Broadcom announces ARM Cortex-A9 to be shown at MWC

Posted by – February 10, 2011

Here’s the press release:

The new BCM28150 HSPA+ baseband integrates a Broadcom® Merlyn™ applications processor with the latest VideoCore® IV mobile multimedia/graphics technology. This new baseband offers customers one of the highest performance, smallest footprint size and lowest power smartphone solutions available for Android™ and other open operating systems.

Broadcom’s new Merlyn applications processor technology is integrated into the BCM28150.  Merlyn processors combine ARM Cortex A9 class processors with Broadcom’s high performance low latency bus architecture and world class multimedia to create a scalable processing engine for all future Broadcom basebands targeted at smartphone applications.

The accompanying reference platform includes the 40 nanometer (40nm) BCM28150 HSPA+ system-on-a-chip (SoC) smartphone processer, the BCM2091 radio frequency IC, the BCM59056 advanced power management unit (PMU) with charger and audio support, and a full complement of Broadcom’s world-class connectivity technologies. Broadcom will be demonstrating its newBCM28150 smartphone processor reference design at next week’s 2011 Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, fromFebruary 14th through February 17th.

Highlights/Key Facts:

  • The BCM28150 HSPA+ baseband processor integrates the Broadcom Merlyn applications processor technology, providing an optimal combination of high performance and low power applications and multimedia processing power for smartphones. Key features of the BCM28150 SoC include:
    • Dual ARM Cortex™ A9 cores at 1.1 GHz frequencies that incorporate the ARM Neon™ 128-bit SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) engine, which is vitally important for delivering flexible, powerful acceleration and low power operation for consumer multimedia applications such as Adobe® Flash®.
    • An integrated HSPA+ release 8 category 14 modem that supports 21 Megabits per second (Mbps) of downstream connectivity, as well as Class 33 EDGE support for greater flexibility and worldwide roaming.
    • Broadcom’s industry-leading VideoCore IV with vector processing unit (VPU) offering a ‘third processing core’ for offloading MHz from the Cortex A9 cores, reducing power consumption while improving the Android user interface experience.VideoCore‘s high performance graphics engine supports powerful shaders and over 1Gpx/s fill rates and can render 3D mobile games natively at up to 1080p resolution at high frame rates which, in combination with a HDMI output, allows a console-quality gaming experience on large screen HDTVs.
    • Advanced imaging with support for 20Mpx sensors and multiple camera inputs for stereoscopic (3D) capture and gesture recognition with advanced ISP feature support (red eye, face tracking, smile detection, etc.).
    • A small 12×12 PoP memory package.
  • The BCM21850 baseband reference platform has been tailored to deliver the most advanced smartphone features along with built-in HSPA+ connectivity, enabled entirely with Broadcom silicon to ensure the highest level of integration and seamless functionality across its various components.
    • Installed with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and support for popular audio and video codecs, including VP8 and Vorbis audio for support of HTML5.
    • Other platform features include:
      • 4.3-inch WVGA TFT LCD with capacitive touch screen
      • 1080p30 camcorder using Broadcom’s integrated ISP
      • Simultaneous LCD and 1080p60 HDMI output with 3D graphics
      • High quality 3D gaming and graphics at 1Gpx/s
      • Blu-ray-quality 1080p60 video playback at very low power levels
      • 12 megapixel camera imaging (up to 20Mpx)
      • Release 8 Category 14 (21 Mbps) HSPA+ modem support
  • The reference platform also incorporates Broadcom’s industry-leading wireless connectivity technology:
    • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and other connectivity options are pre-integrated into the platform, enabling OEMs to efficiently add best-in-class wireless technologies and expanded functionality for next generation smartphones.
      • BCM4329 for best-in-class integrated Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and FM technologies
      • BCM47511 GPS transceiver with integrated support for GLONASS, providing a high-performance solution with access to the widest possible constellation of satellites for improved location performance
  • Broadcom’s InConcert® co-existence technology is also featured within the Merlyn platform, applying interference mitigation techniques to make Broadcom’s leading wireless technologies work better together and with less interference.
  • Motorola Atrix 4G to cost $3220 on AT&T ?

    Posted by – February 10, 2011

    So the first reviews of this awesome “Best of CES 2011” device are reaching some blogs today including slashgear, bgr, crunchgear, engadget.

    The talk on the blogosphere and on blogs.forbes.com is that the Motorola Atrix 4G will be $199 alone on 2-year contract, or $499 with the Laptop Dock on 2-year contract. I’m not sure what the Multimedia/Desktop Dock will cost, my guess is $199? (if someone knows the price of the multimedia/desktop dock, please post in the comments).

    Notice, as most phones sold in the USA, consumers have to signup for a 2-year contract. I always think all blogs should make it a rule that all prices should include minimum and maximum pricing both unlocked, terminated (with early termination fees) and with those 2-year contracts.

    AT&T 2-year contracts seem to cost approximately like this:

    - $85 per month for 400 minutes of voice,
    - $95 per month for 900 minutes of voice,
    - $105 per month for Unlimited minutes of voice
    with 2GB data and WiFi hotspot support. That’s between $2040 and $2520 for 2 years.

    Total price of Motorola Atrix 4G (with both Laptop and Multimedia Docks) on AT&T for 2-years: between $2740 and $3220

    This is not really new. Telco carriers are in the business of making tons of cash and money. This is business as usual.

    Yet, as AT&T is making so many tons of money on the 2-year contract, I don’t exactly understand why AT&T doesn’t just give the Motorola Atrix 4G with both docking accessories at a more affordable price than something like this $700 upfront payment.

    I mean, comon AT&T. Don’t you want to have some price competitive Android super phone options to destroy the iPhone now that your exclusive distribution deal with Apple is finished?

    I’d hardly even consider the Motorola Atrix 4G for $499 with both Docks when the whole thing would be sold unlocked. I may be looking at a package for something like $1000 if I want it unlocked.

    Anyways, it’s for sure Motorola still deserves “Best of CES 2011” award, no matter the pricing. Just because they are courageous enough to push the industry forward in terms of all-in-one ARM Powered device. It is understandable that Motorola wants to take ample profit margins on the accessories and not sell the laptop dock for $150 and TV dock for below $100 as they are supposed to. But for AT&T, well, it’s up to them. How fast do they want to sell these devices in the USA? If AT&T would sell the phone $199 on contract, and provide the accessories for $150 for laptop dock and $100 for tv/desktop dock, then they would have something really powerful to outsell the iPhone quickly and quickly get mass adoption. One can hope AT&T and the other carriers around the world who are looking into selling the Motorola Atrix 4G, that they all think hard about pricing, and that they bring the device with accessories to as many people as possible at some reasonable pricing.

    Instrument using accelerometers and gyro by nodesignlabs ircam at Lift11 Geneva

    Posted by – February 9, 2011

    This team from the Research Institute for Acoustic Coordination and Music at Centre Pompidou is working on real-time musical instruments demonstrating the use of accelerometers and gyros to trigger sound and new ways to create music. This could be used by a DJ or musician in live show or concert. It could potentially be triggered directly with the accelerometer, gyro and other sensors inside of a smartphone. Find more information at nodesign.net and http://www.ircam.fr

    Kyocera Echo dual-screen Android phone looks awesome

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    Last month I filmed the awesome dual-7″-screen LT-W prototype from NEC, already then was it really fun to have an idea of how cool dual-screen web browsing can be and to imagine other apps such as email that can become more useful when used over 2 screens. I really like the idea of the pocketable dual-screen convertible Android touch screen device. Typing mode may not be as fast as with a hardware keyboard, but some really interesting dual-screen applications can be imagined. I’m definitely saying Thumbs up for the innovative design, perhaps their next one can have even less screen bezel in between the two screens to make it more seamless as one big foldable touch screen.

    This video was published at: blog.laptopmag.com

    Alcatel One Touch and Archos partner up for low cost Android Tablet and Smartphone combined data plans

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    Alcatel One Touch is one of the makers of cheap Android Smartphones such as the Alcatel OT-980 which is sold for only £99 on pre-paid plans in the UK. Alcatel One Touch is a brand of TCL Corporation, a $16.7 Billion valued Chinese consumer electronics company.

    Alcatel One Touch’s partnership with Archos would enable an easy sharing of data from a low cost Android Smartphone using a ‘’One Touch Connect’’ button to share the 3G data automatically with the Archos tablet over a mobile WiFi hotspot. This may be a one-click process, and the carrier may be able to limit access of that WiFi hotspot only to the Archos tablet through Mac address filtering and not as a totally open or encrypted WiFi hotspot for use with other devices.

    The idea is that one affordable subscription plan include the voice and data through the low cost Android smartphone as well as the low cost yet high-end Android tablet. This way, consumers don’t need to subscribe to more than one package. I think it can be expected that Alcatel One Touch will present a new range of cheap Android Smartphones at Mobile World Congress next week with this One Touch Connect mobile hotspot functionality built-in.

    Here is expectation/guess/suggestion for a pricing model which I think would make this kind of offer a sure hit:

    Pre-paid only, no contract: $299 for the basic 3.5″ capacitive Alcatel-OT Smartphone and the latest Archos 7″ capacitive tablet, both are on pre-paid and no contracts are needed, pricing for pre-paid should be below $30 per month for something like 300 minutes or unlimited use of voice and 3GB to 5GB of data per month to be used on the Tablet and the Smartphone. The 3GB monthly data hotspot may be open for other devices as well if the carrier wants to allow it. For example $10 to $20 extra per month it could open up the mobile hotspot to any other device and increase monthly limit to something like 10GB per month.

    Phone alone on pre-paid no contract should be $149. Tablet alone no contract needed would be $249.

    6-month contract, then pre-pay: $249 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more. $50 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.

    12-month contract, then pre-pay: $199 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more. $100 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.

    18-month contract, then pre-pay: $149 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more, $150 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.

    24-month contract, then pre-pay: $99 for the Smartphone+Tablet package, $30/month for unlimited voice/data to use on both devices or more. $200 early termination fee, lowered $5 each month.

    What do you think of the idea to use a cheap Smartphone mostly for voice and basic apps and tether it with a larger screen Tablet, use all on one same low cost voice+data plan, and even have this work for pre-paid plans?

    France: Archos has 22% Tablet marketshare

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    According to French market analyst GfK, Archos is now the second biggest tablet maker on the French market, far in front of Samsung (4%), Toshiba (3%), Huawei, Viewsonic and others. Sure enough Apple has the biggest market share with 67%, but I think that’s mostly due to Apple having more cash for manufacturing and distribution. If Archos had been able to spend more money producing more units and having better stock availability at all resellers and never run out of stock during these past 3 months, then I think Archos would probably be number 1 in market share, even in front of Apple.

    Source: archoslounge.net

    As I run the biggest Archos fansite community at http://forum.archosfans.com and I have been publishing the earliest and most popular video reviews of Archos products for over 6 years, publishing the earliest and most popular videos of Archos full Tablet line such as the 70 Internet Tablet, 7 Home Tablet, 101 Internet Tablet, 32 Internet Tablet, 43 Internet Tablet, I may be biased. But I am sure that if all stores had enough Archos in stock to satisfy the demand for tablets over these past 3 months, Archos would sell even more than Apple.

    What matters to the consumer is the value proposition. What features they can get for what price. Archos newest Gen8 Android tablets are about half the price of the iPad and provide more features.

    Legalizing piracy and enabling better content creation through a Global Licence

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    I was at this workshop at Lift11 where we brain-stormed the http://dontmakemesteal.com project which has been gaining media attention during these past few days on wired.com, heise.de, rawstory.com, gigaom.com, sueddeutsche.de, news.ycombinator.com and more. I was on the team in charge of writing the pricing model for this manifesto.

    Here is what needs to happen for piracy to dissapear:

    Everyone pays $5 per month to access everything. Everyone is then allowed to watch, download, stream any movie, tv show, music, ebook, blog post, download, install and use any application.

    This has been called the Global Licence by French socialist party in 2005 when they tried to pass it through the French Parliament (but the law was then cancelled by Chiraq’s Government). I was since then a strong supporter of the Global Licence model and I even campaigned through video-blogging 450 videos for Segolène Royal’s presidential election campaign in 2007 in France to try to get this law passed in one major European country, which would likely then trickle over to be the standard online content law, the copyright/piracy fix for the world, a foundation allowing for the creation of much better content and a solution allowing for development of much better technological solutions to more easily consume all the best content.

    The Netflix model may seem great on the surface, but the reality of a technology provider having to sign content distribution deals with all the content creators in the world is just not a sustainable model. There will be plenty of content creators who will have demands that Netflix cannot meet, and that means a lot of content is then not going to be available in certain markets. Having many separate and closed subscription plans is not a sustainable model.

    The only true solution is a Government mandated blanket licencing pricing and redistribution model, thus the global licence tax, where everyone pays a small tax to legally access all contents.

    $5 per month paid by everyone in the USA and Europe means $60 Billion per year in revenues through this model, that is probably largely enough to finance great content creation. The redistribution of this wealth would happen through decentralized and multiple measurers of popularity and quality of content. For example, Google can measure exact popularity and quality of YouTube videos, last.fm can measure how many times people listen to songs, Razorback and other p2p statistics systems can measure popularity of files on p2p networks. More such models of measurement of popularity and quality/ratings can be implemented once having such more precise statistics and ratings will be demanded.

    The advantages of this model:

    - The money can be distributed directly to content creators, skipping all intermediaries. The content creators thus are in control of their budgets, content creation is thus less influenced by the intermediaries.

    - Technology providers can focus on providing better technologies instead of having to worry about acquiring rights for content. Technology providers can sell or monetize their solutions based on the cost of bandwidth and storage rather than having to monetize through complicated models.

    - Consumers don’t have to think about where they can find which content based on who has the rights to distribute it. Consumers can just make a search for what they want, and they can download or stream it through any number of technology and solution providers.

    Mobino, a new mobile payments system demonstrated at Lift11 Geneva

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    Mobino is a new way to pay for things through the mobile phone, through any cheap voice-only mobile phone as well, using voice prompts when dialing the payment system, and using a pin code to authorize the payment.

    Steven Schuler of Ball State University at Lift11 Geneva

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    Steven Schuler is the Sr. Assoc. Dir. Emerging Technologies at the Ball State University, Indiana. He tells us about the methods used with the students of that university to create Android and iOS applications and doing other projects in the real world. It’s the philosophy of learning by doing, the students are actually hired by real companies to have some real world IT experience before they graduate.

    Latest news from CERN LHC at Lift11 Geneva

    Posted by – February 8, 2011

    Tara Shears of CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) gives us an update on the Large Hadron Collider, one of the biggest science experiments in history. They are ramping up the power of the accelerator in 2011 and 2012 to find the Higgs Boson, they are creating and capturing antimatter and she explains how the 3000 particle physicists at CERN can collaborate on research.

    You can watch Tara Shears keynote presentation at Lift11 here:

    You can watch my 4 CERN LHC Atlas videos as well, those are still relevant even though I filmed those in 2007:
    CERN LHC ATLAS Tour
    CERN LHC ATLAS GRID
    Interviews with Engineers at the CERN LHC Atlas
    CERN LHC ATLAS Control Room