Category: Opinions

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My take on Samsung at IFA, awesome but perhaps misplaced

Posted by Charbax – September 4, 2011

Probably the highlight of this IFA show for me has thus far been the unveiling of the awesome Samsung Galaxy Note (2), Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 for reasons of the pure awesomeness to see the new high resolution Super AMOLED screens in action (4.5", 5.3" and 7.7") and to get a feeling of the upcoming probable Nexus Prime hardware experience.

There is some talk on blogs about Samsung removing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the showfloor today on and this has now become the conspiracy theory here in Berlin around the IFA show.

I do not believe for one second that Apple has any authority over Samsung at IFA, regardless of the bogus lawsuits going on in bogus court rooms in Dusseldorf, Netherlands and Australia. Samsung is paying the IFA consumer electronics show millions of euros for their hall, over many years, Apple never spent one single cent at IFA or at any other trade shows worldwide for that matter. Apple thinks they are too cool to compete in trade shows, Apple does not want people to think of them as a mere competitor in a market.

Here's what I think Samsung might be thinking right now, and what I have been saying from the first second I saw their latest devices:

1. Samsung is now the worlds leading Smart Phone manufacturer, in front of Apple.

2. Just like Apple, Samsung makes much higher profit margins on the smartphones than on the tablets.

3. Even with the new Super AMOLED factory now in function in South Korea, Samsung can simply not output enough Super AMOLED screens of all the different sizes and types before this Christmas sales.

4. The 7.7" Super AMOLED screen is awesome and all, but Samsung cannot justify the extra cost of manufacturing 7.7" Super AMOLED vs continuing to use LCD on Tablet sizes.

5. Samsung needs to make about 50 million Smartphone sized Super AMOLED Plus screens during these next few months, there is no space in their factory to also make 7.7" such screens, and it basically costs 3x to 4x more to make a 7.7" Super AMOLED screen compared to a 4.5" size, cause you can fit upwards 3x to 4x more smartphone sized screens on their manufacturing process.

6. Super AMOLED screens are beautiful to look at, bravo. But the LCD manufacturing process is operating at about 40x larger scale worldwide. Also, advances in LCD screens cannot really justify the cost difference in manufacturing those expensive Super AMOLED screens.

7. The reason Samsung can make Super AMOLED screens today even though I would guess the Super AMOLED Plus screen costs 2x more than the highest-end LCD, is that Samsung is still making $250 profit or more per smartphone when they sell them upwards $500 through carriers and unlocked.

8. My main complaint on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 form factor is that it is too wide to fit normal jacket pockets, I cannot fit it inside of my jacket pocket. That means that it makes it much less likely people will carry it around everywhere, but that it would have to mostly stay at home. While being shown at IFA, the device did have a sticker saying something like "this may not be the final design", maybe Samsung has figured out from mine and others comments at the show, that if they really want to release a 7.7" tablet, they may have to consider trying to cut more of the bezel off of the device.

Here are some pictures comparing the my Archos 70 Internet Tablet that I have used every day for the past 11 months because I can carry it everywhere in my jacket pocket vs the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7" shown at IFA that simply does not fit in jacket pockets so has to stay at home:

While the Samsung Galaxy Note also is fantasticly awesome, my suggestion to technology fans is not to expect that Samsung can manufacture enough of those 5.3" HD Super AMOLED screens before the end of this year. Also, Samsung may be realizing that it may be very hard to sell the feature of using a stylus on top of a capacitive screen, it may be too hard for them to lower the lag time and increase the accuracy enough to make it usable. In which situations does mass market consumers really want to use a stylus often? I can think of situations such as collaborating in real-time on annotating text, but I don't think a light emitting Super AMOLED screen is the right type of screen for that usage.

So where does Samsung go from here? My guess is that they will focus as much of the Super AMOLED factory as they can on making 4.3" and 4.5" screens for the upcoming Nexus Prime = Samsung Galaxy S2 = Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE = Verizon Droid Prime, etc. This is where they are getting the most profit. And while the Samsung Galaxy Note might come out, and can definitely sell plenty more than Dell Stream 5 did a year ago, I think Samsung is probably going to use LCD for the Tablets that they'll release before the end of this year. My guess is Samsung may release updates for their 7" and 10.1" tablets before the end of this year, and those will likely use LCD and not Super AMOLED.

In the medium term, I guess that AMOLED may be phased out again, but it already cannot be considered a failure in any way, it has provided Samsung with a unique differentiator in their market share gaining activities in the most important smartphone market. By the time AMOLED factories may be closed in 2-3 years, the quality of LCD at that time will have increased so much, with technologies such as Pixel Qi, IPS and FFS, that it will not make sense to make any AMOLED anymore. Most importantly, the profit margins on smartphones will quickly be reduced as the smartphone becomes a commodity, the profit margins will not anymore allow for the price difference that there is between LCD and AMOLED.

20 years ago today, Linux was released

Posted by Charbax – August 26, 2011

On August 26th 1991, Linus Torvalds released Linux in the comp.os.minix newsgroup:

Hello everybody out there using minix -
I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on
things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat
(same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons)
among other things).
I've currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work.
This implies that I'll get something practical within a few months, and
I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions
are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)
Linus (
PS. Yes - it's free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs.
It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never
will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that's all I have :-(.

The creation of Linux was possible thanks to the Socialist system in Finland that provides free unlimited University education to its students, where Linus Torvalds was able to mess around with his own personal ideas for 8 and a half years for free:

Some talk by Linus Torvalds about Linux 10 years ago on the Charlie Rose TV show:

While Linux totally dominates in your smart phone (Android), in your TV/set-top-box, in the worlds servers that host all websites, in powering Government and Industry infrastructure, I believe that with Chrome OS and OLPC we are also soon likely to see Linux dominate for the home and enterprise desktop/laptop OS ecosystem.

$80 Huawei IDEOS sells 350K units thus far in Kenya

Posted by Charbax – August 18, 2011 publishes this article about the explosion of access to cheap Android phones in the developing world. Already 350 thousand $80 Huawei IDEOS have been sold through Kenya's carrier Safaricom. Kenya has a population of 41 million people, 40% are said to live with less than $2 per day.

The developing world, Africa, BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, access to cheaper Android in those countries, that is the most interesting story in technology today. Sure we will all also get better, faster, more powerful, more colorful and more featureful gadgets soon also. But the idea that 5 Billion people may soon experience the Internet for the first time through Android smart phones, and thinking of what that can potentially do to improve peoples lives, that is the biggest story.

We're talking better farming, better healthcare, better commerce, better education, better democracy. The potential is immense. Hopefully technology companies are really attentive, hopefully software developers are imaginative, hopefully telecom carriers and Governments embrace this for all and very fast, Android may reach sub-$50 phones before the end of this year to even further accelerate the reach and accessibility.

Here's my video of the Huawei IDEOS as it was unveiled for the first time at the IFA 2010 consumer electronics show in Berlin (the next IFA 2011 is coming up in less than 2 weeks, I will provide you with a full video coverage of all the latest ARM Powered devices shown there):

Follow this blog for the latest news on the cheapest Android phones, I am trying to find some new MTK6573, ST U6715, MSM7227 and the upcoming new cheaper smart phone platforms out of China and elsewhere. Look forward to a lot of crazy cheap Android smart phone news in the months to come. By the way, I've used my $87 FG8 for the past 3 months as my main phone and it has worked great.


Google buys Hardware company for $12.5 Billion

Posted by Charbax – August 16, 2011

Here are some numbers according to Josh Pritchard, posted on Quora about a week before this acquisition was announced:

--Motorola actually has ~$3.2B in cash (~$170M are "cash deposits"), with $200M more coming from Motorola Solutions, per the terms of the separation.
--They have $2.4B in deferred tax assets, that Google presumably plans to use (the media seems to be completely missing this one).

So, if you net the cash and tax assets, it's more like ~$7B that Google is paying for the operating businesses and the patents.

Motorola Mobility has $6.2 Billion in assets (buildings and other stuff?) according to Wikipedia. Google gets 19 thousand new employees (up from 29 thousand current Google employees, a 65% jump in employee count).

Of course, what everyone is talking about are those 17 thousand patents and 7 thousand pending patents that Motorola Mobility has. Consider Motorola is a 80 year old company. Their patents most likely include many of the interesting Hardware Patents, I'm not a lawyer, but I am pretty sure strong Hardware Patents are worth much more than bogus software patents. This means Android, Chrome OS, Google TV can stay free and open source forever. Apple and Microsoft have to drop all their bogus lawsuits against Android companies immediately. Google now has the patent on the mobile phone, the Apple iPhone can be illegal tomorrow if Google wants it to be.

What do I think Google is going to do:

1. Ask the genius team behind the Motorola Atrix to join the Android team to make a platform that combines Ice Cream Sandwich, Google TV and Chrome OS into the ultimate ARM Powered device. Provide that solution as an all-in-one standard for the Android ecosystem and not just make it one product.

2. Interview any of the other 19 thousand employees at Motorola Mobility, ask who wants to work within Android, within Google or remain within Motorola Mobility and to do what. They can invent some genius interview process so somehow everyone gets what they want and what they deserve.

3. Maybe Samsung, HTC, Sony-Ericsson or simply the stock market are later offered to buy back the Motorola Mobility Hardware division without the patents but with free unlimited licence to use any of the patents on Android devices. In 6 months, if the stock market has somewhat recovered, Google may get all their money back for that.

4. Or Google can find use in owning Motorola, perhaps ask Motorola to design hardware such as Cheap $50 Android phones to bring Android to all people in the developing world, special focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China (potentially 1-2 Billion Android phones can be sold there in 1-2 years), Google can ask Motorola design $50 ARM Powered Google TV enabled Set-top-boxes that all consumers and all Pay-TV providers are going to use.

5. Maybe Android is mature enough (owning more than 80% of the smart phone market by the end of the year), Google may want to use Motorola to launch White Spaces networks worldwide for free wireless broadband for all. $99 Android phones unlocked that include unlimited free Google Voice, unlimited free wireless broadband in every city all over the world. White Spaces are unstoppable. Maybe this is the time. They can bundle a Motorola router with the phone, you plug it to your home ADSL/Cable/Fiber to expand that White Spaces network in your neighborhood.

Pricing speculations on cheaper Samsung Galaxy R, Tegra2 4.2″ Super Clear LCD Smartphone

Posted by Charbax – August 14, 2011

Arguably, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is the best phone in the world today. Samsung now also brings what looks to become a lower cost similar smartphone experience using the Tegra2 Dual-core 1Ghz processor instead of the 1.2Ghz Dual-core Exynos and using an LCD touch screen instead of the more expensive and harder to manufacture Super AMOLED Plus screen.

I played with the Samsung Galaxy S2 for a few days as I was able to borrow it during Computex, it's a very impressive phone, the screen is amazing and the processor for now seems unbeaten in terms of performance (until 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 devices start coming out next month).

In Europe, I cannot find the Samsung Galaxy S2 sold below 458€ and in the US it seems to cost $629. Clearly, that's very expensive. But I guess, many people still consider that the normal going rate for high-end smart phones?

What is really the true manufacturing cost for Samsung on the Samsung Galaxy S2? My guess is they spend less than $200 to manufacture each phone (which is probably a bit higher than Apple and other LCD based Android smart phone makers pay per phone). Which means they are making upwards 200% profit margin on each phone. Sure enough, Samsung spends extra on making the Super AMOLED Plus screen, which they also are in the process of using their new multi-billion dollar Super AMOLED Plus factory to try to ramp up mass manufacturing to keep up with demand. But I guess that's just how things are for getting a Samsung for now. I'd find it cool if they decided to sell the Samsung Galaxy S2 for $250 unlocked or 250€, it may allow them to not loose money and gain huge market share as they increase their mass manufacturing even much further, but that may be too disruptive for the whole smart phone carrier business model yet.

Anyways, Samsung may save with Galaxy R compared to S2 (according to my pure guess) about $20 on the LCD, and perhaps about $10 on the processor and other electronics that come with the Tegra2 package. A $30 savings in Bill of Material, may translate to upwards $100 cheaper retail price. So I expect Samsung will sell the Samsung Galaxy R below 399€ and below $499 as unlocked. I do not consider the carrier subsidized pricings as I consider those more expensive, they can sometimes add up to $2500 over the 2-year contracts, which I do not consider a pricing advantage over buying the phones unlocked and then using cheaper data and voice SIM cards in there.

What do I recommend geeks who want the best regardless of the price? If you can't wait, get a Samsung Galaxy S2, don't look too much at the price tag, consider all competing big brand Android phones cost about the same. If you can wait, maybe in 1 or 2 months, the rumored Samsung Nexus Prime might be coming with Ice Cream Sandwich. I do not know if the rumors of a 720p Super AMOLED Plus 4.3" screen are realistic, or if Samsung will use the 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 or perhaps overclock their own Dual-core Exynos platform to 1.5Ghz. I would not be surprised if the rumored Nexus Prime is more or less the same as a Samsung Galaxy S2, with very minor design changes and it just running vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich, just like the Nexus S is a copy of the Samsung Galaxy S1 and the Nexus One is a copy of the HTC Desire. The OMAP4460 Ice Cream Sandwiches might be used by LG, Motorola and other companies which may have more history in working with Texas Instruments, but who knows, maybe Texas Instruments is doing huge efforts to provide attractive package deals to all the device makers and that they all feel they cannot afford to miss the non-exclusive TI OMAP4460 based opportunity.

TheInquirer recently quoted analysts saying that Samsung has now overtaken Apple and has become the worlds biggest smart phone maker.

Samsung might have sold more smartphones than Apple and Nokia during April, May and June

With phones like the Samsung Nexus Prime, Galaxy R, cheaper Galaxy phones (2, 3) targetted at pre-paid and developing countries (including focus on BRIC, Brazil, Russia, India, China), the new Super AMOLED Plus factory being ready for increased mass production, Samsung's rise in smart phone market share is likely to only increase. Consider that with just Samsung's Android smart phones, there are more sales than the iPhone, consider how much more Android smart phones sell overall compared to iPhone when all the other many growing Android smart phone makers are put together. I think it is not ridiculous to expect a 1/4 ratio in daily sales to be demonstrated pretty soon, likely before Christmas, regardless of how many current iPhone owners decide to upgrade to the iPhone5.

White Spaces new unlicenced 802.22TM-2011 standard can replace all carriers and provide free wireless broadband worldwide for all

Posted by Charbax – July 28, 2011

Bloggers are talking about using White Spaces for connecting rural areas to broadband, citing specs such as "transmissions speeds topping out at 22 Mbps per channel, with a range of up to 100 kilometers". That is great and all, bravo. But what I have been suggesting for years, please write comments if you know more or better, is that White Spaces can also be used in all cities to rapidly replace the need for cell phone carriers completely! Consider this scenario:

1. Next month, someone, perhaps Google or Martin Varsavsky's fon release a cheap low voltage short antennae $20 White Spaces router, one that everyone is encouraged to connect as any other WiFi router at home.

2. Clever online White Spaces anti-interference and bandwidth-management maps are used to automatically set the voltage for each White Spaces WiFi on stereoids hotspot, to not create any interference in the city and also cover as much of the city area as possible.

3. All users connect using method, all White Spaces hotspots are broadcasting open hotspots but without providing actual internet access until each user gets reliably authenticated, for example using username/password method. In devices you can save your username/password so you always automatically connect.

4. Bandwidth is thus throttled cleverly as there is more or less demand in any given area. And owners of each hotspot can of course decide to prioritize the bandwidth for their own consumption and only give out whichever unused bandwidth on this shared White Spaces sharing network. Basically, as owner of a White Spaces hotspot, you can never even know that your home bandwidth is being used by people walking by in the streets outside your appartment, as long as you need bandwidth yourself in your home your own usage is always fully prioritized.

5. Because of net neutrality, internet service providers can not legally try to block or throttle this type of usage. One can do whatever one wants to do with ones home bandwidth. This is nothing else than wanting to roam the world for free by sharing ones own home bandwidth with the neighborhood.

6. The higher the demand for bandwidth, the smaller each White Spaces hotspot is dynamically made, by lowering the voltage of each hotspot to lower its coverage diameter.

7. With about 1000 such White Spaces hotspots, at a cost of about $20 each (if those cost not much more than WiFi routers to mass manufacture), it means that for about $20 thousand, users can totally cover any city with free wireless broadband for all. And as more and more bandwidth is required, simply more hotspots are added and purchased by the users themselves.

8. Micro-payments for better bandwidth prioritization can also be added somehow. If Fiber providers decide to try to improve bandwidth in this city-wide White Spaces network, those should be able to easily sell such premium bandwidth by the Gygabyte. So while some basic bandwidth for VOIP and other such basic use may mostly be free for all users, someone who may not be sharing bandwidth at home, may have to pay something like $0.10/GB for some prioritized bandwidth. The micro-payments can also work automatically with one payment standard for the world, one simple "Pay $__ for __GB bandwidth in region __ OK/No" standard for the world.

So what do you networking experts say, are we just about to enter a new world where cell phone carriers become unnecessary, but where everyone shares White Spaces from their home using types of Fem2Cell and simple White Spaces routers and even White Spaces mesh networking?

Larry Page, Google CEO, talking about White Spaces in September 2008:

ARM Cortex-A15, the next Complete computing and content creation platform

Posted by Charbax – June 11, 2011

Last I heard, Texas Instruments said it might start sampling OMAP5 in October already, in testing and demo development boards before Mobile World Congress in February and target to be launched in consumer commercial products by Christmas 2012, within about a year and a half from now. In the following video, Nandan Nayampally, ARM's Director of CPU Product Marketing says:

With ARM's Cortex-A15, the smartphone or mobile device can take the next step of becoming a Complete computing and content creation platform.

I find it amazing that with such amazingly awesome ARM Cortex-A9 designs, clocked higher, added cores, just barely reaching the market, we can already also look forward to even greater performance and more features to come in devices just a year or so later.

My question is for the type of "Complete computing and content creation platform" that someone could define as for example a basic laptop, for example running Chrome OS, Ubuntu, Windows 8 or an ARM version of Mac OSX, can we expect those ARM Powered Laptops to have enough performance in ARM Cortex-A9 designs or do we still have to wait for ARM Cortex-A15 for ARM Laptops to replace Intel?

While the promise of Cortex-A8 Smartbooks shown at Computex 2009 just over 2 years ago didn't actually launch on the market, probably because of a lack in performance, I hope we will see optimal Cortex-A9 and other custom Dual-core, Tri-core and Quad-core designs released this year that will hopefully feel to have enough performance to feel just as fast at least as an Intel Atom Netbook.

Once ARM has that level of "Complete computing" performance covered and actual products such as just basic Laptops and Desktops on the mass market using that and that consumers don't see those as "slower", then ARM can also bring forward all it's other advantages in being lower power, cheaper, simpler, customizable, etc.

I feel that the immersive internet computing interfaces like Tablets and Smartphones of course are fantastic and awesome, and kudos for ARM for dominating in that, but it would be nice also to see ARM power just some basic Laptops and Desktops also and have those replace a big part of consumer electronics "Complete computing" devices previously only based on x86.

Innovative new touch screen interfaces, eventual Kinect style gesture controls, voice commands, all that are cool, but perhaps it won't actually be possible to do the next "Complete computing" devices using anything more than just a basic Laptop keyboard, mousepad and screen, at least when it comes to being a "content creation platform".

When do you think ARM is ready to power the Laptops? Are there Cortex-A9 designs with fast enough memory bandwidth, clock speeds, huge RAM, so they can power a full web browsing experience with all the multiple tabs, flash instances, javascripts and other useful web browser plugins or do we need to wait for Cortex-A15 yet for that performance level to be achieved?

My expectation is that the next devices based on ARM Cortex-A9 and other Dual-core designs such as OMAP4460/OMAP4470, i.MX6Duo/Quad, MSM8660/8960, Marvell 628, Ziilabs ZMS-20/40, Exynos 4210 (or a Laptop optimized higher clocked version of that), an Apple A5 optimized for Laptop use, of course the Nvidia Tegra3 Kal-El Quad-core, I expect all those to have fast enough memory bandwidth designs, fast RAM support, ample enough processing speed and other hardware acceleration required to run a full web browser centric OS like Chrome OS, Windows 8 and even ARM optimized versions of Ubuntu and OSX. I expect that the ARM Laptops can start to take 25% of Intel's x86 Laptop market this year with Cortex-A9 designs and that they can dominate with over 50% of the marketshare against Intel x86 sales with the Cortex-A15 designs performance reach next year!

Android challenges Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft in gaming

Posted by Charbax – June 10, 2011
Android Game Changer
Android Game Changer

The new Dual-core and Quad-core ARM Processors that are coming out in the newest ARM Powered Smartphones, Tablets and Set-top-boxes in the coming months can display more than 200 million triangles per second! The 5-year old PS3 does 250 million triangles a second. XboX 360 does 500 million triangles a second. So in terms of performance, the graphics improvements on ARM Powered devices are absolutely amazing. Graphics performance on ARM processors seems to be more than doubling each year. Consider that the ARM Powered device probably uses 100x less power than the PS3 or XboX 360! One theory why Sony disables HDMI output on PSVita may be because the $249 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 Powered PSVita may actually be more powerful for gaming than the 5-year-old $299 Cell Processor based PS3!

Here are some of the angles that may make of Android the near futures biggest home and portable console platform:

1. Openness

- Any small game developer can easily release their games to a global audience without asking anyone. Gamers can also install whichever game they want (legally or ilegally) just by downloading the .apk downloaded from any website.

2. Choice

- All manufacturers can make the Android gaming devices, not just Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

3. Lower prices

- More manufacturers competing means lower prices and better features. Also, Google can start a global gaming all-access pass, something like $10/month for hard core gamers to gain access to all the games as much as they want. Who would want to pay $50/game through retailers anymore?

4. Remove intermediaries

- Games in the age of the internet are meant to be downloaded from the Internet. No more need to distribute physical disks at retail stores. Even for big games that take up several gigabytes, the games can be downloaded through p2p with no central distribution cost.

5. Emulation of all previous consoles

- New Dual-core and Quad-core Android devices can probably emulate all the previous Nintendo, Sony consoles, I expect even N64, Dreamcast and PS2 games to get emulated smoothly. This means tens of thousands of games are thus (legally or ilegally) available to all Android gamers. Even the oldest Nintendo NES console games released 25 years ago are as cool as Angry Birds, and SNES games released nearly 20 years ago have about the same quality level of graphics as Angry Birds. This means through (legal or illegal) emulation, from day 1, Android devices can have about 1000 blockbuster games as good as Angry Birds.

Nintendo is awesome.

Yet I feel they try too hard to hold onto old business models that consist of centrally distributing the games on disks through retailers. And they may believe too strongly that only themselves must control the gaming hardware, that they would not legally allow other hardware makers to play their games.

Nintendo needs to forget about retailers and they need to embrace everyone elses hardware. Nintendo needs to distribute all their games as downloads, provide legal access to all their games on Android for that sub-$10/month global gaming subscription plan. This would instantly provide Nintendo with Billions of dollars of pure new profit. They can still release new consoles, they can even release reference designs and certification branding "Certified by Nintendo" for how they think Android devices should be designed to provide the best gaming user interfaces and performance.

The Nintendo Wii U announced this week at E3, seems to be an upgraded HD capable Wii with a new controller that basically seems to be an ARM Powered 6.2" capacitive tablet, with perhaps not much local processing going on with most of the 3D game processing happening on the IBM Power PC powered Wii U console, thus the new Wii Controller may act most as some kind of remote input and display device designed to have minimal latency.

Wii U is going to be awesome and all. And I want a Quad-Core PSVita for $249 this Christmas, I just think both are kind of sad in their closed philosophy. Those are basically awesome ARM Powered hardwares which just aren't designed to take full advantage of their potential, they have features blocked or removed in them because Nintendo and Sony believe only in their previous-century business models, sad.

But who knows, Nintendo and Sony still have time to adjust their plans. They still both may take full advantage of Android opportunity and feel they need to open up towards it instead of ignoring it.

Windows 8 on ARM shown at Computex, Microsoft becomes cool

Posted by Charbax – June 8, 2011

Short of calling it Azure OS (yet..), Microsoft is going all-in making HTML5 web-apps the core of the next generation Windows 8 apps ecosystem. It means Microsoft is betting their farm on the cloud. Microsoft is going all-in for "immersive internet computing" touch screen tablet UI support. Microsoft is making sure ARM Powered Windows 8 works exactly like on x86.

Watch this following awesome demonstration and talk of Windows 8 on ARM at Computex. I embed it starting at time-code 17m49s when Mike Anguilo starts talking about ARM Windows 8 status, but also do make sure to rewind to the start to watch the full Windows 8 UI demos. Mike Anguilo runs Windows planning and is also responsible for Microsoft's technical engagement with the Windows 8 ecosystem.

The Microsoft people like Mike Anguilo seem to have a serious plan, they probably still have some of the worlds best engineers on staff and they can afford to basically do whatever they want. It will be awesome to see how Microsoft will try to sustain a same or greater level of revenues and profits in such a rapidly auto-disrupting industry. While it can be argued Microsoft is late to the whole Smartphone and Tablet game, on the other hand the number of Smartphones sold in the last 5 years is probably 15x smaller compared to the number of Smartphones likely to be sold within the next 5 years. And the number of Tablets sold in the last 3 years likely is probably 150x smaller compared to the number of Tablets likely to be sold in the next 3 years. It sure looks to me like Windows 8 is going in the right direction for Microsoft. Since Windows 7, Microsoft has given up its always escalating hardware requirements Wintel strategy to instead focus on cutting off more and more of the bloatware. With Windows 8 they now even move over to an even more cloud centric Browser based HTML5 application ecosystem, sounds to me like an answer to Chrome OS in the form of an Azure OS with backwards ".exe compatibility". The question is, how can Microsoft differentiate its UI enough to justify the proprietary pricing differences? Or if they plan to be priced comparatively even with the cheapest Android and Chrome OS Open Source alternatives, how can they provide enough of a differentiating user experience to hold unto those billion Windows PC users that they got with the previous Wintel PC ecosystem?

While I don't know if it would make complete business sense and a corporations main focus legally has to be to take care of its shareholders, here are a few more directions I think Windows 8 might need to get into if they seriously want to be the dominant ARM Powered ecosystem:

- Windows 8 needs to be open source and free. They can do it like Google, and develop their next gens in secret hardware/chipset partnerships, but to get onto the next couple billion ARM Powered Smartphones, Tablets, Set-top-boxes, Laptops, they need it to be open and free. Nothing closed and pricey can ultimately win over open and free in the ARM world.

- Microsoft needs to focus on providing software as a service. The new Windows 8 App Store needs to have all the HTML5 apps, all the Android apps (yup.. why not?), and also, all the .exe apps (all Windows 98/XP/Vista/7 apps should just work), if not through native code execution then through cloud based software virtualization.

- Microsoft needs to focus on eliminating all the bloat, minimize the hardware requirements, make all ARM chipsets compatible and invite all manufacturers to use it for free. A $100 ARM Powered Laptop sold a year from now in every super market needs to be able to run a full Windows 8 OS, boot in 3 seconds, resume in 0.03 seconds and last 30 hours on a battery.

Do I think Microsoft can become so disruptive to its old business models so fast? I don't know how such a corporation may or may not quickly adjust or/and change its leadership. I don't know if Steve Ballmer needs to be replaced by a new CEO like Mike Anguilo or someone as cool as Google's Vic Gundotra (who previously worked at Microsoft) for these major business model shifts to actually occur as soon as with Windows 8/Azure OS. If done correctly, Microsoft could maybe even make more money per new Windows user than they did on selling basic proprietary software licences. How hard could it be for Microsoft to provide good enough cloud services and web app and web content integration over a potentialy popular Windows 8 devices for them to make up more than those $40-$80 or so per Windows user over 2-5 years of use in average pure profits per user? Or will Microsoft insist on staying proprietary, closed, try to enforce some kind of closed profit margin value chain where they'd try to reserve some kind of significant profit margins some what imitating Apple's large profit margins business model on selling ARM Powered devices? What do you think? Post your opinions on Windows 8 in the comments.

Here are a few awesome ARM Powered Windows 8 quotes that you can find in the 32-minute Microsoft Windows 8 Computex demo video:

The most important app of all on these systems is the browser. Over 60% of people's time on any of those systems is focused in the browser.

We've extended the trend that we started with Windows 7, on keeping our system requirements on either flat or reducing them over time.

The newest addition to the Windows ecosystem is of course ARM.

This has been made possible in part because of the innovation that has been going on in the ARM ecosystem today. ARM SoC's in general, virtually all of the new ones support Windows 8 system requirements. They all run over 1Ghz. They all have hardware accelerated graphics.

They are all getting more powerful. They are all getting more efficient. The cost is coming down and they are enabling thinner and lighter form factors than ever. In fact, all of these ARM Powered PCs that I am showing you here are not only able to experience to full Windows 8 experience you just saw, they are also able to support a new mode called Always On Always Connected. So the way you would it expect it from a Smartphone today, these systems will be able to instantly wake, they'll be able to go in standby for a really long time with low power drain, get great battery life but stil stay syncing and connected all at the same time.

Google Marketplace needs subscription plans for better monetization of content

Posted by Charbax – May 28, 2011

There are some talks in some blogs about Android app revenues versus iOS. While it's true iPhone users usually are the types of people ready to spend more money on things like the Apple appstore and iTunes for on-demand paid app and content downloads. Android on the other hand does show they can generate more revenues for example for the creators of Angry Birds who are making 2x more money today every day being a free app on Android compared to being a paid app on iOS.

While Google can improve monetization through advertising and Google Wallet features, carrier billing and more, that is great. But here is how Google will totally dominate in the world of Apps, Music, Movies, eBooks and more.

Google can implement an app subscription plan in the Google Marketplace, $3/month for unlimited apps (developpers can opt-out or opt-in in a one-click email..), and the whole paid app business model will be removed. $3/month for unlimited access to apps including automatic app updates is fair. It'll be paid automatically through carrier billing in most cases. Google can thus have an extra $5 Billion in revenues per year for Android app developers, considering 150 million Android users can opt-in to pay $3/month ($36/year) for unlimited apps.

That $5 Billion per year can get distributed to all developers based on the popularity and based on the amount of use (can be counted by the second if the Android user allows Google to monitor that). As well as by the ratings, comments and other types of measurable user feedback. Creators of free Android apps will receive a windfall of new revenues from this subscription model, and creators of paid apps will also actually discover that being part of the $3/month subscription access, they will also make significantly more revenues as long as they make quality apps that many people download and use.

That would be just the app subscription plan revenue.

Google can do the same for eBooks, Music, Movies, Chrome Web Store Web-apps and more. Here are the fair subscription prices that I expect Google to introduce:

- $3/month for unlimited Apps (Android and Web Apps)
- $5/month for unlimited Music
- $10/month for unlimited Video (YouTube, Movies and TV)
- $2/month for unlimited Text (eBooks, Blogs and Newspapers)

Google can thus provide an all-content subscription plan: $20/month for unlimited access to everything.

This is where Google either waits for Governments to implement this, or else they can implement it now themselves as a private corporation, but as a corporation that is interested to provide open platform for better monetization of content. Google could thus suggest that they don't have to be the only ones thus handling the subscription money. Where Google may or may not take a 2-5% transaction fee on the subscription plan, the important thing is that the majority, more than 95% needs to get distributed to the content makers. Thus Google wouldn't mind if other reliable companies charge the same subscription fee, and Google still contributes to provide their statistics on the popularity and rated quality of all the content. Google could even suggest that it would be most fair if this type of monthly subscription plan was even at some point automatically collected as a tax by fair Governments on all citizen of the world. If everyone pays through taxes, unlimited access to content online may end up being closer to $10/month per person or less.

The big established Labels, Movie Studios, TV Networks, Book Publishers, Newpapers and Proprietary app makers initially may want to opt-out from the cheap global subscription model, sure they might. On one hand Google cannot prevent users from still using as much alternative BitTorrent dowloading as they want. On the other hand, the pure economics of the subscription model will prevail, and while old content monopolies loose their control on content distribution, they will also realize that the subscription model is the best way to proceed and is the best way to increase content revenues and at the same time discourage piracy through a fair subscription pricing. Also, Google can provide content owners the choice to offer their on-demand paid content not for free but at a rebate for people who have that all access subscription. Thus new movie releases could be $2 instead of $4 for all-access subscribers, ebooks could be $5 instead of $10 for all-access subscribers. But content owners can quickly calculate that it mostly makes more sense to provide free access to content for the all-access subscribers, as new releases get more demand, those content creators also in turn automatically get paid much higher share from the global all-access subscription system.

Google can also continue to provide advertising revenues for all content makers which they will also work to increase through Google Wallet easy payments thus much higher advertising revenue.