Ultra Mobile Podcast 23

Updated on 04 January 2009 by

Sascha and myself give you a CES warm-up and tip-list for netbooks, umpcs and MIDs.
The show is just over an hour long and covers the CES ultra mobile PC Watchlist, the CES Netbook watchlist, news, some news about MIDMoves and a lot more in between. We hope you enjoy it.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Pixel Qi fan in waiting... says:

    New Show Name: Shoe-Time Computing

    Because no matter what (size does count). The bigger your battery time, hey the more you got, the more you got.

    So, what you missed in your pod cast regarding things that might have been kept quiet before might be hinted at in a web site where Pixel Qi says this on their products page:

    “We are working on a variety of projects some of which our customers would like us to keep confidential. Below is some of the work we can discuss now.

    The XO laptop has a low-cost, low-power and sunlight readable screen. This screen can be made in mainstream notebook computer size, or smaller for the digital cameras, cell phones and PDAs. Pixel Qi is improving these screens – to make them more readable than the existing OLPC displays, much lower power, and with vastly improved saturated color.

    Touch should just be an incremental cost increase to the screen and embedded directly into it. Pixel Qi is working on low-cost approachs to integrated touch with a target of a $5 -$10 pricetag.

    The XO screen is sunlight readable, but hard to read in dim roomlight without the backlight on. Pixel Qi has new inventions that can transform this situation. The screen with the backlight off can appear as bright and crisp as paper, but also supports full video speed playback and color. The paper-like look to the screen is desirable. We want to be able to comfortably read off of our screens – with this innovation we finally will be able to”.

    And so, at CES some company might be doing their splash thing with these screens and we shall see if there is truth to what Pixel Qi’s quotes on their home page:

    “Pixel Qi screens can increase battery life between charges by 5-fold, and, in addition, the readability and legibility of these new screens decrease the need for paper and printing due to their paper-white ultra-high-resolution mode. These screens also sport excellent color, contrast and field-of-view for multi-media use. The screens will be available for mainstream laptops, mini-laptops and ebook readers in high volume mass production in mid-2009”.

    So, Looking for first previews of those Pixel Qi devices that allow for 5 fold increase in battery times (1st Qtr 2nd Qtr) per the Pixel Qi web site?

    Size does matter!

    Wonder if any of such devices will show up at CES?

  2. Chippy says:

    The tech is extremely interesting, I agree and I hope to see it on consumer products ASAP.

    Is this the only thing you ever think about though ;-)

  3. Pixel Qi fan in waiting... says:

    Everyone else covers all the other bases! The NUT and BOLTS of the mobile computing story is EXACTLY, when you think about it, those videos interviews of Mary Lou (done by Big Think) on the Pixel Qi site’s press page ring true. Since the OLPC has come out with low power use, and with speed that is ok for most uses… with an old slower CPU (actually a hybrid CPU and GPU combo unit that is inexpensive), that since then, everyone in the industry is freaking out!

    Intel is not happy (their latest power saving CPUs were rejected by OLPC for using too much power, so Intel to protect the higher end NOTEbook sales crippled the video part of their chip set kit to a maximum of only 1024×600) and quit the OLPC group because OLPC really threatens them in many ways I think)! Intel was also the main force behind WiMax (and OLPC did this mesh networking that they were not into at all, and really if you think of it, if every device did MESH networking what would the ISPs think of that)!

    Microsoft is freaking out and even had to bring XP out of retirement because of the netbook demand on the LINUX side. AND also Microsoft is very unhappy because OLPC was running a Red Hat version of Linux that showed that LINUX worked to kids and teachers (a big source of MS growth in the future markeing/mind-share space).

    The Bios folks were feaking out because OLPC was using sorta a “free bios” that worked just fine!

    Basically, the excitement since as the netbooks space was created by OLPC’s XO-1 and the commercial reaction to it AS really that reaction to the OLPC by ASUS, Intel, and others was targeted originally for school children (and no one expected the adults to like them so much)! ALL THESE established players were taken to fear (and that fear continues today, as ARM folks have LINUX tuned up now and ARM folks have made a deal with Adobe for FLASH to be deployed on these devices too (MS hates that, Intel hates that, etc). Well, when you look at those Mary Lou videos, specifically the one here:

    Reshaping the Laptop Market
    You gotta love the part where Mary Lou says that mobile computing is NOT about the CPU at all, and she says it is all about the screen.

    Quotes: “…and so it’s sort of opposite because the CPU makers are so dominating this sort of march of computing and been so incredibly effective but then when you look at something at the low end you just want to use whatever is a pretty low cost CPU and turn it off most of the time because why use it if somebody is just typing an email or thinking or surfing the web or writing a paper and thinking about what they’re going to say? They don’t need it. What they really care about is their battery lasting for 20 hours..”

    “…And so for the CPU makers it’s difficult and so I feel their pain and I want to help. But I think that the future portable computing is all about the screen. It’s the most expensive and most power hungry component and so we’re trying to improve the screen and the reading experience because people want to be able to read on the screen”.

    SHE IS RIGHT. The NEED for an evolving Intel “Moores Law” as far as LINUX and UNIX (Open Solaris for example) has hit the ceiling… as these OS’s will not be NEEDING to be always growing like the MS OS’s did, they dont’ need to as they don’t need a bigger OS to migrate folks to (for profit).

    Thin is in! People only need as power as they need to run a Flash video, do an email, text message, VOIP, play music whatever (and a 600 Mhz CPU is plenty to do all of that). They don’t want to carry around a battery charger OR a bundle of extra batteries in their bag or brief case!

    Linux works just fine. It can be as thin and fast as you would ever NEED!

    Finally, this is the YEAR at the CES we will see, maybe a HUGE sea change in front of our eyes. As that historical NEED for the the CPU speed and power use ceiling to keep being raised… is NO LONGER a FACTOR going forward.

    No longer is the ceiling being lifted the tool that will drive computer and operating system sales. When you look at history from the 1980s until now, that ceiling being lifted actually gave Microsoft the excuse to build bigger and bigger OS’s to force upgrades on folks AS THEY BOUGHT bigger more powerful PCs to replace the old ones that the out of date retired old MS OS’s were no longer supported on.

    Well, ARM and others in all kinds of electrical engineering CPU and GPU areas will be showing up with low priced AND LOW POWER portable devices as well THAT DO NOT NEED INTEL OR MICROSOFT ANYONE at all!

    Nokia knows this! Others are getting the message.

    Pixel Qi and those videos at Big Think IS THE STORY. AND if these devices start to show up at CES, then THAT will be the story. Yep – CES, or a show later this year, will have these devices running Pixel Qi stuff…! I have not bought ANY portable device at all (love the info on your site) because of the promise of a 20 hour run time device on ONE battery charge! From an engineering point of view I can see how it is possible (as the OLPC XO-1, the first version of this type of device showed me that it is possible). What is scary is that that was version 1 engineering, what will we see in version 2, 3, 4, 5 etc)?

    You should see if you can invited Mary Lou for an interview now, while she might have room on her calendar to do that.

  4. deriuqer says:

    Wow,didn’t know the Pixel Qi fanboys are even more childish than the Apple and Linux fanboys.Crush on Mary Lou ?

  5. Pixel Qi fan in waiting... says:

    Of course your post was looking for a response – So, for your pleasure… here is the best part – OLPC XO-1 battery was not the Lithium Ion 500 charges per lifetime of battery, instead the OLPC XO-1 battery tech looked at a 2000 charge lifetime battery that has the potential to be recycled into fertilizer? AND it can be replaced by a child, by themselves, at a cost of about $10. Now, that is disruptive (many of these Lithium Ion batteries cost about a hundred bucks give or take to replace after 500 charges). Theirs lasts 5 years, and costs only $10 to replace (pretty childish huh)!

    The Environmental Implications of One Laptop Per Child

    Quote: “The batteries can’t explode, right? I mean pick your company. They have recalls about every six months of millions of batteries that are exploding using lithium ion technology and so we explored different technology and batteries that would last much longer. The typical lithium ion battery lasts some 500 charge/recharge cycles, which is if you’re running off a battery all the time, a year or a year and a half, two years. Well, ours lasts 2,000 charge/recharge cycles and so that’s like five years, right, even if you’re running off a battery all the time and lithium ferro phosphate which we use as well as nickel metal hydride, lithium ferro phosphate actually with processing decomposes into fertilizer”.

    The XO-1 tech was, and still is, ahead of it’s time (and, it is not just for the childish either)!

  6. DM says:


    My entry for your naming competition is: mComp cast


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