Samsung Origen, the new $199 Exynos 4210 development board

Posted by – May 30, 2011

Linaro and Samsung announced the new $199 Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 development board featuring the 1Ghz Exynos 4210 processor, 1GB DDR3 memory with fast memory bandwidth.

CUPP Computing transforms all Laptops to ARM Powered laptops

Posted by – May 30, 2011

Here at Computex, CUPP Computing just released their first ARM Powered module. You take out the hard drive and replace it with this Texas Instruments ARM Powered board, one keyboard shortcut to jump instantly from your x86 OS to any ARM Powered OS, be it Android, Ubuntu, Chromium OS and other.

Read more here: http://www.jkkmobile.com/2011/05/punk-this-module-from-cupp-computing.html

Google Marketplace needs subscription plans for better monetization of content

Posted by – May 28, 2011

There are some talks in some blogs about Android app revenues versus iOS. While it’s true iPhone users usually are the types of people ready to spend more money on things like the Apple appstore and iTunes for on-demand paid app and content downloads. Android on the other hand does show they can generate more revenues for example for the creators of Angry Birds who are making 2x more money today every day being a free app on Android compared to being a paid app on iOS.

While Google can improve monetization through advertising and Google Wallet features, carrier billing and more, that is great. But here is how Google will totally dominate in the world of Apps, Music, Movies, eBooks and more.

Google can implement an app subscription plan in the Google Marketplace, $3/month for unlimited apps (developpers can opt-out or opt-in in a one-click email..), and the whole paid app business model will be removed. $3/month for unlimited access to apps including automatic app updates is fair. It’ll be paid automatically through carrier billing in most cases. Google can thus have an extra $5 Billion in revenues per year for Android app developers, considering 150 million Android users can opt-in to pay $3/month ($36/year) for unlimited apps.

That $5 Billion per year can get distributed to all developers based on the popularity and based on the amount of use (can be counted by the second if the Android user allows Google to monitor that). As well as by the ratings, comments and other types of measurable user feedback. Creators of free Android apps will receive a windfall of new revenues from this subscription model, and creators of paid apps will also actually discover that being part of the $3/month subscription access, they will also make significantly more revenues as long as they make quality apps that many people download and use.

That would be just the app subscription plan revenue.

Google can do the same for eBooks, Music, Movies, Chrome Web Store Web-apps and more. Here are the fair subscription prices that I expect Google to introduce:

– $3/month for unlimited Apps (Android and Web Apps)
– $5/month for unlimited Music
– $10/month for unlimited Video (YouTube, Movies and TV)
– $2/month for unlimited Text (eBooks, Blogs and Newspapers)

Google can thus provide an all-content subscription plan: $20/month for unlimited access to everything.

This is where Google either waits for Governments to implement this, or else they can implement it now themselves as a private corporation, but as a corporation that is interested to provide open platform for better monetization of content. Google could thus suggest that they don’t have to be the only ones thus handling the subscription money. Where Google may or may not take a 2-5% transaction fee on the subscription plan, the important thing is that the majority, more than 95% needs to get distributed to the content makers. Thus Google wouldn’t mind if other reliable companies charge the same subscription fee, and Google still contributes to provide their statistics on the popularity and rated quality of all the content. Google could even suggest that it would be most fair if this type of monthly subscription plan was even at some point automatically collected as a tax by fair Governments on all citizen of the world. If everyone pays through taxes, unlimited access to content online may end up being closer to $10/month per person or less.

The big established Labels, Movie Studios, TV Networks, Book Publishers, Newpapers and Proprietary app makers initially may want to opt-out from the cheap global subscription model, sure they might. On one hand Google cannot prevent users from still using as much alternative BitTorrent dowloading as they want. On the other hand, the pure economics of the subscription model will prevail, and while old content monopolies loose their control on content distribution, they will also realize that the subscription model is the best way to proceed and is the best way to increase content revenues and at the same time discourage piracy through a fair subscription pricing. Also, Google can provide content owners the choice to offer their on-demand paid content not for free but at a rebate for people who have that all access subscription. Thus new movie releases could be $2 instead of $4 for all-access subscribers, ebooks could be $5 instead of $10 for all-access subscribers. But content owners can quickly calculate that it mostly makes more sense to provide free access to content for the all-access subscribers, as new releases get more demand, those content creators also in turn automatically get paid much higher share from the global all-access subscription system.

Google can also continue to provide advertising revenues for all content makers which they will also work to increase through Google Wallet easy payments thus much higher advertising revenue.

Google Wallet, your Android becomes your wallet/ID/tickets/offers and more, but does it use ARM TrustZone yet?

Posted by – May 27, 2011

Google wants to replace your wallet, your passport, your ID, to be used for ticketing, for local offers, coupons, deals and more. But is it secure yet?

We need this pin code mode and it needs to be fully 100% secure. But is it yet secure in this first implementation with NFC on the Nexus S 4G? Does Google yet use some type of deep hardware level security like the ARM TrustZone Mobile Payments platform?

We need this pin code screen to show up full screen, and there needs to be some kind of light diode indicator confirming that you are in 100% secure mode. That kind of pin code screen needs to come up to confirm every login, every payment, every money transfer. If they can do that in the way ARM is suggesting with TrustZone, this should make of this system a fully secured way to replace wallets, ID, Passports, tickets, coupons and more.

I want to login to my Google Account using my phone’s pin code security system. I want this system to replace all login username/passwords on the web. This system needs to become the new interface for a new type of OpenID system. Google released in February an SMS based secure login service that they offer to all Google Account holders today. But SMS is not seamless, it’s not really usable, the pin code screen needs to popup on your smartphone right there as you are trying to login, authenticate your access or to pay for something. That pin code authentication mechanism could perhaps be replaced by some kind of bio-metric authentication, or a kind of screen lock mechanism. Think of it like that calculator that you use for your security for your net banking, it needs to be the same integrated right into your phone.

Here’s the 1-hour video of this Google Wallet announcement, embedded to start at time-code 22 minutes (you can rewind and watch the whole thing if you want) where Rob von Behren talks about the NXP PN65 based Secure Element solution, which sounds like this is true hardware based security!

Renault launches electric cars for real

Posted by – May 27, 2011

Yup, all new cars can now be electric, and we can setup the renewable energy to power them and the battery switch stations and charge stations at all parking spots as fast as those new cars can get onto the market.

Microsoft to show Windows 8 ARM Tablet Edition next week!?

Posted by – May 27, 2011

Windows 8 for ARM Tablets to be shown next week?

Windows 8 for ARM Tablets to be shown next week?

Follow my blog here next week (subscribe to my RSS and to my YouTube Channel) as I will provide you with complete video-coverage from the Computex trade show in Taipei where Microsoft is rumored to be planning to showcase their Windows 8 for ARM Tablet Edition for the first time. I will try to ask Microsoft representatives about how they plan to release the Windows 8 for ARM, what will be the hardware requirements, what will be the software compatibility, how they plan to merge that with their Tablet and Smartphone strategies and more on that. I don’t expect Microsoft to be ready to answer all these questions yet, as they are probably working with thousands of engineers on this very secret project. But I will try. If I do manage to meet some Microsoft representatives at Computex that could say something about Windows 8 on ARM and explain something about Microsoft’s upcoming ARM Powered tablet strategy, what would you like me to ask them?

If anyone knows how I could meet Microsoft OEM chief Steve Guggenheimer at Computex, if there might be any private demonstration rooms at the trade show where Microsoft might want to demonstrate their UI and perhaps talk in an interview, please let me know, you can always Submit News here on the site or send me an email to charbax@gmail.com if you have any tips about anything that you think that I should film at the Computex trade show.

50 years ago today

Posted by – May 25, 2011

May 25th 1961, President Kennedy did this speech.

Why doesn’t Obama do a speech today about sending Humans to Mars within this decade?

Read Robert Zubrin’s suggestion to build a transorbital railroad posted today in the Washington Times

We should set big goals to do really big things fast. Because we can.

What big projects would you like us to take on and how can we convince our leaders to make more of those speeches?

Intel spreads FUD on ARM based Windows 8

Posted by – May 21, 2011

Intel spreads FUD

Intel spreads FUD

Intel spreads Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). It is a practice that Intel is famous for using against competitors when they feel threatened. Intel does it by getting some of their top executives (but usually not the CEO) to say all kinds of negative things about competitors in more or less official setting (you don’t always find a video of the event). Intel did the same against AMD. Intel used FUD to slow the One Laptop Per Child revolution to try to control it with their Netbooks. Now that Microsoft is officially working on Windows 8 for ARM, Intel is using FUD against the ARM powered version of Windows 8 that is rumored to be a top priority investment at Microsoft with over 1000 of their top engineers working on full ARM support for Windows 8.

Windows 8 on ARM is the biggest threat to Intel ever.

Here’s how I expect Microsoft will solve the software compatibility issue for ARM version of most x86 Windows software to work:

Microsoft will launch the Windows Appstore for Windows 8

I believe the Windows Appstore will be central to Windows 8 on ARM and will provide for functionality that will make software compatibility between ARM and x86 versions of Windows seamless. If you click on an x86 compiled .exe file in Windows on ARM, it will simply link you up with the recompiled ARM version in the Windows Appstore.

This sounds like Piece of Cake, doesn’t it?

Quite simply, Microsoft can make a database of .exe file IDs based on hash tags, file size, file names, etc. if such x86 version of an .exe is clicked on, it can offer 3 choices:

1. Download ARM version in Windows 8 Appstore (if available, if not available, Microsoft gets an alert to hurry up and recompile themselves or to contact the developer to make it available, the user can get an alert about the status of ARM support on each app)
2. Launch in Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) mode. x86 software virtualization may even be provided by Microsoft in the form of software as a service from the Azure cloud. Meaning, if the .exe is recognized it can instantly be run in this remote desktop virtualization service, otherwise the .exe is uploaded to the server and installed to be virtualized safely from there.
3. Basic x86 software could get emulated.

While Microsoft may not themselves be able to process the recompiling of all Windows .exe apps, they can certainly automatically do it on hundreds of thousands of existing open source Windows x86 apps and they can provide a one-click ARM recompilation software for all Windows app developers, that can take their closed source code, click one button to submit the ARM compiled version in the new ARM based Windows Appstore. Offering developers all kinds of new monetization features in the new Windows 8 Appstore, including also easy ways for users to keep over on ARM their eventual already purchased x86 software licence.

Short of launching a direct competitor to Chrome OS (could Microsoft launch an Azure OS?), Microsoft will likely make of cloud grid computing in combination with cloud virtual desktop a new type of service with ARM based Windows 8. I see it like that, I think Microsoft can provide APIs for app developers to hook into the Azure cloud to accelerate processing and rendering features. For example, the ARM version of Photoshop could render images automatically through the cloud, or the ARM version of Avid could also use a grid of cloud servers to speed up encoding. And user’s software licences, and user data, could be in general stored on the cloud, and Internet Explorer on ARM would be fully optimized for full HTML5 online/offline/native/3D accelerated web apps support.

This is how Ubuntu on ARM has about 100% of all the same Ubuntu Software Center apps available for Ubuntu on both ARM and x86, over 30 thousand apps are available to run fully on the ARM version of Ubuntu. It really is a piece of cake to recompile an app from x86 to ARM support, no need to require only the use of emulation or virtualization although those tricks will also be there.

Following is a video demonstrating Microsoft’s RemoteFX Virtual Desktop Infrastructure technology running on a Texas Instruments BeagleBoard xM ARM Cortex-A8 platform. Consider the VDI technology that Microsoft probably is working on for Windows 8 on ARM is probably to use some of these Virtualization features and serve them when needed from the Azure cloud, thus no need for local servers taking care of things. The VDI tricks can also be considered as temporary as the optimal thing is for all the apps, even advanced games to be ported to native ARM support. Though the hardware and cloud based VDI as well as hardware accelerated emulation are temporary solutions during this transition away from x86.

Microsoft supposedly has over 1000 engineers working on Windows 8 for ARM, it’s a big project. It’ll actually bring up desktop/laptop computing to also work in Smartphones and Tablets, it’ll be a bunch of user interface tools for that.

With ARM chips being “fast enough” to run most Laptops, Desktops, Servers, Set-top-boxes, the truth is ARM is becoming the biggest threat to Intel’s core business.

Nokia/Microsoft to use ST-Ericsson U8500 ARM Cortex-A9 in Windows Phone 8

Posted by – May 20, 2011

Forbes reports from Carlo Bozotti, the Chief Executive of European semiconductor maker STMicroelectronics, that Nokia will use the ST-Ericsson U8500 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 with Mali-400 in at least some of its upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices to be released as soon as Nokia and Microsoft are able to make them ready. Here’s a video I filmed with ST-Ericsson showing this processor platform:

The move marks a major shift for Windows Phone devices, which up to now have used chips from wireless technology giant Qualcomm. Even the HTC Trophy, which Verizon Wireless announced today — making it the latest Windows Phone to launch in the U.S. — has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

The uniformity is the result of Microsoft’s precise design guidelines for Windows Phone manufacturers. In the run-up to its big Windows Phone launch in the fall of 2010, Microsoft asked handset makers including HTC, LG, Samsung and Dell to utilize the same chipsets, display size and number of camera megapixels to give users a consistent experience across devices.

Earlier this year, however, Microsoft indicated it planned to open up Windows Phone development to other chipmakers. It now appears that ST-Ericsson, a joint venture between Geneva-based STMicroelectronics and Swedish telecom equipment and services supplier Ericsson, has been admitted to the Windows Phone ecosystem.

Another crazy rumor from Eldar Murtazin (who has been right before..) has been suggesting that Microsoft may be in talks to try buy Nokia’s Mobile Phone business flat out, probably for a bunch of tens of billions of dollars. Can you believe that?

My opinion is that Microsoft knows the ARM Powered mobile device space is where the future of technology is at, so short of yet releasing a Windroid fork of Linux based Android (that could launch Bing, own apps store etc..), Microsoft is probably going to do everything that they can to try to remain relevant in the smartphone and tablet space. Even if that might mean a $40 Billion buy-out of Nokia. Should the Finnish Nokia owners sell out to Redmond?

Eric Schmidt talks about why Android gets more volume and more investments in the platform

Posted by – May 17, 2011

He has said it before, but perhaps not as explicitly when talking about tablets, and it’s always fun to see Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, explain Android’s strategy vs Apple.

Eric Schmid:
It’s a classic contest in high-tech. In that contest, you have a very well run, very focused, closed competitor who builds a great product that does something that is very usefull. That would be Apple. You have another competitor who makes all the technology available to everybody else, and using various creativity and various partnerships gets the benefit over everyone else’s creativity. Because there are more people involved in the open side of that, that side will eventually get more volume, have more investment, therefore have more creativity, more innovation, and ultimately the end user will choose the open one over the closed one.

Fareed Zakaria:
Except right now, the open one, all these tablets that are Android based, let’s be honest, they are not as good as the iPad and they are more expensive, which strikes me as unusual.

Eric Schmidt:
Which product will produce a lower cost product quicker? One manufacturer for a product or many manufacturers competing? The matter of fact is that we are just at the beginning of this fight. And the fight between two very well run, very large, very significant ecosystem companies, will ultimately produce great value for consumers because the fight between them will keep prices low, keep these systems honest and open and encourage the kinds of investments that people want to see. One of the greatest things about this contest is that people who win in this are the consumer.

(…)

There is pride in both approaches but they are completely different. In Apple’s case, they can continue to build beautiful and excellent products. The ecosystem that Google represents will continue and already has more volume, more users and will have more investment in the platform. Ultimately that will produce cheaper, better and faster products for everybody.

Posted by Fareed Zakaria on CNN GPS