Tag Archive | "arm"

Tegra2 vs Atom in Browsing Test

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I don’t have Honeycomb here and I don’t have the latest Atom platform here but in the video below I do have two devices that show the browsing speed differences between Tegra 2 and Atom. The Toshiba AC100 running the ‘old’ Android 2.1 build and the Gigabyte Touchnote running an ‘old’ Atom N270 are both mainstream builds and it’s worth taking a look at how the browsing speed compares.

My estimate, following these tests, is that Android/Tegra is just one iteration (either software or hardware) away from matching what a netbook can provide. And remember, we’re into the sub 10 second category here where 10% or 20% difference is not worth talking about. 1 second isn’t much, really.

Did I miss something? Perhaps we should be running 10 tabs and Flash, that’s true. The ‘built-for-multitasking’ X86 and Windows platform should pull ahead but consider this performance on a 7” screen where multitasking gets hidden by the one-pane user interface.

My final thought here is that ARM platforms are not only progressing as fast as the X86 platforms but also get a huge advantage from the massive, massive investment going into mobile software. Right now, the leading browser engines are on X86 but expect that to flip over in 2011 or 2012.

In 2007 I highlighted a 9-second penalty on ARM. In 2011, we’re down to 1-2 seconds. We’re down to irrelevant differences.

I’m interested in your thoughts. Please comment below.

Nvidia CEO Talks Up ARM and the Future of Mobile Devices

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5366326949_76cdde59ff_b Jen-Hsun Huang, the CEO of Nvidia has recently announced a major Tegra 2 win (Honeycomb) and a new project “extending the performance range of the ARM instruction-set architecture, enabling the ARM architecture to cover a larger portion of the computing space” so it’s no surprise that the CEO is positive when he talks about ARM.

I had the chance to watch him being interviewed by All Things D mobile correspondent Ina Fried last week at CES and with Galaxy Tab in hand I was put to the test in noting quote after quote of amazing pro-ARM comments from Jen-Hsun.  How about some of these gems:

“2011 is likely to go down like 1995. We will realise that the personal computing industry was redefined”. Jen-Hsun is referring to Windows 95, the operating system that changed the way consumers interacted with personal computers.

“The most important architecture going forward is likely to be ARM.”

“Whatever expectation you have…are going to be fully met by mobile computing devices within the next 3 to 4 years.”

“3D on phone is a foregone conclusion. This piece of glass is is likely the most accommodating piece of glass for 3D”

Here’s a quick video I did of Jen-Hsun demonstrating the LG Optimus 2X. There’s a fuller video over at All Things D

In addition to Tegra 2, 3D and Honeycomb announcements, Nvidia have also taken a Cortex A15 license and have announced project Denver which appears to be looking to combine future ARM architecture (possibly Cortex A15, possibly a new license for ARMv7 or even ARMv8!) and running parallel with the Windows on ARM project. If Nvidia are chosen as the reference design for that, they are sitting pretty! An Nvidia blog post gives more info about Denver.

However, Nvidia talks about ARM like it’s the only low-power choice but we know that Intel are moving into this space too. In fact, as processing power requirements reach into the same 1W envelope, it’s the screens, radios, batteries and software need to be sorted out. An wild, uncontrolled third party app can negate a lot of potential hardware efficiencies.  Also, if Windows 8 is supporting ARM, I expected it to also be supporting the new power features of the Intel platforms that bring it right alongside ARM. Don’t forget that Android is running on Intel too!

Nvidia appear to have an excellent leader, strategist and spokesperson in Jen-Hsun and it’s unlike any other company playing in this mobile game. The brand is looking good, products are looking good, strategy and partnerships are going well and given one or two more major wins, Nvidia will rise to the top very quickly.

Thanks to Ina Fried for (literally) last-minute access to All Things D at CES. Ina runs the Mobilized blog for All Things D and is on Twitter here.

Report: Mobile Computing at CES 2011 – The X-Over Year

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We’ve just recorded Meet:Mobility Podcast 62. If you haven’t tuned in, please do because JKK, Sascha and myself spend a long time talking in detail about what happened in mobile computing at CES and give you a good overview of the significant products we got to understand while were in Las Vegas. For me, the show brought me the biggest signal yet that the X-over is happening. That’s X86 and ARM platforms crossing over in the mobile and personal computing space.

We’ve seen many indicators before now that ARM-derived processing platforms and operating systems were capable of personal computing tasks. I tested the Compaq Airlife almost  a year ago (Fully Reviewed in May) and the Tegra2-based Toshiba AC100 that I still have for testing is everything needed for a good smart-book / PC experience except the software build but there hasn’t been a time when so many top-tier manufacturers have shown the same confidence by bringing out multiple X-over products. In that respect, CES 2011 is a very important year and I do believe that we’ll look back and say, yes, that was the start of the crossover.

Palazzo to CES Convention Center

It will be a turbulent year or whirlwind activities. We’re rising out of a depression and there’s new confidence that risks can be taken. Many of the products we’re seeing won’t’ succeed either due to being too early or by being side-swiped by other disruptive products.

Tablets came-of-age at CES 2011. The rising quality of devices and the number of top tier brands shows that there’s a big enough level on investment now that the segment is unlikely to fail to produce multi-million sales. Estimates range up to 40m units for 2011 which will match netbook sales. I agree. 40m is achievable, especially as prices drop like a ton of bricks.


We’re not just talking about tablets though. There are a whole list of products we need to mention.

Motorola Atrix. Taking the prize for most-talked about device at CES is this dual-core Android phone with a big battery and lots of connectivity. The laptop ‘dock’ turned it into a desktop that made people stop and think. This idea of modular computing is exciting but there are lots of issues to consider. I have a Tegra 2 smart-book running Android and while it’s fun, it’s not productive. Processing power is short of what is needed and the apps are limited. Despite a full Firefox build being available on the Atrix, the limits I’ve experienced on the Toshiba AC100, will also apply to the Atrix until Honeycomb and a lot of ISV investment, solve the problem. I also imagine the cost of that set-up to be getting close to $800 or more. Who’s going to invest that much into a system that still won’t do 100% of personal computing activities? There’s also the issue of putting all your eggs in one basket. Smartphones have a tendency to get lost! The Atrix is a cool product and shows very clearly how desk-top computing will be possible with smartphone cores.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. Like the Atrix, this is a device aiming to be more than one computing solution. Unlike the Atrix, this one offers the tablet as the screen and computing core with a docking keyboard finishing off the ‘smart book’ look. The smartphone ‘core’ isn’t so obvious and this isn’t a device aiming to be totally convergent. In fact, it feels to me like it fits in with it’s target audience in a more comfortable way than the Atrix. A consumer, coffee-table tablet with an optional keyboard for ‘getting things done’ sounds perfect for the iPad generation. With Android offering great in-cloud synchronisation, a two-device Android strategy could work well, especially as this product will get the important Honeycomb operating system update. [More info on the ASUS products at CES available here]

Gemtech Zeus (1) Gemtek. Highlighting the progress that Intel are making with their non-Windows platforms is the Gemtek Zeus. While the product is targeted as a media phone, it’s worth stopping for a moment to look at exactly what’s happening here. This is Android version 2.2 on an Intel Moorestown platform. That’s an official Intel Android build (that is likely to become an official branch of Android) optimised for Intels always-on platform. The product is light, is said to have good battery life. It highlights just how close ARM and Intel products are in the mobile space – and this is just Intels first attempt!

OLPC XO-1.75 – One Laptop Per Child product was another win for ARM this week. Starting with an AMD CPU and then moving to VIA, another X86 CPU, they have now switched over to a Marvel ARMADA 610 ARMv7 core for the XO-1.75 which should go into production in mid 2011. The difference in battery life is likely to be very significant because in the past, they were using relatively old X86 CPUs. Always-on, screen-off standby is also now possible. It will be important to see the performance too. Compared to the very old AMD Geode CPU that was used in the original, there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference at all and yet the power envelope has been cut from 5W to 2W! There’s an interesting video available on this here. OLPC CTO Edward J. McNierney says in the video that the performance is now better!

xoom2 Honeycomb – Finally, the gun has been fired for a true large-screen version of Android. This is likely to be a branch of Android that will run parallel to version 2.x but the important thing is that it signals Googles commitment which, in turn, with give ISVs the confidence to invest in larger Android application projects. Serious productivity apps, video editing and ‘HD’ versions of existing applications. Motorola and Nvidia were the big winners as they have been chosen to provide the reference hardware and product. Soon after the Xoom launches you can expect to see more Honeycomb product announcements that will roll in the second half of 2011.Finally, we could see a productive ‘smart’ book although don’t forget that Intel will also be involved here. Honeycomb on i86 is announcement I expect to hear about soon.

Windows and Office on RISC SOCs. This was a huge announcement that gives ARM partners a reason to take a Cortex A15 license if they haven’t done so already. I’m not expecting to see a mobile product drop out of Microsoft onto ARM but again, it gives ISVs reason to create ARM versions of applications. That effort could spill over into Honeycomb-related work too. Interestingly, it puts Adobe in a great position as a runtime that will work across all of these platforms and operating systems. They could find themselves being used as an important bridge. Timescales for Windows, timescales for drivers, timescales for ported software are all in the 2-5 year timeframe although X86 emulation could speed that up? Developers could be given virtual ARM SDKs to aid development work which would explain why Microsoft took a full ARM license this year.

One of the interesting things about Windows on ARM is that, finally, it will give everyone the ability to benchmark ARM against X86 in like-for-like products. My money is on Intel having the processing power advantage and ARM offering battery life and price advantages. Differences, however, are likely to be minimal and it could all be decided on value-add features like security, wireless integration and application stores. OEDs are the ones that will make the decision here.

IMG_6338 Angry Birds on AppUp. Angry Birds migrated from ARM to X86 this week as Intel announced that the popular phone game was available on their AppUp store. That makes it available to some 100 million netbook and notebook customers and will have driven a large number of installations of the AppUp store that doesn’t yet come pre-installed on netbooks. Clearly Intel have bought-in the app to drive adoption but even so, it’s great to see and it won’t take many more of these wins before AppUp starts to drive its own adoption. Video demo here.

I was surprised not to hear any news concerning Windows 7 Compact. Microsoft still don’t have a consumer internet device operating system for the 4-10” segment. What’s going on there?


Intel’s Oaktrail surprised me at CES. I saw a number of WIndows-based products that were significantly smaller than I expected and had logner battery life than I expected. At least the claims of battery life seem to be good anyway. Viliv, a company that has both an ARM/Android and Intel Oaktrail/Windows product in the same 7” screen casing proved that parity has almost been reached. The X70 Slate is some 35% lighter than the previous model and even increases the battery life from 6 to 6.5hrs. I can’t wait to see the performance on both Intel and ARM versions. The Samsung Gloria/PC7/TX100 was also an interesting product in terms of technology, size and battery life on Intel. Ocosmos are also working on an Oaktrail device. It’s tiny!

Nvidia announced project ‘Denver’ which aims to bring ARM to the desk-top. [More info] I suspect this is a Cortex A15 project and won’t see the light of day until 2013 but once again, there’s the confidence and investment in a crossover product. These are hugely expensive projects so the message is clear now – the risks are low enough and potential gains are high enough to get these projects underway.

Finally, there was another signal that crossover is starting to happen. I used a Galaxy Tab A LOT at CES. Wifi and 3G internet was hard to come-by but as my PIM, note-taking device, map and Twitter device it worked perfectly and preserved my phone battery , a Nokia N8, for photos and those voice-type things some people do! SMS were also handled on the N8. The netbook was with me most of the time and, like now, there’s no easier way to get a lot of text in a blog and video edited and posted. For bum-on-seat activities, I still need Windows but I surprised myself just how much I used the tablet. You’ll see me use it a lot more at MWC next month.

What Google’s Chrome OS Means For You.

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Google finally launched Chrome OS at a press event in San Francisco yesterday after first introducing the concept back in July of 2009. Its a straight forward idea, your browser is the operating system and you use web applications for your daily needs.

On the surface Chrome OS is virtually identical to Google’s Chrome browser but actually runs on a stripped down Linux core which promises to be lightweight and efficient.


As part of the announcement Google opened a pilot program to test Chrome OS on an x86 unbranded notebook called the CR-48. The Intel Atom based 12.1 inch notebook won’t be on sale to the consumers but does come with a speculated 8 hours in use battery life and an impressive 8 days standby. Whilst the CR-48 certainly doesn’t come under the Carrypad coverage I’m certain as the platform matures smaller ARM based devices will be available which will bring better portability, power efficiency and of course the all important full desktop browsing experience which we talk about so much. Couple this with the new Chrome Web Store providing web applications for both Chrome OS and browser and we could be provided some competition to the developing MeeGo ecosystem.

So, What Google’s Chrome OS means for you?… Nothing yet but watch this space.

Coming To You from Ubuntu on the ARM-based AC100. (Update: Video)

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I’ve installed Ubuntu on my Toshiba AC100 ‘smartbook’ and I’m accessing my WordPress back-end via Firefox 3.6. This is a test to see if I can create and post an entry.

You should see a photo on the right (uploaded from the filesystem on the AC100)

Wifi is obviously working and considering i’m running this from an SD card the experience isn’t too bad. It’s locking-up from time to time as the OS works with the filesystem but i’m seeing some quite impressive CPU-related performance.

An interesting example of the performance is the SunSpider result i’ve just got from Firefox 3.6. Its the fastest result i’ve ever seen on an ARM-based device.

Firefox SunSpider Test on AC100.jpg

Click to enlarge that image and click here to view the gallery i’m creating as I go. (You’ll see OpenOffice is working!)

This feels like a seminal moment for productive smart-books. There’s lots to fix and improve but for a base install, i’m impressed.

Expect a video soon… Update: Video now available below.

The Question Marks That Remain over Q4 Tablets.

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smartdevices Bob Morris, head of the mobile computing division at ARM, is telling us that the Dell Streak is just the first in a line of more tablets that will arrive from various vendors in time for Christmas. I guess if anyone should have the inside info on this it’s Bob so it’s a good sign.

We’re clearly looking at Android as the de-facto Q4/Q1 2011 operating system solution for most of these tablets and although Froyo with Flash 10.1 is a great starting point, there’s still a significant number of big question marks that keep me sceptical. I know Nvidia, ARM and others have talked about waiting for Flash and ‘fall’ but there’s more to it than that.

How about Google Market? This is becoming more secretive than Adsense or Google’s Search algorithm and one wonders just how much money Google are now making from it. The Dell Streak got Market by being a large well-branded company that effectively designed a Android smartphone but what about the others? Every device that didn’t have marketplace/Gmail/contacts/maps so far has been highlighted as an incomplete Android product. Sideloading and 3rd party app stores aren’t the fix either. The second problem is that there needs to be a new suite of >=WVGA, large screen (mdpi-large in Android speak) apps before the first reviews start otherwise the whole Android tablet ecosystem will be tainted with poor early reviews. Bad news never seems to fade from search engine results so Google needs to re-build their app suite for mdpi-large (or even mdpi-maxi as ‘large’ only goes to 5.8” screens.) If Android is to have a chance at getting more productive applications in the store (as Apple have already done) Google also need to give developers a chance to prepare new versions of their apps. That can only happen if Google stimulates the developers by announcing Android 3.0 or a new phase of tablet-focused work. Give us a sign Google. Apple gave some devs a three-month head start before the product was launched. Although this was a restricted program, it was instrumental in creating a good day-1, week-1 buzz.

Link: Overview of tablets available, announced and expected

If I was an Android Tablet OEM right now I’d be considering waiting for even more than the above.

  • Cheaper Cortex A9 platforms and proven Android hardware builds. Cortex A8 is still good enough but to make a serious marketing splash, dual-core A9 is now needed.
  • Clarification on what the hell is going on with Chrome OS (touchscreen support looks likely)
  • Concrete information about Android 3.0 (Apps suite, developer take-up, information about ARM-optimised kernels)
  • IDF (Sept) and MeeGo 1.1 (Oct) (To asses competing product timescales)

Racing to get a product out for Christmas sales could be too risky and the whole ‘smart’ tablet market could suffer if a big name gets it wrong. Like you, I want products NOW but i have the feeling that the iPad will be a year old before we see any serious competitors.

MeeGo Demolishes Android 2.2 in Javascript Test

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Note: Article title is a tounge-in-cheek reference to a recent ARSTechnica article. See below for the real story. It’s actually all about the browser engine and platform, not the OS.

As I begin a series of tests on the Aava prototype phone today, the first thing I wanted to get out of the way was a Sunspider javascript test. It’s CPU-intensive and forms an important part of the chain of events that take place to get a web application displayed on your browser. Yes, it’s one of many variables but it’s a good indicator of CPU performance.

I’ve been recording SunSpider tests for a long time now (feel free to contribute to that list) and have been very impressed by the way that both hardware and software improvements have brought the figures down. In the ARM-based world, the best-in-class devices are producing SunSpider results in less than 10 seconds (iPad, iPhone 4) with some new devices even reaching down to sub 6 seconds [See title reference.] In the world of Intel, netbooks are producing Sunspider results of about 2 seconds (using the latest Chrome build.)

SunScript - Netbook_ Morestown Phone.JPG

Click to enlarge.

Above is the result for the Aava phone I’m testing at the moment. 4215ms. It runs on Intel’s Moorestown platform at 1.5Ghz and uses the same CPU as you find in netbooks. Running Sunspider on the latest Firefox build on the netbook and the Firefox Mobile build on the MeeGo-based Aava phone you can see the difference is marginal. 4.2 seconds for a prototype phone is quite impressive. The figures confirm the CPU speed and also confirm that the sunspider score is likely to drop to around 2 seconds with the latest Chrome or Android browser build. Try Sunspider on your phone or PC browser to see what score you get. For reference, I use a UMPC as my desktop PC. It runs a 1.6Ghz Atom CPU and returns a score of about 4.1s. True desktop PCs will come in at below 0.5s

We really are talking PC-power here but there are two things we must not forget. 1) Multi-core ARM-based devices are round the corner too. A dual-core 1.2Ghz Snapdragon platform is likely to reach right down to the 2-3s range. 2) We must also remember that if you were to run this test continuously on these high-power platforms, you are likely to have a dead phone in just a few hours!

ARM Press Conference. ‘Eagle’ leaked as next-gen core.

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A summary of the ARM Press conference at Computex today. Speaker: Tudor Brown, President of ARM



We’ve become used to ‘always on, anywhere.’

ARM go on to highlight the number of devices in it’s ecosystem.


‘Eagle’ appears on Roadmap above Cortex A9.

Update: I asked what it was and ARM confirmed it’s the next-gen core for high-end platforms.



ARM goes on to highlight where ARM fits in in the home entertainment ecosystem and talks about the Digital Connected TV.

Mali appears


Highlights Android and Froyo and the ARM-specific optimizations.



I asked about Android for the emerging tablet space and the lack of . The response from ARM is that Google a looking at the option of marketplace and Google apps ‘very seriously.’

That’s it for now. I’ll try and get an interview later.

ARM loves Android

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I just stopped by the ARM room at Computex to pre-register for the press event and they kindly gave me a press pack which gives a hint about what they’ll be talking about.


This is interesting because the press pack and press release talks almost exclusively about Android 2.2 as if nothing else mattered right now!

IMG_3401 (2)

We’ve Landed at Computex. ARM, MSI and ASUS coming-up.

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IMG_3383 Today is day Zero (many of you reading this will still living out Sunday but it’s already Monday here) and the action starts in just a few hours with a press conference from chip designer ARM. We’re not expecting anything new to be announced in our area because the Cortex A9 (multi-core ARMv7 architecture) is still just starting to ramp-up with OEMs but we might hear a little bit about Mali, the GPU architecture,  and maybe some hints about future architectures. Mostly, we’re just expecting a partner parade and if we’re lucky, one or two product announcements and maybe, just maybe, some tips about how the operating system space is shaping up in ARM’s non-smartphone world. 

Later today we’ll be hearing from ASUS and there’s an MSI press conference too that I’ll try and report on. Finally, I’ll be attending Mobile Monday here and maybe even giving a short talk on something. Handheld software is in my mind right now but we’ll see what comes up during the day.

Grab yourself a nice Jasmine Team, sit back and enjoy the show. You can go behind my scenes by checking out the stream at http://www.umpcportal.com/behind-the-scenes/ or for near real-time action, my twitter stream @chippy

7″ Acer Android Slate with Keyboard and 3G

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David Flynn of APCmag.com in Australia has uncovered an interesting device whilst at Acer’s Source Home conference in Beijing. The as-yet unnamed tablet devices is running Google’s Android operating system and sports a full QWERTY keyboard and embedded 3G.

APCmag qouted Acers CEO and president Gianfranco Lanci as saying the device should arrive in Q4 of these year. Lanci also states that although the tablet is similar to the iPad  “We are not convinced that 10 inches is the right size for this type of device. It becomes too close to a netbook in size, and why should it not be a netbook with full PC capability?”

The device will have Acer’s own user interface and be used primarily for “books, music and videos, browsing the internet, email and chatting” Lanci says, he goes on to say that “Android is very good in terms of Internet browsing and connectivity. You can run it on an ARM processor at a certain speed and Android is light enough not to overload the CPU”.


Further details are slim at the moment but from what I can tell it looks like it could make an excellent ebook reader. We’ll be keeping a look out for this at Computex next week.

via APCmag.com

Airlife 100 Social Netbook Launches in Spain, starts at 230 Euros

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I’m not one to let companies hide the real price of a device behind a subscription but at the moment I can’t find the full, unsubsidised price of the ARM/Android-based HP Compaq Airlife 100 that has just launched in Spain. Based on the two prices below and similar subsidy deals, the full price if the Airlife looks to be about 450 Euros. It sounds expensive for a smartbook doesn’t it but it’s not. A 3G-capable ‘smart’ book (I’m calling them ‘social netbooks’ to avoid the wrath of the company that sits about 30km from my office here in Germany) with GPS and a 12-hour battery life weighing 800gm do not exist in the market. This is unique and exciting. If I could order one today, I would. (Here’s why)

The full press release:

Telefonica has launched HP’s Compaq Airlife 100 netbook in Spain. The device features a 10.1-inch diagonal screen, a full keyboard, 16 GB solid state internal storage, SD card slot, Android operating system and customised touch interface. The netbook also features 3G access, Wi-Fi connectivity, VGA webcam, up to 12 hours of battery life in active use and up to 10 days of standby time, GPS capabilities, preinstalled NDrive navigation software with included regional maps with points of interest, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon QSD8250 chipset platform. Telefonica will offer the Compaq AirLife 100 netbook at Movistar stores across Spain for EUR 230, in combination with Movistar’s Internet Maxi data plan with a monthly fee of EUR 49.
Customers can also acquire the HP netbook for EUR 300 along with Movistar’s Internet Plus data plan with a monthly fee of EUR 39.

I’m trying to get hold of availability info and of course, a review device and will update you when I have more information. In the meantime, see the specifications, gallery, videos and related links in the Airlife 100 information page.

Via Telecompaper

Bob Morris (ARM) Talks Consumer Tablets with Stacey and the Compal Prototype.

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compal7androidLast time we caught up with Bob Morris, Director of Mobile Computing at ARM, we spoke at length about consumer tablets and smartbooks, the software stack and what would attract a customer. I also asked him how significant the ‘smart’ device category was. At that time he said it was ‘extremely important.’ I’m guessing that after just 3 months, the category has even more weight within ARM to the point where it’s on the critical path.

In this interview, Bob talks to Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM around the 7” Android-based prototype from Compal and poses the question, “What makes [tablets] hot and useful?” Price-points are mentioned along with 1080p video, 3G and battery life over 10 hours. He also talk about ‘single pin number’ payments through another ARM technology that provides ‘ATM level security.’

I just can’t help thinking back to Origami when I see that tablet.



A ‘Smart’ Netbook Image. Look! No Microsoft.

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I just hacked this image up (apologies HP and Apple) as an easy way to illustrate how Windows on netbooks is at risk. Add either of the touch, UI, app store and always-on features and you’ve got something that Microsoft can’t currently compete with.


This scenario would immediately affect sales of Windows-netbooks where people are buying netbooks as second devices, gadgets or for family, friend and other social and casual (online or off) scenarios . For productivity scenarios, Windows still counts because the apps don’t exist on the common app-store ecosystems yet. I don’t have figures but in the U.S. and Europe I guess 30% of netbooks are bought as a second PC, a gadget or for the sofa/family/friend social (online and off) scenario. That’s a lot of lost Windows 7 license sales.

I talked about the 4 ‘lock-in’ opportunities (more than just ‘good’ opportunities’) for ‘Social Netbooks’ in this article. Google could make it happen by enabling Marketplace on Android – A potential risk for Intel. Intel themselves could make it happen with products like Moorestown, MeeGo and AppUp  or a surprise player could enter the market.

My opinion is that  THIS WILL HAPPEN. Someone will add a touchable, dynamic, fun user interface, an app-store, location and always-on features to a netbook form factor leaving just the productive applications as the missing piece. Given the chance (i.e. an application store) developers will move quickly to fill those  gaps in software for productive uses making the smart device BETTER than the Windows-based, traditional netbook device. What that means for Microsoft is that a huge portion of the netbook market could be served by a  non-Windows OS solutions. Just think of the market positioning too. Isn’t it easier to market an ‘upgrade’ from a smartphone than a ‘downgrade’ from a laptop.

When does this happen? I’m expecting Google to announce a move into the ‘third screen’ space with Android very soon. Intel are ready with Moorestown and MeeGo in Q4 so the change starts to happen in 2011. I estimate that while netbook sales (of both sub-genres) will increase, the percentage of Microsoft netbooks will stay level or even drop. [Sidenote: Intel thinks that the non-windows sales will reduce in percentage by 2012.  I think they are underestimating the ‘smart’ device opportunity.]

Is Intel at risk? Yes. If Google, Android and ARM reach the flag before Intel and MeeGo, Intel start to lose market share in the netbook market but also remember, Android could run on Intel’s new Moorestown platform offering smartbook manufacturers a more powerful computing experience. Also note that if netbooks flip to non-Windows ‘smart’ devices it serves as a nice dividing line between laptops and netbooks for Intel, restoring the need for different netbook, CULV and laptop processing platforms and allowing them to make more and more powerful Atom CPUs without hurting the laptop segment.

I’m not the first to talk about this and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve thought about it myself but that image just makes it crystal clear for me. Netbooks will change dramatically. If Google doesn’t enable it, someone else will and in any case, Microsoft will suffer.

Smartphones Break 10-second Browsing Barrier.

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Maybe I should have posted this article at Carrypad rather than UMPCPortal as it pertains to the progress that ARM-based devices have made in terms of browsing speed. Just two years ago I wouldn’t have given an ARM-based system a second look if I was thinking of doing an web-based work but now they are challenging low-end PC’s and enabling the sort of devices we cover here on Carrypad. So far, Intel haven’t quite reached down into this area of click consumer computing devices yet.

The question does remain though – What advantage would a 5″ or 7″ device bring over something like the Motorola Droid? Personally I want a 5″ device for an even better quality browsing experience, ebook reading, navigation, 1 meter video experience and a huge battery. It WILL be a second device but that’s fine by me be cause it means I don’t have to have a very expensive high-end smartphone as a 24/7 device.

Smartphones Break the 10-second Barrier. | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile Personal Computing.

iSuppli iPad Parts Breakdown is Only Half the Story.

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It always makes me laugh when I hear about $99 smartbooks competing with netbooks because the only real difference in cost is a few dollars in silicon, plastic and battery.

The other thing that makes me laugh is how people get hung up on parts cost and potential profit while forgetting the market reasearch, r&d, marketing, distribution, training, support, legal, insurance, shipping, tax and, shock!, profits associated with a device.

Have a look at this isuppli breakdown and you’ll see just how much a high-end smart device costs to make . A high end netbook selling 1m+ is coming in at about$150 due to the cheaper screens and lack of gps, accelerometer, hard drive and other components. The r&d and market research figures are also close to zero in the netbook market so you can see that large format smart devices have a long way to go before they become sub $200 desirable items.

Another good checkpoint is the Archos 5 Android Tablet which, with a similar integrated cpu and gpu, smaller battery, 8GB storage, 256MB RAM, less plastic, open source OS and a 5″ resistive touchscreen is being sold for $240.

Source : iSuppli.

iSuppli breaks down iPad cost, guess how much 3G costs | GottaBeMobile.com.

Interview with Bob Morris, Director of Mobile Computing at ARM (Subject: Smart Devices)

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Bob MorrisARM can walk away from CES this year knowing that they and their partners did an excellent job of capturing a large amount of positive press and someone that probably went home very happy indeed was Bob Morris, Director of Mobile Computing at ARM.

I had the pleasure of spending about an hour with Bob where he demonstrated the Mobinnova Beam, highlighted an excelent Morgan Stanley mobile internet report and chit-chatted about some of the announcements, successes and challenges that remain for ARM and it’s partners.

He also took 10 minutes to record an audio interview with me where he talks about the ‘transition’ to mobile internet, the ebook reader explosion and the ‘year of tablets.’ I ask him how significant the ‘smart’ device category is to ARM, about the customers confidence in the software layer, the ARM advantage and finally, ‘what’s coming next.’

Click the embedded player to listen inline or the text link to download the interview.

Bob Morris interview

Related: ARM Platform primer for MIDs in 2010

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