Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2012 - 12:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, Intel, windows, Android, embedded systems
A story at The Register spells out the end of Windows, this time by 2016. The growth of cellphones with enough processing power to be more than just glorified telephones is going to change the market, of that there can be no doubt. On the other hand without some serious upgrades to the interface it seems very unlikely that a cellphone will be sitting on a desk with a mouse, keyboard and monitor connected to it. In fact the very idea that ARM will one day outsell x86 processors is absurd, last year 2.2 billion ARM processors were sold, that number may be higher than all the processors AMD and Intel ever fabbed. Keep that in mind when someone tells you that ARM may one day outsell CPUs intended for use in Windows machines.
Android outselling Windows could be a reasonable prediction for the near future, but again it is hard to imagine Android replacing Windows Server or business oriented Linux distros, even if they are running on an ARM processor. Then again, stranger things have happened.
"Windows might be on the rise in the world of embedded systems, but if IDC's prognostications are right, then Windows is about to get its kernel handed to it with the rise of Android on what the market researcher dubs "smart connected devices."
By IDC's reckoning, makers of PCs, tablets, and smartphones shipped some 916 million units of machinery in 2012, raking in an astounding $489bn in moolah."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Qualcomm Calls To "Kill All Proprietary Drivers For Good" @ Phoronix
- Adobe reels in game coders with a quick free Flash @ The Register
- Asustek to release holdings in Pegatron, says paper @ DigiTimes
- How to Build an In-Vehicle Infotainment System with Drupal @ Linux.com
- Amazon to launch 2-4 new tablet PCs in 2012, say sources @ DigiTimes
Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: OS, linux kernel 3.3, linux, kernel, Android
Linux kernel 3.3 has recently been released for public consumption, and it features quite a few new features and improvements. The kernel is the code that developers than build upon to create all the various Linux distributions such as Fedora, Mint, and Arch Linux (among others).
This latest release, version 3.3 includes various improvements to the file system, btrfs, networking, architecture, and EFI BIOS support. In regards to the file system, the Linux 3.3 kernel supports improved balancing and the ability to re-stripe between different RAID (redundant array of independent disks) levels. Further, the kernel will now allow an x86 boot image to be processed by EFI firmware in addition to the traditional BIOS microcode boot that is present in the majority of today's machines. Also, Kernel 3.3 improves the networking aspects by improving the ability to bond multiple NICs to improve networking throughput and/or to provide redundant connections. Support for a new architecture has also emerged such that Linux kernel will work with Texas Instruments C6X based chips. These chips include the "family of C64x single and multicore DSPs."
The above improvements are just the tip of the iceberg, however. The most talked about new feature is likely going to be the inclusion of Android code from Google's Android OS project. According to the Kernel Newbies website, the disagreements between Linux kernel developers and Google have been "ironed out," and code from the Android project will now start to be rolled back into the Linux kernel. They expect that Android coming home to traditional Linux will make developing code and end user software easier for everyone, and they expect further Android and Linux integration in the future.
More information on the latest Linux kernel release is available here.
Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2012 - 04:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nexus tablet, google, Android
The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets are two low cost Android tablets that are arguably the first Android tablets to be very successful, especially as gifts during this past holiday season. The $500+ iPads are nice, but not everyone is willing to pay that much money for a secondary computing device (the PC isn't dead yet!). There is also the form factor issue in that many consumers prefer the smaller and more portable 7" tablets that Apple has yet to provide.
Image via techiser
It seems as though Google has taken notice of the success of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet and is ready to throw it's weight around and show manufacturers how to replicate that success with a reference 7" tablet of their very own. Much akin to the Google Nexus smart phones that Google released to act as a base / vanilla platform for manufacturers to base their designs on; Google is planning to release a Google Nexus Tablet. Recent rumors suggest that such an Android tablet is a "done deal" according to sources within Google's supply chain. Further, the Nexus tablet will allegedly feature a 7" form factor and will be powered by a TI OMAP 4 processor to keep costs low (versus using NVIDIA's Tegra 3). In addition, the Nexus Tablet would run an updated version of Android, specifically Android 4.1.
Speaking of costs, the Verge has stated that the new Nexus Tablet will retail for $199 USD, though there may be other varied SKUs that come in at lower/higher price points depending on the amount of RAM and storage.
The Google Nexus smart phones never really caught on with the majority of consumers, but many tech savvy people appreciated the vanilla Android experience that did not involve waiting months for OS updates (I'm looking at you, Samsung). If anyone can create a low cost tablet to replicate the success of the Kindle Fire, it's Google. What are your thoughts on these recent rumors?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 28, 2012 - 07:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: MWC 12, Android 5.0, Android
Android Ice Cream Sandwich is currently getting rolled out to compatible devices at a leisurely pace. The OS itself is for the most part well appreciated by both developers and end-users. As the rollout progresses and minor maintenance patches are created: Google is looking forward to the next major version.
Just get Ice Cream Sandwich and they already talking about the future. U Jelly? : D
ComputerWorld went out to Barcelona to check out Mobile World Congress and of course could not resist reporting on Android. In an interview with Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google VP of Engineering for Mobile, we are treated to a few indirect statements about the next major version of Android.
The major release timeframe for Android is said to continue to be an annual endeavor. An annual release schedule would slate Android J (5.0) to an autumn timeframe. During the discussion, Lockheimer noted that there is flexibility with when developers wish to roll out updated. While that personally sounds like Google is allowing OEMs and carriers to take as long as they desire to implement the new Android releases it appears as if ComputerWorld has heard rumors of Android 5-power phones appearing as early as summer.
Despite ComputerWorld’s best effort, Google would not confirm the dessert associated with Android 5. Best guesses point to the name Jelly Bean, which are supported by a glass jar of Jelly Beans on the show floor.
Subject: Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 04:35 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tegra 3, smartphone, quad core, nvidia, MWC 12, htc, Android
Earlier rumors suggested that the LG Optimus 4X HD would be the first quad core Tegra 3 powered smartphone; however, HTC and NVIDIA made an announcement today that shows that LG is not the only company showing off a Tegra 3 smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2012!
NVIDIA announced in a press release today that their Tegra 3 mobile SoC would be powering the new HTC One X smartphone which is to be shown off at MWC 2012. According to HTC, the phone features 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage to power the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) mobile OS on a 4.7" display with 1280x720 resolution. It further includes an 8 MP (megapixel) rear camera capable of 1080p video with stereo sound, a VGA resolution front camera for video conferencing and claimed 720p video, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, support for LTE 4G networks, and a 1,800 mAh battery.
Kouji Kodera, Chief Product Officer at HTC stated that "the HTC One X with Tegra 3 provides an experience that consumers will absolutely love." The HTC One X is the first smartphone that HTC and NVIDIA have worked together on.
The mobile market is advancing rather quickly, and Mobile World Congress 2012 is only just getting started! Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more MWC 2012 announcements!
For the full press release, hit the read more link:
Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2012 - 12:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Transformer, tablet, ics, ice cream sandwich, eee pad transformer, asus, Android
While the new Tegra 3 powered Transformer Prime and it's Transformer Prime with upgraded display sibling have stolen the spotlight from the original dock-able Transformer tablet, Asus has not forgotten about it. They recently began pushing out an Over The Air update to bring a tasty Ice Cream Sandwich to the Asus Transformer (original)!
In case you missed it, our own Matt Smith did a review of the new Android operating system on the Transformer Prime here. While the original Transformer is running older hardware, users are reporting that aside from minor app glitches performs fairly well on the Tegra 2. And if you've been living under a rock for the past two years, he also wrote up a nice review of the original Eee Pad Transfomer.
According to Maximum PC, users are reporting that the update was mostly a success and the performance was decent, though there seems to be a few instances of app glitchy-ness. It will just take some time to work out the kinks in updating the older hardware, and in general I think the update is a great thing for Asus to provide, especially this late in the game. Perhaps we will start seeing some discounted Transformers, though we may also see them become more valuable and go for a few more dollars now that they are updated to the new ICS OS.
It is nice to see Asus continuing to support their products with new updates. Have you received the ICS update on your Transformer yet? Let us know what you think of the performance and new features in the comments below!
Subject: Mobile | January 31, 2012 - 03:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, padfone, asus, Android
Remember the Asus Padfone? I won't blame you if you do not as it is practically ancient by tech history standards. Making its first appearance at Computex 2011 last May, the device made a splash that quickly died off as it never came to market. To be honest, I just assumed it had completely died off. Apparently; however, Asus did not forget about it and is planning to show it off at this years Mobile World Congress according to an article over at Android Central. Here's hoping they've adjusted for the success of tablets that have surfaced in the interim and that it is at a minimum running the Honeycomb or Gingerbread (Ice Cream Sandwich would be even better) OS and a fast processor.
The Padfone, if the specifications from last year hold true is a 4.3" smartphone that can fit snugly inside of a 10" tablet form factor display that has it's own battery. The tablet portion can charge the smartphone and/or drive the larger display and the smartphone acts as the hardware of the device with it's SoC (system on a chip) and by allowing access to the 3G and WiFi data connections of the phone's radio.
There are still many question about the viability of such a device; however, with the rise in popularity of Android phones if Asus could make it such that any Android phone (within size constraints of course) could nestle itself inside the larger touchscreen display, they might have a popular product on their hands...
Subject: Mobile | January 20, 2012 - 08:00 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tegra, quad core, lg x3, LG, ics, android 4.0, Android
This year's Mobile World Congress in Spain is going to be an interesting one from a smartphone hardware perspective, especially if recent rumors hold true. If you thought a dual core Snapdragon chip delivered a speedy experience, LG has something to blow your mind: The LG X3 is a smartphone that is rumored to have a quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor!
The alleged LG X3 phone
The article quotes Pocketnow in detailing the less than 9mm thick LG X3's specifications which include the above-mentioned Tegra 3 Soc, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera, a HSPA 21 "4G" network cellular radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, microSD slot, and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. This hardware will be put to good use in powering the phones 4.7" display with a resolution of 1280 x 720. Further, a massive 2,000 mAh (milli-amp-hour) battery will provide the quad core SoC and huge display the power they need. Though with these kind of specs, under heavy use, don't expect miracles even with such a large battery. The last big of leaked information on the phone indicates that it will be running the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" mobile operating system (OS). Our own Matt Smith has a review of the Android 4.0 OS (running on the Transformer Prime) for your reading pleasure on the site now.
A quad core SoC (System on a Chip) in a phone... I just can't get past that; here I was thinking my 1.2 GHz single core Snapdragon processor was speedy. Before I even got my hands on a dual core phone, they are already packing them with quad cores!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 13, 2012 - 02:54 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, CES 2012, CES, Android
Android is known for many things: relatively free and open, flexible, creepy little green dudes, and patent warfare. Consistent design is not one of those points. This year, towards the end of CES, Google announced and released the Android application design guide for developers interested in creating for Ice Cream Sandwich. As a result of the announcement, Joshua Topolsky sat down with Matias Duarte, the Google director of Android user experience, for a video interview. Listen in for all of the tough questions and see Google sweat.
Make it Google. Please, for the love of all that is holy... make it Google.
The purpose of the design specification is not to force developers into a single static design such as what could be seen in other, more curated marketplaces. The purpose of the design specification is to show people what Google considers a good design choice in an assortment of situations and hope that people follow suit. The idea is that when given a default choice a developer would need to go out of their way to invent their own solution; once enough developers follow suit it then becomes more difficult to invent your own solution as your customers are already conditioned to a standard method.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Mobile | January 11, 2012 - 01:46 AM | Matt Smith
Tagged: x86, smartphone, Intel, CES, Android
What do you do if you’re a big company with lots of money, but are having trouble convincing manufacturers to adopt your technology in their products because your competitors are already established in the market?
You build the product yourself.
That’s what Intel has done with its new smartphone reference platform. Revealed at the company’s keynote by CEO Paul Otellini, the reference platform is a fully functional smartphone running an x86 port of Android. It was demonstrated at the keynote and used to play games, watch video and output video to a monitor via HDMI.
Intel has been down this many times before, of course, but never had much success. That was before a fully functional reference platform was made available, however. The device shown today could potentially be put on store shelves as-is (after a few more months of testing, perhaps). It is thin, it is light, it has a 4-inch display with a resolution of 1024x600 and it runs Android. This is no thick and bulky test mule – it’s a functional example that can be used by vendors as a starting point so they don’t have to build a device from the ground up.
Such a strategy can help get Intel’s foot in the door, and in fact already has. After showing the reference design, Otellini announced a multi-year “strategic partnership” with Motorola. If things go as planned, Motorola should be shipping out phones with Intel processors inside them in the second half of this year.
Lenovo showed another phone even closer to release. Known as the Lenovo K800, it should be out within months. There’s just one problem (for us) – it’s China only.
Inside the reference design is an Intel Atom Z2460 running at up to 1.6 GHz. This is not an Atom in brand name only - the architecture is basically the same as any other Intel Atom processor. Unlike almost every other modern smartphone processor, this is a single-core part (for now).
Though down a core to the competition, Intel suggested that the reference design is generally quicker than all current smartphones. Some early CPU benchmarks from Anandtech seem to back up that assertion. However, the graphics component isn’t up to par with today’s best, a fact that became evident when Intel showed a game demo using the reference device. It looked okay, but was clearly inferior to games running on Tegra 3.
While the hardware seems to be coming together, software remains a potential roadblock. Intel showed their smartphone running Android 2.3 ported for x86. Because of how Android handles code, most Android apps are compatible despite the change in processor architecture.
Just one problem – some apps make specific references in their code to ARM features, and these apps will not function on x86. Intel is attempting to compensate for that using on-the-fly ARM to x86 code conversion. It’s hard to judge how well that works without testing it first-hand, but at least Intel has a plan for dealing with the issue.
My excitement about this announcement is tempered by the lack of available products. Timing is critical. The reference hardware might be quicker than today’s most popular smartphones, but new designs are constantly emerging, each quicker than the last. Releasing this product six months from now may result in a competitive product – but a delay forcing it into the holiday season could yet again spoil Intel’s dreams of smartphone dominance.
But even if Intel’s partners don’t translate this reference platform into products quickly, it at least shows that Intel is headed in the right direction. ARM is entrenched, but Intel has the resources and the engineers required to provide serious competition. CES 2013 could end up being the conference where x86 and ARM devices go toe-to-toe.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!