I interviewed Eric Schmidt and Andy Rubin at Mobile World Congress (off camera), for now watch Eric Schmidt’s keynote video
I am still slowly uploading my remaining 10-15 videos from Mobile World Congress to Youtube, as Internet upload speeds using Swisscom ADSL in Switzerland also are absolutely terrible, where uploads get disconnected all the time, I have to resume an FTP upload 100 times over many hours uploading with an average of 10kb/s and I have to ask someone else somewhere else to be nice enough to upload them to Youtube for you during these next few days.
After the Google keynote on the third day of Mobile World Congress, I was lucky to speak with Andy Rubin product manager at Google of the Android project of which I got several very interesting replies off camera to several of my Android related questions, until I also got to ask Eric Schmidt a couple of questions while he was walking with his team including Google President of Product Management Vic Gundotra to a secret meeting with secret people (that I didn't try to guess who were) in a secret room behind the scenes of the keynote area:
- How soon are we going to see the Android laptops?
(big smile, everyone in the Google team around the CEO laughs, and looks at me like I know something)
- This is certainly a possibility.
- What do you think about Windows Phone 7 Series?
(another smile and laugh from himselft and the Google team)
- I would have to say No Comment on this one.
- Do you think it's bloated?
- No comment
What I take from those answers, mostly from what I saw in the faces of Eric Schmidt and his team, is that Android in ARM powered Laptops certainly is one of Google's next big projects although the big tagline of his whole keynote speech was "Mobile First". I would guess probably that Laptops and Tablets may be supported by Google with one of the next versions of Android. This is also the kind of confirmation that I got speaking to Andy Rubin in the following interview. This is not word for word what he said, he wouldn't or couldn't let me film him answer my questions, this is kind of what I remember him answering:
- Do you know the Archos 5 Internet Tablet? (I show mine to him)
- Yes I know it. It's nice.
- When are we going to see official Android Marketplace support on such kinds of devices that for example don't have 3G and only have WiFi and also introduce a few new hardware features such as larger screens and Laptop form factors?
- While we were initially asking manufacturers to stay within our hardware requirements and guidelines, we are also definitely going to be supporting Tablets and Laptop form factors as well soon.
- Can Chrome browser run within Android, and if it could, what would need to be done in terms of software engineering to make that work on Laptops and Tablets with WVGA or higher resolution screens.
- Both Android and Chrome are open source, and we have released the Native Android SDK, so any developer could certainly try to port the Chrome browser for Android. But the Chrome browser is more adapted for larger screens such as laptops. It does make sense.
- When are we going to see Android phones sold unlocked below $200? I was the one to falsely circulate the rumor (which though I didn't present as a rumor but more as a Wish in a simple comment) of the $199 unlocked Nexus One pricing.
- Even for the Nexus One, we are not the ones setting the price. (I don't know if he simply meant HTC is setting the price or if someone else at Google is setting the price. And I didn't manage to ask if Google is making a large share of the profit margins on selling Nexus One unlocked or on contracts or if Google "only" makes about the same margin as any other reseller.)
That's it, I didn't really present myself as a video-blogger/press/journalist directly to Eric Schmidt in the brief few seconds that I was able to talk to him and I didn't want to slow them down as I somehow got to be somewhere back stage where I was not really supposed to be. I left my business card to the press relations Google lady asking if there was any way for me to be allowed to Interview Google Engineers in a video for my video-blog about my Android and Chrome related questions.
I was politely contacted the same evening by a Google UK press representative telling me that "Thanks for our interest in doing a videoblog here at mobile world congress. I'm afraid that we don't have the resources to do on-camera interviews this year. Apologies for any inconvenience."
No problem, it was fun just to speak with Andy Rubin for a few minutes and to Eric Schmidt for a few seconds.
You have to consider that some of the leaders of the telecom industry were probably in the audience at that very packed keynote room at Mobile World Congress. I did find it slightly fun when some people (possibly with an agenda) did ask quite harsh questions to Eric Schmidt when there were some minutes for the Q&A, for example Danish Analyst John Strange asked if Google was trying to turn the Telecoms into dumb pipes when they rather would want to be intelligent pipes, which fueld several replies from Eric Schmidt and further discussions on the matter also when a Dutch Analyst asked if Google wanted to "steal the voice minutes" from the telecom industry. I found those questions very fun, especially since some in attendance seemed to be cheering against Google for those two questions. I certainly am rooting for Google to disrupt the established telecom industry business models. Sub-$100 fully featured Android phones could reach not only populations of rich countries, but those billions of people in developing countries, even people who currently live in slumps, in misery, and for whome I am convinced access to technology could be a faster solution.
While you wait for my next videos, you can watch Google CEO Eric Schmidt's keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in the following video:
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The default Android web browser is really awesome in terms of speed, it even works amazingly fast on the ARM9 Powered web browser of the Hivision PWS700CA that I tested in my video-review a few days ago. Though for Laptop form factors, also known as ARM Powered Netbooks or Smartbooks, and for Android Tablets like the Archos 5 Internet Tablet that has a HDMI output and supports USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice, the default Android web browser might not be enough.
This is why the support of the full desktop-like experience using Chrome and Firefox web browsers within Android are really going to be nice. Perhaps the June 2009 release of the Native Android SDK can help developers reach this goal.
Since Google is now working on releasing the full Chrome OS for ARM Powered devices, perhaps it would make sense to take the source code of that Chrome web browser for ARM, and make it into an Android application. This way on a Pocketable Android tablets or phones the default Android web browser would still be used, but when in HDMI output mode to a HDTV and when using USB or Bluetooth keyboards and mice, the Chrome browser or Firefox would thus be the browser of choice.
I think it would be nice as well if it was possible to provide a full speed browser experience even on cheap ARM Powered Android devices that come with little RAM memory such as only 128MB or RAM, still enable the use of unlimited amounts of opened tabs by somehow perhaps saving the state of each tab into ROM memory and be able to quickly in few milliseconds be able to pull that back into RAM memory when the specific tab is selected.
On the other hand, I also think it would make sense to support all Android applications within Chrome OS, thus this might mean that eventually Android and Chrome OS will merge.
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Wow, I beat my record for the amount of videos that I filmed and have posted from a 4-day consumer electronics conference. I uploaded 72 videos to Youtube from CES 2010 in HD 1280x720 9mbit/s quality. And I am still not done. I still have at least 2 more videos that I can think of that I forgot to upload yet (one because I had to edit it) which I will get to upload during the next couple of days as soon as I find them.
22 of those videos have so far reached audiences of more than 1000 viewers, which I think is lower than I would have hoped for. I did not have any time during my trip in the USA to try to promote my best videos for trying to get them embedded on the big technology news blogs. And also, the big technology news blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo had their own armies of 20+ bloggers each doing all the coverage that they needed. Engadget for example brags about having published 700 posts during CES (I didn't count them), that wouldn't leave much space for them to think about embedding any other small video-bloggers videos even if those might be better than their own ones.
My new site http://ARMdevices.net is also only just launched right now before CES, I need to work on optimizing the features, especially the comments and social networking aspects of it. Please do subscribe to my RSS feed if you do use that kind of technology so you will automatically know when I post new awesome videos.
My plan is now to film my next extensive consumer electronics show video coverage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 15-18th February, where Google might be releasing Nexus Two, Three and Four, so definitely check back for that!
Until then, I plan to release some awesome video reviews of amazing new products. I have right here the Android based Hivision Mininote laptop, it is absolutely amazing and I have been preparing to film my extensive video review of it to be published imminently. I should hurry up as I am probably one of the very few very lucky people on this planet with a real ARM Powered Android laptop. I also got a Pocketbook 360 e-ink e-reader which may well be the most pocketable e-ink e-reader on the market, I will soon post a high quality video review of that one. I just got a Huawei e5830 Mifi adaptor, awesome to always stay connected to the Internet, I will test VOIP Android applications on Archos 5 Internet Tablet using its new Donut-based Android firmware 1.7.33 and the hacked Google Marketplace using it to see if that can fully replace a mobile phone.
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As you would know from checking out my other fansite http://archosfans.com I am a fan of the 4.8" 800x480 resolution screens. I just wonder why we still haven't seen any so called "smart phone" with such screen size and pixel densities. I posted this opinion at crunchgear:
5″ is about the perfect sized screen at WVGA resolution because it fits in mostly all pockets and provides enough resolution with large enough pixels to provide near full PC-like web browsing and movie watching experience. I also think that it can provide near desktop-like applications experiences.
Normally, even with a kick-stand like on the Archos, you will hold the 5″ Tablet at about half arms length from your eyes, while the laptop screen usually is nearly at twice the distance from your eyes down on your lap or on a table further away (also because you have the keyboard and mouse pad).
So basically, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet pretty much provides you 75% the full resolution experience of web browsing on a Laptop and 75% the experience of watching a movie on a laptop. In terms of number of visible and reachable pixels per degree of angle of vision.
While the iphone only provides you with 33% the resolution/experience in both browsing and video watching compared to a laptop. That is why most of the actual use of iphones and other similar sized smart phones are mostly for actually only doing phone calls and playing music and running random low definition apps (with few buttons and little screen size to actually use).
You may count screen size difference between 3.5″ and 4.8″ as “only” 1.3″ difference. Another way to compare screen sizes is the mathematical way, which is to say the truth that Archos 4.8″ screen is 2x the surface area of the iphone screen. Basically it is really a huge difference.
And I just don’t think it is right to say that 4.8″ screened devices don’t fit in most people’s pockets. Wallets and Passports are all larger than 4.8″ in diagonal and they are designed to be transported in pockets all over the world. Walking around with business card sized LCD screens is just not good enough in my opinion if you really care to take the Web and Video with you everywhere.
And here is what you can find in all Radio Shack stores in the USA, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet (8GB) selling right there for a very affordable $249 price. If Archos markets this device the right way and provides a perfect Android firmware for it with full Google Marketplace integration, and soon announce 3G and 7" versions and solutions for Camera and Compass, I think Archos has a huge opportunity right there to make a very big influence on the market.
You can follow my extensive HD quality video coverage from CES here on http://armdevices.net during the next few days.
Here is the worlds first announcement of a Tablet with the revolutionary Pixel Qi screen (that I filmed at Computex 1, 2, 3, 4), on top of that as a 10.1" touch screen tablet, using the NVIDIA Tegra T20 chipset supporting 1080p Full HD video, with WiFi, Bluetooth, HSDPA, in a 1.5cm thickness and 771 grams. Notion Ink will show this cool looking ARM Powered tablet at CES, I will try to film hands on video there. This ARM Powered tablet form factor with Pixel Qi screen, as well as the swivel tablet Laptop form factor, is the form factor that I think will revolutionize the Laptop, Tablet and E-reader industry and I really look forward to seeing these demonstrated for the first time at CES from January 7th to 10th, look forward to my full video coverage here on http://armdevices.net
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Several blogs have been reporting my speculation on Nexus One pricing as a rumor. Which is okay, but I am only freely thinking what to expect Google will do about the pricing. What I think Google should do. I don't have secret infos from Google insiders, at least not yet. Although I am sure Google insiders are monitoring what the blogosphere is talking about so if they see a lot of people getting excited about disruptive pricing and VOIP features, then it could well encourage them to actually really make the big announcements and make it happen at the launch.
My speculation is based on following:
1. Manufacture and Bill of Material of a 3.7" AMOLED touch screen smartphone has been calculated by isupply and others to cost below $150 all inclusive when mass manufactured. Although an AMOLED WVGA screen is probably a bit more expensive than a 3.5" 480x320 LCD screen. Manufacturers and resellers make very high profit margins when they sell unlocked smartphones at $400-500, and I think, those prices are only a deterrent to unlocked phones and to push consumers into signing $2500 2-year contracts for getting those phones.
2. My speculation is that when Google will be selling its own phone (even manufactured by HTC or other Smartphone manufacturers in Asia), my speculation is that Google does not need to profit on the hardware, but plans to profit over time on mobile ads and services.
3. Google does not own spectrum, yet my basic suggestion is that Google may be able to approach telecom carriers internationally and offer to buy Petabytes of bandwidth on 3G networks, at a given rate per GB, and my speculation is that 3G bandwidth data should definitely cost less than $10 or 5€ per GB. If Google is able to purchase 1 Petabyte of 3G data from a telecom carrier for $10 per GB, guaranteed best effort bandwidth not throttled for VOIP, then what would stop Google from offering 100MB free bandwidth per month to users of unlocked Android phones, to use for basically as much VOIP over 3G using Google Voice, Gmail, basic Gmaps and basic Web browsing as most users would need. Thus get an unlocked Android phone with a Google SIM card and get unlimited free VOIP and 100mb/month data for free on ad-supported Google services or purchase more data for a certain price for example $10 per GB to use whenever you want, not needed to be renewed each month. I am probably far over-estimating the cost of 3G data bandwidth, the price per GB is probably below 1€ per GB, unless telecom carriers just refuse the deal and that they wouldn't accept to sell any 3G cellular bandwidth to Google.
I have been campaigning for free VOIP on WiFi and 3G for years, since I have been very active fanboy of all Archos Internet Tablets since the Archos PMA400 released in 2004 on my other site http://archosfans.com, where my hope has always been to some day have better telecom system that doesn't try to sell you a $2500 2-year contract with a $150 smartphone. But instead move towards improving the smart device, implement better optimized software through Linux (Android enables that for the first time), larger higher resolution screens (4.8" 800x480 like Archos 5 Internet Tablet is my favorite size and resolution), and also some day, make it possible for people to just buy the bandwidth that they need and not charge unreasonable prices anymore for voice and sms services.
Here are some of the sites that have been posting my speculation over the past couple of days:
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This may be a picture of the Google Phone:
From rumors on Techcrunch, this may be a pre-paid only $100 device, for WiFi and pre-paid 3G Voice over IP usage such as on Google Voice. Exactly the revolutionary business model that I have been talking about for a while. My guess on the Google Phone price, or what I think it should cost is following:
$100 for the 3.7" high density WVGA Google Phone Nexus One
$150 for the 4.8" medium density Google Tablet Nexus XL
All should come based on ARM Cortex A8 processors, probably OLED capacitative on Nexus One and LCD resistive on the Nexus XL. My suggestion is basically that the Nexus XL may be similar to my favorite consumer electronics device the Archos 5 Internet Tablet which I talk about in countless videos: http://armdevices.net/?s=archos and on my other site: http://archosfans.com
The most important factor here would be if the rumors are true and if my guessing is right, that the Google Phone and Tablet will be the first pre-paid Android phone and tablet. Affordable, my guessing also may even make it so that Google may not only sell it through all retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Wal Mart, Media Markt, Aldi and such, but that one may even be able to buy it on google's own website and based on how active one has been on Google over the past few years, Google may even subsidize the purchase price of the phone or tablet. That is, cause Google can know it will more likely make more money on mobile ads from users who use Google services a lot. This way, look forward to Google Phone at $50, Google Tablet for $100 and even the Google Laptop/Tablet/E-reader at $150.
Some times, I think that it does take a big giant technology company like Google to really invest not only in the platform, not only in software, but also dedicate teams of hardware engineers into actually releasing own branded hardware on the market and push the boundaries in terms of business models to apply to the distribution of such technology. To push things forward faster, Google needs to make hardware.
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ARMdevices.net is a blog focused on making original video and news contents about ARM Powered devices, mostly from trade shows and conferences around the world. Nicolas Charbonnier, also known as Charbax, films all the videos on this site. Olga Moskovets also contributes by producing the content and being camera assistant on some of the videos and by posting some of the articles on this site.
Contact Charbax: email@example.com
I am a big fan of FON. It enables you to have free access to a million WiFi hotspots in the world in exchange for sharing your own WiFi at home with your neighbors. FON routers broadcast 2 WiFi signals, one is a personal WPA-password protected WiFi SSID and the other is the open WiFi SSID for sharing your Internet connection using the FON DNS authentication login page so people are not able to do illegal things anonymously on your WiFi.
This newest Fonera 2.0n router is much more than just a WiFi router. It now comes with a powerful embedded processor and a USB host connector so that you can connect USB hard drives, USB dongles, USB printers/webcams and other USB peripherals directly to your router using a USB 2.0 hub and thus have those peripherals always connected to your home local network as well as to the whole Internet. Fonera 2.0n lets you install certain applications developed open-source such as a BitTorrent downloader based on Transmission, Youtube/Picasa/Flickr/Facebook video and picture uploaders, Rapidshare/Megaupload downloaders or just run FTP, Samba, Upnp file servers locally on your local network or remotely over the Internet so you can stream all your multimedia files from any other WiFi hotspot that you may access all over the Web.
The main use that I have with my new Fonera 2.0n is to constantly have access to Terrabytes of my personal multimedia files from all over the world, any of which streamed using my 2mbit/s upload Internet broadband connection. That 2mbit/s upload connection which I have at home, lets me remotely stream DVD quality movies. This currently works fine using any laptop copying the FTP URL into VLC media player "Open URL" feature. I am hoping to soon have this work on my Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android, so that I would easily be able to remotely stream my personal movies and music hosted at my home on my Fonera 2.0n from any Internet access point in the world using that.
Cloud storage will eventually be able to host everyones massive amounts of personal multimedia files. Though as ones options are today to use Cloud storage services from Google or Amazon, to host a Terrabyte of personal data on the cloud would cost $1800 per year on Google App Engine, same price at Amazon S3, those prices are just not workable at all if you just want to host 1 Terrabyte of your multimedia files on the web. Even the new Google price for Picasa image storage at $256 per Terrabyte per year is still far too expensive cloud storage for most people. See my comment on Google's latest cloud storage prices here: http://charbax.com/2009/11/11/cheapest-cloud-storage-needed/ A Terrabyte hard drive only costs about $80 in the US or 80€ in Europe, add to that the 79€ Fonera 2.0n, and that is all it will cost you (other than the power consumption of the USB hard drive) to have access to stream from your Terrabyte of data anytime you want from anywhere you want, as long as you have got enough upload speed from your home to support the streaming of that data.
Another feature that is really cool, is the Firefox Add-On the FON DownloadHelper, which can automatically launch the download of .torrent files to the BitTorrent client of your Fonera 2.0n router, directly from when you click on the .torrent file from within Firefox. And you can launch your BitTorrent downloads locally when you are at home or remotely using your laptop or Android product using Transdroid from anywhere in the world. And when the BitTorrent downloads are finished, you can immediately stream your downloaded video, music contents locally or remotely as well. With Extensions soon coming to the official Chrome browser, I think we can expect FON DownloadHelper extension for Google Chrome soon as well.
If you are considering to have a Network Attached Storage in your home, if you are considering to get a WiFi 802.11n router, if you are interested in hosting a remote FTP server and BitTorrent client in your router in your home, and run a print server and webcam, if you are considering joining the FON WiFi-sharing community, then I would definitely recommend that you check out the Fonera 2.0n and follow the latest developments about it in the FON Discussion Boards.