Acer confirms at IFA: No ARM Laptops before Windows 8

Posted by – September 4, 2011

I got it confirmed by a high-ranked product strategy manager (on Ultrabooks) at Acer that Acer will likely not release an ARM Powered Laptop before Windows 8 is ready. That probably means, he says, not before the beginning of next year. He says though that he does not know about Acer making ARM Chromebooks or not. I have to emphasise that this guy is in charge of the strategies around Acer’s new Ultrabook, so he might not know everything that is being worked on in his 7757-employee, $20-Billion-revenues-per-year company.

Sorry about my article posted on July 23rd, quoting yet another turns-out-to-be-a-false-rumor Digitimes article where the Acer CEO was reportedly saying that Acer’s ARM laptop was imminent.

Another perhaps interesting aspect of Acer’s business to consider is that while Acer complains of lowering profit margins and lowering consumer spending on Intel Powered Laptops and Desktops (in exchange for more spending on ARM Powered Smartphones and Tablets), companies like Lenovo and Dell seem to be suggesting in other speeches that they are doing ok. I do not know if Lenovo’s numbers about them being the fastest growing PC maker has something to do with them having recently acquired NEC and Medion, it surely is interesting to follow the profit margin and growth-disruption that ARM devices are doing to the PC business.

The imminent $199 ARM Powered Chromebook is the single most disruptive threat to Intel, Microsoft, Apple and the PC/Mac profit margins business.

My take on Samsung at IFA, awesome but perhaps misplaced

Posted by – September 4, 2011

Probably the highlight of this IFA show for me has thus far been the unveiling of the awesome Samsung Galaxy Note (2), Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 for reasons of the pure awesomeness to see the new high resolution Super AMOLED screens in action (4.5″, 5.3″ and 7.7″) and to get a feeling of the upcoming probable Nexus Prime hardware experience.

There is some talk on blogs about Samsung removing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the showfloor today on http://www.techmeme.com/110903/p15#a110903p15 and this has now become the conspiracy theory here in Berlin around the IFA show.

I do not believe for one second that Apple has any authority over Samsung at IFA, regardless of the bogus lawsuits going on in bogus court rooms in Dusseldorf, Netherlands and Australia. Samsung is paying the IFA consumer electronics show millions of euros for their hall, over many years, Apple never spent one single cent at IFA or at any other trade shows worldwide for that matter. Apple thinks they are too cool to compete in trade shows, Apple does not want people to think of them as a mere competitor in a market.

Here’s what I think Samsung might be thinking right now, and what I have been saying from the first second I saw their latest devices:

1. Samsung is now the worlds leading Smart Phone manufacturer, in front of Apple.

2. Just like Apple, Samsung makes much higher profit margins on the smartphones than on the tablets.

3. Even with the new Super AMOLED factory now in function in South Korea, Samsung can simply not output enough Super AMOLED screens of all the different sizes and types before this Christmas sales.

4. The 7.7″ Super AMOLED screen is awesome and all, but Samsung cannot justify the extra cost of manufacturing 7.7″ Super AMOLED vs continuing to use LCD on Tablet sizes.

5. Samsung needs to make about 50 million Smartphone sized Super AMOLED Plus screens during these next few months, there is no space in their factory to also make 7.7″ such screens, and it basically costs 3x to 4x more to make a 7.7″ Super AMOLED screen compared to a 4.5″ size, cause you can fit upwards 3x to 4x more smartphone sized screens on their manufacturing process.

6. Super AMOLED screens are beautiful to look at, bravo. But the LCD manufacturing process is operating at about 40x larger scale worldwide. Also, advances in LCD screens cannot really justify the cost difference in manufacturing those expensive Super AMOLED screens.

7. The reason Samsung can make Super AMOLED screens today even though I would guess the Super AMOLED Plus screen costs 2x more than the highest-end LCD, is that Samsung is still making $250 profit or more per smartphone when they sell them upwards $500 through carriers and unlocked.

8. My main complaint on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 form factor is that it is too wide to fit normal jacket pockets, I cannot fit it inside of my jacket pocket. That means that it makes it much less likely people will carry it around everywhere, but that it would have to mostly stay at home. While being shown at IFA, the device did have a sticker saying something like “this may not be the final design”, maybe Samsung has figured out from mine and others comments at the show, that if they really want to release a 7.7″ tablet, they may have to consider trying to cut more of the bezel off of the device.

Here are some pictures comparing the my Archos 70 Internet Tablet that I have used every day for the past 11 months because I can carry it everywhere in my jacket pocket vs the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7″ shown at IFA that simply does not fit in jacket pockets so has to stay at home:

While the Samsung Galaxy Note also is fantasticly awesome, my suggestion to technology fans is not to expect that Samsung can manufacture enough of those 5.3″ HD Super AMOLED screens before the end of this year. Also, Samsung may be realizing that it may be very hard to sell the feature of using a stylus on top of a capacitive screen, it may be too hard for them to lower the lag time and increase the accuracy enough to make it usable. In which situations does mass market consumers really want to use a stylus often? I can think of situations such as collaborating in real-time on annotating text, but I don’t think a light emitting Super AMOLED screen is the right type of screen for that usage.

So where does Samsung go from here? My guess is that they will focus as much of the Super AMOLED factory as they can on making 4.3″ and 4.5″ screens for the upcoming Nexus Prime = Samsung Galaxy S2 = Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE = Verizon Droid Prime, etc. This is where they are getting the most profit. And while the Samsung Galaxy Note might come out, and can definitely sell plenty more than Dell Stream 5 did a year ago, I think Samsung is probably going to use LCD for the Tablets that they’ll release before the end of this year. My guess is Samsung may release updates for their 7″ and 10.1″ tablets before the end of this year, and those will likely use LCD and not Super AMOLED.

In the medium term, I guess that AMOLED may be phased out again, but it already cannot be considered a failure in any way, it has provided Samsung with a unique differentiator in their market share gaining activities in the most important smartphone market. By the time AMOLED factories may be closed in 2-3 years, the quality of LCD at that time will have increased so much, with technologies such as Pixel Qi, IPS and FFS, that it will not make sense to make any AMOLED anymore. Most importantly, the profit margins on smartphones will quickly be reduced as the smartphone becomes a commodity, the profit margins will not anymore allow for the price difference that there is between LCD and AMOLED.

RFTech $89 Telechips capacitive Android Tablet

Posted by – September 3, 2011

RFTech presents $89 Telechips ARM11 tablet and the $111 Telechips ARM Cortex-A8 tablet. You can find more information at http://rftech.com.cn

Yifang Smart Pen for iPad

Posted by – September 3, 2011

You clip a thing on the iPad connector and with that special Pen from Yifang, you can scrible and write text memos in the special iPad app that they provide.

PocketBook A10 Android Tablet

Posted by – September 3, 2011

PocketBook launches their new PocketBook A10 Android Tablet. It has a 10.1″ capacitive touch screen and uses the Texas Instruments OMAP3621 1Ghz ARM Cortex-A8 processor with 512MB RAM.

PocketBook at IFA 2011 Press Conference

Posted by – September 3, 2011

This is the full PocketBook press conference (partly in English and partly in German) at IFA 2011, where they launch the new PocketBook A10 Android Tablet.

Sony PRS-T1 Reader Wi-Fi, 6″ e-reader with infrared multi-touch

Posted by – September 2, 2011

Sony is launching their new generation of Eink e-readers with this Sony Reader Wi-Fi, it supports dual touch using infrared technology. The Wi-Fi can be used for stuff like web browsing, Google searching, Wikipedia searching for words highlighted in any book and for downloading e-books from the web or even viewing e-books within the web browser.

Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P at IFA 2011

Posted by – September 2, 2011

Sony is bringing some interesting design concepts to the Tablet market, with the Sony Tablet S that has a bump on the back to be more holdable with one hand, the Sony Tablet P that has a dual 5.5″ screen, prices start at 479€ and go up to 599€ for these tablets that use Tegra2 at 1Ghz, they have no HDMI output or USB host.

Latest news from E Ink at IFA 2011

Posted by – September 2, 2011

Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of marketing at E Ink, gives us the latest news from E Ink, they announced that they will ship between 25 million and 30 million E Ink screens this year, just for the E Ink e-readers like the Kindle 4 and Nook Touch. Yup you read right, 30 million of those devices to be sold this year.

Samsung Galaxy Note, testing out the HD Super AMOLED screen

Posted by – September 2, 2011

This screen really is amazingly awesome. 5.3″ HD Super AMOLED, 1280×800, amazing and awesome colors, in a huge form factor that still can fit in any pocket.

Here are some comparative pictures showing it next to the Archos 70 Internet Tablet, the Archos 43 Internet Tablet and the Samsung Galaxy S2. You can click on the images to see the full size.