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Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich source code released, how soon on every SoC?

Posted by Charbax – November 15, 2011

Wow, Google just released the source code for Ice Cream Sandwich in this Google Groups post.

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.

Source: techmeme.com

Some of my expectations for Ice Cream Sandwich (to be shown starting October 19th)

Posted by Charbax – October 5, 2011

I expect this to be the open source Android OS for:
- Smartphones (from $50 to $600) iphone-killer
- Tablets (from $50 to $600) ipad-killer
- Set-top-boxes (from $50 to $200) ARM Powered Google TV 2.0
- Laptops (from $100 to $600) ultrabook/netbook/macbook-killer
- E-readers (from $75 to $300) kindle-killer
and combinations thereof. We can have 1 device that does it all when using MHL/HDMI output and the Pixel Qi LCD.

This is the first Android OS that is ready to use the latest ARM Cortex-A9 processors that not only run at 1.5Ghz (+50% compared to Tegra2) but most importantly also introduce much faster memory bandwidht (+200% compared to Tegra2).

This means devices with Ice Cream Sandwich can now run a full computer. A FULL ANDROID LAPTOP.

Just a sec here. Google has Chrome OS, brace for it.... I think it might merge now.

Think of the Atrix 4G, now over the MHL Connector, you can dock your phone to any HDMI monitor such as your HDTV, get your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and your Android phone is now powerful enough to run a full speed 720p or even 1080p Chrome browser.

Laptop makers want to release ARM Powered Laptops without touch screens running Chrome OS only, sure enough, they can do that. But if that Laptop has a touch screen, it can DUAL-BOOT with Ice Cream Sandwich. That is how I see them merge. Basically Android gets a full Chrome browser. And Chrome OS can safely and easily switch to Android mode on ARM Powered devices if needed.

This is the recipe for the ultimate ARM Powered device. Ice Cream Sandwich Powered.

But Ice Cream Sandwich is also less bloatware, a faster user experience, it can run on the cheapest $50 Smartphones to destroy what's left of Nokia's Symbian sales in the developing world. It can run on ARM9 like Mediatek, ARM11 like Mediatek and Qualcomm, ARM Cortex-A8 single core processors like Rockchip RK2918 and Telechips 8803, as well as single core ARM Cortex-A9 like AmLogic and low frequency ARM Cortex-A9 like the NEC/Renesas one. But I expect every other ARM Processor to be fully supported. Obviously slower processors may have some UI layers automatically disabled such as having less holographs, less animations, less transitions, so that the OS scales perfectly for every hardware platform and at the same time that it can fully take advantage of the newest fastest performance.

In terms of looks compared to Gingerbread and Honeycomb? I don't care about the looks, give us whatever the user experience scientists have measured is the absolute best design for a user interface. This is a simplification of the smartphone but at the same time the enabling of new more advanced features for the first time.

Obviously that a Nexus Prime for $529 unlocked with a new 4.65" 1280x720 Super AMOLED HD screen, with a new TI OMAP4460 or/and a new Qualcomm MSM8660, obviously that is going to be the most awesome reference product for this new version of Android. My question is how much of the Atrix-features for HD web browsing, full Chrome on HDMI output, I wonder how much of that is shown already this October 11th or if the OS is presented for now just as a Smartphone upgrade and that the whole rest of the ecosystem gets added later.

What do you think Ice Cream Sandwich is going to be like?

My take on Samsung at IFA, awesome but perhaps misplaced

Posted by Charbax – September 4, 2011

Probably the highlight of this IFA show for me has thus far been the unveiling of the awesome Samsung Galaxy Note (2), Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 for reasons of the pure awesomeness to see the new high resolution Super AMOLED screens in action (4.5", 5.3" and 7.7") and to get a feeling of the upcoming probable Nexus Prime hardware experience.

There is some talk on blogs about Samsung removing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the showfloor today on http://www.techmeme.com/110903/p15#a110903p15 and this has now become the conspiracy theory here in Berlin around the IFA show.

I do not believe for one second that Apple has any authority over Samsung at IFA, regardless of the bogus lawsuits going on in bogus court rooms in Dusseldorf, Netherlands and Australia. Samsung is paying the IFA consumer electronics show millions of euros for their hall, over many years, Apple never spent one single cent at IFA or at any other trade shows worldwide for that matter. Apple thinks they are too cool to compete in trade shows, Apple does not want people to think of them as a mere competitor in a market.

Here's what I think Samsung might be thinking right now, and what I have been saying from the first second I saw their latest devices:

1. Samsung is now the worlds leading Smart Phone manufacturer, in front of Apple.

2. Just like Apple, Samsung makes much higher profit margins on the smartphones than on the tablets.

3. Even with the new Super AMOLED factory now in function in South Korea, Samsung can simply not output enough Super AMOLED screens of all the different sizes and types before this Christmas sales.

4. The 7.7" Super AMOLED screen is awesome and all, but Samsung cannot justify the extra cost of manufacturing 7.7" Super AMOLED vs continuing to use LCD on Tablet sizes.

5. Samsung needs to make about 50 million Smartphone sized Super AMOLED Plus screens during these next few months, there is no space in their factory to also make 7.7" such screens, and it basically costs 3x to 4x more to make a 7.7" Super AMOLED screen compared to a 4.5" size, cause you can fit upwards 3x to 4x more smartphone sized screens on their manufacturing process.

6. Super AMOLED screens are beautiful to look at, bravo. But the LCD manufacturing process is operating at about 40x larger scale worldwide. Also, advances in LCD screens cannot really justify the cost difference in manufacturing those expensive Super AMOLED screens.

7. The reason Samsung can make Super AMOLED screens today even though I would guess the Super AMOLED Plus screen costs 2x more than the highest-end LCD, is that Samsung is still making $250 profit or more per smartphone when they sell them upwards $500 through carriers and unlocked.

8. My main complaint on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 form factor is that it is too wide to fit normal jacket pockets, I cannot fit it inside of my jacket pocket. That means that it makes it much less likely people will carry it around everywhere, but that it would have to mostly stay at home. While being shown at IFA, the device did have a sticker saying something like "this may not be the final design", maybe Samsung has figured out from mine and others comments at the show, that if they really want to release a 7.7" tablet, they may have to consider trying to cut more of the bezel off of the device.

Here are some pictures comparing the my Archos 70 Internet Tablet that I have used every day for the past 11 months because I can carry it everywhere in my jacket pocket vs the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7" shown at IFA that simply does not fit in jacket pockets so has to stay at home:

While the Samsung Galaxy Note also is fantasticly awesome, my suggestion to technology fans is not to expect that Samsung can manufacture enough of those 5.3" HD Super AMOLED screens before the end of this year. Also, Samsung may be realizing that it may be very hard to sell the feature of using a stylus on top of a capacitive screen, it may be too hard for them to lower the lag time and increase the accuracy enough to make it usable. In which situations does mass market consumers really want to use a stylus often? I can think of situations such as collaborating in real-time on annotating text, but I don't think a light emitting Super AMOLED screen is the right type of screen for that usage.

So where does Samsung go from here? My guess is that they will focus as much of the Super AMOLED factory as they can on making 4.3" and 4.5" screens for the upcoming Nexus Prime = Samsung Galaxy S2 = Samsung Galaxy S2 LTE = Verizon Droid Prime, etc. This is where they are getting the most profit. And while the Samsung Galaxy Note might come out, and can definitely sell plenty more than Dell Stream 5 did a year ago, I think Samsung is probably going to use LCD for the Tablets that they'll release before the end of this year. My guess is Samsung may release updates for their 7" and 10.1" tablets before the end of this year, and those will likely use LCD and not Super AMOLED.

In the medium term, I guess that AMOLED may be phased out again, but it already cannot be considered a failure in any way, it has provided Samsung with a unique differentiator in their market share gaining activities in the most important smartphone market. By the time AMOLED factories may be closed in 2-3 years, the quality of LCD at that time will have increased so much, with technologies such as Pixel Qi, IPS and FFS, that it will not make sense to make any AMOLED anymore. Most importantly, the profit margins on smartphones will quickly be reduced as the smartphone becomes a commodity, the profit margins will not anymore allow for the price difference that there is between LCD and AMOLED.

Genesi launches new cheaper/better i.MX53 based Laptops and Desktops

Posted by Charbax – June 22, 2011

Here is the board for now, they are going to launch the new Genesi i.MX53 based Laptops and Desktops around July or August, providing more performance, using lower power, at lower cost. The current Genesi Efika MX Smartbook i.MX51 based laptop is selling for $199, the Genesi MX Smarttop i.MX51 Desktop is selling for $129, they plan for the next generation i.MX53 based Laptop (Smartbook) and Desktop (Smarttop) to be sold for even cheaper. They are also working to combine their ARM based Laptop with the Pixel Qi screen as soon as it's mass produced.

Also watch my video interview with Konstantinos Margaritis talking about the way Genesi is optimizing Linux on ARM to make it up to 300% faster on these ARM Powered laptops and desktops.

My top-20 videos filmed at Computex 2011 in Taiwan

Posted by Charbax – June 8, 2011

I just returned from 10 days video-blogging over 44 videos from Taiwan. Here's my list of my top-20 best Computex 2011 videos:

1. Pixel Qi launches 10.1″ super thin 1280×800 screen, their first showing of the 1280x800 resolution Pixel Qi screen to be mass manufactured in Q4, they also will mass produce 7" in Q3, and listen to this video for more talk by Mary Lou Jepsen on the latest status and news on Pixel Qi in the industry.

2. Latest e-ink e-reader news from Freescale, check out the new Android friendly i.MX508 that may be used in the new Nook and Kobo to also use Android as software basis for e-ink e-reader innovation. This video is also featuring the new Acoustic Pulse Recognition (APR) touch screen technology integrated in a prototype e-reader by Tyco Electronics.

3. ShiZhu Technology shows Pixel Qi Tablets, ShiZhu Technology is a big Chinese manufacturer, they can now mass produce Android Tablets with Pixel Qi screens. This video features comparisons of its matte Pixel Qi screen compared with the glossy Archos 70 Internet Tablet screen and with HTC flyer with a matte anti-reflective layer.

4. MHL now in several phones at Computex 2011, the MHL protocol for sending HDMI over Micro-USB is now not only on the best ever smartphone the Samsung Galaxy S2, it's also now in HTC Sensation, HTC Flyer, Evo 4G and Evo 3D phones and more to come.

5. The whole ARM Powered Tablet or Laptop with Pixel Qi screen can run on a relatively small and cheap $3 1W solar panel, Solar panels could be built-in to the bezel, on the back of tablets or laptops or on a flip-out screen protector to thus be able to power the whole tablet and laptop and charge its battery just from direct or indirect sunlight. This means children in Africa, India, other places with a lot of Sun but little power, could be getting Internet connected ARM Powered devices that can run just on sun power. Pixel Qi is able to demonstrate that this works, but they didn't have the time to set it up at Computex and the day I was there to film it was half-cloudy in Taipei (it had been raining some of the days during Computex) so perhaps not optimal for filming the actual demonstration. Pixel Qi could be releasing an official video showing pretty soon on their blog proving that this works today.

6. Texas Instruments talks Memory Bandwidth and Desktop Computing performance on the OMAP4430, TI suggests that they may have the fastest memory bandwidth on their OMAP4430, OMAP4460 and on the newly announced OMAP4470 that goes to 1.8Ghz.

7. Cupp Computing turns every Laptop into an ARM Powered laptop with hard drive to SSD replacement module, this is really awesome, it means that all Intel/AMD x86 powered laptops can easily get added an ARM Processor to their motherboards, or added in replacement of the Hard Drive with an SSD, to provide every laptop with the option to run up to 40 hours on a battery on a button switch. Imagine if by a button switch you could automatically resume your x86 work in the ARM version of Windows, thus extending your battery runtime by 10x or more. This could be a great transitional solution from x86 to ARM for people not yet totally confortable with going away from x86.

8. HD Video Conferencing on Texas Instruments OMAP4430, 720p and 1080p SIP and Skype video conferencing is now possible on the modern ARM Powered smartphones and tablets, just amazing.

9. Hands-on with Nvidia Kal-El Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 1.2Ghz (or more) prototype tablet, Nvidia continues their run towards bringing Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 to the market, to be clocked at least with 1.2Ghz maybe more, it may reach the commercial top brand name Honeycomb tablets after August, normally well in time before Christmas. Nvidia has upgraded their graphics and video playback support significantly.

10. ZiiLabs ZMS-20 Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9, with ZiiLab's Stemcell alternative to DSP/GPU for massive multi-threaded computing it seems to run Honeycomb smoothly on their Jaguar 10.1" and 7" reference design tablets.

11. Nufront Cortex-A9 (up to) 2Ghz runs Ubuntu 11.4 ARM Edition, they show that they have completed their tablet reference design, now just gearing up for commercial announcements for products using their new powerful chip.

12. Qualcomm says their Dual-core strength is in being asynchronous, Qualcomm's implementation of the ARM Dual-core is about to reach many of the top most powerful ARM Powered devices. With the HTC Senstation coming out now, Asus Memo coming out later and many other smartphones and tablets in preparation.

13. ZTE Light tablet featuring their 7" Pixel Qi screen (not yet matte, still glossy on that prototype).

14. Asus Memo, worlds first 7″ Honeycomb, Honeycomb looks great on 7", even with it only being optimized for larger 1280x800 screens for now. Maybe it is too bad that Asus only wants to sell this with a 3D screen and this expensive looking Bluetooth headset/remote control MiMic thing. I also filmed another 7" Honeycomb tablet, the Viewsonic 7x using Tegra2.

15. Samsung Origen, the new $199 Exynos 4210 development board, possibly the most powerful publicly released ARM Powered development board, to be sold for $199, featuring Samsung's latest Dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with Mali-400 graphics, fast DDR3 RAM and other features of fast memory bandwidth.

16. ARM President Tudor Brown Computex 2011 keynote, 15 minutes of his Computex 2011 keynote talking about how ARM is dominating the world.

17. ARM keynote at Computex 2011, Ian Drew is the Executive VP of Marketing at ARM, here's my recording of most of his keynote speech. Sorry for missing out the first 3 minutes in this video, and my audio volume is a bit low you have to turn up your playback volume to the maximum to hear things clearly enough.Q Which was fun to come right after the Intel keynote. A notable quote from this keynote is this part: "Multiple options is always better than one size fits all".

18. Qualcomm Dragonboard, $300-$500 Dual-core MSM8660/APQ8060 development board to work on Qualcomm's Dual-core platform.

19. VIA WonderMedia Prizm WM8710 ARM11 Gingerbread solution, now VIA also has a newer faster DSP-accelerated Gingerbread solution for low-cost Android tablets.

20. ARM Powered Android to lower cost and power consumption of Point-of-sale setups, POSLab shows in this video how they are implementing ARM Powered solutions runing POS software on top of Android to significantly lower the cost and power consumption of Point-of-sale systems to be used by all stores around the world.

Chris Pirillo says Chromebook just killed the PC industry

Posted by Charbax – May 13, 2011

My take on it is that the Chromebook is the first serious challenger to Windows/Mac in terms of being installed in a mass market retail product. It's the first ever mass market Linux laptop (after the One Laptop Per Child non-profit reaching 2.5 million children with Linux Laptops in the developping world since 2007). It's the first ever mass market ARM Powered laptop. It can be configured to be the cheapest laptop to make, the safest, the fastest, the thinnest, the lightest and the easiest to use. Chromebook may be the first successful carrier subscription based laptop.

For Chromebook to sell more than Windows, here's what I think Chromebook needs to be:

- $199 or less in an ARM Powered configuration
- Use Pixel Qi with ARM and you've got 30 hours battery runtime in a sub-1kg 11.6" or 12.1" super slim form factor
- They should subsidize these in partnership with the carriers to do a subscription model for normal consumers like this:
1. Sell it for $99 or less on a 2-year contract with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan
2. Bandwidth upgrades should be max $10/GB, $20/5GB, $30/10GB on-demand one-click
3. They can use carrier billing (thus carrier revenue share) for bandwidth upgrades, for cloud media subscriptions, on-demand, Chrome Web Store web apps and for all Google Checkout based online shopping
4. Provide an optional hardware upgrade once a year with contract extension. Used devices can be resold refurbished.
5. Provide 100GB or more cloud storage and full Google Apps for consumers with the subscription, offer guarantee of available of advanced web apps such as HD video editing (with many or most of the features of Avid/Finalcut), photo editor. And all these web apps must feel near instant to load and work offline, a web app should only need to get reloaded if it detects that there is a new version available. Gmail should load instantly for example.
6. Obviously, Google Voice and Google Music needs to be worldwide. They should also expand with a Google Video cloud storage. Basically they can allow people to upload 20'000 songs and 1'000 movies for free, the reason being, Google only needs to store one copy of each song or movie, and if the upload client (also on Chrome OS) detects that the file you want to upload already exists on Google's servers in equal or better quality, it should instantly beam it to your account without actually requiring you to upload anything. Google should not care to try to filter out any "illegal" Mp3, Flac, DivX, MKV files. Eventually they can introduce unlimited music/movies subscription plans like Spotify/Netflix but they should aim at being able to include access to everything in those unlimited subscriptions, this might only be achievable through Government regulation of online content subscriptions.

If Google can deliver on those things and quickly, which is what I expect them to be able to do, then I think it's obvious Chromebook could become the number 1 PC/Laptop OS as quickly as they became number 1 OS in smartphones since the Nexus One was released.

Can we expect to see some ARM Powered Chromebooks (or Chromiumbooks) at Computex in Taiwan at the end of May from all the Taiwanese notebook designers (Inventec, Pegatron, Wistron, Foxconn, Shuttle, Gigabyte etc..) who design upwards 90% of worldwide notebooks?

Apple to (obviously) use ARM in next Macbook

Posted by Charbax – May 6, 2011
Apple profits mostly thanks to ARM technology
Apple profits mostly thanks to ARM technology

Semiaccurate.com cites sources, and the whole blogosphere is erupting over the rumor that Apple is preparing to use ARM instead Intel in their next Macbook. Here's my take on it:

Thanks to ARM technology, Apple has become the worlds second biggest company (valued at $322 Billion) after Exxon Mobil (valued at $411 Billion). Before using ARM, Apple was in near bankruptcy, and then they got the idea to make those ARM Powered iPod. And as the obvious thing in 2007 they introduced the ARM Powered iPhone. The iPhone now stands for more than 50% of Apple's $70 Billion yearly revenues and the iPhone may actually represent more than 75% of Apple's yearly $17 Billion profit.

ARM is the best way to make huge profits.

And Apple needs to find all ways to keep making big profits, as their share is priced so high, it can only stay as high for as long as they can find ways to continue to make huge profits.

The iPhone may provide Apple with as much as 334% profit margins. ($150 BOM and $650 average sale price)

The iPad may provide Apple with about 155% profit margins. ($225 BOM and $575 average sale price)

The Macbook Air, while expensive, probably only provide Apple with 64% profit margin. ($700 BOM and $1200 average sale price)

This is Apple's ARM Powered laptop plan:

Make the thinner, lighter ARM Powered OSX laptop, with a Pixel Qi type screen they could achieve 30 hours battery runtime or more. It would cost them only $300 to make (BOM) and Apple probably thinks they can still sell it for at least $799 that's a 166% profit margin, nearly 3x more profits for Apple compared to them still using Intel.

The question for Apple R&D is only this one, should they go ahead and use Apple A5 ARM Cortex-A9 (clocked higher than in iPad2's 861Mhz) with some faster memory bandwidth design, put in there some more RAM and optimize their OSX/iOS mashup software for a release before this years Christmas already? Or should Apple wait for Apple A6 ARM Cortex-A15 and to try and have that ready for mass selling before Christmas 2012 at the latest? How do you think Apple will make that OSX/iOS ARM based OS mashup work for their next Macbook? (post in the comments)

You have to consider, I am not suggesting that Apple will succeed in continuing to keep making so huge profits on ARM Powered devices. I for example believe that the $87 Android Smartphones and the diversity in high-end Android smartphones is a significant threat to Apple's iPhone profit margins and marketshare*. Though I am definitely sure that Apple will continue to make 100x more profits on their ARM Powered devices compared to their Intel based devices, and that thus Apple is obviously aiming to shift their Notebook line to ARM as soon as possible.

* especially if they continue making design mistakes like the Anntenna not working in left hand and the iOS devices recording your every move for years in an unencrypted cache file any friend/enemy/backdoor-hacker can snoop on over 100 million iOS device users until they manually decide to upgrade with their new 666MB iOS upgrade file.

Chrome OS laptops pricing speculation/rumors appear

Posted by Charbax – April 21, 2011
Google Chrome Icon
Chrome OS devices to be cheap

Neowin.net says sources confirm the first Chrome OS notebooks are going to be sold starting around late June or early July and the pricing might be innovative using subscription model tied with ones Gmail account.

The search giant is planning on using an unconventional form of distribution to customers. Google will be selling the devices as part of a subscription based model with Gmail to customers.

According to our source, Google plans to make the notebooks available for $10-$20 a month per user, and will provide hardware refreshes as they are released as part of the package, and will replace faulty hardware for the life of the subscription. On top of this, Google will make the devices available for a one time payment as a normal retailer would.

Here's the type of pricing that I am expecting.

At retail without subsidy:

ARM Cortex-A9 Powered Chrome OS notebooks:

- $99 (10.1", 2GB RAM)
- $149 (12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM)

Intel Atom Powered Chrome OS notebooks:

- $149 (10.1", 2GB RAM)
- $199 (12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM)

Subsidized on 2-year subscription plan:

ARM Powered Chrome OS:
- 10.1", 2GB RAM, Free with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.
- 12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM, $49 with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.

Intel Powered Chrome OS:
- 10.1", 2GB RAM, $49 with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.
- 12.1" or 13.3", 4GB RAM, $99 with $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plan.

How the 2-year subscription works:

- The $10/month/100mb or $20/month/1GB 3G/LTE data plans can easily get more bandwidth added to them through one-click bandwidth increase option in settings at a rate something like $1/100mb or $10/2GB type of increments, such extra bandwidth could be added and be used during a month after being added for example. Bandwidth addicts might spend a lot of money on a lot of 3G/LTE bandwidth this way.

- Google could sell these Chrome OS plans to Gmail.com and Google Apps users. The ARM Powered Chrome OS notebook might get 1 free hardware upgrade/exchange per year (with 2-year subscription contract extension), the Intel Powered Chrome OS notebook might allow hardware upgrade/exchange per year for a $99 payment (with 2-year subscription contract extension).

- Google might include a bunch of online storage with this subscription, for example 100GB, storage space usable for Gmail, Docs, Picasaweb and other upcoming Google Cloud Storage services. All data on a Chrome OS notebook (as well added through SD card or even USB hard drive) can automatically get synchronized with the Google cloud storage services. More storage can also easily be purchased in a one-click process.

- Also part of this subscription system, Google takes a consumers payment informations, either credit card or even direct bank account informations, and provides one-click shopping solution as well across all Google Checkout services. Thus monetizing more online sales and also making it easier for consumers to buy things online.

Things to consider about Chrome OS:

Consider an ARM Powered Chrome OS is super thin, super light, runs 10-30 hours on a battery depending on without/with Pixel Qi, consider also all Chrome OS laptops have larger screens, better keyboards, faster boot, faster web browsing speed, better web apps support, they are safer to use, unhackable, uncrackable, no virus possible, they are easy to replace as all data is synched on the cloud, but still HTML5 web apps will work offline, including even advanced apps like video and photo editing, they can even support all the most advanced 3D games. Consider also Chrome OS laptops can easily manage offline storage, either built-in, even hard drive slot or external USB storage and SD cards.

What do you think Google's Chrome OS pricing will be like? Post your ideas and suggestions in the comments.

Sony and Samsung to release ARM Powered Chrome OS notebooks this summer?

Posted by Charbax – March 27, 2011
Picture of the new release of Google Chrome OS
Image via Wikipedia

Yes! Well, I just put this out here, as a rumor. What do you think?

Here's what I think Samsung is doing, preparing a super thin Exynos 4210 ARM Cortex-A9 based laptop for summer release, running Chrome OS nicely and 10+ hours battery runtime even as it weights less than a kilo.

Here's what I think Sony is doing, preparing a super thin Nvidia Tegra2 ARM Cortex-A9 based laptop for summer release, running Chrome OS nicely and 10+ hours battery runtime even as it weights less than a kilo.

Best kicker out of all this? MSRP for these should be below $199 unsubsidized for the whole chew-bang. Those could even be sold $99 subsidized yet not even requiring a contract but just using month-to-month 3G/LTE data as a service (for example, just requiring that the user pay the first $100 in data credit in advance, could be enough for 5 months of $20/month/2GB data service packages, using more than 2GB/month on cellular and the user would have to pay more at a rate of $10/GB on demand or just use the Internet over WiFi or Ethernet for free). Include a 1280x800 Pixel Qi screen, and the battery runtime instantly could increase to upwards 30 hours and the whole experience be sunlight readable.

Of course, Toshiba, Dell, Acer, Asus are all also working on this. And all the Texas Instruments OMAP4430/4440, Marvell Armada 610, Freescale i.MX6 and even Nvidia Tegra3 are also going to be among the choices used in these devices.

Obviously, Apple is investing a farm in preparing their first Apple A5 ARM Cortex-A9 powered OSX for ARM Powered Macbook mega-slim, and Microsoft is investing a castle in making Windows 8 for ARM ready on time so they can try to convince ARM Powered laptop makers to just use Windows as a Chrome OS or Ubuntu alternative.

How quickly do you think ARM Powered laptops will dominate the laptop market? Post your opinions in the comments.

Archos Gen9 tablets, 1.6Ghz Dual-core, 3G, to be announced in June

Posted by Charbax – March 18, 2011

Archos just announced that their revenues are up 44% for 2010 sales compared to 2009 sales, to $118 Million in yearly sales. They also managed to increase their profit margins from 13.5% to 23.3%. In terms of actual profits after R&D, Marketing and other expenses, Archos is about break-even. Archos plans to more than double its revenues and profits in 2011, grabbing about 5% of the worldwide tablet market share expected in 2011 (they captured 22% market share in France for November-December 2010, behind iPad 67% but infront of Samsung 4%, so it should be doable even as tablet competition strongly increases). They plan to do that among other by launching Generation 9 in June (at least show it for the first time), that's only 3 months from now!

Here are the first few details as reported by bestofmicro.com from what they heard at Archos investors meeting today about the Gen9 tablets (what's in bold is from the report, the rest of following text are my added speculations and guessing):

- ARM Cortex-A9 Dual-core 1.6Ghz, it's the fastest processor in a tablet ever unveiled thus far. I expect this to be a customized Texas Instruments OMAP4440, but that is only because I guess Archos will continue their long time partnership with TI that they've had for over 10 years now.

- New innovative 3G modem. Yup, we're getting 3G (at least as an option). What kind of 3G? How they implement it? I dunno, it seems they have a new special way of doing it? I hope they do it with some kind of modem module that can be added or swaped, thus making the tablet compatible with all types of cellular networks current and future and making production and distribution easy, anyone think it could be a module? Somehow allowing for space for a standard USB 3G modem on an "internal" USB host could also be a very innovative way to simply add 3G to the devices, the back of the device could "simply" have some space available to insert any standard compact 3G modem such as the Huawei or ZTE 3G usb dongles that anyone can buy everywhere for as little as $20 unlocked.

- 6 sizes from 5" to 10". That's the sizes it seems they are aiming at. It might mean Archos noticed their 7" and 10" Gen8 were much more popular and in demand than the smaller sizes, and it might mean Archos is realizing a tablet has to be at least 5", perhaps they leave the smaller sizes to the Arnova line? I expect/hope all are capacitive, even the 5" one. Likely sizes are 5", 7", 10.1", other possible sizes (since there are 6 sizes planned), 9.7" 4:3 aspect ratio, 5.8", 8.9", 8" 4:3 aspect ratio. I also hope Archos and Pixel Qi can synchronize release schedules so Archos can provide Pixel Qi matte capacitive screen option on all these sizes, at least as an option. Would you pay $50/$100 extra for Pixel Qi if Pixel Qi is not yet fully mass produced? One can hope Pixel Qi is fully mass produced in time, and that somehow Archos sees the opportunity in using it accross the line, thus making Gen9 ready for productivity, ready for real reading, ready for outdoor use, ready for use in professional and study situations, ready for serious collaboration on text annotations, ready to be Kindle-killer and iPad-killer all at the same time.

- All are Android, obviously it has to be Honeycomb (source code for Honeycomb has yet to be released in the open by Google, it should be done any day now), can Google finally open up Android and allow value Archos tablets the full Google Marketplace access? I would expect so, that could hopefully allow Archos to be certified. (this is totally up to Google is my guess)

- Archos says they continue to focus on aiming for the medium range pricing. My guess is it likely stays below $300, but if they do 3G, Pixel Qi and if they are first out with OMAP4440, who knows, perhaps the price might sneak up to something below $400. Archos CEO is planning all this based on offering the best possible value they can, my guess is that they aim to stay below $300 for the basic models.

- They continue to make hard drive versions. Reason being hard drives provide much more storage at much lower cost. My expectation is at least some of the 6 sizes will have hard drive options. Capacity can depend on how thick they can accept that hard drive to be, cause 2.5" hard drives can go up to 1TB as far as I know, but those are probably too fat. So 250GB for sure, 320GB and 500GB again maybe, if the 320GB or/and 500GB are available in super slim mode.

Well that's all they have teased for us for now. What other features are you hoping Archos is preparing for us in the Gen9 tablets? write in the comments. You can also comment in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=43708&p=337531#p337531

Sources: http://www.archos.com/corporate/investors/financial_doc/ARCHOS_2010_Results_en.pdf, http://www.bestofmicro.com/actualite/28876-Tablette-Android.html