User lkcl of elinux.org got some samples of the Chitech CT-PC89E ARM Powered laptop with a Samsung ARM11 S3C6410 processor, a 1024×600 8.9in LCD screen, factory-upgradeable SO-DIMM which also has, in the standard low-cost option, 256mb of RAM and 2gb of NAND Flash, two internal USB2-capable PCI-express slots, which can take 50x30mm PCI-e cards. One is occupied with the RALink RT2070 WIFI, whilst the other is designed to take a 3G or an EDGE modem (bootup logo on this sample seems to show a China Mobile logo): there is even a slot for a SIM card next to the SD card slot.
According to lklc as shown in this video, this ARM Powered laptop has been hacked by to run:
Debian Lenny with a matchbox window manager and some GPE applications, due to the limited size of the root filesystem partition (450mb) and the fact that the factory haven’t been able to provide the Linux kernel source code yet. The important thing is that it proves that it’s possible to install your own OS on this machine.
Freescale is showing their reference design for sub-$200 tablets. The target is that tablets can soon be sold below $200 to end consumers that are able to run any Linux-based OS, including Android or Chromium OS – based on the open-source code available at http://chromium.org
In this video, Freescale’s product manager of Software Development demonstrates the status of their optimizations of running Chromium OS on their i.MX51 based devices, among other form factors is the recently announced $199 tablet form factor. It even supports hardware acceleration of HTML5 based video playback.
This means, full power Chromium OS could be made available in the next few months in Laptop and Tablet form factors to be sold well below $200 unlocked without contracts. The main question is how fast and how smooth will the Chromium Browser feel on ARM Powered devices? This is to be seen and tested very soon! Follow my video-blog for hands-on reports showing performance of Chromium OS running on all the ARM Powered devices very soon. Check also for Chrome browser running within Android, or for Chromium OS modified to add Android apps support, thus merging the two.
I also wonder, how much more does a $65 ARM Powered laptop cost if it uses an ARM Cortex A8 processor like the ones from Freescale instead of the ARM9 or ARM11 based ones from rockchip, VIA, Samsung and others. If the price increase is within $35, then welcome will be all the sub-$100 full power smooth ARM Powered Chromium OS laptops and tablets! Without actually knowing the real price difference between the ARM9, ARM11 and ARM Cortex based cheap laptops, my guess is that the availability of sub-$200 and sub-$100 Chromium/Android Laptops/Tablets is a possibility.
How soon will we see Google sell unlocked Chromium/Android on ARM powered laptop/tablet/e-reader convertibles with 50-hour battery life on Pixel Qi screens at http://google.com/laptop?
Firstview Electronic HK Limited is showing the PC706V which may be one of the worlds cheapest laptops, it runs Android on a low cost and low power VIA 8505 ARM based 533Mhz processor, with 128MB RAM, 2GB Nand flash, 7″ 800×480 screen, WiFi, SD card reader Nand flash, 7″ 800×480 screen, WiFi, SD card reader 3G dongle support. It’s supposed to run 4 hours on a 2100mah battery, it loads websites slower than a more expensive computer, but it can be made for only $65 in the Chinese factories when ordered by big resellers in large quantities.
DSK Digital is launching this Texas Instruments OMAP3 600mhz ARM based full Linux computer system for a whole bunch of low power, even solar powered computing for on the field healthcare, e-government and teacher training applications.
usmart Sun Power Technology Limited is showing what they say is the world’s smallest x86 computer, comes with a 4.8″ screen, Intel Atom 1.60ghz processor, 512mb RAM, USB port, WiFi, MicroSD slot, removable battery that lasts 2 hours of Windows XP usage. It should cost below $500 if it becomes available. This device when I touched it for a few seconds it seems to be very hot and it was actually shaking because of the small fans that are inside. Though this is a hand made early prototype.
It runs Google Android, it’s the first Android based Laptop that also come with a swivel touch screen for full Android tablet form factor. It also comes with cool gaming controls on each side of the screen. It uses an ARM11 processor, has 2 hour battery runtime, built-in mini-jack to composite tv output, and a pretty well integrated mousepad build quality. You can find more information at http://mag-digital.com
Atul Aggarwal, Director of Product Marketing at Texas Instruments, explains the performance difference between the OMAP3430 and OMAP3630 series of processors at Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona.
I am still slowly uploading my remaining 10-15 videos from Mobile World Congress to Youtube, as Internet upload speeds using Swisscom ADSL in Switzerland also are absolutely terrible, where uploads get disconnected all the time, I have to resume an FTP upload 100 times over many hours uploading with an average of 10kb/s and I have to ask someone else somewhere else to be nice enough to upload them to Youtube for you during these next few days.
After the Google keynote on the third day of Mobile World Congress, I was lucky to speak with Andy Rubin product manager at Google of the Android project of which I got several very interesting replies off camera to several of my Android related questions, until I also got to ask Eric Schmidt a couple of questions while he was walking with his team including Google President of Product Management Vic Gundotra to a secret meeting with secret people (that I didn’t try to guess who were) in a secret room behind the scenes of the keynote area:
– How soon are we going to see the Android laptops?
(big smile, everyone in the Google team around the CEO laughs, and looks at me like I know something)
(another smile and laugh from himselft and the Google team)
– I would have to say No Comment on this one.
– Do you think it’s bloated?
– No comment
What I take from those answers, mostly from what I saw in the faces of Eric Schmidt and his team, is that Android in ARM powered Laptops certainly is one of Google’s next big projects although the big tagline of his whole keynote speech was “Mobile First”. I would guess probably that Laptops and Tablets may be supported by Google with one of the next versions of Android. This is also the kind of confirmation that I got speaking to Andy Rubin in the following interview. This is not word for word what he said, he wouldn’t or couldn’t let me film him answer my questions, this is kind of what I remember him answering:
– Do you know the Archos 5 Internet Tablet? (I show mine to him)
– Yes I know it. It’s nice.
– When are we going to see official Android Marketplace support on such kinds of devices that for example don’t have 3G and only have WiFi and also introduce a few new hardware features such as larger screens and Laptop form factors?
– While we were initially asking manufacturers to stay within our hardware requirements and guidelines, we are also definitely going to be supporting Tablets and Laptop form factors as well soon.
– Can Chrome browser run within Android, and if it could, what would need to be done in terms of software engineering to make that work on Laptops and Tablets with WVGA or higher resolution screens.
– Both Android and Chrome are open source, and we have released the Native Android SDK, so any developer could certainly try to port the Chrome browser for Android. But the Chrome browser is more adapted for larger screens such as laptops. It does make sense.
– When are we going to see Android phones sold unlocked below $200? I was the one to falsely circulate the rumor (which though I didn’t present as a rumor but more as a Wish in a simple comment) of the $199 unlocked Nexus One pricing.
– Even for the Nexus One, we are not the ones setting the price. (I don’t know if he simply meant HTC is setting the price or if someone else at Google is setting the price. And I didn’t manage to ask if Google is making a large share of the profit margins on selling Nexus One unlocked or on contracts or if Google “only” makes about the same margin as any other reseller.)
That’s it, I didn’t really present myself as a video-blogger/press/journalist directly to Eric Schmidt in the brief few seconds that I was able to talk to him and I didn’t want to slow them down as I somehow got to be somewhere back stage where I was not really supposed to be. I left my business card to the press relations Google lady asking if there was any way for me to be allowed to Interview Google Engineers in a video for my video-blog about my Android and Chrome related questions.
I was politely contacted the same evening by a Google UK press representative telling me that “Thanks for our interest in doing a videoblog here at mobile world congress. I’m afraid that we don’t have the resources to do on-camera interviews this year. Apologies for any inconvenience.”
No problem, it was fun just to speak with Andy Rubin for a few minutes and to Eric Schmidt for a few seconds.
You have to consider that some of the leaders of the telecom industry were probably in the audience at that very packed keynote room at Mobile World Congress. I did find it slightly fun when some people (possibly with an agenda) did ask quite harsh questions to Eric Schmidt when there were some minutes for the Q&A, for example Danish Analyst John Strange asked if Google was trying to turn the Telecoms into dumb pipes when they rather would want to be intelligent pipes, which fueld several replies from Eric Schmidt and further discussions on the matter also when a Dutch Analyst asked if Google wanted to “steal the voice minutes” from the telecom industry. I found those questions very fun, especially since some in attendance seemed to be cheering against Google for those two questions. I certainly am rooting for Google to disrupt the established telecom industry business models. Sub-$100 fully featured Android phones could reach not only populations of rich countries, but those billions of people in developing countries, even people who currently live in slumps, in misery, and for whome I am convinced access to technology could be a faster solution.
While you wait for my next videos, you can watch Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in the following video:
Flash product manager Richard Galvan explains the whole status of Flash 10.1 support on all devices, on Android, hardware acceleration, software optimizations, interoperability, backwards compatibility. The next version of Flash authorting software enables Flash application developers to output their apps not only in any version of Flash, also in one-click to Adobe Air 2 and even to the iPhone application format to upload directly to the itunes app store.
Olé! I am going to Barcelona for the worlds biggest and most influential conference on Mobile phones, mobile Internet devices and future technology in the mobile world. This is going to be my first Mobile World Congress, so I am really looking forward to it.
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I am looking forward among other things to film videos of amazing new products and technologies among these:
– ARM Cortex A9 powered stuff, I expect Texas Instruments will have awesome demonstrations of this, and for sure more Nvidia and I wonder who else will show this technology.
– Nexus Two, Three and Four. What I mean by that are alternatives to HTC in making at least 3.7″ WVGA AMOLED, Android 2.1 and 1ghz ARM Cortex A8 or faster smart phones. Those are likely to be on display by manufactures among others that are Samsung, Motorola, Acer.
– May this be a perfect opportunity for big manufacturers to officially announce and launch Pixel Qi screens in new Laptop and Tablet form factors at affordable prices and with amazingly long batterz runtimes.
– I expect to see huge things from Google and from all the Open Handset Alliance and ARM Solutions Center for Andriod providing new amazing hardware acceleration solution in new software updates, demonstrating next generation Android solutions, showing more high resolution large screened Android solutions.
– Chrome OS demos, show those. Anything that is ARM Powered and that runs Chrome OS smoothly will be very interesting to see and interview software engineers about the status of running a full speed Chrome browser on ARM devices, what they plan to do and how soon it will be released and for how much. Can they run unlimited amounts of tabs on a $150 ARM Powered laptop with only 128MB RAM inside?
– How cheap can the cheapest Android phones be at this point? Will we see huge amounts of new manufacturers from around the world demonstrate cheaper Android phones and that still perform pretty well? Can we see $100 unlocked Android phones already, or at least below pointing at well below $200?
Please do contact me or post comments here if you hear about any specific awesome ARM Powered devices that I should film at the Mobile World Congress, I will try to film all the requests that I get in comments, by email and to my Google Buzz threads.
According to ARM CEO Warren East, the Netbook category is expected to explode to cover 90% of the laptop market over the next several years.
And that if Microsoft doesn’t want to provide a version of Windows 7 or Windows 8 for ARM Powered laptops, then that Linux based OSes will do just fine.
I’m hoping to see following specs in mass market ARM Powered laptops soon:
– ARM Cortex A8/A9
– All screen sizes from 4″ to 15″
– Android and Chrome OS combination, provide optimized Chrome browser yet still support Android notifications and applications
– HDMI output
– Pixel Qi 3Qi screen for outdoors readability and 50 hour battery runtime
– Capacitative touch-screen Tablet swivel form factor
– Less than 1kg weight
– Pricing: less than $200 unlocked without any contracts needed
I’m really looking forward to see more of these hopefully as soon as during the Mobile World Congress from February 15-18th in Barcelona, where I plan to go an film 50 videos to be posted here on http://ARMdevices.net, so please do subscribe to my RSS feed to keep up to date.
When the OLPC project’s XO laptops are used in schools, the results are transforming education around the world. It’s getting children excited about school. It’s getting attendance to increase by 100 percent, which it does in most places where OLPC has deployed laptops, where more girls go to school, where the truancy drops to zero, where children take laptops home and teach their parents how to use them.
The One Laptop Per Child engineers are working on an ARM Powered XO 1.75 laptop which is going to be released within a year from now. My guess is that they might be optimizing it for using the Marvell Armada 610 or 510 processor.
The OLPC’s official power consumption target is 2W of power consumption. Though I wonder, is 2W of power consumption really the goal? Not even lower?
For example, the Pixel Qi screen is supposed to consume only 0.1W when backlight is turned off, once Pixel Qi has optimized refresh rates and other details which they have said they will be able to do over the next few months. The whole ARM Processor System on Chip should not consume nearly any power at all when nothing is moving on the screen, when the student for example is just reading an e-book. Then how low really can the power consumption go? Shouldn’t 0.2W power consumption in offline e-reader mode be a realistic goal? Thus shouldn’t the child get 100 minutes of use for 1 minute of cranking?
Since most of the children served by laptops from the OLPC project live off the grid, and may not get electricity for many years, getting the power consumption down on the laptops is one of OLPC’s main engineering goals. This and lowering the cost of the laptops to below $100 per laptop are the main goals of the OLPC project.
I’d like to see all the major ARM Processor makers announce that they will support OLPC in that goal, so that the XO 1.75 may not only be based on the Marvell processor, but that other processors will be optimized for it as well. All ARM Powered laptops shall point towards the same goals in my opinion, also in terms of software optimizations. We need fast and smooth web browsers, have Google and everyone else focus on optimizing the web browsing speed using the Chrome browser. While having everyone focus on one OS for all ARM Powered laptops may be a good idea eventually, until we figure out which OS are the best for which use, having easy multi-boot menus work and utilizing a minimal of extra storage space to ship laptops with multiple choices of Linux OS such as shipping ARM Powered XO laptops with Fedora based Sugar OS, with a Gnome desktop alternative, and with eventually an alternative based on a combination of Android and Chrome OS may be the best solution.
Free wireless broadband is also a priority. Sure a combination of existing cellular, ADSL, Fiber and WiFi Mesh networks of the OLPC project can already achieve a lot. But perhaps the generalization of use of 700mhz spectrum for wireless broadband all around the world will help lower the cost of deploying ubiquituous wireless broadband, especially in countries that deploy the OLPC project without having pre-existing broadband infrastructures in place. The TV spectrum needs to be used for free wireless broadband for all.
Rich countries need to prioritize the OLPC project in deploying revolutionary education using computers and Internet technology all over the world.
The default Android web browser is really awesome in terms of speed, it even works amazingly fast on the ARM9 Powered web browser of the Hivision PWS700CA that I tested in my video-review a few days ago. Though for Laptop form factors, also known as ARM Powered Netbooks or Smartbooks, and for Android Tablets like the Archos 5 Internet Tablet that has a HDMI output and supports USB and Bluetooth keyboards and mice, the default Android web browser might not be enough.
This is why the support of the full desktop-like experience using Chrome and Firefox web browsers within Android are really going to be nice. Perhaps the June 2009 release of the Native Android SDK can help developers reach this goal.
Since Google is now working on releasing the full Chrome OS for ARM Powered devices, perhaps it would make sense to take the source code of that Chrome web browser for ARM, and make it into an Android application. This way on a Pocketable Android tablets or phones the default Android web browser would still be used, but when in HDMI output mode to a HDTV and when using USB or Bluetooth keyboards and mice, the Chrome browser or Firefox would thus be the browser of choice.
I think it would be nice as well if it was possible to provide a full speed browser experience even on cheap ARM Powered Android devices that come with little RAM memory such as only 128MB or RAM, still enable the use of unlimited amounts of opened tabs by somehow perhaps saving the state of each tab into ROM memory and be able to quickly in few milliseconds be able to pull that back into RAM memory when the specific tab is selected.
On the other hand, I also think it would make sense to support all Android applications within Chrome OS, thus this might mean that eventually Android and Chrome OS will merge.