Google TV is still the future of TV, more rumoring before Google I/O

Posted by – May 8, 2011

Android and Google TV merging

Android and Google TV merging

Here are more of the latest rumors on the web (together with my latest heavy dose of speculations) about Google TV that could get announced at Google I/O on Tuesday and Wednesday (to be live streamed on the web).

Google TV is awesome, but thus far it fails because of Intel. Obviously, the solution to this is the ARM Powered version of Google TV released in the open source.

The latest rumor on Google TV is that Google will include the Google TV UI mode in Android Ice Cream Sandwich, basically, every ARM Powered Android smartphone becomes a Google TV set-top-box for free when using HDMI output.

At Google I/O, Google may announce the merger of Android, Google TV and Honeycomb into one ARM Powered OS release for Smartphones, Tablets and Set-top-boxes.

That means, the basic ARM Powered Google TV 2.0 is likely HDMI output only. To also bring support for overlayed features on top of “regular” TV, with one or several HDMI inputs, IR blasters, USB hosts, Bluetooth remotes, Ethernet connectors and more, Google might announce a new type of Multimedia TV Docking system for Android, using nothing more than HDMI, USB slave/host and evt MHL that combines both into one Micro-USB connector.

The key is how does Google demonstrate a new standard for a TV Docking Station that works on most if not all Android smartphones with a HDMI output, optionally a USB Host, Bluetooth and WiFi? How does Google add support for HDMI overlay, IR Blasting, Ethernet and all those other things that may be expected from an ARM Powered Google TV, especially if it’s to be powered by the Smartphone?

Google could release an open hardware design for a Google TV port duplicator accessory with a target price of around $49, this would be Google’s suggested Multimedia TV Dock for Android, with HDMI in/out, IR blaster, USB host duplicator, Ethernet connector and Bluetooth dongle adaptor for like $49 between any Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone and your set-top-boxes and HDTV to add those features (related to overlaying stuff on “regular” TV).

Regarding Google’s delays in Music:

I think that Google wants nothing less than to provide all the worlds users full unlimited access to all music for less than $5 per month, obviously the record companies don’t want Google to disrupt them so fast, that’s probably why there has been delays.

Google should not delay Google TV or Google Music till they get distribution deals. What Google should do is phone up their buddies at Adobe, unlock the Android Flash player so it cannot be blocked with true Desktop User Agent, then they should go FULL ON like Mp3.com did 10 years ago, make the distribution platform work for all the independent content creators like the ones on YouTube now.

RISC is inherently lower power

Posted by – May 7, 2011

Here is a quote by ARM CMO Ian Drew at mobile-device.biz:

“Intel has always innovated through process improvement,” said Drew, “But it’s not just about the transistor. You have to also consider the architecture, SoC design, the broader ecosystem, and so on.”

So Drew isn’t contesting the significance of Intel’s technological breakthrough. But while a smaller manufacturing process undoubtedly confers power/performance benefits, so does the micro-architecture, the efficiency of the whole SoC, software optimisation, and so on.

We put it to Drew that Intel had said it was a ‘misconception’ that ARM’s architecture was somehow intrinsically more power-efficient than Intel’s. “Fewer transistors means lower power,” he countered. “so RISC is inherently lower power.” Drew also pointed out that ARM has already announced test chips at 22 and 20nm already, with foundry partners TSMC and GlobalFoundries also working on those processes, and that IBM is already working on 14nm.

David Patterson on blogs.arm.com Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley since 1977 who coined the term RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer):

The importance of maintaining the sequential programming model combined with the increasingly abundant number of transistors from Moore’s Law led, in my view, to wretched excess in computer design. Measured by performance per transistor or by performance per watt, the designs of the late 1990s and early 2000s were some of the least efficient microprocessors ever built. This lavishness was acceptable for PCs, where binary compatibility was paramount and cost and battery life were less important, but performance was delivered more by brute force than by elegance.

However, these excessive designs are not a good match to the smartphones and tablets of the PostPC era. RISC dominates these “Personal Mobile Devices,” because

  • It’s a new software stack and software distribution is via the “App Store model” or the browser, which lessens the conventional obsession with binary compatibility.
  • RISC designs are more energy efficient.
  • RISC designs are smaller and thus cheaper.

The table below from Microprocessor Report supports these last two claims:

Comparing performance per megahertz, x86 is 4% – 8% faster than ARM or MIPS. More significantly, this table suggests ARM and MIPS have 40% – 50% better energy per MHz and their size is a factor of 3X to 4X smaller than x86.

Independent of these architectural battles, Personal Mobile Devices rely on “Systems on a Chip” to reduce size, improve energy, and to lower costs. If processors are available as IP blocks, any company can create a single SOC rather than use many separate chips on a printed circuit board, as is the case with PCs. Thus far, there is no serious x86 IP competitor to the many fine RISC IP options, so SOCs based on x86 can only come from AMD or Intel.

Sources:
http://mobile-device.biz/content/item.php?item=30305
http://blogs.arm.com/software-enablement/377-risc-versus-cisc-wars-in-the-postpc-eras-part-2/
Found via: @ARMCommunity, 2

Gartner, IDC, ABI and others are making up numbers? Really?

Posted by – May 7, 2011

German techno-wizard Sasha Pallenberg with Canadian side-kick Nicole Scott give us a wise demonstration out of Taiwan of how some of the so-called market analysts such as Gartner are able to make up numbers that somehow get picked up by a lot of bloggers and news.

This video was published at: netbooknews.com

I got a little heat yesterday in some comments in my article Apple to (obviously) use ARM in next Macbook for making up some numbers about why I think it’s obvious Apple makes most of their profits from their ARM Powered devices and thus must be planning their ARM Powered Macbook.

While many of the numbers do get released by many of the companies in this industry each quarter, it still does not always make everything clear for everyone, they still omit pointing it out clearly when 50%+ of Apple’s revenues and 75%+ of their profits comes from one product, and they obviously don’t tell us what exactly they are spending most of their secret R&D, production and components budgets on, so things are open for us all to make those interpretations and publish our market predictions!

Apple to (obviously) use ARM in next Macbook

Posted by – May 6, 2011

Apple profits mostly thanks to ARM technology

Apple profits mostly thanks to ARM technology

Semiaccurate.com cites sources, and the whole blogosphere is erupting over the rumor that Apple is preparing to use ARM instead Intel in their next Macbook. Here’s my take on it:

Thanks to ARM technology, Apple has become the worlds second biggest company (valued at $322 Billion) after Exxon Mobil (valued at $411 Billion). Before using ARM, Apple was in near bankruptcy, and then they got the idea to make those ARM Powered iPod. And as the obvious thing in 2007 they introduced the ARM Powered iPhone. The iPhone now stands for more than 50% of Apple’s $70 Billion yearly revenues and the iPhone may actually represent more than 75% of Apple’s yearly $17 Billion profit.

ARM is the best way to make huge profits.

And Apple needs to find all ways to keep making big profits, as their share is priced so high, it can only stay as high for as long as they can find ways to continue to make huge profits.

The iPhone may provide Apple with as much as 334% profit margins. ($150 BOM and $650 average sale price)

The iPad may provide Apple with about 155% profit margins. ($225 BOM and $575 average sale price)

The Macbook Air, while expensive, probably only provide Apple with 64% profit margin. ($700 BOM and $1200 average sale price)

This is Apple’s ARM Powered laptop plan:

Make the thinner, lighter ARM Powered OSX laptop, with a Pixel Qi type screen they could achieve 30 hours battery runtime or more. It would cost them only $300 to make (BOM) and Apple probably thinks they can still sell it for at least $799 that’s a 166% profit margin, nearly 3x more profits for Apple compared to them still using Intel.

The question for Apple R&D is only this one, should they go ahead and use Apple A5 ARM Cortex-A9 (clocked higher than in iPad2′s 861Mhz) with some faster memory bandwidth design, put in there some more RAM and optimize their OSX/iOS mashup software for a release before this years Christmas already? Or should Apple wait for Apple A6 ARM Cortex-A15 and to try and have that ready for mass selling before Christmas 2012 at the latest? How do you think Apple will make that OSX/iOS ARM based OS mashup work for their next Macbook? (post in the comments)

You have to consider, I am not suggesting that Apple will succeed in continuing to keep making so huge profits on ARM Powered devices. I for example believe that the $87 Android Smartphones and the diversity in high-end Android smartphones is a significant threat to Apple’s iPhone profit margins and marketshare*. Though I am definitely sure that Apple will continue to make 100x more profits on their ARM Powered devices compared to their Intel based devices, and that thus Apple is obviously aiming to shift their Notebook line to ARM as soon as possible.

* especially if they continue making design mistakes like the Anntenna not working in left hand and the iOS devices recording your every move for years in an unencrypted cache file any friend/enemy/backdoor-hacker can snoop on over 100 million iOS device users until they manually decide to upgrade with their new 666MB iOS upgrade file.

3 things Google TV needs from Google I/O in 4 days

Posted by – May 6, 2011

1. Support ARM Processors, to be in sub-$100 box. Even run a full Google TV UI “mode” from the HDMI output of every new Android smartphone (expect Google TV to become a part of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich?)

2. Support apps like BitTorrent/RSS, Seedbox management with SFTP, Rapidshare/Megaupload streaming, make it the easiest way to pirate all movies and TV shows with a remote control on the TV.

3. Unlock Desktop User Agent in the Flash plugin. The only reason TV websites can block Google TV is because of the Flash plugin not hiding itself as a Flash-for-Desktop user agent. It’s only a question of Adobe and Google making the decision (if the rights holders keep blocking them), they can make Google TV unblockable. Even make it easy to sign up for fast and reliable proxy services all over the world if certain online web TV are being region blocked (make it easy for the world to stream US based Hulu/Netflix/Viacom/etc, UK based BBC, French based France Television, etc..).

I expect that Google is going to announce all 3 at Google I/O. What do you expect Google TV 2.0 is going to be like?

I think the Google TV software needs to be in every cheap media player, in every set-top-box, and basically, it needs to make it easy for every TV user to easily get access to all web video in as few clicks and as little typing as possible. It may bring a keyboard into every living room, but that usage needs to be as seamless and easy as possible, start typing the name of the show and hit enter to tune in to that show, show options, live, on-demand, legal free/paid/ads if available, “illegal” BitTorrent RSS-subscribe Seedbox/SFTP-service-for-anonymous one click reliable add to queue. Another cool app would be Sopcast, and also the first use of Sopcast through seedboxes for “illegal” 10mbit/s or more live streaming of every TV channel in the world, basically make it as seamless as possible for people to cut the cable/satellite cord and replace it with full freedom of on-demand media choices if they so want to, all designed for leanback mode.

$25 ARM Powered Desktop presented by Raspberry Pi Foundation

Posted by – May 6, 2011

The Raspberry Pi Foundation (a UK non-profit) plans to develop, manufacture and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. They expect this computer to have many other applications both in the developed and the developing world. Their first product is about the size of a USB key, and is designed to plug into a TV or be combined with a touch screen for a low cost tablet. The expected price is $25 for a fully-configured system.

Here are the specs:

  • 700MHz ARM11
  • 128MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

And who exactly is it targeted at, well, students. It runs Ubuntu and will come preloaded with educational applications. Suggestions for it’s use and recommendations of software are welcome through email. Oh, and it’s purported to cost only $25… Head on over to their site Raspberry Pi.

Video posted by Rory Cellan-Jones on http://bbc.co.uk

This post was submitted by Jon Hubert Bristol on the Submit News page here at http://armdevices.net/submit-news/. If you have any other awesome ARM related news, you are welcome to post it here!

China does Electric Cars using Better Place battery swapping

Posted by – May 3, 2011

All new cars to be sold in China are to be electric, running on 100% clean renewable energy. All that is needed is political will. China seems to have that political will. They figured they’ve got enough pollution in their rapidly growing cities, they figured they’d like to be energy independent, they figured they need to make all their cars electric now.

Switchable electric batteries are the only solution for the full scale implementation of electric cars for the mass market today. Project http://betterplace.com is implementing a worldwide standard for battery swapping, charging connectors and re-charge infrastructure.

Better Place, China Southern Grid Sign Strategic Agreement Centered on Battery Switch Model

April 27, 2011

Guangzhou Municipal Government Signs Agreement to Aid New Partnership

TEL AVIV (April 27, 2011) – At a signing ceremony today in Israel with officials from Guangzhou, Better Place announced a strategic agreement with China Southern Power Grid Co. (CSG), the world’s eighth largest utility according to the Fortune Global 500. The agreement, which focuses on joint electric car and infrastructure projects in CSG’s service areas, will further advance electric cars with switchable batteries in China. The agreement calls for the companies to open a battery switch station and joint education center in Guangzhou before the end of the year, while working to formalize a joint-venture partnership.

Source: http://betterplace.com

This is relevant on ARMdevices.net because electric cars can have more ARM Processors in them than any other types of cars. An average electric car may have 47 ARM processors in it. Also, those need better wirelessly internet connected interactive in-car navigation systems (probably Android based) than any other car. As those need to make it easy for the driver to find re-charge stations, to find and order a battery swap, to monitor and manage battery capacity and more.

Trim-Slice, compact Tegra2 Desktop, now released for $199

Posted by – May 1, 2011

Here’s a powerful super compact Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core 1Ghz based Desktop box, for now seems to run something like Ubuntu 11.4 (ARM netbook edition?), but the software support is a process that is a work-in-progress. Their pricing starts at $199 for the basic model, I will try to get a review unit, what do you think about this type of compact ARM Powered desktop?

Haifa, Israel – 30-Apr-2011 – CompuLab is announcing immediate availability of the NVIDIA Tegra 2 based Trim-Slice miniature computer.

Trim-Slice is offered in 3 configurations -

Trim-Slice Barebone – with 1 GHz Tegra 2, 1 GB RAM, HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 USB ports, 2 SD slots and RS232 serial port. Trim-Slice Barebone MSRP is $199.

Trim-Slice Value – adds a 4 GB micro-SD card with Linux pre-installed and a USB 802.11n WiFi adapter. Trim-Slice Value MSRP is $219.

Trim-Slice Pro – with 1 GHz Tegra 2, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD with Linux pre-installed, HDMI and DVI ports, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in 802.11n WiFi, 4 USB ports, 2 SD slots, RS232 serial port and a USB Bluetooth adapter. Trim-Slice Pro MSRP is $319.

OEMs and system-integrators can order Trim-Slice in volume with customization of feature set, branding and case finish.

Trim-Slice currently runs Linux and is supported in the mainline kernel revision 2.6.39. Support for other operating-systems is work-in-progress. “We design Trim-Slice with SW developers in mind” said Irad Stavi, Director of Business Development at CompuLab. “Developers that are looking for an open cost-effective high-performance ARM platform are likely to find Trim-Slice an attractive and unique solution that is very convenient for SW development.”

Source: http://trimslice.com/web/pr-11043

What to expect from Google I/O May 10-11th

Posted by – April 29, 2011

Let’s have high expectations for this upcoming Google I/O developer conference to happen on May 10-11th in San Francisco, to be live streamed on the web. The Google engineers have been working very hard for months, even years, on a culmination of new software solutions that will likely dominate most of the devices to be found in the next years of Consumer Electronics tradeshows. Get ready for the biggest most action packed Google I/O event in the history of Google, read my following list of expectations.

1. Honeycomb to get open sourced. While the first Tegra2 based commercial Honeycomb tablets have been released and are being released, I expect Google will announce the opening of Honeycomb and Google’s support to optimize it for all the ARM SoC platforms, all including TI, Qualcomm, Rockchip, Freescale, Marvell, Telechips, NEC/Renesas, AmLogic, all should be getting it! All must get it! If it’s a long shot to expect Google to announce their support for all ARM Processors, them open sourcing it sure will make it happen anyways. I expect that several of these major ARM SoC vendors already have been working on Honeycomb for a while, and they all may start their announcements around Google I/O timing.

This is a big deal because it is the first truely tablet optimized OS ever made. See my video interview with Matias Duarte a product manager on Honeycomb UI design at Google.

2. Ice Cream Sandwich to be shown for the first time. One of the reasons Google said they delayed Honeycomb open sourcing was to provide an integration of the new Honeycomb features that can scale down to Smartphone sized screens, and that also means to certain previous Froyo tablets which may not either be totally compatible with at least the initial Honeycomb source code. Basically, it may be Gingerbread with Honeycomb’s improved multi-tasking, improved widgets, improved web browser and more on top.

While Google will integrate the full optimizations for flashy impressive Dual-Core next generation super smartphones, I also expect Google to bring a light version of Ice Cream Sandwich suitable for Sub-$50 Android smartphones to reach 2 Billion more people around the world. See my initial video review of the $87 FG8 Android Smartphone that I found a couple of weeks ago in Shenzhen China.


3. Chrome OS to be released and open sourced. I expect a dozen Chrome OS notebooks to be released during the show, half of which to be ARM Powered, possibly using Tegra2, TI OMAP4 and possibly also the Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual-core, if not even more SoC to be demonstrated with Chrome OS installed. Google and ARM having optimized the V8 javascript engine on ARM, they should be achieving awesome speeds for multi-tab heavy javascripts and flash web browsing. Although that may require new optimized memory bandwidth on those processors for them to perform fast enough for all consumers not to notice any slow downs. The big deal is also for Google to demonstrate full offline functionality, even video editing, photo editing working perfectly offline and online in Chrome OS. They need to show very impressive 3D games support in Chrome OS. Other native code functionality in Chrome OS. They will announce the pricing schemes for consumers being able to buy those Chrome OS notebooks starting in June, price could be as low as $99 for a unsubsidized ARM Powered Chrome OS notebook, but they will unveil subscription plans at $10 or $20 per month to include HSDPA/LTE wireless bandwidth, the bandwidth that can easily be topped up for people who need more wireless data.

This is a big deal because it finally makes ARM Powered laptops a mass market possibility. Sure enough, Ubuntu 11.4 Netbook Edition is fantastic also on ARM, but Chrome OS will make Linux and ARM Powered laptops for the first time a reliable choice for the consumer buying laptops on the mass market.

4. Google TV 2.0 for ARM to be open sourced. This improved UI, with full Google Marketplace support. I expect it to work on all the ARM Processors, including even the cheapest platforms such as Rockchip, Telechips, AmLogic and more. I expect Google to fork two versions of Google TV, one Full and one Basic, the Full version doing all the advanced HDMI pass-through, overlay stuff and IR blaster, the basic version doing just HDMI out and WebTV only. If TV networks in the USA still want to block Google TV regarding it as their worst enemy and trojan horse, Google and Adobe will probably unlock full undetectable Desktop User Agent Flash support, making it impossible to block full screen Flash playback. Adobe and Google still may want to fight it over with the TV networks to get some kind of distribution deal still, but if their lawyers don’t come to an agreement, Google simply will be forced to unlock full access that cannot be detected in a full Desktop class web browser on the TV. Expect though Google to announce Movie distribution deals with all the major Movie production companies, at least for the USA. I expect Google TV 2.0 to be released worldwide. Pricing to start at $59 for an unsubsidized ARM Powered Google TV basic box.

This is a big deal because it makes the ARM Powered Set-top-boxes a useful mass market opportunity. Easy video-on-demand on the TV can change how people watch TV.

5. Google’s Social Network premieres. I am expecting them to come with the first really useful social network. Not some wall for stalking old high school connections, and not some for following famous people’s SMS messages, and not just the types of experimentations that were Wave/Buzz, but something now really useful to the point people will be using it to find new colleagues, find new friends, do new activities locally and far away, create new content in new collaborations, be productive socially but also enable a new type of fun through social, once they succeed this is going to be a big deal and will make people wonder why tech bloggers have regarded so highly of Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin/Friendfeed.

What do you think Google will announce by the Google I/O conference on May 10-11th? Post your ideas in the comments.

LG to make ARM processors

Posted by – April 27, 2011

LG has announced that they are licencing the ARM Cortex-A9, ARM Cortex-A15 and ARM Mali-T604 architectures. LG wants to lower cost, differentiate and lower their time to market bringing new ARM Powered Smartphones, Tablets and Set-top-boxes to the market. 3 months ago at CES, I filmed the following interview with LG SmartTV product manager where he explains some of how LG is planning to use ARM in their lower cost and higher performance LG SmartTV Set-top-boxes to come: