Will iPad2 use Pixel Qi 9.7″ Matte to achieve Retina pixel density?

Posted by – January 20, 2011

There has been weird rumors going around some blogs that iPad2 would use a 2048×1536 display.

As Pixel Qi provides 3x higher resolution in reflective black and white mode, that should basically serve the marketing tag line of a pixel density that is “Retina display”.

iPad is very heavy at 680 grams. They could significantly reduce the battery weight using a lower power Pixel Qi display, thus saving on the weight of the whole device.

At CES 2011, Pixel Qi announced that they have a manufacturing partner making 9.7″ Pixel Qi screen. If that means Apple may be using it, and if Apple only wants to work with LG to make their iPad2 screen, that could mean that the new manufacturing partner would in fact be LG, and that would mean Pixel Qi may have reached out of Taiwan into South Korea as well.

Some bloggers complain about the quality of colors on Pixel Qi screens, describing them to be “washed out”. I didn’t ask Pixel Qi about their color mode quality, but I believe this is only because the screen coating is anti-glare Matte type which is the only correct way to use this screen 100% outdoors and for e-reading. While iPad1 and most other devices use Glossy type screen those have lots of glare and reflections when used outdoors.

Apple has the opportunity to make of Pixel Qi a mass market screen technology, they have the opportunity to use it for allowing their customers true use reading e-books without the eye straining of a back light, they have an opportunity to launch an iPad2 with 20 hours or longer battery runtime and a significantly thinner design and lower weight.

But if they decide not to, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple disappoint. Then Android Tablet makers will have that opportunity but uptake of the technology may not be as fast especially if Apple’s marketing continue to make it sound ok for e-reading and mobile computing use to have a regular backlit LCD that is unreadable for ebooks and unusable outdoors.

Liquavista acquired by Samsung

Posted by – January 20, 2011

Does that mean Samsung will not manufacture Pixel Qi LCD screens and feel they need something to compete with those who will?

Watch my video of prototype Liquavista screens filmed outdoors:

My Top-20 CES 2011 videos

Posted by – January 19, 2011

As you have seen here on ARMdevices.net during these past 2 weeks, I filmed and posted 106 videos of the 106 coolest products I could find at CES 2011 (6 are still to be posted in the next few days), this is my record for the number of videos filmed at a trade show since I started video-blogging at consumer electronics trade shows since CeBIT 2004.

Here is the top-20 best products that I filmed at CES 2011

1. Motorola Atrix 4G, this is the direction for this industry, convergence in the area of Mobile Computing.

2. Exclusive Honeycomb UI hands-on (not just video of the UI), I actually clicked through the reference Honeycomb OS UI for about a minute in that video while the Motorola representative was looking the other way. Anyone else posted a similar actual Honeycomb UI video and not just pre-recorded video?

3. ARM Powered OLPC XO-1.75 laptop, One Laptop Per Child already invented the Netbook market, now they are pushing the Netbook/Laptop industry into becoming ARM Powered to lower power consumption, lower complexity and lower cost. They are nicely using the high-end Marvell Armada 610 processor for full laptop performance.

4. Archos 101 Home Tablet, Rockchip is pretty amazing, they came from nowhere a year ago (as far as I knew), and now they are powering over 50 Android tablets at CES. This Archos 101 Home Tablet could be sold for as low as $199-$249 at retail when it comes out in a couple months (depends if you listen to what Rockchip or Archos says), it’s 10.1″ capacitive touch screen, HDMI output and very compact and light form factor, it comes with Rockchip’s new RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 1Ghz processor which they claim is more powerful than Hummingbird/Apple A4, does 1080p playback, and most importantly, they say, allows for more affordable ARM Powered devices. And Rockchip is expanding into Laptops and Set-top-boxes as well, where they likely will provide their knowledge and experience providing an all-in-one turn-key-solution for cheap Chrome OS on ARM and Google TV on ARM solutions, to be provided by all the cheap Chinese manufacturer, possibly starting at CeBIT in March, or by China Sourcing fair in April, or Computex in June and beyond.

5. Pixel Qi shows 7″ and announces 9.7″ and 10.1″ 1280×800, these announcements hopefully give us a clue as to we soon may see mass produced devices like Kindle 4 or iPad 2 use this screen technology, and not only the nice Notion Ink tablet which may be reaching some few consumers now but not in large enough scales to fund mass manufacturing and real mass adoption of this new type of screen.

6. LG Optimus black, amazingly light 109gr OMAP3630 Android Super Phone (same power as Droid X) and also uses LG’s new NOVA super bright 700nit display.

7. Sony-Ericsson Xperia Arc, they dominated the Japanese 2010 smartphone sales, now Sony-Ericsson wants to dominate worldwide smartphone sales. The Xperia Arc is also extremely light at 117gr and uses Sony’s big push into mobile displays, their new Bravia LCD display. I wish they would allow for easy one-click Home replacement to become fully 100% Vanilla UI like on a Nexus S.

8. Windows on ARM, there were no booth demos yet, but the excitement at Steve Ballmer’s keynote was insane, this is the end of an era called Wintel.

9. Acer Iconia Tab A500 Tegra2 Tablet, seems to me Acer is showing one of the best looking new major Nvidia Tegra2 based Android Honeycomb tablets.

10. Innodigital shows ARM Cortex-A8 (Samsung) and ARM Cortex-A9 (Amlogic) Android based Set-top-boxes, the ARM Cortex-A8 is already on the market at $168 and the A9 one will come within a couple months for around $268. Those could run Google TV for ARM when that becomes available. Those are the best performing ARM Powered Android set-top-boxes I have seen yet.

11. Joyplus, Pierre Cardin showed Samsung ARM Cortex-A8 7″ Capacitive low cost tablets. Those pretty much can perform like a Samsung Galaxy Tab, basically run the same Samsung Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8 processor with 1080p video playback (I don’t know what bitrate/codec complexity limitations it has), but instead of costing over $600, these are to be sold in bulk at $150 and possibly retail a bit over $200, depending on screen quality.

12. Shenzhen ACT 4.8″ capacitive Marvel PXA935 clamshell Android, really nice 4.8″ capacitive Android Tablet using a Marvell processor and dual-sim card slots in a clamshell form factor with keyboard.

13. NEC LT-W Android Dual-Screen Tablet, it’s actually pretty cool to see such dual-screen Android tablet concept. Although text input is too slow, it probably still needs a real external keyboard solution for full speed text entry.

14. NEC Tegra2 Powered 7″ Laptop, there’s a 7″ capacitive Tegra2 with full keyboard Tablet/Laptop combination prototype. I’d like to see such form factor in a jacket pocketable size.

15. Ramos ARM Cortex-A9 Tablets, Ramos is famous in making cheap PMPs and are now launching Amlogic based ARM Cortex-A9 Android tablets. I also filmed Nufront’s ARM Cortex-A9 10″ and 14″ Laptops and Tablets.

16. Polaroid, Yifang, Pierre CardinMatch TechYootechpros all presented 9.7″ Android Tablets, now Apple’s exclusivity on the screen is finished. Now all Android tablet manufacturers may use the exact same LG IPS capacitive touch screen as used in the iPad.

17. Freescale i.MX508, next generation platform for e-ink e-readers, shows 8fps fast e-ink refresh rates, Android user interfaces for e-ink e-readers. This processor platform will probably be in a large part of the future e-ink e-readers.

18. RIM Blackberry Playbook, most awesome thing about this demo is to experience the power of Texas Instruments OMAP4430 ARM Cortex-A9 processor, see how nicely QNX’s embedded Linux OS does multi-tasking. This specific tablet seems to be pretty great, uses a new bezel touch sensitive user experience, but that also increases the size of the bezel.

19. Seco srl’s Pico Projector in a Lamp concept, watch this one, it’s really fun. This concept could turn out to be in many lamps, adding pico projectors onto every wall, displaying informations and changing moods in your room. Texas Instrument’s new nHD Pico Projector is so small, so low cost, uses so little power, we may see it in many if not in all ARM Powered devices soon, in all mobile phones, all tablets, all cameras such as the GE PJ1. I especially am looking forward to the user interface of turning any pocketable device into a large screen computer projecting the desktop onto any table and having multi-touch sensors built-in.

20. Nvidia’s announcement of Project Denver, they are making a super high performance ARM Processor not only for super phones, super laptops but also for super computers. This may be Nvidia’s custom ARM Processor design or ARM Cortex-A15 based design. Get more infos from my interview with Mike Rayfield on this subject.

Find more of my top CES videos in my Top-24 videos filmed at CES of products not covered by Engadget.

Recipe for the ultimate ARM Powered device

Posted by – January 19, 2011

Android + Chrome OS + Google TV = All-in-one ultimate gadget.

The Motorola Atrix 4G gives us a taste of what’s coming. You get one pocketable product, that is, up to 5″ for normal pocket (passport sized), and up to 7″ for jacket pocket (you’ll see, almost every jacket comes with such a pocket), for this summer I think up to 5″ is the more likely size but for next Christmas sales the 7″ size may win, that device runs full speed Android no slow downs, and when docked to Desktop/HDTV Dock it outputs either Chrome OS for productivity or Google TV for entertainment depending on which mode the user wants to use, and also have this solution power the laptop dock.

Ultimate Pricing

– The ARM Powered brains, basically modular Android Tablet should not cost more than $200 at retail this year. Might add $50 for built-in 3G/4G modem. White Space support this year would be good if built in the FON.com model. If someone could miniaturize a reliable swappable and optional 3G/4G/White Space modem module that could be slided into the back of the device, including easily accessible SIM card reader in there, that could be nice. This way the same product is sold worldwide and the unlocked cellular modem would be an optional accessory that could be purchased for $50 separately.

– Desktop/HDTV Dock should be no more than $50. It’s just a bunch of connectors. Full Google TV support could also include HDMI input and IR Blaster in that Dock, as well as the multimedia RF remote. Ports should include at least 3x USB host, 1x HDMI, 1x mini jack input, 1x mini-jack output, 1x optical audio output.

– Laptop Dock should be no more than $100, include super good quality 10.1″ Pixel Qi screen, capacitive touch, so this also turns this into a 10.1″ Tablet.

Fast enough ARM Processors to do it all-in-one.

The ARM Cortex-A9 powering this device should have fast enough memory bandwidth, fast enough I/O, built in a way that it is fully fast enough to run dozens of tabs at the same time in Chrome OS mode, the overlaying features of Google TV mode should have to support full dual-view with overlays when using HDMI pass-through and support all codecs at fully highest bitrates and highest profiles 1080p 60 frames per second.

This may mean that the current Tegra2 in Motorola Atrix 4G may not be fast enough, but that this ultimate product may need to use the upcoming Texas Instruments OMAP4430 (as in Blackberry Playbook), Qualcomm Dual-Core MSM8660 Snapdragon (as in Asus Memo), Samsung Orion (as potentially in Samsung Galaxy S2/Tab2) and let’s see/analyse performance and availability of the upcoming Freescale i.MX6, Marvell Tricore, Nvidia Tegra3. Someone knows how Amlogic’s ARM Cortex-A9, Nufront’s ARM Cortex-A9 and others may perform comparatively? I’m looking forward to post or find web browsing, video playback, battery runtime and pricing benchmarks testings to be done comparing the performance of all these next generation ARM Processor platforms.

Waiting for Google’s software

The main problem for a platform maker at this point, is that Google has not yet released Honeycomb source code, not yet released Chrome OS for ARM, not yet released Google TV for ARM, thus a gadget maker not having real-time access to Google’s software R&D offices, would have to anticipate this evolution and prepare an all-in-one tablet/smartphone solution that would be compatible with integration of these multi-booting software convergence solutions once Google releases them within the next few months. I don’t know for sure how such Atrix 4G like solution would have to work, if each of the Android, Chrome OS and Google TV have to boot all at the same time offering instant swapping between one or the other OS in the user interfaces, or if all 3 of these OS have to be merged somehow first for this to work in an optimal way. Please post in the comments if you know how Motorola does it on Atrix 4G and how this using Android+Chrome+GTV has to work.

My favorite size would be the tablet using the 7″ Pixel Qi screen, allowing for smaller battery thus 200grams super light weight and thin form factor, the laptop dock should somehow allow for the tablet to be docked on the side of the 10.1″, 11.6″ or larger screen, thus actually extending the screen surface, you can thus touch the tablet part and work on the laptop screen. Basically the Laptop Dock could be like shown by Motorola where the pocketable tablet is either behind the laptop screen, but should be with a swivel to be positionned upright next to the laptop screen. Thus this device combines Tablet, E-reader, Mobile Phone, Laptop and Set-top-box functionality all into one.

Non-free, non-open-source alternatives to Android+Chrome+GTV? Fine.

– Someone in the industry thinks they can do it better than Android? Fine. They can try to put RIM’s Playbook OS, HP’s WebOS, Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s WP7 or Nokia’s Meego on there if they think that is better or they feel they need to differentiate.

– Someone in the industry thinks another browser than Chrome is better? Fine. Like Motorola does Atrix 4G for now with Mozilla Firefox, Opera might have another browser solution, there’s Webkit, IE. All that matters is we get a full speed full resolution ARM Powered web browsing experience with flash and support for all HTML5 web standards including offline web apps, the Native Code and WebGL stuff coming out.

– Someone in the industry think they can do better than Google TV on ARM? Fine. They can load another media player UI on there if they want. Just make sure the user can sit back on a sofa, use a full sized RF keyboard on the USB host, and get near-instant access to all the IPTV, all the VOD, all BitTorrent/RSS downloads, with full codecs support up to 1080p60fps full bitrates, with full NTFS/ETX3 usb hard drive support, full Samba/Upnp/Dlna support, full YouTube 1080p leanback playback and more. Easy plugins for Netflix/Hulu and more is obvious as well. All the while, still sitting in the sofa with that keyboard or fancy lean back mouse pointer, and have a full overlay web experience on top of the video as well, launching overlay apps for chatting, finding other videos, looking up informations, tweeting, video-conferencing and all other features that could be imagined to be done in the living room HDTV.

Who invented this ARM Powered ultimate convergence device?

By the way, this taste of ultimate convergence is not a Motorola invention, although they may be the first to show a sleek ARM Cortex-A9 integration, Archos has been crazy about docks for many years and I’m one of the original Archos Fans (see my other site http://forum.archosfans.com). Archos made the first color screen PMP JBMM20 with Camera/DVR Docks and video outputs 9 years ago, the first embedded Linux Tablet PMA400 (then running Qtopia Linux) 5 years ago, the first Android Tablet Archos 5 Internet Tablet with HDMI 720p Android Dock over a year ago. And Archos has always booted their multimedia OS in parallel with the embedded Linux and more recently Android stuff, both in parallel, thus providing the best of both OS in one same device. But now I believe ARM Cortex-A9 provides enough performance and Google’s software is maturing fast enough so I think Archos and the rest of the industry is able to work towards this dream of an all-in-one device.

Opera Browser for Android Tablets

Posted by – January 18, 2011

Opera Software is optimizing a version of their Opera Browser for Android Tablets, thus providing some higher resolution user interface features.

$100 Bonux HZ20A Android Set-top-box

Posted by – January 18, 2011

This Android Set-top-box uses the Ziilab ARM Cortex-A8 processor platform with 1080p video playback.

Yifang M10, 10.1″ Capacitive Android Tablet

Posted by – January 18, 2011

This one runs a Samsung Hummingbird Cortex-A8 1GHz processor, with 1080p support, HDMI output, 3G option and more.

Yifang M1002, 9.7″ Capacitive Android Tablet

Posted by – January 18, 2011

This one runs Rockchip RK2918 ARM Cortex-A8 at 1Ghz, 1080p video support, Android 2.2/2.3, HDMI output, USB host and more.

Yifang M9C, 8.4″ Capacitive Android Tablet

Posted by – January 18, 2011

They show an 8.4″ capacitive (M9C) and resistive (M901) Android tablet (resistive is about $30-$40 cheaper) running the Rockchip RK2818 ARM9 processor.

Marvell Mobilize

Posted by – January 18, 2011

Uses a 10.1″ resistive screen, can be manufactured for below $199 using the Marvell 166 processor. Marvell is working on user interface layers on top of Android suitable for Tablets to be used in education leading the way towards the OLPC XO-3 Tablet to be based on the faster Armada 610 processor.