As a reply to my ARM Powered Chromebook Chrome OS notebook question posted online, the Google Chrome Team confirms that while they are focusing right now on getting the Intel Powered Samsung and Acer devices out the door on June 15th, the Chrome OS team is also working hard on ARM support and the ARM Powered Chromebooks should be released soon after. Their wording is the ARM Chromebooks are "hot on the trails" of the Intel Powered ones. This could be the first mass market ARM Powered laptop ever released.
The advantage of an ARM Powered Chrome OS device is that it is thinner, lighter, runs longer on a battery and especialy could be sold for a lot cheaper. I'm expecting the ARM Powered Chromebooks to sell below $199 for them to become the new best selling notebook platform.
Chrome OS is I think the first real challenger to Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX to actually be able to reach a mass market through retail stores and carrier subscription plans. Google has announced the global release of Chromebooks starting June 15th, but for now, those are only Intel Atom based. I asked them about the ARM Powered Chrome OS on their Google Moderator, let's see if we get a good answer about the status of Chrome OS on ARM, the live Fireside Chat with the Chrome Team starts now at 3PM PDT (Midnight Central European Time):
Please vote now for the following two questions for the Google I/O Fireside Chat with the Chrome team (to be live streamed on http://google.com/io at 3PM PST today, about 2 and a half hours from now), please use the following links to the Google Moderator to up-vote my questions so that we are more likely to get these answers:
When are you showing the ARM Powered Chromebooks? Are ARM Cortex-A9 processors with lots of RAM fast enough today? What is the status of Chrome OS on ARM?
Please vote here now: http://goo.gl/Nybov
What hardware requirements do you enforce for manufacturers to get access to the Chrome OS source code? Can anyone use Chromium OS today with the full Chrome Web Store on any hardware without asking Google for permission?
Please vote here now: http://goo.gl/mod/XAsv
Also feel free to add your own good questions to the Chrome team in that Google Moderator and post your question links in the comments so we can also vote for your questions.
Who in the industry has access to Honeycomb 3.0 and 3.1 source code today? We were hoping for Google to announce 3.1 being open sourced around Google I/O but now it seems Google might not provide any Honeycomb open source code before Ice Cream Sandwich in Q4 this year?
Also watch the Android team's response to Android being 100% open source (including all the drivers) (at 16m20s time code)
I understand the gigantic work involved for Google to write all the code, implement the programming APIs and everything else involved around Ice Cream Sandwich. Regardless of how quickly Google put together Honeycomb for tablets to have something ready at Mobile World Congress in February, I think it would just look wrong if for some reason we only have $500+ Android tablets based on Tegra2 made by a handful of priviledged companies somehow having any type of Honeycomb software on them for another 6 months. Given the amount of companies (nearly 375 of them filmed here), small to medium sized, who are investing their futures in making Android tablets, Tegra2-Honeycomb-exclusivity-until-Q4 would probably be quite scandalous. This is what I am expecting must be happening right now secretly with the Honeycomb 3.0 and 3.1 source code behind the scenes:
1. All "serious" tablet companies using all the major ARM Processors do have access to Honeycomb now, or will get access very soon. By "serious" company, I could mean the companies in which Google can trust not to leak the source code. That could mean that these "serious" Android tablet companies need some kind of a track record of being serious with this market.
2. Google should be transparent about which chip provider does have access to Honeycomb source code today, and which chip provider will get access soon. I believe all chip makers from at least ARM Cortex-A8 performance and upwards should be allowed to work on optimizing any current Honeycomb source code to work and timely be shipped with all the tablets that do get released with those specific chips in them. I do not believe that a Tegra2-only club for Honeycomb would be taken with a smile from the rest of the industry. All chip providers that have tablet makers showing products on the market and showcasing them at all the "serious" tradeshows today, including AmLogic, Freescale, Marvell, NEC/Renesas, Qualcomm, Rockchip, ST-Ericsson, Samsung, Telechips, Texas Instruments, VIA, all those should get that access and be able to ship Android tablets with Honeycomb in Q3 this year.
I've sent some of my Google contacts some questions regarding the actual status and plans for Honeycomb's source code and support on the variety of ARM chip providers, while I am waiting for their reply, I wouldn't know for sure what the actual happenings are behind closed doors before, during and after Google I/O in terms of officially supporting Honeycomb 3.1 on other platforms than just Tegra2.
Google needs to officially confirm that they are working with these ARM processors to support Honeycomb 3.1 in Q3 this year and I think that most Android tablet fans would be totally happy and satisfied:
- Freescale i.MX53 Cortex-A8 1Ghz
- Samsung Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz
- Samsung Exynos 4210 ARM Dual Cortex-A9 1.2Ghz
- TI OMAP4440 ARM Dual Cortex-A9 1.6Ghz
- Marvell Armada 600
- Qualcomm MSM7227 ARM11 600Mhz 45nm with Adreno
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8255 1.5Ghz 45nm
- Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual 8620 1.5Ghz
- Rockchip RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 1.2Ghz
- Telechips 8803 ARM Cortex-A8 1.2Ghz
- NEC/Renesas EV2 ARM Dual Cortex-A9 533Mhz
- AmLogic ARM Single Cortex-A9 800Mhz
If Google has been and is cooperating with at least each of these SoC platforms, then I think we have no problem.
But if on the other hand, it somehow turns out that most of these alternative SoC vendors are somehow locked out of the Honeycomb party until finally getting source code access in Q4 and maybe not being able to release actual tablets with that code before Q1 2012, well then I think there will be some very angry people around the worldwide Android tablet industry.
Given the relatively big level of secrecy from all SoC vendors involved, I would like to interpret that as a clue that they must all be silently and cooperatively working closely with Google ever since before even the Motorola Xoom was released last February. And if they didn't all have access already before last February, then hopefully they have all quietly gotten access or are getting access by now.
Google announced that over 100 Million Android Smartphones have been sold thus far. If 80% of those are sold on 2-year contracts generating revenues at an average of $1200 per phone over the 2-year contracts (in the US for example that number is most often higher than $2000), then that could mean Google's Android has a huge influence on a global revenue of potentially more than $120 Billion, possibly over $80 Billion of which have been generated just in 2010 alone, with 2011 global Android industry revenues possibly clinching upwards twice as much as Smartphone growth is more than doubling every year. The Android Smartphone may be a $160 Billion industry in 2011 alone. Over $250 Billion in 2012 maybe. We are not talking peanuts. And with all analysts saying Tablets are the post-PC interface, Google may feel some type of pressure from the big guys of tech, not only the manufacturers but also the carriers (who are touching most of those huge Android related revenues), so it can be understandable that Google does things very carefully around Android, and to bring Android's market share from 40% to over 80% in the next few months, Google may want to focus on top level secrecy in all of their cutting edge Android developments.
While I can understand that, and as a huge Google fanboy I want them to dominate over everything, but let's see if we can get more informations on Honeycomb openness and the industry's access to Honeycomb now under this Google I/O conference. I haven't yet watched the Google Executives Q&A with Andy Rubin where some of the Android openness questions are answered, if anyone has the link to that video or any other related sources of informations please post those links in the comments.
If you are an industry insider and if you would like to tell me any secret information about the status of Honeycomb in the industry related to 3.1's likelyhood to work on any or all of these SoCs during Q3 this year, you are welcome to contact me at email@example.com and if you want I can keep your name secret if you allow me to report here on your info.
- Google tries to control Android fragmentation (armdevices.net)
- Google won't open source fondleslab Android before 'year end' (go.theregister.com)
- From I/O 2011 - Confirmed: Honeycomb source will never exist on its own (geek.com)
- Ice Cream Sandwich merges Android, Honeycomb, Google TV and more. To be open source in Q4 2011, but is there going to be a Honeycomb 3.1 Open Source FAR SOONER? I posted this question to the Honeycomb Highlights session that is going on reight now, vote for it here http://goo.gl/mod/mwZ2 so that we can hopefully get a reply from the Honeycomb Insights Session or the upcoming Fireside Chat with the Android Team http://goo.gl/mod/fIP5
Does Google support Honeycomb/Ice Cream Sandwich on CHEAP Android Tablets, all the $100-$300 ones using TI OMAP3/4, Rockchip, Telechips, NEC/Renesas, AmLogic, Freescale, Marvell, Hummingbird etc? Please explain timeline of full open sourcing/support
- Android team releases Open Accessory Development Kit, this probably means Open Hardware reference designs based on the latest ARM Cortex-M series microcontrollers and other ARM Processors. The idea is also with Android @ Home to enable users to seamlessly interact with a whole range of connected devices in the home, users can buy dozens of accessories for their Android, working over USB-Host, Bluetooth, WiFi (did they also announce some kind of other low-cost wireless networking technology? Some kind of RF?) Find more informations at http://accessories.android.com
- Google launches new Cloud Media Platforms for Movies and Music. Those are US-only for now (probably for licencing issues). I think Google should do folowing with their cloud media plans:
1. Take them global, if media conglomerates want to sue Google for going global, take them on, Google is big enough to never have to loose a lawsuit against any media content corporations.
2. Integrate with Spotify, Last.fm, Rdio and other cloud streaming services, this way Google can try to make the content deals, but they don't have to, they can just re-sell or point their users towards integrating with those content providers that already have the regional deals.
3. Google should introduce Global Subscription Plans for each of the Google Marketplace categories, $5/month for unlimited music, $10/month for unlimited movies and TV shows, $3/month for unlimited apps, $5/month for unlimited games, $4/month for unlimited ebooks, $20/month for ALL-INCLUSIVE subscription plan, and make this global, work for all countries. All content providers can opt-in or opt-out, they should not care if the big content providers don't care to join this disruptive subscription system, eventually, enough independents will be a part of this global subscription plan that the model will become the new standard. Google is big enough they can make the plan Mp3.com tried to implement 10 years ago actually work on a global scale for the first time.
4. If not enough content becomes part of the global subscription system, make it easy for pirates to import/upload all their pirated contents onto the Google cloud, with guarantee of privacy, meaning Google would never snoop on pirates pirated content or tell anyone about who might be pirating what. Just let everyone upload as many Mp3, DivX, MKV, epub that they want onto the cloud, Google can actually provide just about free unlimited storage for all, the reason for that is Google only needs to store one copy of each pirated file on their cloud. If they feel brave, their cloud upload client software can "beam" files instantly if Google detects that it already has this exact file or a better version of this file on their cloud.
You can post comments here in real-time using Disqus and I'll try to embed a live chat here before it starts.
Today are Ice Cream Sandwich, open sourcing, Google TV integration, lots more Android surprises, Chrome OS tomorrow with all the commercial products to come with that. Make sure you tune in live for the show at 9AM PDT on http://google.com/io
I've briefly been able to speak with all 3 of these people on this picture over this past year at different conferences. Andy Rubin boss of Android Apple-killing, Vic Gundotra boss of Facebook-killing and Sundar Pichai boss of Chrome OS Microsoft-killing. All three of which are more or less Intel-killing.
Perhaps I will embed some kind of Google chat room together with the live video embed once things start today.
1. Support ARM Processors, to be in sub-$100 box. Even run a full Google TV UI "mode" from the HDMI output of every new Android smartphone (expect Google TV to become a part of Android's Ice Cream Sandwich?)
2. Support apps like BitTorrent/RSS, Seedbox management with SFTP, Rapidshare/Megaupload streaming, make it the easiest way to pirate all movies and TV shows with a remote control on the TV.
3. Unlock Desktop User Agent in the Flash plugin. The only reason TV websites can block Google TV is because of the Flash plugin not hiding itself as a Flash-for-Desktop user agent. It's only a question of Adobe and Google making the decision (if the rights holders keep blocking them), they can make Google TV unblockable. Even make it easy to sign up for fast and reliable proxy services all over the world if certain online web TV are being region blocked (make it easy for the world to stream US based Hulu/Netflix/Viacom/etc, UK based BBC, French based France Television, etc..).
I expect that Google is going to announce all 3 at Google I/O. What do you expect Google TV 2.0 is going to be like?
I think the Google TV software needs to be in every cheap media player, in every set-top-box, and basically, it needs to make it easy for every TV user to easily get access to all web video in as few clicks and as little typing as possible. It may bring a keyboard into every living room, but that usage needs to be as seamless and easy as possible, start typing the name of the show and hit enter to tune in to that show, show options, live, on-demand, legal free/paid/ads if available, "illegal" BitTorrent RSS-subscribe Seedbox/SFTP-service-for-anonymous one click reliable add to queue. Another cool app would be Sopcast, and also the first use of Sopcast through seedboxes for "illegal" 10mbit/s or more live streaming of every TV channel in the world, basically make it as seamless as possible for people to cut the cable/satellite cord and replace it with full freedom of on-demand media choices if they so want to, all designed for leanback mode.
Let's have high expectations for this upcoming Google I/O developer conference to happen on May 10-11th in San Francisco, to be live streamed on the web. The Google engineers have been working very hard for months, even years, on a culmination of new software solutions that will likely dominate most of the devices to be found in the next years of Consumer Electronics tradeshows. Get ready for the biggest most action packed Google I/O event in the history of Google, read my following list of expectations.
1. Honeycomb to get open sourced. While the first Tegra2 based commercial Honeycomb tablets have been released and are being released, I expect Google will announce the opening of Honeycomb and Google's support to optimize it for all the ARM SoC platforms, all including TI, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Freescale, Marvell, Telechips, NEC/Renesas, AmLogic, all should be getting it! All must get it! If it's a long shot to expect Google to announce their support for all ARM Processors, them open sourcing it sure will make it happen anyways. I expect that several of these major ARM SoC vendors already have been working on Honeycomb for a while, and they all may start their announcements around Google I/O timing.
This is a big deal because it is the first truely tablet optimized OS ever made. See my video interview with Matias Duarte a product manager on Honeycomb UI design at Google.
2. Ice Cream Sandwich to be shown for the first time. One of the reasons Google said they delayed Honeycomb open sourcing was to provide an integration of the new Honeycomb features that can scale down to Smartphone sized screens, and that also means to certain previous Froyo tablets which may not either be totally compatible with at least the initial Honeycomb source code. Basically, it may be Gingerbread with Honeycomb's improved multi-tasking, improved widgets, improved web browser and more on top.
While Google will integrate the full optimizations for flashy impressive Dual-Core next generation super smartphones, I also expect Google to bring a light version of Ice Cream Sandwich suitable for Sub-$50 Android smartphones to reach 2 Billion more people around the world. See my initial video review of the $87 FG8 Android Smartphone that I found a couple of weeks ago in Shenzhen China.
This is a big deal because it finally makes ARM Powered laptops a mass market possibility. Sure enough, Ubuntu 11.4 Netbook Edition is fantastic also on ARM, but Chrome OS will make Linux and ARM Powered laptops for the first time a reliable choice for the consumer buying laptops on the mass market.
4. Google TV 2.0 for ARM to be open sourced. This improved UI, with full Google Marketplace support. I expect it to work on all the ARM Processors, including even the cheapest platforms such as Rockchip, Telechips, AmLogic and more. I expect Google to fork two versions of Google TV, one Full and one Basic, the Full version doing all the advanced HDMI pass-through, overlay stuff and IR blaster, the basic version doing just HDMI out and WebTV only. If TV networks in the USA still want to block Google TV regarding it as their worst enemy and trojan horse, Google and Adobe will probably unlock full undetectable Desktop User Agent Flash support, making it impossible to block full screen Flash playback. Adobe and Google still may want to fight it over with the TV networks to get some kind of distribution deal still, but if their lawyers don't come to an agreement, Google simply will be forced to unlock full access that cannot be detected in a full Desktop class web browser on the TV. Expect though Google to announce Movie distribution deals with all the major Movie production companies, at least for the USA. I expect Google TV 2.0 to be released worldwide. Pricing to start at $59 for an unsubsidized ARM Powered Google TV basic box.
This is a big deal because it makes the ARM Powered Set-top-boxes a useful mass market opportunity. Easy video-on-demand on the TV can change how people watch TV.
5. Google's Social Network premieres. I am expecting them to come with the first really useful social network. Not some wall for stalking old high school connections, and not some for following famous people's SMS messages, and not just the types of experimentations that were Wave/Buzz, but something now really useful to the point people will be using it to find new colleagues, find new friends, do new activities locally and far away, create new content in new collaborations, be productive socially but also enable a new type of fun through social, once they succeed this is going to be a big deal and will make people wonder why tech bloggers have regarded so highly of Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Friendfeed.
What do you think Google will announce by the Google I/O conference on May 10-11th? Post your ideas in the comments.
Neowin.net says sources confirm the first Chrome OS notebooks are going to be sold starting around late June or early July and the pricing might be innovative using subscription model tied with ones Gmail account.
The search giant is planning on using an unconventional form of distribution to customers. Google will be selling the devices as part of a subscription based model with Gmail to customers.
According to our source, Google plans to make the notebooks available for $10-$20 a month per user, and will provide hardware refreshes as they are released as part of the package, and will replace faulty hardware for the life of the subscription. On top of this, Google will make the devices available for a one time payment as a normal retailer would.
Here's the type of pricing that I am expecting.
At retail without subsidy:
ARM Cortex-A9 Powered Chrome OS notebooks:
- $99 (10.1", 2GB RAM)
- $149 (12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM)
Intel Atom Powered Chrome OS notebooks:
- $149 (10.1", 2GB RAM)
- $199 (12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM)
Subsidized on 2-year subscription plan:
ARM Powered Chrome OS:
- 10.1", 2GB RAM, Free with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.
- 12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM, $49 with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.
Intel Powered Chrome OS:
- 10.1", 2GB RAM, $49 with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.
- 12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM, $99 with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.
How the 2-year subscription works:
- The $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plans can easily get more bandwidth added to them through one-click bandwidth increase option in settings at a rate something like $1/100mb or $10/2GB type of increments, such extra bandwidth could be added and be used during a month after being added for example. Bandwidth addicts might spend a lot of money on a lot of 3G/LTE bandwidth this way.
- Google could sell these Chrome OS plans to Gmail.com and Google Apps users. The ARM Powered Chrome OS notebook might get 1 free hardware upgrade/exchange per year (with 2-year subscription contract extension), the Intel Powered Chrome OS notebook might allow hardware upgrade/exchange per year for a $99 payment (with 2-year subscription contract extension).
- Google might include a bunch of online storage with this subscription, for example 100GB, storage space usable for Gmail, Docs, Picasaweb and other upcoming Google Cloud Storage services. All data on a Chrome OS notebook (as well added through SD card or even USB hard drive) can automatically get synchronized with the Google cloud storage services. More storage can also easily be purchased in a one-click process.
- Also part of this subscription system, Google takes a consumers payment informations, either credit card or even direct bank account informations, and provides one-click shopping solution as well across all Google Checkout services. Thus monetizing more online sales and also making it easier for consumers to buy things online.
Things to consider about Chrome OS:
Consider an ARM Powered Chrome OS is super thin, super light, runs 10-30 hours on a battery depending on without/with Pixel Qi, consider also all Chrome OS laptops have larger screens, better keyboards, faster boot, faster web browsing speed, better web apps support, they are safer to use, unhackable, uncrackable, no virus possible, they are easy to replace as all data is synched on the cloud, but still HTML5 web apps will work offline, including even advanced apps like video and photo editing, they can even support all the most advanced 3D games. Consider also Chrome OS laptops can easily manage offline storage, either built-in, even hard drive slot or external USB storage and SD cards.
What do you think Google's Chrome OS pricing will be like? Post your ideas and suggestions in the comments.
- Google To Sell Chrome OS on a Subscription-Based Model? (thechromesource.com)
- Chrome OS Notebooks: By Subscription? (technologizer.com)
- Google to sell subscriptions to Chrome OS notebooks? (go.theregister.com)
- Google planning $20 Chrome OS hardware subscription option? (geek.com)
- Google to offer ChromeOS notebooks on subscription plan (teleread.com)
- Could A Google Subscription Service For The Chrome Notebook Computer Work? (lockergnome.com)
- Chrome OS Nears Release, But Where are the Netbooks? (pcworld.com)