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OpenVG hardware acceleration by Freescale

Posted by Charbax – May 25, 2010

You may be familiar with OpenGL hardware acceleration in all the recent ARM Processors, but check this recent API from the Khronos group: OpenVG. It is meant at rendering Vector Graphics, where basically the images are stored not in bitmaps (a sum of pixels) but in maths formulaes. Each time you need to re-draw the image, you just have to re-calculate the vectors to show high quality pictures and animations. This is what pdf and postscripts use, and this is especially useful for zooming. All cool user interfaces should use OpenVG at some point, which is easier and more flexible than OpenGL thus for certain graphics and animations to be used in all kinds of user interfaces as well as content.

So far, most processors could support OpenVG on top of the OpenGL hardware accelerator. But Freescale added a second GPU in its i.MX processors. So for instance their i.MX51 has a GPU for OpenGL and a second GPU for OpenVG.

carrypad.com: Compaq Airlife 100 video-review

Posted by Charbax – May 25, 2010

You may have seen my previous videos of the HP Compaq Airlife 100 as I filmed it at consumer electronics trade shows these past few months at CES and at Mobile World Congress.

Carrypad.com has got one from HP Spain and have posted this video review.

Were there Android Tablets at GoogleI/O?

Posted by Charbax – May 21, 2010

I was expecting Google to launch Android Tablet Edition at the recent Google I/O, but watching through the two keynotes videos (1, 2), I can only see lots interesting things about WebM open-source free licence VP8 video codec launch, awesome new Android 2.2 features and Google TV launch, but no mention of them bringing their Android Martketplace to tablets.

NetbookNews.com did find a Nvidia Tegra 2 based new Android tablet showcased, but no talk or confirmation on if it will come with the Google Marketplace officially pre-installed:

Review: Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 vs Huawei e5830

Posted by Charbax – May 16, 2010

The Mifi is a great solution for bringing a WiFi hotspot with you everywhere in the city and even in the country (depending on HSDPA/UMTS/GPRS coverage in your country). It's perfect to add 3G connectivity to your Archos, iPad, iPod Touch, Laptops and any other WiFi-only devices that you may have. In this video, I compare the performance and features of the two Mifi adapters that are available on the market, the Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 and the Huawei e5830.

In this video, I demonstrate a VOIP call taken using Google Voice and Gizmo5 on my $249 Archos 5 Internet Tablet using SIPdroid or any other SIP VOIP applications on the Android OS. This is the vision where you just need a pre-paid 1GB or 10GB of bandwidth per month on a SIM card, just enter it in your unlocked Mifi device, make sure the right profile informations are entered using the control panel and that's it. You've just about got a full mobile phone replacement, but where you don't need to pay for voice minutes and SMS subscriptions any more.

Although eventually all devices will have built-in unlocked SIM card slots and modems, the Mifi solution is a really great temporary alternative, that connects on 3G all WiFi-only devices. When your city gets White Spaces, LTE or WiMax, you don't need to buy new devices, just buy a new Mifi.

If you travel a lot in Europe, this is a must have. Then find SIM cards for cheap pre-paid plans, for 5€ to 10€ and get Mifi internet access all over that city and country.

The Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 that I got was unlocked beforehand, I don't know if there are online programs to unlock one if you happen to have a locked one. It can be bought unlocked for 214€ at moblix.hu and expansys.com.

I will post further test video of the Novatel Wireless Mifi 2352 once I get to figure out how to use some of the more advanced features. And at Mobile World Congress, Novatel Wireless advertised the functionality of installing applications on their Mifi device (see my video interview about it), to increase the functionalities. Such as hosting a little server in there on the MicroSD card, doing some file-sharing, file caching, GPS tracking and other stuff. The Mifi is the kind of device that I think all busses, trains in Denmark are getting installed to provide free WiFi to all people taking public transportation. If you own a taxi business, drive a bus, own a sausage stand, providing your customers with mobile WiFi is an awesome opportunity.

I bought the Huawei e5830 at the Three store in London for £49 with a compulsory £10 1GB/month first month pre-paid credit. I then unlocked it for 15€ using http://www.dc-unlocker.com/ (it can also be bought internationally from ebay.co.uk for around £80 unlocked) and I installed the latest firmware with full Control Panel, built-in Profile and other Router management features at: http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=98318&page=2. Consider also I filmed the Huawei E5 version 2 (with faster 3G HSPA+ speeds support and a new display) at Mobile World Congress, see my video here: http://armdevices.net/2010/02/15/huawei-e5-2-mifi-at-mobile-world-congress-2010/

I am going to Computex

Posted by Charbax – May 16, 2010

Computex in Taipei Taiwan June 1-5th is going to be awesome. Last year was my first Computex show and it was a great experience. While last year, I was lucky to be the first to see Pixel Qi in action (2, 3, 4), I saw Android on laptops and tablets, I saw Smartbooks demonstrated by Freescale, Qualcomm and Nvidia (2). I interviewed ARM about the status of Mobile Computing. Now finally, all those products are actually going to reach the market. For the past year, advances and optimizations in Chrome and Flash support is showing consumer-grade web browsing experiences for these products. Here are some of the main topics that I hope to film at this year's Computex conference:

- Pixel Qi LCD in actual announced products "to be announced by half a dozen or more companies", this technology is going to be the basis for the combination of E-reader, Tablet and Laptop markets.

- Chrome OS and Flash support on ARM Powered Laptops, makes Smartbook category ready to be a massive success.

- Android Tablet Edition, I trust that Google provides the full Google Marketplace on a whole range of Tablets to be shown.

- Cheaper Android Phones, I want to see cheaper phones shown by other manufacturers than just HTC, Motorola and Samsung (although those companies make nice Android phones).

- Youtube HD on cheap set-top-boxes, right after the Google TV announcements expected at Google I/O, I would like to see manufacturers showing cheap sub-$100 ARM Powered set-top-boxes that stream Youtube in HD quality directly on the HDTV, that may provide HDMI pass-through and overlay interactive features to existing TV channels as well.

- Connected E-readers, e-ink devices are great for reading, they make people read more again. But it's important that all the worlds text contents reach those e-readers wirelessly.

Check back here on http://ARMdevices.net before, during and after the Computex trade show June 1-5th, to find me uploading 50 to 100 new awesome videos showcasing all those new ARM Powered devices that I think are going to change the world. If you are a blogger, subscribe to my RSS feed and make sure you check back here for the best Computex video coverage, you are of course welcome to embed my best videos on your blog with a link back to my blog post. If you are a fan of big technology news blogs and you like my videos, I appreciate if you submit my best videos to those sites.

Nvidia to power Android 3 (Gingerbread?)

Posted by Charbax – May 15, 2010

In a conference call reported by theinquirer.net, Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia talks about following things:

Jen-Hsun knows where the competition will come from, but added that Tegra plus Android 3 will prove to be a winning formula. "Prior to Tegra, there are only two application processor companies out in the mobile space, right? Basically, it's Qualcomm and TI, and they both make wonderful application processors," he said.

"Our differentiation and our contribution to the space is where multimedia, high resolution snappy graphics [are] really necessary. And the first-generation smartphones had pretty low resolution displays. And so snappy graphics and high-performance multimedia and high resolution just wasn't as much of an issue. But [now] resolution's a huge issue. And so that's our contribution and that's our differentiation and that's what people are seeking out in the market."

That may mean Android 3 is being optimized for ARM Cortex A9 grade processors. Taking advantage of dual-core and quad-core high performance processing and especially of the much increased graphics and video processing features of these next generation ARM processors. Thus the optimizations of the OS code may look like this:

Android 1 = ARM9 and ARM11
Android 2 = ARM Cortex A8
Android 3 = ARM Cortex A9

Animated backgrounds, fancier 3D UIs are nice and all, but I wonder if those might be bloat. I'd rather the video processing and graphics performance stick to when users launch camcorder, video playback, animations or 3D games applications. Having the most advanced camcorder and console-quality gaming in our next pocketable devices, absolutely, why not. If the next generation web browsers can output 100% smooth Chrome browsers, possibly assisted by powerful graphics hardware acceleration, using a 720p HDMI output to a HDTV, for a full screen instant web browsing experience, full javascripts and flash support, then even better.

Qt development framework demonstrated

Posted by Charbax – May 15, 2010

Qt is a cross-platform application and UI framework for developing once, and deploying across lots of embedded Linux platforms, Windows CE, Symbian and Maemo without rewriting the source code. At Mobile World Congress, Qt was demonstrating their solution used in many different devices.

Qt Quick (Qt User Interface Creation Kit) is a high-level user interface technology that makes it dramatically easier for UI designers and developers with scripting language skills to quickly and easily create beautiful, pixel perfect UIs and lightweight, touch-enabled apps with Qt – all without requiring any C++ skills. It will be part of the Qt 4.7 release, which has had its first technology preview released in March.

Alcatel-Lucent’s new systems for carriers and developers

Posted by Charbax – May 14, 2010

Alcatel-Lucent is showcasing their new ecosystem that creates what they call "the developer innovation experience". This includes services, content, and platforms that they say will drive the next generation of telecom.

Find more informations at: Venturebeat.com

Acer to launch Chrome OS laptops at Computex

Posted by Charbax – May 13, 2010
Acer Incorporated {{lang|zh-Hant|宏碁股份有限公司}}
Image via Wikipedia

Venturebeat.com reports that it has heard from several sources that Acer is going to launch Chrome OS laptops at Computex in June.

Last year's Computex, Acer really disappointed me with their "fake" Android netbook, one that booted Android as a dual-boot with Windows on an expensive and power consuming Intel Atom based Netbook.

The big questions are:

- Will Acer's first Chrome OS laptop use an ARM Processor or will it be based on Intel?

- What type of price point does Acer plan to reach?

The answers to those questions I think could be found by answering following two other questions:

- Does Acer want to be innovative enough and be one of the first big laptop manufacturers to use an ARM Processor in a Laptop form factor to lower the price, increase battery runtime, lower the weight and size of their new Chrome OS line of laptops?

or

- Does Acer feel it needs to stay in bed with Intel and Microsoft, and thus keep any non-Wintel projects out of their marketing radar?

If they announce it with ARM and Pixel Qi at Computex, hear the drum rolls:

1. 50h battery runtime

2. Instant on, month of standby

3. Below 800gr, 1cm thickness

4. Below $199 retail, no contracts, they sell tens of millions?

5. Built-in 3G module (maybe not included by default) for always connected use

6. Native Code SDK and OpenGL for even advanced video-editing and 3D games

7. Maybe even a swivel screen and the device holds like an e-reader? Touch-screen not absolute necessity for cheap model. Next/previous page and enter/exit buttons on the side would be good enough.

Source: Venturebeat.com

Native Client enables video-editing on cheap ARM Powered devices

Posted by Charbax – May 13, 2010

Google has just released a developer preview of the Native Client software development kit at http://blog.chromium.org. What this could mean is to run more powerful web apps, such that require C/C++ code to run smoothly with Javascript, CSS and other HTML5 features in the web browser.

This could be how very powerful authoring applications like video and photo editing may work on ARM based Chrome OS laptops or in Chrome on Android laptops and tablets.

Imagine uploading all your rough video files from your camcorder to the cloud, then launch a web app that combine offline web app caching features of HTML5 (previously called Google Gears) together with Native Code features, this will enable to download to cache storage and stream the thumbnail video from the server while editing, then when the edit is done in the timeline, the full quality video encoding and publishing happens on the cloud in seconds. This could thus provide powerful video and photo editing tools to professionals and enthusiasts, and actually provide a more powerful rendering and encoding performance using a basic and cheap ARM Powered device than would be achieved using any expensive machine with powerful local processors.

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