Samsung Wave 3, Bada 2.0, 4″ Super AMOLED Plus

Posted by – September 1, 2011

Here’s the newest Samsung Bada phone, running the Bada 2.0 software on a 4″ Super AMOLED Plus screen, this is probably aimed at lower cost, although Android does allow Samsung to lower the cost of smartphones as well, so I am not really sure what Samsung is trying to do with Bada. Maybe Samsung wants to option of being able to own a smartphone ecosystem to try to profit as much as possible on every level of the value chain of the phone all the while trying to sell it for cheap. I prefer the cheap Samsung Android phones though.

20 years ago today, Linux was released

Posted by – August 26, 2011

On August 26th 1991, Linus Torvalds released Linux in the comp.os.minix newsgroup:

Hello everybody out there using minix –
I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on
things people like/dislike in minix, as my OS resembles it somewhat
(same physical layout of the file-system (due to practical reasons)
among other things).
I’ve currently ported bash(1.08) and gcc(1.40), and things seem to work.
This implies that I’ll get something practical within a few months, and
I’d like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions
are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)
Linus (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)
PS. Yes – it’s free of any minix code, and it has a multi-threaded fs.
It is NOT protable (uses 386 task switching etc), and it probably never
will support anything other than AT-harddisks, as that’s all I have :-(.

The creation of Linux was possible thanks to the Socialist system in Finland that provides free unlimited University education to its students, where Linus Torvalds was able to mess around with his own personal ideas for 8 and a half years for free:

Some talk by Linus Torvalds about Linux 10 years ago on the Charlie Rose TV show:

While Linux totally dominates in your smart phone (Android), in your TV/set-top-box, in the worlds servers that host all websites, in powering Government and Industry infrastructure, I believe that with Chrome OS and OLPC we are also soon likely to see Linux dominate for the home and enterprise desktop/laptop OS ecosystem.

Samsung to unveil Nexus Prime next week at IFA Berlin? I will video-blog it

Posted by – August 22, 2011

I video-blogged every IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin every year since 2005 (the last 2 years are here and my archive for 2005-2008 is here), I will be there again this time, bringing you 75 videos of the coolest new products to be shown there. Subscribe to my RSS feed, add my RSS to your Google Reader and subscribe to my YouTube channel for the latest. Here’s a teaser video from Samsung of what may be that rumored 4.5″ 1280×720 Super AMOLED mega Plus screen, running Ice Cream Sandwich on an OMAP4460 1.5Ghz or a new 1.4Ghz Samsung Exynos processor? It might be..

If you have any tips on new cool products that I should video-blog at IFA, let me know here in the comments, or send me an email charbax@gmail.com with the info, thanks!

$80 Huawei IDEOS sells 350K units thus far in Kenya

Posted by – August 18, 2011

SingularityHub.com publishes this article about the explosion of access to cheap Android phones in the developing world. Already 350 thousand $80 Huawei IDEOS have been sold through Kenya’s carrier Safaricom. Kenya has a population of 41 million people, 40% are said to live with less than $2 per day.

The developing world, Africa, BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, access to cheaper Android in those countries, that is the most interesting story in technology today. Sure we will all also get better, faster, more powerful, more colorful and more featureful gadgets soon also. But the idea that 5 Billion people may soon experience the Internet for the first time through Android smart phones, and thinking of what that can potentially do to improve peoples lives, that is the biggest story.

We’re talking better farming, better healthcare, better commerce, better education, better democracy. The potential is immense. Hopefully technology companies are really attentive, hopefully software developers are imaginative, hopefully telecom carriers and Governments embrace this for all and very fast, Android may reach sub-$50 phones before the end of this year to even further accelerate the reach and accessibility.

Here’s my video of the Huawei IDEOS as it was unveiled for the first time at the IFA 2010 consumer electronics show in Berlin (the next IFA 2011 is coming up in less than 2 weeks, I will provide you with a full video coverage of all the latest ARM Powered devices shown there):

Follow this blog for the latest news on the cheapest Android phones, I am trying to find some new MTK6573, ST U6715, MSM7227 and the upcoming new cheaper smart phone platforms out of China and elsewhere. Look forward to a lot of crazy cheap Android smart phone news in the months to come. By the way, I’ve used my $87 FG8 for the past 3 months as my main phone and it has worked great.

via: techmeme.com

Google buys Hardware company for $12.5 Billion

Posted by – August 16, 2011

Here are some numbers according to Josh Pritchard, posted on Quora about a week before this acquisition was announced:

–Motorola actually has ~$3.2B in cash (~$170M are “cash deposits”), with $200M more coming from Motorola Solutions, per the terms of the separation.
–They have $2.4B in deferred tax assets, that Google presumably plans to use (the media seems to be completely missing this one).

So, if you net the cash and tax assets, it’s more like ~$7B that Google is paying for the operating businesses and the patents.

Motorola Mobility has $6.2 Billion in assets (buildings and other stuff?) according to Wikipedia. Google gets 19 thousand new employees (up from 29 thousand current Google employees, a 65% jump in employee count).

Of course, what everyone is talking about are those 17 thousand patents and 7 thousand pending patents that Motorola Mobility has. Consider Motorola is a 80 year old company. Their patents most likely include many of the interesting Hardware Patents, I’m not a lawyer, but I am pretty sure strong Hardware Patents are worth much more than bogus software patents. This means Android, Chrome OS, Google TV can stay free and open source forever. Apple and Microsoft have to drop all their bogus lawsuits against Android companies immediately. Google now has the patent on the mobile phone, the Apple iPhone can be illegal tomorrow if Google wants it to be.

What do I think Google is going to do:

1. Ask the genius team behind the Motorola Atrix to join the Android team to make a platform that combines Ice Cream Sandwich, Google TV and Chrome OS into the ultimate ARM Powered device. Provide that solution as an all-in-one standard for the Android ecosystem and not just make it one product.

2. Interview any of the other 19 thousand employees at Motorola Mobility, ask who wants to work within Android, within Google or remain within Motorola Mobility and to do what. They can invent some genius interview process so somehow everyone gets what they want and what they deserve.

3. Maybe Samsung, HTC, Sony-Ericsson or simply the stock market are later offered to buy back the Motorola Mobility Hardware division without the patents but with free unlimited licence to use any of the patents on Android devices. In 6 months, if the stock market has somewhat recovered, Google may get all their money back for that.

4. Or Google can find use in owning Motorola, perhaps ask Motorola to design hardware such as Cheap $50 Android phones to bring Android to all people in the developing world, special focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China (potentially 1-2 Billion Android phones can be sold there in 1-2 years), Google can ask Motorola design $50 ARM Powered Google TV enabled Set-top-boxes that all consumers and all Pay-TV providers are going to use.

5. Maybe Android is mature enough (owning more than 80% of the smart phone market by the end of the year), Google may want to use Motorola to launch White Spaces networks worldwide for free wireless broadband for all. $99 Android phones unlocked that include unlimited free Google Voice, unlimited free wireless broadband in every city all over the world. White Spaces are unstoppable. Maybe this is the time. They can bundle a Motorola router with the phone, you plug it to your home ADSL/Cable/Fiber to expand that White Spaces network in your neighborhood.

Pricing speculations on cheaper Samsung Galaxy R, Tegra2 4.2″ Super Clear LCD Smartphone

Posted by – August 14, 2011

Arguably, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is the best phone in the world today. Samsung now also brings what looks to become a lower cost similar smartphone experience using the Tegra2 Dual-core 1Ghz processor instead of the 1.2Ghz Dual-core Exynos and using an LCD touch screen instead of the more expensive and harder to manufacture Super AMOLED Plus screen.

I played with the Samsung Galaxy S2 for a few days as I was able to borrow it during Computex, it’s a very impressive phone, the screen is amazing and the processor for now seems unbeaten in terms of performance (until 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 devices start coming out next month).

In Europe, I cannot find the Samsung Galaxy S2 sold below 458€ and in the US it seems to cost $629. Clearly, that’s very expensive. But I guess, many people still consider that the normal going rate for high-end smart phones?

What is really the true manufacturing cost for Samsung on the Samsung Galaxy S2? My guess is they spend less than $200 to manufacture each phone (which is probably a bit higher than Apple and other LCD based Android smart phone makers pay per phone). Which means they are making upwards 200% profit margin on each phone. Sure enough, Samsung spends extra on making the Super AMOLED Plus screen, which they also are in the process of using their new multi-billion dollar Super AMOLED Plus factory to try to ramp up mass manufacturing to keep up with demand. But I guess that’s just how things are for getting a Samsung for now. I’d find it cool if they decided to sell the Samsung Galaxy S2 for $250 unlocked or 250€, it may allow them to not loose money and gain huge market share as they increase their mass manufacturing even much further, but that may be too disruptive for the whole smart phone carrier business model yet.

Anyways, Samsung may save with Galaxy R compared to S2 (according to my pure guess) about $20 on the LCD, and perhaps about $10 on the processor and other electronics that come with the Tegra2 package. A $30 savings in Bill of Material, may translate to upwards $100 cheaper retail price. So I expect Samsung will sell the Samsung Galaxy R below 399€ and below $499 as unlocked. I do not consider the carrier subsidized pricings as I consider those more expensive, they can sometimes add up to $2500 over the 2-year contracts, which I do not consider a pricing advantage over buying the phones unlocked and then using cheaper data and voice SIM cards in there.

What do I recommend geeks who want the best regardless of the price? If you can’t wait, get a Samsung Galaxy S2, don’t look too much at the price tag, consider all competing big brand Android phones cost about the same. If you can wait, maybe in 1 or 2 months, the rumored Samsung Nexus Prime might be coming with Ice Cream Sandwich. I do not know if the rumors of a 720p Super AMOLED Plus 4.3″ screen are realistic, or if Samsung will use the 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 or perhaps overclock their own Dual-core Exynos platform to 1.5Ghz. I would not be surprised if the rumored Nexus Prime is more or less the same as a Samsung Galaxy S2, with very minor design changes and it just running vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich, just like the Nexus S is a copy of the Samsung Galaxy S1 and the Nexus One is a copy of the HTC Desire. The OMAP4460 Ice Cream Sandwiches might be used by LG, Motorola and other companies which may have more history in working with Texas Instruments, but who knows, maybe Texas Instruments is doing huge efforts to provide attractive package deals to all the device makers and that they all feel they cannot afford to miss the non-exclusive TI OMAP4460 based opportunity.

TheInquirer recently quoted analysts saying that Samsung has now overtaken Apple and has become the worlds biggest smart phone maker.

Samsung might have sold more smartphones than Apple and Nokia during April, May and June

With phones like the Samsung Nexus Prime, Galaxy R, cheaper Galaxy phones (2, 3) targetted at pre-paid and developing countries (including focus on BRIC, Brazil, Russia, India, China), the new Super AMOLED Plus factory being ready for increased mass production, Samsung’s rise in smart phone market share is likely to only increase. Consider that with just Samsung’s Android smart phones, there are more sales than the iPhone, consider how much more Android smart phones sell overall compared to iPhone when all the other many growing Android smart phone makers are put together. I think it is not ridiculous to expect a 1/4 ratio in daily sales to be demonstrated pretty soon, likely before Christmas, regardless of how many current iPhone owners decide to upgrade to the iPhone5.

Windows Phone General Manager leaves Microsoft

Posted by – August 9, 2011

Charlie Kindel, Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem General Manager, quit his job at Microsoft to start a new (Android?) startup in Seattle. Windows Phone is kind of a failure and is rapidly losing market share to the superior Android platform in the smart phone and tablet race. To remain a fair competitor in this market, will Microsoft stop suing Android companies for bogus patents and bogus licences, stop charging licences for Windows (give it away for free!) and even open up the source? How can anyone (fairly) compete with open source and free?

Here is my video interview with Charlie Kindel filmed at last year’s LeWeb conference in Paris:

Found via: techmeme.com

20 years ago today, the World Wide Web was released

Posted by – August 6, 2011

Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web as a spare time project, the Google equivalent of a 20% project! He released the world wide web publicly on 6th August 1991 on the alt.hypertext newsgroup, archived by Google here: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.hypertext/msg/395f282a67a1916c?pli=1

Today, most devices that connect to the Internet are ARM Powered.

Here’s Robert Scoble’s video filmed about 3 years ago at CERN in Switzerland with Ben Segal, one of Tim Berners-Lee’s mentors at CERN talking about the birth of the World Wide Web:

semiaccurate.com: New rumors on Marvell’s upcoming Tri-core ARM Processors

Posted by – July 28, 2011

Marvell has an Architectural ARM licence, like Qualcomm and Microsoft. What that means is that they can take the ARM Instruction Set Architecture but customize things around that and implement things as they want to differentiate.

SemiAccurate’s moles say that Marvell is cooking up an A9/A15 hybrid part, philosophically closer to the A9 on the core, but with a very A15-like memory controller. This likely means a 3-pipe design rather than a 4-pipe, but with >32-bit memory access and virtualization instructions. The new chip should implement the full A15 ISA, so there should be no software compatibility issues, but has less raw grunt than a full A15. At least on paper.

SemiAccurate speculates that this is either to lower the cost at near Cortex-A15 performance, or to configure things to try and provide the highest ARM chip performance on the market, targeting Laptops and Servers even more so than others do.

multiple sources in the know say that the key players in the ARM game are all quite nervous about Marvell’s offering, more so than even Krait. Specifics are few, but interest is very high among CPU watchers and system builders. If this chip pans out like many are saying, it could be one of the, if not the fastest ‘next gen’ ARM core. Marvell is not going to be the ‘quiet type’ for much longer, stay tuned.

Read the full article at semiaccurate.com

White Spaces new unlicenced 802.22TM-2011 standard can replace all carriers and provide free wireless broadband worldwide for all

Posted by – July 28, 2011

Bloggers are talking about using White Spaces for connecting rural areas to broadband, citing specs such as “transmissions speeds topping out at 22 Mbps per channel, with a range of up to 100 kilometers”. That is great and all, bravo. But what I have been suggesting for years, please write comments if you know more or better, is that White Spaces can also be used in all cities to rapidly replace the need for cell phone carriers completely! Consider this scenario:

1. Next month, someone, perhaps Google or Martin Varsavsky‘s fon release a cheap low voltage short antennae $20 White Spaces router, one that everyone is encouraged to connect as any other WiFi router at home.

2. Clever online White Spaces anti-interference and bandwidth-management maps are used to automatically set the voltage for each White Spaces WiFi on stereoids hotspot, to not create any interference in the city and also cover as much of the city area as possible.

3. All users connect using FON.com method, all White Spaces hotspots are broadcasting open hotspots but without providing actual internet access until each user gets reliably authenticated, for example using username/password method. In devices you can save your username/password so you always automatically connect.

4. Bandwidth is thus throttled cleverly as there is more or less demand in any given area. And owners of each hotspot can of course decide to prioritize the bandwidth for their own consumption and only give out whichever unused bandwidth on this shared White Spaces sharing network. Basically, as owner of a White Spaces hotspot, you can never even know that your home bandwidth is being used by people walking by in the streets outside your appartment, as long as you need bandwidth yourself in your home your own usage is always fully prioritized.

5. Because of net neutrality, internet service providers can not legally try to block or throttle this type of usage. One can do whatever one wants to do with ones home bandwidth. This is nothing else than wanting to roam the world for free by sharing ones own home bandwidth with the neighborhood.

6. The higher the demand for bandwidth, the smaller each White Spaces hotspot is dynamically made, by lowering the voltage of each hotspot to lower its coverage diameter.

7. With about 1000 such White Spaces hotspots, at a cost of about $20 each (if those cost not much more than WiFi routers to mass manufacture), it means that for about $20 thousand, users can totally cover any city with free wireless broadband for all. And as more and more bandwidth is required, simply more hotspots are added and purchased by the users themselves.

8. Micro-payments for better bandwidth prioritization can also be added somehow. If Fiber providers decide to try to improve bandwidth in this city-wide White Spaces network, those should be able to easily sell such premium bandwidth by the Gygabyte. So while some basic bandwidth for VOIP and other such basic use may mostly be free for all users, someone who may not be sharing bandwidth at home, may have to pay something like $0.10/GB for some prioritized bandwidth. The micro-payments can also work automatically with one payment standard for the world, one simple “Pay $__ for __GB bandwidth in region __ OK/No” standard for the world.

So what do you networking experts say, are we just about to enter a new world where cell phone carriers become unnecessary, but where everyone shares White Spaces from their home using types of Fem2Cell and simple White Spaces routers and even White Spaces mesh networking?

Larry Page, Google CEO, talking about White Spaces in September 2008: