The CEO of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, highlighted ARM Servers by Smooth-stone and Tegra2 Powered Toshiba AC100 at his keynote speech at the Ubuntu Developer Conference. He mentions the cool work done to port Ubuntu 10.10 to it: http://ac100.gudinna.com/. Hopefully Nvidia, Canonical people and the open source community will bring about full hardware acceleration for all aspects of Ubuntu 10.10 on this ARM Cortex-A9 laptop design.
It’s launched now, available in stock at Amazon UK for £126. 128Mb RAM, 2Gb ROM, it runs Windows CE 6.0. If it could run full Chrome OS, at this price, (probably ARM Cortex A9 is needed though) this type of product will be perfect.
The price is likely below 129€ in Europe and below $129 in the USA! USA does not pay taxes on consumer electronics.
Processor: Samsung 533 MHz
Memory: 128Mb RAM, 2Gb ROM
Operating System: Windows CE 6.0
Display: 10.2 inch TFT LCD Digital display
Audio: Integrated speaker, 3.5 mm Stereo Headphone Jack
User Interface: Buttons (Power on/off, Reset on/off), LEDs (AC/DC Power, Battery status)
Interfaces/Ports: Standard SD card slot (up to 32 Gb), 3 x USB 2.0, RJ-45, DC-in
Wireless Network: WLAN 802.11 b/g
Battery: 2100 mAH
Dimensions (WxDxH): 182.5 x 270 x 31 mm
Weight: 1.1 Kg
Thanks BenMars for your report from the Hong Kong Sourcing fair!
In parallel with the Intel Developer Forum, just next to Intel’s event, some competitors are showing such nice things as this ARM Cortex A9 processor design and implementation by Chinese manufacturer Nufront, they say that final products with this could be on the market below $250 before Christmas with power consumption below 2W for the whole system. They plan this solution for low cost and low power Netbook and Desktop style products.
This is probably so far the coolest looking ARM Powered laptop to be released broadly on the market. The first ARM Cortex A9 based laptop. Runs an optimized Android OS with custom web browser from Opera Mobile and I am guessing, the full Chrome browser for ARM may be able to run on this eventually as well. This laptop is being released right now for around 299€ or $299 with WiFi and a bit more for the version with built-in 3G modem.
A synchronized cloud based content browsing and streaming system that works across set-top-box, laptops both ARM powered and Intel powered, and on Toshiba’s new Tegra2 based Android laptops and tablets.
Uruguay has already given one laptop to every child between 6-12 years old. Now they want to give laptops to older students too from 12-15 years old. For this, OLPC has installed a keyboard that is more suitable for older kids:
As you can see with the hundreds of videos at my other video-blog http://olpc.tv, OLPC is a huge success wherever it is implemented. The ARM based versions that are coming, hopefully also using the newest version of the Pixel Qi screens, should allow for a significant lowering of the manufacturing prices and a much lower power consumption.
Engadget and a bunch of other blogs have been reporting these last few days about the cool Augen branded Android Smartbook and Tablets that are being released in the US market at affordable $99 and $149 prices by Super Market chain KMart. I just would like to remind my readers that I posted my video review of the Augen Smartbook 6 months ago on January 29th as it’s based on the Hivision PWS700CA and its cool RockChip ARM9 processor that runs Android in this video: http://armdevices.net/2010/01/29/android-laptop-review-hivision-pws700ca/
To let you know my opinion. I think it is fantastic that Augen and KMart are promoting such cheaper Android Laptop and Tablet form factors as alternatives to the much more expensive Apple iPad and Intel Netbooks. Archos has also been selling the similarly priced Archos 7 Home Tablet on the worldwide market which I video reviewed 5 months ago, which is now broadly available in many retail and online stores below $200 for the 8GB version (and the 2GB version originally planned at $149, then $179 but for now they are mostly selling the 8GB version). That Rockchip based Laptop and Tablet platform also being upgraded to 1ghz still ARM9 to support newer Android 2.2 versions.
But as we have heard from Canonical developers and from hearsay and off camera chatter by Google people at the Google Q&A at Computex about Chrome OS on ARM Laptops, although the second generation 45nm ARM Cortex A8 with faster DDR RAM and faster I/O performance can be enough, the coming of ARM Cortex A9 platforms may be preferable to achieve the full desktop web browsing experience that most consumers may require for them to consider the ARM platforms as fully usable alternatives in the Intel/Microsoft dominated Laptop market. And the iPad and the whole bunch of smart phones that are currently spread all over the market, those may kind of set expectations at capacitive and ARM Cortex A8 performance at the minimum. So it will be interesting, capacitive touch screen manufacturers allowing, to see how soon and how cheap those capacitive Android tablet designs at full user interface speeds can reach the market. ARM9 and ARM11 resistive tablets are not bad for a start, they can give the consumers and bloggers a taste of what can be done with Android at retail prices below $200 and even below $100. The ultimate goal should be though that we should have full speed ARM Cortex versions of all these devices in all the stores, with the best capacitive screens for tablets or non-touch screens for Laptops, preferably Pixel Qi screens, and available below $200 without contracts, running free Linux based Android or Ubuntu OSes.
Rockchip may be the new “China Processor”, that ARM Processor coming out of China that can be found in some of the cheap Android Tablets and Laptops. This could be a major part of China’s attempt at providing every component of future low cost computing devices, even the processor. The new version of the Rockchip processor is said to be faster, RK2808 is 600mhz while RK2818 can go to 1ghz. But according to Toms Hardware, this new Rockchip RK2818 might still be ARM926EJ-S ARMv5 based.
In practice, RK2808 reached 1.1 DMIPS per MHz, while a core based on the Cortex A8 is 2 DMIPS per MHz and the recent Cortex A9 is 2.5 per DMIPS MHz. Even at 1 GHz, a Rockchip will be about two times slower than what the Cortex competition offers (at a higher price).
The question might be, how much cheaper are ARM9 based devices? Rockchip might still be only for low-end lower cost devices mostly made by Chinese manufacturers. The good news is this new Rockchip can support Android 2.1 and 2.2 (while RK2808 can only do Android 1.5). It’s got to be thanks to its newer and better DSP graphics accelerator, with screen support at up to 1024×768 which could be great to power cheap ARM Powered laptops and low cost 10″ Android Tablets. Availability may be after September for a bunch of new RK2818 based products or maybe also simply quick upgrades of RK2808 based designs. I wonder if the new 720p video playback on RK2818 may be improved, while RK2808 could only playback H264 MKV 720p at up to 2.5mbit/s.
Wow, the Toshiba AC100 Cloud Companion smartbook is some serious looking ARM Cortex A9 laptop right there, being launched soon! It’s based on Nvidia Tegra 2 1ghz ARM Cortex A9 system on chip, with a nice HDMI output on the side of the device (full 1080p output!), it runs a customized version of Android optimized for the Laptop form factor. It comes with 512MB DDR2 (333 MHz) RAM, 16GB Flash (up to 32GB version available), 2 USB host ports, 10.1″ 1024×600 LED backlit LCD, SDHC card reader, 1.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth, WiFi-N and a weight of 870 grams. Toshiba may launch this in Europe in August as a kind of high end thin premium laptop priced 349€ for WiFi-only version and 449€ for the version with built-in 3G HSDPA.