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.
Between January 3rd and 11th, I am going to video-blog from CES 2011, make sure to often refresh my RSS feed and/or subscribe to my YouTube channel, (at last year's CES I published 75 videos), I'll try to feature the coolest ARM Powered devices that I can find at the show.
Have you got any scoop or ideas for what I should video-blog at CES? What questions would you like me to ask the representatives of which specific companies? If you read on any other blogs about any interesting products showing at this CES, please post your suggestions for what I should film here in the comments of this post. You can also send me an email: email@example.com or you can even sms/call me or leave a voicemail between January 3rd and 11th at my US phone number +1 (702) 238 8630 (only active when I am in the USA).
Here are some of the things I am expecting or hoping to video-blog at CES:
- Lots of Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb stuff. Android in everything!
- Several dual-core tablets are rumored. Nvidia's Tegra2 is rumored could be one of the stars of the show, rumored to be the "reference design" for Honeycomb. Sounds great, but I am also looking forward to all the other upcoming Dual-Core ARM Processor platforms and I am wondering if products featuring these will be shown at this CES already.
- How soon are the Dual-Core smart phones and tablets being released and at what prices? Will LG, Samsung, Motorola or other present phones at CES to beat Nexus S already?
- ARM Powered Chrome OS Laptops and Google TV Set-top-boxes, I will be looking for the first clues of these products.
- Tablets, more tablets? Any new design features to allow tablets to be used more for productivity? Are some Honeycomb designs like Archos without the hardware Android buttons? Designs with foldable/swivel keyboards?
- Pixel Qi 7", 10.1", big OEM announcements? Hopefully these LCD screens will be ready for Kindle-LCD, ipad2, samsung galaxy tab2 and more hopefully mass manufactured and everywhere within the next 3 months.
- Texas Instruments next generation nHD pico projector in all kinds of phones, tablets and other devices at CES? Or not to be shown before February at Mobil World Congress? I'd like to see this type of pico projector be used together with sensors to detect when touching in user interfaces projected for example on a table (see my video of a table-pico-projector prototype UI demonstrated at CeBIT 2007), this could turn any ARM Powered device, even pocketable, into a large screen computing device.
- New ARM Powered platforms for cheaper and better smart phones, tablets and laptops? Rockchip may show ARM Cortex-A8 RK29xx, Broadcom may show BCM2157 for sub-$75 Android phones, is it time for VIA and Telechips to show new faster or/and cheaper solutions for new cooler low-cost Tablets, Laptops and Set-top-boxes?
- Are the new ARM Processors capable of full 1080p at up to 60fps with full high profile and full high bitrates of every codecs?
- Nintendo 3DS is coming in February/March, any other manufacturers to mass manufacture products to use that parallax barrier 3D screen from Sharp that doesn't require 3D glasses?
- Are ARM Powered NAS boxes and Pogoplugs/Sheevaplugs going to be powerful enough to download and seed BitTorrents at full speed, allow for full speed gigabit LAN file sharing even on the cheaper solutions?
- How much is going to be LTE, how soon and are anyone showing anything to do with White Spaces yet? How soon could that be deployed and at which cost and with what range and authentication features?
- I'd like to see Sanyo release a HD3000 with WiFi/Bluetooth and optics and sensors closer to that of a DSLR. Or it will be interesting to see more DSLR type optics and sensors in more video camcorders and see how affordable those setups can become. It seems Sony, Panasonic and all other major camera makers are going in that direction for the next generation of best HD camcorders.
Please post your expecations/hopes in the comments or send me an email!
Buy a Gingerbread Nexus S now or wait for Dual-Core Android? That is the question early adopters have.
Nearly a year ago, Nvidia unveiled its awesome Tegra 2 platform at CES, I was there and I filmed it (2), (3). It took a while for Nvidia and its manufacturing partners to start bringing actual products with Nvidia's Tegra 2 ARM Cortex-A9 processor onto the market. Possible delays may have been due to manufacturing problems or a wait for stabilized software, new versions of Android and Flash to support this new type of Dual-Core processor.
Other Dual-Core processors are about to reach products in the market as well:
- Texas Instruments OMAP4430 1Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 based products will be introduced in products to the market soon.
- Qualcomm MSM8660 or faster Dual-Core Snapdragon platform may be imminent.
- Marvell Armada 628 Tri-Core platform available in products soon offers upwards 200 million triangles per second.
- Samsung Orion with Mali-400 was unveiled last month (2), will probably show in products within months. Although some rumors also say Samsung may be using the Tegra 2 platform for some products to be shown even earlier.
- ST-Ericsson is working with Nokia to release some Dual-Core Meego devices probably soon.
- Nufront are releasing their Nufront ARM Cortex-A9 for Laptops and Desktops.
Google may focus on Tegra 2 for Honeycomb as some rumors are saying, just as Google prioritized their "Reference designs" like this:
Eclair + Froyo: Snapdragon (Nexus One)
Gingerbread: Hummingbird (Nexus S)
Honeycomb: Tegra 2 (Motorola's upcoming Tablet)
A "reference design" to Google basically means the actual development hardware Google engineers work on to get their new software released. Though I expect Google and the Open Handset Alliance to bring-up Gingerbread and Honeycomb about as fast on all other Single-Core and Dual-Core platforms as well, just as Froyo got ready on all the other platforms relatively fast.
Dual-Core ARM Processors are probably also what we need for Chrome OS and Ubuntu powered Laptops and Google TV Powered set-top-boxes.
There are rumors that Microsoft will be showcasing some kind of Windows for ARM at CES January 6-9th, but also, it's rumored that actual release may be "an early demo" because of the need for "ARM Drivers"?
What kind of drivers can possibly be needed to be ported for Windows or the like to work on ARM Powered systems?
Webcams? Those are in the SoC anyways aren't they? Printers? Cloud printing solutions such as the one from Google or Apple's AirPrint should solve that shouldn't it?
Since all the main features of an ARM Powered laptop or desktop design are in the SoC, I have a hard time trying to imagine what kind of delay Microsoft would want to argue needs to be brought by hardware makers for their ARM Powered Windows OS to be ready for the market.
More likely Microsoft is working on an ARM compatible applications platform for Windows.
I think that the more likely situation is that Microsoft does not want to make its long time partner Intel think that Microsoft is doing anything to precipitate things away from x86 onto ARM platforms. I believe that Microsoft's main goal is to prepare a Windows for ARM just in case the upcoming ARM Powered laptops and desktops become a huge trend and thus Microsoft would rather not leave that market segment exclusively to embedded Linux OSes like Chrome OS for ARM, Ubuntu for ARM and other optimized Linux OS.
Also likely Microsoft wants to have a strong ARM Powered Tablet oriented Windows OS. Thus the UI for Tablet use could be similar to Windows Phone 7.
Logically, to be competitive, the licencing price of Windows 8 for ARM should be at most half the price of same licencing on Intel.
- Microsoft ARMs Windows for iPad assault (allegedly) (go.theregister.com)
- Report: Microsoft bringing Windows to ARM chips (news.cnet.com)
- Rumor: Microsoft to talk about an ARM version of Windows at CES [Hard to believe] (intomobile.com)
- Microsoft Windows for ARM devices set for CES 2011 (techradar.com)
- Microsoft plans Windows tied to ARM chips: reports (marketwatch.com)
- Microsoft to Announce an ARM Processor Compatible Version of Windows OS (slashgear.com)
- Microsoft to announce ARM-based Windows at CES? (engadget.com)
- Microsoft Plans to talk Windows on ARM at CES, but Products a Ways Off [Mobilized] (mobilized.allthingsd.com)
The New York Times reports Toshiba, LG, Sharp, Samsung and Vizio have Google TV projects going, that they may have been all planning to unveil those at CES but that Google may have asked them to delay their unveiling until next software update including full Google Marketplace support is ready. Samsung may still show a couple Google TV devices at CES, Toshiba has confirmed they won't, Vizio might show some Google TV stuff but only privately and maybe not to be blogged about.
So Google faces challenges in getting American TV networks to agree to allow them to stream TV shows from the web on the Google TV platform. I have estimated that if Google and Adobe wanted, if the negociations with US TV networks wouldn't lead to a solution, that they could unleash a software update to present both the browser and the flash plugin as "User Agent: Generic" making detection by US TV networks impossible and thus forcing them to either remove online TV streaming completely or just regard Google TV as same user terminal as any "normal" laptop or desktop computer.
So let's assume Google TV will have only a limited showing at CES, perhaps Google is trying to coordinate a giant unveiling of second phase of Google TV at CeBIT in March, by that time, more of the major manufacturers could present boxes, Google would present not only Google Marketplace and smoother software integration, they could launch world wide Google TV support (not limited to US anymore), they could also, as suggested by Tudor Brown ARM President last month, present cheaper ARM Powered Google TV devices such as the concept of a $99 ARM Powered Google TV box.
The $99 ARM Powered Google TV set-top-box is an important target, as that makes it affordable enough that everyone will buy one, providing full performance for 1080p YouTube streaming and the HDMI pass-through and IR blaster features, it would provide for the perfect platform to revolutionize TV.
Chrome OS greatest achievement will be the disruption of the whole Windows/Intel/Apple business models of artificially increasing prices of Laptops year after year, as those old silicon valley giants are always frightened to see their multi-hundred billion dollar industry disappear.
What the One Laptop Per Child successfully initiated after 2006, forcing Intel to introduce the Netbook market segment, thus lowering the average price per laptop consumers would purchase by $100-200 overnight, Google is attempting to do even more aggressively with Chrome OS.
These past 2 years, I reviewed several ARM Powered $99 Laptops already, from such Chinese as Hivision, MenQ, Firstview or Indian AllGo Systems, powered by VIA's Wondermedia or other of the affordable ARM9 or ARM11 platforms that are available to these manufacturers for affordable implementation at that time. Sure enough, ARM Cortex A8 and A9, more RAM, faster SoCs are more appropriate for full laptop performance. Every 18 months chips are twice as fast or twice cheaper. How much more do you think that a new ARM Cortex-A9 SoC platform with a larger higher resolution LCD screen costs today compared to an ARM9 from 2 years ago? $30 more? The same? These cheap ARM Powered laptops are interesting because they are early products that have been giving us a taste of the ARM Powered laptops that are coming.
Sure the Cr-48 that Google are beta testing is Intel powered. That is just a question of beta testing of software. ARM Powered Chrome OS probably needs ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processors to be optimized for large screen laptop computing. The Chrome Browser requires a lot of RAM to be fast. All the I/O and memories on the SoC need to be accelerated to the point the Chrome web browser in a laptop form factor feels 100% as fast on ARM as on Intel.
It may be that the current generation ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 are more suitable for Tablets and Smart Phones than for Laptops and Desktops. More likely, it is that Google has enough to beta test on Intel that they cannot advertise simultaneous beta testing on ARM at this moment as well.
In any ways, it might still be months before mass market Chrome OS laptops are sold to consumers. So clearly the Cr-48 being Intel doesn't have to be an indication of ARM being "not ready" but instead might be simply a question of Google focusing their beta testing program on Intel for now. ARM and Intel based Chrome OS may still actually be released simultaneously to consumers next year.
Also consider the fact Intel CEO Paul Otelinni is also on the board of directors of Google, mysteriously. And that pressure from Intel on Google might convince Google to do such things as Chrome OS and Google TV with Intel first, all the while Google knows that ARM is the best platform eventually for both projects. Although Google TV is released to consumers, it's still limited in size to one similar to beta testing, it's like when Google releases a Nexus phone, they don't do it to sell many Nexus phones, they do it to push their software platform forward, which always turns out that the industry combined sells more Google based devices than all other.
This is what I think Google plans to achieve with lower hardware pricing:
- $99 Google TV -> turns YouTube into larger share of people's daily 5-hour TV watching, 10x increase in YouTube bandwidth when succeeded, changes outcome of elections brings more visionary high-tech favorable politicians to power
- $99 Chrome OS laptops -> realizes cloud computing dream, more ads served per user, enterprise all adopt Chrome OS for speed, security and price, brings in ecosystem for pay-per-web-app.
- $99 Pixel Qi Tablet/E-readers -> platform for Google e-books, full web experience on-the-go, more reading, outdoor use, more personal connection to the web
- $99 Gingerbread Smart Phones -> Google Voice true VOIP replaces telcos, eventually White Spaces is brought in to provide free wireless broadband. Google pushes Local services, location-based advertising brings in next hundred billion in revenues.
It only makes sense Google's platforms will have the absolute largest market share in all these market segments. In all these segments, Google never plans to make profit on hardware, the hardware business is outsourced to manufacturers and brands, Google just plans for their platforms to dominate.
Price of Chrome OS laptops is the true revolution here.
As Google isn't yet announcing the price, it may be hard for analysts to grasp the potential here.
How can a Google Chrome OS notebook be sold at $99?
1. ARM Powered laptops cost half the price to manufacture compared to Intel, even the Intel one can be sold $199, deduct at least Windows licence and Hard drive costs compared to a "regular" netbook, that's 5-10 times cheaper than the Macbook air.
2. Removing hard drive, simplifying motherboard lowers cost.
3. Google makes money later on ads. Seriously, do a calculation how much advertising money Google makes on each of their users, divide their yearly reported revenues by the number of users, Chrome OS users will see even more Google ads than other.
4. Google and Telecoms make money later on selling on-demand 3G/4G wireless data. Even as this should be sold without compulsory subscription plan, the pricing and ease of use should be so tempting, a large share of users will potentially spend hundreds of dollars for on-demand wireless data service. This should be built-in, perhaps not even a SIM card slot, allows Google to also negociate 3G/4G bandwidth deals in all countries worldwide. If prices change in other countries, simply click boom to accept and you've got on-demand wireless bandwidth.
5. Google and Developers will make money later on selling apps. Eventually monetization of web apps will be more than just ads. Even enterprise stuff like Google Apps, Citrix stuff and other Virtualization of Windows/Mac x86 apps, those kinds of services could generate up to thousands of dollars per user in the enterprise.
Critics of Google's Chrome OS based cloud computing need to understand a few things about where it is and where it's going:
- HTML5 apps can work offline and don't have to be slower because of connectivity. Including Google Docs and potential cloud assisted video and photo editing, all can work offline.
- Native code and powerful 3D will be part of it. This means basicaly all apps you can imagine that are on Windows and Mac can also work here. I expect new cloud based versions of http://youtube.com/editor means even video editing professionals will rather want to use this type of cloud based apps for instant encoding and rendering using the power of thousands of grid processing servers on the cloud.
- WebGL and other advances in web browser technology increases potential complexity of web apps.
- A 32GB SD card costs less than $49, a 500GB 2.5" external USB hard drive costs $49, both work in Chrome OS, I even envision a Chrome OS laptop design with available slot to insert a 2.5" hard drive and have it only powered when accessed.
- You can backup and sync your cloud easily on a $49 ARM Powered NAS such as a pogoplug in your home, connect any $99 3.5" 2TB hard drive to that.
- Citrix has demonstrated, any x86 app you want can be virtualized in Chrome OS to actually run faster thanks to cloud grid app hosting than any local PC.
I don't have Google TV yet, I'm waiting for ARM Powered version of it, and they haven't yet released it world wide. But I like to speculate about how it works as I am sure Google TV will revolutionize TV, and the Trillion-dollar/year TV industry.
The probable technical reason TV networks are able to currently block Google TV from accessing their online web tv offerings is probably flash.
The Chrome browser in Google TV can be set to User Agent: Generic (by default though it is set as User Agent: Google TV), thus making it impossible for websites to detect that the user visiting the website is using a set-top-box or a computer/laptop/tablet or other device.
The probable only way for them to detect the set-top-box, can only be the flash plugin. As Adobe probably doesn't want to irritate the TV networks, due to them all using Flash, they probably also don't want to allow Google to switch over the flash player in Google TV to User Agent: Generic.
Google probably also prefers to try as hard as possible to make some deals with the content providers instead of forcing Adobe into setting up Flash to be undetectable. As Google wants all these content partners also to allow their content be distributed on YouTube.
In any ways, if Google and the TV Networks don't reach an agreement soon, I am sure Google will eventually ask Adobe to provide Flash in a totally undetectable fashion. And if that happens, the TV networks will only be able to decide if they want to have any "legal" streaming of their shows online or none at all. And if they decide to remove online flash streaming, the most popular application on Google TV boxes will most likely then be BitTorrent.
- Vizio and Toshiba reportedly to announce Google TV sets at CES [TNW Google] (thenextweb.com)
- Viacom Blocks Google TV Users (adweek.com)
- Viacom is the latest network to block Google TV (geek.com)
- How To Watch The Daily Show on Google TV (gigaom.com)
- How To Watch The Daily Show on Google TV (nytimes.com)
- Fox to Block Google TV: Now Every Major US TV Network Blocking Google TV (crenk.com)
- Viacom blocks Google TV, the madness continues (venturebeat.com)
- Comedy Central, MTV now blocking Google TV (news.cnet.com)
In a Q&A on Digitimes, ARM President Tudor Brown said following:
We all know Taiwan-based manufacturers are capable of commercializing products pretty well, and they have dominated the global production of PCs. However, they have failed to keep the related profits in their pockets.
Tablet PC's open platform will allow profits to be distributed more evenly among supply chain participants, unlike the current model in which CPU and OS giants take most of the earnings. An Android tablet, for example, is a final product with all essential components including software development and integration.
Acer, Asus, MSI are Taiwanese PC brands that have been expanding their market share in the last 10 years, they did this to keep more of the profits to themselves instead of only manufacturing all the laptops and PCs for mostly US and some European brands. The thing is, even while removing the branding intermediary, by having to compete on costs, selling Intel and Microsoft powered products is not leaving the Acer, Asus, MSI a lot of profits to keep for themselves. Still today, in the Intel x86 industry, most of the profits go to Intel and Microsoft.
It is still too early to determine how the tablet PC market will perform in 2011, with no historical context or sense to examine. Personally, I believe the market for tablet computers will likely generate between US$30 billion and US$60 billion next year. There will be more than a dozen players dividing up the pie, not just one or two. [Intel and Microsoft]
Ergo, the whole interest around the ARM Powered devices such as the tablets, smart phones, laptops, e-readers, it's not only a case in ARM technology providing better value, lower cost, lower power consumption, sufficient performance (for web browsing) in lesser amounts of components and more compact form factors. It is not just about the ARM ecosystems unique abilities to foster increased innovation by industry wide collaboration and differentiation. The main benefit of ARM's business model, is that by collaborating on software such as the free Android/Chrome OS/Google TV software OS and on other common solutions, the supply chain participants can keep more of the profits to themselves all the while still lower the cost to the consumer.
Despite more contenders, ARM-designed processors are still expected to remain the dominant technology for tablet PCs for three contributing factors: ARM's well-established network of silicon partners allowing downstream players to diversify their solution providers, our energy-saving features, and software support around the chip architecture. We work with an increasing number of software providers targeting applications for mobile devices.
You can read the complete Q&A at: digitimes.com
- Acer to announce Android 2.2 tablet today in NYC? (tech.fortune.cnn.com)
- Acer likely to announce a 7 inch Android 2.2 tablet and 10 inch Windows 7 tablet today in New York (intomobile.com)
- Acer Leans On Old, New Partners in Tablet Push (blogs.wsj.com)
Last year, I wanted to see a Nexus One for $199 unlocked. But it became $529 and upwards $3000 on 2-year contracts.
Andy Rubin told me at Mobile World Congress:
We are not the ones deciding the price.
Android has been the most disruptive thing to happen in the smart phone industry. The question is, what does Google want to do with the next level of this software platform? Is Google going to push for even faster auto-disruption of the telecom industry by pushing the industry towards significantly lower cost unlocked devices?
The rumors are that Samsung is working with Google (because they can) preparing a 4" Super AMOLED based, possibly Hummingbird 1-1.2Ghz, possibly Orion for Smart Phones (ARM Cortex-A9), possibly 4G-enabled, possibly quint-band to support all HSUPA+/CDMA and LTE/WiMax and maybe even White Spaces technologies all in one.
What I want to know: How cheap?
Samsung Galaxy S is priced above 440€ in Europe when bought unlocked (= $613 with EU 20% VAT, $490 without). Samsung has major agreements with all the major US carriers about selling their Galaxy S for upwards $3000 with the 2-year contracts that most US consumers sign and pay. How would Samsung agree to manufacture and sell a Google branded Gingerbread device significantly lower priced than their current Galaxy devices? The Samsung Galaxy Tab is upwards 799€ unlocked in Europe, upwards $1500 or more with the 2-year contracts in the US. It just doesn't sound probable enough to me that Samsung would be the manufacturer that would want to start selling a $199 unlocked mass market Android Super Phone to disrupt its own growing Android Smart Phone and Tablet businesses.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt says they want to provide Smart Phones to the next 5 billion people, it has to reach developing countries. Are those developing countries going to have exclusive cheaper phones sold to them only while richer countries in Europe and the US are locked with choices mostly above the $400 if trying to buy things unlocked? Globalization should mean disruptive pricing achieved in one part of the world should also arrive to all other parts of the world simultaneously.
isuppli and other such hardware tear down and component analysis sites estimate the cost of materials and manufacture of even the top of the line current Android Super Phones to be trending downwards just $150 per super phone. We see more and more manufacturers competing in this market. How soon till we have choices for unlocked $199 Android Super Phones?
The coolest rumor on Gingerbread is that Google Voice will be highly integrated offering true VOIP functionality into the core of the Android OS. This would provide the software foundation for a data-centric Android phone, bought for below $200 unlocked, with data-only wireless pre-paid plans, no 2-year contracts required.
we’ve learned that Google’s adding SIP support in their Google Voice application to allow you to receive calls to your Google Voice number over WiFi and cellular data.
We want Google Voice worldwide not just on US cellular networks. A real VOIP and worldwide version of Google Voice in Gingerbread will be huge.
Steve Jobs is saying that 7 inch Android Tablets can't be popular. I think they can. This Archos 70 Internet Tablet fits in most Jacket Pockets and thus is the largest screen size that can be carried around without using a bag. Also, this one is half the price/size/weight of the iPad, it comes with HDMI output, full video/audio codecs support, USB host and a built-in Webcam for video-chat all which iPad lacks. This tablet at 300gr and 201x114x10mm may be the lightest and most compact 7" tablet yet, but I think with optimizations and designs that use less bezel, the weight and size could further be optimized to make it even more jacket pocketable. Basically, Android tablets will provide choice for consumers, from small pocketable ones to larger ones that may mostly stay at home.