Can Android create a rival for newer ARM-powered Macs?

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Apple has just renewed its computers in Spain with the new generation of Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and Mac Mini. These laptops do not offer much of a change in external appearance, but they do offer a real leap in internal components as they are the first Mac with an Apple-designed processor.

In an era in which the PC seemed less important than ever, Apple has completely changed its operating system, reaffirming that in the midst of the post-PC era, computers are not only here, but will remain here for a long time.

Which raises the following question. Can Android offer an alternative to the new Apple computers? How could it be better? And worst?

  • All the news of the Apple event in Omicrono:
    • Revolution at Apple: this is the M1, its first computer processor.
    • First MacBook with Apple processor announced: beasts in consumption and performance.

This is the new beast that will give life to Macbooks, and the secret of all this revolution

Can Android create a rival for newer ARM-powered Macs? 1

The main protagonist at the Apple event is the new Apple M1 processor. If the A14 that they presented with the new iPhone 12 and iPad Air was already spectacular, this chip sets a new benchmark for performance with regard to processors within the ARM architecture.

With a manufacturing process of 5 nanometers, this chip has 16,000 million transistors compared to the almost 12,000 million transistors of the A14. The number of transistors is not a direct equivalence in performance, but it does show that it is a chip with a higher degree of complexity.

This is the first challenge faced by an Android-based computer that wants to compete against the new Macs. This would mean taking the best Android processor and giving it an inordinate quality jump.

Can Android create a rival for newer ARM-powered Macs? 2

Is there such an option compatible with Android?In the race with ARM computers, Qualcomm beat Apple last year with the Snapdragon 8cx, processor based on the Snapdragon 855 that came with the Surface Pro X and that in its second generation has had a slight improvement. Without having concrete figures, so that an Android alternative can compete in pure performance.

Creating a wish list for a computer that competes against Macbooks

Can Android create a rival for newer ARM-powered Macs? 3

One of the aspects that Apple has best polished are the infographics of its products, in which they show us the key aspects of the experience of their new products. In a way, this list of features serves to give us an idea of ​​what a computer should aspire to when it comes to rivaling the new Mac. So we go with this peculiar list:

  • Unified memory architecture:One of the best features of the Apple M1 processor is that it has integrated the RAM within the SoC itself, allowing faster access to RAM, both for the CPU and the GPU.
    • It is feasible to see it in the competition.
  • Neural Engine:The neural processors integrated inside the chip are one of the most differential factors compared to a traditional processor. As applications demand more AI-dependent tasks, the more impact it will have in favor of the M1.
    • ARM processors for Android already have their own NPUs, so ARM processors we see in Android are likely to rival.
  • Mac OS Big Sur:Unique to Apple and a true added value of the Mac. If you want Mac OS and want to use Mac OS applications, there is no point in searching for or wanting a rival.
  • Long battery life and performance per watt:These two features come hand in hand thanks to the ARM architecture and the 5 nanometer manufacturing process.
    • The Surface Pro X already demonstrated a high level of energy efficiency, despite the fact that it used Windows, a system that at the level of energy efficiency does not measure up to the Mac OS or Android.
  • Wi-Fi 6:It has been present for more than a year in the best Android phones.
  • Advanced ISP for the camera:It is also found in mobile processors available for Android.
  • IPhone and iPad apps:An exclusive for Apple, although equivalent to Android.
  • Universal applications:Apple indicates that thanks to its new compiler, Macs with Apple M1 will be able to enjoy applications designed for Intel processors.

Maybe not Android, but how about Chromebooks?

Knowing how capable is Mac OS, maybe Androidis too far from competing against an Apple laptop. However, if we could see a rival at the height within the Google ecosystem, and this would be Chrome OS, always bearing in mind that there are use cases in which it will not be able to compete against a Mac or a PC. Leaving aside these exclusivities, the truth is that it would be possible for us to see a Google PixelBook that was good enough to be an alternative to Macbooks.

Can Android create a rival for newer ARM-powered Macs? 4

First of all, Chrome OS is a system that from its birth is prepared for the ARM architecture. It’s true that most ARM-processor Chromebooks have been focused on the low-end, but there’s nothing stopping Google from taking the best available Snapdragon and integrating it into their system.

Although it does not enjoy native applications, we would have a complete web browsing experience just like any desktop operating system. As a complement, we also have access to the Google Play Store and all the Android applications that we already have.

Unlike Mac OS, Chrome is adapted for touch screens, convertible devices and stylus. In the Apple ecosystem, you must choose a computer with a Mac or a tablet with an iPad, so the 2-in-1 convergence and the possibility of adding mobile data with a SIM would have the potential to be the most important factor in choosing a new computer.

It seems unlikely that we will see a traditional rival competing against the new MacBook with ARM., and the fact that it shares the same processor architecture does not directly imply that Android can be a rival to Mac OS as the question from the headline might raise. However, it is great news and Apple’s movement may generate that, even if no direct rivals appear, if we can find alternatives capable of shining in other aspects.

The entry Can Android create a rival for the new Mac with ARM processor? He appears first in The Free Android.