technology.

    And let’s separate what ARM will have in the next year from what they plan to push out in the next few years.  ARM is not ready to go 20n!  Tegra 3 is 40nm!  TI’s next OMAP will also be 40nm!  Showing 20nm is like Intel demonstrating 14nm and 10nm samples, it’s still years away from product!

    There’s a difference from technology demonstration and what they are ready to make right now!

    Again, you need a reality check if you think Intel is actually behind in anything but perfecting a  SoC design!

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    You just go ahead and read the anti-trust cases against Intel and Microsoft, then explain how putting big sums of money on tables to discourage manufacturers from working on alternatives isn’t exactly the same thing.

    ARM already supports 3D and video better than Intel, there is no question of it. You can do all the games and smooth instant cloud-assisted HD video editing on the latest ARM Processors just as fast as any ultrabook.

    ARM can do all the same process sizes as Intel, it’s only a question what makes sense to make. ARM processors are shipping in the billions of units per year, Intel only sells a few tens of millions of processors per year.

    Samsung uses plenty of other people’s technologies all the time. It’s called licensing. They didn’t even invent OLED for example. Samsung does not care who invented the technology, they have the scale and infrastructure. They’ll do AMOLED to get an edge in the expensive smartphones market for a few years and then move back to LCD for all of those once that market is commoditized enough. It’s only a question of what the people at the top decide to do. Samsung should be doing Pixel Qi now, but the only question is do the people in charge at Samsung understand the technology to use it or not.

  • http://ARMdevices.net/ Charbax

    You just go ahead and read the anti-trust cases against Intel and Microsoft, then explain how putting big sums of money on tables to discourage manufacturers from working on alternatives isn’t exactly the same thing.

    ARM already supports 3D and video better than Intel, there is no question of it. You can do all the games and smooth instant cloud-assisted HD video editing on the latest ARM Processors just as fast as any ultrabook.

    ARM can do all the same process sizes as Intel, it’s only a question what makes sense to make. ARM processors are shipping in the billions of units per year, Intel only sells a few tens of millions of processors per year.

    Samsung uses plenty of other people’s technologies all the time. It’s called licensing. They didn’t even invent OLED for example. Samsung does not care who invented the technology, they have the scale and infrastructure. They’ll do AMOLED to get an edge in the expensive smartphones market for a few years and then move back to LCD for all of those once that market is commoditized enough. It’s only a question of what the people at the top decide to do. Samsung should be doing Pixel Qi now, but the only question is do the people in charge at Samsung understand the technology to use it or not.

  • Pingback: Acer no lanzará portátiles con chips ARM hasta Windows 8

  • Anonymous

    There’s a difference between speculation and facts… Facts are that most of the next gen ARM processors won’t come out till next year.  It’s a fact that it can take up to a year before we see many products with those new processors come to market.  It’s a fact that the economy is very slow right now and in many places they are worried about another recession.  It’s a fact that the second biggest computer company in the world, HP, failed with their TouchPad and that’s something the other companies are worried about happening to them too!

    Even in the best of times it would be way too fast to expect them to be fast tracking ARM laptops when they are not yet ready. 

    The anti-trust cases against Intel and Microsoft were for things done in the past, they’re no longer in the same position to pull such leverage.  Especially when they are already in trouble for the previous dealings. 

    So both have changed strategies, with MS now including support for ARM with Windows 8 and Intel trying to remake Ultra Portables to establish a new product category, which is taking up most of their resources and they don’t have enough left over to threaten anyone and still push their product at the same time anymore.  It’s the same reason they changed strategies on ATOM, starting with Silvermont and on to Airmont they are no longer keeping it stagnant and relying on market influence but actually developing real innovations and competing. Something they wouldn’t have to do if they could just force the other companies to go their way.

    While companies licensing other companies technology means they have to pay other companies and that cuts into their profits and limits how they can apply the technology.  Not something Samsung is particularly interested in doing.  Especially when they’re getting sued for being too similar to Apple as is.  Samsung has even expressed interest in taking over Meego from Intel, especially after Google took over Motorola.  Many companies are worried about Google giving itself an edge, while Apples law suites also threaten Android and not just Samsung, and those that can will hedge their bets.

    Even in the Smart Phone market, where Wintel has next to no influence, it can take up to a year to adopt a new ARM platform.  Especially if there are cheaper alternatives.  While many of them also can take months to optimize the latest Android release and get it to the customers and Chrome would be no different!

    Chromebooks have yet to prove a really viable market already, while crippling them with a less capable hardware just to get the lower price point and longer run time has it limits of how the price point and run time can help its appeal versus what is actually given to the end customer.  Just having the consumers question it is enough to slow sales in a time where sales are already slow.

    This despite the benefit that Chrome itself is better suited for ARM because cloud computing doesn’t have to deal as much with the hardware fragmentation ARM imposes.  For cross platform software that doesn’t rely on hardware API this is fine but for many desktop OS it’s crippling and one of the reasons why it is taking so long to get even linux onto ARM and why MS had to imposed strict limits on the ARM hardware needed to run Windows 8.  Presently many ARM platforms don’t even have GPU’s that can fully support a desktop OS.

    Even with tablets, Apple still dominates the market.  Leaving very little for the other companies and thus less reason for them to expand their ARM offerings.  While even Apple has seen a decline in iPad sales which shows that either the tablet market is already starting to reach saturation and/or the slowing economy is starting to take its toll and that’s going to make even big companies hesitate, especially after seeing what happened to HP.

    Really, you’re dreaming if you think there is no other reason for companies besides Wintel influence causing these delays.  Companies are worried not only about profit but surviving these days.

  • Pingback: Teases Dell mobile computer with an OLED demonstrate | CompSights

  • Pingback: Your Questions About Cheapest Laptops 2011

  • http://www.laptopreviews2u.com Gutter567

    LG has added a mid-range Android smartphone to its popular Optimus series. The handset, dubbed the LG Optimus Sol

  • Pingback: ARM laptops not expected until Windows 8 launches | ITProPortalITProPortal.com