ARM sponsors National Electronics Week and exhibits mbed racing robots.

Posted by – March 16, 2011

16 March – National Electronics Week the UK’s premier electronics trade exhibition (NEW:UK) will take place 12 – 13 April at the NEC Pavilion, the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham UK and will introduce a showcase of cutting-edge technology that is both fun and educational.

“We are delighted to have ARM as an exhibitor and as our main sponsor” said Claire Saunders, NEW:UK event director. “ARM is a leading light in the electronics industry and at the heart of today’s most wanted high tech products.”

Running alongside The Gadget Show Live in 2011, National Electronics Week will highlight the connection between today’s most wanted consumer electronics and the UK’s electronics industry, innovation, R&D and the supply-chain behind the best tech on display.

ARM is challenging NEW:UK attendees to test their development and racing skills at the mbed Robot Racing challenge. Competitors will work against the clock to optimize and race mbed-powered robots.

For the brave, workstations will be available so developers can write a program for the mbed microcontroller that will enable the robot to follow a line around the centre of the track. Prizes, based on speed and skill, will be given out at the end of each day.

The first 5000 attendees who register for NEW:UK at www.reg-box.co.uk/new2011 will have a unique opportunity to attend the Gadget Show Live on the trade and press day (10:00 – 16:00 12th April 2011).

Supporting the exhibition, seminars, workshops and panel discussions will also provide rich networking opportunities www.new-expo.co.uk

PR Contacts:
Andy Phillips ARM
Tel: +44 1223 400930
Email:andy.phillips[at]arm[dot]com

Claire Saunders
Events Director
New Events
M: +44 (0) 7908 124 549
Office: +44 (0) 1483 420 229
Email@ claire[at]new-expo[dot]co.uk

Distributed on behalf of New Events Ltd by NeonDrum news distribution service (http://www.neondrum.com)

ARM Cortex-A15 might be 40% faster than Cortex-A9 at same Mhz and number of cores

Posted by – March 16, 2011

ARM Cortex-A15 which might already be available in products next year, is reported by itproportal.com, could be 40% more performance per Mhz per core.

The Cortex-A8 reached 2.0 DMIPS/MHz while the Cortex-A9 reached 2.5 DMIPS/MHz, a 25 per cent improvement. According to our contact at ARM, the A15 has a “published but not formal number” of 3.5 DMIPS/MHz but told us that the performance difference across generation is “dependent on many factors” before adding that “Other benchmarks can show less improvement on specific devices, others a greater improvement”.

What’s more we already know of at least one manufacturer who has published benchmark figures for the Cortex-A15; Last month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ST-Ericsson revealed that its new system on Chip, the Nova A9600, would have two Cortex-A15 core, runs at 2.5GHz and, more importantly, breaks the 20,000 DMIPS barrier.

This means that the ST-Ericsson’s tweaked implementation of the Cortex-A15 can reach at least 4.01 DMIPS/MHz, which is itself a 14 per cent improvement upon what ARM’s figures.

We’ve also been tipped off by an anonymous source outside ARM that the company will be announcing a major breakthrough by the end of the 2011; just one year after the unveiling of the Cortex-A15.

Source: http://itproportal.com/2011/03/14/exclusive-arm-cortex-a15-40-cent-faster-cortex-a9/

iPad2 review (by Charlie Brooker)

Posted by – March 16, 2011

language and tone of the video may offend some..

If you are in the UK, this video may be blocked, you can watch the whole episode at: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/10-oclock-live/4od (Thursday 3rd March, 10pm, about 25 minutes in) (that streaming service from Channel 4 only works within the UK)

Source: dvorak.org/blog

Why the Motorola Atrix 4G+Dock is better than a Smartphone+Netbook

Posted by – March 14, 2011

While I am eager to see more of the Motorola Atrix 4G (I don’t know if I can get/find/buy a review unit), having tried it at CES (and interviewed the product manager in this 15-minute video) and at Mobile World Congress, having written about how I think this concept is an example of the ultimate ARM Powered device, as the Motorola Atrix 4G is being released in the USA, here are some of my arguments for why this is a taste of the best mobile computing solution for all:

- Cheaper to make (does not mean it’s cheaper to sell, for some reason anything related to telcos is over-priced..). The Bill Of Material of Motorola Atrix 4G is probably close to $150, and the Laptop Dock which consists only of a screen, keyboard and battery must not cost much more than $50 to actually make, even with this pretty high resolution screen.

- Lasts much longer on a battery, Motorola says 8 hours, this thin battery might compare with something like a 2-cell battery on an Intel Atom powered netbook. Since the screen is the most power consuming part of the device, if they used Pixel Qi, the battery runtime might be 30 hours for this setup.

- Thinner

- Lighter (if they didn’t put such heavy metals in the laptop dock), it seems to me the metals used on the laptop dock of Motorola Atrix 4G may make it a bit unnecessarily heavy. But perhaps some people find it just fine and good heavy metals make it seem like good construction quality perhaps.

- More secure, we all know and understand cloud services and embedded OS are much more secure than trying luck with a Windows based x86 PC. If Motorola had used TrustZone and NFC, it would even had been the absolute ultimate 100% secure and unhackable system to use for any online authentication or money transactions.

- Faster than intel atom (if they used a faster processor than Tegra2, with more memory bandwidth, such as Exynos 4210, OMAP4430 or ST-Ericsson U8500, when I tested it at CES and MWC, the web browsing with multiple tabs was not fast enough, I think I understood that that may be due to Tegra2′s slow memory bandwidth perhaps not yet suitable for multi-tab laptop/desktop style web browsing, I hope Motorola/Nvidia/Mozilla have fixed this in software updates since..)

- Simpler, all your data is always there and synchronized, you always know where to find your data. This is the dream of SysAdmins, they can just give all the employees this system and know it just works, auto-updates, if a unit breaks, everything is automatically resynchronized, hardware upgrades are also seamless.

- Much lower power consumption, save money on power, save the earth eventually, using this type of laptop should become mandatory

- Unbloated, no more crappy software that crashes and fills with viruses and malware (would be better if it “simply” ran Honeycomb with that Chrome browser inside and optimized for laptop use)

- Instant boot, no more waiting

- Seamless resume of multimedia playback on different screen

- There is more.. what do you think? Write in the comments..

ARM Powered servers designed by Calxeda could be 10x more efficient than Intel

Posted by – March 14, 2011

Calxeda Inc, formerly known as Smooth-Stone, is the new company formed by ARM Holdings, Texas Instruments, ATIC (same invesors as in GlobalFoundries and AMD) and others that have provided at least $48 Million in investment to set it up. They are optimizing the designs for ARM Powered servers to be implemented by Server OEM partners around the world. As reported by Forrester Research’s Richard Fichera:

While still holding their actual delivery dates and details of specifications close to their vest, Calxeda did reveal the following cards from their hand:

  • The first reference design, which will be provided to OEM partners as well as delivered directly to selected end users and developers, will be based on an ARM Cortex A9 quad-core SOC design.
  • The SOC, as Calxeda will demonstrate with one of its reference designs, will enable OEMs to design servers as dense as 120 ARM quad-core nodes (480 cores) in a 2U enclosure, with an average consumption of about 5 watts per node (1.25 watts per core) including DRAM.
  • While not forthcoming with details about the performance, topology or protocols, the SOC will contain an embedded fabric for the individual quad-core SOC servers to communicate with each other.
  • Most significantly for prospective users, Calxeda is claiming, and has some convincing models to back up these claims, that they will provide a performance advantage of 5X to 10X the performance/watt and (even higher when price is factored in for a metric of performance/watt/$) of any products they expect to see when they bring the product to market.

ARM Powered servers could have 5X to 10X the performance/watt compared to Intel’s x86.

As you can read on Calxeda’s website, the operating expense associated with power and cooling now dominates a server’s cost of ownership, and will eclipse the hardware itself by a factor of 7X in 2012. IDC reports that all servers worldwide consumed $44.5 Billion of electricity in 2010 and require ten additional Gigawatt power plants to be constructed.

Top-6 Embedded World 2011 videos

Posted by – March 14, 2011

On the 3rd of March, I jumped on a train from CeBIT Hannover to Embedded World in Nurnberg, so that I could try to interview the representatives of some of the cool ARM Powered devices shown there. I managed to film 15 videos during that day at Embedded World, here are my top-6 best videos:

1. Worlds first Samsung Exynos 4210 ARM Cortex-A9 tablet presented by Hard Kernel, it’s just awesome to see this $750 dev-kit transparent Tablet design, allowing to see through all the awesome hardware features of this platform.

2. Worlds most compact Tegra2 PC presented by Toradex, the potential is a $150 ARM Cortex-A9 Powered desktop PC, with dual-screen output (one HDMI, one VGA), USB host ports, Ethernet, audio input/outputs and more. It’s cool!

3. $200 Tegra2 slim PC by Trim Slice Compulab, yet another cool looking Tegra2 powered super compact desktop PC, this one may actually seem to be more finalized than the Toradex, in terms of software and in terms of cheap motherboard design availability, though it’s to be seen once it gets released what the status for software and hardware pricing will be then.

4. 4K2K video playback on the new Texas Instruments DaVinci DM816x and DM814x, the powers of Texas Instruments DaVinci ties in with what they do with OMAP, the DaVinci perhaps targetting more video-centric uses such as potentially one of the next $100 ARM Powered Google TV set-top-boxes. 4K2K ARM Powered Google TV at $100 retail would be awesome. Until then, the OMAP4 stuff is not yet in these DaVinci and the video stuff is not yet in OMAP4, but those are merging their powers.

5. Seco shows x86-ARM Cross Platform, they work on making it easy for the industry to get away from using x86 and to use ARM solutions instead. They support OMAP4, Tegra2, OMAP3 and i.MX51 designs among others. It becomes as easy as swapping the one for the other, all other aspects of the design, even the software being interoperable.

6. QNX talks about their software on the Blackberry Playbook, still no confirmation if Blackberry will choose to install a Dalvik Engine on top of this to support Android apps in there, but it’s sure interesting to try to understand how QNX does it to utilize the dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 Texas Instruments OMAP4430 processor to its fullest to provide the smoothest UI and multi-tasking.

Apple’s manufactured scarcity, free publicity, playing for the analysts

Posted by – March 12, 2011

The craze started at the release of iPhone1 in June 2007. I remember watching the live stream on Mogulus, predecesor to livestream.com, it was filmed and broadcast by Max Haost, founder of livestream.com and they were extremely hilarious in the way they would actually make fun of the people standing in line. I find this unbelievably hilarious, it’s the extreme example of the gadget-craze (out-of-control gadget consumerism?)


The ipad 2 line in Houston, TX as reported by Engadget.

Blame the analysts, unless they see lines, they think Apple isn’t selling any products.

This launch was engineered to generate lines (no pre-orders, 3 week waits if ordered on line…) and lots of free publicity…

Comment by Ghostbear1 in that Engadget article.

the scarcity principle is the mother of all marketing techniques (…) We generally perceive that things that are difficult to get are typically better than things that are easily available. If everyone wants it then it must be good right? This actually taps into the principle called social proof

Source: salescrunch.com

Queuing up for a piece of gadget is a really weird concept. In theory, especially for Apple, those devices are mass produced in gigantic proportions in the biggest Chinese factories, somehow Apple would not be able to manufacture enough to sell to whomever would want one?

This whole lining up deal is a situation designed by Apple’s viral marketing department.

This carefully choreographed gadget marketing/pricing ballet has turned Apple into the second largest company in the world, just 3 and a half years after the release of the iPhone. It’s really insane if you think about it. If not for the largest oil company in the world Exxon Mobile, Apple would be the largest company in the world, and most of Apple’s current profits and revenues come from their ARM Powered iOS devices, especially the iPhone.

So now Apple is doing a big push on the tablet market with iPad. And the iPad2 certainly has a nice Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor in there.

There are Android tablets like Archos 101 Internet Tablet released 6 months ago, that are lighter at 480gr vs 600gr, that have real mini-HDMI outputs built-in, real USB-host built-in, a real kick-stand built-in, and that still support more video and audio codecs (such as all DivX, MKV found on BitTorrents), with Flash support, real multi-tasking for 40% to 60% cheaper price than the ipad2.

In my opinion, Honeycomb is the first real Tablet OS. And I am pretty sure Honeycomb tablets will overtake iPad market share in less than a year, faster than Android overtook iPhone after the Nexus One release.

For some engineering resource/time allocation/prioritisation issues, Google chose not to allow much to happen with tablets with Donut, Eclair, Froyo and Gingerbread. Companies like Archos were left with the open source part of Android, doing the customizations they want, but for some strategic reason, they were left without the full support from Google. Google didn’t want Android Powered iPad and iPod Touch competitors to dominate the market in 2010. They thought they perhaps were busy enough dominating smartphone growth of that year, and gaining the full support by two dozen Smartphone makers in the process.

I think Google’s strategy is to simply let the Apple viral marketing people do their thing first, then get their better open and free software in gear, and riding on Apple’s viral marketing coat-tails, Google’s Android ecosystem can then provide the big push and rapidly dominate.

This is also a dance of technological disruption, and disruption of those disruptors. Google can’t be seen as encouraging the industrys too rapid change, while some companies bet their futures on the Open Handset Alliance, Google had to be careful and let the market move as fast as it can without hurting the feelings of the big partners who invest billions of dollars in this and want to see their investments safely recouped.

In any ways, look forward to the Android Honeycomb ecosystem taking care of making Android the top platform for tablets fast, and look forward to new designs to make tablets even more fun, more productive, and basically turn these gadgets into the user interface of the future of mobile computing for all the people of the world.

Top-15 CeBIT 2011 videos

Posted by – March 8, 2011

Here are my top-15 videos filmed at the CeBIT 2011 in Hannover Germany:

1. Interview with Peter Sunde, co-founder of ThePirateBay.org and Flattr, we talk about politics of filesharing, the European Union, Scandinavia, Sweden’s prime minister (and Ikea), implementation of flattr as a Government policy, the influence of TV networks on democracy and more.

2. Worlds First Honeycomb Laptop, while I had seen the Asus Eee Pad Transformer a couple times at previous conferences. It was awesome to see it run Honeycomb for the first time. The idea of Honeycomb running on ARM Powered tablets is awesome. It would be best if those ARM Powered Honeycomb laptops were cheaper, thinner and lighter. But that will come too.

3. Microsoft and Open Source, an interview with the head of open source activities at Microsoft Germany, about the ways in which Microsoft is being more open towards open source. Does that mean Windows 8 for ARM will be open source and free?

4. Zinwell does ARM Powered $70 Android Set-top-box, Zinwell is one of the leading Realtek based media player makers and are now focusing on designing the ARM Powered set-top-box for Android and Google TV support and they need sufficient processor power to render full web browsing experiences as well as rich user interfaces, even gaming as well as all video codecs and streaming.

5. Asus Eee Pad Memo Tablet and MeMic Bluetooth Phone Remote, cool dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260 based 7″ Android tablet from Asus. It fits nicely in any jacker pocket, and can use a bluetooth remote for voice calls.

6. Yifang M707, Android Tablet with infrared pen input, a cool feature, adding infrared sensor to the side of tablets, to scan in real-time the scribbling on paper.

7. Kinstone $95 7″ ARM Cortex-A9 AmLogic (single core) Tablet, this could be the cheapest ARM Cortex-A9 tablet already, though this AmLogic is a single core design, performance should be great.

8. Shenzhen Ider shows $60 Android Cortex-A8 Set-top-box, one of the cheapest ARM Cortex-A8 set-top-boxes for Android and possibly Google TV that I have heard about.

9. Fun video at Shenzhen AUDE comparing x86 with ARM in tablet design, shows how the ARM Powered tablet is 3x lighter, 3x cheaper, 3x thinner than the design based on x86.

10. ARM Powered Tablets by Shuttle, Shuttle is building tablets (and soon Laptops/Desktops) based on ARM chips from Texas Instruments, Nvidia, VIA and others. Watch for their actual compact ARM Powered motherboards at the end of this video.

11. Gigabyte Tegra2 Tablet GN-TB100, Gigabyte is also joining the fun in making Android based tablets.

12. Mobile Tech shows Telechips 8803 ARM Cortex-A8 in new tablets, the new Telechips ARM Cortex-A8 processor is ready for speeding up low cost Android tablets.

13. My first Nintendo 3DS hands-on, it’s pretty awesome. Let’s hope 3D doesn’t hurt.

14. 3Gnet $70 Android Set-top-box, uses Skyviia ARM9 and they plan for a Ziilab ARM Cortex-A8 set-top-box for Android and possibly Google TV as well.

15. Netronix 9.7″ Freescale i.MX51 Android Tablet, same screen, same kind of performance as iPad1, but could retail at $250.

Nuvoton NuMicro Cortex-M0 MCU explained

Posted by – March 7, 2011

The NuMicro Family is Nuvoton’s new 32-bit Microcontroller product line shown at Embedded World 2011, based on the ARM Cortex-M0 processor with rich peripherals to offer additional features and connectivity capability. Besides the NUC100, NUC120, NUC130 and NUC140 series, the new series the NuMicro M051 series, includes the M052/54/58/516 to supply for the worldwide 8-bit/16-bit microcontroller demand with a higher performance in a 32-bit microcontroller. The Nuvoton Cortex-M0 development kit costs only $20, that sounds cheap for developers to get into experimenting with those kinds of processors.

I’m on German Radio, DRadio Wissen interviews me at CeBIT about my video-blogging

Posted by – March 7, 2011

German National Public Radio reporter Moritz Metz interviews me (in English) for 6 and a half-minutes for radio channel DRadio Wissen (pre-ceded by a short bit by Chris Ziegler of Engadget talking about 1-man blogging operations like mine): http://wissen.dradio.de/cebit-blogger-reist-gadgets-hinterher.36.de.html?dram:article_id=8810&dram:audio_id=11295&dram:play=1 (direct mp3 download link)

DRadio Wissen is a science and knowledge National German Radio channel operated by public radio broadcaster Deutschlandradio out of Cologne.

Exciting!