Category: Android

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More of my speculation on Google Phone Nexus One hardware and services pricing

Posted by Charbax – December 14, 2009

EDIT: Google has not confirmed any pricing for the Google Phone Nexus One. You can read my latest post backing up my speculations on what I expect Google will price it, what I think Google should price it: http://armdevices.net/2009/12/16/the-blogosphere-reports-my-nexus-one-pricing-speculation-as-fact/

As I have been posting in comments on mediamemo.allthingsd.com, gizmodo.com and androidguys.com, I enjoy speculating about features and prices of phones and business models. So let me post here the prices that I expect this first Google Phone to be sold at and some of what I expect of its hardware specifications:

- $200 sold through all retailers, Best Buy, Amazon, Wal Mart and any others. Unlocked, for use on any network, but I think it may come with a so-called Google SIM card (read further below)

- Google may provide a subsidy up to $100 for long-time and very active Google users. So if you buy it online using your Google Account, they may provide you with an instant rebate. If you buy it for $200 in retail stores, Google can still provide you the online $100 rebate to use on the Google Android Marketplace, on Google Checkout stores or even on extra data for your Google SIM card (read futher below).

- My speculation is that Google may provide up to 100mb of free data usage per month to all Android users with a Google SIM card (read futher below). The 100mb per month would be enough for as much Google Voice, Gmail, Gtalk, and basic web browsing that most people need (disabling bandwidth intensive things such as images can easily be setup). No contracts needed for those 100mb per month, but those may only work for use on Google services, for low bandwidth Android apps or for basic web browsing. In any ways, there would be a bandwidth usage counter clearly displayed at the top of the Android user interface next to the battery meter. The free 100mb per month may be throttled and may sometimes be limited to GPRS type of speeds.

- Extra bandwidth could be purchased in one click, such as I expect 1GB for $10 or 5€ is possible. That extra GB of bandwidth would be usable at any point in time and not need to be renewed every month.

- A monthly $30 or 20€ bandwidth package would provide up to 5GB in the USA or 10GB in Europe per month of unrestricted and full speed 3G bandwidth usage.

- Thus the overall Bill Of Material and Manufacturing costs for a Google Nexus One is probably below $150, so Google can very likely sell it below $200 with 8GB built-in storage and with MicroSD for storage expansion. Google doesn't look for making profits on hardware, they will make their profits on ads over the several months or several years that the hardware is being used.

The Google SIM card speculation:

- All those bandwidth speculations would work using the Google SIM card on any unlocked Android phone. Though since the Nexus One would be unlocked, any other SIM card could be used as well. And thus, competitors or telecom carriers themselves can provide SIM cards with pre-paid, with or without subscriptions for other packages of data usage. I think Google would allow Microsoft and others to take part in financing those free 100mb per month so users would be able to use competing online services and VOIP providers for free as well.

The calculation and speculation for a worldwide Google SIM card bandwidth service should thus be based on trying to not only guess if carriers will allow Google to turn them into dumb pipes of bandwidth, on the other hand, we should try to guess what price Google may pay to buy 3G data bandwidth in bulk from the carriers and thus at what price Google may sell it back to Android users without the need of monthly data subscriptions. My guess is that $10 per GB in the USA and 5€ per GB in Europe should be more than enough payment for the 3G data bandwidth. And that most likely Google should be able to purchase that for much lower prices if Google negociates deals for several Petabytes of 3G data bandwidth with the carriers. Thus giving away 100MB of bandwidth per unlocked Android user per month, would most likely cost a lot less than $1 per month to Google, thus that would be something Google should be able to give to unlocked Android users for free. But even if carriers would charge Google as much as $10 per GB for 3G data bandwidth, I believe that my speculation on the Google SIM card could still make a lot of sense.

Because Google would negociate for 3G data bandwidth with all carriers in every country. I believe that it should be possible for users to seamlessly and freely roam for data usage in other countries. That is, as long as they do use a Google SIM card for unlocked Android phones.

Google Phone Nexus One
Source for picture: http://www.engadget.com/

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The Google Phone, guessing on the price and a possible picture

Posted by Charbax – December 13, 2009

This may be a picture of the Google Phone:

Google Phone Nexus One

From rumors on Techcrunch, this may be a pre-paid only $100 device, for WiFi and pre-paid 3G Voice over IP usage such as on Google Voice. Exactly the revolutionary business model that I have been talking about for a while. My guess on the Google Phone price, or what I think it should cost is following:

$100 for the 3.7" high density WVGA Google Phone Nexus One
$150 for the 4.8" medium density Google Tablet Nexus XL

All should come based on ARM Cortex A8 processors, probably OLED capacitative on Nexus One and LCD resistive on the Nexus XL. My suggestion is basically that the Nexus XL may be similar to my favorite consumer electronics device the Archos 5 Internet Tablet which I talk about in countless videos: http://armdevices.net/?s=archos and on my other site: http://archosfans.com

The most important factor here would be if the rumors are true and if my guessing is right, that the Google Phone and Tablet will be the first pre-paid Android phone and tablet. Affordable, my guessing also may even make it so that Google may not only sell it through all retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Wal Mart, Media Markt, Aldi and such, but that one may even be able to buy it on google's own website and based on how active one has been on Google over the past few years, Google may even subsidize the purchase price of the phone or tablet. That is, cause Google can know it will more likely make more money on mobile ads from users who use Google services a lot. This way, look forward to Google Phone at $50, Google Tablet for $100 and even the Google Laptop/Tablet/E-reader at $150.

Some times, I think that it does take a big giant technology company like Google to really invest not only in the platform, not only in software, but also dedicate teams of hardware engineers into actually releasing own branded hardware on the market and push the boundaries in terms of business models to apply to the distribution of such technology. To push things forward faster, Google needs to make hardware.

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Seesmic on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax – December 9, 2009

Here is a demonstration at LeWeb conference in Paris of the Seesmic application for Android running on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, the worlds first Android Tablet with a 800x480 medium density 4.8" touch screen and even with a 720p HDMI output. This video was filmed by John Yamasaki @jyamasaki of Seesmic using the Flip HD.

Google Marketplace and Google Apps works on Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax – November 28, 2009

We have had to wait a month and a half since the release for the full Google Experience to start being available and working on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android. Google had not certified the Archos on Android 1.5 for a WVGA 800x480 Google Experience, so the hope is that this certification will be signed by Google when Archos updates the installed Android version to 2.0 at some point in the next weeks.

For now, someone in the forum has posted instructions for how to install the full Google Experience on the Archos using the ADB developer debugging tools: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27934, and JKK has posted a tutorial for how to install it on Windows: http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2009/11/archos-5-it-now-with-android-market-and.html

Chrome OS is better

Posted by Charbax – November 19, 2009

Chrome OS Laptops will cost 50 dollars and run 20 hours on a battery, and come with free unlimited 3G internet data connectivity.

Chrome OS is not going to be companion to Windows/Mac, Chrome OS is destroying Microsoft/Apple and even Intel.

You will be able to run powerful and free image and video editing software using Native code and hardware accelerations functions of Chrome OS and HTML5.

Chrome OS works offline just as well as any other laptop. Want to write emails while offline and auto-send them when you find a web connection? That is possible. Want to write documents offline and sync them when you find a WiFi? That is possible. Want to watch video while offline? Just connect USB storage and that is possible. I am sure Chrome OS laptops will even come with extra storage and hard drive compartments built-in if you really want to carry a lot of stored data to do a lot of things offline. Otherwise, by that time, there will be Google Drive to store a TB of your personal files for less than 50 dollars per year, thus only slightly more expensive than buying a TB hard drive. And if you will want to store divx or mp3 files on your Google Drive that other users have stored on Google Drive already, you won’t have to actually upload it, a quick scan and a copy is on your Google Drive and storage costs will be shared by all the users who will have access to a copy of the file.

Chrome OS works on touch screens, uses whatever hardware you want. Most importantly, with a 50 dollar ARM laptop the experience will be just as good as on a 400 dollar Intel laptop.

$80 Android Laptop, Menq EasyPC E790

Posted by Charbax – November 12, 2009

First $80 Android Laptop - MenQ EasyPC E790

Here is the cheapest laptop in the world. It can run Android since it is based on a Samsung ARM926EJ-S3C2450 processor, but for now this review unit that I am reviewing in this video only runs Windows CE 5.0. Check back hopefully within a month for another video when Menq may have sent me a firmware upgrade to use Android instead of Windows CE.

As I filmed the Menq Easypc E760 last year at IFA, Menq is a chinese company interested in providing the worlds cheapest laptop designs. Last year, they were using a 480x320 resolution 7-inch screen to reach the $89 price point for laptops, now they are able to include a 800x480 resolution 7-inch screen. Find more information about this Menq EasyPC E790 at http://www.menqgroup.com/products/pro/E790.asp

The coming of the ARM based laptops, in my opinion, are indicative of the real revolution that is imminent for the Laptop and Desktop computer industry. As soon as ARM based laptops can run a full Chrome Browser, with unlimited amounts of opened tabs all running smoothly, with Flash support, full Javascripts support and basic multimedia functions, then I think the turning point will be reached where most consumers in the world, and especially in developing countries, will be buying only the cheapest laptops.

Web Browsing is all that most people need, with clever HTML5 enabled Chrome browser running on any type of Embedded OS, be it Android or Ubuntu, even offline application could be run reliably from within the browser engine. Anything most people really need will work.

As you can see in my video review, this Menq EasyPC E790 is kind of slow since it is based on the ARM9 processor technology. For not much more cost, though, the Chinese laptop manufacturers could soon be using the ARM Cortex A8 processor technology, which should provide for a 5-10 times faster web browsing experience, and even faster if using an upcoming ARM optimized Chrome browser.

This laptop, I think, is giving us a taste of the future of laptops. Soon all laptops will cost $80 or less, run 10 hours or more on a small and cheap 3-cell battery, even over 20 hour battery life if using the Pixel Qi screen technology. It is also providing a sensation for the what we can expect from the next generation OLPC One Laptop Per Child XO-1.75 to be released by OLPC with ARM processor technology inside instead of X86.

If using ARM9, OLPC could definitely sell laptops at below $80, but maybe ARM Cortex A8 will be preferable at around $10-$20 extra in manufacturing costs, and the innovative new Pixel Qi screen, WiFi meshing, more RAM and storage, could bring the next ARM based OLPC XO-1.75 laptop coser to $125 per laptop, to reach below $100 with mass production. In any ways, I am really looking forward to see the upcoming releases of the ARM Cortex A8 based laptops, yet still, this ARM9 based laptop is very interesting, and if you want your local supermarket to start selling them, I suggest you phone your local supermarket headquarters, and ask them to contact Menq and order for example 5000 pieces or more so they can get them at the price of $80 per unit and sell it to you for probably below $100 in supermarkets.

Pictures of this laptop:

Menq EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790 MenQ EasyPC E790

Find more information at http://www.menqgroup.com/products/pro/E790.asp

Blog about the cheap Alpha-400 laptops http://www.alpha-400.com/

Here are some of my previous famous videos of this type of cheap ARM based revolutionary laptops:

September 3rd 2009: Sharp PC-Z1, the first Freescale ARM Cortex A8 based smartbook on the market
June 7th 2009: $150 Freescale ARM Cortex A8 based Pegatron Desktop
June 5th 2009: ARM talks about the new ARM Laptops
June 5th 2009: Qualcomm talks about Snapdragon powered ARM laptops
June 5th 2009: Freescale shows smartbooks
June 4th 2009: Worlds first Android laptop, Qualcom snapdragon powered by Compal
June 4th 2009: Nvidia Tegra talks about Flash support and HD multimedia ARM laptops
June 4th 2009: Nvidia talks more about their new ARM laptops
September 12th 2008: Menq $89 EasyPC E760
September 2nd 2008: The $98 Hivision Mininote
September 1st 2008: Univ $150 ARM laptop
March 12th 2008: GeCube ARM laptop
March 12th 2006: Municator $146 desktop

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android supports Youtube HD playback beautifully

Posted by Charbax – November 3, 2009

Archos is the first provider of a Youtube HD set-top-box solution by the Archos 5 Internet Tablet simply being the worlds first Android product supporting the playback of H264 High Profile at 1280x720 and 2mbit/s that is the format, resolution and bitrate that Youtube encodes all their HD videos in. More and more videos are uploaded to Youtube in HD quality (including this video that I embed in this post) and all those videos playback awesomely on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet since the 1.2.11 firmware version by just clicking on the embedded videos play button or browsing through all the Youtube videos at http://m.youtube.com

As Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said at the Royal Television Society Convention, the coming of new cheap set-top-box products that can play Internet video will be the biggest enabler of the IPTV revolution towards Video-On-Demand, with Youtube already delivering more than 1 Billion views per day, with cheap set-top-boxes with direct Youtube support on people's HDTVs, Youtube would reach even many more views per day and there will be a greater demand for higher quality Youtube videos at up to HD quality. Archos delivers this solution with the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, the first cheap embedded support for Youtube HD on a HDTV.

Waiting for Flash 10.1 support in Android is not even required for Youtube HD, HQ and Normal qualities to work. Flash 10.1 support will come on Archos as soon as Adobe releases Flash 10.1 for Android.

If Archos can support full MKV 720p H264 high profile support with full bitrates in optimized firmware updates, then the Archos 5 Internet Tablet starting at $249 MSRP for the 8GB version is effectively about to become a pocket-sized replacement for Blu-ray. With better features than Blu-ray since Youtube HD support basically is like HD quality video-on-demand.

A few things that I think Archos, Google and third party Android software developers should do to provide a perfect Youtube HD experience:

- Someone should create a YoutubeHD.apk application that should launch Youtube HD/HQ/Normal quality videos automatically in playlists and based on the Youtube user's Youtube account to list recommendations, subscriptions, add searches and tags, display overlay ratings and comments, even provide live overlay chat for videos and for Youtube channels. It could be called Google Watch, be the same as Google Listen, but for Video. Even provide clever podcatching storage and caching of videos and not only go onto Youtube but use any other video sources of the web.

- Archos should provide the user with a choice to limit the quality to HQ or Normal if the user does not want to stream HD quality for some reason, for example perhaps the bandwidth that is available is not enough for that user to have a smooth Youtube HD experience.

- http://m.youtube.com needs to be improved, I want to sort searches by date for example.

- Archos should provide overlay text input facility such as commenting and chatting around the videos and channels. The social features around videos can be really powerful to increase the value proposition of IPTV set-top-box video-on-demand.

- Archos should release a $150 screen-less set-top-box with Android, with only 8GB built-in storage, but possibility to connect any EXT3 formatted USB hard drive or a local NAS to expand storage for DVR functions and for Video downloads also using BitTorrent and RSS. What is cool that you can see in this video of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, is that this is a proof that Archos certainly has the hardware and software know-how to make this happen. Once the easy-to-use Youtube HD set-top-box arrives with BitTorrent, RSS and USB hard drives storage support, for below $100 to $150, I think Video-on-demand and the real IPTV revolution will finally really happen.

You can discuss this video here http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=27221

Video review of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android

Posted by Charbax – October 30, 2009

Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android provides the worlds first 800x480 4.8" Android experience on an ARM Cortex A8 processor. It loads websites super fast and smooth. It plays all video codecs from DivX, WMV, Mpeg2 and H264 even MKV video files at up to 1280x720 resolution. There are thousands of compatible Android applications (now or later..) and more to test and to report on every day in the http://forum.archosfans.com as developers are optimizing their applications for Archos 800x480 resolution screen.

Why it's the best: (better than ipod touch, zune HD and other Android smartphones)

- The screen is 2x larger at 4.8" vs. 3.5"
- The screen resolution is 2.5x higher at 800x480 vs. 480x320
- The processor is 3-4 times faster with ARM Cortex A8 vs. ARM11 (the new ipod touch released last month does have ARM Cortex A8 as well though)
- It plays back every video codecs, including DivX, XviD, WMV, Mpeg2, VOB, H264, MP4, MOV, MKV up to 1280x720 and audio codecs Mp3, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AC3 and WMA. Even RMVB might be supported (I have not tested RMVB yet)
- This device can stream Youtube HD and any other HD video format directly from the web over WiFi-N. It's basically also a 180gr $200 (street price for 8GB version) full Blu-ray replacement. On the 500GB version (soon $400 street price), you can basically walk around with 120 Blu-ray quality movies in your pocket to connect and play on any HDTV using the HDMI Mini Dock.
- Archos comes with up to 500GB built-in storage for the hard drive based models.
- MicroSD card slot on the Flash based models.
- HDMI output through the HDMI Mini Dock (price not known yet) or the DVR Station ($130 or lower)
- USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice are supported
- WiFi-N provides more bandwidth and broader coverage for connecting to WiFi Internet
- 3G Bluetooth tethering through a mobile phone for Internet when you are outside of reach of WiFi hotspots
- Video-recording and scheduling with electronic program guide like a Tivo (with the optional DVR Station $130 or below)
- Real GPS built-in for Archos provided Android GPS application or for any other Android based GPS and location based applications
- FM receiver and transmitter built-in
- Samba and UPNP file sharing for streaming of HD movies and TV shows on your local network (I have not tested this feature yet, I am waiting for my Fonera 2.0n to arrive hopefully next week)
- 1280x720 Android Desktop experience when outputting the screen to a HDTV using HDMI. This is the worlds first 1280x720 Android experience. Apps could be optimized for this in the coming months, for example I am expecting to see the full high resolution compatible and optimized Google Chrome available for ARM Cortex A8 based Android devices in the coming few months.
- All that, and it still fits in a pocket, it does not cost more than the ipod touch or zune HD, it is much cheaper than the currently available HTC and Samsung Android phones (at least when bought unlocked) and it is only 1.5x heavier than the ipod touch.

The Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android is, I think, the most significant alternative to Apple's and Microsoft's portable multimedia consumer electronics products on the market for real tech geeks. In my opinion, Archos already has released the industry's best ipod touch and zune HD killer with what we have now. Even though I do look forward to them improving a few things in firmware updates to come in the next weeks and months.

What Archos can improve in the next firmware updates:

- They should fix the audio-synch issue with H264 720p HD video files such as MKV HD and Youtube HD playback. I am confident Archos can fix this in on of the soon to come firmware updates. Mostly the audio-synch issue I am experiencing is only very slightly noticable and the TV episodes as still very watchable and look fantastic using HDMI output from Archos 5 Internet Tablet to my 42" HDTV.
- They should try to support more than 3500kbit/s MKV high profile h264 720p so that MKV 720p 4GB+ movies will play smoothly and that MKV 720p TV episodes will not sometimes drop some frames (usually for 1-3 seconds) on the high peak bitrate scenes (see my tests of MKV high profile h264 720p playback in this forum thread http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26603)
- Hopefully Archos can add support for the DTS audio codec, which is often used in 4GB+ MKV 720p movies.
- USB Webcams or Headmounted camera for live video broadcasting applications like Ustream and Qik.
- USB 3G Dongles would be really useful even though carrying and connecting the USB 3G dongle to a Mini Dock, HDMI Mini Dock or Battery Dock is not the most compact of setups.
- Archos has promised Android 1.6, Android 2.0 and Flash 10.1 support in updates. It'd be nice to see all these officially add support for all the Google apps such as Gmail client, Google Maps, Google Contacts, Google Listen and the Google Marketplace for apps, considering it should be possible for Google to just filter the apps for Archos's specific screen resolution and also filter out apps that require the Camcorder and the electronic compass, unless Archos does provide a Dock or USB webcam and headmounted camera add-on support that ads support for those features.
- It will be interesting to see if Archos specific hardware advantages will be taken advantage of by third party Android application developers. For example, it will be interesting to see if third party developers will be able to provide some apps that support HD video streaming, peer-to-peer downloading and streaming, video games emulation up to N64 and Dreamcast, advanced 3D games such as Quake3, and many other such really advanced things.
- It is going to be interesting to see also up to what extent Archos, Google and third party developers can take advantage of the 1280x720 output when using the HDMI output to a HDTV. I would like to be able to use my Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android as a full Desktop/Laptop replacement. That is, if the ARM Cortex A8 platform inside of it and with all the hardware acceleration can be powerful enough to provide me with the complete performance that I need for full screen, full keyboard and mouse computing.

If they can quickly improve the firmware with these improvements and added features, I believe the Archos Android Tablet could become the absolute must have product for all geeks.

Discuss this video:

You can discuss this video review in the forum http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=26754

In my next videos:

In my next videos that I will post here during the next few days, I plan to show you 3G Bluetooth tethering, Youtube HD playback (which now works in todays new Firmware update 1.2.03), some awesome Android apps that work, Bluetooth keyboard and mouse fun, remote desktop, local and remote file sharing and streaming and many more awesome features.

Some pictures:

I posted some high resolution pictures of it comparing it to things you might know the size of (click on the images to see them in full size on Google Picasa):
Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin Archos 5 Internet Tablet is thin

The next hardware:

For the next Archos Phone range due to be released or shown at CES in January 2010, I wish for Archos to integrate a Pixel Qi 3Qi Capacitative touchscreen (watch my video from Computex http://techvideoblog.com/computex/pixel-qi-screen-demo-live-from-taipei/), a 720p camcorder and an electronic compass together with the 3G HSDPA sim card modem. Archos is getting to be very close to absolute perfection in mobile computing.

Full disclosure:

Full disclosure: I am the biggest Archos fanboy in the world. I run the worlds biggest Archos fans community here at http://archosfans.com and at http://forum.archosfans.com and have done so for the past 5 years. Archos did send me this new Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android 4 days ago for free and have told me that I could keep it since I also need it to support the thousands of Archos users in my online community.

HTC Hero at IFA 2009

Posted by Charbax – September 6, 2009

Testing the HTC Hero for the first time. Navigating through the HTC interfaces that are installed on top of the Google Android OS by HTC.

720p Android on a video-phone by Universal Microelectronics Co. Ltd.

Posted by Charbax – September 5, 2009

Universal Microelectronics Co. Ltd. is showing this awesome looking video phone project based on a powerful ARM Cortex A8 processor to integrate the Google Android OS into a 10.1" capacitative touchscreen product! It has HDMI output, capacitative touchscreen (Android touchscreen dirvers are still under construction), ethernet plug, USB host and more features. Built-in dect phone, webcam. For about $260 price for carriers or resellers to buy this in bulk. They are also making a 4.8" 800x480 version with a built-in mini-HDMI output, MicroSD slot and USB-host as well for about $200!