Pixel Qi is the single most revolutionary LCD screen technology, adding the benefits of low power, reflectivity, long form and outdoor readability all the while providing a switch on the side of the device to provide full color backlight mode to the screen as well. Thus combining Tablets with E-readers, making 50-hour tablet battery runtime without increasing battery size a possibility and bringing full color video, web browsing and full Android UIs to E-readers. The 10.1" screen will be announced soon for more products than just Notion Ink and Innoversal:
We will be announcing other products carrying Pixel Qi screens here in this blog; stay tuned.
Pixel Qi provides some insights into the reason why several tablet projects including the ones to use Pixel Qi have been delayed because of the success of the disruptive iPad:
Tight supply chain and 100% factory usage this spring and summer coupled with Apple’s disruptive iPad effectively had a 1-2 punch impact: delaying most tablet makers from coming to market as early as they wished. The situation has eased: the supply chain is more robust and factory capacity is widely available. Many of our device makers used this downtime to refine their designs with the result being even more exciting offerings that are highly differentiated from the iPad with options well beyond ATT for carriers. These device maker partners will be making more announcements coming this fall.
And so, a screen that I think would be perfect for the Archos 70 Internet Tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Foxconn ARM11 Powered 7" Tablet reference design, Pixel Qi is announcing the development of the 7" Pixel Qi screen size. Here's also who needs to absolutely use the 7" Pixel Qi screen, the $35 Indian HRD Tablet Project!!!
We are developing a 7” screen for tablets and ereaders that is planned for mass production in H1 2011. Samples will be available earlier, perhaps by late Q4 2010.
In my opinion, everyone in the industry with 7" and 10.1" LCD tablet projects, all need to be a part of this revolution and need to use this amazing screen. Hopefully with mass manufacturing and large serious orders, the screen will be cheap enough to be close to the price of a normal LCD, hopefully the yield and the long term performance in use will be just as good as normal LCD.
Here is an overview of the design and the size of the PocketBook 360 e-ink e-reader. This e-reader device has a nice compact 5" e-ink screen with a nice screen cover design making it pocketable unlike the Kindle. This device is widely available on the worldwide markets such as for $193 on Amazon.com and remains one of PocketBook's best selling products thus far, making PocketBook the third most popular e-ink e-reader manufacturer. In my next part of this review that I will post in the next few days, I will show you the user interfaces of the latest firmware update. Wouldn't it be cool if such pocketable e-ink e-reader device was to get 3G/WiFi/Bluetooth as well as a Wacom-style digitizer screen or Sony's new infrared/laser touch screen technology?
The IFA consumer electronics show was cool, from September 2nd to 8th in Berlin Germany, I video-blogged 65 videos of the best products that I could find at the show. Here, as my Best Of IFA post, I would like to list the top-10 videos of the top-10 products of IFA 2010 that I filmed:
1. Archos 101 Internet Tablet, first 10.1″ capacitive Android 2.2 Froyo ARM cortex A8 45nm Tablet to be sold below $299. It's really thin, at 480gr it's 30% lighter than the iPad yet offers 12% wider screen surface (better for movies and TV shows). HDMI output and USB host and full video and audio codecs support. All that for $200 cheaper than the iPad.
2. Archos 43 Internet Tablet, nicely priced below $199 alternative to HTC EVO and Droid X, with no expensive contracts needed for this 4.3" Froyo Android 2.2 experience
3. Archos 28 Internet Tablet, first ARM Cortex A8 45nm Android 2.2 Froyo device to be priced below $99 with no contracts needed, that's 2.3 times cheaper than the iPod Touch
4. Toshiba AC-100 ARM Tegra2 Powered Android Laptop, this is the first mass produced ARM Cortex A9 powered laptop to be brought to the market, it is a significant product. Toshiba has done a super good keyboard and mouse-pad design for it and it is really thin and light. Now of course, all that is needed, is better software for it. I don't think it is enough for them to just take open source Android and port it to it and add few custom widgets on top. They need to port the full Chrome web browser to Android. They need to officially support a triple-boot configuration on this ARM Powered laptop with Chrome OS for ARM and with Ubuntu for ARM also being optional OS to boot into. Also, I do think the $299 price point is a bit high. The idea with the ARM powered laptops is that they are going to be much cheaper and better value than the Intel powered ones. I think the relatively high price is only due to Toshiba being the first to market and them wanting to enjoy larger profit margins while they wait for all the other manufacturers to join the party. Also, once they get the Pixel Qi screen in there, the battery runtime will be close to 40 hours on such a device.
5. PocketBook 903 Pro, I really like the idea of 3G/WiFi/Bluetooth and Wacom-style digitizer in an A4 sized e-ink e-reader. I would like Chrome-to-phone like features, to throw any article and ebooks from my web browser directly onto such more readable display, and then I would also like to see connected annotation collaboration and communication features added, all those things are just software things.
6. Sony Reader PRS-650 Touch Edition, I am impressed with Sony's new touch screen technology for their new e-readers. Although I would say it is a bit sad that Sony never updates their e-reader firmwares, that this 229€ version does not include WiFi nor Bluetooth nor 3G for connectivity. Still, the finger and stylus laser based touch screen technology is great for UI navigation and for annotations. I also like the fact that Sony is marketing it to be supporting free library borrowing of all e-books, I much prefer borrowing all ebooks for free and legally than paying $10 per ebook or pirating them. The electronic ebook library concept will be fascinating way for people to access all ebooks for free.
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab, for sure one of the big highlights of this IFA is to see such a huge company as Samsung going all in with the 7" capacitive Android tablet market, I can't wait to see how successful their marketing will be with this against the iPad. The whole area of discussions around Google supporting of Android tablets, it is simply fascinating. Of course, obviously, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is highly overpriced at 799€ without contract and 1359€ with 2-year contract. But it sure is a nice product and the tablet market really makes me happy.
8. UMEC Freescale i.MX51 based 7" Android tablets, I like the features and possibilities of this hardware. See my other Freescale tablet videos such as the one running Chromium OS on it, it should be totally possible.
9. iMuz 5" Android tablet, this South Korean company seemed to me to have pretty good Telechips ARM11 based Android tablet devices on display.
10. Sharp’s Parallax Barrier 3D screen, it's pretty amazing to experience it at the trade show on display. This is the 3.8" WVGA 3D screen that the Nintendo 3DS is going to use. It really works, although probably best with 3D games once the Nintendo comes out than with low quality built-in 3D cameras. You have to hold the screen in the middle and around exactly 30 centimeters from your eyes, my guess though with the Nintendo, this might become easy to get used to hold it like that and I also like Nintendo will have a slider on the side that will enable to lower or to completely remove the 3D effect of the screen.
11. Interpad's Tegra2 Powered Android 2.2 Tablet, a really nice Android tablet too, to be priced 399€. I think it is based on the Malata Android tablet design that I filmed at Computex.
12. Toshiba Folio 100 Tegra2 Android tablet, yet another Tegra2 10.1" capacitive Android 2.2 Tablet to come out, also priced above 399€.
13. Philips GoGear Connect, one of the first non-3G Android devices based on the Freescale i.MX51 ARM Cortex A8 processor with official Google Marketplace support but price is likely going to be above 249€.
14. Samsung YP-G50, another lower cost Android media player device, also to compete with the iPod Touch, with official Google Marketplace support and a slower Samsung ARM11 processor, the price is also likely to be at least the same as the iPod Touch.
15. Mobile Tech 5" Android Tablet, this company is also making some interesting Telechips ARM11 based Android tablets.
If you have any other preferences for Best of IFA, you are welcome to post those in the comments.
Video cameras were not allowed during Eric Schmidt's keynote at IFA, so I didn't try to film it, you can stream the full keynote video now on http://ifa-tv.de and probably that Google will post it later too on http://youtube.com/google. I didn't get ask my major Google questions during the Q&A, but you can find my question and guessing to their reasoning below. Here are my major impressions:
1. Speech to Speech translation in Android is awesome. They did an on stage demo with an english speaking Google engineer (Hugo Barra, Product manager of Android) and a German speaking Google engineer. They had a fast conversation from one to the other, where the Android system would translate speech from one language to the other. Simply fantastic and awesome! Soon enough, one will be able to approach another user who speaks another language with an Android phone, preferably wear a headset, and simply start talking to each other with a second delay until speech is translated and synthesised in own language.
2. The new version of Street View for the new version of Google Maps on Android is also awesome. The little Street View man can be dragged around on the screen, Google knowing all 3D aspects of all buildings and streets, then it provides a video game like effect zooming in on further down on the street thus potentially navigating around Street View much faster and in a cooler way. It will be fun also once Google starts adding into Street View all the publicly published pictures and videos that any Android user could make, thus improving Street View to include user-submitted more up-to-date imagery from the whole world. Would allow even for entering buildings (with proper rights I imagine opt-in included). Augmented Reality is cool and I think Street View will merge with it.
3. Google TV will revolutionize TV. I spoke with Logitech and Sony representatives here at IFA. My impression is that it will hi-jack TV networks and eventually replace the need for TV channels with a choice for viewers to get access to any video content from anywhere. I also think BitTorrent and live p2p streaming support on Google TV cannot be blocked, so that too will be awesome. HD Video Conferencing should also be included with the box, I expect Logitech will include that as an option but they would not confirm the specifics of it (how their HD webcam would work on the only Intel Atom processor of Google TV, perhaps dual-core Intel Atom I am guessing, but still far lower system configuration than currently required for Logitech HD webcams to use for HD video conferencing.
Here is the question I would have asked Eric Schmidt during the Q&A:
1. I have filmed 100s of Chinese/Taiwanese/korean/french manufacturers showing cheap Android tablets, laptops and set-top-boxes at IFA and at all the other consumer electronics trade shows the past year and a half. None of these devices are allowed by Google to ship with the Google Marketplace. Why isn't there a special version of Google Marketplace for all these devices? Why doesn't Google offer an .apk download of Google Marketplace for anyone to download on any Android device for free on Google's website? The cheapest Chinese Android tablets/laptops are $100, while the Samsung tablet is 799€, Dell tablet is 599€ (both unlocked), the Toshiba laptop is 299€ (no Google Marketplace either). Can't Google monetize products without GPS/3G/compass just as well? Why require such expensive hardware components if Google's declared goal (during the keynote) is to reach 3-4 billion people with Android in the next 5 years? Is Google also planning to do just as much evil requiring expensive hardware for access to the application stores on Chrome OS and Google TV?
My guess the answer to this which they wouldn't have provided would be something like following:
- Google has partnered with major hardware manufacturers for Android, and as an exchange for such huge support for the Android platform, Google promises not to allow for faster disruption in the market to not leave these major manufacturers enough time to make as much profit margins as they can. Basically Android is not much cheaper for the end consumers than Apple iPhone is. While Carriers are making more money with Android than with iPhone (because of lower cost of purchasing the device with more competition in the Android market), the major OEM manufacturers are helped by Google to keep as high profit margins on these Android products as possible. All these companies are jealous of Apple and want to have as much money as possible selling these products.
Maybe the rest of the non-invited lower cost Android industry should partner up around alternatives to the Google Marketplace, such as the Archos http://appslib.com marketplace. App developers should be convinced to submit their app on at least one such alternative marketplaces.
Maybe the media needs to be more involved in critisizing this lack of openness in the way the "with Google" branding happens in the Android ecosystem. Maybe major media should demand an answer from Google and this may speed up the rate of Google responding by simply opening up access to the Apps on Marketplace to all devices for free without unfair hardware requirements.
The other question I would have liked to ask:
2. Is Google TV going to work on ARM Powered devices too? Is Google waiting for ARM Cortex A9 for that announcement to happen?
- I know Google TV will work on ARM Processors too, I see no reason that it would not be supported. As Chrome OS is developed for ARM, as Android runs on ARM and as Google TV is a mix of Android and Chrome technologies. HDMI input and output and the IR blaster can be added to likely any ARM set-top-box device with also preferably powerful web browsing processing support. The overlay features on HDMI throughput might require pretty advanced GPU acceleration.
- I believe ARM Powered Google TV can be made for much cheaper than Intel Powered Google TV. $99 for ARM vs $299 for Intel.
Look at this leaked picture and video of the Logitech Revue Google TV set-top-box, rumored for $300 in the USA (maybe with required cable/satellite package subscription plans) when Google TV launches during the next couple of months in the USA:
Source for these Logitech Revue Google TV images: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/logitech-revue-google-tv-hands-on-impressions/
Texas Instruments has had their awesome OMAP3430 series on the market now for around two years in the Archos 5, Archos 5 Internet Tablet, Motorola Droid, Palm Pre and with their new 45nm OMAP3630 version in Archos Generation 8, Droid X, Droid 2 and a bunch of other products to come. The ARM Cortex A9 based OMAP4 is to be expected in products for a bit later, maybe starting next year with amazing 1080p encoding and decoding and with extremely fast multi-core ARM processing built-in.
Building on its rich heritage of collaboration with ARM, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today confirmed that it was the first company to partner with ARM in the conception and definition of the next generation ARM® Cortex™-A series processor core (also known as "Eagle") to be announced later this year. TI intends to use the new processor to further strengthen and extend its future OMAP™ platform offerings.
Now, Texas Instruments is the first processor maker to announce that they are licencing ARM's next generation named the Eagle platform, possibly reaching products within a couple of years.
"We are thrilled to know that our customers will be the first to leverage the new ARM processor core's far-reaching innovations via our industry-leading OMAP products. Successful mobile industry achievements revolve around the 'high-performance, low-power' mantra, and we believe the results of our collaborative effort echo the importance of this must-have balance."
The names may be ARM Cortex A10 and Texas Instruments OMAP5 series.
What do you think may be the improvements for this ARM Eagle platform? Higher performance quad-core 3ghz 28nm or 32nm High-K Metal Gate processors at even lower power consumption and lower prices? ARM Cortex A8 does 2DMIPS per Mhz (2'000DMIPS at 1Ghz), ARM Cortex A9 does 2.5DMIPS per Mhz (6'000DMIPS at dual-core 1.2Ghz), how high is Eagle going to go? Is it A9 is 3x faster than A8, and Eagle is 8x faster than A8 solutions when running well multi-threaded code? Does Eagle go as high as 15'000 DMIPS on a quad-core design? You can discuss this in the comments.
Engadget and a bunch of other blogs have been reporting these last few days about the cool Augen branded Android Smartbook and Tablets that are being released in the US market at affordable $99 and $149 prices by Super Market chain KMart. I just would like to remind my readers that I posted my video review of the Augen Smartbook 6 months ago on January 29th as it's based on the Hivision PWS700CA and its cool RockChip ARM9 processor that runs Android in this video: http://armdevices.net/2010/01/29/android-laptop-review-hivision-pws700ca/
and that the Telechips ARM11 800mhz based Augen $149 7" Tablet that Engadget and plenty other blogs also are talking about seems to be based on the same 7" resistive tablet hardware design that I filmed 5 months ago presented by MAG Digital at CeBIT 2010 in this video: http://armdevices.net/2010/03/02/mag-digital-presents-windows-ce-that-looks-like-android-in-a-tablet/
To let you know my opinion. I think it is fantastic that Augen and KMart are promoting such cheaper Android Laptop and Tablet form factors as alternatives to the much more expensive Apple iPad and Intel Netbooks. Archos has also been selling the similarly priced Archos 7 Home Tablet on the worldwide market which I video reviewed 5 months ago, which is now broadly available in many retail and online stores below $200 for the 8GB version (and the 2GB version originally planned at $149, then $179 but for now they are mostly selling the 8GB version). That Rockchip based Laptop and Tablet platform also being upgraded to 1ghz still ARM9 to support newer Android 2.2 versions.
But as we have heard from Canonical developers and from hearsay and off camera chatter by Google people at the Google Q&A at Computex about Chrome OS on ARM Laptops, although the second generation 45nm ARM Cortex A8 with faster DDR RAM and faster I/O performance can be enough, the coming of ARM Cortex A9 platforms may be preferable to achieve the full desktop web browsing experience that most consumers may require for them to consider the ARM platforms as fully usable alternatives in the Intel/Microsoft dominated Laptop market. And the iPad and the whole bunch of smart phones that are currently spread all over the market, those may kind of set expectations at capacitive and ARM Cortex A8 performance at the minimum. So it will be interesting, capacitive touch screen manufacturers allowing, to see how soon and how cheap those capacitive Android tablet designs at full user interface speeds can reach the market. ARM9 and ARM11 resistive tablets are not bad for a start, they can give the consumers and bloggers a taste of what can be done with Android at retail prices below $200 and even below $100. The ultimate goal should be though that we should have full speed ARM Cortex versions of all these devices in all the stores, with the best capacitive screens for tablets or non-touch screens for Laptops, preferably Pixel Qi screens, and available below $200 without contracts, running free Linux based Android or Ubuntu OSes.
Rockchip may be the new "China Processor", that ARM Processor coming out of China that can be found in some of the cheap Android Tablets and Laptops. This could be a major part of China's attempt at providing every component of future low cost computing devices, even the processor. The new version of the Rockchip processor is said to be faster, RK2808 is 600mhz while RK2818 can go to 1ghz. But according to Toms Hardware, this new Rockchip RK2818 might still be ARM926EJ-S ARMv5 based.
In practice, RK2808 reached 1.1 DMIPS per MHz, while a core based on the Cortex A8 is 2 DMIPS per MHz and the recent Cortex A9 is 2.5 per DMIPS MHz. Even at 1 GHz, a Rockchip will be about two times slower than what the Cortex competition offers (at a higher price).
The question might be, how much cheaper are ARM9 based devices? Rockchip might still be only for low-end lower cost devices mostly made by Chinese manufacturers. The good news is this new Rockchip can support Android 2.1 and 2.2 (while RK2808 can only do Android 1.5). It's got to be thanks to its newer and better DSP graphics accelerator, with screen support at up to 1024x768 which could be great to power cheap ARM Powered laptops and low cost 10" Android Tablets. Availability may be after September for a bunch of new RK2818 based products or maybe also simply quick upgrades of RK2808 based designs. I wonder if the new 720p video playback on RK2818 may be improved, while RK2808 could only playback H264 MKV 720p at up to 2.5mbit/s.
Source: Toms Hardware France (in french)
Here's my review of the Dell Streak, 5" capacitive Qualcomm Snapdragon powered Android Tablet, as posted by JKKmobile.com a few minutes after I first tried to use his unit at the recent Computex in Taiwan.
The 4.8" to 5" Android Tablet is in my opinion the coolest and the best size for a Tablet because it is the largest possible screen that fits in most pockets, thus this form factor Android tablet can be carried around everywhere with the largest screen size for web browsing and watching videos and launching apps always available.
Archos created and has been selling this form factor since 2003 with their release of the Archos AV300, back then the first large screen PMP device. Since 2005, Archos released the first WiFi enabled touch screen embedded Linux Qtopia based PMA430 and for over 9 months, the Android based Archos 5 Internet Tablet has been available on the market at $249 in Radio Shack.
The release of the Dell Streak is a good thing for Archos as it popularizes the form factor. Also, I believe Archos has some advantages even with their 9 month old Android product such as pricing with a 9 month old pricing that is at about half the launch price of the Dell Streak, support for all video codecs and high profile H264, larger storage capacities up to 500GB, HDMI output, USB host and a bunch of other features. Also, Archos is expected to release 45nm based OMAP3640 Android tablet devices by September, thus further improving on the features and on the price/value performance.
The Mifi is a great solution for bringing a WiFi hotspot with you everywhere in the city and even in the country (depending on HSDPA/UMTS/GPRS coverage in your country). It's perfect to add 3G connectivity to your Archos, iPad, iPod Touch, Laptops and any other WiFi-only devices that you may have. In this video, I compare the performance and features of the two Mifi adapters that are available on the market, the Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 and the Huawei e5830.
In this video, I demonstrate a VOIP call taken using Google Voice and Gizmo5 on my $249 Archos 5 Internet Tablet using SIPdroid or any other SIP VOIP applications on the Android OS. This is the vision where you just need a pre-paid 1GB or 10GB of bandwidth per month on a SIM card, just enter it in your unlocked Mifi device, make sure the right profile informations are entered using the control panel and that's it. You've just about got a full mobile phone replacement, but where you don't need to pay for voice minutes and SMS subscriptions any more.
Although eventually all devices will have built-in unlocked SIM card slots and modems, the Mifi solution is a really great temporary alternative, that connects on 3G all WiFi-only devices. When your city gets White Spaces, LTE or WiMax, you don't need to buy new devices, just buy a new Mifi.
If you travel a lot in Europe, this is a must have. Then find SIM cards for cheap pre-paid plans, for 5€ to 10€ and get Mifi internet access all over that city and country.
The Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 that I got was unlocked beforehand, I don't know if there are online programs to unlock one if you happen to have a locked one. It can be bought unlocked for 214€ at moblix.hu and expansys.com.
I will post further test video of the Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 once I get to figure out how to use some of the more advanced features. And at Mobile World Congress, Novatel Wireless advertised the functionality of installing applications on their Mifi device (see my video interview about it), to increase the functionalities. Such as hosting a little server in there on the MicroSD card, doing some file-sharing, file caching, GPS tracking and other stuff. The Mifi is the kind of device that I think all busses, trains in Denmark are getting installed to provide free WiFi to all people taking public transportation. If you own a taxi business, drive a bus, own a sausage stand, providing your customers with mobile WiFi is an awesome opportunity.
I bought the Huawei e5830 at the Three store in London for £49 with a compulsory £10 1GB/month first month pre-paid credit. I then unlocked it for 15€ using http://www.dc-unlocker.com/ (it can also be bought internationally from ebay.co.uk for around £80 unlocked) and I installed the latest firmware with full Control Panel, built-in Profile and other Router management features at: http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=98318&page=2. Consider also I filmed the Huawei E5 version 2 (with faster 3G HSPA+ speeds support and a new display) at Mobile World Congress, see my video here: http://armdevices.net/2010/02/15/huawei-e5-2-mifi-at-mobile-world-congress-2010/
How does Google control what services, software and hardware ships in Android handsets? The search giant has built an elaborate system of control points around Android handsets.
To dig deeper we spent two months talking to industry sources close to Android commercials – and the reality has been startling. From a high level, Google uses 8 control points to manage the make-up of Android handsets:
I love Android, yet I am also the webmaster of the Archos Fans community. Archos is basically so far still the only Android Tablet manufacturer in the world (although 50+ Android Tablets have been shown at trade shows, nearly none of those are yet available on the market). Thus Archos, this little French company with less than 100 engineers, has had an Android device on the market since September 2009 and yet NO legal official way for them to pre-install the Google Marketplace, Gmail, Gtalk on their devices. There are illegal ways to install Google Apps on the Archos tablets, even a very simple .apk to transfer to the tablet over USB that does all the necessary Google Apps installations pretty easily.
This whole unofficial Google Apps deal is absolutely not sustainable, it's like some kind of cyanogen thing. The mass market consumers that buy ipod touch and ipads would never accept to have to go through such unofficial channels to get some sort of "Google Experience" on their device. For the 50+ Android Tablets to be released to the worldwide markets these next few months, Google will have to unlock the Google Experience for more hardware configurations.
As the roadmap of Android is top secret, as Google geniuses prepare their Knock Out blows against Apple/Microsoft/Nokia/Intel, I think we as Android fanboys can also rather straight forwardly guess what that roadmap likely is going to be.
I see it a bit like some kind of trojan horse approach. Deep down I am sure Google does not want to do evil, but to reach the goal of providing sub-$100 Android devices that do all the VOIP, VOD, Credit Card and ID replacement, RFID, Augmented Reality, GPS, Social Networking and all that other stuff, Google first simply has got to play it nice with the largest Manufacturers and the largest telecom carriers.
I was at the Mobile World Congress recently at the Q&A with Eric Schmidt, you could hear really fun questions being asked by provocative telecom industry people, such as Google wanting to "Steal the telecom industry's voice minutes", that Google wants to "Transform the telecom industry into dumb pipes". Those transformations are for real, and I am sure the Google top strategists are aiming to reach those goals as soon as possible. But Google alone, even though they have the most and best PHDs cannot make the $100 unlocked Google Phone/Tablet/e-reader/set-top-box happen. So they have to work in certain levels of secrecy with the right big companies that need to have their investments recouped before Google opening up the next level of Android openness to the whole industry.