Tag Archives: Computex
I’ve been wanting to write an article involving the impact of Digitimes’ article about Microsoft demanding licensing fees for Android/Chrome OS manufacturers since I first read it. But nothing substantial proving this is a serious threat to Google really made it compelling. Now, it appears that the Chrome Web Store is being delayed until December at the latest certainly brings some thoughts to mind.
At first, I was in disbelief of the veracity of the Digitimes report. But now that we’re heading into November without any news of a Chrome OS launch, I can only deduce that Microsoft is using its influence in the Taiwanese computer industry to exert some pressure on Google.
Best Buy’s Vice President of computing Jason Bonfig recently spoke with Laptop Magazine about what it’s going to take for him to put tablet that compete with the iPad in stores. Yes, things like form factor are important, but the real driving factor will be content for the device. Not just applications, but the ability to use a tablet as a portal for all sorts of things: music, movies and the web along with apps.
It’s true. We’ve seen some tablets come out running Android, and at Computex there were a ton of Windows tablets on display. But people don’t want another computer, one that doesn’t have a keyboard. They want a new experience, one that is different from possibly even the iPad. Although Bonfig didn’t talk about Chrome OS specifically (he name dropped MeeGo instead) the reality is that an interesting new device that takes advantage of the web’s potential is the future of tablet computing.
Bonfig doesn’t even see that great of a future for netbooks, either. The way he looks at it, netbooks all seem the same to him. They do all seem to have the same specifications, and if they aren’t using ARM or something like that, why bother? Netbooks are going to have to innovate to keep their place in the gadget world.
Lilliputing has a report out that Intel’s oft-pushed around little brother in the semiconductor space, AMD, will be releasing a chip aimed at mobile computers. AMD has always been a lower-cost solution to Intel’s chips, and the release of this chip called Ontario offers both manufacturers and consumers better choice in processors for netbooks and tablets.
This information was provided to investors during a recent AMD earnings call. AMD CEO Dirk Meyer said that the performance and power consumption of the Ontario chip would be comparable to the Atom, although graphics capabilities would be better than Intel’s chip.
While having both the Intel Atom and now AMD Ontario as mobile computing options for processing is good, we’re still convinced that most Chrome OS devices will eventually run on an ARM solution. ARM offers more flexibility when paired with cloud computing and low-power capability than traditional processors.
Noticeably absent from the list of official Chrome OS partners is Intel, although many manufacturers that produce Intel-based solutions are taking a part. There is an overwhelming amount of ARM processor developers on the list such as Qualcomm (Snapdragon processor), and Texas Instruments (OMAP processor). Freescale Semiconductor, an ARM-licensed developer of the i.MX series of processors whose Taiwan office I had a chance to visit while I was at Computex, is also a part of the official list, which must mean something, right?
I say this because when I was at Taiwan’s Computex 2010 conference less than a month ago there were some formidable competitors in terms of hardware, but the leading manufactures for these devices didn’t really offer a whole lot in terms of software.
Sure, the Acer tablet that allows one to flip the netbook-style form factor over to a table was impressive, but the touch functionality of Windows 7 for it was quite lackluster: I asked a product rep to reboot the device because there seemed to be a problem with the touch software, only to have the same problems crop up again once it started up.
Asus offered up a beautiful tablet design that had potential to compete with Apple, but they kept a product manager closely hovering over the device running a new version of Windows CE that looked surprisingly Android-like, but because of the people and Asus employees holding a close grip on the tablet, no one was really able to test the paces of Microsoft’s UI.
MSI had a winged version of a tablet running Android that seemed surprisingly comfortable in my hands, but we all know that Google’s smartphone operating system isn’t really meant for tablets – it just seemed like a supersized stock version of the OS. An MSI product manager also told me that the MSI Wind tablet was just a concept for now.
This is problematic. The reason why I say this is because since Apple has taken the world by storm plugging an already existing operating system with the iOS to a tablet form factor, that have essentially beaten the entire computer manufacturing market with the iPad. There is no one else that has an operating system that is fully compatible with touch on a tablet.
That’s not to say Android is far behind Apple’s touch-based operating system, but it is clear that unlike the iOS, there was no plan for tablets in its future. We’ve seen early on Google’s Chrome OS tablet concept, and we can only hope that Chrome OS will offer a stylishly-designed slate from the likes of HP, Dell or Acer in the coming months, hopefully something that is just as functional, open source for app developers and creatively designed mobile gadget that can compete with the iPad.
I hold out hope on this, because only one successful tablet in the market does not bode well for innovation. What do you think? Which one of these PC manufacturers has the best chance of offering a tablet running Chrome OS that can compete with Apple?
At Computex, I had the opportunity to talk to Bou Chung Lin, VP & GM of Taiwan Operations for Marvell. While we were going though an overview of the company’s offerings, we got on the subject of cloud computing and Chrome OS. Here’s a quick clip of his response to my questions regarding this.
We know that Marvell has been working on an ARM-based Chromium OS build, as our pal Charbax over at ARMDevices.net showed us earlier this year when the company showed it off running on their Armada 510 processor at CES in Las Vegas.
It will be interesting to see what will happen to Chrome OS in terms of using an ARM based solution versus an x86 one. I’ve heard rumors that Intel is readying a rival to ARM-based solutions, or perhaps start making their own ARM licensed product.
There is no doubt they are going to need to do something after some of the things that I have seen coming from ARM processors comprised of multiple cores that divvy up the duties for a device to separately process system, video and audio functions for mobile devices.
One of the things I have been thinking about after looking at the video I shot from the recent Computex press conference held by Google is that despite the confusion held by many in regard to how Chrome OS and Android will fit in with each other is that it is going to depend on the partners for each particular project.
It’s likely we are not going to see the same type of fragmentation that has surfaced with Android. Although some of these devices being made are not smartphones and thus cannot get on the current application market legitimately, some of the gadgets we’ve seen are giving us different ways to think about using Android.
Instead of a gadget free-for-all with Android that has happened, Google is officially partnering with a small group of companies to launch Chrome OS for a release in the fourth quarter. It remains to be seen whether the list of companies will at some point be expanded, but if the market is ready for a cloud-based operating system at the end of 2010, then there may be a ton of companies interested in Chrome OS. The question is, what will be required to officially release Chrome on a device? While it has been said hardware specifications, could that include the form factor as well?
All we know right now is that a 10-12″ laptop/netbook is in the works for the initial launch. That may perhaps be because touch functionality has not been completely figured out in term of user interface interaction, but I’m just assuming this point.
Anyways, it’s a different model than Microsoft, whereby they support so many different devices I can only assume that this sometimes drives them mad. Google would be keen to set certain standards for products that are released with Chrome OS. At the same time, being a platform that is going to be on open source software there will be innovative ways for the market to grow that could n0t happen with a Microsoft operating system.
Google axes Windows, saves millions.
Extension tips: Syncing notes across multiple computers with Chrome Notepad.
iPad rivals at Computex favor Android.
Chrome extension opens PDFs and PowerPoint with Google Docs.
The folks at Freescale Semiconductor were kind enough to invite us to their offices yesterday in Taipei to show off the fact that they are actively working on Chrome OS for ARM processors.
I learned a lot during my time at Freescale, and I now better understand that it is taking a good deal of work to port Chromium over to the ARM architecture as opposed to x86. They had a version of Chromium running on their iMX515 processor that was from last year’s Google open source build.
I happened to have the latest spring release of Chromium on a USB drive in my bag while I was there. However, the build that I had was specifically for x86 and the reality is that a lot of work has to go into making Chromium compatible with ARM’s low power, mobile specific platform.
Here are some pictures that they allowed me to take, giving an indication that they are working closely with Google to ensure that Chrome OS will not just run on Intel processors. My time at the Freescale office in Taiwan yesterday gives me an indication that there will probably be ARM devices running Chrome OS in the first quarter of 2011.
More Chrome OS news will be coming in the closing days of Computex, keep checking our RSS feed or follow us on @thechromesource if you’re a Twitter addict like I am.
Speaking today at the Computex Cloud Computing forum, Google VP of product management Sundar Pichai said that Chrome OS will be on the market in the fourth quarter of 2010. The Cloud Computing Forum is featuring executives from Google, ARM and Quanta Computers.
Computex has been mostly focused on Microsoft products that are on display.
When asked about the Chrome vs. Android debate, Mr. Pichai said that providing open source platforms will allow the market to make the best determination about what operating system will work best in the mass market. It’s pretty clear that Android has really taken off, it will be interesting to see how Chrome OS will develop.
Our pal Charbax from ARMDevices has a video showing Chromium OS running on the $199 Freescale i.MX51 tablet which runs the ARM Cortex A8 processor. Although he has to use some external input/output devices are used in order to make it work, this gives me some hope we will see some breakthroughs in terms of affordable tablet technology utilizing Chrome OS at the Computex conference which starts next week.
At CES, Korean mobile device maker Cydle showed off a 7″ Android tablet and said that they were planning on having a Chrome OS version at some point as well. Having cheap internet enabled devices running Chrome OS would be great, and would probably scare wireless companies if Skype or another VoIP company had a webapp to complement these tablets.
There is now a browser add-on for IE, Chrome and Firefox that allows people to opt-out of Google’s Analytics tracking.
The Mac and Linux versions of Chrome browser are catching up to Windows; it was announced today that they have now moved to stable release.
Google Wave has been moved into the Google Apps suite of software for organizations, moving it out of its experimental stage in Labs.
Here’s a look at the challenges that Google TV faces when it enters the market this fall in the U.S. on DISH Network.
Intel will be showing off dedicated chips specifically for tablets at Computex, which starts next week.
Venturebeat is reporting that Acer will show off one, or maybe even several Chrome OS-equipped devices at Computex in June. We have been reporting this for some time that a unknown Taiwan-based manufacturer would be doing this, and Venturebeat seems to substantiate this somewhat.
The fact that they are reporting this information from “multiple sources” suggests this is more than just a rumor. I will be at Computex during the first week of June and will be reporting back all news available about anything related to Chrome OS. Since Computex is one of the largest computer shows in the world and is in the center of the computer manufacturing industry, it makes sense that we would see some concrete devices at this show.