Linaro was established last year, and they are making rapid progress in bringing up Linux on ARM, the goal being to solve fragmentation, to catch up with Intel's x86 through consolidation and development of common ARM Linux code. Linaro's ultimate goal is to establish leadership in core technology open source innovation on ARM member SoCs. Linaro wants to accelerate time to market. Not just catch up with Intel, Linaro's goal is absolute leadership.
Here's a 27 minute video update from Linaro CEO George Grey about the plans that they have got for this year, as they expect 2011 to be a huge year for Linaro, their software is rapidly making it possible to have fully optimized ARM powered Linux laptops and desktops released to the market this year. Basically, Linaro is a company build out of the ARM industry collaborating to bring to market ARM Powered Chrome OS laptops, ARM Powered Ubuntu Laptops, even for all of the Android and Meego stuff.
This video was posted last month on the LinaroOrg YouTube channel.
Linaro has grown to over 80 engineers in the first 6 months. They are still adding engineering talent every month. At launch it was stated that the company would grow to a little under 100 engineers. You can find more information at http://linaro.org. What do you think Linaro should do to make it easier for companies to build ARM based Linux products? You can post your info and ideas in the comments.
- Linaro Graphics Group at ARM Techcon 2010 (ARMdevices.net)
- Linaro CEO George Grey at ARM Techcon 2010 (ARMdevices.net)
- Canonical explains the status of Ubuntu on ARM Powered Laptops (ARMdevices.net)
There is talk about a new version of the 24" 1080p Acer monitor, the one that comes with the Freescale i.MX51 processor (see it in the video below), to be released with Chrome OS on it instead of that photoframe type of OS that is on the previously released Acer D241H. See my video from CES showing this Acer D241H and imagine it running Chrome OS as demonstrated by Freescale for the past year in other of my videos.
The simple thing is like this, Acer DX241H could simply come with some USB Host ports to connect USB keyboard and mouse, it could come with the slightly faster i.MX53 processor, possibly more RAM suitable for Chrome OS use, and most importantly, it just might be that we are approaching the point in time when Google is ready to unleash Chrome OS devices, ARM Powered as well, and this type of product could be it.
The key is this, you can add Chrome OS using ARM such as Freescale's ARM Cortex-A8, with WiFi, and all, for just $50 more. The same thing is going to happen with HDTVs, you will be able to add Google TV to those as well using ARM for just less than $50 more.
At Mobile World Congress, CUPP was showing some Macbook laptops with a switch that I guess puts OSX in sleep mode and switches over the the ARM SoC platform and Android or Ubuntu on ARM and using the same screen, keyboard and mouse for that.
This video was posted at: JKKmobile.com
- CUPP crams ARM inside of a MacBook Pro, makes it run Android with a button press (video) (engadget.com)
Freescale announced their ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-Core and Quad-Core processor platform. Here´s an interview with Freescale about their performance and features.
This is just the Chromium OS based on the open source Chromium OS source code, until manufacturers and Google bring up Chrome OS to real ARM Powered laptops and desktops to be shipped hopefully soon.
Chrome OS greatest achievement will be the disruption of the whole Windows/Intel/Apple business models of artificially increasing prices of Laptops year after year, as those old silicon valley giants are always frightened to see their multi-hundred billion dollar industry disappear.
What the One Laptop Per Child successfully initiated after 2006, forcing Intel to introduce the Netbook market segment, thus lowering the average price per laptop consumers would purchase by $100-200 overnight, Google is attempting to do even more aggressively with Chrome OS.
These past 2 years, I reviewed several ARM Powered $99 Laptops already, from such Chinese as Hivision, MenQ, Firstview or Indian AllGo Systems, powered by VIA's Wondermedia or other of the affordable ARM9 or ARM11 platforms that are available to these manufacturers for affordable implementation at that time. Sure enough, ARM Cortex A8 and A9, more RAM, faster SoCs are more appropriate for full laptop performance. Every 18 months chips are twice as fast or twice cheaper. How much more do you think that a new ARM Cortex-A9 SoC platform with a larger higher resolution LCD screen costs today compared to an ARM9 from 2 years ago? $30 more? The same? These cheap ARM Powered laptops are interesting because they are early products that have been giving us a taste of the ARM Powered laptops that are coming.
Sure the Cr-48 that Google are beta testing is Intel powered. That is just a question of beta testing of software. ARM Powered Chrome OS probably needs ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processors to be optimized for large screen laptop computing. The Chrome Browser requires a lot of RAM to be fast. All the I/O and memories on the SoC need to be accelerated to the point the Chrome web browser in a laptop form factor feels 100% as fast on ARM as on Intel.
It may be that the current generation ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 are more suitable for Tablets and Smart Phones than for Laptops and Desktops. More likely, it is that Google has enough to beta test on Intel that they cannot advertise simultaneous beta testing on ARM at this moment as well.
In any ways, it might still be months before mass market Chrome OS laptops are sold to consumers. So clearly the Cr-48 being Intel doesn't have to be an indication of ARM being "not ready" but instead might be simply a question of Google focusing their beta testing program on Intel for now. ARM and Intel based Chrome OS may still actually be released simultaneously to consumers next year.
Also consider the fact Intel CEO Paul Otelinni is also on the board of directors of Google, mysteriously. And that pressure from Intel on Google might convince Google to do such things as Chrome OS and Google TV with Intel first, all the while Google knows that ARM is the best platform eventually for both projects. Although Google TV is released to consumers, it's still limited in size to one similar to beta testing, it's like when Google releases a Nexus phone, they don't do it to sell many Nexus phones, they do it to push their software platform forward, which always turns out that the industry combined sells more Google based devices than all other.
This is what I think Google plans to achieve with lower hardware pricing:
- $99 Google TV -> turns YouTube into larger share of people's daily 5-hour TV watching, 10x increase in YouTube bandwidth when succeeded, changes outcome of elections brings more visionary high-tech favorable politicians to power
- $99 Chrome OS laptops -> realizes cloud computing dream, more ads served per user, enterprise all adopt Chrome OS for speed, security and price, brings in ecosystem for pay-per-web-app.
- $99 Pixel Qi Tablet/E-readers -> platform for Google e-books, full web experience on-the-go, more reading, outdoor use, more personal connection to the web
- $99 Gingerbread Smart Phones -> Google Voice true VOIP replaces telcos, eventually White Spaces is brought in to provide free wireless broadband. Google pushes Local services, location-based advertising brings in next hundred billion in revenues.
It only makes sense Google's platforms will have the absolute largest market share in all these market segments. In all these segments, Google never plans to make profit on hardware, the hardware business is outsourced to manufacturers and brands, Google just plans for their platforms to dominate.
Price of Chrome OS laptops is the true revolution here.
As Google isn't yet announcing the price, it may be hard for analysts to grasp the potential here.
How can a Google Chrome OS notebook be sold at $99?
1. ARM Powered laptops cost half the price to manufacture compared to Intel, even the Intel one can be sold $199, deduct at least Windows licence and Hard drive costs compared to a "regular" netbook, that's 5-10 times cheaper than the Macbook air.
2. Removing hard drive, simplifying motherboard lowers cost.
3. Google makes money later on ads. Seriously, do a calculation how much advertising money Google makes on each of their users, divide their yearly reported revenues by the number of users, Chrome OS users will see even more Google ads than other.
4. Google and Telecoms make money later on selling on-demand 3G/4G wireless data. Even as this should be sold without compulsory subscription plan, the pricing and ease of use should be so tempting, a large share of users will potentially spend hundreds of dollars for on-demand wireless data service. This should be built-in, perhaps not even a SIM card slot, allows Google to also negociate 3G/4G bandwidth deals in all countries worldwide. If prices change in other countries, simply click boom to accept and you've got on-demand wireless bandwidth.
5. Google and Developers will make money later on selling apps. Eventually monetization of web apps will be more than just ads. Even enterprise stuff like Google Apps, Citrix stuff and other Virtualization of Windows/Mac x86 apps, those kinds of services could generate up to thousands of dollars per user in the enterprise.
Critics of Google's Chrome OS based cloud computing need to understand a few things about where it is and where it's going:
- HTML5 apps can work offline and don't have to be slower because of connectivity. Including Google Docs and potential cloud assisted video and photo editing, all can work offline.
- Native code and powerful 3D will be part of it. This means basicaly all apps you can imagine that are on Windows and Mac can also work here. I expect new cloud based versions of http://youtube.com/editor means even video editing professionals will rather want to use this type of cloud based apps for instant encoding and rendering using the power of thousands of grid processing servers on the cloud.
- WebGL and other advances in web browser technology increases potential complexity of web apps.
- A 32GB SD card costs less than $49, a 500GB 2.5" external USB hard drive costs $49, both work in Chrome OS, I even envision a Chrome OS laptop design with available slot to insert a 2.5" hard drive and have it only powered when accessed.
- You can backup and sync your cloud easily on a $49 ARM Powered NAS such as a pogoplug in your home, connect any $99 3.5" 2TB hard drive to that.
- Citrix has demonstrated, any x86 app you want can be virtualized in Chrome OS to actually run faster thanks to cloud grid app hosting than any local PC.
Inventec may be preparing to ship 60-70 thousand ARM Powered laptops running the Chrome OS laptop starting later this month according to Taiwan based rumor and fact website Digitimes.com. This may be the absolute demonstration of the shifting trend to come in laptops, where Intel and Microsoft will not be needed anymore and laptops can run ARM Cortex processors with fast I/O, good RAM, flash based storage, very thin and light form factors with very long battery runtime and instant boot, all running full Chrome web browser OS, one that loads all websites at full speed and provides fast web browsing.
Can the ARM Powered laptops run a web browser at full speed, this will be the start of the revolution, as full speed web browsing is the main performance requirement for a mass consumer laptop product. If an average consumer and experts are able to browse the Internet on the ARM Powered Chrome OS laptop at similar or better speed than current Intel Atom based laptops, then this should mean the success of this platform.
See my video of an ARM Powered Inventec laptop presented at Computex 2009: Inventec ARM Laptop powered by Snapdragon also see the pocketable laptop form factore presented by Invented at Computex 2010: Inventec Dr eye and try to imagine the progress Inventec has been able to achieve for a Chrome OS type of full sized laptop platform since then.
My opinion: If they ship it for $199 out of any contracts, with a good ARM Cortex-A9, good RAM and I/O hardware design, preferably with the Pixel Qi dual-mode screen for upwards 30-60 hours of battery runtime on a super thin and light form factor, well then, I think this can only become hugely successful.
- Google-branded Chrome OS smartbook launching this month? (engadget.com)
- Google Chrome OS About To Sneak Up On Everyone This Month (inquisitr.com)
- Shhh! Chrome OS Releases in November! (slashgear.com)
- Component Makers Whisper That Chrome OS Will Ship In November (crunchgear.com)
I was lucky to be able to ask Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President of Product Management some questions during the Google Cloud Computing Q&A session at the Computex 2010 consumer electronics conference in Taipei Taiwan. Here are the questions I was able to ask during the Q&A:
1. Chrome browser as just an app in Android Smartbooks? (this video)
2. Google Marketplace on Tablets?
3. Native Code to support video and photo editing in Chrome?
I was lucky to be able to ask Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President of Product Management some questions during the Google Cloud Computing Q&A session at the Computex 2010 consumer electronics conference in Taipei Taiwan. Here are the questions I was able to ask:
1. Chrome browser as just an app in Android Smartbooks?
2. Google Marketplace on Tablets?
3. Native Code to support video and photo editing in Chrome? (this video)
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