Category: Opinions

Windows 8 on ARM shown at Computex, Microsoft becomes cool

Posted by – 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 – 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.

Google Wallet, your Android becomes your wallet/ID/tickets/offers and more, but does it use ARM TrustZone yet?

Posted by – May 27, 2011

Google wants to replace your wallet, your passport, your ID, to be used for ticketing, for local offers, coupons, deals and more. But is it secure yet?

We need this pin code mode and it needs to be fully 100% secure. But is it yet secure in this first implementation with NFC on the Nexus S 4G? Does Google yet use some type of deep hardware level security like the ARM TrustZone Mobile Payments platform?

We need this pin code screen to show up full screen, and there needs to be some kind of light diode indicator confirming that you are in 100% secure mode. That kind of pin code screen needs to come up to confirm every login, every payment, every money transfer. If they can do that in the way ARM is suggesting with TrustZone, this should make of this system a fully secured way to replace wallets, ID, Passports, tickets, coupons and more.

I want to login to my Google Account using my phone’s pin code security system. I want this system to replace all login username/passwords on the web. This system needs to become the new interface for a new type of OpenID system. Google released in February an SMS based secure login service that they offer to all Google Account holders today. But SMS is not seamless, it’s not really usable, the pin code screen needs to popup on your smartphone right there as you are trying to login, authenticate your access or to pay for something. That pin code authentication mechanism could perhaps be replaced by some kind of bio-metric authentication, or a kind of screen lock mechanism. Think of it like that calculator that you use for your security for your net banking, it needs to be the same integrated right into your phone.

Here’s the 1-hour video of this Google Wallet announcement, embedded to start at time-code 22 minutes (you can rewind and watch the whole thing if you want) where Rob von Behren talks about the NXP PN65 based Secure Element solution, which sounds like this is true hardware based security!

Microsoft to show Windows 8 ARM Tablet Edition next week!?

Posted by – May 27, 2011

Windows 8 for ARM Tablets to be shown next week?

Windows 8 for ARM Tablets to be shown next week?

Follow my blog here next week (subscribe to my RSS and to my YouTube Channel) as I will provide you with complete video-coverage from the Computex trade show in Taipei where Microsoft is rumored to be planning to showcase their Windows 8 for ARM Tablet Edition for the first time. I will try to ask Microsoft representatives about how they plan to release the Windows 8 for ARM, what will be the hardware requirements, what will be the software compatibility, how they plan to merge that with their Tablet and Smartphone strategies and more on that. I don’t expect Microsoft to be ready to answer all these questions yet, as they are probably working with thousands of engineers on this very secret project. But I will try. If I do manage to meet some Microsoft representatives at Computex that could say something about Windows 8 on ARM and explain something about Microsoft’s upcoming ARM Powered tablet strategy, what would you like me to ask them?

If anyone knows how I could meet Microsoft OEM chief Steve Guggenheimer at Computex, if there might be any private demonstration rooms at the trade show where Microsoft might want to demonstrate their UI and perhaps talk in an interview, please let me know, you can always Submit News here on the site or send me an email to charbax@gmail.com if you have any tips about anything that you think that I should film at the Computex trade show.

50 years ago today

Posted by – May 25, 2011

May 25th 1961, President Kennedy did this speech.

Why doesn’t Obama do a speech today about sending Humans to Mars within this decade?

Read Robert Zubrin’s suggestion to build a transorbital railroad posted today in the Washington Times

We should set big goals to do really big things fast. Because we can.

What big projects would you like us to take on and how can we convince our leaders to make more of those speeches?

Intel spreads FUD on ARM based Windows 8

Posted by – May 21, 2011

Intel spreads FUD

Intel spreads FUD

Intel spreads Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). It is a practice that Intel is famous for using against competitors when they feel threatened. Intel does it by getting some of their top executives (but usually not the CEO) to say all kinds of negative things about competitors in more or less official setting (you don’t always find a video of the event). Intel did the same against AMD. Intel used FUD to slow the One Laptop Per Child revolution to try to control it with their Netbooks. Now that Microsoft is officially working on Windows 8 for ARM, Intel is using FUD against the ARM powered version of Windows 8 that is rumored to be a top priority investment at Microsoft with over 1000 of their top engineers working on full ARM support for Windows 8.

Windows 8 on ARM is the biggest threat to Intel ever.

Here’s how I expect Microsoft will solve the software compatibility issue for ARM version of most x86 Windows software to work:

Microsoft will launch the Windows Appstore for Windows 8

I believe the Windows Appstore will be central to Windows 8 on ARM and will provide for functionality that will make software compatibility between ARM and x86 versions of Windows seamless. If you click on an x86 compiled .exe file in Windows on ARM, it will simply link you up with the recompiled ARM version in the Windows Appstore.

This sounds like Piece of Cake, doesn’t it?

Quite simply, Microsoft can make a database of .exe file IDs based on hash tags, file size, file names, etc. if such x86 version of an .exe is clicked on, it can offer 3 choices:

1. Download ARM version in Windows 8 Appstore (if available, if not available, Microsoft gets an alert to hurry up and recompile themselves or to contact the developer to make it available, the user can get an alert about the status of ARM support on each app)
2. Launch in Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) mode. x86 software virtualization may even be provided by Microsoft in the form of software as a service from the Azure cloud. Meaning, if the .exe is recognized it can instantly be run in this remote desktop virtualization service, otherwise the .exe is uploaded to the server and installed to be virtualized safely from there.
3. Basic x86 software could get emulated.

While Microsoft may not themselves be able to process the recompiling of all Windows .exe apps, they can certainly automatically do it on hundreds of thousands of existing open source Windows x86 apps and they can provide a one-click ARM recompilation software for all Windows app developers, that can take their closed source code, click one button to submit the ARM compiled version in the new ARM based Windows Appstore. Offering developers all kinds of new monetization features in the new Windows 8 Appstore, including also easy ways for users to keep over on ARM their eventual already purchased x86 software licence.

Short of launching a direct competitor to Chrome OS (could Microsoft launch an Azure OS?), Microsoft will likely make of cloud grid computing in combination with cloud virtual desktop a new type of service with ARM based Windows 8. I see it like that, I think Microsoft can provide APIs for app developers to hook into the Azure cloud to accelerate processing and rendering features. For example, the ARM version of Photoshop could render images automatically through the cloud, or the ARM version of Avid could also use a grid of cloud servers to speed up encoding. And user’s software licences, and user data, could be in general stored on the cloud, and Internet Explorer on ARM would be fully optimized for full HTML5 online/offline/native/3D accelerated web apps support.

This is how Ubuntu on ARM has about 100% of all the same Ubuntu Software Center apps available for Ubuntu on both ARM and x86, over 30 thousand apps are available to run fully on the ARM version of Ubuntu. It really is a piece of cake to recompile an app from x86 to ARM support, no need to require only the use of emulation or virtualization although those tricks will also be there.

Following is a video demonstrating Microsoft’s RemoteFX Virtual Desktop Infrastructure technology running on a Texas Instruments BeagleBoard xM ARM Cortex-A8 platform. Consider the VDI technology that Microsoft probably is working on for Windows 8 on ARM is probably to use some of these Virtualization features and serve them when needed from the Azure cloud, thus no need for local servers taking care of things. The VDI tricks can also be considered as temporary as the optimal thing is for all the apps, even advanced games to be ported to native ARM support. Though the hardware and cloud based VDI as well as hardware accelerated emulation are temporary solutions during this transition away from x86.

Microsoft supposedly has over 1000 engineers working on Windows 8 for ARM, it’s a big project. It’ll actually bring up desktop/laptop computing to also work in Smartphones and Tablets, it’ll be a bunch of user interface tools for that.

With ARM chips being “fast enough” to run most Laptops, Desktops, Servers, Set-top-boxes, the truth is ARM is becoming the biggest threat to Intel’s core business.

Eric Schmidt talks about why Android gets more volume and more investments in the platform

Posted by – May 17, 2011

He has said it before, but perhaps not as explicitly when talking about tablets, and it’s always fun to see Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, explain Android’s strategy vs Apple.

Eric Schmid:
It’s a classic contest in high-tech. In that contest, you have a very well run, very focused, closed competitor who builds a great product that does something that is very usefull. That would be Apple. You have another competitor who makes all the technology available to everybody else, and using various creativity and various partnerships gets the benefit over everyone else’s creativity. Because there are more people involved in the open side of that, that side will eventually get more volume, have more investment, therefore have more creativity, more innovation, and ultimately the end user will choose the open one over the closed one.

Fareed Zakaria:
Except right now, the open one, all these tablets that are Android based, let’s be honest, they are not as good as the iPad and they are more expensive, which strikes me as unusual.

Eric Schmidt:
Which product will produce a lower cost product quicker? One manufacturer for a product or many manufacturers competing? The matter of fact is that we are just at the beginning of this fight. And the fight between two very well run, very large, very significant ecosystem companies, will ultimately produce great value for consumers because the fight between them will keep prices low, keep these systems honest and open and encourage the kinds of investments that people want to see. One of the greatest things about this contest is that people who win in this are the consumer.

(…)

There is pride in both approaches but they are completely different. In Apple’s case, they can continue to build beautiful and excellent products. The ecosystem that Google represents will continue and already has more volume, more users and will have more investment in the platform. Ultimately that will produce cheaper, better and faster products for everybody.

Posted by Fareed Zakaria on CNN GPS

ARM Powered Google TV now confirmed officially by Google

Posted by – May 14, 2011

You got the tip from me from an anonymous source here since January (I have been speculating about it (2) (3) (4) for over a year), clues about it from ARM President Tudor Brown last year in November, and re-confirming rumors through Samsung in February, Google announced at Google I/O this week that Ice Cream Sandwich combines Android, Honeycomb and Google TV into one release (thus Google TV features on ARM), now it’s being reported by PC World that Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra is confirming the ARM Powered Google TV platform like this:

for the price issue, Chandra said that Google has now qualified ARM chips to be used to run the Google TV software, instead of just the Intel Atom chips that currently power the Revue. Moore’s Law–the inevitable increase in chip performance driven by increasing transistor density–will push the performance of the cost-optimized ARM chips up high enough to compete with Atom, while helping drive down the overall platform price, Chandra said.

I have thus far video-blogged over 60 ARM Powered Set-top-boxes from all the consumer electronics trade shows over the past 2 years, most are running Android, all of which could in theory run the Google TV software.

Of course, it is up to Google to decide what kind of hardware requirements they want to enfore for Google TV on ARM, if they want those to only feature the full suite of HDMI pass-through features, meaning HDMI input and output, Infrared blasters (to change the channel on your cable/satellite set-top-box), USB hosts, Bluetooth and more, then that would disqualify just about all of the ARM Powered set-top-boxes that I have filmed thus far. I wouldn’t know how much more those hardware features require, and perhaps that requires an ARM Cortex-A9 at the minimum to run all the overlay user interface features and preferably 1080p at 60fps support at the minimum.

I think it is more likely and more logical that Google will decide to be as open as possible about Google TV on ARM, and thus support all the SoC that are currently being used and that will most likely be used. I think that means Google TV on ARM could work in “AppleTV/Roku mode”, meaning no HDMI inputs, just the Google TV experience of bringing the Web and WebTV on the TV on this separate HDMI port to your HDTV. That is why I expect there to be two kinds of Google TV on ARM:

1. Basic Google TV on ARM, this is HDMI output only, Bluetooth or RF/USB keyboards with mouse pad accessory can be used. This solution could work on 100% of the ARM Powered Set-top-boxes that I have filmed. And I believe this will be included turning every Android Smartphone/Tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich and every Tablet with Honeycomb 3.1 into a Google TV “for free”. See the Google Android Team’s response to my question submitted on the possibility of turning all Android devices into free Google TV devices when HDMI is used:

2. The Full ARM Powered Google TV experience, including HDMI pass-through, IR blaster, USB hosts, Ethernet, etc.. Since Chris DiBona answers to my question above “There’s all this other stuff that goes into a Google TV that isn’t in a phone”, well then, the Full ARM Powered Google TV will be that type that does it all. But that should not prevent an Android device with a basic HDMI output and not much else to still display many if not most of the Google TV UI features right there on the HDTV.

3. There is also a third scenario that I am envisioning, Google might use their Android Hardware division to plan out a new type of Multimedia TV Docking system for Android, using nothing more than HDMI, USB slave/host and evt MHL (that combines both into one Micro-USB connector). Basically the idea here is a cheap TV Dock that should work with most if not all Android Smartphones that have HDMI, USB (or MHL) to turn those into full Google TV, thus using the USB slave/host to transmit the right infos back and forward and feature in that Dock the right HDMI input and output, IR blaster, USB host duplicators, Ethernet connector, charging and more. The idea is a new Google Open Accessory design that could sell for $49 to dock any Android Smartphone with HDMI/USB or MHL and thus turn those into full Google TV. A solution which could evt also turn any ARM Powered Set-top-box into a full Google TV box also with adding the HDMI in/out, IR and more to those. Maybe it could be called the Google TV adapter, converter or extender.

Here’s the 56 minute session on some of the Google TV Honeycomb 3.1 upgrades and development tools at Google I/O:

Chris Pirillo says Chromebook just killed the PC industry

Posted by – May 13, 2011

My take on it is that the Chromebook is the first serious challenger to Windows/Mac in terms of being installed in a mass market retail product. It’s the first ever mass market Linux laptop (after the One Laptop Per Child non-profit reaching 2.5 million children with Linux Laptops in the developping world since 2007). It’s the first ever mass market ARM Powered laptop. It can be configured to be the cheapest laptop to make, the safest, the fastest, the thinnest, the lightest and the easiest to use. Chromebook may be the first successful carrier subscription based laptop.

For Chromebook to sell more than Windows, here’s what I think Chromebook needs to be:

- $199 or less in an ARM Powered configuration
- Use Pixel Qi with ARM and you’ve got 30 hours battery runtime in a sub-1kg 11.6″ or 12.1″ super slim form factor
- They should subsidize these in partnership with the carriers to do a subscription model for normal consumers like this:
1. Sell it for $99 or less on a 2-year contract with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan
2. Bandwidth upgrades should be max $10/GB, $20/5GB, $30/10GB on-demand one-click
3. They can use carrier billing (thus carrier revenue share) for bandwidth upgrades, for cloud media subscriptions, on-demand, Chrome Web Store web apps and for all Google Checkout based online shopping
4. Provide an optional hardware upgrade once a year with contract extension. Used devices can be resold refurbished.
5. Provide 100GB or more cloud storage and full Google Apps for consumers with the subscription, offer guarantee of available of advanced web apps such as HD video editing (with many or most of the features of Avid/Finalcut), photo editor. And all these web apps must feel near instant to load and work offline, a web app should only need to get reloaded if it detects that there is a new version available. Gmail should load instantly for example.
6. Obviously, Google Voice and Google Music needs to be worldwide. They should also expand with a Google Video cloud storage. Basically they can allow people to upload 20’000 songs and 1’000 movies for free, the reason being, Google only needs to store one copy of each song or movie, and if the upload client (also on Chrome OS) detects that the file you want to upload already exists on Google’s servers in equal or better quality, it should instantly beam it to your account without actually requiring you to upload anything. Google should not care to try to filter out any “illegal” Mp3, Flac, DivX, MKV files. Eventually they can introduce unlimited music/movies subscription plans like Spotify/Netflix but they should aim at being able to include access to everything in those unlimited subscriptions, this might only be achievable through Government regulation of online content subscriptions.

If Google can deliver on those things and quickly, which is what I expect them to be able to do, then I think it’s obvious Chromebook could become the number 1 PC/Laptop OS as quickly as they became number 1 OS in smartphones since the Nexus One was released.

Can we expect to see some ARM Powered Chromebooks (or Chromiumbooks) at Computex in Taiwan at the end of May from all the Taiwanese notebook designers (Inventec, Pegatron, Wistron, Foxconn, Shuttle, Gigabyte etc..) who design upwards 90% of worldwide notebooks?

Android@Home enables 100 Billion new ARM Powered devices

Posted by – May 12, 2011

Android Open Accessory Development Kit

Android Open Accessory Development Kit

Android@Home enables the Internet of Things.

The biggest announcement at Google I/O was the launch of the Android@Home Open Accessory Development platform. This is the platform for a whole new world of accessories and connecting everything through Android to the Internet. Suddenly, we are smart about all things and all things become smart.

Now we are not only talking about about connecting 7 Billion people to the Internet with Android Smartphones, now it becomes about connecting 100 Billion things through Android to the Internet.

Why the Internet of things? Why using Android?

The cost to add an ARM processor such as one of the ARM Cortex-M series, with sensors, switches and wireless connectivity in every appliance in your home may cost as little as few cents or a few dollars per device. It’s so cheap that as soon as an open standard is established and as soon as applications are planned out, all devices will get connected with this technology. Watch my video with Nuvotron NuMicro at Embedded World 2011 about the cost ($0.50-$2) and use of ARM Cortex-M0 32bit microcontrollers in all types of devices.

Here are some of the infinite amounts of uses for putting ARM processors in everything:

- Put a smart control in every lamp and the lights follow you, if you move to another room the lights automatically turn off, you save power. They automatically dim if they detect you’re relaxing or watching TV.

- Put a smart control in all your doors, in all your windows, in all your power outlets, integrated with your heating systems, water systems.

- Add sensors, ARM Processors in your pillow, blanket and in your bed, to monitor your sleep and wake you up at the right time between the right sleeping cycles. You’ll feel better the whole day and you’ll optimize your sleeping times. It’s more healthy, makes you more productive and saves you time.

The trick is that even as the Internet of things has been possible for a while, and even as prices to add smart controllers and sensors in each thing costs $3, people haven’t been doing much of it yet just because the control, management, interactivity systems around this have not been standardized and open yet. If you want to build the Internet of things it has to be built around you and for you and not among each thing and only for each thing. That is why Android is your interface into that world of things, and Google supports the open Adruino platform to enable these developments in an open industry. Android is the UI for the Internet of Things. Android is how you guide it, how you see it, it’s how you control your things.

Expect the next consumer electronics trade shows to showcase more and more ARM Powered things to connect with the Android ecosystem, look forward to an industry about to get really creative in how to use and feature that Internet of Things most efficiently.

ARM President Tudor Brown talks about the Internet of Things at the ARM Technology Conference:

Andy Rubin’s former co-founders on Danger (Sidekick, see these videos from 2004) Matt Hershenson and Joe Britt demonstrate and launch the new Android Open Accessory API and Android@Home platform at the Google I/O 2011 Day 1 Keynote:

IBM’s video on the Internet of Things: