The world’s first portable RISC-V gets lost in NFT hype with a silly message

The world’s first laptop built on the open source RISC-V architecture can be pre-ordered. Unfortunately, the nonetheless significant announcement is dominated by useless hypes.

The world’s first RISC-V-based laptop can be pre-ordered. The device is theoretically aimed at developers and is codenamed Roma. Roma is manufactured in China by DeepComputing and Xcalibyte and with decent specifications. For example, the laptop gets 16 GB of LPDDR4 memory along with 256 GB of storage space.

Few details are known about the chip itself, though it would be a quad-core processor. You can upgrade it yourself via the motherboard of the laptop.

Independent and open source

The launch is potentially very important. In the last few decades, PCs and laptops have known only one CPU architecture: x86. Intel dominated, especially after pushing AMD out of the market through illegal practices, although in recent years that company has once again proven to be a formidable competitor. In late 2020, Apple shook the market by launching MacBooks based on its own ARM-based M1 processor. Microsoft is also trying to embrace Windows ARM, although there is not much success so far.

The development was significant: x86 promptly lost its dominant position as a matter of course and must in future prove that it provides added value in relation to ARM. Here comes the portable RISC-V and beeps. ARM is an alternative to x86, but both architectures are commercially licensed. ARM is admittedly much more open, but it remains the property of the company Arms. This is not the case with RISC-V, which is open source. Anyone can build RISC-V chips. RISC-V otherwise follows similar principles as ARM, which we explain in more detail in this section.

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ARM, x86 and RISC-V: the difference explained

A RISC-V laptop paves the way for genuine open source laptops. Roma is therefore compatible with various RISC-V Linux distributions. Compatibility with third-party software will be an issue, but as a developer kit, the laptop is in theory a very exciting step in the right direction. In addition, RISC-V can counteract dependence on US-regulated designs, which a country like China finds very interesting.

Incomprehensible hype-urge

In practice, everyone involved misses the ball completely. The RISC-V International Foundation takes advantage of the hype and buzzwords, making the announcement almost ridiculous.

Roma is a Web3-compatible platform with NTF creation and publishing plus MetaMask-style integrated wallet. “Roma will provide an even more integrated experience with future AI glasses and AI speakers running exclusively on RISC – V software, powered by RISC – V hardware.”

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NFTs are foolish and any serious business should stay away from them

What’s going on is that this design forms a crucial bridge between developers and RISC-V-based business laptops, which is the ultimate ambition. Unfortunately, this is not how it sounds. In fact, the companies involved will publish Roma in a limited edition, and those who pre-order will receive a unique NFT. We have previously described how NFTs are legally worthless, virtually inconvenient and ecologically catastrophic. As a serious company, you should stay away from that which challenges to x86 and ARM you make yourself ridiculous in our eyes when you put your cart on it.

misplaced joke

Despite the announcement, no one is communicating a price. You can leave your information on the pre-order website, but you can not buy anything yet. Images on the page are also missing. Were it not for RISC-V’s official website communicating about the laptop, we would almost think the whole story is a misunderstood joke.

The world’s first RISC-V laptop may become an important milestone, highlighting the importance of the RISC-V as a worldwide architecture. Instead, DeepComputing, Xcalibyte and RISC-V International choose to link their credibility to NFTs and cryptocurrencies. We wonder which professional will take this device seriously in this way. What a missed opportunity.

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