Pricing speculations on cheaper Samsung Galaxy R, Tegra2 4.2″ Super Clear LCD Smartphone

Posted by – August 14, 2011

Arguably, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is the best phone in the world today. Samsung now also brings what looks to become a lower cost similar smartphone experience using the Tegra2 Dual-core 1Ghz processor instead of the 1.2Ghz Dual-core Exynos and using an LCD touch screen instead of the more expensive and harder to manufacture Super AMOLED Plus screen.

I played with the Samsung Galaxy S2 for a few days as I was able to borrow it during Computex, it's a very impressive phone, the screen is amazing and the processor for now seems unbeaten in terms of performance (until 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 devices start coming out next month).

In Europe, I cannot find the Samsung Galaxy S2 sold below 458€ and in the US it seems to cost $629. Clearly, that's very expensive. But I guess, many people still consider that the normal going rate for high-end smart phones?

What is really the true manufacturing cost for Samsung on the Samsung Galaxy S2? My guess is they spend less than $200 to manufacture each phone (which is probably a bit higher than Apple and other LCD based Android smart phone makers pay per phone). Which means they are making upwards 200% profit margin on each phone. Sure enough, Samsung spends extra on making the Super AMOLED Plus screen, which they also are in the process of using their new multi-billion dollar Super AMOLED Plus factory to try to ramp up mass manufacturing to keep up with demand. But I guess that's just how things are for getting a Samsung for now. I'd find it cool if they decided to sell the Samsung Galaxy S2 for $250 unlocked or 250€, it may allow them to not loose money and gain huge market share as they increase their mass manufacturing even much further, but that may be too disruptive for the whole smart phone carrier business model yet.

Anyways, Samsung may save with Galaxy R compared to S2 (according to my pure guess) about $20 on the LCD, and perhaps about $10 on the processor and other electronics that come with the Tegra2 package. A $30 savings in Bill of Material, may translate to upwards $100 cheaper retail price. So I expect Samsung will sell the Samsung Galaxy R below 399€ and below $499 as unlocked. I do not consider the carrier subsidized pricings as I consider those more expensive, they can sometimes add up to $2500 over the 2-year contracts, which I do not consider a pricing advantage over buying the phones unlocked and then using cheaper data and voice SIM cards in there.

What do I recommend geeks who want the best regardless of the price? If you can't wait, get a Samsung Galaxy S2, don't look too much at the price tag, consider all competing big brand Android phones cost about the same. If you can wait, maybe in 1 or 2 months, the rumored Samsung Nexus Prime might be coming with Ice Cream Sandwich. I do not know if the rumors of a 720p Super AMOLED Plus 4.3" screen are realistic, or if Samsung will use the 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 or perhaps overclock their own Dual-core Exynos platform to 1.5Ghz. I would not be surprised if the rumored Nexus Prime is more or less the same as a Samsung Galaxy S2, with very minor design changes and it just running vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich, just like the Nexus S is a copy of the Samsung Galaxy S1 and the Nexus One is a copy of the HTC Desire. The OMAP4460 Ice Cream Sandwiches might be used by LG, Motorola and other companies which may have more history in working with Texas Instruments, but who knows, maybe Texas Instruments is doing huge efforts to provide attractive package deals to all the device makers and that they all feel they cannot afford to miss the non-exclusive TI OMAP4460 based opportunity.

TheInquirer recently quoted analysts saying that Samsung has now overtaken Apple and has become the worlds biggest smart phone maker.

Samsung might have sold more smartphones than Apple and Nokia during April, May and June

With phones like the Samsung Nexus Prime, Galaxy R, cheaper Galaxy phones (2, 3) targetted at pre-paid and developing countries (including focus on BRIC, Brazil, Russia, India, China), the new Super AMOLED Plus factory being ready for increased mass production, Samsung's rise in smart phone market share is likely to only increase. Consider that with just Samsung's Android smart phones, there are more sales than the iPhone, consider how much more Android smart phones sell overall compared to iPhone when all the other many growing Android smart phone makers are put together. I think it is not ridiculous to expect a 1/4 ratio in daily sales to be demonstrated pretty soon, likely before Christmas, regardless of how many current iPhone owners decide to upgrade to the iPhone5.

Windows Phone General Manager leaves Microsoft

Posted by – August 9, 2011

Charlie Kindel, Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem General Manager, quit his job at Microsoft to start a new (Android?) startup in Seattle. Windows Phone is kind of a failure and is rapidly losing market share to the superior Android platform in the smart phone and tablet race. To remain a fair competitor in this market, will Microsoft stop suing Android companies for bogus patents and bogus licences, stop charging licences for Windows (give it away for free!) and even open up the source? How can anyone (fairly) compete with open source and free?

Here is my video interview with Charlie Kindel filmed at last year's LeWeb conference in Paris:

Found via: techmeme.com

20 years ago today, the World Wide Web was released

Posted by – August 6, 2011

Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web as a spare time project, the Google equivalent of a 20% project! He released the world wide web publicly on 6th August 1991 on the alt.hypertext newsgroup, archived by Google here: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.hypertext/msg/395f282a67a1916c?pli=1

Today, most devices that connect to the Internet are ARM Powered.

Here's Robert Scoble's video filmed about 3 years ago at CERN in Switzerland with Ben Segal, one of Tim Berners-Lee's mentors at CERN talking about the birth of the World Wide Web:

semiaccurate.com: New rumors on Marvell’s upcoming Tri-core ARM Processors

Posted by – July 28, 2011

Marvell has an Architectural ARM licence, like Qualcomm and Microsoft. What that means is that they can take the ARM Instruction Set Architecture but customize things around that and implement things as they want to differentiate.

SemiAccurate’s moles say that Marvell is cooking up an A9/A15 hybrid part, philosophically closer to the A9 on the core, but with a very A15-like memory controller. This likely means a 3-pipe design rather than a 4-pipe, but with >32-bit memory access and virtualization instructions. The new chip should implement the full A15 ISA, so there should be no software compatibility issues, but has less raw grunt than a full A15. At least on paper.

SemiAccurate speculates that this is either to lower the cost at near Cortex-A15 performance, or to configure things to try and provide the highest ARM chip performance on the market, targeting Laptops and Servers even more so than others do.

multiple sources in the know say that the key players in the ARM game are all quite nervous about Marvell’s offering, more so than even Krait. Specifics are few, but interest is very high among CPU watchers and system builders. If this chip pans out like many are saying, it could be one of the, if not the fastest ‘next gen’ ARM core. Marvell is not going to be the ‘quiet type’ for much longer, stay tuned.

Read the full article at semiaccurate.com

White Spaces new unlicenced 802.22TM-2011 standard can replace all carriers and provide free wireless broadband worldwide for all

Posted by – July 28, 2011

Bloggers are talking about using White Spaces for connecting rural areas to broadband, citing specs such as "transmissions speeds topping out at 22 Mbps per channel, with a range of up to 100 kilometers". That is great and all, bravo. But what I have been suggesting for years, please write comments if you know more or better, is that White Spaces can also be used in all cities to rapidly replace the need for cell phone carriers completely! Consider this scenario:

1. Next month, someone, perhaps Google or Martin Varsavsky's fon release a cheap low voltage short antennae $20 White Spaces router, one that everyone is encouraged to connect as any other WiFi router at home.

2. Clever online White Spaces anti-interference and bandwidth-management maps are used to automatically set the voltage for each White Spaces WiFi on stereoids hotspot, to not create any interference in the city and also cover as much of the city area as possible.

3. All users connect using FON.com method, all White Spaces hotspots are broadcasting open hotspots but without providing actual internet access until each user gets reliably authenticated, for example using username/password method. In devices you can save your username/password so you always automatically connect.

4. Bandwidth is thus throttled cleverly as there is more or less demand in any given area. And owners of each hotspot can of course decide to prioritize the bandwidth for their own consumption and only give out whichever unused bandwidth on this shared White Spaces sharing network. Basically, as owner of a White Spaces hotspot, you can never even know that your home bandwidth is being used by people walking by in the streets outside your appartment, as long as you need bandwidth yourself in your home your own usage is always fully prioritized.

5. Because of net neutrality, internet service providers can not legally try to block or throttle this type of usage. One can do whatever one wants to do with ones home bandwidth. This is nothing else than wanting to roam the world for free by sharing ones own home bandwidth with the neighborhood.

6. The higher the demand for bandwidth, the smaller each White Spaces hotspot is dynamically made, by lowering the voltage of each hotspot to lower its coverage diameter.

7. With about 1000 such White Spaces hotspots, at a cost of about $20 each (if those cost not much more than WiFi routers to mass manufacture), it means that for about $20 thousand, users can totally cover any city with free wireless broadband for all. And as more and more bandwidth is required, simply more hotspots are added and purchased by the users themselves.

8. Micro-payments for better bandwidth prioritization can also be added somehow. If Fiber providers decide to try to improve bandwidth in this city-wide White Spaces network, those should be able to easily sell such premium bandwidth by the Gygabyte. So while some basic bandwidth for VOIP and other such basic use may mostly be free for all users, someone who may not be sharing bandwidth at home, may have to pay something like $0.10/GB for some prioritized bandwidth. The micro-payments can also work automatically with one payment standard for the world, one simple "Pay $__ for __GB bandwidth in region __ OK/No" standard for the world.

So what do you networking experts say, are we just about to enter a new world where cell phone carriers become unnecessary, but where everyone shares White Spaces from their home using types of Fem2Cell and simple White Spaces routers and even White Spaces mesh networking?

Larry Page, Google CEO, talking about White Spaces in September 2008:

Raspberry Pi $25 ARM Desktop PCB Alpha boards now in manufacture

Posted by – July 28, 2011

Here's what Raspberry Pi has posted on their blog:

Over the past three months, we’ve been working hard to finalize the specs for the Raspberry Pi device, and to produce schematics and a PCB layout. Last Tuesday, we sent an alpha release of the board for manufacture. From an electrical perspective, this board is intended to be identical to the final device; the resulting units will be used to validate the schematic design, and will serve as our interim software development platform.

The Raspberry Pi is configured with an unknown ARM Processor, 128MB or 256MB RAM, SMSC LAN9512 USB 2.0 hub and 10/100 Ethernet controller.

Find more informations at http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Bodhi Linux for ARM project now on Kickstarter

Posted by – July 28, 2011

Jeff Hoogland posted this project on kickstarter.com for developing an alternative embedded Linux OS for ARM Powered tablets:

We want to provide an elegant, fully open Linux based operating system that is a viable alternative to Android and Meego for mobile touch screen devices. Competition stimulates market growth and produces better products over all for consumers. An open development model means no surprises or lock downs that will hurt end users. It also means developers can more easily get involved and contribute to what we are creating.

We are starting with Debian as our base and building our interface on top of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFLs). It will be optimized for touch screen devices, but the interface will still be practical for devices controlled by a keyboard and mouse. We have an ever growing team that is dedicated to producing a quality product.

Here's a video demo of Bodhi Linux current version running on the Archos 70 Internet Tablet that can be legally-rooted for installing alternative multi-boot software.

Find out more about this Bodhi Linux project at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/560221218/bodhi-linux-for-arm

Acer to release an ARM Powered Laptop next week!

Posted by – July 23, 2011

x86 is becoming more and more problematic for Laptop makers as the retail prices are lowered, component and manufacturing costs remain high, profit margins are lowered and the overall Laptop market growth is being slowed by consumers using gradually more and more of their consumer electronics budgets on ARM Powered Tablets and Smartphones instead of x86.

Acer's previous CEO got fired about 3 months ago as their board of directors were angry at them not investing enough of their potential into releasing more ARM Powered devices, those that can maximize profit margins and enable real growth.

The big question for this ARM Powered Acer Laptop is to know if this will run the Tegra2, does that provide enough memory bandwidth for a good multi-tab web browsing experience, if they somehow have been able to provide a version of the 1Ghz Tegra2 with more memory bandwidth for Laptop use, or if performance is simply going to be similar to the awesome ARM Powered Toshiba AC100 released last year.

The other big question is do they run Chrome OS, Ubuntu, Android Honeycomb or all of the above? Wouldn't it be awesome if Acer came forward and said something like "Hey, we will support more than 1 OS, even Windows 8 when it comes out, simply choose your OS in a multi-boot menu and we will provide updates for each OS over the Internet or they can be updated through the SD card". I think multi-boot multi-OS support is the key to enable a successful ARM Powered Laptop product for convincing the early adopters now while the whole Linaro software is being optimized and worked on, while memory bandwidth on ARM Powered laptops may or may not provide a fully smooth multi-tab full javascripts and Flash web browsing experience, and while so many nice OS are competing with each other to provide the best most hardware accelerated web browsing experience. I would for example very much like Chrome OS on this, but the look of Android Honeycomb on a Laptop sure is nice and Ubuntu on ARM is becoming awesome!

The news arrives by way of company chairman and CEO J.T. Wang as he addressed concerns about the company dropping from the second world's largest PC manufacturer to the fourth largest during the second quarter of 2011. He said that to regain its lost market share, the company plans to adopt a new strategy to create "more value instead of pursuing volume growth."

This is Awesome! ARM Powered Laptops are CHEAPER, use much lower power, thinner, lighter, would be perfect in a $199 ARM Powered Acer Chromebook, this is a perfect way for Acer to introduce something new to dominate a market.

Finally, instead of simply pushing out x86 powered reference design laptops based on Intel and AMD x86 chips, now Acer is investing to differentiate, improve, optimize, customize and design awesomeness through ARM Powered laptops that run embedded software.

Acer is not the only one!

Last month, Digitimes reported that Several vendors plan to offer ARM-architecture notebooks.

Several vendors, including Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer, plan to develop ARM architecture notebooks, with products possibly to be launched as early as the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

Samsung may release Exynos 4210 Powered Chromebooks! Toshiba is probably doing an AC200! Asus is also rumored to be preparing a 13" ARM Powered Android Laptop similar to its Asus Transformer!

Look forward to A LOT of FUN TIMES ahead in the ARM Powered Laptop market. Which ARM Processor with how much memory bandwidth and which software OS would you like to run on your next ARM Powered laptop?

via: liliputing.com and tomshardware.com

Best Tablet in the World: Archos 80 and 101 G9, my first hands-on

Posted by – July 13, 2011

I got lucky enough to be able to play around with the new Archos G9 tablets for a few minutes (as I am the admin on http://forum.archosfans.com), they are awesome. Here are some of the features that I think makes this probably one of the best tablets in the world when it comes out in September:
- 50% faster than iPad2/Xoom/Transformer/Tab101/etc, 1.5Ghz Dual-core OMAP4460 ARM Cortex-A9 vs 1Ghz for the others (Quad-cores such as Nvidia Tegra3 are rumored to come at 1.2Ghz so this dual-core may be 25% faster for some things that are not too parallel and perhaps about 20% slower on other more parallel processed things)
- Optional unlocked $49 3G Dongle slides in the back
- Built-in kick-stand
- HDMI-out (1080p All Codecs High Profile High Bitrates) with most powerful Video/Audio/Photo apps on any device with automatic meta-data and Upnp/Samba streaming support
- 2x USB Host (one is dedicated for 3G Dongle)
- Honeycomb 3.2 with official Google Marketplace pre-installed
- Most importantly, starts at $279 for 8", $349 for 10.1", there will be all kinds of options though, 16GB Flash or 250GB hard drive (the 250GB version is likely around $100 more than the 16GB flash version, to be confirmed) don't worry about hard drive speed/failures, all the Android OS and apps are on 4GB Flash based ROM cache so the OS feels 100% as fast as on a Flash based tablet, the HDD only spins up when loading big video files into memory while you probably are not likely to be running around with it anyway.

This is my first video showing how those tablets are. Look forward to many more videos that I will post about the Archos G9 if I can get some review samples at one point in the next few weeks until and after they are released in September worldwide.

I would have liked to see them do 5" and 7" G9 tablets as well to be more pocketable (pants 5" or jacket 7" pockets), but for now, Archos has nothing to announce regarding more sizes for the G9 series, it's open to speculation, my speculation is that it may be the reason for them to have to wait for Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich to come and support more screen sizes officially and also it may be a question of production capacity and limiting the amount of skews they release.

The OMAP4460 that comes in the Archos G9 series is quite amazing. It can do 1080p at 60 frames per second, for sure all codecs high profile high bitrates at 30 frames per second. It's got an awesome overclocked Imagination GPU for advanced 3D graphics making HDMI out 3D games smooth and totally making this a potential up to N64/PS/DC emulator console replacement on your HDTV. HD Netflix can be supported. You can easily do 720p video conferencing, even 1080p video conferencing can be supported if a 1080p USB Webcam can be made to work on this Android.

Freescale MPL3115A2 pressure sensor / altimeter

Posted by – July 11, 2011

Freescale launches the new altimeter MPL3115A2. This device uses a piezoresistive bridge as its sensor element. It also includes a dedicated ASIC which performs ADC conversions, oversampling, trim compensation, data path calculations and I2C port control. What this means is that your next smartphone can detect on which floor you are in a building, it can detect the altitude of your smartphone in theory to as small a distance as 3cm (they guarantee 30cm because of potential interference and uncertainties). IT can also do barometric weather forecast and measure the ambient temperature. When you combine this new sensor with all the other sensors in a device such as accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer you can get a complete inertial navigation system which helps you to have a more accurate positioning for indoor and outdoor navigation.