Category: Opinions

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Lenovo to design own ARM processors

Posted by Charbax – March 31, 2013

Eetimes reports that Lenovo is getting a team of 100 chip designers together (60 in Shenzhen, 40 in Beijing)  to design and integrate their own ARM Processor designs.

Because Samsung may not agree to provide them with the latest fastest Exynos designs and because Lenovo needs own differentiation in this market.

I expect Lenovo to use ARM in ThinkPad Laptops soon also, using Chrome OS in priority.

What Google’s Motorola R&D may be working on…

Posted by Charbax – December 22, 2012

The Wall Street Journal has an article out talking about the Google X Phone project and its technical challenges. I think that Google Motorola has a lot of work to do. Here are some of the projects that I expect Google to be investing in at Motorola to move Android forward in terms of R&D hardware spending, how Google may be trying to control and influence worldwide components supply for the next months and years of mobile devices development:

1. Dominate worldwide sub-$100 phone market. Target the sub-$200 Android phone market too. Target all world countries, not just rich countries. This is how Motorola "easily" can get to scale and thus get to control smartphones components supply.

2. Design devices that merge Android with Chrome OS and Google TV. That means re-engineer and re-think Motorola's Laptop Dock, Desktop Dock, Entertainment Dock, when you dock Android 5 thus switches to Chrome OS or Google TV depending on what you want on the external display.

3. Design flexible phones using rubber-like and leather-like materials. As soon as flexible screen suppliers are ready (not just Samsung's flexible AMOLED), have designs ready to use the new form factors.

4. E Ink phones, be it like the Motorola Fone released in 2006 with an E Ink display, the new E Ink phones use Android. Can be E Ink only Android phones and Android phones where just the backside is an E Ink display.

5. Integrate DLP pico projector technologies in new phone concepts that project something like a 20" touch-screen display onto any table. Thus design kick-stands, mirrors, lenses that facilitate that.

6. Google Glass, headmounted computing is going to be the new normal next year. Optimize the Motorola headmounted computer to fit every usage, design it so everyone wants to use them.

7. Wearable computing. Android Bluetooth wrist watches, Bluetooth headsets that merge into clothing for voice calls. Make every user feel like they are James Bond.

8. Mass market White Spaces modems and routers, small and low power enough to be included in every new Android smartphone and tablet. Cheap enough so that every ADSL/Cable/Fiber connection install a White Spaces router to quickly cover the whole world with free wireless broadband for everyone.

9. Mass producing Pixel Qi LCD based smartphones, tablets and laptops, for sunlight readablility and to extend battery life significantly.

10. New $100 ARM Powered Tablets for productivity. New $100 ARM Powered Laptops for productivity. Google and Motorola can take over some of the role of the One Laptop Per Child. These new devices are for the worlds children to use to make the world a better place.

12.85″ Pixel Qi Chrome OS Android 5.0 Laptop/Tablet Hybrid by Google for Q1 2013?

Posted by Charbax – November 27, 2012
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Chromebook on Android

Here are my expectations for Google's rumored upcoming Chrome OS laptop/tablet hybrid:

- 12.85" Pixel Qi LCD, Google sponsored, to be available to all other Android hardware makers as a new component. (Plastics based flexible unbreakable LCD for thinner lighter waterproof dustproof unbreakable build)

- Optical lamination allows for outdoor readable capacitive Pixel Qi LCD. Otherwise IR based Neonode touch can work.

- 20 million initial production batch, enough to make a significant mark on the market, next batch can be 100 million units.

- Android 5.0 to support Chrome OS on top of Android. Same for Ubuntu on top of Android. Multi-booting becomes standard feature of Android. It's not really multi-booting, it's enabling to run alternative Linux OSes on top of the base Linux OS of Android.

- $200, available worldwide on day 1. Second batch can be sold for $150 or $100. Schools can get rebates if they order one for every child. Google can subsidize a few of those millions to be used by Children in developing countries through the One Laptop Per Child project.

- 16GB Flash with SD slots and potentially a 2.5" HDD slot.

- 25 hours battery life. 200 grams flat battery dock doubles battery life to 50 hours.

- Swivel screen. Super slim keyboard can hide behind screen for tablet mode.

- ARM Cortex-A15, either OMAP5 with SGX544 or Exynos5 with Mali-T604. Maybe another comparable ARM Processor.

- Modem slot, all types modems available as options, 3G+, LTE, White Spaces, easily user swapable. There is space for an internal usb modem too.

Let me know what you think of this rumored Google hybrid here or at my Google+ thread.

ARM Linux Linaro hangout with Zach Pfeffer

Posted by Charbax – November 27, 2012

Hanging out with Zach Pfeffer, Android lead at, they are working to optimize Linux on ARM.

Would you like to join the next Google+ Hangout? Post a comment here with a link to your Google+ Profile or comment under the Google+ Post and I'll invite you to the next Google+ Hangout on Air! The next one is tonight midnight Copenhagen/Paris/Berlin time, 11PM UK time, 6PM EST, 3PM PST. Make sure I have circled you then look at my Google+ Profile Page at that time to see the Hangout invite. The topic is going to be the stories of the day at but it can also be any other technology news topics that you'd like to talk about!

Ubuntu for Android is imminent

Posted by Charbax – November 15, 2012

An official Canonical YouTube channel released this video:

This can mean that Ubuntu for Android is imminent. They seem to suggest that consumers can soon choose Ubuntu support next time that they buy a smartphone.

Here are some of my questions about Ubuntu for Android:

- Does Canonical work only on specific exclusive hardware and chip makers? Is there some kind of exclusive partnership with a Samsung or other Smartphone/chip maker to optimize and fully hardware accelerate Ubuntu on Android for them?

- Does the PC/Laptop Docking happen through a standard MHL connector compatible with multiple designs/sizes of phones and tablets?

- Are most Android 5.0 phones going to be compatible with alternative OSes to boot on top of Android? Can we soon just download the 700mb Ubuntu app made on Android Native Development Kit (NDK) on Google Play Store (if our Android device is officially supported with full hardware acceleration) to activate the on-top-of-Android-boot functionality?

- Can Chrome OS on Android be available at the same time? How about Google TV on Android? My big guess for Android 5 is that this multi-OS strategy is going to be a deep new feature of the next Android release. Dock your next Android device and it can switch or boot on the external HD display any alternative Linux OS such as Chrome OS, Google TV, Ubuntu, and maybe even Windows RT.

Also watch my previous Ubuntu for Android videos:

Twit Studio Brick House Tour

Posted by Charbax – November 7, 2012

Check out this tour with John Slanina, Lead Studio Engineer at Leo Laporte's Brick House studio, the worlds biggest independent technology news video podcasting studio.

Gary Smith EDA’s impressions on ARM Techcon 2012

Posted by Charbax – November 2, 2012

Industry Analyst Gary Smith of talks about what's happening in the ARM industry, electronic design automation, ARM is defining the new heterogeneous architecture for the future using the ARM Connected Community. You can also watch my videos with Gary Smith from ARM Techcon 2011 and from ARM Techcon 2010.

Overview of the latest/best 7″ Tablets out of Shenzhen China

Posted by Charbax – October 29, 2012

Here's my overview video showing some of the latest best value 7" Android tablets that I have found in Shenzhen on this trip. At least the samples that I was able to buy. $40 A13 800x480, $65 RK3066 1024x600, $80 NS115 1024x600 IPS, and there's also the sub-$50 VIA 8850 (which can run a Windows RT clone UI on top of Android), and I compare these with the $199 Kindle Fire HD.

Overview of the latest/best HDMI Sticks and Set-top-boxe out of Shenzhen China

Posted by Charbax – October 29, 2012

Here's my overview video of the latest ARM Powered HDMI Sticks that I have found in Shenzhen China, including the $30 Allwinner A10 single-core ARM Cortex-A8, $40 Rockchip RK3066 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9, $89 Freescale i.MX6 quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 and the $150 HiMedia Q5 HiSilicon Hi3716C single-core ARM Cortex-A9 Set-top-box running the interesting HiControl Android application for remote controlling, mouse and mirroring support from any Android tablet and phone to your HiMedia set-top-box.

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

Posted by Charbax – 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!