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Why the Motorola Atrix 4G+Dock is better than a Smartphone+Netbook

Posted by Charbax – March 14, 2011

While I am eager to see more of the Motorola Atrix 4G (I don't know if I can get/find/buy a review unit), having tried it at CES (and interviewed the product manager in this 15-minute video) and at Mobile World Congress, having written about how I think this concept is an example of the ultimate ARM Powered device, as the Motorola Atrix 4G is being released in the USA, here are some of my arguments for why this is a taste of the best mobile computing solution for all:

- Cheaper to make (does not mean it's cheaper to sell, for some reason anything related to telcos is over-priced..). The Bill Of Material of Motorola Atrix 4G is probably close to $150, and the Laptop Dock which consists only of a screen, keyboard and battery must not cost much more than $50 to actually make, even with this pretty high resolution screen.

- Lasts much longer on a battery, Motorola says 8 hours, this thin battery might compare with something like a 2-cell battery on an Intel Atom powered netbook. Since the screen is the most power consuming part of the device, if they used Pixel Qi, the battery runtime might be 30 hours for this setup.

- Thinner

- Lighter (if they didn't put such heavy metals in the laptop dock), it seems to me the metals used on the laptop dock of Motorola Atrix 4G may make it a bit unnecessarily heavy. But perhaps some people find it just fine and good heavy metals make it seem like good construction quality perhaps.

- More secure, we all know and understand cloud services and embedded OS are much more secure than trying luck with a Windows based x86 PC. If Motorola had used TrustZone and NFC, it would even had been the absolute ultimate 100% secure and unhackable system to use for any online authentication or money transactions.

- Faster than intel atom (if they used a faster processor than Tegra2, with more memory bandwidth, such as Exynos 4210, OMAP4430 or ST-Ericsson U8500, when I tested it at CES and MWC, the web browsing with multiple tabs was not fast enough, I think I understood that that may be due to Tegra2's slow memory bandwidth perhaps not yet suitable for multi-tab laptop/desktop style web browsing, I hope Motorola/Nvidia/Mozilla have fixed this in software updates since..)

- Simpler, all your data is always there and synchronized, you always know where to find your data. This is the dream of SysAdmins, they can just give all the employees this system and know it just works, auto-updates, if a unit breaks, everything is automatically resynchronized, hardware upgrades are also seamless.

- Much lower power consumption, save money on power, save the earth eventually, using this type of laptop should become mandatory

- Unbloated, no more crappy software that crashes and fills with viruses and malware (would be better if it "simply" ran Honeycomb with that Chrome browser inside and optimized for laptop use)

- Instant boot, no more waiting

- Seamless resume of multimedia playback on different screen

- There is more.. what do you think? Write in the comments..

What Google should do. Now.

Posted by Charbax – January 21, 2011

Larry Page is the new CEO, here's what I think Google should do.

1. Make White Spaces happen. Things are moving far too slowly. I want to see White Spaces deployed to provide free wireless broadband to the whole world as an alternative to the proprietary 3G/4G/LTE networks. It should be deployed using the FON.com model, Google can invest meager $50 million or whatever is necessary to mass produce the first 1 million routers to activate White Spaces sharing all over the world. The idea should be this, users get these routers that may initially cost $50 to manufacture because the White Spaces chipset is new, but could eventually cost below $20 per router. They install it in their homes, connected to whatever ADSL, Cable, Fiber that people already have in the home. This router creates a White Spaces hotspot that reaches much further than within their home, to cover their whole neighborhood with bandwidth. The router is clever in that it can dynamically throttle bandwidth, if you are at home and you need to use your own bandwidth your bandwidth is 100% prioritized for you to use, thus it does not feel at all like you are sharing your bandwidth, that bandwidth sharing is only of the bandwidth which you don't need yourself. The whole global network uses OpenID and such with increased level of verification of every users real ID, to authenticate each user on that network, so this is not used as an untraceable anonymous global Internet access, but where any illegal activity could be traced back by local authorities if needed (obviously, proxies and encryption can always be used if someone really wants to be anonymous).

Listen to Larry Page talk about White Spaces, this is more than 2 years ago. What has happened since?

2. Open Google Marketplace to all devices. If there is one point where I think Google might be evil, it's in their policies to hamper innovation with Android. It's been about a year and a half that Archos has put Android tablets on the market, still they are not allowed by Google to install the full Google Marketplace on the device. Google needs to stop now. Open several versions of the Google Marketplace if they want, for different types of devices. Or basically just add a settings menu in Google Marketplace that allows apps to be filtered and highlighted differently in terms of how they have been tested (mostly by users themselves) to work better or worse on every different type of device. Allow in those settings for the user or device to present itself automatically for example "without 3G", "without compass", "without back camera", "without android buttons", "at this specific screen resolution", then filter apps from there, but never block access to all apps on all devices, if some apps don't work correctly on certain class of devices, so be it. I believe 99% of the 200'000 apps in the Google Marketplace work 100% just fine on about 100% of the cheapest Android tablets on the market.

I understand that Honeycomb should be opening up Marketplace for more devices. For tablets it's kind of a certain. But still, will Google allow even the cheapest ARM9 Tablets full access to Honeycomb OS and Marketplace? Honeycomb for Laptops is a possibility. Honeycomb for e-ink e-readers, maybe.

In any case, it's kind of sad that it took Google more than 2 years to open up Google Marketplace for more devices. This has let Apple all alone in the market of iPad and iPod Touch.

3. Campaign for Net Neutrality on wireless networks for VOIP access. There has been a lot of rage on the blogosphere about Google's partnership with Verizon in the USA leading up to a Net Neutrality proposal that exempted wireless networks.

It is understandable that bandwidth on wireless networks such as 3G, 4G and LTE have to be managed because it only takes a few users to download some BitTorrents at full speed on one base station for a whole area of up to 1km in diameter where users might experience dropped calls and the like. As far as I understand, even for LTE, bandwidth is limited, although it could be argued that carriers should then just build more base stations closer to users, if they do spend significant money to expand their networks or not, it's understandable that wireless networks need to be throttled somehow.

But, that should absolutely not allow carriers to block voice-over-IP usage. That is pure evil. Wireless bandwidth shall be used HOWEVER the user wants to use it. If carriers don't like the idea of becoming dumb pipes of data, that is their problem. They should have considered that possibility when they decided to become carriers.

Carriers have made enough trillions of dollars of profit already, not for them to justify that they should be allowed to continue to gouge the consumer of thousands of dollars per year in completely data bandwidth prices. When you consider the price of 1MB of SMS messages sent costs about $10'000 to the consumer. We are in the year 2011, 1MB of wireless data SHALL NOT cost $10'000 to the consumer.

4. Destroy Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Foursquare and other over-hyped social networks and location based services. This is a call from a user who gets tired of these boring, unoptimized, wastefull, meaningless excuses for social networking and location based services. What a waste of time! Google has to fix this now!

Twitter only benefits famous people. That's why they keep talking about it. For 99% of users, twitter is absolutely useless, for anything else than to follow whichever famous person you like following, in lists of garbled, meaningless, unoptimized, spammy, messy 140-character messages. Make it stop, please.

Facebook is the newer type of Myspace that is a trend in high schools globally. It's for not much more than grouping school kids together and have them waste time on farmville, a tool for massive stalking of a bunch of people you never spoke to for 10 years or more. Make it stop, please.

Social networking will be extremely useful eventually. Location based services will revolutionize everything that we do. Just not in those forms. Google needs to make a social network with location services in a way that absolutely makes sense. Make it so people get to do constructive things in the world, people move more, do more things, people get to be more productive, meet more people. End the global era of wasted opportunities, wasted efforts, mutual disdain, rejection and loneliness that can be felt by everyone.

Social networking that makes sense changes organizations, it changes companies, it changes communities, it changes countries. It auto-regulates humans use of global resources and actually makes democracy work.

Yeah those may be high hopes for Google's social network, but who else than a company of the worlds top 24 thousand Phd software engineers can we rely upon to make this work?

5. Merge Android, Chrome OS and Google TV into one ARM Powered software platform. Google needs to focus on bringing the full Chrome browser on top of Android, provide it with full Google TV features, make it all boot on one ultra optimized ARM Powered software OS image. Read my previous post "Recipe for the ultimate ARM Powered device" for more on how this all-in-one software should work.

6. Bring Internet access to the next billion people faster. It's all good how Android is taking over the smartphone market. It eventually does bring cheaper Android devices mostly made by Chinese vendors themselves. Still it is not going fast enough. Google should make it a priority that a $50 Unlocked Android Phones shall become available globally. Google should invest billions of dollars in One Laptop Per Child, have it run open source software that is supported by millions of people. Reaching the $75 Tablet should be a priority. Invest billions of dollars in Pixel Qi to mass produce their screens as fast as possible, make sure all devices can last 10 times longer on a battery as soon as possible.

The thing is western countries have a lot of electrical power so they don't care enough about not having to recharge a 2300mAh battery every night. Consumers in wester countries don't care enough about the price of the smartphone as most are still buying smartphones subsidized by a carrier who charges upwards $3000 in 2-year contracts that for example most Americans feel are natural thing to sign up for when getting a smartphone.

Getting mobile computing to the next billion people within 2-3 years should be a priority for Google, and if that risks to disrupt the actual business models of the carriers in developed countries by the availability of $50 unlocked Super Phones, $75 Tablet/E-readers and $100 Laptops in every super market, so be it.

7. Monetize independent web video production and make VOD the worldwide standard through YouTube and Google TV. YouTube has already become the worlds largest bandwidth infrastructure, streaming out more than 2 billion video streams per day, hosting and encoding all the worlds video, it's impressive. Yet, Google now has the opportunity to reach much further and completely monetize YouTube. The YouTube Partnership system is a drop in the bucket compared to what they should do. I'm not allowed to become a YouTube Partner even though I have over 12 million video views (including what I put on other channels and what I had put on Google Video), the reason being Google only allowes residents of G20 countries access to even apply to become a YouTube Partner.

Of those that are conservatively monetizing YouTube video views with overlay advertising, they could do so much more. Why not provide a one-click donation button under every video, on every channel page to allow viewers to sponsor the future productions of their favorite content creators? Why not embed price comparison links with commission payments on one-click sales under every video that talks about a product that can be bought by interested viewers? Why doesn't Google provide a global subscription plan à la Hulu, but where it gives access to much more than just established Hollywood/TV contents, but where it also monetizes ads-free or higher definition viewing of all independent content? Why doesn't YouTube offer pay-per-view solutions worldwide, for example, let viewers choose to pay very small amount of money to get a direct link to download any of the videos as an uncompressed video file or on-demand encoded to chosen codec and bitrate/resolutions?

YouTube needs to become much more than the worlds biggest bandwidth infrastructure project. YouTube has to become Google's biggest source of revenues and profits. It needs to become a tool that changes media and ultimately that improves democracy.

What do you think Google should do now that they have a new CEO? Post in the comments.

The $35 Indian Sakshat Tablet project based on my video, how to make it work

Posted by Charbax – January 21, 2011

On June 26th 2010 I published this video which unveiled the Indian $35 Tablet project's Bill Of Material for the first time:

India's Minister of HRD, Shri Kapil Sibal, or one of his colleagues, watched my video.

On July 22nd 2010, the Government of India's Ministry of Human Resources Development announces the $35 Tablet, announces they plan to have a Chinese manufacturer deliver a few million of these in India for education.

I would like to be serious a bit, as there are literally billions of children on this planet who are waiting for tools for a better education, they are growing old with a missed opportunity to learn. I don't have anything against Governments watching my video-blog to find out what are the best ARM Powered devices on the market, but I would like to suggest a few more things they can do if they would like the project to be successful all the way:

1. Don't work against OLPC, announce you want to join their efforts. Doesn't mean you use OLPC's Marvell 610 platform, just means you share all knowledge and collaborate towards a same goal. You are supportive of each others goals, this is not a competition, this should be a collaboration.

2. Turning a tablet into a successful educational tool is not a piece of cake. It's probably not enough to just take whatever cheapest materials and deliver it like that.

3. Denounce Intel's blatant corruption attempt, 4 days after the announcement of the $35 ARM Powered Android Tablet project, Intel India is quick to suggest the Government should rather (basically give up on the ARM Powered Tablet) and just use the "Donation of 1500 Intel powered tablets" for pilot project (to last a couple years or so preferably, enough time to delay all other real mass low cost deployment attempts), same thing Intel did all over the world to block OLPC from reaching developing countries. Intel has subsidiaries all over the world, they may not be instructed centrally by Paul Otellini for all it does all over the world, but they seize any opportunity at preventing other potentially disruptive technologies from catching on. I mean seriously, what could Intel seriously want to do helping a project to make a $35 ARM Powered tablet for education running Android? Intel can afford to buy India a couple million of these ARM Powered tablets to help get things started, but is that anything near what they had as intention?

4. If you are a Governmental Non-profit project, you setup a Website, open source the code, informations about potential suppliers (real-time information about manufacturing requirements). Tell me in the comments if India's HRD has been open about this project, I haven't seen it. If they chose to make their project secret, it would have a harder time to get implemented. Be open about the full Bill of Material. If you listen to my video, you can hear the AllGo Systems representative list these Bill of Materials:

ARM9 Processor: $5 (Freescale i.MX233)
Memory: $3
WiFi B/G: $4
Other discrete components: $3
Battery: $5
7″ 800×480 resistive touch screen: $15
Total bill of material: $35

If this is it, then clearly publicly say this is it. Let people know what alternatives there may be, let the community discuss what alternatives could be used.

For example, I am pretty sure an educational tablet cannot be made without a 7" Pixel Qi screen. For one it's the only way to hope it has low enough power consumption to last long enough for children in India who don't have a lot of power, perhaps no power at all (let it be powered by Bicycles, hand crank, sub-$5 A4 sized solar panels..). A reflective screen is the only way the tablet can be used for reading ebooks, the only way it can be used outdoors during the day in places where a child might not even have a roof on the school or no school at all.

5. The Bill of Material should be calculated openly with the prospect of using that budget that you have for it. Meaning if you can produce 1 million units, that obviously affects the price of each Pixel Qi 7" screens, perhaps making it as cheap as a normal LCD screen.

6. Be open with how you plan to finance the project. This whole deal with the Chinese manufacturer not wanting to pay HRD $13 Million just sounds weird. Why should the manufacturer pay India and not the other way? Usually, as far as I know, a manufacturer would be paid on shipping of completed product, and India's engineers can work at the factory to monitor yield, quality and batches before mass production is started and while they are being mass manufactured.

7. Be open about how it is designed. The reports (2) on this tablet being a copy of some Chinese design may be true for the casing, but that does not mean that the cheap Freescale i.MX233 ARM9 based SoC on Motherboard, electronics, Android software porting to that specific ARM9 processor (perhaps one of the cheapest ARM SoC in the world), all that does not mean AllGo Systems didn't actually do this original work. I believe they have. The fact is the Chinese market, Chinese manufacturers have so-called Open and Free designs for those cases that can be used for cheap ARM Powered Tablets, cheap ARM Powered laptops, cheap ARM Powered e-readers. But that does NOT mean that what is inside is always a "clone" of some other design. OEM's might have turn key solutions, all ready made designs that they produce and deliver low cost, but they also produce the designs of foreign companies.

Liquavista acquired by Samsung

Posted by Charbax – 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 Charbax – 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" 1280x800, 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 Charbax – 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.

Top-24 videos I filmed at CES of products not covered by Engadget

Posted by Charbax – January 14, 2011

While Engadget has about 38 bloggers at CES and a huge dedicated trailer with dedicated fiber optics line just outside the Central Hall, it can be hard for a small independent blogger like me, fighting for bandwidth at cheap Las Vegas hotels (Internet access in my Sahara hotel room actually didn't work at all during the whole CES) or staying on the floor outside the Las Vegas Convention Center press room untill 11PM every night (until they turned off the lights and security kicks me out), uploading and posting 106 HD quality videos during CES bringing you exclusive contents even as sites like Engadget and 100 other big blogs always post 500 things on the first day of CES, their coverage is great. But I notice I may have covered a bunch of things that the Engadget bloggers didn't find interesting enough or couldn't find (too busy partying with Lady Gaga?), let me give you an overview of some 24 products that I have filmed and that seem not to be covered on Engadget (I still have more than 20 CES videos to upload and to post later today and the next few days):

NEC Tegra2 Powered 7″ Laptop, Engadget only covered NEC's cool dual-resistive-screen Android tablet which I also filmed, but they don't seem to have found this 7" Tegra 2 Laptop with Touch screen form factor.

Innodigital WebTube, Android ARM Cortex-A9 set-top-box, Korean Innodigital seems to be making the absolute best Samsung ARM Cortex-A8 $165 and Trident ARM Cortex-A9 $265 Android Set-top-boxes. Those I believe may be Google TV ready once that software for ARM is ready.

OLPC XO-1.75, ARM Marvell Armada 610 version of the XO Laptop!, Engadget did cover it but not with video.

Onyx Boox M90, cool 9.7" connected e-ink e-reader with digitizer annotations input and cool embedded Linux software by Chinese Onyx International. Definitely a good alternative to the 9.7" Kindle DX that has no touch screen input features.

Ramos ARM Cortex-A9 Tablets, except all the Tegra2 tablets and the OMAP4430 Blackberry Playbook, Ramos may have been one of the only ones showing alternative AmLogic 1.2Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 based tablets at CES.

Polaroid Android Tablet, Polaroid showed a 9.7" Android Tablet to compete directly with the iPad.

Shenzhen ACT 4.8″ capacitive Marvel PXA935 clamshell Android, a really enjoyable 1Ghz Marvell powered Android 4.8" capacitive clamshell form factor with dual-sim card. This design could be close to dream like for some productive Android fanboys.

Ocean Star 1024×600 7″ capacitive Rockchip RK2818 Android Tablet, at $140 in bulk, may be most affordable 1024x600 7" capacitive Android tablet yet and can have 3G built-in for $50 more. Rockchip is ramping up!

Mary-Lou Jepsen gives an update on Pixel Qi at CES 2011, Engadget did talk about Pixel Qi news, but did not post an extensive interview with Mary-Lou Jepsen talking about status like mine.

Archos 101 Home Tablet, possibly cheapest 10″ capacitive ARM Cortex-A8 tablet, yet another in the Rockchip Home Tablet series for Archos, Rockchip says it could be sold for $199 retail, price is to be confirmed by Archos once Rockchip RK29xx is delivered in mass quantities for this product to ship.

Rockchip presents RK2818 and RK29xx series Processors at CES 2011, Engadget didn't provide you with an extensive interview with top representative at Rockchip about their status. Rockchip was in over 50 Android tablets shown at CES, from RK2818 to RK29xx, that's possibly a record.

GreatWall M7250, $125 Android Tablet, Marvell 166 ARM11 based 7 Android tablet, it costs $125 in bulk, offers a 3G built-in option for $45 extra

Zaidtek E7 and Zaidtek H7 Android Tablets, Qualcomm MSM7227 and Rockchip RK2818 capacitive 7" tablets, $350 and $250 respectively, may be some of "most affordable" such capacitive tablets with 3G built-in. Seems to be same design in $450 at retail Aigo N700 which I also filmed.

Robo Builder dancing robot, humanoid Robot building and programming kit for around $860

Mastone 10.1″ OMAP3630 Android Tablet, one of the first designs after Archos to use OMAP3630 in a tablet as far as I know.

Jetbook mini LCD based $99 e-reader, uses interesting LCD based e-reading technology from Toshiba, and is affordable.

Match Tech 9.7″ Capacitive i.MX51 Android Tablet, another proof Apple has lost exclusivity on LG's 9.7" IPS capacitive touch screen panel, here powered by Freescale i.MX51 and with design to be upgraded to faster i.MX53 when available.

istation (previously Digital Cube) launched 7" 3D Tablet and 5", may not have fastest Telechips processor, still original designs.

Nufront ARM Powered Laptops, first time Nufront shows their ARM Cortex-A9 in 10" and 14" Laptops and 10" Tablets.

Freescale i.MX508 next generation e-ink platform, in this video showing 8fps refresh rates and Android for e-ink e-readers which could enable awesome e-ink apps (rss readers, news readers, email, web browsing, etc..)

Freescale i.MX51 Powered Tablets at CES 2011, tour of about a dozen Freescale powered Android tablets.

Seco srl presents Pico Projector in a Lamp concept, check this out, one of the most original uses of Android and pico projector.

Honeycomb user interface demo, I actually grabbed some footage of me using the actual Android Honeycomb OS (considering it's not final or simply secretive for now), did anyone else post Honeycomb UI videos other than the official ones that were playing in loop on any Xoom demonstrated at CES?

LG Smart TV to be ARM Powered, some interviewing with LG Smart TV product manager about how it'll be ARM Powered.

Check back as I am uploading the remaining 20 or so videos that I filmed at CES today and the next few days.

Rohan Shravan gives an update on Notion Ink at CES 2011

Posted by Charbax – January 7, 2011

CEO and founder of Notion Ink shows the Pixel Qi version of his Nvidia Tegra2 tablet. Explains what his company has been working on and documenting on http://notionink.wordpress.com/ the development of an awesome dual-mode dual-core Android tablet. This tablet is due to be shipping now soon to customers who can pre-order their tablets on http://notionink.com

Expectations for CES next week

Posted by Charbax – December 30, 2010

Between January 3rd and 11th, I am going to video-blog from CES 2011, make sure to often refresh my RSS feed and/or subscribe to my YouTube channel, (at last year's CES I published 75 videos), I'll try to feature the coolest ARM Powered devices that I can find at the show.

Have you got any scoop or ideas for what I should video-blog at CES? What questions would you like me to ask the representatives of which specific companies? If you read on any other blogs about any interesting products showing at this CES, please post your suggestions for what I should film here in the comments of this post. You can also send me an email: charbax@gmail.com or you can even sms/call me or leave a voicemail between January 3rd and 11th at my US phone number +1 (702) 238 8630 (only active when I am in the USA).

Here are some of the things I am expecting or hoping to video-blog at CES:

- Lots of Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb stuff. Android in everything!

- Several dual-core tablets are rumored. Nvidia's Tegra2 is rumored could be one of the stars of the show, rumored to be the "reference design" for Honeycomb. Sounds great, but I am also looking forward to all the other upcoming Dual-Core ARM Processor platforms and I am wondering if products featuring these will be shown at this CES already.

- How soon are the Dual-Core smart phones and tablets being released and at what prices? Will LG, Samsung, Motorola or other present phones at CES to beat Nexus S already?

- ARM Powered Chrome OS Laptops and Google TV Set-top-boxes, I will be looking for the first clues of these products.

- Tablets, more tablets? Any new design features to allow tablets to be used more for productivity? Are some Honeycomb designs like Archos without the hardware Android buttons? Designs with foldable/swivel keyboards?

- Pixel Qi 7", 10.1", big OEM announcements? Hopefully these LCD screens will be ready for Kindle-LCD, ipad2, samsung galaxy tab2 and more hopefully mass manufactured and everywhere within the next 3 months.

- Texas Instruments next generation nHD pico projector in all kinds of phones, tablets and other devices at CES? Or not to be shown before February at Mobil World Congress? I'd like to see this type of pico projector be used together with sensors to detect when touching in user interfaces projected for example on a table (see my video of a table-pico-projector prototype UI demonstrated at CeBIT 2007), this could turn any ARM Powered device, even pocketable, into a large screen computing device.

- New ARM Powered platforms for cheaper and better smart phones, tablets and laptops? Rockchip may show ARM Cortex-A8 RK29xx, Broadcom may show BCM2157 for sub-$75 Android phones, is it time for VIA and Telechips to show new faster or/and cheaper solutions for new cooler low-cost Tablets, Laptops and Set-top-boxes?

- Are the new ARM Processors capable of full 1080p at up to 60fps with full high profile and full high bitrates of every codecs?

- Nintendo 3DS is coming in February/March, any other manufacturers to mass manufacture products to use that parallax barrier 3D screen from Sharp that doesn't require 3D glasses?

- Are ARM Powered NAS boxes and Pogoplugs/Sheevaplugs going to be powerful enough to download and seed BitTorrents at full speed, allow for full speed gigabit LAN file sharing even on the cheaper solutions?

- How much is going to be LTE, how soon and are anyone showing anything to do with White Spaces yet? How soon could that be deployed and at which cost and with what range and authentication features?

- I'd like to see Sanyo release a HD3000 with WiFi/Bluetooth and optics and sensors closer to that of a DSLR. Or it will be interesting to see more DSLR type optics and sensors in more video camcorders and see how affordable those setups can become. It seems Sony, Panasonic and all other major camera makers are going in that direction for the next generation of best HD camcorders.

Please post your expecations/hopes in the comments or send me an email!

Chrome OS brings $99 laptops

Posted by Charbax – December 14, 2010

Chrome OS greatest achievement will be the disruption of the whole Windows/Intel/Apple business models of artificially increasing prices of Laptops year after year, as those old silicon valley giants are always frightened to see their multi-hundred billion dollar industry disappear.

What the One Laptop Per Child successfully initiated after 2006, forcing Intel to introduce the Netbook market segment, thus lowering the average price per laptop consumers would purchase by $100-200 overnight, Google is attempting to do even more aggressively with Chrome OS.

These past 2 years, I reviewed several ARM Powered $99 Laptops already, from such Chinese as Hivision, MenQ, Firstview or Indian AllGo Systems, powered by VIA's Wondermedia or other of the affordable ARM9 or ARM11 platforms that are available to these manufacturers for affordable implementation at that time. Sure enough, ARM Cortex A8 and A9, more RAM, faster SoCs are more appropriate for full laptop performance. Every 18 months chips are twice as fast or twice cheaper. How much more do you think that a new ARM Cortex-A9 SoC platform with a larger higher resolution LCD screen costs today compared to an ARM9 from 2 years ago? $30 more? The same? These cheap ARM Powered laptops are interesting because they are early products that have been giving us a taste of the ARM Powered laptops that are coming.

Sure the Cr-48 that Google are beta testing is Intel powered. That is just a question of beta testing of software. ARM Powered Chrome OS probably needs ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processors to be optimized for large screen laptop computing. The Chrome Browser requires a lot of RAM to be fast. All the I/O and memories on the SoC need to be accelerated to the point the Chrome web browser in a laptop form factor feels 100% as fast on ARM as on Intel.

It may be that the current generation ARM Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 are more suitable for Tablets and Smart Phones than for Laptops and Desktops. More likely, it is that Google has enough to beta test on Intel that they cannot advertise simultaneous beta testing on ARM at this moment as well.

In any ways, it might still be months before mass market Chrome OS laptops are sold to consumers. So clearly the Cr-48 being Intel doesn't have to be an indication of ARM being "not ready" but instead might be simply a question of Google focusing their beta testing program on Intel for now. ARM and Intel based Chrome OS may still actually be released simultaneously to consumers next year.

Also consider the fact Intel CEO Paul Otelinni is also on the board of directors of Google, mysteriously. And that pressure from Intel on Google might convince Google to do such things as Chrome OS and Google TV with Intel first, all the while Google knows that ARM is the best platform eventually for both projects. Although Google TV is released to consumers, it's still limited in size to one similar to beta testing, it's like when Google releases a Nexus phone, they don't do it to sell many Nexus phones, they do it to push their software platform forward, which always turns out that the industry combined sells more Google based devices than all other.

This is what I think Google plans to achieve with lower hardware pricing:
- $99 Google TV -> turns YouTube into larger share of people's daily 5-hour TV watching, 10x increase in YouTube bandwidth when succeeded, changes outcome of elections brings more visionary high-tech favorable politicians to power
- $99 Chrome OS laptops -> realizes cloud computing dream, more ads served per user, enterprise all adopt Chrome OS for speed, security and price, brings in ecosystem for pay-per-web-app.
- $99 Pixel Qi Tablet/E-readers -> platform for Google e-books, full web experience on-the-go, more reading, outdoor use, more personal connection to the web
- $99 Gingerbread Smart Phones -> Google Voice true VOIP replaces telcos, eventually White Spaces is brought in to provide free wireless broadband. Google pushes Local services, location-based advertising brings in next hundred billion in revenues.

It only makes sense Google's platforms will have the absolute largest market share in all these market segments. In all these segments, Google never plans to make profit on hardware, the hardware business is outsourced to manufacturers and brands, Google just plans for their platforms to dominate.

Price of Chrome OS laptops is the true revolution here.

As Google isn't yet announcing the price, it may be hard for analysts to grasp the potential here.

How can a Google Chrome OS notebook be sold at $99?

1. ARM Powered laptops cost half the price to manufacture compared to Intel, even the Intel one can be sold $199, deduct at least Windows licence and Hard drive costs compared to a "regular" netbook, that's 5-10 times cheaper than the Macbook air.

2. Removing hard drive, simplifying motherboard lowers cost.

3. Google makes money later on ads. Seriously, do a calculation how much advertising money Google makes on each of their users, divide their yearly reported revenues by the number of users, Chrome OS users will see even more Google ads than other.

4. Google and Telecoms make money later on selling on-demand 3G/4G wireless data. Even as this should be sold without compulsory subscription plan, the pricing and ease of use should be so tempting, a large share of users will potentially spend hundreds of dollars for on-demand wireless data service. This should be built-in, perhaps not even a SIM card slot, allows Google to also negociate 3G/4G bandwidth deals in all countries worldwide. If prices change in other countries, simply click boom to accept and you've got on-demand wireless bandwidth.

5. Google and Developers will make money later on selling apps. Eventually monetization of web apps will be more than just ads. Even enterprise stuff like Google Apps, Citrix stuff and other Virtualization of Windows/Mac x86 apps, those kinds of services could generate up to thousands of dollars per user in the enterprise.

Critics of Google's Chrome OS based cloud computing need to understand a few things about where it is and where it's going:

- HTML5 apps can work offline and don't have to be slower because of connectivity. Including Google Docs and potential cloud assisted video and photo editing, all can work offline.

- Native code and powerful 3D will be part of it. This means basicaly all apps you can imagine that are on Windows and Mac can also work here. I expect new cloud based versions of http://youtube.com/editor means even video editing professionals will rather want to use this type of cloud based apps for instant encoding and rendering using the power of thousands of grid processing servers on the cloud.

- WebGL and other advances in web browser technology increases potential complexity of web apps.

- A 32GB SD card costs less than $49, a 500GB 2.5" external USB hard drive costs $49, both work in Chrome OS, I even envision a Chrome OS laptop design with available slot to insert a 2.5" hard drive and have it only powered when accessed.

- You can backup and sync your cloud easily on a $49 ARM Powered NAS such as a pogoplug in your home, connect any $99 3.5" 2TB hard drive to that.

- Citrix has demonstrated, any x86 app you want can be virtualized in Chrome OS to actually run faster thanks to cloud grid app hosting than any local PC.