Category: Opinions

How I think that the ARM Powered Chromebook is a big deal for the industry

Posted by – October 21, 2012

I’ve been talking about ARM Powered Chrome OS for years now here on this blog (2, 3, 4, 5, 6). So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Google and Samsung are launching the ARM Cortex-A15 Exynos5250 Powered Chromebook now today on Monday for $249!!! Here are some of the points that I think one can consider for how the ARM Powered Chromebook is a very big deal for the industry:

1. Chrome on ARM gets optimized, to use full hardware acceleration. It’s important to have a web browsing experience on ARM in a 720p, 768p, 1080p resolution that be satisfactory to most users.

2. Chrome OS on ARM gets open sourced, means here’s an OS to run on all ARM SoCs, this means that the $89 13.3″ and $75 10.1″ ARM Cortex-A9 Powered laptops, even single-core using VIA WM8850 for example, can soon ship with Chromium OS pre-installed.

3. Full Chrome on Android, with all plugins (including Flash, Java, etc), extensions, full tabs support, user interface for mouse and keyboard. This means a merger of Chrome OS and Android. The Chrome experience on Android should be as good as on a pure Chrome OS device. You can even have resume and boot-to-Chrome as a choice on Android, if you are using a device where you just want to use Chrome and that you may not care much about the rest of Android.

4. Gives a new purpose to ARM Powered Laptops, HDMI Sticks, Set-top-boxes and more. You can get a sub-$100 HDMI Stick to use as a Chromebox on your HDTV or PC Monitor. If you’d like to use the HDMI stick in Entertainment mode, it should be able to switch to Google TV mode.

5. Chromebooks are now sub-$250. This makes them very attractive to a majority of new Laptop buyers worldwide. I think that Chrome OS is going to dominate as the main OS for laptops and desktops worldwide. Though for that to easily happen, 13.3″ ARM Cortex-A15 Chromebooks need to be sold for well below $200, the 11.6″ ones should be sold towards below $150.

6. Combine the ARM Powered Chromebook with an 11.6″ or 13.3″ Pixel Qi screen, also wait for eventual full hardware optimizations to be automatically added to Chrome OS on ARM to take advantage of the Mali-T604 GPU and much else deep level ARM Cortex-A15 optimizations and you could have a battery life on your super thin ARM Powered Chromebook above 20 hours. This is game-changing for a super thin laptop.

7. Chrome OS forces App Developers to think Web First. That means better quality web apps. Expect high-quality online video-editing, photo-editing, word processing, FTP, programming and even gaming to work awesomely on the Web pretty quickly. That means web apps with full offline support, full cached acceleration for instant web app load times regardless of connection speed, Web GL for full GPU advanced 3D gaming including streaming of game info, remote 3D rendering and streaming of the highest quality 3D games, once all app developers think first about how to use the web to improve their apps, that brings the worlds best apps to everyone.

8. Upgrading the PC/Laptop is redefined. Consumers won’t need to think about upgrading their PC/Laptop, unless they find one with a nicer design and style, with a different screen size or screen type which they may prefer. Upgrading a PC/Laptop for faster performance is going to be less and less of a reason for people to upgrade their computer. The most important specification is going to be battery life and screen technology. That is, if one can expect all web apps to load instantly on the ARM Powered Laptop, with unlimited simultaneous tabs opened smoothly at the same time, which is something we can expect on this ARM Cortex-A15 Chromebook.

9. You may think that this ARM Chromebook may not have yet an optimal performance. Consider that the web browser is perhaps one of the most advanced and complicated application on a PC/Laptop. Chrome on x86 is 50x faster than Internet Explorer was on x86 just 3 years ago. ARM Cortex-A15 is all new, so is Chrome on ARM, expect tons of optimizations to be beamed over the next weeks and months to come, as Google, Samsung and open source Chrome project engineers fully optimize the software on ARM.

10. You may think that the quoted 6.5 hours battery life on this initial ARM Chromebook may not sound like a whole lot. Consider that the power consumption governors may be cranked up to the maximum power consumption by Google and Samsung to prevent any slowdowns before Chrome for ARM gets optimized. As ARM optimizations are fully integrated in Chrome OS on ARM, you can perhaps expect this ARM Chromebook to magically suddenly be able to last more than 10 hours on the same thin and light battery.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other informations about how optimized Google and Samsung have made Chrome OS on ARM yet, if Google has announced much more about their plans to open source Chrome OS on ARM, if it’s already open source, what you think we can expect for Chrome OS on lower power cheaper ARM SoCs such as RK3066, VIA 8850, Allwinner A10 and other processors that can be used in making much cheaper ARM Powered Chromebooks. Write also in the comments how many ARM Chromebooks you plan to buy, you are welcome to use my amazon link!

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! ARM Powered Chromebook launched by Google with Samsung Exynos 5 ARM Cortex-A15 on board, $249!!!

Posted by – October 18, 2012

The day has come. The ARM Powered laptop revolution is here. Chrome OS on ARM, not just any ARM, the fastest ever ARM Cortex-A15 from Samsung, Exynos5250, 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash storage. This announcement is of course pure awesomeness. So, I guess, Google wanted to wait for ARM Cortex-A15 for what they may think to be satisfactory ARM Powered web browser OS performance. Consider this has to support all plugins, native code, OpenGL web, extensions, advanced AJAX-heavy Javascript web apps, caching of web apps for full offline sync and web acceleration on slow connections, tons of simultaneous opened tabs for everyone to feel fully comfortable! Videos coming:

Google Official:

Gigaom:

Sundar Pichai at unveil event by ubergizmo (until Google posts the full official event video):

I’ll add more videos of it here as bloggers post them!

brightsideofnews.com: Carriers boycot Windows Phone because of Skype, non-upgradeability and Nokia’s bad strategy

Posted by – July 14, 2012

I think carriers prefer Android mostly because it provides the most competitive hardware environment, with the best prices, the best hardware features and the best variety of components, styles, brands, choices for consumers and more. Tomi Ahonen of brightsideofnews.com writes:

The total Nokia Lumia line has been Osborned [announcement of a future product ahead of availability], not by Elop, but by Ballmer (…) by announcing no upgrade path to Windows Phone. (…) even after Nokia was brought in, today the combined market share of Windows Mobile and Windows Phone is down to 2% globally (with share still falling). (…) Ballmer says there won’t be a migration path for Windows 8 either. Your existing WP7 based smartphone is an expensive paperweight: you have to buy a new smartphone to enjoy Windows 8 – the Microsoft handset partners team has shrunk to four: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei. Three of them – Samsung, HTC and Huawei do the majority of their smartphones on Android.

(The dotted line is when Elop was hired to join Nokia and here is the second part of that slide, showing what I originally used it for, to explain the madness of the Elop Microsoft strategy:)

Stephen Elop admitted to the Nokia Shareholders Meeting that carriers don’t like Skype ‘of course’ and that some carriers have taken the step to even refuse to sell any Windows Phone based smartphones, explicitly because Microsoft owns Skype. (…)

And this was not just hitting Nokia Lumia smartphone sales, it was hitting all brands of smartphones running Windows. Elop explained further that for more than a year, Microsoft had tried to negotiate with the carriers to get some resolution about the Skype issue – with kind threats like ‘Skype will come in any case’ (unhelpful) and that after a year of such ‘persuasion’ there were exactly zero carriers who had taken Microsoft’s offer. (…)

This is about Microsoft now owning the hated Skype and being able to bankroll the biggest threat to the existence of mobile operators/carriers. (…)

The Windows dream of smartphones is now dying and money thrown by Nokia into this bottomless pit is money wasted.

The solution for Nokia I think is quite simple. Simply use Android now (2). With Android, Nokia can easily increase their sales by 50x within months. The same easy and obvious solution is the one for RIM. Just use Android like everyone else! Compete with your knowledge of hardware and services and don’t try to own or control the ecosystem! Don’t try to build AOL when everyone else is using the web!

My Google I/O (June 27-29th) predictions

Posted by – June 26, 2012

1. Nexus Tablet, 7″ preferably with Pixel Qi LCD to merge Tablets with E-readers. Keyboard dock for Chrome productivity.

2. Android Jelly Bean launched, feature major new features and integrates Linaro code talked about in my video Linaro improvements to Android 4.0.4 performance on the Pandaboard TI OMAP4430 platform for speed optimizations. Most important feature I think is the merger of Smartphone, Tablet, Google TV Set-top-box, E-reader, Chromebook with final fully optimized Chrome on Android on ARM, full Desktop/Laptop level Chrome on ARM Android browsing.

3. Google upgrades Cloud Computing platform to support and host php/mysql web apps such as wordpress, phpbb, mediawiki, Google hosts it for free with unlimited bandwidth when AdSense is used on every page.

4. Google Entertainment System (GES) is launched. It’s a layer to turn all Android HDMI/MHL devices and Set-top-boxes into full home console gaming machines that can rival Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft as home consoles. Consider Google to launch the Google Entertainment System for $49 with HDMI out only and up to $99 with a full Google TV HDMI input/output and IR blaster functionality. It’s ARM Powered, it’s powerful enough to replace your Desktop computer outputting a full Chrome browser on your HDTV/Monitor and using Bluetooth or RF keyboard/mice. It includes the new RF signal to manage Android@Home, thus turning your home into an intelligent connected platform. Consider it a sort of Nexus device to show how Google TV should be done, to show home Android@Home should be done, to show how Android can be used to challenge home consoles, to show how ARM Powered Chromeboxes should be done and to show how the Google Android Hub system for WiFi, White Spaces should be done.

5. Google+ launches major Recommendation/Personalization functionality. Consider the web will no longer be the same. You’ll have a totally new experience of web content through a new version of Google+ that is able to provide automatic streams for you based on the items you +1. Finally, the + in Google+ is going to be making full sense. Finally the +1 button is going to be used and everyone will instantly understand the meaning of using the +1 button, it is to teach Google what you like and have Google show you better content automatically. It’ll be absolutely revolutionary. A totally new way to surface quality on the web. You don’t need a lot of followers, you don’t need to be famous, you don’t need to be viral, soon after you post quality/original content on the web it can automatically reach the deserved audience. Who circles who will make less and less sense. HD Google+ Hangouts (up to 1080p high bitrates) are added as an enterprise on-demand perhaps paid feature.

6. Google may open up Android development process after Jelly Bean. Consider it Google opening up nightly Android advancements to the rest of the world and taking in more upstream suggestions for Android improvements from the open source community in General. As part of Google’s anti-fragmentation effort, Google can announce real-time collaboration in the development of future versions of Android, so new versions of Android reach more devices sooner using over-the-air upgrade systems worldwide. Expect Google to announce Android’s total daily activations number to be well above 1.5 million if all Android devices are included in the count, meaning not limiting the count to Google Certified devices, but also include all Chinese devices sold not only in China, also sold in India, Brazil and worldwide. Google can announce that Android tablets daily activations also have overtaken the iPad since December 2011, again if all Android tablets are included in the count, also including the millions of non-certified Chinese Android tablets such as the $55 Android ICS tablets featured in my video: $55 AllWinner Boxchip A13 Tablet Factory Tour

7. Google Project Glass to be released before the end of the year. It’s not just the Google reference hardware, it’s more importantly about a software layer on top of Android optimized for Augmented Reality usages to be used hands-free using any heads-up microdisplay including the Kopin Golden-i that I filmed and that I have been using since October last year: Motorola Kopin Golden-i at CES 2012 I think it’s just a layer of new APIs for Android apps to function well in a hands-free headmounted mode, using Google Voice Actions for voice-commands, using the accelerometer, compass, and all other usual sensors and thus simply providing an optimized Android Home Replacement and APIs for that. The first Google Glass compatible devices can be released from $199 to $499 before the end of this year.

8. Google’s Self-driving car system should be targeted as sub-$2000 add-on that can be added to any car. Just add some sensors and cameras to the roof of your car, and insert some electronics to the driving system of your car, and it should be turned into a Google Self-driving car. Google can announce partnerships with several major car makers to include the self-driving car functionality as a sub-$2000 option to several car models, to be shipping before the end of the year.

9. $199 ARM Powered Chromebooks launched. imagine it as nice as an Ultrabook, but for $199, running a full speed Chrome OS on one of the latest ARM processors, for example TI OMAP4470, Tegra3, Exynos4412, HiSilicon K3V2, Qualcomm S4, and more. 20-hour battery life. 100% security using ARM TrustZone. Speed is way faster than Intel Atom Chromebooks, browsing speed is comparable to any $1000 Ultrabook.

What else are you expecting from Google at I/O this year?

You can discuss this thread on Google+: https://plus.google.com/106075758531242552855/posts/Sx8ttoic3NJ

ARM and AMD partner for TrustZone security and for the future of Heterogeneous Computing

Posted by – June 17, 2012

This is not yet AMD announcing the licencing of ARM Cortex-A15, Cortex-A7, big.LITTLE, Mali-T658 and ARMv8, but it’s a big deal for ARM and AMD to jointly announce two new major partnerships in one week.

Read the news about AMD using ARM TrustZone ARM Cortex-A5 for security on future AMD Powered Laptops/Desktops

Read the news about ARM, AMD, TI, MediaTek, Imagination forming the new Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation

Basically, ARM TrustZone (2) nears becoming the world standard to 100% safely replace online passwords and to securely authenticate everyone online. And ARM and AMD really want to make it easier for developers to use all chips on an SoC for attaining a maximum performance, thus enabling broad GPGPU compute etc.

$85 Windows RT Licence, can they make it optional? (dual-booting free Android)

Posted by – June 17, 2012

Theo Valich reports on VR-Zone.com that sources at Taiwanese PC/Tablet manufacturers are complaining that Microsoft wants to charge an enormous $85 licence for Windows 8 RT on ARM. $85 can be nearly double the price of a completely smooth Android tablet hardware, and Microsoft wants to charge that $85 for the software licence?

I don’t mind Microsoft charging whatever they want for their proprietary software. The most important thing we need to demand from Microsoft and to demand from the industry is for these devices to be made available with Windows RT as only an option, something that the consumers must have the choice to not buy and to not use. Consumers should have the choice to pay $85 less and have the same hardware boot Android or Ubuntu for free. Consumers should basically buy an Android device and have the choice to “install” Windows 8 RT as an optional multi-boot function. Basically, Microsoft can put Windows RT up as a $85 paid app in the Google Play store.

If Microsoft does not like the idea of RT “simply” being an app on Android, they need to provide that choice in some type of multi-boot screen of some type. Let consumers type in their credit card infos and send the $85 to Microsoft if they want to have the option to boot into Windows RT and get the Microsoft Office, Metro and whatever else comes with that. Perhaps some keyboard shortcut or an OS switch hardware button should thus allow users to instantly switch to Android, to Ubuntu and to any other open or closed OS of their choice.

Forcing users to pay the $85 Windows RT licence should be unacceptable. It has been common practice on x86 for far too long and it needs to stop now with ARM. I actually think Microsoft can only gain market share on this new class of hardware if they accept and go with the multi-boot strategy. I think many consumers wouldn’t mind having Windows RT as a multi-boot option on their hardware but I think few consumers would actually demand being locked into only having Windows RT. Obviously, if Microsoft makes Windows RT a $30 option it becomes more popular, and if Microsoft makes Windows RT free and open source, then they’dd obviously maximize their chances.

And if people really want the Windows 8 style tile interface and use it on any cheap Android tablet they can already download and use a fake Windows 8 home replacement as I show in this video:

I’m being interviewed about how I started video-blogging and announcing a new feature for ARMdevices.net

Posted by – June 5, 2012

Here’s a 15 minute interview of me filmed by the Novacut guys using multiple high quality DSLR camera angles (you can watch it in 1080p!). I’m showing off some of the latest gadgets that I found in Shenzhen, I talk about why and how I video-blog from all the worlds consumer electronics trade shows since 2004, and I announce my next big feature on ARMdevices.net which is a $20/year Membership system to get access to buy all the best gadgets that I find at the trade shows all over the world, sourcing directly from the factories in Shenzhen and to get access to scans or pictures of the business cards of the people/distributors/suppliers that I video-interview (great for the buyers from around the world watching my videos and interested in having the best contact informations to the companies that I film). Look forward to the $20/year ARMdevices.net Membership system to be launched here in the days to come if I can find enough time to set it up while video-blogging here at Computex until June 10th.

Theo Valich, founder and editor in chief of Bright Side of News

Posted by – June 5, 2012

Theo Valich talks about his latest leak of Intel’s 2013/2014 Haswell processor specs, yup, Intel’s answer to the ARM threat is to crank up power consumption to 160W and 190 Amps he talks about his opinions on the industry, ARM vs Intel vs AMD etc.

Android at Linaro, the future, by Zach Pfeffer

Posted by – June 2, 2012

Here’s 19 minutes with Zach Pfeffer, Linaro Android Tech Lead, talking about the future of Android.

Look forward to plenty new videos from Shenzhen, and the Linaro Connect conference starts tomorrow for a week

Posted by – May 26, 2012

Yesterday, I filmed 13 awesome new videos here in Shenzhen. But I booked into a little too cheap of a hotel with a 12kb/s upload internet connection so I’ll have to wait to upload those videos tomorrow when I arrive at the Linaro Connect Hong Kong conference. Please do check back. I’ve filmed the new VIA WonderMedia WM8850 ARM Cortex-A9 platform, AmLogic AML8726-MX, Rockchip RK3066, MT6575, i.MX6 Quad, I filmed an awesome new 7-minute video in a $55 7″ capacitive Boxchip A13 factory here in Shenzhen! All that and more coming up tomorrow.

Starting tomorrow, I will be video-blogging at the Linaro Connect Hong Kong conference. Where the worlds top ARM SoC software engineers meetup for a week talking about, deciding, working together on the next advancements in Linux on ARM. Let me know in the comments if you have some suggestions for what I should ask them about as they are working on the newest and latest most advanced Linux solutions on TI OMAP, Exynos, i.MX, ST-Ericsson and more!