Texas Instruments released this video showing that Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 now already boots fine on the OMAP4430 based $179 Pandaboard which you can buy at http://pandaboard.org. I expect that we might see Desktop-optimized user interfaces and a full Chrome web browser soon, maybe with Android 4.1 or 4.2. As I also think it's important for every ICS smartphone to turn into a "desktop mode" when using the HDMI output and when a keyboard and mouse are detected.
Expect all Gingerbread-capable devices be able to upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich rapidly. The question is only how soon each ARM SoC can have it fully hardware accelerated? Who is doing that work of doing all the hardware optimizations? Who is eventually disabling or tuning down certain hardware accelerated advanced user interface features in the software if that hardware is not powerful enough or of lower performance?
As of course one can expect all the latest high-end Dual-Core ARM Cortex-A9 processors to support this soon, including all devices on the TI OMAP4, Samsung Exynos 4210, Qualcomm MSM8260/8660, Nvidia Tegra2 and Tegra3, St-Ericsson U8500/U9500 and more. Imagine how awesome it is going to be to see firmware updates upgrading all Tablets and Smartphones using following cheap SoCs to Ice Cream Sandwich:
- TI OMAP3630/3530/3430 ARM Cortex-A8
- Samsung Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8
- Freescale i.MX51/53 ARM Cortex-A8
- Marvell PXA618 Single Core
- Qualcomm 8255/8255T Single Core up to 1.5Ghz
- Rockchip RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 1.2Ghz
- Telechips 8803 ARM Cortex-A8 1.2Ghz
- AmLogic 8726 ARM Cortex-A9 Single Core 800Mhz
- NEC/Renesas EV2 ARM Cortex-A9 Dual Core 533Mhz
- Qualcomm MSM7227 ARM11
- Mediatek MTK6573 ARM11
- VIA 8710 ARM11
and more! Does anyone know how to get a confirmation from each of these ARM SoC providers to get an idea about how soon and if they expect to get full Ice Cream Sandwich support? Who is going to make that work, do each SoC provider, each device maker have to do all the work or is Google contributing a lot of those software optimizations already as part of the open source Android 4.0.1 code release?
How soon can we expect to find some awesome sub-$100 and sub-$200 fully capacitive, fully smooth Android phones, tablets running on the amazing Android 4.0.1? Can we expect them all now to be fully officially allowed to pre-load the full Google Marketplace, having the full Google-supported Tablet features, official tablet services pre-loaded, no questions asked? I expect Google's new Ice Cream Sandwich Compatibility Definition Document to allow for every one of those SoCs full compatibility, even the cheapest, and not requiring any specific sensors, screen sizes, buttons, 3G features or other to get official Google Marketplace on those.
I expect that we may see Ice Cream Sandwich on all these SoC, even the ARM11 based ones, starting as soon as before the end of the year, or maybe in January or February of next year. I expect all cheap tablets and phones to run the latest Ice Cream Sandwich, all come with the official Google Marketplace legally pre-loaded, regardless of sensors present. I also expect either Android 4.0.1 or perhaps later coming Android 4.1, Android 4.2 to also provide full support for Set-top-boxes, Laptops, E-readers and more. That means, I expect this to provide a full Google TV experience on HDMI out. I expect this to provide a full Chrome browser when outputting a HD output and keyboard/mouse is detected. I expect this to provide the best ever user interface and applications platform for E-Ink and Pixel Qi based e-readers, powering a better reading experience.
Andy Frame is interviewing me on ARM's official YouTube Channel about my ARM Powered devices used for video-blogging and live video streaming from consumer electronics trade-shows.
List of devices featured in this video:
- Headmounted Display: Kopin Golden-i, OMAP3530 based, provides SVGA screen at eye-level for real-time monitoring of an IRC chat for asking better questions
- Headmounted Logitech c910 Webcam connected to the ARM Powered One Laptop Per Child XO-1.75, Marvell Armada 618 based, live-streaming the webcam video feed to http://ustream.tv (an optimal Headmounted computer, maybe Motorola's next version, can include the webcam and Android based software to live-stream the video to any live video streaming service built-in)
- Archos 101 G9, OMAP4430/OMAP4460 1Ghz to 1.5Ghz tablet, similar specs as in the Galaxy Nexus but in a 10.1" tablet form factor. Starts $269 unlocked no contract for 8". This is probably my favorite high-end tablet at the moment. I'll post my full video-review of the Archos 101 G9 in the next few days.
- Archos 70 Internet Tablet, OMAP3630 1Ghz single core, released about 13 months ago. I use this tablet every day as 7" tablets fit in any jacket pocket. Thus I mostly use this for checking emails, web browsing, watching video, playing games, using apps when I am outside. I am looking forward to upgrade this to a dual-core 7" tablet.
- My $87 FG8 Android Smartphone, it's my main smartphone for the past 7 months since I found it in Shenzhen China. It supports Dual-SIM cards (so I can use my home and foreign SIM numbers at the same time, or use voice SIM and data SIM at the same time), has a decent 3.5" capacitive touch screen, uses the wildly popular in China Mediatek MTK6516 ARM9 processor. I'm looking forward upgrading this to a Galaxy Nexus (because I am eager to try Ice Cream Sandwich) or to a newer faster 3G-capable sub-$100 Android phone.
- ZTE MF61 T-Mobile USA 4G HSPA+ Hotspot, $50 for 3GB/month pre-paid, $141 for the device, no contract.
ARM Media Processing Division's Jem Davies and Ian Smythe talk about the launch of the new Mali-T658 GPU. It can start to appear in devices by the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. This is like having a 250 Gigaflops super computer in your pocket. The performance is anywhere from 2x to 4x faster than the Mali-T604 announced last year. Now supporting configurations up to 8 cores. It easilly supports 4K resolutions. It's compatible with the newly announced ARMv8 64-bit architecture. The Mali-T658 delivers desktop-class performance, achieved by doubling the number of GPU cores, doubling the number of arithmetic pipelines within each core and improving the compiler and pipeline efficiency. Find more information at http://www.arm.com/products/multimedia/mali-graphics-hardware/mali-t658.php
Nvidia is launching the Tegra 3 next month in the $499 Asus Transformer Prime (with a $149 optional keyboard dock). This is an amazing new Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 with a lower-power "companion chip" for reduced power usage.
They are publishing a lot of claims about the performance.
How does a Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 clocked at 1.5Ghz like in the TI OMAP4460 and Qualcomm MSM8660 and at up to 1.8Ghz like in the upcoming TI OMAP4470 compare with a Quad-core Tegra3 clocked at 1.3Ghz?
Nvidia probably claims that the Quad-core design performs faster. And in my video with Freescale talking about their upcoming i.MX6Quad it's being said that running a higher frequency Dual-core can introduce potential leakage and higher power consumption, but what is it really? How is the performance going to compare for most popular Android tasks, for most common Android usage scenarios, for most current Android apps?
I am looking forward to testing these "second generation" ARM Cortex-A9 processors, I want to believe that these can provide for the full performance required to replace x86 for a full ARM Powered Laptop and Desktop experience. I want to believe that Nvidia improved their ARM Cortex-A9 design enough to provide for an amazing new faster memory bandwidth.
Basically, what I expect that we are getting now is enough performance, fast enough memory bandwidth, that we can run as many tabs as we want in the Android and Chrome web browser on ARM, that we can even expect to be able to begin to do things like video-editing (HTML5 cloud based), photo-editing (HTML5 cloud based), console-quality gaming (with cloud powered engines like OnLive if needed), all through this new class of ARM Cortex-A9 processors coming out now.
Which one do you pick among OMAP4460 Dual-core 45nm 1.5Ghz (December), OMAP4470 Dual-core 45nm 1.8Ghz (next 3 months?), Qualcomm MSM8660 Dual-core 45nm 1.5Ghz (now), Qualcomm Dual/Quad-core S4 Krait 28nm 1.5Ghz (next 6 months?), Freescale i.MX6Quad 1.2Ghz (next 6 months? higher clock speeds later?), Exynos 4210 45nm 1.2Ghz (now), Exynos 4212 32nm 1.5Ghz (next 6 months?), Apple A6 (32nm? dual or quad?) (next 6 months?), Marvell Armada PXA2128 (next 6 months?), ST-Ericsson U9500 45nm 1.2Ghz (now), ST-Ericsson U9540 32nm 1.85Ghz (next 6 months?) and Nvidia Tegra3 40nm 1.3Ghz (December, higher clock speeds later?)? And don't forget that the ARM Cortex-A15 designs at 28nm are going to arrive within a few months after that.
I think we are going to have a lot of fun with these new faster ARM Powered devices, do you agree?
At ARM TechCon 2011 last week, Applied Micro was able to show their ARMv8 platform design already running on an FPGA, to be sent out to their partners in January so they can start working on the software for when they can have working silicon of their ARMv8 64-bit Server-on-chip platform, they say as early as in the 2nd half of 2012 already. Here is the full keynote presentation featuring Paramesh Gopi, president and CEO of Applied Micro, Lance Howarth, EVP Marketing at ARM, Dr. Christos Kozyrakis of Stanford University, Andrew Feldman, Founder and CEO of SeaMicro and Vinay Ravuri, Vice President of AppliedMicro's Embedded and Processing Business Unit, presenting the worlds first ARMv8 64-bit processor demo running on an FPGA. I recommend that you watch the full webcast with slides on Applied Micro's own website (enter a name and email to start watching in full screen with the synchronized slides), and here is the YouTube version without the slides as published by youtube.com/cnxlinux:
One can thus possibly understand from this that the ARM Powered Servers are going to be upgraded twice in the next year. Powered by Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 now such as the HP Moonshot project powered by Calxeda EnergyCore, likely upgraded to ARM Cortex-A15 solutions (up to 8 cores) as soon as those are ready (2H 2012) and then again upgraded to ARMv8 64-bit running at up to 3Ghz which is what Applied Micro is saying that they can deliver early silicon of in just about a year from now. Thus ARM Powered Servers are going to run at up to full performance levels, not only being suitable for lower power consumption and lower price but also aiming to deliver the full maximum performance that some people building servers say they need.
10x less power consumption, 40x less cables, 10x less switches, 20x less racks, 4x more servers for 3x lower cost.
HP, the biggest Server maker in the world, is launching the ARM Powered Project Moonshot to revolutionize the server market. Together with Calxeda, they are launching the new custom designed Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 EnergyCore processor that can be stuffed in a completely redesigned server rack to offer many more servers in a much smaller space and consuming much less power at a much lower cost.
You can be sure Google, Facebook, Amazon are looking into using these instead of Intel servers as soon as possible.
Now that Intel is losing the battle to powering the client device, they are also about to loose the battle to powering the cloud.
One little warning though. HP is Intel's biggest Server customer today. Intel provides most of the server processors for HP's $16 Billion per year server business today. So you never know what kinds of threats or "incentives" Intel might come up with now that HP has announced the Project Moonshot and Intel might try to lure HP into getting a discount on current server chips and using the Intel Atom instead. Expect Google, IBM, Dell and others to soon announce their own ARM Powered server projects also.
Right after the announcement of the ARMv8 64-bit architecture at ARM TechCon, Richard Grisenthwaite, Lead Architect and Fellow at ARM did this following highly technical presentation to a huge packed room of ARM industry insiders and experts, here's the full video with slideshows as released on the official ARMflix YouTube channel:
At the end of the video you can click through to Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of this 45-minute technology preview.