I am a big fan of FON. It enables you to have free access to a million WiFi hotspots in the world in exchange for sharing your own WiFi at home with your neighbors. FON routers broadcast 2 WiFi signals, one is a personal WPA-password protected WiFi SSID and the other is the open WiFi SSID for sharing your Internet connection using the FON DNS authentication login page so people are not able to do illegal things anonymously on your WiFi.
This newest Fonera 2.0n router is much more than just a WiFi router. It now comes with a powerful embedded processor and a USB host connector so that you can connect USB hard drives, USB dongles, USB printers/webcams and other USB peripherals directly to your router using a USB 2.0 hub and thus have those peripherals always connected to your home local network as well as to the whole Internet. Fonera 2.0n lets you install certain applications developed open-source such as a BitTorrent downloader based on Transmission, Youtube/Picasa/Flickr/Facebook video and picture uploaders, Rapidshare/Megaupload downloaders or just run FTP, Samba, Upnp file servers locally on your local network or remotely over the Internet so you can stream all your multimedia files from any other WiFi hotspot that you may access all over the Web.
The main use that I have with my new Fonera 2.0n is to constantly have access to Terrabytes of my personal multimedia files from all over the world, any of which streamed using my 2mbit/s upload Internet broadband connection. That 2mbit/s upload connection which I have at home, lets me remotely stream DVD quality movies. This currently works fine using any laptop copying the FTP URL into VLC media player "Open URL" feature. I am hoping to soon have this work on my Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, so that I would easily be able to remotely stream my personal movies and music hosted at my home on my Fonera 2.0n from any Internet access point in the world using that.
Cloud storage will eventually be able to host everyones massive amounts of personal multimedia files. Though as ones options are today to use Cloud storage services from Google or Amazon, to host a Terrabyte of personal data on the cloud would cost $1800 per year on Google App Engine, same price at Amazon S3, those prices are just not workable at all if you just want to host 1 Terrabyte of your multimedia files on the web. Even the new Google price for Picasa image storage at $256 per Terrabyte per year is still far too expensive cloud storage for most people. See my comment on Google's latest cloud storage prices here: http://charbax.com/2009/11/11/cheapest-cloud-storage-needed/ A Terrabyte hard drive only costs about $80 in the US or 80€ in Europe, add to that the 79€ Fonera 2.0n, and that is all it will cost you (other than the power consumption of the USB hard drive) to have access to stream from your Terrabyte of data anytime you want from anywhere you want, as long as you have got enough upload speed from your home to support the streaming of that data.
Another feature that is really cool, is the Firefox Add-On the FON DownloadHelper, which can automatically launch the download of .torrent files to the BitTorrent client of your Fonera 2.0n router, directly from when you click on the .torrent file from within Firefox. And you can launch your BitTorrent downloads locally when you are at home or remotely using your laptop or Android product using Transdroid from anywhere in the world. And when the BitTorrent downloads are finished, you can immediately stream your downloaded video, music contents locally or remotely as well. With Extensions soon coming to the official Chrome browser, I think we can expect FON DownloadHelper extension for Google Chrome soon as well.
If you are considering to have a Network Attached Storage in your home, if you are considering to get a WiFi 802.11n router, if you are interested in hosting a remote FTP server and BitTorrent client in your router in your home, and run a print server and webcam, if you are considering joining the FON WiFi-sharing community, then I would definitely recommend that you check out the Fonera 2.0n and follow the latest developments about it in the FON Discussion Boards.
Archos is the first provider of a Youtube HD set-top-box solution by the Archos 5 Internet Tablet simply being the worlds first Android product supporting the playback of H264 High Profile at 1280x720 and 2mbit/s that is the format, resolution and bitrate that Youtube encodes all their HD videos in. More and more videos are uploaded to Youtube in HD quality (including this video that I embed in this post) and all those videos playback awesomely on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet since the 1.2.11 firmware version by just clicking on the embedded videos play button or browsing through all the Youtube videos at http://m.youtube.com
As Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said at the Royal Television Society Convention, the coming of new cheap set-top-box products that can play Internet video will be the biggest enabler of the IPTV revolution towards Video-On-Demand, with Youtube already delivering more than 1 Billion views per day, with cheap set-top-boxes with direct Youtube support on people's HDTVs, Youtube would reach even many more views per day and there will be a greater demand for higher quality Youtube videos at up to HD quality. Archos delivers this solution with the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, the first cheap embedded support for Youtube HD on a HDTV.
Waiting for Flash 10.1 support in Android is not even required for Youtube HD, HQ and Normal qualities to work. Flash 10.1 support will come on Archos as soon as Adobe releases Flash 10.1 for Android.
If Archos can support full MKV 720p H264 high profile support with full bitrates in optimized firmware updates, then the Archos 5 Internet Tablet starting at $249 MSRP for the 8GB version is effectively about to become a pocket-sized replacement for Blu-ray. With better features than Blu-ray since Youtube HD support basically is like HD quality video-on-demand.
A few things that I think Archos, Google and third party Android software developers should do to provide a perfect Youtube HD experience:
- Someone should create a YoutubeHD.apk application that should launch Youtube HD/HQ/Normal quality videos automatically in playlists and based on the Youtube user's Youtube account to list recommendations, subscriptions, add searches and tags, display overlay ratings and comments, even provide live overlay chat for videos and for Youtube channels. It could be called Google Watch, be the same as Google Listen, but for Video. Even provide clever podcatching storage and caching of videos and not only go onto Youtube but use any other video sources of the web.
- Archos should provide the user with a choice to limit the quality to HQ or Normal if the user does not want to stream HD quality for some reason, for example perhaps the bandwidth that is available is not enough for that user to have a smooth Youtube HD experience.
- http://m.youtube.com needs to be improved, I want to sort searches by date for example.
- Archos should provide overlay text input facility such as commenting and chatting around the videos and channels. The social features around videos can be really powerful to increase the value proposition of IPTV set-top-box video-on-demand.
- Archos should release a $150 screen-less set-top-box with Android, with only 8GB built-in storage, but possibility to connect any EXT3 formatted USB hard drive or a local NAS to expand storage for DVR functions and for Video downloads also using BitTorrent and RSS. What is cool that you can see in this video of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, is that this is a proof that Archos certainly has the hardware and software know-how to make this happen. Once the easy-to-use Youtube HD set-top-box arrives with BitTorrent, RSS and USB hard drives storage support, for below $100 to $150, I think Video-on-demand and the real IPTV revolution will finally really happen.
You can discuss this video here http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27221
Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android provides the worlds first 800x480 4.8" Android experience on an ARM Cortex A8 processor. It loads websites super fast and smooth. It plays all video codecs from DivX, WMV, Mpeg2 and H264 even MKV video files at up to 1280x720 resolution. There are thousands of compatible Android applications (now or later..) and more to test and to report on every day in the http://forum.archosfans.com as developers are optimizing their applications for Archos 800x480 resolution screen.
Why it's the best: (better than ipod touch, zune HD and other Android smartphones)
- The screen is 2x larger at 4.8" vs. 3.5"
- The screen resolution is 2.5x higher at 800x480 vs. 480x320
- The processor is 3-4 times faster with ARM Cortex A8 vs. ARM11 (the new ipod touch released last month does have ARM Cortex A8 as well though)
- It plays back every video codecs, including DivX, XviD, WMV, Mpeg2, VOB, H264, MP4, MOV, MKV up to 1280x720 and audio codecs Mp3, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AC3 and WMA. Even RMVB might be supported (I have not tested RMVB yet)
- This device can stream Youtube HD and any other HD video format directly from the web over WiFi-N. It's basically also a 180gr $200 (street price for 8GB version) full Blu-ray replacement. On the 500GB version (soon $400 street price), you can basically walk around with 120 Blu-ray quality movies in your pocket to connect and play on any HDTV using the HDMI Mini Dock.
- Archos comes with up to 500GB built-in storage for the hard drive based models.
- MicroSD card slot on the Flash based models.
- HDMI output through the HDMI Mini Dock (price not known yet) or the DVR Station ($130 or lower)
- USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice are supported
- WiFi-N provides more bandwidth and broader coverage for connecting to WiFi Internet
- 3G Bluetooth tethering through a mobile phone for Internet when you are outside of reach of WiFi hotspots
- Video-recording and scheduling with electronic program guide like a Tivo (with the optional DVR Station $130 or below)
- Real GPS built-in for Archos provided Android GPS application or for any other Android based GPS and location based applications
- FM receiver and transmitter built-in
- Samba and UPNP file sharing for streaming of HD movies and TV shows on your local network (I have not tested this feature yet, I am waiting for my Fonera 2.0n to arrive hopefully next week)
- 1280x720 Android Desktop experience when outputting the screen to a HDTV using HDMI. This is the worlds first 1280x720 Android experience. Apps could be optimized for this in the coming months, for example I am expecting to see the full high resolution compatible and optimized Google Chrome available for ARM Cortex A8 based Android devices in the coming few months.
- All that, and it still fits in a pocket, it does not cost more than the ipod touch or zune HD, it is much cheaper than the currently available HTC and Samsung Android phones (at least when bought unlocked) and it is only 1.5x heavier than the ipod touch.
The Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android is, I think, the most significant alternative to Apple's and Microsoft's portable multimedia consumer electronics products on the market for real tech geeks. In my opinion, Archos already has released the industry's best ipod touch and zune HD killer with what we have now. Even though I do look forward to them improving a few things in firmware updates to come in the next weeks and months.
What Archos can improve in the next firmware updates:
- They should fix the audio-synch issue with H264 720p HD video files such as MKV HD and Youtube HD playback. I am confident Archos can fix this in on of the soon to come firmware updates. Mostly the audio-synch issue I am experiencing is only very slightly noticable and the TV episodes as still very watchable and look fantastic using HDMI output from Archos 5 Internet Tablet to my 42" HDTV.
- They should try to support more than 3500kbit/s MKV high profile h264 720p so that MKV 720p 4GB+ movies will play smoothly and that MKV 720p TV episodes will not sometimes drop some frames (usually for 1-3 seconds) on the high peak bitrate scenes (see my tests of MKV high profile h264 720p playback in this forum thread http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26603)
- Hopefully Archos can add support for the DTS audio codec, which is often used in 4GB+ MKV 720p movies.
- USB Webcams or Headmounted camera for live video broadcasting applications like Ustream and Qik.
- USB 3G Dongles would be really useful even though carrying and connecting the USB 3G dongle to a Mini Dock, HDMI Mini Dock or Battery Dock is not the most compact of setups.
- Archos has promised Android 1.6, Android 2.0 and Flash 10.1 support in updates. It'd be nice to see all these officially add support for all the Google apps such as Gmail client, Google Maps, Google Contacts, Google Listen and the Google Marketplace for apps, considering it should be possible for Google to just filter the apps for Archos's specific screen resolution and also filter out apps that require the Camcorder and the electronic compass, unless Archos does provide a Dock or USB webcam and headmounted camera add-on support that ads support for those features.
- It will be interesting to see if Archos specific hardware advantages will be taken advantage of by third party Android application developers. For example, it will be interesting to see if third party developers will be able to provide some apps that support HD video streaming, peer-to-peer downloading and streaming, video games emulation up to N64 and Dreamcast, advanced 3D games such as Quake3, and many other such really advanced things.
- It is going to be interesting to see also up to what extent Archos, Google and third party developers can take advantage of the 1280x720 output when using the HDMI output to a HDTV. I would like to be able to use my Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android as a full Desktop/Laptop replacement. That is, if the ARM Cortex A8 platform inside of it and with all the hardware acceleration can be powerful enough to provide me with the complete performance that I need for full screen, full keyboard and mouse computing.
If they can quickly improve the firmware with these improvements and added features, I believe the Archos Android Tablet could become the absolute must have product for all geeks.
Discuss this video:
You can discuss this video review in the forum http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26754
In my next videos:
In my next videos that I will post here during the next few days, I plan to show you 3G Bluetooth tethering, Youtube HD playback (which now works in todays new Firmware update 1.2.03), some awesome Android apps that work, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse fun, remote desktop, local and remote file sharing and streaming and many more awesome features.
The next hardware:
For the next Archos Phone range due to be released or shown at CES in January 2010, I wish for Archos to integrate a Pixel Qi 3Qi Capacitative touchscreen (watch my video from Computex http://techvideoblog.com/computex/pixel-qi-screen-demo-live-from-taipei/), a 720p camcorder and an electronic compass together with the 3G HSDPA sim card modem. Archos is getting to be very close to absolute perfection in mobile computing.
Full disclosure: I am the biggest Archos fanboy in the world. I run the worlds biggest Archos fans community here at http://archosfans.com and at http://forum.archosfans.com and have done so for the past 5 years. Archos did send me this new Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android 4 days ago for free and have told me that I could keep it since I also need it to support the thousands of Archos users in my online community.
Thanks to OLPC, we have soon 50 million netbooks in rich countries. Intel and Microsoft’s profit margins per laptop are shrinking rapidly.
Thanks to OLPC, children have soon millions of cheap lower power laptops in poor countries.
Thanks to OLPC, the PC/Laptop industry’s interpretation of Moore’s law has totally been reshaped, every 18month now PC/laptops will be half the price instead of 2x more powerful and with 2x more bloatware.
Sure, I would have been happier, and so would most other Linux geeks if OLPC had shipped 100 million laptops to poor children by now, and not just 1 million units. Reason for that not happening yet in multi-hundred million scales though are several:
1. Intel will do anything it can not to be killed off by a non-profit laptop technology revolution. Including abusing of monopolistic situations and corrupting politicians.
2. AMD is not much interested in helping OLPC succeed in lowering the cost of laptops and PCs. Lower cost also means less profits and margins for AMD, and AMD has enough problems with profits and margins as it is.
Looking forward, to reach those 100 million poor children sooner rather than later:
1. OLPC needs to find an alternative to AMD as soon as possible. VIA is planned for XO-1.5 which could hopefully ship a few millions of units in a few months time, if VIA supports this move of OLPC creating a cheaper and lower power market using their processor. XO-1.5 could reach the $150 pricepoint soon and enable dozens of commercial netbooks using the VIA processor and also copying on the way OLPC is using the VIA processor.
2. OLPC needs to implement the worlds best ARM processor based laptops for XO-2 working with Google to implement the so called Chrome OS on those. Cloud computing can work also for places without stable internet access, HTML5 supports offline web apps and offline databases. OLPC needs to push Google to make it work on WiFi Mesh networks as well. XO-2 can start at $100 when released and reach the $50 price point, when manufactured using any of half a dozen ARM processor companies chips. All of TI, Qualcomm, Marvell, Freescale, Nvidia and Samsung, all those ARM processors should fit in the XO-2 design. Competition will bring the prices down faster.
Also, to reach those 100 million children, OLPC needs to have more than just a couple dozen engineers working on the whole optimizations of hardware and software for the project.
What OLPC managed to build in XO1 and XO-1.5 with 30 employees and the little budget that they could get is absolutely amazing.
But what OLPC probably needs for XO-2 to absolutely work and sell laptops soon at $50 to revolutionize education worldwide, is thousands of engineers and the support from Barack Obama and the European Union.
So OLPC’s political agenda definitely needs to be more targeted towards the politics of education and aid of the USA and Europe and with much more ambition to make things happen in huge scale as quickly as possible.
I would link to the Masterful John C Dvorak for some very clever guessing: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-googles-new-os-more-than-just-a-bluff?siteid=
I do not believe John C Dvorak is 100% right in his funny column, though I do believe he is right when he says that this is all a super clever public relations trick put on by Google and that all of it is just the Google OS coming up. John C Dvorak is mostly right about most things that he says.
I believe it will be released open sourced in a couple of months, with the first ARM Cortex A8 and Tegra based laptops.
Android 2.0 and Chrome OS is the same thing. It doesn’t matter what Google says and what bloggers think. There is only one way Google is working towards:
- Making full Chrome browser work on ARM embedded laptops even better than on x86 based laptops.
Now, you might know me as the contiunous x86 basher, I kind of am. But what I believe Google wants is more competition in both hardware and software space for PCs and laptops. This is what Google OS is all about.
The reasons Google might caution Google OS on ARM fans to wait for are a few technological breakthroughs which Google might need before the worldwide availability of perfect $100 Google laptops can happen:
1. ARM Cortex A8 needs to be fast enough for a full browser. If it’s not, then Google needs to wait for broad availability of ARM Cortex A9 starting early next year.
2. Google and the whole ARM community needs to optimize browsers, flash, HTML5 features on DSP and GPU cores of laptops, especially ARM laptops, so that $100 laptops can run a FULL browser and cloud computing experience. Nvidia, Qualcomm, Freescale, Texas Instruments were promising hardware acceleration for the browser, Flash and HTML5 at Computex, but they didn’t really show it yet. I believe they can make it work as a 2003 X86 based browser (something like a 512MB RAM or less system), though that may not be enough for the full mass market to adopt the first version, thus Google might prefer to wait for full launch for it to work better than 2009 x86 browsers.
3. Google wants better connectivity. Google is strongly hoping to start implementing White Spaces worldwide as soon as possible, this will enable free unlimited wireless Internet for all (and destroy all ISPs and telcos in the process). Optimized Connected standby features for ARM devices might only really start working perfectly early next year. First generation ARM Google OS laptops might not have LED lights that turn on instantly on incoming emails, feeds, pings, IMs, VOIP calls and other such crucial presence and social networking web apps which Google needs on the Google laptops for it to really feel like revolutionary products compared to the established systems.
4. Political aspects of this might start being put into places early next year as well such as real competition on HSDPA connectivity, maximum prices of $20 per month pre-paid data-only plans for most of the world and no more contract-plans and other voice and SMS plans forced onto consumers by monopolistic telcos. Also political decision on net neutrality, white spaces, sustainable energy consumption of consumer electronics and servers and crucial for Google to succeed on this global cloud computing plan.
I see it as inevitable, that Google will create Google OS, a super tiny embedded Linux open source OS less than 50 Megabytes for the whole highly optimized OS, and that in a couple of months we will start seeing it ship on $150 ARM based laptops with all types of screen sizes (large screens and keyboards aren’t much more expensive than small ones, consider $50 upgrade for 15″ and full keyboard instead of 10″ and tiny netbook keyboard).
Those $150 Google laptops will be running ARM chips by half a dozen competing ARM processor manufacturers and manufactured by all the major laptop manufacturers in the world. Effectively putting out of business all of Microsoft, Intel and Apple. Together with most of Silicon Valley. That is for the better. For the first time billions more people will have access to this technology very quickly and we will all for the first time really find amazing new ways to use the technology.
As for technical details on Native versus Cloud apps. I believe natively you will have everything needed for a full computing experience. Basically it’s not just the browser, it’s not just flash support, it’s not just HTML5 including native code plugins for the browser and 3D in the browser, it’s like providing you the hypervisors, user interface APIs, clever caching and seamless interface optimizations, which will enable you to not only have a full 2009 x86 style computing experience, it will plug you into the full cloud, in fact giving you infinately more computing power for all the most processor intensive tasks that the biggest professionals would want to use. You can definitely encode videos using grid server encoding, I have been doing that for over 2 years for all my HD video encoding needs, just have a fast enough upload to upload your source files from your camcorders. Google Gears type database and web application caching not only lets you do things while offline, it can turn all web applications into feeling exactly like native applications, they respond instantly without having to wait for any online service to stream the user interfaces back at you. The user interfaces will be locally cached on the machine, only processed data is streamed from the cloud, and clever pre-loading algorithms mostly will not make you feel any difference than processing everything using a local X86 processor. In fact, things will feel much faster cause you will be able to have the power of an unlimited amount of cloud servers to render, process and encode any of your media intensive tasks.
Ryanair and Easyjet are full of Corporate World types, who just enjoy that they can save money on flight tickets. Sales of Business class tickets on any airline company are tanking. Saving money and getting smaller, better, cheaper laptops is absolutely a universal thing, not only for the mass market, also for corporate types.
You will get £100 Google OS Laptops, running 15-20 hours on a 3-cell battery, fully sunlight readable with the Pixel Qi screen, highly optimized with built-in HSDPA always-on connectivity, connected standby features (rings or blinks an alert light from full standby on incoming emails or calendar alerts), all Google OS laptops will be based on ARM Processors.
Basically Chrome OS = Android 2.0 optimized for Laptops. It will absolutely take over the world, as the absolute best OS for ARM Laptops, instantly putting Microsoft, Apple and Intel out of business.
I posted this as a comment on http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/15/google_chrome_os/comments/
I broadcast a 3 hour live video coverage on the 11th of June from the Archos event in Paris. Henri Crohas the CEO of Archos's Keynote with guests on stage such as Alain Madelain President of the World Fund on Digital Solidarity for the Archos 9classmate launch, Presidents of Intel France and Microsoft France as well launching the new line of Archos Intel/Microsoft products, you can see here the 3 hour long video that we broadcast live from Paris today filmed using an Archos 10's built-in Webcam using ustream.tv. You can scroll this video forward to 57 minute to see the English speaking live video coverage from the Archos showcase of all the new products, including interviews of Archos representatives, discussions among the Archos bloggers and more:
There is also a second part of this broadcast, where we continue to go up close with the products:
HD hands-on videos are being uploaded right now. If my Hotel's internet upload is fast enough, you will have the videos posted early tomorrow morning. Otherwise I will upload them during the next couple of days.
Archos Android products will be shown later, in September, by the 15th of September 2009, Archos will have the Android event with one or more Android products shown. Sorry, I thought that Archos was going to show the Android products at this event.
Thanks to BenMars for borrowing his Archos 10 laptop to enable us to do this live video streaming from the event today!
Archos had representatives from Intel and Microsoft on stage, so Archos could not use this event to also show their fully in-house developed Archos Android product or line of products. Sadly. We will have to wait a bit more to see more of that. But Archos CEO Henri Crohas started his Keynote speaking about the Android line of products and giving us some details, basically saying that it's going to be awesome.
Archos explained a bit of how it is working now in terms of R&D and development work. Archos still has their core engineering team working on the Android device/devices to be unveiled on or before September the 15th at another event. All the while, Archos is able to release Intel and Microsoft based products and position themselves very well on the market, in partnership with engineers and manufacturers in China, in partnership with Intel and Microsoft as well.
You can hear more from the Archos CEO Henri Crohas about Android in the keynote that we broadcast live using ustream.tv at around the 15-25th minute: http://archosfans.com/2009/06/11/archos-event-video-recorded/
Here I filmed a highlight of Henri Crohas's talk about Android in upcoming Archos device/devices:
CrOvax and Ulrich from http://frandroid.com are Android fans at the Archos event in Paris, reporting about their reaction to the fact that Archos is not zet showing the Android device/devices publicly but only a bit talking about them at this point, and annoncing only officially about the Archos Android September event that will be coming up.
Side by side comparison video showing the Pixel Qi 3Qi LCD screen next to the E-ink based Amazon Kindle, next to the transflective Toshiba R600 and next to a regular resistive touchscreen tablet laptop. Comparing performance in direct sunlight, in the shade and in a dark room with and without the backlight.