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OLPC to use Pixel Qi 3Qi screens

Posted by Charbax – March 30, 2010
Image representing PixelQi as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

A cross-licencing deal between the One Laptop Per Child non-profit and Pixel Qi has been announced in this press release:

As a result of the agreement, OLPC receives full license to all Pixel Qi “3qi” screen technology, including 70+ patents in process and all current and future IP developed by Pixel Qi for multi-mode screens. Pixel Qi is leading the design of new screens for OLPC’s next-generation XO laptops.

“A huge barrier to getting computers to mass use in the developing world is limited access to electricity. Pixel Qi is designing new screens for OLPC that will keep laptops going even longer between recharges and excel in long-form reading while providing color and video,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child.

Mary Lou Jepsen, founder and CEO of Pixel Qi, added, “OLPC’s focus on the need for low-cost, low-power devices led me to invent power-efficient LCD screens that are optimized for reading. Commercial tablets, notebook computers and smart phones have precisely the same needs. This is one of the few examples in which cutting-edge computer technology first deployed for developing nations benefits the developed world as well.”

A few questions I would have about this awesome partnership:

1. Will a version of XO 1.5 come with the 10" 3Qi screen in the same form factor design?

2. If 3Qi only comes to OLPC starting with the ARM Powered XO 1.75, will it come in the 10" size or will they cut a smaller 7.5" version of it? My guess is to keep the costs low, they will pick the mass produced 10" size there, and fit it inside of the same design just removing most of the screen bezel.

3. I can't wait to learn what power consumption the XO 1.75 and XO 3.0 can run at using the Pixel Qi screen. Does it now run 50 hours on a battery? How much better are ARM Powered laptops like the XO 1.75 and ARM Powered tablets like the XO 3.0 at implementing the DCON processor process where the main processor can turn itself off completely when not in use?

4. Can anyone confirm that we will soon see Pixel Qi in the Marvell Moby Tablet project? Thus sooner see some implementation of tablets for education leading to the full release of the XO 3.0 tablet.

Look perhaps for some answers at Mary-Lou Jepsen's blog. Watch again some of my many Pixel Qi videos:
I'm testing it outdoors at CES
Interviewing Mary-Lou Jepsen about Pixel Qi's status at CES
Demonstrating the Notion Ink Android tablet that uses Pixel Qi
Comparing Pixel Qi with Toshiba's transflective screen and the Kindle's e-ink
Filming in Mary-Lou Jepsen's home lab
Interviewing Mary-Lou Jepsen at Computex 2009
Introducing the Pixel Qi screen at Computex 2009

This press release was found via: slashgear.com

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CERN LHC 7TeV Collisions now detecting!

Posted by Charbax – March 30, 2010

Wow, we are finally able to collide particles at full 7 TerraVolt power! Watch the awesome live webcast at: http://webcast.cern.ch/lhcfirstphysics/

I interviewed several of the core people working at the ATLAS experiment about 3 years ago, Pippa Wells project leader of the ATLAS Semi-Conductor Tracker and Allesandra Ciocio Deputy Commissioning Coordinator for the SCT (worked on ATLAS since 1994) when they were still building and installing all the thousands of cables for the detectors in the Large Hadron Collider ATLAS experiment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RftVXRXPbhM (a picture 2 of Pippa and Allesandra at work a few years ago) and my 1-hour video-interview and walkthrough the CERN GRID Computing project to distribute the computing of the terrabytes of data of the CERN LHC experiments that is now being transfered out to be processed at hundreds of data-centers around the world: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3429406569570342668

Check out my guided tour video that I filmed down at the CERN Large Hadron Collider ATLAS detector about 3 years ago:

Follow the CERN LHC Twitter: http://twitter.com/cern

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Auto-updates (and more platforms?) coming with Android Froyo and Gingerbread

Posted by Charbax – March 29, 2010
Google Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Chris Ziegler writes at Engadget.com that with the upcoming Android Froyo software release, Google will be

decoupling many of Android's standard applications and components from the platform's core and making them downloadable and updatable through the Market, much the same as they've already done with Maps. In all likelihood, this process will take place over two major Android versions, starting with Froyo and continuing through Gingerbread.

This means that Android may get built in a way where software and component updates come from the central software update system controlled by Google, and as long as the hardware follows a certain set of hardware requirements, that manufacturers will not even have to work to update their customized firmwares anymore, but where Google will be taking care of the software releases centrally providing all the different hardware platforms with component, feature and application updates automatically.

This brings us to another important aspect of the fragmentation of Android which I certainly expect to see Google add support for with Froyo:

- Google's Support for Android on Laptops, Tablets, E-readers and Set-top-boxes.

Which means that Google has to provide a set of customized Google Marketplaces for all those different categories of products.

Android Tablets:
I see no reason Google wouldn't want to support a market of Android tablets to compete with the iPod Touch and the iPad. Customizing Android for WiFi-only small or large Tablets with or without Cameras, accelerometers, GPS and 3G should be easy. It's just a matter of Google adding a few filters to apps in the Marketplace based on the hardware configurations of each device.

Android e-readers:
I am convinced Google wants to help provide an Android platform for e-readers to better access the Google Books, Google Reader and Google News, to create a powerful platform for the competition to the Amazon Kindle in e-ink based e-readers. An e-ink based e-reader with Android-powered RSS, Bookmarks sync, e-mail, webkit based web browser, Google Fast-flip, Google Reader Play, Aldiko/FBreader, WiFi and text-input all those apps and components will make e-ink based e-reader much more powerful.

Android Laptops:
Although Google is coming with Chrome OS, the way I see Chrome OS for ARM, is basically that Google is optimizing the web browser for all ARM based Linux platforms. So there would be no reason not to just include the full Chrome Browser simply as a Web Browser icon inside of Android. What Google needs to customize though in Android is a User Interface adapted for mouse and keyboard input of Laptop form factors instead of touch-screen inputs. The filter for laptops will highlight the best high resolution Android apps.

Android set-top-boxes:
The core here is to provide Youtube support on set-top-boxes. But also it is to provide apps with optimized user-interfaces to be used on a remote control on the TV. Customized Widgets, user interfaces for overlay Chat, Polls, Debates, all that will work on an optimized software platform like Android. The HDMI-passthrough features recently rumored could make the Android-powered "Google TV" set-top-boxes even more impressive as they would bring in all the interactivity on top of all existing TV tuner platforms, be them any existing Cable, Satellite or DVB-T tuner platforms. So the Android set-top-box not only realizes Video-on-demand, it also improves existing live broadcast television.

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Google TV with HDMI pass-through?

Posted by Charbax – March 26, 2010

Following are opinions, not facts:

The Google TV box can be made for $50 if they use an ARM processor based platform, which is much lower power and much cheaper than Intel and provides all the same if not more 1080p and video streaming features.

The idea of implementing Google TV using the HDMI pass-through option (as "reported" by videonuze.com) and adding stuff to HDMI from the existing Cable/Satellite set-top-box sounds like a genius plan. If HDCP or however all those copy protection technologies of HDMI don't prevent that solution from happening or to be turned off by broadcasters, then my guess is that Google could provide a $100 retail solution including HDMI pass-through and infrared emitter that would basically be compatible with all existing set-top-boxes, no matter what Comcast and DirecTV think about this.

HDMI pass-through and the infrared emitter would allow Google to replace your existing remote control with a more web centric remote control (and keyboard), display any overlay graphics and informations on any video contents, even "take over" existing programming, such as streaming customized advertisements instead of the broadcasted ads (with the agreement of the broadcaster of course). Possibilities could also include overlay chats, IMs and status updates, overlay community features like polls, discussions, ratings. It could include real-time user-generated recommendations for programming, even time-shifting to allow Google to overlay automatically generated subtitles, even translated subtitles. Time shifting could also allow for launching of related Youtube searches and videos at any time and then resume normal programming.

My guess though, even though Google TV will kill current broadcast monopolies and TV stations eventually, the Google TV solution will also completely revolutionize advertising for all TV stations. Basically, a TV station and broadcaster could opt-in to have Google manage personalized advertisment instead of the existing common denomiator type of TV advertisement. By doing that, the revenues from TV ads would go up 10 times overnight. So either they can decide to show 10x less ads for the same content, or they can make 10x more money and use some of it to create better contents.

In my opinion, the real deal here is to bring Youtube to the HDTV. But also to provide a recommendations box for broadcast TV as well. Imagine the Google TV learns what you like, because the Google TV remote control will have one big green "Like" button, users click it when they are watching something that they like. That will help Google learn your taste. And if you want to watch TV but you are too lazy to research what content is available, Google can generate recommended content queues for you, of either live or on-demand content, and a mix of both.

A cool little app that will change the TV and movie business seriously, because Google TV is open source, integrated BitTorrent downloads and RSS will not be stoppable. Which means, you want a movie, just type in the title and the device will start the BitTorrent download automatically, be it legal or not. And StreamTorrent type technology can even let you nearly instantly stream any contents using p2p technology. Net Neutrality will make this great.

I originally posted these estimates and opinions at: videonuze.com

Google subsidizes Android and Chrome OS devices with advertising

Posted by Charbax – March 25, 2010

The point of Kyocera's newly announced Android phone is to be the first pre-paid Android smartphone in the USA. It will be sold for $169 at Virgin Mobile, Cricket and MetroPCS. No contracts. The phone might be SIM-locked to that pre-paid carrier, but there is no subscription plans required to have an Android smart phone.

The fact is that Android phones cost around $150 to manufacture at the moment. The Nexus One might cost $50 more than Kyocera's phone to manufacture (perhaps $175 vs $125), due to the more expensive components. But in general, the cost of parts and manufacturing is around $150.

Same with Android or Chrome OS on ARM processors for Laptops and Tablets. Those can also be manufactured for around $150 or even less if you don't include the 3G modem in the device and use the lowest quality components.

Of course Google can subsidize the price of the devices with advertising. In fact, I think we can expect Google will sell $99 Android Phones and $99 Chrome OS laptops on google.com/phone and google.com/laptop within long.

For Internet access, there will be pre-paid deals for using 3G and LTE networks without contracts, and there will be WiFi-only devices or 700mhz White Spaces ones in those products, to thus route the VOIP through data and provide near-free wireless broadband usage on these products. So $99 devices without contracts, without subscription plans is doable.

The question is only how soon does Google want to disrupt the whole market?

I originally posted this as a comment here: paidcontent.org
Found via: techmeme.com

Beautiful OLPC Documentary film (45min) aired on Arte TV channel

Posted by Charbax – March 23, 2010

This is a 45min Documentary film Directed by Chiara Sambuchi, produced by ZDF/Arte released by Lavafilm, just aired on the Arte TV channel in France and Germany. I have seen most of the OLPC related videos and documentary films during these past 4 years that I have been updating my video-blog at http://olpc.tv, this may be one of the best, most awesome and most beautiful Documentary films on the OLPC project that has yet been made.

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Nintendo 3DS and my feature Wish-List

Posted by Charbax – March 23, 2010
Image representing Nintendo as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

The Nintendo 3DS has now been announced by Nintendo in this official press release:

March 23, 2010
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Launch of New Portable Game Machine
Nintendo Co., Ltd.(Minami-ward of Kyoto-city, President Satoru Iwata) will launch “Nintendo 3DS”(temp) during the fiscal year ending March 2011, on which games can be enjoyed with 3D effects without the need for any special glasses.
“Nintendo 3DS”(temp) is going to be the new portable game machine to succeed “Nintendo DS series”, whose cumulative consolidated sales from Nintendo amounted to 125 million units as of the end of December 2009, and will include backward compatibility so that the software for Nintendo DS series, including the ones for Nintendo DSi, can also be enjoyed.
We are planning to announce additional details at E3 show, which is scheduled to be held from June 15, 2010 at Los Angeles in the U.S.

I'm a big fan of Nintendo, while I would be very impressed if this 3D screen technology (rumored to be Sharp/Hitachi's parallax barrier) actually doesn't look like some blurry crap, which is my opinion of all the 3D screens that I have seen at consumer electronic shows so far these past few years, with and without glasses. Here are my feature wish-list for Nintendo's next portable game console:

- It should be possible to deactivate the 3D screen effect and the screen must be just as clear as the market's best LCD screens

- Game downloads, Nintendo needs to be bold and provide $1 Game downloads, for all games, including affordable $15/month game subscription plans that gives access to all the games. Online games means they get updated often and new games could even be streamed when they are based on pre-installed game engines.

- 3G module for extra $50, there should be a module slot in the back of the device where users should be able to add such things as a modem for 3G and its SIM card. The 3G module shoulds be unlocked so anny SIM card on any carrier can be used.

- Android OS, Nintendo surely has enough money and power to do their own OS if they want. I would find it much more interesting if Nintendo was so courageous and simply base their next portable on Android. At the same time announce that games will work on other Android phones that have graphics hardware acceleration. This would instantly add thousands of apps to the platform and make all UI and feature design work compatible with the rest of the industry.

- SD card slot but perhaps even a built-in hard drive compartment. Adding a 1.8" or 2.5" hard drive in the back of the device could be really cool to thus have enough storage for hundreds of big games, videos and music.

- HDMI output, this should basically be even more powerful than the Wii in terms of graphics outputting full 720p and 1080p games to HDTVs.

- At least dual 4" screens, perhaps a larger version with dual 4.8" screens. The screens should be close enough to each other so when the device is opened or put on a table, it would look like one big screen.

- Keyboard add-on should cover one screen and thus turn the device into a pocketable laptop form factor. The keyboard should be foldable, thus providing a full sized keyboard typing speed.

- Nintendo should do the marketing for using it for VOIP and IM, it should be compatible with SIP, Skype, Google Voice, video-conferencing and more. Over WiFi and 3G and even other networks as the modem module shall be replacable with other networking technologies. Thus Nintendo should market this as a replacement for smartphones.

- Full video codecs playback at up to 1080p and full bitrates also for high profile. Somehow video playback battery runtime should be at least 10 hours. Youtube HD support should be included.

- Pixel Qi screens so the Nintendo portable can be used for reading, with 50 or more hours of battery runtime. Comon Nintendo, when you order 100 million screens, you can make any screen technology you want. Be the first to announce 4.8" Pixel Qi LCD screens. Including even that 3D layer on top if you want.

- Usable for education. Instead of teachers and schools banning the Nintendo DS from the classrooms (I've seen this happen for some of my young cousins), Nintendo should work to include the hardware in class rooms. Thus it needs educational contents, it needs to provide productivity such as the web browsing and text input needs to provide a full speed experience.

- Pricing should be below $200, preferably $150 without the 3G module.

What do you think?

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HTC Supersonic (HTC EVO 4G) WiMax Android phone

Posted by Charbax – March 23, 2010

I filmed the Windows Mobile based HTC HD2 last month at the Mobile World Congress:
http://armdevices.net/2010/02/17/htc-hd2-at-mobile-world-congress-2010/
And at the HTC booth at asked the HTC representative if there would be a 4.3" LCD screen based Android phone as well, I didn't get an answer on that at that point:
http://armdevices.net/2010/03/01/htc-desire-htc-legend-and-htc-hd2-mini-at-mobile-world-congress-2010/

The HTC Supersonic is basically the same hardware as the HTC HD2, but this time it runs Android, comes perhaps with slight hardware changes such as a slightly larger battery (people might have been complaining about battery runtime on the HD2), it has a HDMI output when using an adaptor for that, 720p video recording and the 1ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Very interestingly, this is the first WiMax phone released by Sprint in the USA. That requires a whole new Mobile WiMax network and only some carriers are deploying that in some places. Though I have been covering WiMax for years such as in these interviews that I filmed at CeBIT 2006:
http://techvideoblog.com/cebit/wimax-forum/
http://techvideoblog.com/cebit/runcom/

So perhaps now finally some things may be happening on the Mobile WiMax front. My question is still, how much better is WiMax in terms of bandwidth capacity per user, bandwidth capacity with many mobile users. What is the performance of Mobile WiMax compared to 700mhz unlicenced wireless mobile networking over White Spaces or how does it compare with 3G HSDPA and LTE technology?

This video was released at: slashgear.com

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Samsung Galaxy S, 4″ Super AMOLED Android phone

Posted by Charbax – March 23, 2010

I filmed some Super AMOLED videos last month at the Mobile World Congress:
http://armdevices.net/2010/02/17/samsung-beam-android-phone-projector-at-mobile-world-congress-2010/
http://armdevices.net/2010/02/15/samsung-super-amoled-screen-technology/

Super AMOLED is spectacular, that's for sure. Blacks are incredibly black and vivid colors and brightness is super. The Super AMOLED is officially 20% birghter and reflects 80% less light than the first generation AMOLED screens, it removes some kind of layer that was covering the screen so devices can be thinner and the angle of vision is incredible.

Yet, my question is how much more does Super AMOLED cost compared to LCD, especially at sizes larger than 4" in diagonal. I guess this is a matter of Samsung having invested huge amounts of billions of dollars into developing the AMOLED technology, that they have to try to mass manufacture those screens in quantities of millions for them to get down in cost. I wonder though, what is the difference in cost between AMOLED and LCD in those screen sizes? Anyone who knows the bill of material, please post in the comments.

I probably don't really like Samsung's attempt at making a different UI layer on top of Android which they call "S Life UI". With the bit that I played with it on the Samsung Beam, I would probably prefer to disable that and somehow enable a normal standard Google Experience user interface.

This video was released at: IntoMobile.com

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Kyocera Zio M6000 $169 Android phone to be released

Posted by Charbax – March 23, 2010

Cool. The cheap unlocked Android phones are coming! This Kyocera Zio M6000 is announced to be released unlocked on the US market from $169 to $216. That is without contract, thus a cheap pre-paid Android phone.

Here are the specs:

3.5" 800x480 touch screen
600 Mhz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor
3G (CDMA for now), WiFi and stereo Bluetooth
3.2-megapixel camera
512MB of onboard app memory (what's the RAM?)
Android 1.6 but it will be user-upgradeable to Android 2.1

This video was released at: mobileburn.com

Kycoera/Sanyo is a leader in producing low cost phones sold with pre-paid carriers in the USA such as Virgin Mobile, Cricket, and MetroPCS. The arrival of cheaper unlocked and pre-paid-only Android phones is just awesome. Having to pay $529 for an unlocked Nexus One or having to pay more than $3000 over a 2-year contract is just ridiculously expensive. Android will dominate the market as soon as unlocked sub-$200 Android phones start becoming available worldwide.

Source: pcmag.com
Via: Engadget.com