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Marvell announces $99 Moby Tablet to Revolutionize Education

Posted by Charbax – March 18, 2010

According to this press release, Marvell is announcing the $99 Moby Tablet for Education. You've seen my video of Marvell's 4.3" Tablet prototype shown at CES based on the Marvell Armada 600 processor. The Moby tablet is based on the same Armada 600 platform but comes with a larger screen (probably 10").


This is an image of a 10" Marvell powered tablet recently shown at the Future of Publishing Summit in New York City as published by Harry McCracken of Technologizer.com, which may be the first $99 Moby Tablet prototype. Consider, this prototype design is most likely of a reference design, Moby won't look like this when shipped.

Marvell's Moby Tablet may be the first prototype of the OLPC XO 3.0:


The OLPC XO 3.0 for $75 wasn't supposed to happen before 2012, but Marvell may now be speeding up its release for a $99 Tablet for Education within months.

Marvell's first version of the $99 Tablet might not initially achieve all the design goals of the One Laptop Per Child XO-3, such as making it as waterproof, sturdy and with plastic unbreakable touch screen.

Will Marvell sell it directly to Governments and Schools to keep the costs low? Or does Marvell plan to have many vendors use their Tablet platform to release several versions of this Tablet platform for around $99 using many brands?

Most importantly, will the first Moby tablets come with a 10" Pixel Qi capacitive touch screen display? Their press release does not yet mention Pixel Qi for the screen technology. But as this is targetted for replacing school textbooks, as it's intended for reading, as Marvell is the largest sponsor of the One Laptop Per Child program of which Pixel Qi is a spin-off company and that the press release clearly says that "The ultra low power Moby tablet is designed for long-battery life", my expectation is that it has to come with a Pixel Qi LCD touch screen display to be readable nearly as clearly as with e-ink and to be able to provide 20-30h battery runtime or more.

Powered by high-performance, highly scalable, and low-power Marvell® ARMADA™ 600 series of application processors, the Moby tablet features gigahertz-class processor speed, 1080p full-HD encode and decode, intelligent power management, power-efficient Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM/GPS connectivity, high performance 3D graphics capability and support for multiple software standards including full Adobe Flash, Android™ and Windows Mobile.

This seems to be happening now, for release soon, yet not with a confirmed release date yet:

Announcing the initiative this week during her keynote speech to the country's leading publishers at the Future of Publishing conference in New York City, Marvell Co-founder Weili Dai said that the Moby tablet is a technology whose time had come.

Marvell will soon announce a pilot program in partnership with the District of Columbia Public School system (DCPS) where the Company will donate a Moby tablet to every child in an at-risk school as part of a multi-year program in new media and learning.

And this is definitely related to the One Laptop Per Child OLPC project:

Marvell has made a long-term commitment to supporting education at all levels and is the largest sponsor of the One Laptop per Child program which is bringing much-needed netbook computers to the developing world.

It would be really great of Marvell to speed up the release of the thin, light and cheap tablet/e-reader for education. Weili Dai, Marvell's Co-founder and Vice President and General Manager of Marvell Semiconductor's Consumer and Computing Business Unit said following at her keynote speech to the country's leading publishers at the Future of Publishing conference:

Education is the most pressing social and economic issue facing our country and our times. (...) Marvell can help propel education into the 21st century with an all-in-one device that gives students access to the best live content, information and resources the world has to offer — from books and online sources, in text, video, news, music, data expression or any medium. With Moby tablet, students can conduct primary research, reach out directly to the world's leading subject experts and even collaborate with one another around the globe. Best of all, the device is highly affordable. I envision Marvell's Moby tablets to benefit all students around the world.

I am definitely eager to see and hear more on Marvell's Moby $99 Tablet project. Look forward to more coverage on this Tablet/e-Reader for Education here at http://ARMdevices.net as I try to get more informations and perhaps even bring you videos of more prototypes soon.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/marvell-drives-education-revolution-with-99-all-in-one-moby-tablet-designed-for-the-worlds-students-88376967.html

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Eric Schmidt confirms Android (Marketplace?) for Tablets

Posted by Charbax – March 17, 2010

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, recently spoke about large screen Android Tablets at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit keynote (at timecode 10 minutes and 39 seconds). It's a nice way of Eric Schmidt to indirectly confirm that Google is definitely going to support the development of Android based Tablets as alternatives on the market to the upcoming iPad.

When I say "phone", you might have a really big phone, like a phone about "this" big (he shows a size of about 10" diagonal for a tablet with his hands), also known as a Tablet, makes sense [to have] big screens (...) you are going to have them from many vendors including using Google's Android Operating System.

How soon until Google announces official Marketplace support for all Android Tablets?

Of all the Android Tablets which I have filmed so many of at the last couple months at CES, Mobile World Congress and CeBIT consumer electronics shows, none of the companies presenting those tablets were able to confirm if and when they might be allowed to include the Google Marketplace on those tablets officially supported by Google. As you may know, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet and any other currently shipping Android tablets around the world, none are yet officially certified by Google to include the Google Marketplace.

As you can see from my videos of the Archos 7 Home Tablet, the Hott MD500, the $199 Freescale powered tablets, Creative Zii Egg, Altina's 4.8" Android GPS Tablet, the Camangi Webstation, Forsa 7" Android Tablet, 1Cross Tech MIDhybrid, Hard Kernel ODroid and many many more which you can find at http://armdevices.net/category/tablets/, Android Tablets can be sold for cheaper, they can come with or without 3G, they may not come with capacitive but only resistive screens to save costs, they may not include cameras or even accelerometers. They instead bring higher resolutions, larger screens, more connectors and ports (such as built-in USB host, HDMI outputs..) and most importantly, Android Tablets can be sold at more affordable prices and be sold at retail stores without the need to signup for 2-year subscription plans with telecom carriers. Basically, the Android Tablets can occupy the market segments that go from the iPod Touch to the iPad.

Will Apple have a hard time selling as many devices and making as much revenues and profits in a market when dozens or hundreds of Android based competitors are going to be available for a lot cheaper prices and offer if not at least the same, then likely more features because of differentiation through free market competition? Android Tablets are likely to come with Flash support, HDMI outputs, USB host ports, hard drive storage options, storage expantion, Pixel Qi screens, removable batteries, video-conferencing, full video and audio codecs support, mass storage device modes not requiring iTunes to synchronize media files, open source and even open firmware software updates for the installation of alternative Android firmwares and even alternative Linux OSes including Ubuntu, Maemo, Angstrom. Can Apple compete with that?

Also check my (off camera) interview with Andy Rubin and Eric Schmidt about Android Marketplace on Tablets and Laptops from Mobile World Congress last month: http://armdevices.net/2010/02/22/i-interviewed-eric-schmidt-and-andy-rubin-at-mwc-off-camera-for-now-watch-eric-schmidts-keynote-video/

This following video starts at the correct 10m39s timecode when you click the play button, where you can see Eric Schmidt's above statement regarding Google's official support for Android Tablets:

You may copy and paste this embed code to your blog if you want the embedded video to start at that same timecode:

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Chromium OS on a $199 Tablet powered by Freescale

Posted by Charbax – March 8, 2010

Freescale is showing their reference design for sub-$200 tablets. The target is that tablets can soon be sold below $200 to end consumers that are able to run any Linux-based OS, including Android or Chromium OS - based on the open-source code available at http://chromium.org

In this video, Freescale's product manager of Software Development demonstrates the status of their optimizations of running Chromium OS on their i.MX51 based devices, among other form factors is the recently announced $199 tablet form factor. It even supports hardware acceleration of HTML5 based video playback.

This means, full power Chromium OS could be made available in the next few months in Laptop and Tablet form factors to be sold well below $200 unlocked without contracts. The main question is how fast and how smooth will the Chromium Browser feel on ARM Powered devices? This is to be seen and tested very soon! Follow my video-blog for hands-on reports showing performance of Chromium OS running on all the ARM Powered devices very soon. Check also for Chrome browser running within Android, or for Chromium OS modified to add Android apps support, thus merging the two.

I also wonder, how much more does a $65 ARM Powered laptop cost if it uses an ARM Cortex A8 processor like the ones from Freescale instead of the ARM9 or ARM11 based ones from rockchip, VIA, Samsung and others. If the price increase is within $35, then welcome will be all the sub-$100 full power smooth ARM Powered Chromium OS laptops and tablets! Without actually knowing the real price difference between the ARM9, ARM11 and ARM Cortex based cheap laptops, my guess is that the availability of sub-$200 and sub-$100 Chromium/Android Laptops/Tablets is a possibility.

How soon will we see Google sell unlocked Chromium/Android on ARM powered laptop/tablet/e-reader convertibles with 50-hour battery life on Pixel Qi screens at http://google.com/laptop?

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Liquavista sunlight readable color e-reader displays

Posted by Charbax – March 5, 2010

Liquavista is demonstrating a new type of screen technology which could provide very low power black and white and color screens based on the LCD manufacturing process, though where the screen refresh rates can be automatically turned down below 1hz. Together with Pixel Qi http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/charbax-tests-pixel-qi-at-ces-2010/ or as an alternative, this type of LCD screen technology will enable all Tablets and Laptops to also become full e-readers and could in theory have 50-100 hours battery runtime or longer.

I am going to film 50 videos at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

Posted by Charbax – February 10, 2010
Mobile World Congress 2008
Image by Mark Wiewel via Flickr

Olé! I am going to Barcelona for the worlds biggest and most influential conference on Mobile phones, mobile Internet devices and future technology in the mobile world. This is going to be my first Mobile World Congress, so I am really looking forward to it.

Please do subscribe to my RSS feed or follow be on http://buzz.google.com/charbax to keep updated with my latest video posts in real-time just as I upload them in HD quality to Youtube and post them here to this blog.

You can follow me through Buzz on my Google profile http://www.google.com/profiles/charbax

If you enjoy any of my videos, please do "Like" them in Google Buzz, please do submit them to influential blogs and other sites so more people watch my best videos.

I am looking forward among other things to film videos of amazing new products and technologies among these:

- ARM Cortex A9 powered stuff, I expect Texas Instruments will have awesome demonstrations of this, and for sure more Nvidia and I wonder who else will show this technology.

- Nexus Two, Three and Four. What I mean by that are alternatives to HTC in making at least 3.7" WVGA AMOLED, Android 2.1 and 1ghz ARM Cortex A8 or faster smart phones. Those are likely to be on display by manufactures among others that are Samsung, Motorola, Acer.

- ARM Powered laptops are getting even closer to worldwide release. I would like to film more demonstrations of awesome looking Android laptops like the HP Airlife 100, Quanta manufactured prototypes, Marvell reference design prototypes and many more. It would be nice to see some of them run smooth Google Chromium OS and fast and smooth web browsers.

- May this be a perfect opportunity for big manufacturers to officially announce and launch Pixel Qi screens in new Laptop and Tablet form factors at affordable prices and with amazingly long batterz runtimes.

- I expect to see huge things from Google and from all the Open Handset Alliance and ARM Solutions Center for Andriod providing new amazing hardware acceleration solution in new software updates, demonstrating next generation Android solutions, showing more high resolution large screened Android solutions.

- Chrome OS demos, show those. Anything that is ARM Powered and that runs Chrome OS smoothly will be very interesting to see and interview software engineers about the status of running a full speed Chrome browser on ARM devices, what they plan to do and how soon it will be released and for how much. Can they run unlimited amounts of tabs on a $150 ARM Powered laptop with only 128MB RAM inside?

- How cheap can the cheapest Android phones be at this point? Will we see huge amounts of new manufacturers from around the world demonstrate cheaper Android phones and that still perform pretty well? Can we see $100 unlocked Android phones already, or at least below pointing at well below $200?

Please do contact me or post comments here if you hear about any specific awesome ARM Powered devices that I should film at the Mobile World Congress, I will try to film all the requests that I get in comments, by email and to my Google Buzz threads.

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ARM Powered Linux laptops to dominate the world

Posted by Charbax – February 8, 2010
ARM Holdings
Image via Wikipedia

According to ARM CEO Warren East, the Netbook category is expected to explode to cover 90% of the laptop market over the next several years.

And that if Microsoft doesn't want to provide a version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 for ARM Powered laptops, then that Linux based OSes will do just fine.

I'm hoping to see following specs in mass market ARM Powered laptops soon:

- ARM Cortex A8/A9
- All screen sizes from 4" to 15"
- Android and Chrome OS combination, provide optimized Chrome browser yet still support Android notifications and applications
- HDMI output
- Pixel Qi 3Qi screen for outdoors readability and 50 hour battery runtime
- Capacitative touch-screen Tablet swivel form factor
- Less than 1kg weight
- Pricing: less than $200 unlocked without any contracts needed

I'm really looking forward to see more of these hopefully as soon as during the Mobile World Congress from February 15-18th in Barcelona, where I plan to go an film 50 videos to be posted here on http://ARMdevices.net, so please do subscribe to my RSS feed to keep up to date.

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ARM Powered OLPC XO laptops coming within a year

Posted by Charbax – February 8, 2010

When the OLPC project's XO laptops are used in schools, the results are transforming education around the world. It’s getting children excited about school. It’s getting attendance to increase by 100 percent, which it does in most places where OLPC has deployed laptops, where more girls go to school, where the truancy drops to zero, where children take laptops home and teach their parents how to use them.

The One Laptop Per Child engineers are working on an ARM Powered XO 1.75 laptop which is going to be released within a year from now. My guess is that they might be optimizing it for using the Marvell Armada 610 or 510 processor.

The OLPC's official power consumption target is 2W of power consumption. Though I wonder, is 2W of power consumption really the goal? Not even lower?

For example, the Pixel Qi screen is supposed to consume only 0.1W when backlight is turned off, once Pixel Qi has optimized refresh rates and other details which they have said they will be able to do over the next few months. The whole ARM Processor System on Chip should not consume nearly any power at all when nothing is moving on the screen, when the student for example is just reading an e-book. Then how low really can the power consumption go? Shouldn't 0.2W power consumption in offline e-reader mode be a realistic goal? Thus shouldn't the child get 100 minutes of use for 1 minute of cranking?

Since most of the children served by laptops from the OLPC project live off the grid, and may not get electricity for many years, getting the power consumption down on the laptops is one of OLPC's main engineering goals. This and lowering the cost of the laptops to below $100 per laptop are the main goals of the OLPC project.

I'd like to see all the major ARM Processor makers announce that they will support OLPC in that goal, so that the XO 1.75 may not only be based on the Marvell processor, but that other processors will be optimized for it as well. All ARM Powered laptops shall point towards the same goals in my opinion, also in terms of software optimizations. We need fast and smooth web browsers, have Google and everyone else focus on optimizing the web browsing speed using the Chrome browser. While having everyone focus on one OS for all ARM Powered laptops may be a good idea eventually, until we figure out which OS are the best for which use, having easy multi-boot menus work and utilizing a minimal of extra storage space to ship laptops with multiple choices of Linux OS such as shipping ARM Powered XO laptops with Fedora based Sugar OS, with a Gnome desktop alternative, and with eventually an alternative based on a combination of Android and Chrome OS may be the best solution.

Free wireless broadband is also a priority. Sure a combination of existing cellular, ADSL, Fiber and WiFi Mesh networks of the OLPC project can already achieve a lot. But perhaps the generalization of use of 700mhz spectrum for wireless broadband all around the world will help lower the cost of deploying ubiquituous wireless broadband, especially in countries that deploy the OLPC project without having pre-existing broadband infrastructures in place. The TV spectrum needs to be used for free wireless broadband for all.

Rich countries need to prioritize the OLPC project in deploying revolutionary education using computers and Internet technology all over the world.

Source: smartplanet.com

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Slashgear.com: hands-on with Texas Instruments OMAP4 development hardware

Posted by Charbax – February 3, 2010

Slashgear.com went to Texas Instrument's Dallas Texas headquarters to write an article about the OMAP4 dual-core ARM Cortex A9 1ghz development platforms which can decode 3 videos at the same time, with 1080p HDMI video output, a built-in pico-projector, significantly higher resolution support than WVGA 800x480 for the on board screen (1024x600? 1280x720?), 1080p 24/30fps video encoding, “universal decode” which they say means it will support playback of all video codecs (High Profile h264 MKV 1080p at up to 50mbit/s?).

Texas Instruments OMAP4 development platform

The chipset can simultaneously record 1080p and D1 (e.g. regular TV resolution) footage, as well as still images, giving you an HD copy for local playback and a smaller version for uploading. Meanwhile there’s enough processor grunt to spare for digital video stabilisation, both for recording and, potentially, for stabilising the pico-projector when you’re operating it handheld.

Wow, it will be nice to encode full quality 1080p at high bitrate for archiving and at the same time record D1 for uploading to the web. Although my favorite combination would be something like a combined 20mbit/s 1080p and a 720p 4mbit/s encoded with high encoding complexity to provide a good baseline 720p version to be uploaded to the web. Though it would also be nice to record decent 1080p which Youtube supports, and at the same time encode D1 at low bitrates to stream on 3G networks or to stream over WiFi to live video services like Qik or Ustream.

And in terms of how Texas Instrument OMAP4 compares with Nvidia Tegra2:

While production devices based on the Tegra 2 aren’t available yet, TI reckon there are several points at which they eclipse their rival. According to Marcelo O Vieria, general manager of the OMAP business group, the OMAP4 1080p video codec is stronger than that of the Tegra 2, in fact he reckons TI “have a better video engine than [NVIDIA] do”. OMAP4 also supports 20-megapixel or higher image processing, as well as three simultaneous displays, and it has significantly more memory bandwidth than Tegra 2 which means it’s better at multitasking. Worth remembering, too, is that OMAP4 is suited to smartphones, which is an area Tegra is yet to extend into.

This all just sounds very awesome, I look forward to see Texas Instruments demonstrate their new OMAP4 platform in Mobile Computing products and reference designs, hopefully as soon as Mobile World Congress in Barcelona between the 15-18th February, where I plan to film 50 new videos of the latest most awesome ARM Powered devices.

Be sure to check out the full article with pictures and video at Slashgear.com: http://www.slashgear.com/texas-instruments-omap4-hands-on-0172231/

Slashgear.com also filmed this video of Texas Instrument's e-ink development platform which the Texas Instruments representative clearly says could also run a Pixel Qi screen:

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Chromium Demo Video temporarily offline, check my other CES videos for now

Posted by Charbax – January 9, 2010

This video about the cheap Chromium OS Tablet revolution was a bit too good (smooth Chromium on ARM Powered device!!), so I have been asked to remove it for now and edit some parts out and upload a new video.

I hope to get an edited version of it back online at some point. Or perhaps they will agree to let me film new video about it soon.

This page got some coverage at:
http://slashdot.org/story/10/01/10/1649202/199-Freescale-Tablet-Design-Runs-Chromium-OS
http://www.liliputing.com/2010/01/freescale-tablet-running-chromium-os-video.html

Please, while waiting for the video to come back online, do check a selection of my other cool CES coverage videos:

Marvell Armada 610 powers Android Tablet reference design

Quanta ARM Powered Android laptop

Freescale at CES 2010

First Look at the iRex 800SG e-ink e-reader

Freescale powered e-ink e-readers

MSI Tegra2 10.1" Android Tablet

HP Android Laptop

Boxee Box at CES 2010

Charbax tests Pixel Qi at CES 2010

Notion Ink Pixel Qi tablet with Nvidia Tegra2 processor

Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex A9 at CES 2010

Chumby powers the Sony Dash (interview with Chumby)

Please also do check out all those other videos and blog about those if you like them thanks.

Subscribe to my RSS feed thanks, I still have 15-20 CES videos that I am trying to upload (Luxor Las Vegas Hotel Ethernet upload speed is slow and capped at 512kbit/s)

CES video coverage on ARMdevices.net

Posted by Charbax – January 2, 2010
Consumer Electronics Show
Image via Wikipedia

I will be in Las Vegas to film up to 50 HD quality videos from January 4th to 11th of the best ARM Powered® devices to be shown at the tradeshow. I will try to film behind-the-scenes Interviews with Engineers, Product Managers and other experts in the ARM Powered® Tablets, Mobile Phones and Laptops that are going to be shown at CES and launched hopefully soon thereafter at attractive prices.

The big question for me will be to notice the actual performance level reached by those latest ARM Cortex A8 or ARM Cortex A9 processors to be embedded in those devices. The certain crucial performance levels that we need to see working smoothly and fine are following:

- The web browser needs to browse on websites fast and with multiple amounts of opened tabs.

- The web browser needs to load advanced Javascripts and AJAX based websites just as fast as on an Intel-based Laptop.

- Flash 10.1 support needs to be just about as smooth and good on ARM Powered® devices as on Intel-based ones.

- I'd really like to see the first demos of fast and smooth Google Chromium OS demos running on ARM Powered® Laptops and Tablets. The full Google Chrome browser optimized to use hardware acceleration of the ARM Powered® Laptops and Tablets is crucial for the success of the platform. That is, it would be surely great to see Firefox and Opera browsers also working fast and smooth for all those advanced things.

- Some level of advanced 3D hardware acceleration for 3D game platforms such as the Unreal Engine, Quake3 demos, even N64 emulators demonstrated to work on all the latest ARM Cortex based technologies would be really great and would add a certain level of confidence in ARM Powered® devices from the bunch of 3D gamer geeks that do represent a large part of the blogosphere.

- In general, it would be extremely great to see working implementations of full hardware acceleration in Android and Chrome OS, as well as in Ubuntu 9.10 and any other Linux ARM based OS that can really be used well to optimize the use of hardware acceleration.

Then in terms of business models, ARM Powered® devices should have more opportunity to be sold to consumers at attractive prices. Subsidizing the devices with telecom contracts running up to more than $2000 over the 2-years is one way to do it. What I would really like to see are official announcements that the ARM Powered® Laptops and Tablets are not only very powerful in terms of Javascripts/Flash/3D performance, but also that they can be sold significantly cheaper to the end consumer than devices based on Intel.

The $200 ARM Powered® Laptop and the promise of $100 ones for consumers to buy totally unlocked and without contracts, that is where the biggest opportunity lies with ARM Powered® devices in my opinion. By bring the PC/Laptop industry to a lower cost level, could also mean that 1 Billion or more people around the world will be able to afford to have full access to the web. And if all those devices can add the Pixel Qi low power sunlight readable screen and even function in Tablet mode, run 20-40 hours on a low cost and light battery, then all the greatest. It would be really nice to see actual product announcements at CES in just a few days.

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