Vero Apparatus is trying to design the worlds most powerful ARM Powered Laptop, powerful enough for software developers at Linaro to use ARM Laptops for their ARM related software development. The open source hardware and software will address the concerns that many people have about proprietary products, and provide the most transparent assurances about absence of security vulnerabilities.
The ARM64 Open Laptop concept was announced in an ad hoc session at DebConf 2014 in Portland, Oregon, where over a dozen interested developers gathered at fairly short notice. They approved the concept and decided on some of the things to do next. See the slides of the presentation
The idea is to produce a small quantity (say 100) of replacement motherboards physically compatible with a laptop model that is already popular with developers. Lenovo or HP might have suitable chassis models. The Lenovo X220 is a good candidate but Vero Apparatus is open to alternative proposals. The design will re-use an existing case, SATA drive, display, battery, keyboard, touchpad, webcam, speaker and microphone to reduce development cost.
The main processor will probably be an AMD Opteron A1100 system-on-chip code named "Seattle". In short, this has four or eight 64-bit Cortex-A57 cores, supports up to 128GB RAM, SATA and LAN. Being a server chip it lacks video, audio and USB, so either those must be added to the motherboard or another, more versatile chip must come along soon. Hardware choices will opt for longer battery life rather than 3D graphics performance.
Debian GNU/Linux is the default OS and distribution choice but Open Source implies freedom for the user. UEFI is the preferred firmware architecture, realistically in the form of Tianocore EDK2.
ARM Cortex-A72 is ARM’s highest-performance and most advanced processor. Based on the ARMv8-A 64bit Architecture, the Cortex-A72 CPU builds on the wide success of the Cortex-A57 processor across mobile and enterprise markets, ARM has done a number of micro-architectural changes and made some engineering improvements in the design, to deliver three and a half times the performance of ARM Cortex-A15 based devices in the smartphone power budget, as well as significant reductions in overall power consumption also optimizing the design for upcoming 16nm FinFET and smaller process technology.
The MHL Consortium has outdone itself with their latest technology mega specification, now perhaps setting the spec at a very future proof level (shall we say at least until 2020?), supporting up to 8K at 120fps, with up to 40W for power charge, delivering higher resolution, faster frame rates, support for the upcoming USB Type-C (dual side reversible) connector for up to 8K 60fps output from a phone (wow wow!). For the first time, MHL also introduces a new superMHL connector for 8K TVs (as in the first 8K TV from Samsung shown at CES). The SuperMHL spec is for mobile devices, set-top boxes (STBs), Blu-ray players, Audio/video recorders, HDMI sticks and other source devices to TVs and monitors, as SuperMHL should be included in most future FHD/4K/8K TVs, PC Monitors, MHL has shipped in over 750 Million devices thus far. The new SuperMHL spec is also offering wider color gamut, deeper colors (to reduce color banding), high dynamic range (HDR) supported through signaling and through higher bandwidth.
As Rockchip is ramping up the output of their new RK3288 processor, this is the official presentation video for the Rockchip RK3288 processor. Some of the advantages highlighted are 10-second boot time, Fast app loading, Multi-window UI, Fast Web browsing, up to 2560x1600 display, H265 4K playback, 4K HDMI2.0 at 60fps, Turstzone PlayReady HDCP Widevine DRM, Dolby audio, 13 Megapixel back camera and some of the Mali-T764 GPU features such as Transaction Elimination, Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression, ARM Frame Buffer Compression, Stereoscopic 3D Game Driver and the POP-Star Searching Entertainment Engine. You can read more about it at http://www.rock-chips.com/a/en/products/RK32_Series/2014/0504/484.html and you can watch all the RK3288 videos that I posted thus far at http://armdevices.net/?s=RK3288
Potentially released as soon as next month by Lenovo, Digitimes reports that Lenovo and Asus are preparing to release $149 Chromebooks based on the Rockchip RK3288 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 with Mali-T764. The rumored screen size is 11.6" according to Digitimes.
To be seen if those include 2GB or 4GB RAM. I think 4GB RAM would be nice, even if that adds a few $ to BOM cost. Perhaps they can just let consumers choose to double RAM to 4GB if they just pay $10 or $20 more. I think it would also be nice if they also provide a larger $169 13.3" skew. Both with 1366x768 matte displays would be good I think. At least one, or multiple SD card slots for storage, HDMI output, at least 2 USB3 would be nice.
I think if the performance is smooth, if the keyboard/mousepad/display qualities are great, if the designs by Lenovo and Asus are classy "like a Macbook Air" and not purposefully cheap looking, the RK3288 Chromebooks may become more popular than RK3288 in Android Tablets, and Chrome OS on RK3288 Set-top-boxes may also be more popular than RK3288 Android Set-top-boxes. If priced right, and if mass produced at absolute maximum capacity by brands like Lenovo and Asus, I think this could potentially become one of the most popular laptops in the world, potentially overtaking Wintel laptops faster than anyone can imagine.
Running Intel Celeron with Windows 8, the price is about $250 for 500 units. They can also use the Intel Core-i3/5/7 processors starting at $390. Weight is 1.4Kg, battery life is about 4-5 hours, they also have 10.1" and 11.6" Windows Tablets starting at $310. They sell about 10K laptops per month.
Allwinner presents the 1st 64-bit Board: Nobel64 Board:
The Nobel64 Board is a dev board based on Allwinner's first 64-bit quad-core processor, which is also the first 64-bit dev board based on application processors from Chinese design houses. Allwinner claims it has industry-leading system performance and ultra-high system integration, they present their Nobel64 Board as suitable for development projects such as tablets, OTT boxes, notebooks, digital signage and AIOs and more.
Octa-Core A83 for HD Tablets:
Based on TSMC's 28nm HPC process, Allwinner A83T is designed to be a high performance and an extremely power-efficient Octa-core processor. For that reason, A83T packs eight highly energy-efficient ARM Cortex-A7 cores that can run simultaneously at around 2.0GHz, and Allwinner says that it implements the advanced big.LITTLE architecture to maximize the battery life. Imaginations Technology's PowerVR GPU is also combined in A83T to deliver balanced graphic processing performance and power consumption. Another noteworthy feature of A83T is its implementation of Allwinner's next-gen SmartColor technology, Allwinner's latest achievements in display technology, for delivering higher image quality with higher resolutions. The first Octa-core tablet sporting Allwinner A83T is to hit in Q4 2014.
Octa-core H8 for Set-top-Boxes:
Allwinner also shows their new Octa-core H8 SoC for high-end gaming and video OTT box markets at the HongKong Electronics Fair. Based on TSMC’s 28nm HPC process, this new SoC delivers high system performance with low heat, enabling ODM/OEM manufacturers to produce Octa-core OTT boxes at competitive BOM costs.
According to Allwinner, the H8 octa-core delivers:
· High-speed high performance computing system
· Premium multimedia features
· Video output system
· High system integration