Author: Charbax

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I would have liked to video-blog at Hong Kong and Shenzhen fairs

Posted by Charbax – April 16, 2010
Hong Kong Trade Development Council Logo
Image via Wikipedia

The Hong Kong Electronics and Sourcing fairs and the China Consumer Electronics Fair were just held in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. I had tried for 3 weeks after CeBIT to find a sponsor to cover my flight and hotel costs so that I could go there and bring you 50 videos of all the new products that I expected to be shown there. But I did not succeed to convince any sponsor for going to film in Asia this time, so I am for now staying in Copenhagen where I am currently filming some interviews at the Cphpix Copenhagen Film Festival: 1, 2, 3.

I've then been trying to find other sites covering those trade fairs with video, pictures and infos, but I have not found much thus far. Google News has some things about CCEF and about HKTDC in Chinese, clonedinchina.com has a few posts showing such things as a new Rockhip powered Android phone, SmartDevices R7, Onda VX560 7-inch PMP, Kinstone Windows CE MID, Huawei C8600 Android phone, MDO Avatar G580 Android phone, lots of cheaper ipad-like tablets.

I don't know for sure how much innovation and new products were shown by the Chinese manufacturers at these Trade Shows these past few days. I didn't yet spend enough time translating all the Chinese blogs and searching more for those most interesting Android tablets, new cheaper Android phones, new interesting e-readers, ARM Powered Laptops and more.

I guess also that this year's CCEF, HKTDC and HK Spring Sourcing fairs may not have been too popular among those European and US based bloggers that I know. Maybe they don't go there for a reason.

Anyways, I will try to bring you exclusive videos of a bunch of awesome ARM Powered products that I have right here to review, I've got a $95 10" Android VIA-ARM Powered laptop (watch me showing a brief preview of it in the video below), I've got an Intelligent Mobile Hotspot Mifi adapter by Novatel Wireless, I've got the touch-screen PocketBook 302 with WiFi/Bluetooth and I've also got a Bluetooth wireless foldable keyboard by Chinfai Leicke. I'll post extensive video reviews of those and more as soon as I find the time.

This video was posted at: netbooknews.com

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brightsideofnews.com: Banchmark comparisons of ARM Cortex A8 against Intel Atom N450

Posted by Charbax – April 14, 2010

At about 3x lower power consumption, much lower heat dissipation and much lower overall system pricing, the Freescale i.MX515 platform in a development board developed by Pegatron, is used for benchmarks of all kinds of performance areas by processor benchmarking expert Van Smith at this 9-page benchmarking article at brightsideofnews.com

While this specific ARM Cortex A8 implementation performs great on integers, power consumption, heat dissipation, price, floating-point performance still needs some improvement with ARM Cortex designs to come. Consider also that Ubuntu 9.04 used in this test is only the first implementation of Ubuntu for ARM Cortex and that Ubuntu 10.4 which is imminently going to be released will significantly improve ARM performance of those benchmarks.

The ARM Cortex-A8 sample that we tested in the form of the Freescale i.MX515 lived in an ecosystem that was not competitive with the x86 rivals in this comparison. The video subsystem is very limited. Memory support is a very slow 32-bit, DDR2-200MHz.

I guess it's not yet possible for Van Smith in this test to make an apples to apples comparison as the current ARM Cortex A8 are still oriented at Smart Phones and thin and light Tablets rather than full SmartBooks for full desktop-like performance requirements of the more desktop-performance oriented next generation ARM Cortex designs.

The goal for ARM when reaching the markets of Laptop and Desktop form factors is to reach the level of performance required to run full high resolution Web Browsers at full speed, where the OS with the browser boots instantly, with fast enough RAM where unlimited tabs open instantly, where hardware acceleration of embedded videos functions smoothly and where even the Native Client and 3D features run fully within the ARM Powered Web Browser. Once that level of performance is reached, further performance improvements will be less important than lowering the power consumption and lowering the cost of the next processors. Once everything most users need to have processed on their devices seem to run instantly, reaching the instant browser performance level, why would anyone want to increase the performance of client device oriented processors further?

You can find the benchmarks at: brightsideofnews.com

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GlobalFoundries (AMD spin-off) to make 28nm ARM Cortex A9 designs

Posted by Charbax – April 14, 2010
Image representing AMD as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

AMD spin-off called GlobalFoundries is looking to make one of the fastest ARM Cortex A9 implementations as a 28nm process size, using High-K Metal Gate instead of the Silicon Dioxide Gate of previous processors. This allows for smaller and even faster processors.

The implementation of high-κ gate dielectrics is one of several strategies developed to allow further miniaturization of microelectronic components, colloquially referred to as extending Moore's Law.

My question would be like this: Does this basically mean that AMD investors are investing heavily in designing ARM processors instead of X86?

AMD spin-off is going ARM, Nvidia is going ARM, VIA is going ARM, that may leave Intel a bit alone with the X86.

Source: brightsideofnews.com

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Google to open-source On2 VP8 for HTML5 video

Posted by Charbax – April 13, 2010
JVC GZ-MG555 digital camcorder
Image via Wikipedia

I was right when I immediately deducted back in August 2009 that Google's purchase of On2 would likely lead to them open-sourcing and releasing On2's VP8 video codec as a free open-source video codec to be used as the HTML5 video format.

Google could use VP8 codec on Youtube in HTML5 mode, and force everyone using Youtube to upgrade to HTML5 browsers

Newteevee.com is reporting that Google plans to announce VP8 video codec for HTML5 at next month's Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

This means the world will get an open-source and free video-codec to use in all consumer electronics, to use in all websites and for the distribution of all video contents. Look forward to small Chinese manufacturers not anymore having to pay ridiculous $20'000 or more licencing fees to the Mpeg Consortium through "Sisvel" and other such hugely expensive licencing costs which manufacturers have to pay to exhibit products in Europe or in the USA for simply being able to playback those formats. Consumer electronics products will likely ship with Google's Video codec installed by default and only unlock access to proprietary codecs through a codec licence unlocking system through letting users pay the licence themselves or only unlock the functionality at the time of sale and not during the conference exhibitions.

Using this new VP8 for HTML5 could potentially save Google and other content and distribution companies millions of dollars in H264 licencing costs for sites like Youtube. Google Chrome and Firefox will thus ship with HTML5 video codec pre-installed in the browser, and obviously that Android, Chrome OS will come with it too. And Google will likely freely provide all the tools for hardware acceleration on all hardware platforms as well.

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Google builds own Tablet-e-reader

Posted by Charbax – April 13, 2010
Google Chrome Tablet
Image by nDevilTV via Flickr

The New York Times reports:

Google hopes to make its own apps marketplace available for new slate-like devices.

But Google is going one step further, exploring the idea of building its own slate, an e-reader that would function like a computer.

Yes! Things are going to happen fast!

Obviously, it wouldn't make sense for Google not to provide the Marketplace on Android Tablets and e-Readers to compete with the ipod touch and the ipad.

Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.

In a second blog post by the New York Times:

Another person who has been briefed on the Google slate project, but asked not to be named, said that Google was still wrestling with several parts of the project, but that it would most likely come with the Chrome Web browser from Google.

Google’s big push to consumers and developers with the device will be to offer a completely open platform — an approach that runs counter to Apple’s closed App Store model.

In the article, HP is said to be working on a 6" Android tablet. Nokia is also working on an e-reader.

Logically, all those e-reader and tablet combos will have to use the Pixel Qi LCD screens to provide e-reader and a color Tablet in one device.

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Archos Generation 8 Android Tablets, prices and sizes rumored

Posted by Charbax – April 12, 2010

The prices are said to be $100 to $350, the sizes 3" to 10", ARM Cortex processor from 800mhz to 1ghz, with multi-touch and 3D acceleration.

My guesses are, based on this slide presented by Henri Crohas in China:

2x Archos 3 Android Gen8: starting at $100, what would the second 3" model be about?
1x Archos 5 Android Gen8: starting at $200?
2x Archos 7 Android Gen8: $200-300? Why two 7" models?
1x Archos 10 Android Gen8: $350? Pixel Qi dual-mode screen (my huge wish, so it can be readable for e-books and run 50h on the battery)?

The slide mentions multi-touch, a big question would be, does Archos now use Capacitive touch-screens? The the case of 3" and 7", might it be that the second skew is to provide a cheap resistive choice as well as a $50 to $100 more expensive capacitive type? The thing about capacitive screen is this, as far as I understand, and as far as one can find by just looking at what's available on the market, it might be capacitive screens are really much more expensive and hard to come by in sizes other than some very definite sizes decided to be mass manufactured by the smart phone industry.

OpenGL acceleration and multi-touch features are clearly stated in the slide. Which may mean that Android 2.1 support is pretty much for surely available. Another hardware feature would be interesting to know about would be how well those devices will integrate 3G connectivity. We know Archos does Bluetooth tethering well, and one can buy a Mifi for WiFi to 3G tethering, how about Archos building 3G modems directly into skews of those Android tablet devices, and how about them making sure that power is managed in a way so that Voice-over-IP and other instant messaging over IP applications can constantly be active and stand-by on 3G and WiFi connections.

Logically to reach 1ghz they will use the Texas Instruments OMAP3640 series of processors, which is a significant upgrade on OMAP3440 of the current generation. This is not only a matter of increase of mhz speed. OMAP3640 is built on a 45nm process instead of the 65nm process of the current processor, which means the processor is significantly smaller and uses a lot less power, which probably brings better battery runtime. You can watch my video comparing OMAP3630 with OMAP3430. The performance increase for 3D rendering with the new processor is more than 62% going from 92fps to 156fps on the same 3D rendering animation. I don't know if video decoding and encoding performance has been improved. And I don't know how much things like website rendering is improved, if it's just 25% faster based on 800mhz vs 1ghz or if it is more than that.

I do not know if OMAP3640 can do 1080p decoding and much higher HD video decoding bitrates. I don't know if OMAP3640 simplifies the integration of mini-HDMI output directly into the device. If Archos includes a camera, it could probably record 720p video which would be really awesome, if a wireless microphone using Bluetooth or mini-jack input also can be used for good sound recording.

You can discuss this news in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=32392

Source: p5w.net
Found via: archoslounge.net

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Drobo FS brings automatic NAS backup solution to the market

Posted by Charbax – April 6, 2010

Data Robotics have just announced the release of the new faster gigabit-connected Drobo FS NAS storage device. Check my video interview with Drobo at CES 2010 where I asked them about Ethernet NAS features: http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/drobo-at-ces-2010/

It supports up to 5 SATA hard drives, hot-swappable, 1 or 2 drives can fail in their special RAID configuration and all files stay intact, different sized hard drives are supported automatically (when you buy new larger drives, just replace the oldest smallest ones with those). Now also with some Gigabit ethernet local and remote file sharing features.

I am eager to find out how this new Drobo FS NAS performs as it's said to have a new faster processor. Reaching super fast data transfer, data copy, data backup performance using the newest fastest ARM Processors, keeping very low power consumption especially when the hard drives are idle (which they would in most cases), and especially providing all this at lower prices. I do believe that the Home Server NAS market is potentially going to grow very rapidly. Even though Cloud Computing is revolutionizing storage, 2TB, 1.5TB and 1TB Hard Drives are getting cheaper every day, it makes perfect sense to store a huge amount of data at home as a buffer and cache to the cloud hosted in people's homes. Also, cloud storage at places like Google and Amazon still costs about 16 times more per terrabyte per year compared to buying TB hard drives on the open market and hosting it oneself using a clever ARM Powered NAS in the home (not including cost of NAS and power consumption). As consumers create and download more and more video, audio and high resolution photo files, I believe we all need solutions to manage all those cheap hard drives at home.

Source: engadget.com

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The iPad promotes the ARM Powered Tablet market segment

Posted by Charbax – April 6, 2010
Tablet PC Icon
Image by ichibod via Flickr

The swarms of Apple fans buying and talking about the Apple iPad during these next days and months, are rapidly popularizing the demand for ARM Powered tablets in the worldwide market. This should be a great opportunity for the many companies working on releasing Android Powered Tablets during these next few weeks and months.

1. Will consumers prefer cheaper and more powerful Android powered tablets?

- Archos is already selling an $249 Android Tablet with a pocketable 4.8" screen, they have been selling it since September 2009, check out some of my videos of it: 1, 2, 3, 4

- As you can see in my Tablets category http://armdevices.net/category/tablets/, there are more than 50 Android Powered tablets coming to the market from all major manufacturers during these next few months.

2. All the best tablets should have sunlight readable, reflective Pixel Qi LCD screens. Watch some of my Pixel Qi videos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

3. This can accelerate the release of many ARM Powered laptops. As consumers see that ARM Powered embedded platforms load the full screen full resolution websites fast, consumers will demand there be regular laptop form factors available as well using the same technology.

This video was released at: laughingsquid.com
Found via: techmeme.com

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Sharp IS01, Android 5″ 960×480 capacitive pocketable

Posted by Charbax – March 31, 2010

About 6 months after Sharp's introduction of the Freescale i.MX51 powered PC-Z1 running Ubuntu on the Japanese market, Sharp is now announcing this Qualcomm Snapdragon powered 3G-enabled Android powered device to be released in June to the Japanese market.

Watch also an augmented reality application runing on the Sharp IS01 in this other video interview with a Sharp representative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHXv8ob7jNQ

Here are the specs:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
- Android 1.6 for now
- 5" touchscreen with a 960×480 resolution featuring Sharp’s “New Mobile ASV” multi-touch capacitive display
- Dual camera with one of 5.27Mpix and one front facing of only 0.43Mpix
- Full QWERTY keyboard with a 11.2mm key pitch
- 1Seg TV tuner (Japanese mobile QVGA 220-320 kbit/s terrestrial TV broadcast standard)
- WiFi
- IRDA
- Aquos Blu-Ray transport allowing you to rip Blu-Ray movies directly
- Bluetooth
- FM Transmitter
- 4GB of internal memory(3GB available for data usage)
- MicroSD slot
- 3G connection using AU CDMA (Japanese CDMA 3G carrier)
- Weight 227g
- Size 83×149x17.9mm

A developer version called JN-DK01 will be available in Japan starting in May.

Source: en.akihabaranews.com

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OLPC to use Pixel Qi 3Qi screens

Posted by Charbax – March 30, 2010
Image representing PixelQi as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

A cross-licencing deal between the One Laptop Per Child non-profit and Pixel Qi has been announced in this press release:

As a result of the agreement, OLPC receives full license to all Pixel Qi “3qi” screen technology, including 70+ patents in process and all current and future IP developed by Pixel Qi for multi-mode screens. Pixel Qi is leading the design of new screens for OLPC’s next-generation XO laptops.

“A huge barrier to getting computers to mass use in the developing world is limited access to electricity. Pixel Qi is designing new screens for OLPC that will keep laptops going even longer between recharges and excel in long-form reading while providing color and video,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child.

Mary Lou Jepsen, founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, added, “OLPC’s focus on the need for low-cost, low-power devices led me to invent power-efficient LCD screens that are optimized for reading. Commercial tablets, notebook computers and smart phones have precisely the same needs. This is one of the few examples in which cutting-edge computer technology first deployed for developing nations benefits the developed world as well.”

A few questions I would have about this awesome partnership:

1. Will a version of XO 1.5 come with the 10" 3Qi screen in the same form factor design?

2. If 3Qi only comes to OLPC starting with the ARM Powered XO 1.75, will it come in the 10" size or will they cut a smaller 7.5" version of it? My guess is to keep the costs low, they will pick the mass produced 10" size there, and fit it inside of the same design just removing most of the screen bezel.

3. I can't wait to learn what power consumption the XO 1.75 and XO 3.0 can run at using the Pixel Qi screen. Does it now run 50 hours on a battery? How much better are ARM Powered laptops like the XO 1.75 and ARM Powered tablets like the XO 3.0 at implementing the DCON processor process where the main processor can turn itself off completely when not in use?

4. Can anyone confirm that we will soon see Pixel Qi in the Marvell Moby Tablet project? Thus sooner see some implementation of tablets for education leading to the full release of the XO 3.0 tablet.

Look perhaps for some answers at Mary-Lou Jepsen's blog. Watch again some of my many Pixel Qi videos:
I'm testing it outdoors at CES
Interviewing Mary-Lou Jepsen about Pixel Qi's status at CES
Demonstrating the Notion Ink Android tablet that uses Pixel Qi
Comparing Pixel Qi with Toshiba's transflective screen and the Kindle's e-ink
Filming in Mary-Lou Jepsen's home lab
Interviewing Mary-Lou Jepsen at Computex 2009
Introducing the Pixel Qi screen at Computex 2009

This press release was found via: slashgear.com

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