Toshiba AT270, 7.7″ Super AMOLED Plus Tegra3 Tablet for $449/449€

Posted by – August 30, 2012

So it’s kind of expensive at 449€ for a 7″ tablet, but it comes with a nice 7.7″ 1280×800 Super AMOLED Plus screen.

Archos 101 XS review, Ultrabook-killing machine

Posted by – August 25, 2012

In this video, I show web browsing speed on this OMAP4470 ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet convertible. This ARM Powered Laptop loads web pages faster than the Ultrabook, both over the same WiFi home network! I load web pages like Engadget.com, Gizmodo.com and TheVerge.com faster on the $400 Archos 101 XS than on the $1000 Toshiba z830 Ultrabook! And the firmware isn’t even Jelly Bean yet! It’ll get the Jelly Bean firmware by the time Archos starts selling this device next month in Europe or the month after that in the USA! Everyone knows Jelly Bean and Linaro speeds up Android even more!

This Archos 101 XS likely provides one of the industry’s fastest performance for productivity on Android, it’s the first OMAP4470 device announced and demonstrated that I know of. Productivity is in Chrome on Android and a few other productivity apps that can be the Office suite (included for free for word/excell/powerpoint stuff) and that can also be Remote Desktop for enterprise professionals who want productivity that way using Teradici and Citrix on Android stuff. I would like Archos to integrate Ubuntu on Android also, I hope they call Canonical to get that included with the Jelly Bean firmware. Thus you’d click on the Ubuntu icon to switch to Ubuntu in a second, do whatever you want in Ubuntu including run any Ubuntu application, and then have the same icon on Ubuntu to switch back to full Android in a second too.

While we’re waiting and looking forward to even faster ARM Cortex-A15 with Mali-T604, that likely doesn’t reach consumer devices until next year though. Right now, the latest and best class of ARM Cortex-A9 processors, with OMAP4470, with 32nm Exynos 4412, with 28nm Qualcomm S4 Pro Quad-core, with HiSilicon K3V2, i.MX6 Quad, we’re getting some excellent memory bandwidth performance on ARM allowing for fast enough full 720p/800p even 1080p web browsing speeds on Tablet, Laptop screens and on any external monitors as a Desktop/Set-top-box with full fast enough performance for productivity!

The time we’ve been waiting for is here! The ARM Powered Laptop is faster than an Intel Atom Netbook! It’s even faster than an Intel Core i5 Ultrabook!!!

While at $299 and an unlimited amount of cash (think: French/EU Francois Hollande national IT investment project) for mass production, I think Archos can single handedly be able to sell more Android Laptops like this one than all the Intel/Microsoft Ultrabooks/Netbooks and new Windows 8 convertibles put together. At $399 introductory Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, Archos can still get in there and sell as many as Archos can afford to manufacture, selling easily at 50% cheaper than the iPad3 with keyboard ($598), at 63% cheaper than the Asus Transformer Prime/Infinity with keyboard ($648), this is the thinnest, lightest 10.1″ ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet convertible yet. And it has features other tablet makers don’t have such as full hardware accelerated video and audio codecs support, MicroSD/HDMI and USB Host, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, 1080p@60fps/3D@1080p@30fps and multimedia streaming features such as Samba/Upnp and DLNA.

I think it’s great value and I’m looking forward to try to use this as my main 10.1″ tablet/laptop instead of my ultrabook for the next few weeks and months. Let me know in the comments what specific features you’d like me to test on this device in my next video of it.

Archos 101 XS launched, check back for my video-review tomorrow

Posted by – August 22, 2012

Sure $299 with keyboard would have been nicest, but even at $399 it’s a no-brainer:

Archos 101 XS with keyboard: $399
Asus Transformer Pad TF300 with keyboard: $528 (+33%)
Acer Iconia Tab A700 with keyboard: $598 (+50%)
Asus Transformer Prime with keyboard: $648 (+63%)
iPad3 with keyboard: $598 (+50%)
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 with keyboard: $598 (+50%)
Microsoft Surface with keyboard: $599 (likely) (+50%)

Archos 101 XS is the thinnest, the lightest, has better performance than Tegra3, offers fastest GPU and memory bandwidth on the market (the 32nm Exynos4412 probably beats or equals though), offers features none of those more expensive devices have.

Check back for my initial extensive video-review of Archos 101 XS Gen10 tomorrow!! I expect to use this as my favorite 10″ device to replace all other 10″ tablets, Netbooks and Ultrabooks in the months to come.

ARM Mali-T604 in Exynos5 ARM Cortex-A15 reference tablet shown at SIGGRAPH

Posted by – August 9, 2012

Here’s Engadget’s video:

It’s the dual-core Samsung Exynos 5 that can be clocked up to 1.7Ghz with the quad-core Mali-T604 GPU. Zach Honig of Engadget writes:

ARM says its working with eight manufacturers to get the licensed tech to market as early as Q3

I think the word “market” is meant as the B2B market not yet the B2C one. I don’t think they mean consumers can buy ARM Cortex-A15 with Mali-T604 in devices already in Q3, I think they probably mean that manufacturers can buy early samples of Exynos5 with Mali-T604 in Q3 and more likely start selling mass produced devices to consumers not before next year. But who knows? Could Mali-T604 be ready to ship in ARM devices before the end of the year already?

ARM launches Mali-T624, Mali-T628 and Mali-T678 GPU

Posted by – August 7, 2012

Here’s the press release:

ARM Launches Second Generation of MALI-T600 Graphics Processors Driving Improved User Experience for Tablets, Smartphones and Smart-TVs
06 August 2012

New technology extends ARM leadership in GPU compute and graphics processing
LOS ANGELES, USA, SIGGRAPH 2012 – 6 AUGUST 2012 – ARM today announced the second generation of the ARM® Mali™-T600 Series graphics processing units (GPUs), providing a dramatically improved user experience for tablets, smartphones and smart-TVs. Each of the products features a 50% performance increase* and are the first to include Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC), a texture compression technique that originated from ARM. ASTC significantly optimizes GPU performance and increases battery life in devices, enabling an always-on, always-connected experience, adopted by the Khronos™ Group, an important industry consortium that focuses on open standards.

Based on the Mali Midgard architecture, the second generation of the Mali-T600 Series comprises three GPUs – the Mali-T624, Mali-T628 and Mali-T678. Each product has been tuned to provide optimal performance and energy-efficiency for different end devices. The Mali-T624 and Mali-T628 products provide market leading graphics and GPU compute to smartphones and smart-TVs, while the Mali-T678 has been optimized to address the demands of the rapidly growing tablet market.

ARM continues to invest in GPU compute capabilities by integrating the leadership that ARM has in the CPU space, with ARM Cortex™ processors, and applying it to the Mali GPU architecture. GPU compute enables greater control when balancing tasks between the CPU and GPU, allowing performance of the right task by the most efficient architecture. This enables improved energy-efficiency for current and new math intensive activities, such as:

Computational photography: computational methods of enhancing or extending digital photography
Multi perspective views – the ability to have multiple views from different positions
Real-time photo editing on mobile devices – photo editing at your fingertips on your smartphone, tablet, etc.
GPU compute also extends the range of use cases possible on mass-market mobile devices, allowing features like photo editing and video stabilization to be available in a wider range of consumer products.

“People expect higher standards of visual computing on their smartphones, tablets and smart-TVs with seamless access to their digital world and personal content,” said Pete Hutton, General Manager, Media Processing Division, ARM. “GPU compute enables this as it increases the range of functions mobile devices can perform within the available battery life. ARM continues to focus on system-wide optimization by integrating market leading CPU and GPU technologies to drive both high performance and energy-efficiency.”

“The newly announced Mali-T600 series is essential for graphic performance improvement, and also for the future strategy of GPU Computing,”said Mr. Mitsugu Naito, Executive Vice President, IP and Technology Development Unit, Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited. “Through our Subscription License with ARM for ARM IP products, we are able to share our product roadmap and deliver ARM based platform SoC promptly to our customers. The new Mali-T600 series will be added to our SoC development platform portfolio and we plan to adopt the Mali-T600 series into our products as a key IP solution to enable improved GPU computing.”

“Increasingly, consumers are demanding similar performance across their connected devices to access their personal information and content. This improved user experience is demanded across a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets and smart-TVs,” said Andrew Chang, Vice President, MediaTek. “MediaTek are working closely with ARM to ensure that we provide high-performance, energy-efficient solutions that address these demands. The second generation the ARM Mali-T600 GPU will allow us to address these markets through technology leadership in graphics and GPU compute.”

“Innovation happening in smart connected devices is not only in the computing area but also in the graphic area where smartphone and tablet manufacturers are seeking differentiation for their products. This relies on leading edge and innovative technologies from SOC vendors like Nufront,” said Rock Yang, VP Marketing, Nufront. ”Nufront is focusing on mobile computing and communication SoC design, leveraging advanced technologies from ARM. Using advanced technologies, such as Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression featured in the second generation of Mali-T600 GPUs, we can address the demands of the market and provide significant benefits to device manufacturers.”

“The performance and battery life requirements for smartphones, tablets, smart-TVs and other smart, connected devices are such that whilst a single energy-efficient architecture is suitable, GPU variants to address these markets are highly desirable,” said Mr. Chen Feng, Chief Marketing Officer, Rockchip. “We are pleased to extend our relationship with ARM and look forward to the advanced Rockchip solutions that will be enabled by the range of second generation Mali-T600 GPUs from ARM.”

“An advanced visual computing experience is an expectation that most consumers have when they purchase a new smartphone, tablet or smart-TV,” said Taehoon Kim, Vice President of System LSI marketing team, Samsung Electronics’ Device Solutions. “It is therefore important that Samsung works with partners, such as ARM, to achieve technology leadership in areas that include advanced graphics and GPU compute. The next generation of the ARM Mali-T600 series GPU is an important introduction, and will help Samsung Exynos processor to address consumer demands.”

*Each of the second generation Mali-T600 Series GPUs features a 50% performance increase compared to first generation Mali-T600 products (based on industry standard benchmarks), on the same silicon process. This 50% increase has been facilitated by a combination of frequency improvements, such as optimizing the register transfer level (RTL) for increased performance, and micro-architectural improvements so that graphics are executed more efficiently. The design of each new product addresses different performance points:

ARM Mali-T624/Mali-T628
The Mali-T624 GPU offers scalability from one to four cores, whilst the Mali-T628 from one to eight cores provides up to twice the graphics and GPU compute performance of the Mali-T624, extending the graphics potential for smartphones and smart-TVs. These products provide breathtaking graphical displays for advanced consumer applications, such as 3D graphics, visual computing and real time photo editing for smartphones and smart-TVs.

ARM Mali-T678
The ARM Mali-T678 GPU offers the highest GPU compute performance available in the Mali-T600 Series of products, delivering a four-fold increase when compared with the Mali-T624 GPU through features such as increased ALU support. This brings a wide range of performance points to address the vibrant tablet market. The Mali-T678 offers energy-efficient high-end visual computing applications, such as computational photography, multi perspective views and augmented reality.

What is ASTC?
ASTC supports a very wide range of pixel formats and bit rates, and enables significantly higher quality than most other formats currently in use. This allows the designer to use texture compression throughout the application, and to choose the optimal format and bit rate for each use case. This highly efficient texture compression standard reduces the already market-leading Mali GPU memory bandwidth and memory footprint even further, while extending mobile battery life.

All products are designed to support the following APIs; OpenGL® ES 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenGL ES 3.0, DirectX 11 FL 9_3, DirectX® 11, OpenCL™ 1.1 Full Profile and Google Renderscript compute.

For more information about the second generation of ARM Mali-T600 Series GPUs, please click here.

E Ink buys SiPix Technology

Posted by – August 3, 2012

Here’s the press release:

Hsinchu, Taiwan — August 3, 2012 – E Ink® Holdings, “E Ink” (8069.TW), the global leader in electronic paper and LCD technologies, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy shares of SiPix Technology, Inc. (STI) and its wholly owned subsidiary SiPix Imaging, Inc. (SII), the maker of electronic paper displays. Established in 1999, SiPix, based in California and Taiwan, makes micro‐cup technology based electrophoretic displays.

The combined company will offer a vast portfolio of ePaper products that will allow it to expand its existing markets and diversify into newer applications. E Ink’s ePaper offers the best digital reading experience. It is easier on the eyes, consumes a fraction of the power compared to traditional displays. It is readable in sunlight, lightweight, rugged and field proven with over 50 million ePaper displays being used worldwide.

“E Ink is committed to growing the ePaper market and the purchase of SiPix shares is part of our long term growth strategy,” said Scott Liu, Chairman of E Ink Holdings. “Our goal is ‘E Ink On Every Smart Surface’ and we are continuing to make investments in technologies that will open new markets for our ePaper displays.”

“In the recent past, we enabled an entire eReader market with our electronic paper,” said Felix Ho, Vice Chairman of E Ink Holdings. “Today, E Ink’s products are finding homes in a number of new applications which can be better served with the inclusion of SiPix’s products, technologies and intellectual property to our portfolio.”

This purchase shows E Ink’s strong commitment to electronic paper displays. In the past 15 years, E Ink has made substantial investments in inventing, designing, manufacturing and marketing ePaper displays to create new markets.

E Ink and SiPix’s customers will now have a wider portfolio of products and technologies to choose from with a larger global network of offices to support customers in different geographies. With this purchase, E Ink will have the widest offerings of ePaper technologies, a larger set of products and a stronger patent portfolio.

E Ink currently enjoys over 90%+ share in the eReader market with customers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookeen, Ectaco, Hanvon, iRiver, Kobo, Sony, Wexler and others. E Ink also makes ePaper displays for Signage, Electronic Shelf Labels, Battery and Memory Indicators, Wrist Watches, Credit Cards, Mobile Phones and a variety of other applications. Its customers include Epson, Pervasive Displays, Motorola, Lexar, Citizen, Seiko, Toppan, Invue, Eton, Motion Display, Neolux and many others.

E Ink has reached an agreement to buy 82.7% of SiPix’s (STI) shares and is seeking to buy up to 100%, which is valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion. After customary regulatory approvals, the final closing is likely to be during Q4, 2012.

FCC does it again, leaks new Archos generation

Posted by – July 29, 2012

Another year, another Generation of Archos tablets is leaked exclusively through blurry pictures on the FCC leaking machine. Same happened with G5 in 2007, G7 in 2009, Home Tablet in 2010, G8 in 2010 (2). Here’s the Archos G10 XS (all FCC documents):


Rumored or confirmed:

TI OMAP4470 ARM Cortex-A9 processor
New Proprietary Dock for the included Keyboard Dock (maybe something else too)
Kick-stand (called Tablet Stand) is on the Keyboard Dock
Keyboard doubles as thin screen protector and seems to use a new twist function (with or without magnets) to attach and detach from the tablet.
Micro-SD, Mini-HDMI, Micro-USB (dunno if doubles as host)

Is there some kind of conspiracy? Why does the US FCC always leak Archos new devices before Archos decides to unveil those products to the press officially?

Consider some reasons why Archos Generation 10 can be very attractive to massive audiences:

– Price can start $299 for 10.1″ with the included Keyboard Dock.
– That can be $200 to $300 cheaper than Microsoft Surface.
– No technical reason that Archos G10 can’t also dual-boot into Chrome OS for ARM and even triple-boot into Windows 8 for ARM, Windows RT, if Microsoft simply allows Archos have a triple-boot on it (give the option to the consumer to pay for the Windows RT licence if they want to be able to triple-boot into it).
– This at $299 can be a very attractive ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet combo. Why not triple-boot Ubuntu, or Archos pick up the phone and talk with Canonical to ship it with the Ubuntu on Android app.
– This is the first TI OMAP4470 Tablet that I hear leaked and talked about. Texas Instruments dominated the market by the end of 2011, they can do it again and Archos has a long relationship with TI always shipping TI’s latest most advanced processors early. Expect a wide range of smartphones and tablets other than Archos to also use OMAP4470 before the end of the year, that helps provide a foundation for good software support, such as Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean using the OMAP4460 Powered Samsung Galaxy Nexus as the reference design. That makes it easier for Archos to always stay up to date on the latest version of Android.
– OMAP4470 uses the SGX544 GPU, one of the most powerful GPUs on the market yet.
– OMAP4470 increases memory bandwidth further from OMAP4460, memory bandwidth is one of the most important functions of a powerful ARM Powered device, often more so than Ghz, number of cores and other.
– Consider this ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet combo can weight less than 500 grams. When productivity proves itself sublime on Android, Ubuntu on Android, Chrome OS dual-boot and an eventual Windows RT triple-boot, this form factor can prove itself to be one of the most demanded by consumers.

Neonode to turn OLPC Pixel Qi Laptops into Tablets

Posted by – July 27, 2012

Neonode announced today a licencing agreement with the One Laptop Per Child project, turning a new version of the OLPC XO 1.75 Marvell Armada 600 ARM Powered Laptop into a tablet. Keeping the exact same form factor, keeping the exact same readability, keeping the same screen bezel form factor but adding in there the cheap Neonode IR based touch-screen technology. One Laptop Per Child thus far have shipped over 2.5 million Pixel Qi Laptops to Children in about 50 mostly developing countries worldwide. OLPC is still the biggest deployment of Pixel Qi screens worldwide, until someone as Google, Amazon or Apple comes in and gets it mass manufactured for commercial Tablet use. To keep the best possible readability, the least possible reflections in sunlight, using Neonode’s IR touch screen technology may be the best idea for the future of Tablets and Smartphones instead of capacitive.

Here’s the press release:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – July 26, 2012 – Neonode Inc., (NASDAQ:NEON), the MultiSensing touch technology company, announced today a licensing agreement with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization that designs, manufactures, and distributes laptops to children worldwide, to embed Neonode’s MultiSensing™ touch technology into the next generation of OLPC’s XO-1.75 laptop, called the XO Touch. The innovative OLPC XO Touch 1.75 is a 7.5” combined laptop and tablet that has a Dual-Mode (sunlight-readable) TFT LCD display which rotates 180 degrees and folds flat over the keyboard for tablet/e-book or game mode.

Embedding the Neonode MultiSensing touch solution will allow OLPC to build a completely new type of rugged laptop-tablet that is extremely fast, cost efficient and energy saving, offering 100% visibility in bright sunlight. This is done without compromising the quality of the first-rate user experience, in full color, and with the highest resolution possible, i.e., 300 dpi. The Neonode MultiSensing technology consists of a state-of-the-art interactive touch user interface that includes gestures, multi-touch, and sweeps at an extraordinary scanning speed of 1000 Hz. Thanks to the energy efficient engineering, consuming just 2W, the XO Touch can be powered through alternative power generators like solar cells or even hand cranks. In addition, Neonode’s green engineering feature AlwaysON™, enables full gesture activated wake-up of the XO Touch when it is in sleep or off mode.

OLPC, created by faculty members from the MIT Media Lab, sells the laptops in large quantities to governments and private institutions around the world, that in turn issue them to children or schools on a basis of one laptop per child.

“We are honored to be collaborating with OLPC to produce the XO Touch, a truly pioneering and sustainable device that shows the broad versatility of our technology. This market entry confirms that our MultiSensing technology makes it possible to create a top class product that is both affordable and extremely energy saving and still has a user interface that is radical enough to satisfy the uncompromising demands of knowledge and entertainment thirsty children” says Thomas Eriksson, CEO Neonode. “Our company philosophy is to contribute to a better and happier world, and we have the opportunity to do so by supporting OLPC’s mission”

“OLPC is proud to partner with an organization that shares its appreciation for innovative and transformative technology. Neonode’s expertise in engineering and design will turn the XO Touch, which combines the best features of laptop and tablet, into a next-level innovative machine.” said Rodrigo Arboleda Halaby Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at OLPC

See how awesome Neonode’s touch-screen technology looks outdoors in sunlight on a Pixel Qi tablet in this video I filmed in May 2011:

Here’s my video filmed with Neonode last February:

EU makes sure full Chrome browser is on Windows RT at launch

Posted by – July 19, 2012

Reuters reports that the European Union antitrust regulators are right now making sure Windows RT ships with the Chrome Browser, Firefox, Opera and more.

the investigation will focus on charges that Microsoft allows only its own Internet Explorer browser to be installed on devices running Windows 8 on Windows RT tablets with British chipmaker ARM’s chips.

The way I see it, the ARM Powered Windows RT Laptops and Tablets to be released starting October 26th should be able to run a full Chrome bowser, run most x86 applications through Remote Desktop software like Teradici PCoIP, full Microsoft Office and then of course all Metro apps which basically is the new touch-compatible applications platform for Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT Tablet/Laptop hybrid system.

In theory as HTML5 improves to support full HD and 4K video editing through the cloud, as web based photo editing apps are available, using the grid to render media files is going to be much more desirable than rendering anything on the local hardware anyway. Making thus Windows RT suitable for advanced users just as well as beginners who them really don’t care about x86 backwards compatibility.

Giesecke & Devrient launches SECCOS® Mobile Payment Sticker for all phones without NFC

Posted by – July 17, 2012

I think we really need to replace cash and credit cards with our smartphones as soon as possible. NFC is now being included in pretty much evey major brand Android phone released since the beginning of the year, there are still hundreds of millions of phones in the world that do not have NFC technology built-in, and some brands may still consider shipping devices without NFC. I’ve heard one consideration is that integrating NFC does cost some money and that the NFC antennae actually is kind of big and not too easy to integrate.

But, while it may take months or a year or so for 100% of all new phones and tablets to include NFC, here’s the solution for the rest of the market to use their phones for payments and identification right now.

Stickers. Basically the sticker triggers the other device to send a message through the Internet to the identified device. Then the payment is done through the app, no need for a PIN code for payments below $25 or 25 Euros, while the bank can automatically choose to require that a pin code be typed in to approve larger payments.

The NFC is just a technology to make it easier to identify a mobile user with a fixed terminal or with another mobile user. Basically it’s like a QR code but without having to aim a camera and scan a picture of it, and NFC can trigger actions on the receiving/emitting device. That triggering can thus work with simply a passive sticker on your non-NFC smartphone if the other NFC-enabled entity “simply” beams you the trigger action through the Internet. The only question I guess is how big is the Sticker, may it bother some users or are all non-NFC users going to be perfectly fine with putting such a sticker on the backs of their smartphones. The sticker may also work on the battery behind the case if that case is plastic based or metals that somehow do not interfere with the NFC signaling.

Munich, July 17, 2012 – G&D presents the first payment sticker to meet the specifications of the German banking industry. When the sticker is attached to a cell phone or smartphone, contactless payment becomes possible even if the device itself is not NFC-enabled. The SECCOS® Mobile payment sticker is certified for the MasterCard® contactless payment method PayPass™. This allows bank customers worldwide to pay bills at over 350,000 PayPass locations.

Although there are around 50 NFC-enabled smartphone models now available, the number of users is still relatively low. This has left the field open for contactless payment stickers to play an important role as a bridge technology on the road to mobile payment by cell phone.

Read the rest of the press release here: gi-de.com