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High School students get the OLPC XO-1.5 HS Laptop with new keyboard

Posted by Charbax – August 5, 2010

Uruguay has already given one laptop to every child between 6-12 years old. Now they want to give laptops to older students too from 12-15 years old. For this, OLPC has installed a keyboard that is more suitable for older kids:

Remember that OLPC is full at work on OLPC XO-1.75 which is a Marvell Armada powered OLPC laptop, which may also get a 8.9" touch screen. And that OLPC is also full at work with Marvell to release the XO-3 tablet design by next CES.

As you can see with the hundreds of videos at my other video-blog http://olpc.tv, OLPC is a huge success wherever it is implemented. The ARM based versions that are coming, hopefully also using the newest version of the Pixel Qi screens, should allow for a significant lowering of the manufacturing prices and a much lower power consumption.

Source of this video: olpcnews.com

I filmed the Augen $99 smartbook 6 months ago

Posted by Charbax – August 1, 2010

Engadget and a bunch of other blogs have been reporting these last few days about the cool Augen branded Android Smartbook and Tablets that are being released in the US market at affordable $99 and $149 prices by Super Market chain KMart. I just would like to remind my readers that I posted my video review of the Augen Smartbook 6 months ago on January 29th as it's based on the Hivision PWS700CA and its cool RockChip ARM9 processor that runs Android in this video: http://armdevices.net/2010/01/29/android-laptop-review-hivision-pws700ca/

and that the Telechips ARM11 800mhz based Augen $149 7" Tablet that Engadget and plenty other blogs also are talking about seems to be based on the same 7" resistive tablet hardware design that I filmed 5 months ago presented by MAG Digital at CeBIT 2010 in this video: http://armdevices.net/2010/03/02/mag-digital-presents-windows-ce-that-looks-like-android-in-a-tablet/

To let you know my opinion. I think it is fantastic that Augen and KMart are promoting such cheaper Android Laptop and Tablet form factors as alternatives to the much more expensive Apple iPad and Intel Netbooks. Archos has also been selling the similarly priced Archos 7 Home Tablet on the worldwide market which I video reviewed 5 months ago, which is now broadly available in many retail and online stores below $200 for the 8GB version (and the 2GB version originally planned at $149, then $179 but for now they are mostly selling the 8GB version). That Rockchip based Laptop and Tablet platform also being upgraded to 1ghz still ARM9 to support newer Android 2.2 versions.

But as we have heard from Canonical developers and from hearsay and off camera chatter by Google people at the Google Q&A at Computex about Chrome OS on ARM Laptops, although the second generation 45nm ARM Cortex A8 with faster DDR RAM and faster I/O performance can be enough, the coming of ARM Cortex A9 platforms may be preferable to achieve the full desktop web browsing experience that most consumers may require for them to consider the ARM platforms as fully usable alternatives in the Intel/Microsoft dominated Laptop market. And the iPad and the whole bunch of smart phones that are currently spread all over the market, those may kind of set expectations at capacitive and ARM Cortex A8 performance at the minimum. So it will be interesting, capacitive touch screen manufacturers allowing, to see how soon and how cheap those capacitive Android tablet designs at full user interface speeds can reach the market. ARM9 and ARM11 resistive tablets are not bad for a start, they can give the consumers and bloggers a taste of what can be done with Android at retail prices below $200 and even below $100. The ultimate goal should be though that we should have full speed ARM Cortex versions of all these devices in all the stores, with the best capacitive screens for tablets or non-touch screens for Laptops, preferably Pixel Qi screens, and available below $200 without contracts, running free Linux based Android or Ubuntu OSes.

India’s $35 tablet is based on AllGo Systems design (specs inside)

Posted by Charbax – July 23, 2010

Indian minister for HR Development HRD, Kapil Sibal announces $35 tablet project. It seems to be based on the Freescale i.MX233 system on chip, with a 7" resistive 800x480 touch screen. Here's my video with AllGo Embedded Systems, a R&D company based in Bangalore India, where they are showcasing their $35 tablet reference design at the Freescale Technology Forum in Orlando last month. This is likely to be the tablet that India's HRD Minister is talking about:

The Bill Of Material is as following:
ARM9 Processor: $5 (Freescale i.MX233)
Memory: $3
WiFi B/G: $4
Other discret components: $3
Battery: $5
7" 800x480 resistive touch screen: $15
Total bill of material: $35

It is of course a honor for me that the Indian Government watches my videos and bases their Government projects on those. I just wish India's HRD would stop attacking the One Laptop Per Child efforts all the time. That Minister is quoted as saying that this project is their "answer to MIT's $100 computer". Why can't he say that this is their answer to the $640 Apple iPad? Why does the Indian Ministry of Human Ressources have to attack the non-profit OLPC organization?

Already back in 2006, the HRD published very harsh statements against the OLPC project such as "India must not allow itself to be used for experimentation with children in this area". After which HRD announced a totally bogus $10 laptop project which resulted in a USB stick. The result of which being, 4 years has passed, and very little has been done to help Indian children at getting any hope at getting a better education using technology.

The $75 OLPC XO-3 design uses a more powerful ARMv7 class processor (3x faster), a 10" capacitive touch screen on an unbreakable plastic Pixel Qi LCD screen that allows it to run 40 hours on a battery instead of 4 hours of this India HRD project! The screen is a very important component, maybe the most important component to make this a revolutionizing success in the whole of India to hundreds of millions of children.

So if HRD wants to make a difference for the Children of India, they need to be open about the specifications of their open source hardware designs, they need to present the options in which ARM Processors they are trying to use, which features that would be included in the SoC and how much HRD would like to support the mass manufacturing of sunlight readable Pixel Qi LCD screen technology. And they should stop positioning this as India HRD vs OLPC but talk about it as India HRD + OLPC vs Apple iPad + Intel netbooks.

Marvell makes OLPC XO-3 Tablet, now official

Posted by Charbax – May 27, 2010

I predicted it in my article on 18th March, Marvell's Moby Tablet announcement is the beginning of the new OLPC XO-3 project.

This is great news! It means XO-3 is coming earlier than 2012 as originally planned. It'll basically start coming as soon as the next generation Marvell Armada 61X processor is ready. Check my video of Marvell Armada 610 and my video of the Marvell Armada 618 to have an idea how impressive this processor is. This means that prototypes of XO-3 could be showcased today and I'm guessing mass manufacturing can start before the end of year.

This also means the 5000+ people at Marvell are now working towards reaching the goals of the OLPC project. Cheaper access to learning, information, web, online entertainment, e-books, worldwide communications, all this is great!

Read the press release: http://www.marvell.com/company/news/press_detail.html?releaseID=1418

I am going to Computex

Posted by Charbax – May 16, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acer to launch Chrome OS laptops at Computex

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

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

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

The big questions are:

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

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

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

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

or

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

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

1. 50h battery runtime

2. Instant on, month of standby

3. Below 800gr, 1cm thickness

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

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

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

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

Source: Venturebeat.com

Google builds own Tablet-e-reader

Posted by Charbax – April 13, 2010
Google Chrome Tablet
Image by nDevilTV via Flickr

The New York Times reports:

Google hopes to make its own apps marketplace available for new slate-like devices.

But Google is going one step further, exploring the idea of building its own slate, an e-reader that would function like a computer.

Yes! Things are going to happen fast!

Obviously, it wouldn't make sense for Google not to provide the Marketplace on Android Tablets and e-Readers to compete with the ipod touch and the ipad.

Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google, told friends at a recent party in Los Angeles about the new device, which would exclusively run the Android operating system. People with direct knowledge of the project — who did not want to be named because they said they were unauthorized to speak publicly about the device — said the company had been experimenting in “stealth mode” with a few publishers to explore delivery of books, magazines and other content on a tablet.

In a second blog post by the New York Times:

Another person who has been briefed on the Google slate project, but asked not to be named, said that Google was still wrestling with several parts of the project, but that it would most likely come with the Chrome Web browser from Google.

Google’s big push to consumers and developers with the device will be to offer a completely open platform — an approach that runs counter to Apple’s closed App Store model.

In the article, HP is said to be working on a 6" Android tablet. Nokia is also working on an e-reader.

Logically, all those e-reader and tablet combos will have to use the Pixel Qi LCD screens to provide e-reader and a color Tablet in one device.

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Archos Generation 8 Android Tablets, prices and sizes rumored

Posted by Charbax – April 12, 2010

The prices are said to be $100 to $350, the sizes 3" to 10", ARM Cortex processor from 800mhz to 1ghz, with multi-touch and 3D acceleration.

My guesses are, based on this slide presented by Henri Crohas in China:

2x Archos 3 Android Gen8: starting at $100, what would the second 3" model be about?
1x Archos 5 Android Gen8: starting at $200?
2x Archos 7 Android Gen8: $200-300? Why two 7" models?
1x Archos 10 Android Gen8: $350? Pixel Qi dual-mode screen (my huge wish, so it can be readable for e-books and run 50h on the battery)?

The slide mentions multi-touch, a big question would be, does Archos now use Capacitive touch-screens? The the case of 3" and 7", might it be that the second skew is to provide a cheap resistive choice as well as a $50 to $100 more expensive capacitive type? The thing about capacitive screen is this, as far as I understand, and as far as one can find by just looking at what's available on the market, it might be capacitive screens are really much more expensive and hard to come by in sizes other than some very definite sizes decided to be mass manufactured by the smart phone industry.

OpenGL acceleration and multi-touch features are clearly stated in the slide. Which may mean that Android 2.1 support is pretty much for surely available. Another hardware feature would be interesting to know about would be how well those devices will integrate 3G connectivity. We know Archos does Bluetooth tethering well, and one can buy a Mifi for WiFi to 3G tethering, how about Archos building 3G modems directly into skews of those Android tablet devices, and how about them making sure that power is managed in a way so that Voice-over-IP and other instant messaging over IP applications can constantly be active and stand-by on 3G and WiFi connections.

Logically to reach 1ghz they will use the Texas Instruments OMAP3640 series of processors, which is a significant upgrade on OMAP3440 of the current generation. This is not only a matter of increase of mhz speed. OMAP3640 is built on a 45nm process instead of the 65nm process of the current processor, which means the processor is significantly smaller and uses a lot less power, which probably brings better battery runtime. You can watch my video comparing OMAP3630 with OMAP3430. The performance increase for 3D rendering with the new processor is more than 62% going from 92fps to 156fps on the same 3D rendering animation. I don't know if video decoding and encoding performance has been improved. And I don't know how much things like website rendering is improved, if it's just 25% faster based on 800mhz vs 1ghz or if it is more than that.

I do not know if OMAP3640 can do 1080p decoding and much higher HD video decoding bitrates. I don't know if OMAP3640 simplifies the integration of mini-HDMI output directly into the device. If Archos includes a camera, it could probably record 720p video which would be really awesome, if a wireless microphone using Bluetooth or mini-jack input also can be used for good sound recording.

You can discuss this news in the forum: http://forum.archosfans.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=32392

Source: p5w.net
Found via: archoslounge.net

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The iPad promotes the ARM Powered Tablet market segment

Posted by Charbax – April 6, 2010
Tablet PC Icon
Image by ichibod via Flickr

The swarms of Apple fans buying and talking about the Apple iPad during these next days and months, are rapidly popularizing the demand for ARM Powered tablets in the worldwide market. This should be a great opportunity for the many companies working on releasing Android Powered Tablets during these next few weeks and months.

1. Will consumers prefer cheaper and more powerful Android powered tablets?

- Archos is already selling an $249 Android Tablet with a pocketable 4.8" screen, they have been selling it since September 2009, check out some of my videos of it: 1, 2, 3, 4

- As you can see in my Tablets category http://armdevices.net/category/tablets/, there are more than 50 Android Powered tablets coming to the market from all major manufacturers during these next few months.

2. All the best tablets should have sunlight readable, reflective Pixel Qi LCD screens. Watch some of my Pixel Qi videos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

3. This can accelerate the release of many ARM Powered laptops. As consumers see that ARM Powered embedded platforms load the full screen full resolution websites fast, consumers will demand there be regular laptop form factors available as well using the same technology.

This video was released at: laughingsquid.com
Found via: techmeme.com

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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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