Here's an article by Bill Snyder on Infoworld.com about how ARM is winning the battles against Intel in smartphones and tablets and may also win it for the desktop: http://www.infoworld.com/d/the-industry-standard/intel-lost-the-tablet-war-the-desktop-next-177234
Here's a casual interview with powerhouse silicon valley expert editors at http://brightsideofnews.com about the status of the ARM industry, about where they think ARM Cortex-A15 is going, about what they think of ARM vs Intel, AMD and more.
The new awesome Samsung Galaxy Nexus was just unveiled in Hong Kong. It has an amazing 1280x720 4.65" HD Super AMOLED screen, LTE/HSDPA+ and runs on the new Texas Instruments OMAP4460 1.2Ghz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. This is what TI's Vice President of OMAP platform business unit Remi El-Ouazzane has to say about this:
Today is a great day for our collaboration with Google…The long-awaited Android 4.0 release is finally being revealed with the OMAP4460 processor powering the absolutely gorgeous Samsung Galaxy Nexus device. I am so excited about this launch. What I may be the most excited by is not only the ability to converge to one Android release for both smartphones and tablets, but to be able to pack that level of performance across graphics or video on an HD screen and within the power envelope of a smartphone device…This is where our OMAP smart multicore architecture makes a huge difference. At the end of the day, brute force (number of cores, for instance) does not rival sophistication.
and a further statement from TI:
Today, TI proudly revealed a major OMAP platform milestone: yes, the highly-anticipated Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” release runs on the OMAP4460 processor. This advancement is an exceptional demonstration of what OMAP processors uniquely do, and what separates them from competitors in the mobile processing world: the ability to provide hardware-integrated security, distinctive and advanced imaging features, enhanced memory and more, all on a smart multicore architecture.
Here are some of my impressions and expectations for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich:
- This means Samsung can maybe "easily" update processor speed to 1.5Ghz and maybe also later to the OMAP4470 1.8Ghz when those faster OMAP4 processors become available.
- I don't know how fast Samsung can manufacture these screens and how much it costs them, my guess is this screen is the most expensive Super AMOLED yet, and I guess that Super AMOLED is already quite a bit more expensive than LCD and I wonder if Samsung is able to manufacture enough of these screens to not create major shortages for the availability of this Galaxy Nexus worldwide for the months to come. If there is one phone worth queuing up for if you want to be sure to get one in the first weeks/months at release, this may be it.
- They haven't yet shown what happens when you connect to HDTV output, I wonder if the "pins" on the side provide HDMI and data output/input or/and if an MHL connector takes care of this like on the Samsung Galaxy S2. I expect the full Motorola Atrix type Laptop Dock, Desktop Dock, Multimedia Dock, all those features are likely part of Android 4.0, which is why I think Ice Cream Sandwich means the merger of Android with Chrome OS and Google TV.
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus is likely going to be expensive. This is not news though for high-end smartphones, those are all ridiculously expensive today. But that's just how things are, and they are able to sell tens of millions at those expensive prices. Consider that you are paying $2000 to $3000 for this phone with a 2 year contract. Considering the possibility that Samsung may not be able to manufacture enough of those 720p HD Super AMOLED screens, they may even purposefully increase the price even further at launch.
At the recent CEATEC consumer electronics show in Japan (which I had tried to attend and video-blog at but I did not find a sponsor in time), Sharp, Toshiba and Sony showcased their first consumer-oriented 4K2K screens and projectors, perhaps finally leading up to more 4K2K for the mass market. Eventually more affordable, because Toshiba's 55" Regza 55×3 Quad-HD is announced to be priced at over $10 thousand. Sony's VPL-VW1000ES Quad-HD projector is even more expensive at upwards $20 thousand. Sharp did not yet announce a price for their 60" Quad-HD TV, but they showed what they call their new so-called Integrated Cognitive Creation (ICC) processor for what they claim to be higher-quality Quad-HD upscaling.
4K2K is awesome. And putting it on 55" or 60" screens and in projectors sounds like a good target. They need to sell 4K at sub-$2K. They need to price 4K at $2000 and below and not $10K and they need to mass produce 4K2K as a priority now instead of 3D.
The 4K content solution:
On the Internet, the most downloaded 1080p movies are below 10GB per movie. That means 4K movies can be compressed at a below 40GB file size. That means that a 4K movie can fit on a current Blu-ray disc. That means that more than 50 4K movies can fit on a $50 2TB hard drive.
There is no 4K distribution problem.
YouTube supports 4K streaming at below 20mbitps today.
The most downloaded 1080p movies are encoded at below 9mbitps bit rate. That means that a 4K movie can be streamed with a 36mbitps or faster Internet connection (at same "full" quality level per pixel), which more and more people can access today using a regular VDSL Internet connection over copper wires and even faster over the coaxial based network. Millions of consumers already have Fiber internet to the home, and millions more could easily get it. Those people can get 1Gbitps over the connection, that is more than enough to stream any 4K content needed.
Hollywood has already digitized most of their 35mm movies to the 4K2K format, which is already becoming the digital standard for Cinemas worldwide. And most of the new movies are being recorded using 4K2K cameras anyways and are already natively recorded in that format. So it would actually be a piece of cake for the film industry to provide every movie ever made in the 4K2K format, easily distributed on Blu-ray, on hard drives or streamed using 36mbitps or faster home internet connections and progressively downloaded using slower connections (if you only have a 20mbitps download ADSL connection, you may wait about half an hour before the 4K movie can start. Or you can get the 3K version at half the bitrate and that still would look 2x better on a 4K display than the same content in the 1080p format).
It is very common for all consumers to take digital pictures at 8megapixels or higher. Most new digital picture cameras take 8Mpix pictures or higher today. Even most new high-end smartphones take 8Mpix pictures. put the SD card from those cameras in your 4K2K TV, and for the first time, you can see the full quality of your digital photographs. Just to display your personal photography onto those 4K2K displays wil be worth the enthusiasm, even if you do not have fast enough Internet, even if you can't get a lot of 4K content on Blu-ray or directly onto hard drives, then still just as a picture viewer, the demand for 4K2K is worth it now.
Dear TV industry, please stop making 3D now and start mass producing 4K2K screens and projectors now! Get the price down below $2000 as soon as possible, than you.
- Sharp 8K4K TV, 7680×4320 resolution, 85″, the future of HDTV (armdevices.net)
I expect this to be the open source Android OS for:
- Smartphones (from $50 to $600) iphone-killer
- Tablets (from $50 to $600) ipad-killer
- Set-top-boxes (from $50 to $200) ARM Powered Google TV 2.0
- Laptops (from $100 to $600) ultrabook/netbook/macbook-killer
- E-readers (from $75 to $300) kindle-killer
and combinations thereof. We can have 1 device that does it all when using MHL/HDMI output and the Pixel Qi LCD.
This is the first Android OS that is ready to use the latest ARM Cortex-A9 processors that not only run at 1.5Ghz (+50% compared to Tegra2) but most importantly also introduce much faster memory bandwidht (+200% compared to Tegra2).
This means devices with Ice Cream Sandwich can now run a full computer. A FULL ANDROID LAPTOP.
Just a sec here. Google has Chrome OS, brace for it.... I think it might merge now.
Think of the Atrix 4G, now over the MHL Connector, you can dock your phone to any HDMI monitor such as your HDTV, get your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and your Android phone is now powerful enough to run a full speed 720p or even 1080p Chrome browser.
Laptop makers want to release ARM Powered Laptops without touch screens running Chrome OS only, sure enough, they can do that. But if that Laptop has a touch screen, it can DUAL-BOOT with Ice Cream Sandwich. That is how I see them merge. Basically Android gets a full Chrome browser. And Chrome OS can safely and easily switch to Android mode on ARM Powered devices if needed.
This is the recipe for the ultimate ARM Powered device. Ice Cream Sandwich Powered.
But Ice Cream Sandwich is also less bloatware, a faster user experience, it can run on the cheapest $50 Smartphones to destroy what's left of Nokia's Symbian sales in the developing world. It can run on ARM9 like Mediatek, ARM11 like Mediatek and Qualcomm, ARM Cortex-A8 single core processors like Rockchip RK2918 and Telechips 8803, as well as single core ARM Cortex-A9 like AmLogic and low frequency ARM Cortex-A9 like the NEC/Renesas one. But I expect every other ARM Processor to be fully supported. Obviously slower processors may have some UI layers automatically disabled such as having less holographs, less animations, less transitions, so that the OS scales perfectly for every hardware platform and at the same time that it can fully take advantage of the newest fastest performance.
In terms of looks compared to Gingerbread and Honeycomb? I don't care about the looks, give us whatever the user experience scientists have measured is the absolute best design for a user interface. This is a simplification of the smartphone but at the same time the enabling of new more advanced features for the first time.
Obviously that a Nexus Prime for $529 unlocked with a new 4.65" 1280x720 Super AMOLED HD screen, with a new TI OMAP4460 or/and a new Qualcomm MSM8660, obviously that is going to be the most awesome reference product for this new version of Android. My question is how much of the Atrix-features for HD web browsing, full Chrome on HDMI output, I wonder how much of that is shown already this October 11th or if the OS is presented for now just as a Smartphone upgrade and that the whole rest of the ecosystem gets added later.
What do you think Ice Cream Sandwich is going to be like?
When people click to try to install an x86-compiled .exe file in the ARM version of Windows 8, this is what Windows needs to do:
1. Check if the app is already re-compiled and automatically download and install the ARM version from the Windows App Store. This process can be about as quick as installing the application on x86.
2. If the app is not yet re-compiled, it offers the option to run it in Virtualization mode on ARM, served through Windows cloud computing services, well cached and parts can be emulated for near-instant interactivity and instant response within the app, this is clever cloud served virtualization that also runs a bunch of things locally to offer the least possible delay. It's part virtualization and part hardware accelerated emulation, they can do it. Apps not yet recompiled for ARM can automatically send a notification to the developer encouraging him though a simple one-click feature to recompile and submit the ARM version of every app in the Windows App Store. Users in the enterprise can combine more locally and more dedicated virtualization servers if they need to further lessen lag time or if they don't trust the cloud for certain confidential apps virtualized.
Michael Angiulo, Corporate Vice President, Windows Planning, Hardware & PC Ecosystem said following:
We will make sure it is absolutely clear where your legacy apps will run. (...) Porting things and whether we open native desktop development are decisions that are either not made or not announced yet.
The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News are doing a special promotion that can interest people living in Pennsylvania USA and would like to save on getting their daily newspaper and at the same time can be tempted by the combination of a subsidized Arnova 10 G2 Android Tablet for $99 or $129 depending on the length of the digital newspaper subscription that is signed.
video source: technicallyphilly.com
I first reported on the Arnova 10 G2 back in April when it was first announced. It is an awesome value device with a capacitive screen and the new Rockchip RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 processor that can run at up to 1.2Ghz. It's more powerful than the Apple A4 in the iPad1 and iPhone4, it's more powerful than the Samsung Hummingbird processor in the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Samsung Galaxy S. Yet, the tablet is now being released named Arnova 10 G2 with a retail MSRP pricing probably between $199 and $229 (to be confirmed in the coming days).
Sure there has been some delays for this capacitive RK2918 tablet, I do not know why. Maybe Archos spent a few months selling the RK2818 tablets before ramping up production capacity and perhaps also having Rockchip try to have Honeycomb working on it. But more likely, Rockchip will try to use Ice Cream Sandwich directly for those, depending on the compatibility and ease of porting of that next version of open source Android with these ARM Cortex-A8 tablets released now.
This makes sense. The idea of the $99 10.1" capacitive tablet is awesome. Here are some of my suggestions though for Philly to make this work in the most positive way:
- The $10/month subscription needs to include unlimited free access to all the worlds newspapers and not just the 2 newspapers. The economics are that people will not necessarily read more articles if they get access to more content.
You have to think big. I know it may be hard or impossible for the people of the Philly newspaper to reach out to all the other newspapers of the world and agree on some kind of Netflix-pricing to include full access to all the newspapers.
The idea is that you make it more attractive to more people inside and outside of your target market to want to subscribe to this idea. You write content in English. I think it makes no sense to limit yourself to a limited geography. You can write regional news in your current edition, but you can partner with all the other newspapers and let people read those other newspapers if they want.
Make the cake bigger together with others and your slice of the much bigger cake will be much bigger than your small cake.
Logically, the digital access subscription does not have to exclusively be consumed on that tablet. I guess that any other device can login and access that subscription plan. Simply build on your current Android app, and simply let it search and access the real format newspapers from all the other newspapers that you can partner with.
Here is Philly's calculation and the customers options today:
- $199 or $229 is the unsubsidized Arnova 10 G2 price likely going to be when released within a few days from now.
- $99 with 2-year $10/month subscription = Total $339 for the Arnova 10 G2 with the 2-year digital newspaper access = $229 Tablet and $55/year digital subscription
- $129 with 1-year $13/month subscription = Total $285 for the Arnova 10 G2 with the 1-year digital newspaper access = $229 Tablet and $56/year digital subscription
- No tablet digital subscription price today = $3/week = $156/year
- No tablet normal paper newspaper by mail subscription price today = $7/week = $364/year
This can be a huge success for Archos and for newspapers but they have to continue on this plan and they need to pick up the phone and make some national and international agreements with all the other newspapers, join forces, subsidize Awesome ARM Powered Android Tablets to make people understand the value of technology and of the content.
- Philadelphia Newspaper Publisher Bundles $99 Tablet With Newspaper Apps (shoppingblog.com)
- Sound Familiar? Philadelphia Newspapers Subsidize A Tablet To Sell You A Subscription (wired.com)
- Let the Bundling Begin! First US Newspaper Publisher Offers Bundled Tablet Deal (geardiary.com)
- Newspaper company launches its own Android tablet (technicallyphilly.com)
- Philadelphia newspapers offer $99 tablet with Gingerbread to subscribers (digitaltrends.com)
- Philly newspapers' cheap Android tablets up for grabs, and they're cheap (geek.com)
- Philly papers offering subscribers $99 Android tablet (news.cnet.com)
- Philadelphia Media Network bundles ARNOVA Android tablet with digital subscriptions to Inquirer and Daily News (intomobile.com)
- Subscribe To Philly Newspaper Apps, Get A Tablet (paidcontent.org)
- Philadelphia papers to offer discounted Android tablets to subscribers (teleread.com)
The awesome demo Microsoft presented at Computex last June looked like Windows 8 can quite possibly be ready for release in consumer devices before Christmas, at least in tablet mode.
How can the ARM Version of Windows 8 be ready for release already?
- On a tablet, they don't really need to have all the .exe apps support, on ARM anyways, they can virtualize all that later.
- Microsoft probably is tempted to be a part of the Christmas tablet sales party. All they have to do is release an ARM tablet version of it now.
- The tablets don't need as powerful ARM processors as Laptops, as you want full screen multi-tab web browsing to be fully smooth on a Laptop in Desktop mode. On a tablet, consumers are ok with a bunch of full screen UI stuff moving around, and while multi-tasking is awesome, basic consumers don't even really know how to fully take use of it on a touch screen device.
- They can call those Beta tablets, or something.
What Microsoft should do with Windows 8 if they want to win market share and if they want a chance to compete with Android, Chrome OS and iOS on the platform ecosystem:
- Make it free
- Make it open source
Sure, this is a very weird suggestion for Microsoft. But why not?
Can't Microsoft find other ways to monetize their platform than upfront licencing and patent lawsuits against competing platforms? If I am the Microsoft CEO, I tell them to focus on monetizing web apps, web services, provide the Office suite as a fully optimized web app, with paid services online for power users and the enterprise. Full cloud based Virtualization of all Windows apps, provide that as a service. If Windows used to get an average of $50 per Windows licence, they can focus to try to get as much or more through cloud services.
Should Microsoft be ashamed of revealing their source code to the world? The idea of open source is to enable the most manufacturers access to customize and optimize the OS for all types of hardware. Because manufacturers have to differentiate with hardware, Microsoft cannot win market share if all the Windows hardware looks too similar. They need all the smallest Chinese manufacturers to be using Windows 8 and sell those devices to developing countries and worldwide without worrying about optimizing, without worrying about paying licence fees, the strategy of free and open source instantly legalizes the Chinese and Indian market for Microsoft.
At last CeBIT, I interviewed Microsoft about Open Source, with the right CEO in charge (can Steve Ballmer do it?), they should embrace open source for Windows 8:
Let's see tomorrow how right or wrong I am with my Windows 8 speculations.
- Microsoft prepares to BUILD its Windows 8 future (winrumors.com)
- Microsoft set to reveal Windows 8 tablet next week? (techradar.com)
- Rumor: Windows 8 Tablet Appears Next Week (wired.com)
- Samsung Windows 8 Tablet Tipped for Microsoft Conference next week (slashgear.com)
I got it confirmed by a high-ranked product strategy manager (on Ultrabooks) at Acer that Acer will likely not release an ARM Powered Laptop before Windows 8 is ready. That probably means, he says, not before the beginning of next year. He says though that he does not know about Acer making ARM Chromebooks or not. I have to emphasise that this guy is in charge of the strategies around Acer's new Ultrabook, so he might not know everything that is being worked on in his 7757-employee, $20-Billion-revenues-per-year company.
Sorry about my article posted on July 23rd, quoting yet another turns-out-to-be-a-false-rumor Digitimes article where the Acer CEO was reportedly saying that Acer's ARM laptop was imminent.
Another perhaps interesting aspect of Acer's business to consider is that while Acer complains of lowering profit margins and lowering consumer spending on Intel Powered Laptops and Desktops (in exchange for more spending on ARM Powered Smartphones and Tablets), companies like Lenovo and Dell seem to be suggesting in other speeches that they are doing ok. I do not know if Lenovo's numbers about them being the fastest growing PC maker has something to do with them having recently acquired NEC and Medion, it surely is interesting to follow the profit margin and growth-disruption that ARM devices are doing to the PC business.
The imminent $199 ARM Powered Chromebook is the single most disruptive threat to Intel, Microsoft, Apple and the PC/Mac profit margins business.
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 http://www.techmeme.com/110903/p15#a110903p15 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.