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Huawei Ascend G330 for $199/199€

Posted by Charbax – August 30, 2012

4" WVGA screen, 1Ghz dual-core Qualcomm processor, 512MB RAM, ships with ICS, JB upgrade likely.

Huawei Ascend Y201 pro, $129/129€

Posted by Charbax – August 30, 2012

3.5" IPS, 800Mhz Qualcomm processor, 512MB RAM, ICS now with JB later.

Toshiba 4K Video-gaming!

Posted by Charbax – August 30, 2012

To experience the most insane video-gamging ever, get a 4K Quad-FHD screen from Toshiba and connect a powerful PC with a 4K-capable latest/fastest GPU such as ATI 7970 and Nvidia 680, you can then play many of the latest big high-end games that thus render the full 3840x2160 of the game at 30fps, it looks awesome.

Toshiba AT300 10.1″ Tegra3 Tablet for $399/399€

Posted by Charbax – August 30, 2012

Thin 1280x800 tablet with Tegra3.

Toshiba AT270, 7.7″ Super AMOLED Plus Tegra3 Tablet for $449/449€

Posted by Charbax – August 30, 2012

So it's kind of expensive at 449€ for a 7" tablet, but it comes with a nice 7.7" 1280x800 Super AMOLED Plus screen.

Archos 101 XS review, Ultrabook-killing machine

Posted by Charbax – August 25, 2012

In this video, I show web browsing speed on this OMAP4470 ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet convertible. This ARM Powered Laptop loads web pages faster than the Ultrabook, both over the same WiFi home network! I load web pages like Engadget.com, Gizmodo.com and TheVerge.com faster on the $400 Archos 101 XS than on the $1000 Toshiba z830 Ultrabook! And the firmware isn't even Jelly Bean yet! It'll get the Jelly Bean firmware by the time Archos starts selling this device next month in Europe or the month after that in the USA! Everyone knows Jelly Bean and Linaro speeds up Android even more!

This Archos 101 XS likely provides one of the industry's fastest performance for productivity on Android, it's the first OMAP4470 device announced and demonstrated that I know of. Productivity is in Chrome on Android and a few other productivity apps that can be the Office suite (included for free for word/excell/powerpoint stuff) and that can also be Remote Desktop for enterprise professionals who want productivity that way using Teradici and Citrix on Android stuff. I would like Archos to integrate Ubuntu on Android also, I hope they call Canonical to get that included with the Jelly Bean firmware. Thus you'd click on the Ubuntu icon to switch to Ubuntu in a second, do whatever you want in Ubuntu including run any Ubuntu application, and then have the same icon on Ubuntu to switch back to full Android in a second too.

While we're waiting and looking forward to even faster ARM Cortex-A15 with Mali-T604, that likely doesn't reach consumer devices until next year though. Right now, the latest and best class of ARM Cortex-A9 processors, with OMAP4470, with 32nm Exynos 4412, with 28nm Qualcomm S4 Pro Quad-core, with HiSilicon K3V2, i.MX6 Quad, we're getting some excellent memory bandwidth performance on ARM allowing for fast enough full 720p/800p even 1080p web browsing speeds on Tablet, Laptop screens and on any external monitors as a Desktop/Set-top-box with full fast enough performance for productivity!

The time we've been waiting for is here! The ARM Powered Laptop is faster than an Intel Atom Netbook! It's even faster than an Intel Core i5 Ultrabook!!!

While at $299 and an unlimited amount of cash (think: French/EU Francois Hollande national IT investment project) for mass production, I think Archos can single handedly be able to sell more Android Laptops like this one than all the Intel/Microsoft Ultrabooks/Netbooks and new Windows 8 convertibles put together. At $399 introductory Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, Archos can still get in there and sell as many as Archos can afford to manufacture, selling easily at 50% cheaper than the iPad3 with keyboard ($598), at 63% cheaper than the Asus Transformer Prime/Infinity with keyboard ($648), this is the thinnest, lightest 10.1" ARM Powered Laptop/Tablet convertible yet. And it has features other tablet makers don't have such as full hardware accelerated video and audio codecs support, MicroSD/HDMI and USB Host, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, 1080p@60fps/3D@1080p@30fps and multimedia streaming features such as Samba/Upnp and DLNA.

I think it's great value and I'm looking forward to try to use this as my main 10.1" tablet/laptop instead of my ultrabook for the next few weeks and months. Let me know in the comments what specific features you'd like me to test on this device in my next video of it.

Archos 101 XS launched, check back for my video-review tomorrow

Posted by Charbax – August 22, 2012

Sure $299 with keyboard would have been nicest, but even at $399 it's a no-brainer:

Archos 101 XS with keyboard: $399
Asus Transformer Pad TF300 with keyboard: $528 (+33%)
Acer Iconia Tab A700 with keyboard: $598 (+50%)
Asus Transformer Prime with keyboard: $648 (+63%)
iPad3 with keyboard: $598 (+50%)
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 with keyboard: $598 (+50%)
Microsoft Surface with keyboard: $599 (likely) (+50%)

Archos 101 XS is the thinnest, the lightest, has better performance than Tegra3, offers fastest GPU and memory bandwidth on the market (the 32nm Exynos4412 probably beats or equals though), offers features none of those more expensive devices have.

Check back for my initial extensive video-review of Archos 101 XS Gen10 tomorrow!! I expect to use this as my favorite 10" device to replace all other 10" tablets, Netbooks and Ultrabooks in the months to come.

ARM Mali-T604 in Exynos5 ARM Cortex-A15 reference tablet shown at SIGGRAPH

Posted by Charbax – August 9, 2012

Here's Engadget's video:

It's the dual-core Samsung Exynos 5 that can be clocked up to 1.7Ghz with the quad-core Mali-T604 GPU. Zach Honig of Engadget writes:

ARM says its working with eight manufacturers to get the licensed tech to market as early as Q3

I think the word "market" is meant as the B2B market not yet the B2C one. I don't think they mean consumers can buy ARM Cortex-A15 with Mali-T604 in devices already in Q3, I think they probably mean that manufacturers can buy early samples of Exynos5 with Mali-T604 in Q3 and more likely start selling mass produced devices to consumers not before next year. But who knows? Could Mali-T604 be ready to ship in ARM devices before the end of the year already?

ARM launches Mali-T624, Mali-T628 and Mali-T678 GPU

Posted by Charbax – August 7, 2012

Here's the press release:

ARM Launches Second Generation of MALI-T600 Graphics Processors Driving Improved User Experience for Tablets, Smartphones and Smart-TVs
06 August 2012

New technology extends ARM leadership in GPU compute and graphics processing
LOS ANGELES, USA, SIGGRAPH 2012 – 6 AUGUST 2012 - ARM today announced the second generation of the ARM® Mali™-T600 Series graphics processing units (GPUs), providing a dramatically improved user experience for tablets, smartphones and smart-TVs. Each of the products features a 50% performance increase* and are the first to include Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC), a texture compression technique that originated from ARM. ASTC significantly optimizes GPU performance and increases battery life in devices, enabling an always-on, always-connected experience, adopted by the Khronos™ Group, an important industry consortium that focuses on open standards.

Based on the Mali Midgard architecture, the second generation of the Mali-T600 Series comprises three GPUs - the Mali-T624, Mali-T628 and Mali-T678. Each product has been tuned to provide optimal performance and energy-efficiency for different end devices. The Mali-T624 and Mali-T628 products provide market leading graphics and GPU compute to smartphones and smart-TVs, while the Mali-T678 has been optimized to address the demands of the rapidly growing tablet market.

ARM continues to invest in GPU compute capabilities by integrating the leadership that ARM has in the CPU space, with ARM Cortex™ processors, and applying it to the Mali GPU architecture. GPU compute enables greater control when balancing tasks between the CPU and GPU, allowing performance of the right task by the most efficient architecture. This enables improved energy-efficiency for current and new math intensive activities, such as:

Computational photography: computational methods of enhancing or extending digital photography
Multi perspective views – the ability to have multiple views from different positions
Real-time photo editing on mobile devices – photo editing at your fingertips on your smartphone, tablet, etc.
GPU compute also extends the range of use cases possible on mass-market mobile devices, allowing features like photo editing and video stabilization to be available in a wider range of consumer products.

“People expect higher standards of visual computing on their smartphones, tablets and smart-TVs with seamless access to their digital world and personal content,” said Pete Hutton, General Manager, Media Processing Division, ARM. “GPU compute enables this as it increases the range of functions mobile devices can perform within the available battery life. ARM continues to focus on system-wide optimization by integrating market leading CPU and GPU technologies to drive both high performance and energy-efficiency.”

“The newly announced Mali-T600 series is essential for graphic performance improvement, and also for the future strategy of GPU Computing,”said Mr. Mitsugu Naito, Executive Vice President, IP and Technology Development Unit, Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited. “Through our Subscription License with ARM for ARM IP products, we are able to share our product roadmap and deliver ARM based platform SoC promptly to our customers. The new Mali-T600 series will be added to our SoC development platform portfolio and we plan to adopt the Mali-T600 series into our products as a key IP solution to enable improved GPU computing.”

“Increasingly, consumers are demanding similar performance across their connected devices to access their personal information and content. This improved user experience is demanded across a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets and smart-TVs,” said Andrew Chang, Vice President, MediaTek. “MediaTek are working closely with ARM to ensure that we provide high-performance, energy-efficient solutions that address these demands. The second generation the ARM Mali-T600 GPU will allow us to address these markets through technology leadership in graphics and GPU compute.”

“Innovation happening in smart connected devices is not only in the computing area but also in the graphic area where smartphone and tablet manufacturers are seeking differentiation for their products. This relies on leading edge and innovative technologies from SOC vendors like Nufront,” said Rock Yang, VP Marketing, Nufront. ”Nufront is focusing on mobile computing and communication SoC design, leveraging advanced technologies from ARM. Using advanced technologies, such as Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression featured in the second generation of Mali-T600 GPUs, we can address the demands of the market and provide significant benefits to device manufacturers.”

“The performance and battery life requirements for smartphones, tablets, smart-TVs and other smart, connected devices are such that whilst a single energy-efficient architecture is suitable, GPU variants to address these markets are highly desirable,” said Mr. Chen Feng, Chief Marketing Officer, Rockchip. “We are pleased to extend our relationship with ARM and look forward to the advanced Rockchip solutions that will be enabled by the range of second generation Mali-T600 GPUs from ARM.”

"An advanced visual computing experience is an expectation that most consumers have when they purchase a new smartphone, tablet or smart-TV,” said Taehoon Kim, Vice President of System LSI marketing team, Samsung Electronics' Device Solutions. “It is therefore important that Samsung works with partners, such as ARM, to achieve technology leadership in areas that include advanced graphics and GPU compute. The next generation of the ARM Mali-T600 series GPU is an important introduction, and will help Samsung Exynos processor to address consumer demands.”

*Each of the second generation Mali-T600 Series GPUs features a 50% performance increase compared to first generation Mali-T600 products (based on industry standard benchmarks), on the same silicon process. This 50% increase has been facilitated by a combination of frequency improvements, such as optimizing the register transfer level (RTL) for increased performance, and micro-architectural improvements so that graphics are executed more efficiently. The design of each new product addresses different performance points:

ARM Mali-T624/Mali-T628
The Mali-T624 GPU offers scalability from one to four cores, whilst the Mali-T628 from one to eight cores provides up to twice the graphics and GPU compute performance of the Mali-T624, extending the graphics potential for smartphones and smart-TVs. These products provide breathtaking graphical displays for advanced consumer applications, such as 3D graphics, visual computing and real time photo editing for smartphones and smart-TVs.

ARM Mali-T678
The ARM Mali-T678 GPU offers the highest GPU compute performance available in the Mali-T600 Series of products, delivering a four-fold increase when compared with the Mali-T624 GPU through features such as increased ALU support. This brings a wide range of performance points to address the vibrant tablet market. The Mali-T678 offers energy-efficient high-end visual computing applications, such as computational photography, multi perspective views and augmented reality.

What is ASTC?
ASTC supports a very wide range of pixel formats and bit rates, and enables significantly higher quality than most other formats currently in use. This allows the designer to use texture compression throughout the application, and to choose the optimal format and bit rate for each use case. This highly efficient texture compression standard reduces the already market-leading Mali GPU memory bandwidth and memory footprint even further, while extending mobile battery life.

All products are designed to support the following APIs; OpenGL® ES 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenGL ES 3.0, DirectX 11 FL 9_3, DirectX® 11, OpenCL™ 1.1 Full Profile and Google Renderscript compute.

For more information about the second generation of ARM Mali-T600 Series GPUs, please click here.

E Ink buys SiPix Technology

Posted by Charbax – August 3, 2012

Here's the press release:

Hsinchu, Taiwan — August 3, 2012 – E Ink® Holdings, "E Ink" (8069.TW), the global leader in electronic paper and LCD technologies, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy shares of SiPix Technology, Inc. (STI) and its wholly owned subsidiary SiPix Imaging, Inc. (SII), the maker of electronic paper displays. Established in 1999, SiPix, based in California and Taiwan, makes micro‐cup technology based electrophoretic displays.

The combined company will offer a vast portfolio of ePaper products that will allow it to expand its existing markets and diversify into newer applications. E Ink's ePaper offers the best digital reading experience. It is easier on the eyes, consumes a fraction of the power compared to traditional displays. It is readable in sunlight, lightweight, rugged and field proven with over 50 million ePaper displays being used worldwide.

"E Ink is committed to growing the ePaper market and the purchase of SiPix shares is part of our long term growth strategy," said Scott Liu, Chairman of E Ink Holdings. "Our goal is 'E Ink On Every Smart Surface' and we are continuing to make investments in technologies that will open new markets for our ePaper displays."

"In the recent past, we enabled an entire eReader market with our electronic paper," said Felix Ho, Vice Chairman of E Ink Holdings. "Today, E Ink's products are finding homes in a number of new applications which can be better served with the inclusion of SiPix's products, technologies and intellectual property to our portfolio."

This purchase shows E Ink's strong commitment to electronic paper displays. In the past 15 years, E Ink has made substantial investments in inventing, designing, manufacturing and marketing ePaper displays to create new markets.

E Ink and SiPix's customers will now have a wider portfolio of products and technologies to choose from with a larger global network of offices to support customers in different geographies. With this purchase, E Ink will have the widest offerings of ePaper technologies, a larger set of products and a stronger patent portfolio.

E Ink currently enjoys over 90%+ share in the eReader market with customers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookeen, Ectaco, Hanvon, iRiver, Kobo, Sony, Wexler and others. E Ink also makes ePaper displays for Signage, Electronic Shelf Labels, Battery and Memory Indicators, Wrist Watches, Credit Cards, Mobile Phones and a variety of other applications. Its customers include Epson, Pervasive Displays, Motorola, Lexar, Citizen, Seiko, Toppan, Invue, Eton, Motion Display, Neolux and many others.

E Ink has reached an agreement to buy 82.7% of SiPix's (STI) shares and is seeking to buy up to 100%, which is valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion. After customary regulatory approvals, the final closing is likely to be during Q4, 2012.