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

TI OMAP5 28nm ARM Cortex-A15 sampling second half 2011 already

Posted by – February 7, 2011

Texas Instruments just announced OMAP5430 for smartphones (14x14mm with DDR2 PoP memory) and the OMAP5432 (17x17mm with DDR3 memory) for mobile computing usage, includes 2x up to 2Ghz ARM Cortex-A15 cores, 2x Cortex-M4 for general purpose computing and real-time control, C64x DSP, 5x faster graphics processing using SGX544MPx, 1080p60fps all codecs or 1080p30fps in 3D, can output up to 4 screens including 1 HDMI, it has TI’s M-Shield Security system which includes ARM Trustzone Hardware Support, USB 3.0 host, Sata 2.0, SDXC Flash. Designed for easy porting of software from OMAP4 to OMAP5, for more information visit http://ti.com/omap5

Robert Scoble about Quora, Groupon, Android, Davos, Tablets and Apple at Lift11 Geneva

Posted by – February 7, 2011

Robert Scoble is one of the most influential bloggers on the web, he gives us an update and explanation on Quora, Android vs Apple, his Davos videos and more.

You can watch Robert Scoble’s pretty cool Lift presentation about the current status of Silicon Valley startups and tech companies in following video. Scroll forward to timecode: 1 hour 1 minute for Robert Scoble’s keynote (if anyone knows how to embed this video with deep link for starting at that time code, please post in the comments):

googleartproject.com – this is why we need Quad HD screens and projectors

Posted by – February 1, 2011

Here’s a new project from Google, to digitalize all the worlds art from all the worlds art galleries and make it freely available in ultra high resolution online: http://googleartproject.com

Picasa, YouTube and now also Google Art Project, all cloud services that are ready for Quad HD and beyond!

The usage scenario is something like this, have a slideshow of your favorite art from around the world displayed in Quad HD resolution in your living room sub-$1000 46″ Quad-HDTV.

Anyone with a 3megapixel photo camera or higher creates photo content suitable to be viewed on a Quad HD screen.

Anyone filming with upcoming RED cameras or other consumer camcorders to come that record 2K, 3K, 4K, 5K or more, all those deserve to be seen on Quad HD screen, and can be streamed from YouTube even!

Screen and Projector industry, please take this advice: Give up on 3D as soon as possible and make us some Quad-HD, 4K2K screens and projectors at the same cost as 3D!!! All it takes is a new faster processor to process the higher resolution!

Here are some of the Quad HD screens I saw at conferences during the past few years, every time I see content on a Quad HD screen, I am blown away:
JVC 4K2K Camcorder and TV at CES 2011
Samsung 3840x2160p 82″ LCD HDTV at CeBIT 2008
JVC 4K2K HDTV and Projector at IFA 2008

What to expect from Mobile World Congress

Posted by – February 1, 2011

After the awesome CES last month, I expect an even better Mobile World Congress, from February 13-18th, I will post at least 50 videos here on http://ARMdevices.net showing you the best ARM Powered devices shown at that show. Here are some of the fascinating topics that I expect to film:

- Samsung’s ARM Cortex-A9 Orion processor with ARM Mali-400 graphics in Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy Tab2. Is it a 32nm process design already?

- Freescale to show first i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 reference board or even announce actual devices using it?

- Texas Instruments OMAP4 in actual products, more than just RIM Blackberry Playbook. I expect several phones and tablets will feature the 1Ghz OMAP4430 to be released by end of Q1 and they will probably show and announce devices with 1.5Ghz OMAP4440 for later availability.

- Google shows Honeycomb. Not just videos as they did at CES, but they actually allow everyone to play around with the UI. They should announce Google Music, an expansion of Google Voice for worldwide free VOIP usage. Honeycomb should bring open Google Marketplace for all tablets, for all devices, even laptops. I am hoping Google even announces Honeycomb for Rockchip, Telechips, MSM7227 as well. Honeycomb may be synchronized with the launch of Google TV on ARM as well, or at the least, Honeycomb Google Marketplace should work for Google TV screens. First showing of Chrome OS for ARM Powered laptops would be appropriate as well, full hardware acceleration demonstration for HD web browsing on all the ARM Cortex-A9 processors would be appropriate.

- Texas Instruments nHD Pico Projector could be demonstrated in several upcoming smartphones. Adding a built-in projector will be one of the coolest features of a modern smartphone.

- ST Ericsson U8500 ARM Cortex-A9 ready in Nokia’s next generation smartphone and tablet devices running Meego. But I also expect Nokia to announce and show a whole range of Android devices which I expect have been under development for a year.

- Nvidia to launch Tegra 2 1.2Ghz 3D edition with full 1080p all codecs high profile playback, faster multi-tab HD web browsing processing and they’ll announce and show some Tegra3 stuff as well.

- Qualcomm MSM8660, 8260 to be launched in range of new smartphones and tablets. This is Qualcomm’s big Dual-core Snapdragon processor design push. It may be huge and Qualcomm may dominate Dual-core smartphones as well.

- Marvell 628 Tri-core demonstrated in devices. May be the appropriate timing for them to show demos? Marvell in any case is powering the best example of ARM Powered laptop in OLPC XO-1.75 that should be shipping mid-year, and they certainly have some ambitious Marvell Armada XP ARM Powered server projects going on.

- Rockchip’s partners launch more RK2918 devices. Suitable for low-cost ARM Cortex-A8 tablet designs.

- New Telechips TCC8803 ARM Cortex-A8 designs for other low-cost tablet designs.

- It would be nice to test some Windows 7/8 ARM demonstrations. Microsoft can do a good job porting all the apps and fixing up all the necessary drivers. Let’s see what they have! It would be a nice surprise, but I don’t expect Microsoft to precipitate things too fast.

- Motorola releases Atrix 4G and Xoom by the show start. First Tegra2 phone that does it all and first Honeycomb tablet, so it will be fun.

- HTC releases their next generation Android phones and a tablet. It’s their replacement for Nexus One/HTC Desire/Droid Incredible. My wild guess is it could be based Qualcomm MSM8660 dual-core and include a HTC Tablet as well.

- RIM Blackberry demonstrates support for Android apps on the Playbook tablet. This way, they skip the need to start a whole new app marketplace from scratch.

- HP launches WebOS devices. Let’s see what it can do. I think HP will probably have to use Android though eventually. Hey, competition is always nice, but sometimes when a good open-source platform is free, everyone can just as well contribute to that same ecosystem and if anyone thinks they can make things better, they can fork it or demand the improvements implemented at the level of the Open Handset Alliance. HP did a beautiful ARM Powered laptop before in Compaq Airlife, I’d like to see them upgrade that with Qualcomm MSM8660 Dual-core platform and Honeycomb software.

- I’ll be looking for any demonstrations of platforms such as the Broadcom BCM2157 to enable cheaper Android phones. Sub-$100, how soon, how good.

What do you expect from Mobile World Congress? What would you like me to film in priority? Which questions should I ask to whom? You can also send me tips on what I should film at MWC to my email: charbax@gmail.com Do you agree or disagree with any of my expectations? Post in the comments.

Android has already won

Posted by – February 1, 2011

The smartphone OS wars are not about functionality or design, they are about the business model. Consumers or tech blog reviewers don’t get to chose which smartphone OS wins and looses.

Today, the carriers decide

The main reason Android dominates today is that carriers pay about $200 less per customer on an Android phone compared to an iPhone (about $400 vs $600). The other aspect of Android that carriers like is the customization of it to make more money on extra services. For example, Google provides the carrier with a share from app sales in the Google Marketplace. Carriers can pre-load the devices with apps for on-demand music and videos and other services. Apple does not give carriers any share of revenues from the App Store or iTunes.

The actual bill of materials and manufacturing cost of today’s high end Android smartphone or iPhone is less than $150. Amazingly, the average US smartphone consumer pays above $2400 for his smartphone on contracts, for example, Verizon’s Average Revenue Per User is $105/month. ARPU is lower in Europe, and much lower in developing countries. The carrier economic aspect of Android winning is only how things are today. Even as there is competition with very good high end Android smart phones provided to the market by Samsung, Motorola and HTC, consumers still pay about the same for these phones as they would with an iPhone.

When the carriers loose control

Things are going to change fast. Soon, the carriers will loose control of the smartphone market, and Android will dominate even more.

As 20 Android smart phone makers compete, there are to be $99 Android phones sold unlocked directly to consumers, such as the Chinese Huawei or ZTE Android phones, there will be alternatives to carriers voice services such as the new VOIP centric version of Google Voice which has become an integral part of Android in Gingerbread.

The next phase of Android means consumers will have choices such as the Archos 28 Internet Tablet at $99, no contracts needed, to do SIP/VOIP/Skype calls on WiFi-only, and depending on the region of the world, there are sub-$20/month even sub-$10/month data SIM cards that will be used to get Data-only experiences of Android. White Spaces could also provide for worldwide free wireless broadband for these devices if setup using the http://fon.com model.

While bloggers analyze smartphone differentiation, fueling a feature war on blogs among constantly improving Android super phone specs, in which new models are represented as destroyers of the ones released the previous week, the fact is brands that sell most don’t do it on features, they do it by negotiating the strongest deals with the carriers. If you look at the US smartphone market, it really doesn’t matter which high end Android phone consumers buy, they all cost basically the same $2400+ after those compulsory 2-years in contracts. The consumer only really gets a choice once devices are sold unlocked through all retailers. Then, prices for these devices will have a meaning and the best value for feature will clearly win. So if you thought it was fun with all these Android phones coming out through carriers this past year, you haven’t seen nothing yet compared to what will happen once phones are sold unlocked directly to consumers.

The next billion sub-$100 Android smartphones

Android smartphones can thus soon be $100 unlocked instead of $2400+ on contract. We are talking about a 24x cheaper Android experiences for the consumer. At that point, the consumer gets to choose who wins the smartphone war. This is happenning. It doesn’t matter what Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia and others do. When there are $100 Android phones in every super market, competitors don’t get to keep a market share if they don’t also provide the devices unlocked for $100 with no contracts needed. You think Apple is looking forward to loosing their 300% profit margins on the iPhone?

What carriers will do to try to keep control

The only ways carriers will try to retain control on their trillion dollar industry will be to block VOIP on cheap wireless data plans, buy out and close down any pre-paid carrier competitors that are offering services that are too cheap on any given market, campaign against unlicensed use of the 700Mhz spectrum for White Spaces, block the licensing of 3G/4G modem technologies in cheap unlocked devices, do anything they can to limit competition in the wireless carrier business. Hopefully all these attempts at keeping control will be defeated by strict regulation and government policies.

The smartphone industry is moving too fast for any Government to regulate it, much too fast even for carriers to adjust and protect themselves against the auto-disruption that is inevitable. Everyone is racing and trying to keep the flow of money going their way for as long as possible.

[I originally wrote this on 16th December 2010 to be published on another blog, but since it wouldn't get published there as is, I decided to post it here, your turn to say what you think in the comments.]

Android sells 2x faster than the iPhone worldwide , even more than Symbian in Q4 2010

Posted by – January 31, 2011

Market research firm Canalys released this global smart phone market data analysis for Q4 2010, October-December 2010, revealing that over 100 million smart phones have been sold worldwide in those 3 months in which Android is the new leader in worldwide smart phone sales, even in front of Symbian sales and selling more than double as many as the iPhone.

I don’t think the Verizon iPhone is going to change anything, on the contrary, now AT&T will focus selling more Android phones than Verizon is to sell iPhones. AT&T plans to launch at least 12 Android phones this year and Google is looking forward to enable the release of cheaper Android phones, as Eric Schmidt recently said:

we want to increase the availability of inexpensive smartphones in the poorest parts of the world. We envision literally a billion people getting inexpensive, browser-based touchscreen phones over the next few years. Can you imagine how this will change their awareness of local and global information and their notion of education? And that will be just the start.

Did Nexus S and iPhone5 NFC implementations forget about TrustZone?

Posted by – January 31, 2011

The idea as suggested in this computerworld column, is that the next generation smart phones are to replace all passwords, credit cards, car keys and other identification and authentication functions.

The potential problem I see with Nexus S and the rumored iPhone5′s NFC implementation would be if they leave out ARM’s TrustZone security system. If those NFC chips are nothing much more than some types of RFID tags for near field authentication, that wouldn’t be enough. We need devices with 100% secure modes that are built in the hardware and that are not improvised in software.

As you can see in the video below, as far as I understand it, TrustZone uses a hardware mechanism in the phone’s hardware to provide for 100% security in authentication, which could be used not only for secure payments, but for authentication with any kinds of online banking and any passwords for any type of website.

The idea is that you need to be able to put your phone in a 100% secure mode from which the authentication happens in some 100% secure way. The secure mode is a parallel OS mode on the phone, which cannot be hacked nor cannot display spoofed authentication screens.

Here’s a usage scenario. You click on any website with a login, be it gmail or any other website, instead of typing in your password on the screen, which could have keyloggers and trojan horses, a login prompt automatically displays on your phone with a light indicator elsewhere than on the screen of your phone lights up letting you know you are in 100% secure mode, the secure mode asks you to authenticate for a given authenticated domain login, you type in your 4-number pin code on your phone in the secure mode, that’s it, your phone authenticates your browser logon, no matter what site it is. Basically, your phone becomes as secure as those calculator types authentication systems that online banks use. Those are basically unhackable, because encryption can be so strong, it would take billions of years for all the computers in the world to find the key to powerful encryption. The only way for someone to access your online accounts would be for them to steal your phone and to know your pin code.

I’d like to know, does Nexus S or any upcoming “NFC” type implementations include something like the ARM TrustZone to provide for true secure online authentication or do we need to wait for yet another generation of devices before we have true meaningful online security?

Features PSP2/NGP may be lacking

Posted by – January 30, 2011

So the PSP2 seems to be the most powerful ARM Powered device ever announced and demonstrated thus far, Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 is awesome, 5″ capacitive OLED touch screen sounds fun. But the device does seem to lack some features which I think Sony could have “simply” decided not to purposefully hold back from including on this device:

- Why not use Honeycomb OS instead of a new proprietary OS? I feel it may be a sad thing to have such extremely powerful hardware and not have the software to go with it to fully take advantage of that hardware. Sony should have developed their whole platform based on PlayStation Suite, have it work on all other Android devices and use Honeycomb OS on the PSP2/NGP for full third party applications, UI and web browser support.

- No SD Card storage? Why introduce yet another proprietary storage media? Sony does this far too often, please stick to standards, there are billions of SD cards out there on the market, they could even have provided dual-SD card slots for even more storage expansion capability.

- A fold-out hardware keyboard would be cool. The PSP2 does have a proprietary connector underneath which in theory could be used to connect a folding keyboard add-on, so this may be considered just a feature request. I’m afraid Sony wants to facilitate expensive procrastination rather than cheap productivity.

- No HDMI output? Sony should have included a standard Mini-HDMI, Micro-HDMI or full sized HDMI connector on the side of the device. Since it is as powerful as the PS3, they should allow for connecting it easily to any HDTV to turn the device into a home console.

- Is the SIM card slot unlocked HSDPA? I think it needs to be. And eventually Sony could collaborate with carriers around the world to provide “free” bandwidth on a Sony SIM card that would work internationally and not require a daily/monthly subscription, but may charge by the GB or may be totally free when used for services that can be monetized elsewhere, same way as the 3G connecting in the International Kindle. Even more perfectly, it would have included a dual sim card slot, thus offering also the possibility to have a voice/sms SIM and a data SIM or a local data SIM and the international Sony SIM at the same time without having to swap them in and out too often.

- Does PlayStation Suite include a full unlimited access subscription plan? I think a sub-$20 monthly subscription plan should give gamers access to unlimited amounts of game downloads and online play, including the complete catalog of PS, PS2, PSP games and if possible more. In a perfect world, Sony would find a way to licence access and include all Nintendo NES/SNES/N64/GB/GBC games in the same subscription plan.

Which features do you wish PSP2/NGP included? You can post in the comments.

Here is the official PSP2/NGP announcement keynote video:

Nokia needs Android

Posted by – January 28, 2011

There are some talks about Nokia CEO giving clues about Nokia announcing the support of another OS soon. I think it definitely has to be Android support.

Nokia is the biggest phone maker in the world, they make about half a billion phones each year, it’s insane. The thing is, Nokia makes phones that sell at an average below $20 each, most are being sold in developing countries actually. And even though Nokia makes about 15 times more phones than Apple, they make less than 15 times the profit that Apple does.

Nokia could make the industrys best sub-$100 Android phones, at that price with no subsidy or subscription contracts required. That would completely disrupt the whole iPhone and high-end Android and WP7 market in one swoop. That would focus the market in the area where Nokia is best, at making small margins and large volume.

Nokia could design their own Nokia Android Marketplace if they want, I don’t think they should, instead they have to demand custom standard Google Marketplace, as Google does share in App sales profits with the manufacturer.

Nokia could do all kinds of custom Android UI customizations, as Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, HTC, Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and others have done. I don’t think they should. They should give up on the urge to differentiate in UI designs and instead concentrate on differentiation in hardware design and smooth support for software features through the hardware design, that is the true purpose of a smartphone manufacturer. Give consumers vanilla Android and let consumers install alternative home replacements if they so wish to. Eventually, design a Nokia home replacement if you absolutely want, have it installed by default but absolutely allow for a full change to vanilla Android home UI in an official, not hidden, one click process.

If Nokia has “better ideas” in terms of things such as integrating Qt development framework with Android, suggest more Native Applications Support (such as faster improvements to the Android NDK) or in terms of pushing Android towards more openness in the development process, then “simply” join Google’s Open Handset Alliance and put your full influence on improving the platform for everyone. Be nice.

I am sure Nokia has had a hundred engineers preparing their Android phones for more than a year now, it had probably been some secret projects in their R&D labs that they have been preparing just in case they later find out they need to go the Android route. A big company like Nokia can not afford not to look into Android as the open source releases are released for all to experiment with for free, Nokia could not afford not to prepare some designs just in case, and this is the case for it now.

I think the industry should prepare for the idea that Nokia might make excellent Android phone series to be sold unlocked below $100, below $200, and even some high-end at those below $400 price points. But I think Nokia could aim at the below $200 to feel as good as other companies high-end devices. That is, of course, only, if Nokia is not too much in bed with carriers in a way to prevent themselves from planning to take significant smartphone markeshare overnight by being the mega-disruptor of the Smartphone market, instead of doing like most others do which is to focus on maximizing margins and conspiring with the carriers to trick most consumers into 2-year contracts that are so lame.

What do you think Nokia wants to do and what are they able to do? Post your opinions in the comments.