The path to a Surface phone is clearer than ever with Windows 10 on ARM

Why does ARM on Windows 10 matter? What does it mean for a phone running Windows 10? Let’s break down Microsoft’s latest announcement to identify its implications.

Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 on ARM is a momentous occasion. Companies like Apple have been rumored since 2012 to be working on bringing macOS to ARM. Even just weeks before the MacBook Pro refresh rumors were swirling that Apple’s new laptops were ARM based. Yet it is Microsoft who is the first to do it for real (and not just for a Touch Bar).

To be clear, Windows 10 on ARM is about PCs and not phones. Nonetheless, the prospect that these two systems will come together is feasible. Here is how a Surface “phone” could happen, but first some background on why ARM even matters.

x86-64 versus ARM

ARM is the architecture used in modern smartphones. Whether it’s Apple’s A10 Fusion chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, these processors are all based on the ARM architecture. ARM differs significantly from x86 and x64, which is what Intel chips like ATOM, Core M, and Core i are based, as well as AMD’s processors.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 on x86-64. They share OneCore and UWP, but there’s a yawning gulf between the architectures.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 for PC runs on x86-64. Both share OneCore and UWP as their center of overlap. The difference is also why you cannot run x86 Win32 apps on your phone. Architecture matters.

Because ARM was made to be efficient for small batteries and reduced thermal loads, it’s ideal for smartphones and slim tablets.

Historically, ARM chips were significantly less powerful than desktop-class x86 processors. That’s been changing in the last few years. Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7, is often compared in performance to the 2013 MacBook Air — which sported a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

So, if ARM’s so fantastic, why not just put your desktop OS on it? The task requires a tremendous amount of engineering and work. Microsoft, evidently, has finished it. Apple is likely still working on something.

 

 

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

The path to a Surface phone is clearer than ever with Windows 10 on ARM

Why does ARM on Windows 10 matter? What does it mean for a phone running Windows 10? Let’s break down Microsoft’s latest announcement to identify its implications.

Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 on ARM is a momentous occasion. Companies like Apple have been rumored since 2012 to be working on bringing macOS to ARM. Even just weeks before the MacBook Pro refresh rumors were swirling that Apple’s new laptops were ARM based. Yet it is Microsoft who is the first to do it for real (and not just for a Touch Bar).

To be clear, Windows 10 on ARM is about PCs and not phones. Nonetheless, the prospect that these two systems will come together is feasible. Here is how a Surface “phone” could happen, but first some background on why ARM even matters.

x86-64 versus ARM

ARM is the architecture used in modern smartphones. Whether it’s Apple’s A10 Fusion chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, these processors are all based on the ARM architecture. ARM differs significantly from x86 and x64, which is what Intel chips like ATOM, Core M, and Core i are based, as well as AMD’s processors.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 on x86-64. They share OneCore and UWP, but there’s a yawning gulf between the architectures.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 for PC runs on x86-64. Both share OneCore and UWP as their center of overlap. The difference is also why you cannot run x86 Win32 apps on your phone. Architecture matters.

Because ARM was made to be efficient for small batteries and reduced thermal loads, it’s ideal for smartphones and slim tablets.

Historically, ARM chips were significantly less powerful than desktop-class x86 processors. That’s been changing in the last few years. Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7, is often compared in performance to the 2013 MacBook Air — which sported a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

So, if ARM’s so fantastic, why not just put your desktop OS on it? The task requires a tremendous amount of engineering and work. Microsoft, evidently, has finished it. Apple is likely still working on something.

Why it’s a big deal

The ability to run a full PC operating system on a tablet, two-in-one, or laptop powered by ARM has been the dream. Battery life in such a device gains a few hours with excellent thermals. The PC is now always connected to the internet. It can also be thinner and lighter than any x86-64 system — there’s less battery needed for an acceptable lifespan and reduced thermal dissipation demands.

We already have that with smartphones, but now you can run a full OS for apps and games with minimal compromises.

Such a scenario changes concepts around gaming, using digital inking, productivity, reading, exchanging information, and creativity. It’s the power of a PC but with fewer limits.

To make this tech dream come true, ARM’s performance had to improve, batteries had to get better, and someone had to port their OS. Well, that all just happened and none of us are dreaming anymore. This is the coming reality.

Cost counts too

A performant x86-64 processor is also much more expensive than ARM. This pricing matters to companies trying to create new categories of devices with greater abilities. For example, an Intel ATOM chip is around $37, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 runs about $70. But an Intel Core M processor starts at $281 and a Core i7 can go over $600.

That problem of Core M PC sticks being fantastic, but crazy expensive now disappears.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs also have everything on board including Wi-Fi, LTE, GSM, Bluetooth, Quick Charge, and camera technology all for a fixed cost. Manufacturers choose which features they want and license it. Hence why your Qualcomm-powered phone might not have Quick Charge 3.0.

On the other end, x86-64 is just the processor. Any LTE modem support is extra, as are all the other radios. Because of this difference, PCs range in feature sets, price, and even size.

The additional components make x86-64 systems hotter, more expensive, larger, and harder on batteries than any ARM counterpart.

Microsoft’s problem is they need something stronger than an ATOM, but cheaper and smaller than an Intel Core M. A processor based on ARM does all of that, plus adds in 4G LTE support, radios, and is significantly more efficient than an x86-64 system.

How to go from Mobile to the phone?

All this news and talk of smartphone components raises the next logical question: Why can’t we run Windows 10 for ARM on a smartphone?

Why Microsoft keeps working on Windows 10 Mobile: ARM, cellular, and the next big thing

In theory, you now can. The reality though is more complicated. Nevertheless, you can bet Microsoft is very much likely working on such a scenario for a ‘Pro’ smartphone experience.

Here are a few reasons why Microsoft has not put Windows 10 on ARM on the phone… yet:

  • Pricing: Such a phone will be more expensive. Additional RAM, a large SSD for significantly more storage, and the license SKU for full Windows 10 will make this “phone” costlier. Full Windows 10 takes around 20GB of storage versus ~4GB for Mobile. Full Windows 10 also ideally needs at least 8GB of RAM, compared to 2GB for Mobile. Most modern flagship smartphones have 4GB of RAM, with a few select Android phones sporting 6GB.
  • Continuum in reverse: The interface experience is not there — even the touch-friendly Windows 10 design isn’t going to work on a screen much smaller than 7 inches. Microsoft needs the Mobile shell (UI) for when the device is acting as a phone, but shows the desktop when docked. It’s Windows 10 Mobile Continuum, but inverted.
  • Phone support: While Windows 10 on ARM supports LTE data, it still lacks proper telephony abilities like phone calls, visual voicemail, SMS, and the like. Presumably, those features from the Mobile system will be incorporated into Windows 10 for ARM, but that still needs to happen.
  • Let the dust settle: Microsoft wants to get Windows 10 on ARM into devices like tablets and two-in-ones first, build out UWP some more and refine the whole experience. Once emulation has improved and deployment has expanded, hardware costs will come down, Windows 10’s power efficiency will improve, the processors will be even faster, and then a phone that can run Windows 10 on ARM makes sense.

There is also the idea of an external GPU (eGPU). That tech becomes an interesting extension for Continuum when docked and using Windows 10 on ARM. That technology, however, hasn’t even been developed yet for ARM.

Windows 10 Mobile for budget

Despite some of these hurdles, it should be evident by now that Microsoft sees Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile scenarios colliding and overlapping.

A device that runs full Windows 10 on ARM can be positioned as a ‘Pro’ device for those who need it all.

Windows 10 Mobile through Continuum and even x86 emulation becomes more like a desktop PC. Meanwhile, the desktop PC becomes more like Mobile. Cats and dogs living together! Windows 10 Mobile can still hit much lower price marks, yet deliver a similar experience, compared to a device running full Windows 10.

When you break it down that way, then Windows 10 Mobile makes sense. It will be the “light” version of Windows 10 both in features and cost. A device that runs full Windows 10 on ARM, however, can be positioned as a ‘Pro’ device for those who need it all. Perhaps someday when even the base ARM processors are powerful enough, then a separate Mobile OS won’t make sense anymore — but that’s still years away at best.

The future is mobile

I think this is where Microsoft is headed. A “Surface phone” would be a Pro device that is high-end hardware, but capable of being a full PC when docked at a desk (or with a Lap Dock). Windows 10 Mobile can still be used for entry level and mid-range phones where such OS overhead is not required or even desired.

I think we also have our answer to why there is no Surface 4 yet and why manufacturers bailed on Windows 10 Mobile tablets. Microsoft obviously had something much bigger in the works that’s more tantalizing to both them and their partners.

There are a lot of dots getting connected here between the realities of today’s technologies and the Surface phone, and it’s becoming obvious how Microsoft’s going to bridge the remaining gaps. Inking, mixed reality, UWP, OneCore, Windows Hello, Windows 10 on ARM, far-field speech-communication, Continuum, and more all promise a world where the device in your pocket can do much more than just run dinky phone apps. You are seeing that world being created right in front of your eyes.

Windows 10 on ARM is game changing. Make no mistake about it: the path to the ultimate phone just became much clearer.

 

 

[Source:- windowscentral]

 

The 5 Lamest Fighting Game Characters Ever

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With so many awful fighters in fighting games, Game Rant takes a look back at the five absolute suckiest, dumbest, and just plain lame characters ever.

With fan favorite character Alex joining Street Fighter V as a DLC character, fighting game fans have been intensely debating which classic characters should join the roster of the popular fighting game. But while there are plenty of great characters that surely deserve another day in the limelight, there are plenty of lame characters that are better forgotten. After all, for every Kazuya, there has to be aLucky Chloe. So, join us as we take a look back at the five lamest fighting game characters ever.

5. Fat Mega Man (Street Fighter X Tekken)

Fat Mega Man Street Fighter X Tekken

Ask any diehard Mega Man fan how he or she feels about Capcom’s recent treatment of the Blue Bomber, and they will likely respond with uncontrollable sobbing. From shoehorning the beloved super fighting robot into mobile games, to pulling the plug on the highly anticipated Mega Man Legends 3, Capcom has not been kind to Mega Man. While MM fans wait to get their run-and-gun fix from Mighty No. 9, Capcom continues to parade the lifeless corpse of the once proud Mega Man around as a joke or a nostalgia cash-in, not unlike a video game version of Weekend At Bernie’s. Fans were excited when Capcom announced that Mega Man would be joining the roster of cross-over brawler Street Fighter X Tekken, but that excitement subsided as soon as Capcom revealed the Mega Man in question.

In a tongue-and-cheek ode to the awful American cover art for the original Mega Man, this Mega Man was a tubby man in an ill-fitting blue and yellow bodysuit with a dinky blaster. Gone was the Blue Bomber; in his place stood Danny Devito in a spandex fetish suit. Fat Mega Man was played for laughs, but he didn’t even have the moves to back up his appearance. Mega Man would later get a proper fighting game appearance in Super Smash Bros., but Fat Mega Man has been left behind, too lame to appear in anything else.

4. Angus MacGregor (Kasumi Ninja)

Angus Kasumi Ninja

With Mortal Kombat ruling the arcades in the early 90’s, every game company was scrambling to release a knock-off to get a slice of that sweet, spine-ripping money pie. Atari’s answer to the popular fighter was Kasumi Ninja, a truly horrendous brawler released for the doomed Atari Jaguar. Filled to the brim with boring, generic characters and moves, Kasumi Ninja seemed destined to languish in the dollar bin at the local Funcoland. But there was character on the roster so incredibly bad it kept people talking about the game – a character so dumb, people just couldn’t ignore the game. That character was Angus MacGregor.

The idea of having a Scottish highland warrior as a fighting game character isn’t a bad idea, but instead of taking a page from Braveheart, Atari opted to just make the character a mish-mash of stereotypes: Angus is a kilt-wearing, hard drinking, quick-to-anger Scotsman. Also, he can throw fireballs from under his kilt. Yes, in addition to looking like Sean Connery’s second cousin, Angus can hurl fiery death from his crotch. Bizarre and borderline offensive, Angus MacGregor is legendary in his pure lameness.

3. Rufus (Street Fighter IV)

Rufus Street Fighter

Coming up with a new character for a fighting game franchise is hard. Creating a character that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the iconic characters that populate the series takes work. Sometimes, designers manage to create great characters that vibe with the rest of the cast, becoming classics in their own right. And sometimes, they create characters like Rufus.

This ponytail-rocking, happy trail-showing tub of lard bills himself as “America’s Greatest Fighter,” but his spins and kicks can’t hold a candle to Ken Masters, causing the rotund rumbler to devote his life to besting the American Ansatsuken fighter. With his grating loud-mouthed personality and gross appearance, Rufus was certainly unique, but that only helped to accentuate his flaws. Much like fellow obese obliterator Bob from Tekken, Rufus is a good fighter, but as a character he’s weak as can be.

2. Mokap (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)

Mokap Mortal Kombat

With its magical demon ninjas and farting magical martial arts masters, Mortal Kombat is a series that has never taken itself too seriously. But sometimes, Mortal Kombat manages to cross the threshold from “silly and fun” into “just plain dumb.” Case in point: the ball-covered doofus that is Mokap.

Wanting to pay homage to the motion capture artists that work tirelessly to bring the characters of Mortal Kombat to life, Ed Boon and company opted to put a martial arts master/motion capture actor on the roster. Problem is, compared to the bloodthirsty sorcerers, psychic blind swordsmen, and robot ninjas, Mokap, with his skintight blue-and-black body suit and giant, impossible-to-miss ball coverings, just looked like a big dork. Mokap was such a dweeb, in fact, that he wasn’t even deemed important enough to receive a fatality or weapon of his own. As a testament to Mokap’s pure suckitude, the character’s last appearance in the series is as a wandering NPC in Mortal Kombat: Deception’s Konquest mode that can be punched and made to yell “ow, my balls!” A Mortal Kombat X contender this man is not.

1. Fred Durst (Fight Club)

Fred Durst Fight Club

Even people that haven’t seen Fight Club know Fight Club. The movie poster of choice of college freshmen, Fight Club has cemented itself as a bonafide cult classic, with its mixture of hyper masculinity, memorable characters, and… love of Limp Bizkit? Okay, the notoriously awful nu metal band (that seems repetitive) has nothing to do with the movie or book on which Fight Club the game is based, but that didn’t stop developer Genuine Games from shoehorning the backwards baseball cap adorned uber tool into this mess of a game.

Yes, the man responsible for unleashing “Rollin’” on the world appears as an unlockable character in this forgettable movie cash-in, letting music fans around the world punch Durst in the face as everyone from Tyler Durden to Abraham Lincoln (who has shown up in much better games, as noted in our top five list of presidential video game appearances). A truly awful character, in a truly awful video game, nets Fred Durst the title of lamest fighting game character of all time.

What do you make of our list? Do you think we’ve been too critical of some of these characters? Or are there even more lame fighters that should have been mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!

 

[Source:- Gamerant]