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.

RISC is inherently lower power

Posted by – May 7, 2011

Here is a quote by ARM CMO Ian Drew at mobile-device.biz:

“Intel has always innovated through process improvement,” said Drew, “But it’s not just about the transistor. You have to also consider the architecture, SoC design, the broader ecosystem, and so on.”

So Drew isn’t contesting the significance of Intel’s technological breakthrough. But while a smaller manufacturing process undoubtedly confers power/performance benefits, so does the micro-architecture, the efficiency of the whole SoC, software optimisation, and so on.

We put it to Drew that Intel had said it was a ‘misconception’ that ARM’s architecture was somehow intrinsically more power-efficient than Intel’s. “Fewer transistors means lower power,” he countered. “so RISC is inherently lower power.” Drew also pointed out that ARM has already announced test chips at 22 and 20nm already, with foundry partners TSMC and GlobalFoundries also working on those processes, and that IBM is already working on 14nm.

David Patterson on blogs.arm.com Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley since 1977 who coined the term RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer):

The importance of maintaining the sequential programming model combined with the increasingly abundant number of transistors from Moore’s Law led, in my view, to wretched excess in computer design. Measured by performance per transistor or by performance per watt, the designs of the late 1990s and early 2000s were some of the least efficient microprocessors ever built. This lavishness was acceptable for PCs, where binary compatibility was paramount and cost and battery life were less important, but performance was delivered more by brute force than by elegance.

However, these excessive designs are not a good match to the smartphones and tablets of the PostPC era. RISC dominates these “Personal Mobile Devices,” because

  • It’s a new software stack and software distribution is via the “App Store model” or the browser, which lessens the conventional obsession with binary compatibility.
  • RISC designs are more energy efficient.
  • RISC designs are smaller and thus cheaper.

The table below from Microprocessor Report supports these last two claims:

Comparing performance per megahertz, x86 is 4% – 8% faster than ARM or MIPS. More significantly, this table suggests ARM and MIPS have 40% – 50% better energy per MHz and their size is a factor of 3X to 4X smaller than x86.

Independent of these architectural battles, Personal Mobile Devices rely on “Systems on a Chip” to reduce size, improve energy, and to lower costs. If processors are available as IP blocks, any company can create a single SOC rather than use many separate chips on a printed circuit board, as is the case with PCs. Thus far, there is no serious x86 IP competitor to the many fine RISC IP options, so SOCs based on x86 can only come from AMD or Intel.

Sources:
http://mobile-device.biz/content/item.php?item=30305
http://blogs.arm.com/software-enablement/377-risc-versus-cisc-wars-in-the-postpc-eras-part-2/
Found via: @ARMCommunity, 2

Gartner, IDC, ABI and others are making up numbers? Really?

Posted by – May 7, 2011

German techno-wizard Sasha Pallenberg with Canadian side-kick Nicole Scott give us a wise demonstration out of Taiwan of how some of the so-called market analysts such as Gartner are able to make up numbers that somehow get picked up by a lot of bloggers and news.

This video was published at: netbooknews.com

I got a little heat yesterday in some comments in my article Apple to (obviously) use ARM in next Macbook for making up some numbers about why I think it’s obvious Apple makes most of their profits from their ARM Powered devices and thus must be planning their ARM Powered Macbook.

While many of the numbers do get released by many of the companies in this industry each quarter, it still does not always make everything clear for everyone, they still omit pointing it out clearly when 50%+ of Apple’s revenues and 75%+ of their profits comes from one product, and they obviously don’t tell us what exactly they are spending most of their secret R&D, production and components budgets on, so things are open for us all to make those interpretations and publish our market predictions!

Apple to (obviously) use ARM in next Macbook

Posted by – May 6, 2011

Apple profits mostly thanks to ARM technology

Apple profits mostly thanks to ARM technology

Semiaccurate.com cites sources, and the whole blogosphere is erupting over the rumor that Apple is preparing to use ARM instead Intel in their next Macbook. Here’s my take on it:

Thanks to ARM technology, Apple has become the worlds second biggest company (valued at $322 Billion) after Exxon Mobil (valued at $411 Billion). Before using ARM, Apple was in near bankruptcy, and then they got the idea to make those ARM Powered iPod. And as the obvious thing in 2007 they introduced the ARM Powered iPhone. The iPhone now stands for more than 50% of Apple’s $70 Billion yearly revenues and the iPhone may actually represent more than 75% of Apple’s yearly $17 Billion profit.

ARM is the best way to make huge profits.

And Apple needs to find all ways to keep making big profits, as their share is priced so high, it can only stay as high for as long as they can find ways to continue to make huge profits.

The iPhone may provide Apple with as much as 334% profit margins. ($150 BOM and $650 average sale price)

The iPad may provide Apple with about 155% profit margins. ($225 BOM and $575 average sale price)

The Macbook Air, while expensive, probably only provide Apple with 64% profit margin. ($700 BOM and $1200 average sale price)

This is Apple’s ARM Powered laptop plan:

Make the thinner, lighter ARM Powered OSX laptop, with a Pixel Qi type screen they could achieve 30 hours battery runtime or more. It would cost them only $300 to make (BOM) and Apple probably thinks they can still sell it for at least $799 that’s a 166% profit margin, nearly 3x more profits for Apple compared to them still using Intel.

The question for Apple R&D is only this one, should they go ahead and use Apple A5 ARM Cortex-A9 (clocked higher than in iPad2’s 861Mhz) with some faster memory bandwidth design, put in there some more RAM and optimize their OSX/iOS mashup software for a release before this years Christmas already? Or should Apple wait for Apple A6 ARM Cortex-A15 and to try and have that ready for mass selling before Christmas 2012 at the latest? How do you think Apple will make that OSX/iOS ARM based OS mashup work for their next Macbook? (post in the comments)

You have to consider, I am not suggesting that Apple will succeed in continuing to keep making so huge profits on ARM Powered devices. I for example believe that the $87 Android Smartphones and the diversity in high-end Android smartphones is a significant threat to Apple’s iPhone profit margins and marketshare*. Though I am definitely sure that Apple will continue to make 100x more profits on their ARM Powered devices compared to their Intel based devices, and that thus Apple is obviously aiming to shift their Notebook line to ARM as soon as possible.

* especially if they continue making design mistakes like the Anntenna not working in left hand and the iOS devices recording your every move for years in an unencrypted cache file any friend/enemy/backdoor-hacker can snoop on over 100 million iOS device users until they manually decide to upgrade with their new 666MB iOS upgrade file.

3 things Google TV needs from Google I/O in 4 days

Posted by – May 6, 2011

1. Support ARM Processors, to be in sub-$100 box. Even run a full Google TV UI “mode” from the HDMI output of every new Android smartphone (expect Google TV to become a part of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich?)

2. Support apps like BitTorrent/RSS, Seedbox management with SFTP, Rapidshare/Megaupload streaming, make it the easiest way to pirate all movies and TV shows with a remote control on the TV.

3. Unlock Desktop User Agent in the Flash plugin. The only reason TV websites can block Google TV is because of the Flash plugin not hiding itself as a Flash-for-Desktop user agent. It’s only a question of Adobe and Google making the decision (if the rights holders keep blocking them), they can make Google TV unblockable. Even make it easy to sign up for fast and reliable proxy services all over the world if certain online web TV are being region blocked (make it easy for the world to stream US based Hulu/Netflix/Viacom/etc, UK based BBC, French based France Television, etc..).

I expect that Google is going to announce all 3 at Google I/O. What do you expect Google TV 2.0 is going to be like?

I think the Google TV software needs to be in every cheap media player, in every set-top-box, and basically, it needs to make it easy for every TV user to easily get access to all web video in as few clicks and as little typing as possible. It may bring a keyboard into every living room, but that usage needs to be as seamless and easy as possible, start typing the name of the show and hit enter to tune in to that show, show options, live, on-demand, legal free/paid/ads if available, “illegal” BitTorrent RSS-subscribe Seedbox/SFTP-service-for-anonymous one click reliable add to queue. Another cool app would be Sopcast, and also the first use of Sopcast through seedboxes for “illegal” 10mbit/s or more live streaming of every TV channel in the world, basically make it as seamless as possible for people to cut the cable/satellite cord and replace it with full freedom of on-demand media choices if they so want to, all designed for leanback mode.

$25 ARM Powered Desktop presented by Raspberry Pi Foundation

Posted by – May 6, 2011

The Raspberry Pi Foundation (a UK non-profit) plans to develop, manufacture and distribute an ultra-low-cost computer, for use in teaching computer programming to children. They expect this computer to have many other applications both in the developed and the developing world. Their first product is about the size of a USB key, and is designed to plug into a TV or be combined with a touch screen for a low cost tablet. The expected price is $25 for a fully-configured system.

Here are the specs:

  • 700MHz ARM11
  • 128MB of SDRAM
  • OpenGL ES 2.0
  • 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • Composite and HDMI video output
  • USB 2.0
  • SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
  • General-purpose I/O
  • Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

And who exactly is it targeted at, well, students. It runs Ubuntu and will come preloaded with educational applications. Suggestions for it’s use and recommendations of software are welcome through email. Oh, and it’s purported to cost only $25… Head on over to their site Raspberry Pi.

Video posted by Rory Cellan-Jones on http://bbc.co.uk

This post was submitted by Jon Hubert Bristol on the Submit News page here at http://armdevices.net/submit-news/. If you have any other awesome ARM related news, you are welcome to post it here!

China does Electric Cars using Better Place battery swapping

Posted by – May 3, 2011

All new cars to be sold in China are to be electric, running on 100% clean renewable energy. All that is needed is political will. China seems to have that political will. They figured they’ve got enough pollution in their rapidly growing cities, they figured they’d like to be energy independent, they figured they need to make all their cars electric now.

Switchable electric batteries are the only solution for the full scale implementation of electric cars for the mass market today. Project http://betterplace.com is implementing a worldwide standard for battery swapping, charging connectors and re-charge infrastructure.

Better Place, China Southern Grid Sign Strategic Agreement Centered on Battery Switch Model

April 27, 2011

Guangzhou Municipal Government Signs Agreement to Aid New Partnership

TEL AVIV (April 27, 2011) – At a signing ceremony today in Israel with officials from Guangzhou, Better Place announced a strategic agreement with China Southern Power Grid Co. (CSG), the world’s eighth largest utility according to the Fortune Global 500. The agreement, which focuses on joint electric car and infrastructure projects in CSG’s service areas, will further advance electric cars with switchable batteries in China. The agreement calls for the companies to open a battery switch station and joint education center in Guangzhou before the end of the year, while working to formalize a joint-venture partnership.

Source: http://betterplace.com

This is relevant on ARMdevices.net because electric cars can have more ARM Processors in them than any other types of cars. An average electric car may have 47 ARM processors in it. Also, those need better wirelessly internet connected interactive in-car navigation systems (probably Android based) than any other car. As those need to make it easy for the driver to find re-charge stations, to find and order a battery swap, to monitor and manage battery capacity and more.

Trim-Slice, compact Tegra2 Desktop, now released for $199

Posted by – May 1, 2011

Here’s a powerful super compact Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core 1Ghz based Desktop box, for now seems to run something like Ubuntu 11.4 (ARM netbook edition?), but the software support is a process that is a work-in-progress. Their pricing starts at $199 for the basic model, I will try to get a review unit, what do you think about this type of compact ARM Powered desktop?

Haifa, Israel – 30-Apr-2011 – CompuLab is announcing immediate availability of the NVIDIA Tegra 2 based Trim-Slice miniature computer.

Trim-Slice is offered in 3 configurations –

Trim-Slice Barebone – with 1 GHz Tegra 2, 1 GB RAM, HDMI port, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 USB ports, 2 SD slots and RS232 serial port. Trim-Slice Barebone MSRP is $199.

Trim-Slice Value – adds a 4 GB micro-SD card with Linux pre-installed and a USB 802.11n WiFi adapter. Trim-Slice Value MSRP is $219.

Trim-Slice Pro – with 1 GHz Tegra 2, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD with Linux pre-installed, HDMI and DVI ports, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in 802.11n WiFi, 4 USB ports, 2 SD slots, RS232 serial port and a USB Bluetooth adapter. Trim-Slice Pro MSRP is $319.

OEMs and system-integrators can order Trim-Slice in volume with customization of feature set, branding and case finish.

Trim-Slice currently runs Linux and is supported in the mainline kernel revision 2.6.39. Support for other operating-systems is work-in-progress. “We design Trim-Slice with SW developers in mind” said Irad Stavi, Director of Business Development at CompuLab. “Developers that are looking for an open cost-effective high-performance ARM platform are likely to find Trim-Slice an attractive and unique solution that is very convenient for SW development.”

Source: http://trimslice.com/web/pr-11043