Solar Impulse to attempt worlds first international solar flight tomorrow

Posted by – May 12, 2011

Tomorrow May 13th 6AM Swiss Time, weather permits, Solar Impulse will attempt to fly a 100% Solar Powered airplane from Payerne Switzerland to Brussels Belgium. The prototype, piloted by André Borschberg, will take off from Payerne airfield and climb to an altitude of 3600 meters. The plane will head for France, pass over Luxembourg and land at Brussels Airport. Here’s my Interview with Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard:

Schedule Friday May 13th 2011 (UTC +2) (liftoff is scheduled for 6AM Central European Time, this Midnight EST (New York), Thursday 9PM 12th May PST (San Francisco)):
06:00 approximately Take-off from Payerne aerodrome bound for Brussels Airport
20:30 Hangar doors open/ building 117 (logistical details below)
21:00 approximately Land at Brussels Airport
22:00 approximately Briefing in the hangar with Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg
23:00 End of the event

Although the flight has been confirmed, the Flight Director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up until a short time before takeoff.

Tomorrow, you will thus be able to track the flight live on http://solarimpulse.com and via the Smartphone app “Solar Impulse Inventing the Future” available in Android Google Marketplace and Apple Appstore. The airplane’s position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at “Mission Control Center”, the mission’s nerve center, will allow you to experience the adventure live.

The purpose of Solar Impulse is to inspire all of us to think big, to become more ambitious, that we can as Humans pretty much do whatever we want. Solar Impulse is a philosophy. We can reach the moon, send Humans to Mars, fix global warming, make all new cars electric, feed the hungry and solve poverty.

ARM Powered Chromebooks to be released soon

Posted by – May 12, 2011

As a reply to my ARM Powered Chromebook Chrome OS notebook question posted online, the Google Chrome Team confirms that while they are focusing right now on getting the Intel Powered Samsung and Acer devices out the door on June 15th, the Chrome OS team is also working hard on ARM support and the ARM Powered Chromebooks should be released soon after. Their wording is the ARM Chromebooks are “hot on the trails” of the Intel Powered ones. This could be the first mass market ARM Powered laptop ever released.

The advantage of an ARM Powered Chrome OS device is that it is thinner, lighter, runs longer on a battery and especialy could be sold for a lot cheaper. I’m expecting the ARM Powered Chromebooks to sell below $199 for them to become the new best selling notebook platform.

Watch the Chrome Team live, as they may answer about Chrome OS on ARM

Posted by – May 11, 2011

Chrome OS is I think the first real challenger to Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX to actually be able to reach a mass market through retail stores and carrier subscription plans. Google has announced the global release of Chromebooks starting June 15th, but for now, those are only Intel Atom based. I asked them about the ARM Powered Chrome OS on their Google Moderator, let’s see if we get a good answer about the status of Chrome OS on ARM, the live Fireside Chat with the Chrome Team starts now at 3PM PDT (Midnight Central European Time):

Vote for my Chrome OS on ARM questions at Google I/O

Posted by – May 11, 2011

Please vote now for the following two questions for the Google I/O Fireside Chat with the Chrome team (to be live streamed on http://google.com/io at 3PM PST today, about 2 and a half hours from now), please use the following links to the Google Moderator to up-vote my questions so that we are more likely to get these answers:

When are you showing the ARM Powered Chromebooks? Are ARM Cortex-A9 processors with lots of RAM fast enough today? What is the status of Chrome OS on ARM?

Please vote here now: http://goo.gl/Nybov

Retweet this: RT: @charbax Let’s get the Chrome team to answer about the ARM Powered Chromebooks: http://goo.gl/Nybov

What hardware requirements do you enforce for manufacturers to get access to the Chrome OS source code? Can anyone use Chromium OS today with the full Chrome Web Store on any hardware without asking Google for permission?

Please vote here now: http://goo.gl/mod/XAsv

Also feel free to add your own good questions to the Chrome team in that Google Moderator and post your question links in the comments so we can also vote for your questions.

Honeycomb source code to remain closed until Q4? Who has access now?

Posted by – May 11, 2011

Who in the industry has access to Honeycomb 3.0 and 3.1 source code today? We were hoping for Google to announce 3.1 being open sourced around Google I/O but now it seems Google might not provide any Honeycomb open source code before Ice Cream Sandwich in Q4 this year?

Also watch the Android team’s response to Android being 100% open source (including all the drivers) (at 16m20s time code)

I understand the gigantic work involved for Google to write all the code, implement the programming APIs and everything else involved around Ice Cream Sandwich. Regardless of how quickly Google put together Honeycomb for tablets to have something ready at Mobile World Congress in February, I think it would just look wrong if for some reason we only have $500+ Android tablets based on Tegra2 made by a handful of priviledged companies somehow having any type of Honeycomb software on them for another 6 months. Given the amount of companies (nearly 375 of them filmed here), small to medium sized, who are investing their futures in making Android tablets, Tegra2-Honeycomb-exclusivity-until-Q4 would probably be quite scandalous. This is what I am expecting must be happening right now secretly with the Honeycomb 3.0 and 3.1 source code behind the scenes:

1. All “serious” tablet companies using all the major ARM Processors do have access to Honeycomb now, or will get access very soon. By “serious” company, I could mean the companies in which Google can trust not to leak the source code. That could mean that these “serious” Android tablet companies need some kind of a track record of being serious with this market.

2. Google should be transparent about which chip provider does have access to Honeycomb source code today, and which chip provider will get access soon. I believe all chip makers from at least ARM Cortex-A8 performance and upwards should be allowed to work on optimizing any current Honeycomb source code to work and timely be shipped with all the tablets that do get released with those specific chips in them. I do not believe that a Tegra2-only club for Honeycomb would be taken with a smile from the rest of the industry. All chip providers that have tablet makers showing products on the market and showcasing them at all the “serious” tradeshows today, including AmLogic, Freescale, Marvell, NEC/Renesas, Qualcomm, Rockchip, ST-Ericsson, Samsung, Telechips, Texas Instruments, VIA, all those should get that access and be able to ship Android tablets with Honeycomb in Q3 this year.

I’ve sent some of my Google contacts some questions regarding the actual status and plans for Honeycomb’s source code and support on the variety of ARM chip providers, while I am waiting for their reply, I wouldn’t know for sure what the actual happenings are behind closed doors before, during and after Google I/O in terms of officially supporting Honeycomb 3.1 on other platforms than just Tegra2.

Google needs to officially confirm that they are working with these ARM processors to support Honeycomb 3.1 in Q3 this year and I think that most Android tablet fans would be totally happy and satisfied:

Freescale i.MX53 Cortex-A8 1Ghz
Samsung Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz
Samsung Exynos 4210 ARM Dual Cortex-A9 1.2Ghz
TI OMAP4440 ARM Dual Cortex-A9 1.6Ghz
Marvell Armada 600
Qualcomm MSM7227 ARM11 600Mhz 45nm with Adreno
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8255 1.5Ghz 45nm
Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual 8620 1.5Ghz
Rockchip RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 1.2Ghz
Telechips 8803 ARM Cortex-A8 1.2Ghz
NEC/Renesas EV2 ARM Dual Cortex-A9 533Mhz
AmLogic ARM Single Cortex-A9 800Mhz

If Google has been and is cooperating with at least each of these SoC platforms, then I think we have no problem.

But if on the other hand, it somehow turns out that most of these alternative SoC vendors are somehow locked out of the Honeycomb party until finally getting source code access in Q4 and maybe not being able to release actual tablets with that code before Q1 2012, well then I think there will be some very angry people around the worldwide Android tablet industry.

Given the relatively big level of secrecy from all SoC vendors involved, I would like to interpret that as a clue that they must all be silently and cooperatively working closely with Google ever since before even the Motorola Xoom was released last February. And if they didn’t all have access already before last February, then hopefully they have all quietly gotten access or are getting access by now.

Google announced that over 100 Million Android Smartphones have been sold thus far. If 80% of those are sold on 2-year contracts generating revenues at an average of $1200 per phone over the 2-year contracts (in the US for example that number is most often higher than $2000), then that could mean Google’s Android has a huge influence on a global revenue of potentially more than $120 Billion, possibly over $80 Billion of which have been generated just in 2010 alone, with 2011 global Android industry revenues possibly clinching upwards twice as much as Smartphone growth is more than doubling every year. The Android Smartphone may be a $160 Billion industry in 2011 alone. Over $250 Billion in 2012 maybe. We are not talking peanuts. And with all analysts saying Tablets are the post-PC interface, Google may feel some type of pressure from the big guys of tech, not only the manufacturers but also the carriers (who are touching most of those huge Android related revenues), so it can be understandable that Google does things very carefully around Android, and to bring Android’s market share from 40% to over 80% in the next few months, Google may want to focus on top level secrecy in all of their cutting edge Android developments.

While I can understand that, and as a huge Google fanboy I want them to dominate over everything, but let’s see if we can get more informations on Honeycomb openness and the industry’s access to Honeycomb now under this Google I/O conference. I haven’t yet watched the Google Executives Q&A with Andy Rubin where some of the Android openness questions are answered, if anyone has the link to that video or any other related sources of informations please post those links in the comments.

If you are an industry insider and if you would like to tell me any secret information about the status of Honeycomb in the industry related to 3.1’s likelyhood to work on any or all of these SoCs during Q3 this year, you are welcome to contact me at charbax@gmail.com and if you want I can keep your name secret if you allow me to report here on your info.

Impressions from the Google I/O Android Keynote, Day 1

Posted by – May 10, 2011

- Ice Cream Sandwich merges Android, Honeycomb, Google TV and more. To be open source in Q4 2011, but is there going to be a Honeycomb 3.1 Open Source FAR SOONER? I posted this question to the Honeycomb Highlights session that is going on reight now, vote for it here http://goo.gl/mod/mwZ2 so that we can hopefully get a reply from the Honeycomb Insights Session or the upcoming Fireside Chat with the Android Team http://goo.gl/mod/fIP5

Does Google support Honeycomb/Ice Cream Sandwich on CHEAP Android Tablets, all the $100-$300 ones using TI OMAP3/4, Rockchip, Telechips, NEC/Renesas, AmLogic, Freescale, Marvell, Hummingbird etc? Please explain timeline of full open sourcing/support

– Android team releases Open Accessory Development Kit, this probably means Open Hardware reference designs based on the latest ARM Cortex-M series microcontrollers and other ARM Processors. The idea is also with Android @ Home to enable users to seamlessly interact with a whole range of connected devices in the home, users can buy dozens of accessories for their Android, working over USB-Host, Bluetooth, WiFi (did they also announce some kind of other low-cost wireless networking technology? Some kind of RF?) Find more informations at http://accessories.android.com

– Google launches new Cloud Media Platforms for Movies and Music. Those are US-only for now (probably for licencing issues). I think Google should do folowing with their cloud media plans:

1. Take them global, if media conglomerates want to sue Google for going global, take them on, Google is big enough to never have to loose a lawsuit against any media content corporations.

2. Integrate with Spotify, Last.fm, Rdio and other cloud streaming services, this way Google can try to make the content deals, but they don’t have to, they can just re-sell or point their users towards integrating with those content providers that already have the regional deals.

3. Google should introduce Global Subscription Plans for each of the Google Marketplace categories, $5/month for unlimited music, $10/month for unlimited movies and TV shows, $3/month for unlimited apps, $5/month for unlimited games, $4/month for unlimited ebooks, $20/month for ALL-INCLUSIVE subscription plan, and make this global, work for all countries. All content providers can opt-in or opt-out, they should not care if the big content providers don’t care to join this disruptive subscription system, eventually, enough independents will be a part of this global subscription plan that the model will become the new standard. Google is big enough they can make the plan Mp3.com tried to implement 10 years ago actually work on a global scale for the first time.

4. If not enough content becomes part of the global subscription system, make it easy for pirates to import/upload all their pirated contents onto the Google cloud, with guarantee of privacy, meaning Google would never snoop on pirates pirated content or tell anyone about who might be pirating what. Just let everyone upload as many Mp3, DivX, MKV, epub that they want onto the cloud, Google can actually provide just about free unlimited storage for all, the reason for that is Google only needs to store one copy of each pirated file on their cloud. If they feel brave, their cloud upload client software can “beam” files instantly if Google detects that it already has this exact file or a better version of this file on their cloud.

Google I/O Live Video feed embedded here

Posted by – May 10, 2011




You can post comments here in real-time using Disqus and I’ll try to embed a live chat here before it starts.

Google I/O is today and tomorrow, watch it live

Posted by – May 10, 2011

Today are Ice Cream Sandwich, open sourcing, Google TV integration, lots more Android surprises, Chrome OS tomorrow with all the commercial products to come with that. Make sure you tune in live for the show at 9AM PDT on http://google.com/io

I’ve briefly been able to speak with all 3 of these people on this picture over this past year at different conferences. Andy Rubin boss of Android Apple-killing, Vic Gundotra boss of Facebook-killing and Sundar Pichai boss of Chrome OS Microsoft-killing. All three of which are more or less Intel-killing.

Perhaps I will embed some kind of Google chat room together with the live video embed once things start today.

Mary Lou Jepsen of Pixel Qi at TEDxTaipei

Posted by – May 9, 2011

All screens are manufactured in Asia. 40% in Taiwan, 40% in South-Korea, 10% in Japan and 10% in Mainland China. The Drums are rolling for hopefully some very very big announcements coming from Pixel Qi’s manufacturing partners for big product orders soon. I’m hoping for Kindle4 and iPad3 to announce the use of Pixel Qi starting this summer. Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs have the power to change the display industry. All they have to do is to sign to order a few millions of these screens with the LCD makers (hopefully they have done so already..) and the low power sunlight readable display revolution will reach us all.

Also watch: John Ryan COO of Pixel Qi and John Watlington Vice President of Hardware Engineering at OLPC

You have to consider, while it has been 23 months ago that I published my first Pixel Qi interviews from Taiwan (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14) while that might sound like a long time, in the display industry, 2 years is peanuts. Things move rather slowly there. Since then, there has been an economic crisis and a sort of re-focus from netbooks to tablets, although netbooks have sold more than 100 million units in 3 years, the display investments are focused on tablets. The display business can be considered to be the worlds biggest non-profit industry, the 5 biggest LCD makers who produce 90% of the worlds LCDs, produce for $120 Billion in screens every year but can only make small profit margins out of that because of the strong competition and the large volumes shipped. Those companies that produce the worlds LCD screens have very high costs, very high risks, little flexibility. Let’s hope Pixel Qi has amply well convinced the big LCD makers like Quanta, CPT, Chi Mei, Samsung, LG, Sharp, Sony, Foxconn, let’s hope that they have all signed with Pixel Qi and that they are all right now in the process of tuning the mass manufacture of millions of these screens for all the worlds upcoming Chrome OS notebooks, ARM Powered Macbooks, Kindle4s, iPad3s, a solution for using the interactive UIs of Android on all the worlds e-readers. It would also be nice to double the battery runtime and improve outdoor readability on all the worlds Smartphones using Pixel Qi.

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.