Category: Nvidia

Windows 8 on ARM shown at Computex, Microsoft becomes cool

Posted by – June 8, 2011

Short of calling it Azure OS (yet..), Microsoft is going all-in making HTML5 web-apps the core of the next generation Windows 8 apps ecosystem. It means Microsoft is betting their farm on the cloud. Microsoft is going all-in for “immersive internet computing” touch screen tablet UI support. Microsoft is making sure ARM Powered Windows 8 works exactly like on x86.

Watch this following awesome demonstration and talk of Windows 8 on ARM at Computex. I embed it starting at time-code 17m49s when Mike Anguilo starts talking about ARM Windows 8 status, but also do make sure to rewind to the start to watch the full Windows 8 UI demos. Mike Anguilo runs Windows planning and is also responsible for Microsoft’s technical engagement with the Windows 8 ecosystem.

The Microsoft people like Mike Anguilo seem to have a serious plan, they probably still have some of the worlds best engineers on staff and they can afford to basically do whatever they want. It will be awesome to see how Microsoft will try to sustain a same or greater level of revenues and profits in such a rapidly auto-disrupting industry. While it can be argued Microsoft is late to the whole Smartphone and Tablet game, on the other hand the number of Smartphones sold in the last 5 years is probably 15x smaller compared to the number of Smartphones likely to be sold within the next 5 years. And the number of Tablets sold in the last 3 years likely is probably 150x smaller compared to the number of Tablets likely to be sold in the next 3 years. It sure looks to me like Windows 8 is going in the right direction for Microsoft. Since Windows 7, Microsoft has given up its always escalating hardware requirements Wintel strategy to instead focus on cutting off more and more of the bloatware. With Windows 8 they now even move over to an even more cloud centric Browser based HTML5 application ecosystem, sounds to me like an answer to Chrome OS in the form of an Azure OS with backwards “.exe compatibility”. The question is, how can Microsoft differentiate its UI enough to justify the proprietary pricing differences? Or if they plan to be priced comparatively even with the cheapest Android and Chrome OS Open Source alternatives, how can they provide enough of a differentiating user experience to hold unto those billion Windows PC users that they got with the previous Wintel PC ecosystem?

While I don’t know if it would make complete business sense and a corporations main focus legally has to be to take care of its shareholders, here are a few more directions I think Windows 8 might need to get into if they seriously want to be the dominant ARM Powered ecosystem:

– Windows 8 needs to be open source and free. They can do it like Google, and develop their next gens in secret hardware/chipset partnerships, but to get onto the next couple billion ARM Powered Smartphones, Tablets, Set-top-boxes, Laptops, they need it to be open and free. Nothing closed and pricey can ultimately win over open and free in the ARM world.

– Microsoft needs to focus on providing software as a service. The new Windows 8 App Store needs to have all the HTML5 apps, all the Android apps (yup.. why not?), and also, all the .exe apps (all Windows 98/XP/Vista/7 apps should just work), if not through native code execution then through cloud based software virtualization.

– Microsoft needs to focus on eliminating all the bloat, minimize the hardware requirements, make all ARM chipsets compatible and invite all manufacturers to use it for free. A $100 ARM Powered Laptop sold a year from now in every super market needs to be able to run a full Windows 8 OS, boot in 3 seconds, resume in 0.03 seconds and last 30 hours on a battery.

Do I think Microsoft can become so disruptive to its old business models so fast? I don’t know how such a corporation may or may not quickly adjust or/and change its leadership. I don’t know if Steve Ballmer needs to be replaced by a new CEO like Mike Anguilo or someone as cool as Google’s Vic Gundotra (who previously worked at Microsoft) for these major business model shifts to actually occur as soon as with Windows 8/Azure OS. If done correctly, Microsoft could maybe even make more money per new Windows user than they did on selling basic proprietary software licences. How hard could it be for Microsoft to provide good enough cloud services and web app and web content integration over a potentialy popular Windows 8 devices for them to make up more than those $40-$80 or so per Windows user over 2-5 years of use in average pure profits per user? Or will Microsoft insist on staying proprietary, closed, try to enforce some kind of closed profit margin value chain where they’d try to reserve some kind of significant profit margins some what imitating Apple’s large profit margins business model on selling ARM Powered devices? What do you think? Post your opinions on Windows 8 in the comments.

Here are a few awesome ARM Powered Windows 8 quotes that you can find in the 32-minute Microsoft Windows 8 Computex demo video:

The most important app of all on these systems is the browser. Over 60% of people’s time on any of those systems is focused in the browser.

We’ve extended the trend that we started with Windows 7, on keeping our system requirements on either flat or reducing them over time.

The newest addition to the Windows ecosystem is of course ARM.

This has been made possible in part because of the innovation that has been going on in the ARM ecosystem today. ARM SoC’s in general, virtually all of the new ones support Windows 8 system requirements. They all run over 1Ghz. They all have hardware accelerated graphics.

They are all getting more powerful. They are all getting more efficient. The cost is coming down and they are enabling thinner and lighter form factors than ever. In fact, all of these ARM Powered PCs that I am showing you here are not only able to experience to full Windows 8 experience you just saw, they are also able to support a new mode called Always On Always Connected. So the way you would it expect it from a Smartphone today, these systems will be able to instantly wake, they’ll be able to go in standby for a really long time with low power drain, get great battery life but stil stay syncing and connected all at the same time.

Malata shows first 7″ Tegra2 tablet

Posted by – June 3, 2011

This will run Honeycomb when it’s released after around September. Malata manufactures their tablets for several brands, including ViewSonic and others.

7″ Honeycomb Viewsonic 7x shown at Computex 2011

Posted by – June 2, 2011

ViewSonic is showing their new Tegra2 based 7″ capacitive Android Honeycomb tablet, with a layer of their own vertical-only custom UI on top. The price is going to be $449 for the WiFi version and $529 for the 3G version when it gets released.

Hands-on with Nvidia Kal-El Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.2Ghz (or more) prototype tablet at Computex 2011

Posted by – June 1, 2011

This is Nvidia’s next generation Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 implementation that will be clocked at the minimum at 1.2Ghz but could be clocked higher by the time they start shipping these, with 12x faster graphics compared to Tegra2, huge video decode power at something that might look like Quad-HD video decoding. In this video I try to launch some of the early demonstration apps, animations and games that Nvidia uses to showcase their Kal-El performance in that prototype tablet.

Asus Slider, to be released in June

Posted by – May 31, 2011

Here’s a look at the Honeycomb powered Asus Slider to be released in June. Asus says their Eee Pad Transformer is popular, is this one going to be as popular? Are they going to price this one as much as the Transformer plus the keyboard add-on?

Trim-Slice, compact Tegra2 Desktop, now released for $199

Posted by – May 1, 2011

Here’s a powerful super compact Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core 1Ghz based Desktop box, for now seems to run something like Ubuntu 11.4 (ARM netbook edition?), but the software support is a process that is a work-in-progress. Their pricing starts at $199 for the basic model, I will try to get a review unit, what do you think about this type of compact ARM Powered desktop?

Haifa, Israel – 30-Apr-2011 – CompuLab is announcing immediate availability of the NVIDIA Tegra 2 based Trim-Slice miniature computer.

Trim-Slice is offered in 3 configurations –

Trim-Slice Barebone – with 1 GHz Tegra 2, 1 GB RAM, HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 USB ports, 2 SD slots and RS232 serial port. Trim-Slice Barebone MSRP is $199.

Trim-Slice Value – adds a 4 GB micro-SD card with Linux pre-installed and a USB 802.11n WiFi adapter. Trim-Slice Value MSRP is $219.

Trim-Slice Pro – with 1 GHz Tegra 2, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD with Linux pre-installed, HDMI and DVI ports, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in 802.11n WiFi, 4 USB ports, 2 SD slots, RS232 serial port and a USB Bluetooth adapter. Trim-Slice Pro MSRP is $319.

OEMs and system-integrators can order Trim-Slice in volume with customization of feature set, branding and case finish.

Trim-Slice currently runs Linux and is supported in the mainline kernel revision 2.6.39. Support for other operating-systems is work-in-progress. “We design Trim-Slice with SW developers in mind” said Irad Stavi, Director of Business Development at CompuLab. “Developers that are looking for an open cost-effective high-performance ARM platform are likely to find Trim-Slice an attractive and unique solution that is very convenient for SW development.”

Source: http://trimslice.com/web/pr-11043

Malata PC-B1002, Malata PC-B1301, Tegra2 Laptops

Posted by – April 16, 2011

Malata announces new ARM Powered Laptops at HKTDC Hong Kong Electronics Fair. They are not ready to show working prototypes of them yet. There is a 10″ similar to Toshiba AC-100, but also a 13.3″ ARM Powered Laptop! In my opinion, it’s important software for ARM Powered Laptops gets ready also for these products to be commercially viable. Honeycomb might do the trick, with slight Laptop-oriented optimizations and its awesome new large screen optimized multi-tab web browser, but Chrome OS for ARM may be even better for this type of product.

Toradex shows Tegra2 computer on SO-DIMM form factor

Posted by – March 4, 2011

This may be the most compact Tegra2 fully featured box PC computer thus far. They use 256MB RAM DDR2, 1GB flash storage for 99 euros, they’ll also do a slightly higher end version with 512MB RAM and 4GB flash storage version soon. The cheapest board and box could be made for less than 50 euros more. Thus the idea is a sub-150 euro Tegra2 box PC all included and it being slightly larger than a box of playing cards, just big enough to accomodate the connectors.

Seco x86-ARM Cross Platform

Posted by – March 4, 2011

Seco provides cross platform Q7 platforms where users can swap from x86 to ARM Powered seamlessly, with minimum hardware and software porting. They provide Quadmo747-X/T20 for Tegra2, OMAP4, OMAP3, i.MX51 and i.MX28. This way, customers can have as much choice as possible, going from one processor to the other. All board vendors are joining the Q7 board standard, for interoperability in swapping modules.

Nvidia Tegra2 enables Cortex-A9 for the Embedded World

Posted by – March 4, 2011

Nvidia is working in the embedded space for some time, they are supporting long term support, industrialization, temperatures and everything else needed in the embedded market. Nvidia provides the chip and some level of software support to enable them and they are supporting the customizations of the implementations. Nvidia showcases their work with MSC, Seco, Toradex and Trim Slice.