I filmed and posted 75 videos from this years Mobile World Congress, I hope you enjoy watching some of those! Here are the highlights, the best topics of this show, making this possibly the most awesome trade show ever for ARM devices!
1. The Cheap Android Smartphone revolution
- Yuhua Teltech sub-$200 4.3" Touchstone
- ZTE Sub-$200 4.3" Skate, ZTE showed all the way down to $99 for 3.5" ZTE Blade
- Huawei showed Sub-$150 Android
- Samsung showed sub-$200 phones such as the Sub-$200 3.5" HVGA Galaxy Ace, Sub-$175 3.31" QVGA Galaxy Fit and Sub-$150 3.14" QVGA Galaxy Mini.
- MediaTek powers Sub-$80 Android Smartphones, that price is boxed in store! (excluding reseller margins): For example the Sub-$80 3.2" QVGA 2G AnyData ASP320-Q
- ST-Ericsson showed their ARM Cortex-A9 Single Core U4500 platform to power Sub-$100 Smartphones within a year from now! The goal is Nexus One performance, longer battery runtime for Sub-$100 within a year from now!
- ST-Ericsson showed their current Sub-$100 U6715 ARM9 468Mhz range of phones, such as K-Touch W606, Acer beTouch E130, Coolpad W711 and the GHT Maestro, these are selling downwards $100 unsubsidized right now on the worldwide market.
- Alcatel One Touch
These are some of the cheap unsubsidized prices (boxed in store, no contracts needed, excluding reseller margins) for the cheapest Android Smartphone ARM SoC platforms that were shown last week at this Mobile World Congress:
- MediaTek at less than $100
- Infomax Communication at $80-90
- Leadcore Technology at $80-105
- Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics at $90-105 (I filmed Rockchip at CES)
- Qualcomm MSM7227 ARM11 ships in the largest amount of cheap 3G Android phones that are about to sell for as low as $100-120
- Broadcom is planning such solutions also to be priced at $100-120
The Cheap Android Smartphone revolution is a HUGE deal, it means a Billion more people might afford to get Internet access and mobile personal Internet features in the next couple of years or so. And this means a potential HUGE disruption of the carrier/manufacturer Smartphone industry, as more and more European and US consumers are going to choose Sub-$100 Android phones without the need for 2-year contracts anymore, those phones can be used on pre-paid and even using unlimited free VOIP over 3G or LTE data-only services pretty soon.
2. Honeycomb, the first real Tablet OS
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
- Motorola Xoom (Xoom at CES)
- LG Optimus Pad
- Malata's upgraded Tegra2 tablets (designs used by ViewSonic, Interpad, Hannspree etc..)
- My Interview with Honeycomb Chief Designer Matias Duarte: He confirms Honeycomb has no minimum hardware requirements, this means, ALL ANDROID TABLETS, even ARM Cortex-A8, even all existing Archos, Samsung, Dell tablets, even 256MB RAM, even the cheaper Rockchip 2808 and 2818, even Telechips, all may be getting Honeycomb firmware upgrades. It's certainly an important detail to find out how much Google engineers are planning to be involved reaching out to each of these lower cost ARM SoC platform providers in porting the Honeycomb to all these cheaper and already released Android tablets platforms once the Tegra2 devices are out, the source code and the UPGRADED CDD (Android 3.0 Compatibility Definition Document) is instantly released. Honeycomb Holographic UI elements might be disabled on cheaper hardware that have less processor, memory and graphics acceleration. This should happen and get fully explained by Google Engineers within a few days! Honeycomb is not only for $800 tablets.
Froyo for current Android tablets is just as good as iOS on iPad. Since Donut SDK are Android apps supporting medium density screens (= tablets). Honeycomb is simply the first time a high-end ARM Powered tablet OS has really been designed and optimized for tablet use. Playbook and WebOS may look nice and similar, but they have no ecosystem (nobody can compete with open and free), I expect HP and RIM will be forced to simply use and build on Android within months.
3. New ARM Cortex-A9 processors shown for the first time
- Texas Instruments OMAP4430 in LG Optimus 3D, 3D Parallax Barrier is actually awesome for video games! Look for Nintendo 3DS turning this into a big deal in the coming weeks and months
- OMAP4430 in the Blackberry Playbook, watch my video interview with RIM about Android Dalvik Engine support on the Blackberry Playbook
- Samsung Exynos with Mali-400 in Samsung Galaxy S2, it may get all the Atrix 4G features through the Mobile High-Definition Link connector, watch my interview on that
- Qualcomm MSM8660 in HP Touch Pad, watch my video showing 1080p 3D capture and playback on MSM8660
- ST-Ericsson launches A9500 ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core with Mali-400 development board for $200
- ST-Ericsson launches U4500 ARM Cortex-A9 Single-core with Mali-400 for Sub-$100 Android Super Phones
4. First talk on Quad-core, Cortex-A15, next gen processors, arriving fast!
- Texas Instruments OMAP Product Manager Brian Carlson talks OMAP5
- Qualcomm announced Quad-core 2.5Ghz,
- Freescale talks i.MX6 Dual-core and Quad-core
- Nvidia talks Quad-core, in products in August
- ST-Ericsson talks ARM Cortex-A15 and NovaThor
- Broadcom announced ARM Cortex-A15 project
5. HSPA+ and LTE platforms launched
- ST-Ericsson launched Thor HSPA+ and Thor LTE platforms
- Verizon showcased LTE, many of the new phones about to support this.
- Novatel Wireless launched LTE Mifi
I got this confirmed from a source at Google (to remain anonymous) that Honeycomb will likely work just fine on all the cheaper tablets, such as the ARM Cortex-A8 ones like Archos and even the super cheap ones with Rockchip ARM9 or Telechips ARM11 processors. We're all set for disruptive Android Tablet future with no need to be member of a "high-end special club" to get Honeycomb and especially to be allowed the Google Marketplace and all Google Apps. Google are to update the compatibility guidelines for devices to be Google Marketplace compatible and they "simply" add more filters to prevent consumer confusion.
I'll try to get this confirmed and explained on video by some Google representatives during the Mobile World Congress.
Hacking away with Android pt 7 – February 2011 overview on what you can- and can not do with Android (devices)
"Hacking away with Android" on Beyond The Keyboard takes a look at Android tablets, what they can do, what they are not yet capable of and what they should do in their opinion.
It has several nice and colorful graphics to compare and show the positioning, differences, gaps, possibilities and shortcomings of tablets in general and tablets compared with each other.
One of the "problems" with Android identified is the lack of hardware drivers for printers and scanners and the lack of support for multiple external drives.
Tablets brands compared are: Archos, Dell, Samsung and Creative. The iPad 1 is - due to its impact on the tablet market - added as a reference.
Alcatel One Touch and Archos partner up for low cost Android Tablet and Smartphone combined data plans
Alcatel One Touch is one of the makers of cheap Android Smartphones such as the Alcatel OT-980 which is sold for only £99 on pre-paid plans in the UK. Alcatel One Touch is a brand of TCL Corporation, a $16.7 Billion valued Chinese consumer electronics company.
Alcatel One Touch's partnership with Archos would enable an easy sharing of data from a low cost Android Smartphone using a ‘’One Touch Connect’’ button to share the 3G data automatically with the Archos tablet over a mobile WiFi hotspot. This may be a one-click process, and the carrier may be able to limit access of that WiFi hotspot only to the Archos tablet through Mac address filtering and not as a totally open or encrypted WiFi hotspot for use with other devices.
The idea is that one affordable subscription plan include the voice and data through the low cost Android smartphone as well as the low cost yet high-end Android tablet. This way, consumers don't need to subscribe to more than one package. I think it can be expected that Alcatel One Touch will present a new range of cheap Android Smartphones at Mobile World Congress next week with this One Touch Connect mobile hotspot functionality built-in.
Here is expectation/guess/suggestion for a pricing model which I think would make this kind of offer a sure hit:
Pre-paid only, no contract: $299 for the basic 3.5" capacitive Alcatel-OT Smartphone and the latest Archos 7" capacitive tablet, both are on pre-paid and no contracts are needed, pricing for pre-paid should be below $30 per month for something like 300 minutes or unlimited use of voice and 3GB to 5GB of data per month to be used on the Tablet and the Smartphone. The 3GB monthly data hotspot may be open for other devices as well if the carrier wants to allow it. For example $10 to $20 extra per month it could open up the mobile hotspot to any other device and increase monthly limit to something like 10GB per month.
Phone alone on pre-paid no contract should be $149. Tablet alone no contract needed would be $249.
6-month contract, then pre-pay: $249 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more. $50 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.
12-month contract, then pre-pay: $199 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more. $100 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.
18-month contract, then pre-pay: $149 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more, $150 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.
24-month contract, then pre-pay: $99 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more. $200 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.
What do you think of the idea to use a cheap Smartphone mostly for voice and basic apps and tether it with a larger screen Tablet, use all on one same low cost voice+data plan, and even have this work for pre-paid plans?
According to French market analyst GfK, Archos is now the second biggest tablet maker on the French market, far in front of Samsung (4%), Toshiba (3%), Huawei, Viewsonic and others. Sure enough Apple has the biggest market share with 67%, but I think that's mostly due to Apple having more cash for manufacturing and distribution. If Archos had been able to spend more money producing more units and having better stock availability at all resellers and never run out of stock during these past 3 months, then I think Archos would probably be number 1 in market share, even in front of Apple.
As I run the biggest Archos fansite community at http://forum.archosfans.com and I have been publishing the earliest and most popular video reviews of Archos products for over 6 years, publishing the earliest and most popular videos of Archos full Tablet line such as the 70 Internet Tablet, 7 Home Tablet, 101 Internet Tablet, 32 Internet Tablet, 43 Internet Tablet, I may be biased. But I am sure that if all stores had enough Archos in stock to satisfy the demand for tablets over these past 3 months, Archos would sell even more than Apple.
What matters to the consumer is the value proposition. What features they can get for what price. Archos newest Gen8 Android tablets are about half the price of the iPad and provide more features.
The smartphone OS wars are not about functionality or design, they are about the business model. Consumers or tech blog reviewers don't get to chose which smartphone OS wins and looses.
Today, the carriers decide
The main reason Android dominates today is that carriers pay about $200 less per customer on an Android phone compared to an iPhone (about $400 vs $600). The other aspect of Android that carriers like is the customization of it to make more money on extra services. For example, Google provides the carrier with a share from app sales in the Google Marketplace. Carriers can pre-load the devices with apps for on-demand music and videos and other services. Apple does not give carriers any share of revenues from the App Store or iTunes.
The actual bill of materials and manufacturing cost of today's high end Android smartphone or iPhone is less than $150. Amazingly, the average US smartphone consumer pays above $2400 for his smartphone on contracts, for example, Verizon's Average Revenue Per User is $105/month. ARPU is lower in Europe, and much lower in developing countries. The carrier economic aspect of Android winning is only how things are today. Even as there is competition with very good high end Android smart phones provided to the market by Samsung, Motorola and HTC, consumers still pay about the same for these phones as they would with an iPhone.
When the carriers loose control
Things are going to change fast. Soon, the carriers will loose control of the smartphone market, and Android will dominate even more.
As 20 Android smart phone makers compete, there are to be $99 Android phones sold unlocked directly to consumers, such as the Chinese Huawei or ZTE Android phones, there will be alternatives to carriers voice services such as the new VOIP centric version of Google Voice which has become an integral part of Android in Gingerbread.
The next phase of Android means consumers will have choices such as the Archos 28 Internet Tablet at $99, no contracts needed, to do SIP/VOIP/Skype calls on WiFi-only, and depending on the region of the world, there are sub-$20/month even sub-$10/month data SIM cards that will be used to get Data-only experiences of Android. White Spaces could also provide for worldwide free wireless broadband for these devices if setup using the http://fon.com model.
While bloggers analyze smartphone differentiation, fueling a feature war on blogs among constantly improving Android super phone specs, in which new models are represented as destroyers of the ones released the previous week, the fact is brands that sell most don't do it on features, they do it by negotiating the strongest deals with the carriers. If you look at the US smartphone market, it really doesn't matter which high end Android phone consumers buy, they all cost basically the same $2400+ after those compulsory 2-years in contracts. The consumer only really gets a choice once devices are sold unlocked through all retailers. Then, prices for these devices will have a meaning and the best value for feature will clearly win. So if you thought it was fun with all these Android phones coming out through carriers this past year, you haven't seen nothing yet compared to what will happen once phones are sold unlocked directly to consumers.
The next billion sub-$100 Android smartphones
Android smartphones can thus soon be $100 unlocked instead of $2400+ on contract. We are talking about a 24x cheaper Android experiences for the consumer. At that point, the consumer gets to choose who wins the smartphone war. This is happenning. It doesn't matter what Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia and others do. When there are $100 Android phones in every super market, competitors don't get to keep a market share if they don't also provide the devices unlocked for $100 with no contracts needed. You think Apple is looking forward to loosing their 300% profit margins on the iPhone?
What carriers will do to try to keep control
The only ways carriers will try to retain control on their trillion dollar industry will be to block VOIP on cheap wireless data plans, buy out and close down any pre-paid carrier competitors that are offering services that are too cheap on any given market, campaign against unlicensed use of the 700Mhz spectrum for White Spaces, block the licensing of 3G/4G modem technologies in cheap unlocked devices, do anything they can to limit competition in the wireless carrier business. Hopefully all these attempts at keeping control will be defeated by strict regulation and government policies.
The smartphone industry is moving too fast for any Government to regulate it, much too fast even for carriers to adjust and protect themselves against the auto-disruption that is inevitable. Everyone is racing and trying to keep the flow of money going their way for as long as possible.
[I originally wrote this on 16th December 2010 to be published on another blog, but since it wouldn't get published there as is, I decided to post it here, your turn to say what you think in the comments.]
Larry Page is the new CEO, here's what I think Google should do.
1. Make White Spaces happen. Things are moving far too slowly. I want to see White Spaces deployed to provide free wireless broadband to the whole world as an alternative to the proprietary 3G/4G/LTE networks. It should be deployed using the FON.com model, Google can invest meager $50 million or whatever is necessary to mass produce the first 1 million routers to activate White Spaces sharing all over the world. The idea should be this, users get these routers that may initially cost $50 to manufacture because the White Spaces chipset is new, but could eventually cost below $20 per router. They install it in their homes, connected to whatever ADSL, Cable, Fiber that people already have in the home. This router creates a White Spaces hotspot that reaches much further than within their home, to cover their whole neighborhood with bandwidth. The router is clever in that it can dynamically throttle bandwidth, if you are at home and you need to use your own bandwidth your bandwidth is 100% prioritized for you to use, thus it does not feel at all like you are sharing your bandwidth, that bandwidth sharing is only of the bandwidth which you don't need yourself. The whole global network uses OpenID and such with increased level of verification of every users real ID, to authenticate each user on that network, so this is not used as an untraceable anonymous global Internet access, but where any illegal activity could be traced back by local authorities if needed (obviously, proxies and encryption can always be used if someone really wants to be anonymous).
Listen to Larry Page talk about White Spaces, this is more than 2 years ago. What has happened since?
2. Open Google Marketplace to all devices. If there is one point where I think Google might be evil, it's in their policies to hamper innovation with Android. It's been about a year and a half that Archos has put Android tablets on the market, still they are not allowed by Google to install the full Google Marketplace on the device. Google needs to stop now. Open several versions of the Google Marketplace if they want, for different types of devices. Or basically just add a settings menu in Google Marketplace that allows apps to be filtered and highlighted differently in terms of how they have been tested (mostly by users themselves) to work better or worse on every different type of device. Allow in those settings for the user or device to present itself automatically for example "without 3G", "without compass", "without back camera", "without android buttons", "at this specific screen resolution", then filter apps from there, but never block access to all apps on all devices, if some apps don't work correctly on certain class of devices, so be it. I believe 99% of the 200'000 apps in the Google Marketplace work 100% just fine on about 100% of the cheapest Android tablets on the market.
I understand that Honeycomb should be opening up Marketplace for more devices. For tablets it's kind of a certain. But still, will Google allow even the cheapest ARM9 Tablets full access to Honeycomb OS and Marketplace? Honeycomb for Laptops is a possibility. Honeycomb for e-ink e-readers, maybe.
In any case, it's kind of sad that it took Google more than 2 years to open up Google Marketplace for more devices. This has let Apple all alone in the market of iPad and iPod Touch.
3. Campaign for Net Neutrality on wireless networks for VOIP access. There has been a lot of rage on the blogosphere about Google's partnership with Verizon in the USA leading up to a Net Neutrality proposal that exempted wireless networks.
It is understandable that bandwidth on wireless networks such as 3G, 4G and LTE have to be managed because it only takes a few users to download some BitTorrents at full speed on one base station for a whole area of up to 1km in diameter where users might experience dropped calls and the like. As far as I understand, even for LTE, bandwidth is limited, although it could be argued that carriers should then just build more base stations closer to users, if they do spend significant money to expand their networks or not, it's understandable that wireless networks need to be throttled somehow.
But, that should absolutely not allow carriers to block voice-over-IP usage. That is pure evil. Wireless bandwidth shall be used HOWEVER the user wants to use it. If carriers don't like the idea of becoming dumb pipes of data, that is their problem. They should have considered that possibility when they decided to become carriers.
Carriers have made enough trillions of dollars of profit already, not for them to justify that they should be allowed to continue to gouge the consumer of thousands of dollars per year in completely data bandwidth prices. When you consider the price of 1MB of SMS messages sent costs about $10'000 to the consumer. We are in the year 2011, 1MB of wireless data SHALL NOT cost $10'000 to the consumer.
4. Destroy Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Foursquare and other over-hyped social networks and location based services. This is a call from a user who gets tired of these boring, unoptimized, wastefull, meaningless excuses for social networking and location based services. What a waste of time! Google has to fix this now!
Twitter only benefits famous people. That's why they keep talking about it. For 99% of users, twitter is absolutely useless, for anything else than to follow whichever famous person you like following, in lists of garbled, meaningless, unoptimized, spammy, messy 140-character messages. Make it stop, please.
Facebook is the newer type of Myspace that is a trend in high schools globally. It's for not much more than grouping school kids together and have them waste time on farmville, a tool for massive stalking of a bunch of people you never spoke to for 10 years or more. Make it stop, please.
Social networking will be extremely useful eventually. Location based services will revolutionize everything that we do. Just not in those forms. Google needs to make a social network with location services in a way that absolutely makes sense. Make it so people get to do constructive things in the world, people move more, do more things, people get to be more productive, meet more people. End the global era of wasted opportunities, wasted efforts, mutual disdain, rejection and loneliness that can be felt by everyone.
Social networking that makes sense changes organizations, it changes companies, it changes communities, it changes countries. It auto-regulates humans use of global resources and actually makes democracy work.
Yeah those may be high hopes for Google's social network, but who else than a company of the worlds top 24 thousand Phd software engineers can we rely upon to make this work?
5. Merge Android, Chrome OS and Google TV into one ARM Powered software platform. Google needs to focus on bringing the full Chrome browser on top of Android, provide it with full Google TV features, make it all boot on one ultra optimized ARM Powered software OS image. Read my previous post "Recipe for the ultimate ARM Powered device" for more on how this all-in-one software should work.
6. Bring Internet access to the next billion people faster. It's all good how Android is taking over the smartphone market. It eventually does bring cheaper Android devices mostly made by Chinese vendors themselves. Still it is not going fast enough. Google should make it a priority that a $50 Unlocked Android Phones shall become available globally. Google should invest billions of dollars in One Laptop Per Child, have it run open source software that is supported by millions of people. Reaching the $75 Tablet should be a priority. Invest billions of dollars in Pixel Qi to mass produce their screens as fast as possible, make sure all devices can last 10 times longer on a battery as soon as possible.
The thing is western countries have a lot of electrical power so they don't care enough about not having to recharge a 2300mAh battery every night. Consumers in wester countries don't care enough about the price of the smartphone as most are still buying smartphones subsidized by a carrier who charges upwards $3000 in 2-year contracts that for example most Americans feel are natural thing to sign up for when getting a smartphone.
Getting mobile computing to the next billion people within 2-3 years should be a priority for Google, and if that risks to disrupt the actual business models of the carriers in developed countries by the availability of $50 unlocked Super Phones, $75 Tablet/E-readers and $100 Laptops in every super market, so be it.
7. Monetize independent web video production and make VOD the worldwide standard through YouTube and Google TV. YouTube has already become the worlds largest bandwidth infrastructure, streaming out more than 2 billion video streams per day, hosting and encoding all the worlds video, it's impressive. Yet, Google now has the opportunity to reach much further and completely monetize YouTube. The YouTube Partnership system is a drop in the bucket compared to what they should do. I'm not allowed to become a YouTube Partner even though I have over 12 million video views (including what I put on other channels and what I had put on Google Video), the reason being Google only allowes residents of G20 countries access to even apply to become a YouTube Partner.
Of those that are conservatively monetizing YouTube video views with overlay advertising, they could do so much more. Why not provide a one-click donation button under every video, on every channel page to allow viewers to sponsor the future productions of their favorite content creators? Why not embed price comparison links with commission payments on one-click sales under every video that talks about a product that can be bought by interested viewers? Why doesn't Google provide a global subscription plan à la Hulu, but where it gives access to much more than just established Hollywood/TV contents, but where it also monetizes ads-free or higher definition viewing of all independent content? Why doesn't YouTube offer pay-per-view solutions worldwide, for example, let viewers choose to pay very small amount of money to get a direct link to download any of the videos as an uncompressed video file or on-demand encoded to chosen codec and bitrate/resolutions?
YouTube needs to become much more than the worlds biggest bandwidth infrastructure project. YouTube has to become Google's biggest source of revenues and profits. It needs to become a tool that changes media and ultimately that improves democracy.
What do you think Google should do now that they have a new CEO? Post in the comments.
As you have seen here on ARMdevices.net during these past 2 weeks, I filmed and posted 106 videos of the 106 coolest products I could find at CES 2011 (6 are still to be posted in the next few days), this is my record for the number of videos filmed at a trade show since I started video-blogging at consumer electronics trade shows since CeBIT 2004.
Here is the top-20 best products that I filmed at CES 2011
1. Motorola Atrix 4G, this is the direction for this industry, convergence in the area of Mobile Computing.
2. Exclusive Honeycomb UI hands-on (not just video of the UI), I actually clicked through the reference Honeycomb OS UI for about a minute in that video while the Motorola representative was looking the other way. Anyone else posted a similar actual Honeycomb UI video and not just pre-recorded video?
3. ARM Powered OLPC XO-1.75 laptop, One Laptop Per Child already invented the Netbook market, now they are pushing the Netbook/Laptop industry into becoming ARM Powered to lower power consumption, lower complexity and lower cost. They are nicely using the high-end Marvell Armada 610 processor for full laptop performance.
4. Archos 101 Home Tablet, Rockchip is pretty amazing, they came from nowhere a year ago (as far as I knew), and now they are powering over 50 Android tablets at CES. This Archos 101 Home Tablet could be sold for as low as $199-$249 at retail when it comes out in a couple months (depends if you listen to what Rockchip or Archos says), it's 10.1" capacitive touch screen, HDMI output and very compact and light form factor, it comes with Rockchip's new RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz processor which they claim is more powerful than Hummingbird/Apple A4, does 1080p playback, and most importantly, they say, allows for more affordable ARM Powered devices. And Rockchip is expanding into Laptops and Set-top-boxes as well, where they likely will provide their knowledge and experience providing an all-in-one turn-key-solution for cheap Chrome OS on ARM and Google TV on ARM solutions, to be provided by all the cheap Chinese manufacturer, possibly starting at CeBIT in March, or by China Sourcing fair in April, or Computex in June and beyond.
5. Pixel Qi shows 7" and announces 9.7" and 10.1" 1280x800, these announcements hopefully give us a clue as to we soon may see mass produced devices like Kindle 4 or iPad 2 use this screen technology, and not only the nice Notion Ink tablet which may be reaching some few consumers now but not in large enough scales to fund mass manufacturing and real mass adoption of this new type of screen.
6. LG Optimus black, amazingly light 109gr OMAP3630 Android Super Phone (same power as Droid X) and also uses LG's new NOVA super bright 700nit display.
7. Sony-Ericsson Xperia Arc, they dominated the Japanese 2010 smartphone sales, now Sony-Ericsson wants to dominate worldwide smartphone sales. The Xperia Arc is also extremely light at 117gr and uses Sony's big push into mobile displays, their new Bravia LCD display. I wish they would allow for easy one-click Home replacement to become fully 100% Vanilla UI like on a Nexus S.
8. Windows on ARM, there were no booth demos yet, but the excitement at Steve Ballmer's keynote was insane, this is the end of an era called Wintel.
9. Acer Iconia Tab A500 Tegra2 Tablet, seems to me Acer is showing one of the best looking new major Nvidia Tegra2 based Android Honeycomb tablets.
10. Innodigital shows ARM Cortex-A8 (Samsung) and ARM Cortex-A9 (Amlogic) Android based Set-top-boxes, the ARM Cortex-A8 is already on the market at $168 and the A9 one will come within a couple months for around $268. Those could run Google TV for ARM when that becomes available. Those are the best performing ARM Powered Android set-top-boxes I have seen yet.
11. Joyplus, Pierre Cardin showed Samsung ARM Cortex-A8 7" Capacitive low cost tablets. Those pretty much can perform like a Samsung Galaxy Tab, basically run the same Samsung Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8 processor with 1080p video playback (I don't know what bitrate/codec complexity limitations it has), but instead of costing over $600, these are to be sold in bulk at $150 and possibly retail a bit over $200, depending on screen quality.
12. Shenzhen ACT 4.8″ capacitive Marvel PXA935 clamshell Android, really nice 4.8" capacitive Android Tablet using a Marvell processor and dual-sim card slots in a clamshell form factor with keyboard.
13. NEC LT-W Android Dual-Screen Tablet, it's actually pretty cool to see such dual-screen Android tablet concept. Although text input is too slow, it probably still needs a real external keyboard solution for full speed text entry.
14. NEC Tegra2 Powered 7″ Laptop, there's a 7" capacitive Tegra2 with full keyboard Tablet/Laptop combination prototype. I'd like to see such form factor in a jacket pocketable size.
15. Ramos ARM Cortex-A9 Tablets, Ramos is famous in making cheap PMPs and are now launching Amlogic based ARM Cortex-A9 Android tablets. I also filmed Nufront's ARM Cortex-A9 10" and 14" Laptops and Tablets.
16. Polaroid, Yifang, Pierre Cardin, Match Tech, Yootechpros all presented 9.7" Android Tablets, now Apple's exclusivity on the screen is finished. Now all Android tablet manufacturers may use the exact same LG IPS capacitive touch screen as used in the iPad.
17. Freescale i.MX508, next generation platform for e-ink e-readers, shows 8fps fast e-ink refresh rates, Android user interfaces for e-ink e-readers. This processor platform will probably be in a large part of the future e-ink e-readers.
18. RIM Blackberry Playbook, most awesome thing about this demo is to experience the power of Texas Instruments OMAP4430 ARM Cortex-A9 processor, see how nicely QNX's embedded Linux OS does multi-tasking. This specific tablet seems to be pretty great, uses a new bezel touch sensitive user experience, but that also increases the size of the bezel.
19. Seco srl's Pico Projector in a Lamp concept, watch this one, it's really fun. This concept could turn out to be in many lamps, adding pico projectors onto every wall, displaying informations and changing moods in your room. Texas Instrument's new nHD Pico Projector is so small, so low cost, uses so little power, we may see it in many if not in all ARM Powered devices soon, in all mobile phones, all tablets, all cameras such as the GE PJ1. I especially am looking forward to the user interface of turning any pocketable device into a large screen computer projecting the desktop onto any table and having multi-touch sensors built-in.
20. Nvidia's announcement of Project Denver, they are making a super high performance ARM Processor not only for super phones, super laptops but also for super computers. This may be Nvidia's custom ARM Processor design or ARM Cortex-A15 based design. Get more infos from my interview with Mike Rayfield on this subject.
Find more of my top CES videos in my Top-24 videos filmed at CES of products not covered by Engadget.
Android + Chrome OS + Google TV = All-in-one ultimate gadget.
The Motorola Atrix 4G gives us a taste of what's coming. You get one pocketable product, that is, up to 5" for normal pocket (passport sized), and up to 7" for jacket pocket (you'll see, almost every jacket comes with such a pocket), for this summer I think up to 5" is the more likely size but for next Christmas sales the 7" size may win, that device runs full speed Android no slow downs, and when docked to Desktop/HDTV Dock it outputs either Chrome OS for productivity or Google TV for entertainment depending on which mode the user wants to use, and also have this solution power the laptop dock.
- The ARM Powered brains, basically modular Android Tablet should not cost more than $200 at retail this year. Might add $50 for built-in 3G/4G modem. White Space support this year would be good if built in the FON.com model. If someone could miniaturize a reliable swappable and optional 3G/4G/White Space modem module that could be slided into the back of the device, including easily accessible SIM card reader in there, that could be nice. This way the same product is sold worldwide and the unlocked cellular modem would be an optional accessory that could be purchased for $50 separately.
- Desktop/HDTV Dock should be no more than $50. It's just a bunch of connectors. Full Google TV support could also include HDMI input and IR Blaster in that Dock, as well as the multimedia RF remote. Ports should include at least 3x USB host, 1x HDMI, 1x mini jack input, 1x mini-jack output, 1x optical audio output.
- Laptop Dock should be no more than $100, include super good quality 10.1" Pixel Qi screen, capacitive touch, so this also turns this into a 10.1" Tablet.
Fast enough ARM Processors to do it all-in-one.
The ARM Cortex-A9 powering this device should have fast enough memory bandwidth, fast enough I/O, built in a way that it is fully fast enough to run dozens of tabs at the same time in Chrome OS mode, the overlaying features of Google TV mode should have to support full dual-view with overlays when using HDMI pass-through and support all codecs at fully highest bitrates and highest profiles 1080p 60 frames per second.
This may mean that the current Tegra2 in Motorola Atrix 4G may not be fast enough, but that this ultimate product may need to use the upcoming Texas Instruments OMAP4430 (as in Blackberry Playbook), Qualcomm Dual-Core MSM8660 Snapdragon (as in Asus Memo), Samsung Orion (as potentially in Samsung Galaxy S2/Tab2) and let's see/analyse performance and availability of the upcoming Freescale i.MX6, Marvell Tricore, Nvidia Tegra3. Someone knows how Amlogic's ARM Cortex-A9, Nufront's ARM Cortex-A9 and others may perform comparatively? I'm looking forward to post or find web browsing, video playback, battery runtime and pricing benchmarks testings to be done comparing the performance of all these next generation ARM Processor platforms.
Waiting for Google's software
The main problem for a platform maker at this point, is that Google has not yet released Honeycomb source code, not yet released Chrome OS for ARM, not yet released Google TV for ARM, thus a gadget maker not having real-time access to Google's software R&D offices, would have to anticipate this evolution and prepare an all-in-one tablet/smartphone solution that would be compatible with integration of these multi-booting software convergence solutions once Google releases them within the next few months. I don't know for sure how such Atrix 4G like solution would have to work, if each of the Android, Chrome OS and Google TV have to boot all at the same time offering instant swapping between one or the other OS in the user interfaces, or if all 3 of these OS have to be merged somehow first for this to work in an optimal way. Please post in the comments if you know how Motorola does it on Atrix 4G and how this using Android+Chrome+GTV has to work.
My favorite size would be the tablet using the 7" Pixel Qi screen, allowing for smaller battery thus 200grams super light weight and thin form factor, the laptop dock should somehow allow for the tablet to be docked on the side of the 10.1", 11.6" or larger screen, thus actually extending the screen surface, you can thus touch the tablet part and work on the laptop screen. Basically the Laptop Dock could be like shown by Motorola where the pocketable tablet is either behind the laptop screen, but should be with a swivel to be positionned upright next to the laptop screen. Thus this device combines Tablet, E-reader, Mobile Phone, Laptop and Set-top-box functionality all into one.
Non-free, non-open-source alternatives to Android+Chrome+GTV? Fine.
- Someone in the industry thinks they can do it better than Android? Fine. They can try to put RIM's Playbook OS, HP's WebOS, Apple's iOS, Microsoft's WP7 or Nokia's Meego on there if they think that is better or they feel they need to differentiate.
- Someone in the industry thinks another browser than Chrome is better? Fine. Like Motorola does Atrix 4G for now with Mozilla Firefox, Opera might have another browser solution, there's Webkit, IE. All that matters is we get a full speed full resolution ARM Powered web browsing experience with flash and support for all HTML5 web standards including offline web apps, the Native Code and WebGL stuff coming out.
- Someone in the industry think they can do better than Google TV on ARM? Fine. They can load another media player UI on there if they want. Just make sure the user can sit back on a sofa, use a full sized RF keyboard on the USB host, and get near-instant access to all the IPTV, all the VOD, all BitTorrent/RSS downloads, with full codecs support up to 1080p60fps full bitrates, with full NTFS/ETX3 usb hard drive support, full Samba/Upnp/Dlna support, full YouTube 1080p leanback playback and more. Easy plugins for Netflix/Hulu and more is obvious as well. All the while, still sitting in the sofa with that keyboard or fancy lean back mouse pointer, and have a full overlay web experience on top of the video as well, launching overlay apps for chatting, finding other videos, looking up informations, tweeting, video-conferencing and all other features that could be imagined to be done in the living room HDTV.
Who invented this ARM Powered ultimate convergence device?
By the way, this taste of ultimate convergence is not a Motorola invention, although they may be the first to show a sleek ARM Cortex-A9 integration, Archos has been crazy about docks for many years and I'm one of the original Archos Fans (see my other site http://forum.archosfans.com). Archos made the first color screen PMP JBMM20 with Camera/DVR Docks and video outputs 9 years ago, the first embedded Linux Tablet PMA400 (then running Qtopia Linux) 5 years ago, the first Android Tablet Archos 5 Internet Tablet with HDMI 720p Android Dock over a year ago. And Archos has always booted their multimedia OS in parallel with the embedded Linux and more recently Android stuff, both in parallel, thus providing the best of both OS in one same device. But now I believe ARM Cortex-A9 provides enough performance and Google's software is maturing fast enough so I think Archos and the rest of the industry is able to work towards this dream of an all-in-one device.
While Engadget has about 38 bloggers at CES and a huge dedicated trailer with dedicated fiber optics line just outside the Central Hall, it can be hard for a small independent blogger like me, fighting for bandwidth at cheap Las Vegas hotels (Internet access in my Sahara hotel room actually didn't work at all during the whole CES) or staying on the floor outside the Las Vegas Convention Center press room untill 11PM every night (until they turned off the lights and security kicks me out), uploading and posting 106 HD quality videos during CES bringing you exclusive contents even as sites like Engadget and 100 other big blogs always post 500 things on the first day of CES, their coverage is great. But I notice I may have covered a bunch of things that the Engadget bloggers didn't find interesting enough or couldn't find (too busy partying with Lady Gaga?), let me give you an overview of some 24 products that I have filmed and that seem not to be covered on Engadget (I still have more than 20 CES videos to upload and to post later today and the next few days):
NEC Tegra2 Powered 7″ Laptop, Engadget only covered NEC's cool dual-resistive-screen Android tablet which I also filmed, but they don't seem to have found this 7" Tegra 2 Laptop with Touch screen form factor.
Innodigital WebTube, Android ARM Cortex-A9 set-top-box, Korean Innodigital seems to be making the absolute best Samsung ARM Cortex-A8 $165 and Trident ARM Cortex-A9 $265 Android Set-top-boxes. Those I believe may be Google TV ready once that software for ARM is ready.
OLPC XO-1.75, ARM Marvell Armada 610 version of the XO Laptop!, Engadget did cover it but not with video.
Onyx Boox M90, cool 9.7" connected e-ink e-reader with digitizer annotations input and cool embedded Linux software by Chinese Onyx International. Definitely a good alternative to the 9.7" Kindle DX that has no touch screen input features.
Ramos ARM Cortex-A9 Tablets, except all the Tegra2 tablets and the OMAP4430 Blackberry Playbook, Ramos may have been one of the only ones showing alternative AmLogic 1.2Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 based tablets at CES.
Polaroid Android Tablet, Polaroid showed a 9.7" Android Tablet to compete directly with the iPad.
Shenzhen ACT 4.8″ capacitive Marvel PXA935 clamshell Android, a really enjoyable 1Ghz Marvell powered Android 4.8" capacitive clamshell form factor with dual-sim card. This design could be close to dream like for some productive Android fanboys.
Ocean Star 1024×600 7″ capacitive Rockchip RK2818 Android Tablet, at $140 in bulk, may be most affordable 1024x600 7" capacitive Android tablet yet and can have 3G built-in for $50 more. Rockchip is ramping up!
Mary-Lou Jepsen gives an update on Pixel Qi at CES 2011, Engadget did talk about Pixel Qi news, but did not post an extensive interview with Mary-Lou Jepsen talking about status like mine.
Archos 101 Home Tablet, possibly cheapest 10″ capacitive ARM Cortex-A8 tablet, yet another in the Rockchip Home Tablet series for Archos, Rockchip says it could be sold for $199 retail, price is to be confirmed by Archos once Rockchip RK29xx is delivered in mass quantities for this product to ship.
Rockchip presents RK2818 and RK29xx series Processors at CES 2011, Engadget didn't provide you with an extensive interview with top representative at Rockchip about their status. Rockchip was in over 50 Android tablets shown at CES, from RK2818 to RK29xx, that's possibly a record.
GreatWall M7250, $125 Android Tablet, Marvell 166 ARM11 based 7 Android tablet, it costs $125 in bulk, offers a 3G built-in option for $45 extra
Zaidtek E7 and Zaidtek H7 Android Tablets, Qualcomm MSM7227 and Rockchip RK2818 capacitive 7" tablets, $350 and $250 respectively, may be some of "most affordable" such capacitive tablets with 3G built-in. Seems to be same design in $450 at retail Aigo N700 which I also filmed.
Robo Builder dancing robot, humanoid Robot building and programming kit for around $860
Mastone 10.1″ OMAP3630 Android Tablet, one of the first designs after Archos to use OMAP3630 in a tablet as far as I know.
Jetbook mini LCD based $99 e-reader, uses interesting LCD based e-reading technology from Toshiba, and is affordable.
Match Tech 9.7″ Capacitive i.MX51 Android Tablet, another proof Apple has lost exclusivity on LG's 9.7" IPS capacitive touch screen panel, here powered by Freescale i.MX51 and with design to be upgraded to faster i.MX53 when available.
istation (previously Digital Cube) launched 7" 3D Tablet and 5", may not have fastest Telechips processor, still original designs.
Nufront ARM Powered Laptops, first time Nufront shows their ARM Cortex-A9 in 10" and 14" Laptops and 10" Tablets.
Freescale i.MX508 next generation e-ink platform, in this video showing 8fps refresh rates and Android for e-ink e-readers which could enable awesome e-ink apps (rss readers, news readers, email, web browsing, etc..)
Freescale i.MX51 Powered Tablets at CES 2011, tour of about a dozen Freescale powered Android tablets.
Seco srl presents Pico Projector in a Lamp concept, check this out, one of the most original uses of Android and pico projector.
Honeycomb user interface demo, I actually grabbed some footage of me using the actual Android Honeycomb OS (considering it's not final or simply secretive for now), did anyone else post Honeycomb UI videos other than the official ones that were playing in loop on any Xoom demonstrated at CES?
LG Smart TV to be ARM Powered, some interviewing with LG Smart TV product manager about how it'll be ARM Powered.
Check back as I am uploading the remaining 20 or so videos that I filmed at CES today and the next few days.