Category: Opinions

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!

The Inevitable Convergence, Exynos 4412 getting too powerful for just being in a phone, SGS3 needs to use MHL for ICS+Chrome OS+Google TV

Posted by – May 6, 2012

The new 32nm Exynos 4412 1.4Ghz Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 with Quad-core Mali-400 (probably cranked up at a higher frequency than before) launched by Samsung in the Galaxy S3 looks to be totally amazing. It may be one of the absolute fastest ARM Processors to date. That brings awesomely smooth and fast Android 4 ICS user interfaces on the gorgeous 4.8″ 1280×720 pentile Super AMOLED HD screen. And with advances in Android, new features using hardware acceleration, they’ll always find a way to put to use the extra performance. But if these newest ARM Processors now come with enough memory bandwidth to run a full Laptop as smoothly as using x86, if these newest ARM Processors can run 1080p Set-top-box user interfaces at 60fps on any 55″ HDTV, if these newest ARM Processors have amazing GPU power that can in theory run console quality games even on a 1080p HDMI, then why aren’t there accessories and docks to allow for that? Why didn’t Samsung announce a range of Laptop Docks and Google TV docks for the Galaxy S3?

Here’s my quick concept image for an MHL LapDock accessory that I’d like to see accessory makers sell on the market at $99-$149 depending on the quality/size, it should be similar to the Motorola LapDock 500 Pro but designed for MHL phones:

MHL enables a new market for LapDocks similar to the Motorola Atrix series, where you dock your smartphone and it powers your ARM Powered Chrome OS Ultrabook, Google TV Set-top-box and Home Console.

I think it is important to notice the huge leap in performance year/year of these latest and upcoming new ARM Processors. The new Exynos 4412 is nearly 2x more powerful than last year’s Exnoys 4210. Not just by the doubling of cores, that doesn’t actually double performance but more like increases it by 50% (at same frequency, and only for very multi-threaded tasks), the main thing is the smaller process node design, the increased memory bandwidth, cleverer memory bandwidth architecture also enabling a faster higher clock speed Mali-400 GPU. Basically what you are getting is 2x more performance for less power consumption, that’s pretty exciting and pretty kick-ass in my book. And we are not even yet arrived at the ARM Cortex-A15 which then again upgrades the performance even more!

Now all that is needed is for Google and the industry to merge Android, Chrome OS and Google TV. When you dock it in a Laptop Dock or Desktop Dock, it should switch to a full Chrome OS mode (or Ubuntu, not to forget Microsoft is welcome to add the Windows 8 app for $29.99 in the Google Play store. Or somewhat pre-install “Windows 8 mode” as a secured dual-boot when partnering with the smartphone maker). When you dock it to a Multimedia Dock it should switch to a full Google TV mode, maybe even with HDMI input and IR blaster if the Dock supports that, and also the new GPU is now near XboX 360 power even though it’s not yet the Mali-T604 and Mali-T658 which increases graphics even further next year.

The issue is Samsung and some others are maybe afraid to disrupt their own existing markets of selling Laptops, Chromebooks, Set-top-boxes and new 3DTVs with built-in Google TV, so maybe, just maybe, at the corporate headquarters of Samsung they fear the inevitable convergence. But if Samsung doesn’t want to promote the convergence that these new post-PC ARM processors enable, then competitors have a wide open door to use that for marketing. One little pocketable soon enough wearable device can now power all your productivity, content consumption and entertainment. The performance has arrived, it’s only a matter of someone deciding to start making, selling and marketing the new user interfaces that enable the full convergence.

Samsung Galaxy S3 may be the first smartphone with full ARM TrustZone support for enabling 100% security in everything online

Posted by – May 4, 2012

The newly announced Samsung Galaxy S3 may not only have an amazing new 32nm Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with a new accelerated higher frequency Quad-core Mali-400 GPU offering perhaps the fastest ARM SoC in the world at the moment. Samsung may also have done the right choice to fully enable and activate ARM TrustZone through the MobiCore integrated security platform directly onto the Exynos 4412 SoC. The Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is joint venture between ARM (40%), Gemalto (30%) and Giesecke & Devrient (30%) which is currently in the process of getting approval from the European Commission for European Wide mass adoption as the default secure mobile authentication system.

While ARM TrustZone has been talked about for a while, it being supported in many ARM Processors, as far as I know it hasn’t been activated on any of those processors yet, the full Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) ecosystem has not yet been implemented in a mass market phone. The idea is to provide a 100% secure system for mobile payment, enterprise productivity, mobile banking applications, online commerce and premium content services. I believe ARM TrustZone can even be used for a fast and easy 100% secure authentication on your phone every time you log-in to your Google Account, and I believe that you may even set it up to 100% securely authenticate you when you log-in to any Open ID or other username/password protected websites on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and any others included.

Basically consider these usage scenarios:
1. E-commerce: You click to buy something online, no need to type in credit card infos. Your phone automatically turns on in safe mode (identifiable by secure LED light lighting up on the side of the phone), you type your 4 digit pin code, payment 100% secure activated, the web page automatically updates, no click needed, and says thanks for your payment.

2. NFC or Online Payments/Money transfers: Tap your phone with the person you want to give some money to, or click on payment link in email or elsewhere online. Your phone automatically turns on in safe mode (identifiable by secure LED light lighting up on the side of the phone), you type your 4 digit pin code, payment or money transfer 100% secure activated. Both receiver and sender automatically get confirmation payment or money transfer has happened instantly.

3. Securely log-in to your Google or other web account. Click to login. Instead of using Google’s current 2-step verification (code being sent by SMS or Android app), a new easier, better and more secure 2-step verification system is established using ARM TrustZone TEE. As soon as you click to login, you don’t even need to type your password in the web browser, your phone automatically turns on in safe mode (identifiable by secure LED light lighting up on the side of the phone), you type your 4 digit pin code, you are 100% securely logged into your Google account.

Etc. Same system for 100% securely logging on to corporate networks and applications. You can also setup different pin codes depending on the different class of applications. For example your important payment systems may have a different pin code than basic website logons.

The idea of the ARM TrustZone Trusted Execution Environment is that once that security LED light is turned on on your phone, you can be assured that what you see on the screen is the encrypted alternative OS environment to authenticate you and authorize actions that it then encrypts and sends back through the Android OS to the Internet. For example it displays “Paying $20 to X” as you enter your pin code and click OK or you click cancel if you don’t agree. Again using encryption. Using systems of 128bit encryption, in theory this system should be 100% secure. As long as users always make sure to check that the security LED light is on on their phone when they enter their pin codes and click for authorizations.

If implemented correctly, ARM TrustZone will not only much improve security online, it will also make authentication and authorization processes easier and faster online. With the Galaxy S3 and the correct implementation of ETT support throughout the Internet, the Chrome browser, Android, you may never need to remember usernames and passwords for all websites again, you just use the same few PIN codes on your phone to do all your authentications, authorizations and every type of secure authenticated activities on the Internet.

I am very excited about the upcoming mass adoption of ARM TrustZone, because I believe we are going to see an explosion of awesomely advanced applications for secure authentication, online payments, mobile payments and the feeling for users is going to be that they are soon going to trust using their phones to replace their wallets, passports, credit cards, and that people are going to have a tool to be able to trust any and every website, as those will never be able to see your passwords as consumers will always be protected by the normal set of consumer protections and that online scams, online security breaches will be a thing of the past. ARM TrustZone Trusted Execution Environment means the end of paper money, it means the end of ticketing, it means the end of credit cards, it means the end of membership cards, it means the end of usernames and passwords online.

Here is the press release:

G&D announces MobiCore® integrated security platform to support Samsung GALAXY S III in Europe

Munich, May 4, 2012 – Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) today announced that its MobiCore security platform will be integrated in Samsung GALAXY S III smartphones distributed in Europe. Thanks to MobiCore, the NFC-capable smartphone from Samsung will be the first mobile device to boast a protected area on its application processor in which security-sensitive applications can be securely run and downloaded dynamically. The MobiCore platform will provide a secure execution environment for mobile payments authentication, emails or corporate VPN access.

The first application installed in the Mobicore-protected area on the Samsung GALAXY S III is a digital rights management (DRM) application which provides digital content with effective protection against misuse. In addition, G&D’s Trusted Service Management (TSM) solution will enable organizations such as network operators and banks to install and customize additional security-critical apps in the protected area of the smartphone. Samsung GALAXY S III, with integrated MobiCore security platform, will be made commercially available first in Europe and will then be rolled out globally.

Pixel Qi announces 2048×1536 better-than-iPad3 screen, with 100x lower power consumption

Posted by – April 23, 2012

Pixel Qi is finalizing the deals with partners about sizes and quantities to produce their next generation ultra high pixel density Pixel Qi screens, with a new very low power mode that runs at a full 100X power reduction from the peak power consumed by the iPad3 screen. Pixel Qi claims to have a new architecture that matches the resolution of the ipad3 screen, and its full image quality including matching or exceeding contrast, color saturation, the viewing angle and so forth with massive power savings. Here is Pixel Qi’s power consumption versus the iPad2 and iPad3:

My opinion and suggestion for Google:
I’d like to see Google invest heavily in Pixel Qi for a 7″ 1024×600 screen to be mass produced for the rumored upcoming Nexus Tablet, providing it 20 hours battery life on an ultra slim form factor, with a very small bezel if they can make it have a plastics based screen, suitable for reading Google Books, suitable for outdoor use. Google should invest the money needed in bringing Pixel Qi to the mass consumer market. And then also Google can help bring the 2048×1536 9.7″ Pixel Qi screen to the mass Android tablet market.

The success of the iPhone and iPad is due to ARM Technology, but also to the investments Apple has made in using new screen technologies, Apple basically financed exclusivity for the 3.5″ capacitive screen when launching the iPhone and they bought an exclusive on the 9.7″ IPS screen for the iPad. Now also Apple invested the $2+ Billion getting an exclusive on the 9.7″ Retina screen. Google should do the same, not only invest heavily to optimize Android on all the ARM Processors, Google should also invest the money needed in new screen technologies such as Pixel Qi LCD and use that for their “Google Hardware” Nexus devices but then also instantly allow access to the new screen technologies to every other Android hardware maker.

Source: pixelqi.com/blog1

Check back in the days to come

Posted by – April 21, 2012

I have many more videos from Hong Kong and the Chinese fairs to be posted here on http://ARMdevices.net in the days to come. I also am going to be announcing and launching some big new features of http://ARMdevices.net here soon. Check back!