Archos Gen8 Tablets can multi-boot Froyo, Debian, Angstrom, Gingerbread, Ubuntu, Chromium OS and more!

Posted by – June 10, 2011

Archos hacker Bubu just released the multi-boot menu support for the Archos Gen8 Tablets, it reportedly works great on Archos 70 Internet Tablet and Archos 101 Internet Tablet, find the release here: http://www.openaos.org/archives/739

This is how this is cool, you can install the official alternative OS firmware from Archos called the Special Developer Edition firmware here: http://www.archos.com/support/support_tech/_ppp.html?country=us&lang=en&p=gen8

Then you can install alternative firmwares and have them right there available in your multi-boot menu on your Archos, so you could for example today choose between Archos official Android firmware, Debian Linux and Angstrom Linux.

If more software hackers contribute, Archos tablets may also run Ubuntu 11.4, Chromium OS, Gingerbread and any other embedded Linux OS through this multi-boot system.

Bubu and the team at OpenAOS.org previously released this solution for the Archos Gen6 and Gen7 tablets as well.

Huawei MediaPad, dual-core Honeycomb 7″ capacitive?

Posted by – June 10, 2011

Huawei is holding a live press event at the Red Dot Design Museum Singapore at 5pm on June 20th, where they will unveil all the technical details of their new Huawei Mediapad Android tablet!

Watch my video talking about this product when it was just a mockup at Mobile World Congress last February (as codename then was Huawei S7 Pro):

Here is my speculation about some of the specs that the Huawei Mediapad may be presented with:

– Since Huawei has a long partnership with Qualcomm, I think they might actually use the new pretty awesome Qualcomm MSM8660 (CDMA+HSUPA) or/and MSM8260 (HSUPA) Dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, which as shown recently at Computex on the Asus Memo, can already run Honeycomb even though it’s just 7″, a 1280×800 screen might be required for Honeycomb to display correctly yet, but surely Qualcomm and Google are working to support Honeycomb 3.1 and Ice Cream Sandwich on smaller and lower resolution screens to keep prices low.

– Dual-core should be expected, Honeycomb can be part of the party. If they don’t yet use Qualcomm’s dual-core maybe they just have a Tegra2 in there for now.

– Expect it even lighter and thinner than the Huawei S7 Slim.

– Hopefully they don’t impose their custom UI on top of Android again, and maybe they do target a sub-$400 price point even with 3G included.

My top-20 videos filmed at Computex 2011 in Taiwan

Posted by – June 8, 2011

I just returned from 10 days video-blogging over 44 videos from Taiwan. Here’s my list of my top-20 best Computex 2011 videos:

1. Pixel Qi launches 10.1″ super thin 1280×800 screen, their first showing of the 1280×800 resolution Pixel Qi screen to be mass manufactured in Q4, they also will mass produce 7″ in Q3, and listen to this video for more talk by Mary Lou Jepsen on the latest status and news on Pixel Qi in the industry.

2. Latest e-ink e-reader news from Freescale, check out the new Android friendly i.MX508 that may be used in the new Nook and Kobo to also use Android as software basis for e-ink e-reader innovation. This video is also featuring the new Acoustic Pulse Recognition (APR) touch screen technology integrated in a prototype e-reader by Tyco Electronics.

3. ShiZhu Technology shows Pixel Qi Tablets, ShiZhu Technology is a big Chinese manufacturer, they can now mass produce Android Tablets with Pixel Qi screens. This video features comparisons of its matte Pixel Qi screen compared with the glossy Archos 70 Internet Tablet screen and with HTC flyer with a matte anti-reflective layer.

4. MHL now in several phones at Computex 2011, the MHL protocol for sending HDMI over Micro-USB is now not only on the best ever smartphone the Samsung Galaxy S2, it’s also now in HTC Sensation, HTC Flyer, Evo 4G and Evo 3D phones and more to come.

5. The whole ARM Powered Tablet or Laptop with Pixel Qi screen can run on a relatively small and cheap $3 1W solar panel, Solar panels could be built-in to the bezel, on the back of tablets or laptops or on a flip-out screen protector to thus be able to power the whole tablet and laptop and charge its battery just from direct or indirect sunlight. This means children in Africa, India, other places with a lot of Sun but little power, could be getting Internet connected ARM Powered devices that can run just on sun power. Pixel Qi is able to demonstrate that this works, but they didn’t have the time to set it up at Computex and the day I was there to film it was half-cloudy in Taipei (it had been raining some of the days during Computex) so perhaps not optimal for filming the actual demonstration. Pixel Qi could be releasing an official video showing pretty soon on their blog proving that this works today.

6. Texas Instruments talks Memory Bandwidth and Desktop Computing performance on the OMAP4430, TI suggests that they may have the fastest memory bandwidth on their OMAP4430, OMAP4460 and on the newly announced OMAP4470 that goes to 1.8Ghz.

7. Cupp Computing turns every Laptop into an ARM Powered laptop with hard drive to SSD replacement module, this is really awesome, it means that all Intel/AMD x86 powered laptops can easily get added an ARM Processor to their motherboards, or added in replacement of the Hard Drive with an SSD, to provide every laptop with the option to run up to 40 hours on a battery on a button switch. Imagine if by a button switch you could automatically resume your x86 work in the ARM version of Windows, thus extending your battery runtime by 10x or more. This could be a great transitional solution from x86 to ARM for people not yet totally confortable with going away from x86.

8. HD Video Conferencing on Texas Instruments OMAP4430, 720p and 1080p SIP and Skype video conferencing is now possible on the modern ARM Powered smartphones and tablets, just amazing.

9. Hands-on with Nvidia Kal-El Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.2Ghz (or more) prototype tablet, Nvidia continues their run towards bringing Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 to the market, to be clocked at least with 1.2Ghz maybe more, it may reach the commercial top brand name Honeycomb tablets after August, normally well in time before Christmas. Nvidia has upgraded their graphics and video playback support significantly.

10. ZiiLabs ZMS-20 Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9, with ZiiLab’s Stemcell alternative to DSP/GPU for massive multi-threaded computing it seems to run Honeycomb smoothly on their Jaguar 10.1″ and 7″ reference design tablets.

11. Nufront Cortex-A9 (up to) 2Ghz runs Ubuntu 11.4 ARM Edition, they show that they have completed their tablet reference design, now just gearing up for commercial announcements for products using their new powerful chip.

12. Qualcomm says their Dual-core strength is in being asynchronous, Qualcomm’s implementation of the ARM Dual-core is about to reach many of the top most powerful ARM Powered devices. With the HTC Senstation coming out now, Asus Memo coming out later and many other smartphones and tablets in preparation.

13. ZTE Light tablet featuring their 7″ Pixel Qi screen (not yet matte, still glossy on that prototype).

14. Asus Memo, worlds first 7″ Honeycomb, Honeycomb looks great on 7″, even with it only being optimized for larger 1280×800 screens for now. Maybe it is too bad that Asus only wants to sell this with a 3D screen and this expensive looking Bluetooth headset/remote control MiMic thing. I also filmed another 7″ Honeycomb tablet, the Viewsonic 7x using Tegra2.

15. Samsung Origen, the new $199 Exynos 4210 development board, possibly the most powerful publicly released ARM Powered development board, to be sold for $199, featuring Samsung’s latest Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Mali-400 graphics, fast DDR3 RAM and other features of fast memory bandwidth.

16. ARM President Tudor Brown Computex 2011 keynote, 15 minutes of his Computex 2011 keynote talking about how ARM is dominating the world.

17. ARM keynote at Computex 2011, Ian Drew is the Executive VP of Marketing at ARM, here’s my recording of most of his keynote speech. Sorry for missing out the first 3 minutes in this video, and my audio volume is a bit low you have to turn up your playback volume to the maximum to hear things clearly enough.Q Which was fun to come right after the Intel keynote. A notable quote from this keynote is this part: “Multiple options is always better than one size fits all”.

18. Qualcomm Dragonboard, $300-$500 Dual-core MSM8660/APQ8060 development board to work on Qualcomm’s Dual-core platform.

19. VIA WonderMedia Prizm WM8710 ARM11 Gingerbread solution, now VIA also has a newer faster DSP-accelerated Gingerbread solution for low-cost Android tablets.

20. ARM Powered Android to lower cost and power consumption of Point-of-sale setups, POSLab shows in this video how they are implementing ARM Powered solutions runing POS software on top of Android to significantly lower the cost and power consumption of Point-of-sale systems to be used by all stores around the world.

Windows 8 on ARM shown at Computex, Microsoft becomes cool

Posted by – June 8, 2011

Short of calling it Azure OS (yet..), Microsoft is going all-in making HTML5 web-apps the core of the next generation Windows 8 apps ecosystem. It means Microsoft is betting their farm on the cloud. Microsoft is going all-in for “immersive internet computing” touch screen tablet UI support. Microsoft is making sure ARM Powered Windows 8 works exactly like on x86.

Watch this following awesome demonstration and talk of Windows 8 on ARM at Computex. I embed it starting at time-code 17m49s when Mike Anguilo starts talking about ARM Windows 8 status, but also do make sure to rewind to the start to watch the full Windows 8 UI demos. Mike Anguilo runs Windows planning and is also responsible for Microsoft’s technical engagement with the Windows 8 ecosystem.

The Microsoft people like Mike Anguilo seem to have a serious plan, they probably still have some of the worlds best engineers on staff and they can afford to basically do whatever they want. It will be awesome to see how Microsoft will try to sustain a same or greater level of revenues and profits in such a rapidly auto-disrupting industry. While it can be argued Microsoft is late to the whole Smartphone and Tablet game, on the other hand the number of Smartphones sold in the last 5 years is probably 15x smaller compared to the number of Smartphones likely to be sold within the next 5 years. And the number of Tablets sold in the last 3 years likely is probably 150x smaller compared to the number of Tablets likely to be sold in the next 3 years. It sure looks to me like Windows 8 is going in the right direction for Microsoft. Since Windows 7, Microsoft has given up its always escalating hardware requirements Wintel strategy to instead focus on cutting off more and more of the bloatware. With Windows 8 they now even move over to an even more cloud centric Browser based HTML5 application ecosystem, sounds to me like an answer to Chrome OS in the form of an Azure OS with backwards “.exe compatibility”. The question is, how can Microsoft differentiate its UI enough to justify the proprietary pricing differences? Or if they plan to be priced comparatively even with the cheapest Android and Chrome OS Open Source alternatives, how can they provide enough of a differentiating user experience to hold unto those billion Windows PC users that they got with the previous Wintel PC ecosystem?

While I don’t know if it would make complete business sense and a corporations main focus legally has to be to take care of its shareholders, here are a few more directions I think Windows 8 might need to get into if they seriously want to be the dominant ARM Powered ecosystem:

– Windows 8 needs to be open source and free. They can do it like Google, and develop their next gens in secret hardware/chipset partnerships, but to get onto the next couple billion ARM Powered Smartphones, Tablets, Set-top-boxes, Laptops, they need it to be open and free. Nothing closed and pricey can ultimately win over open and free in the ARM world.

– Microsoft needs to focus on providing software as a service. The new Windows 8 App Store needs to have all the HTML5 apps, all the Android apps (yup.. why not?), and also, all the .exe apps (all Windows 98/XP/Vista/7 apps should just work), if not through native code execution then through cloud based software virtualization.

– Microsoft needs to focus on eliminating all the bloat, minimize the hardware requirements, make all ARM chipsets compatible and invite all manufacturers to use it for free. A $100 ARM Powered Laptop sold a year from now in every super market needs to be able to run a full Windows 8 OS, boot in 3 seconds, resume in 0.03 seconds and last 30 hours on a battery.

Do I think Microsoft can become so disruptive to its old business models so fast? I don’t know how such a corporation may or may not quickly adjust or/and change its leadership. I don’t know if Steve Ballmer needs to be replaced by a new CEO like Mike Anguilo or someone as cool as Google’s Vic Gundotra (who previously worked at Microsoft) for these major business model shifts to actually occur as soon as with Windows 8/Azure OS. If done correctly, Microsoft could maybe even make more money per new Windows user than they did on selling basic proprietary software licences. How hard could it be for Microsoft to provide good enough cloud services and web app and web content integration over a potentialy popular Windows 8 devices for them to make up more than those $40-$80 or so per Windows user over 2-5 years of use in average pure profits per user? Or will Microsoft insist on staying proprietary, closed, try to enforce some kind of closed profit margin value chain where they’d try to reserve some kind of significant profit margins some what imitating Apple’s large profit margins business model on selling ARM Powered devices? What do you think? Post your opinions on Windows 8 in the comments.

Here are a few awesome ARM Powered Windows 8 quotes that you can find in the 32-minute Microsoft Windows 8 Computex demo video:

The most important app of all on these systems is the browser. Over 60% of people’s time on any of those systems is focused in the browser.

We’ve extended the trend that we started with Windows 7, on keeping our system requirements on either flat or reducing them over time.

The newest addition to the Windows ecosystem is of course ARM.

This has been made possible in part because of the innovation that has been going on in the ARM ecosystem today. ARM SoC’s in general, virtually all of the new ones support Windows 8 system requirements. They all run over 1Ghz. They all have hardware accelerated graphics.

They are all getting more powerful. They are all getting more efficient. The cost is coming down and they are enabling thinner and lighter form factors than ever. In fact, all of these ARM Powered PCs that I am showing you here are not only able to experience to full Windows 8 experience you just saw, they are also able to support a new mode called Always On Always Connected. So the way you would it expect it from a Smartphone today, these systems will be able to instantly wake, they’ll be able to go in standby for a really long time with low power drain, get great battery life but stil stay syncing and connected all at the same time.

Qualcomm Dragonboard, $300-$500 Dual-core MSM8660/APQ8060 development board

Posted by – June 8, 2011

Qualcomm is releasing this hardware and software development board solution for hardware makers wanting to customize their use of Qualcomm’s latest Dual-core ARM Processor. The Dragonboard includes a dual-core Snapdragon APQ8060 clocked at 1.5GHz (same as MSM8660 and MSM8260, just without the modem), runs on Android by default. The cost is $300 for a basic unit, and $500 if you want the screen and all the other components featured in this video.

Monkeys in the Kaohsiung Shoushan Monkey Mountain

Posted by – June 8, 2011

Taiwan Wilderness, check it out. Here I walk around for some hours in the Monkey Mountain (Shoushan) in Kaohsiung, a big city at the south of Taiwan. The monkeys are used to humans walking around in their jungle so they don’t mind saying hello, even protective mother monkeys with their baby monkeys as you can see in this video.

Shoushan is the one of the mountains where Kaohsiung residents can see natural biological specimens within an hour of drive. There is an extensive system of boardwalk hiking trails that circle the mountain. Hikers can enjoy tea at various tea stations sprinkled throughout the trails. Water is carried to the tea stations by hikers who bring it from a reverse osmosis station at the bottom. From the tea station at the top of the mountain, hikers can see views of the Taiwan Strait through the trees.

The mountain is a reserve for Formosan rock macaques.

Serafim shows 42″ Optical Touch Module (OTM) multi-touch screen

Posted by – June 8, 2011

At Computex 2011 you could find many very large multi-touch screens based on Optical Touch screen technology. Basically they add something to any 42″ or larger LCD HDTV to turn them into multi-touch capable very large touch screens.

Honeywld Marvell Armada 1000 88DE3010 “Berlin” based Android Set-top-box

Posted by – June 8, 2011

Here’s one of the first Marvell Berlin (Armada 1000) based Android Set-top-boxes I have yet seen, firmware is still to be finalized but they can start shipping this hardware this month.

ShiZhu Technology shows Pixel Qi Tablets at Computex 2011

Posted by – June 3, 2011

Check out how ShiZhu’s new Pixel Qi tablet series perform outdoors and indoors against other regular LCD based new Android tablets such as the HTC Flyer (with an anti-glare coating) and the Archos 70 Internet Tablet, you can see how the Pixel Qi screen is much more readable outdoors. This tablet is based on the Samsung Hummingbird Cortex-A8 processor. They are releasing also a 7″ and they can provide them in several different designs.

Pixel Qi tablets can run on solar power

Posted by – June 3, 2011

A quite small modern solar panel can produce 1W of power, enough to power both the Pixel Qi and the whole ARM Powered tablet motherboard behind it. Think for a second how amazing this is. They can put solar panels on the bezel and the Tablet could basically be fully solar powered, have a bigger solar panel on the back of the tablet if you want to just charge it and not use it. This compact 1W Solar panel is $3. OLPC could be using this for the upcoming OLPC XO-1.75 Laptop and the XO-3 tablet.