Tag Archive | "arm"

Snapdragon always-connected PCs launched. What’s different this time round?

The Mobile PC. Always On, Always Connected.  Qualcomm and Microsoft have today officially launched Windows 10 on ARM products from ASUS, HP and Lenovo. These long-battery-life PCs will be available starting in 2018. It’s exciting, but tt feels like we’ve done this before and it didn’t work back then.

In 2012 Intel launched the Clovertrail SoC platform based around the Intel Atom architecture.  Along with Windows 8 it offered Connected Standby, which worked, but never became a mainstream feature. Modern Standby, the Windows 10 version, works today with a range of Intel processors up to Core i7 but still, it’s not a feature that many ask for. What, if anything, is different this time round as Qualcomm and Microsoft announce PCs built on the Snapdragon 835 platform?

2012 – Connected standby was the forerunner to Modern Standby.

Certainly the price isn’t different. The ASUS NovaGo announced today and launching in 2018 starts at $599 for a device with just 64GB of storage. $799 will get you 256 GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

The two main advantages with Windows 10 S on Snapdragon are integrated LTE and battery life although the latter comes with caveats. There are issues though.

You’ll get a Windows 10 S operating system where only Windows Store apps can be installed. That will include some x86 apps that have been approved but those will run under emulation. You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, which is nice, although there’s no information yet on what that might do to battery life or indeed, how standard x86 applications will run. For the record I like the idea of Windows 10 S

Standby battery life is going to be huge on the highly integrated Snapdragon platform. Tight hardware integration is one reason why but with only one hardware platform it will be far easier to optimise than a million CPU, GPU, interface and WiFi combinations. I doubt Microsoft will be looking to expand the ARM partnerships too rapidly. I also expect the Surface department to be working hard on a product.

Battery life under load will be a completely different story and here’s where differences will be minimal when compared to a good Ultrabook although some applications related to image processing and video rendering could be both fast and less power hungry because of dedicated video hardware.

Performance should be acceptable for many potential customers. Expect a Core-like experience that goes beyond what any of the retired Atom ultra-mobile platforms can do. Entry-level Ultrabook performance should cover every need for the average user.  Don’t, however, expect to swap out an SSD or upgrade RAM as everything is likely to be soldered on-board. Snapdragon 835-based PCs won’t be PC gaming machines or video editing machines either but that’s not the target audience here.

Here’s some of my testing with an always connected Windows PC in 2012.

Always connected is not new.

This isn’t a new story and the last time it was told, not many people listened. There is however one interesting aspect here and it’s the same one that started this website, then called Carrypad, over 10 years ago: Mobile innovation.

With a lower bill of materials, a tiny mainboard, a single processor supplier and the optimised Windows 10 S we could see smaller manufacturers and smartphone manufacturers start looking at ultra mobile PCs again. Snapdragon 835 is an ultra mobile platform and it’s going to be part of hundreds of smartphone products. There’s absolutely no reason that this chassis can’t be used with a new body. It could be handheld, modular or tablet-sized. it could be a stick or a NUC.

Hands-up if you’d like a 2018 Thinkpad 8 based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 835? I would, because the battery life on my Thinkpad 8 LTE is terrible!

Finally we need to talk about the Windows Store. These ARM-based Windows 10 S platforms are going to rely, largely, on developers re-packaging their desktop (x86) apps for the Windows Store and that doesn’t do anything for the advancement of Universal Windows Platform applications. But is that important? If the emulated x86 apps are good enough and secure enough, do we need to worry? Maybe not. There are 600 million Windows 10 installations out there and this ARM-focused product might actually be the tipping point for apps flowing into the Windows Store.  If that changes the business model for developers, it changes the future of Windows.

Windows 10 S is the perfect ultra-mobile PC operating system.

Windows 10 S, an optimized and tightened-up version of the Windows operating system has launched, along with an Ultrabook – the Microsoft Surface Laptop. Windows 10 S is also aimed at the education market and Acer is using Windows 10 S to (re)launch the TravelMate Spin B1  a low-cost students laptop with digitizer, touch and full HD 11.6 inch convertible screen.

Don’t be worried. Windows 10 S is not Windows RT. It supports Win32 desktop apps, can be upgraded and one assumes that it also runs on ARM hardware. Windows 10 S is a Windows for consumers that could stretch down to tablets and up to highly efficient and stable gaming, VR and creative laptops. Intel may have killed our chips but it Windows 10S, combined with an ARM platform could create an ultramobile PC revival.

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ARM can’t fix the Windows 10 mobile problem. It will make a great Surface Pad though.

Windows’ mobile problem is well know. Apps. Will an alternative processor architecture help? It’s great to see ARM in the space, but it won’t fix the problem.

There are two mobile-related Windows problems. The first is the close-down of the Lumia brand. It was the first big indicator that the Universal Windows Program wasn’t attracting the developer hours that were so badly needed. They were needed to bring Windows, and not just Windows Mobile, to a point where Win32 / desktop apps could be ignored in favour of mobile apps. Under UWP I would argue that apps are more user-friendly, cheaper to develop, more secure and more efficient. Ultimately there would have been a mobile-first scenario similar to that which we see on IOS and Android in the IoT, personal mobility, remote control and social network sectors but with the introduction of an ARM platform, fitting into the 6-inch to 12 inch space, that supports legacy desktop apps, it’s now 100% clear that UWP failed to achieve its goals quickly enough. Intel pulled the plug on the space and, laughably, Qualcomm is stepping in with a top-end processor platform that won’t do anything to help. Microsoft needs millions of mobile devices out there running Windows 10. What on earth are they thinking? While Windows 10, Snapdragon 830 and a Surface Phone could be a match made in heaven, it WILL NOT HELP.

The cheapest way to build Windows 10 numbers in the mobile space would have been to subsidise the sale of Windows phones and tablets but with Intel and Lumia gone it seems Microsoft want to put a high-end mobile device in this vastly competitive and saturated space. A Surface Phone, a Surface Pad, a Surface UMPC isn’t going to help.

A Snapdragon 835 will not result in low-cost phones and ‘multimode’ doesn’t sell.

Snapdragon 835 is high-end. It is perfect for a Surface Phone at 6-inches that will lever integration skills and demonstrate, perfectly, the capabilities of Continuum and multimode dockable usage but expect that to be an $800 product. It will be as fast as a Core M and  extremely interesting for ultra-mobile users. Tight integration will make a very smart-looking device but it will have to compete with the iPad Pro, iPhone, Pixel devices, Galaxy brand and a bunch of cheaper, but very good phablets. It will compete with some very good Intel-based Core M devices that can handle, without software emulation or binary translation, full HD videos editing, advanced photo editing, basic CAD and entry-level PC gaming. In short, it will end up being a desirable but niche and expensive product.

The second problem is that ‘multimode’ doesn’t sell devices.

We love them, as do the press but the Motorola Atrix (2011), Lumia 950 (2015) and other devices have proven that selling multimode is hard work. When was the last time you saw a mainstream user using Miracast and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse?

Established electronics manufacturers don’t like them either. No one is going to build a multimode phone that potentially trashes the profitable sectors of laptops, tablets, 2-in-1s and desktops. The only manufacturers that have space to do this are the startups. Microsoft have space too. Consider the Surface Pro 4 at $1000 and the Surface Book at $2000. A Surface Phone (Surface Pad at 6 inches) would fit in at $599-$899 and it could replace the old Atom based Surface products nicely. Would Microsoft be stepping on the toes of its partners by doing this? It would shock the hell out of them.

Does a high-end device solve the app problem? Do Windows-based mobile devices become more interesting? No they don’t

What, then, is the point?

BBC Micro:bit available for roadtest. Take your ideas to Element 14.

The BBC micro:bit is the matchbook-sized computing device that’s going to be given free to every 11-12 year old in the UK. Trying to get hold of one outside that channel is going to be difficult but Element14, the company overseeing manufacturing, are putting 5 of them up for grabs. All you have to do is make a project proposal and you could get one.

BBC MicroBit

BBC MicroBit

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Post-PC is Windows 10 and a fading desktop, UWP success.

With Windows 10 comes a potentially huge change in the way that the 5-10 inch consumer computing category will be addressed by manufacturers. As in the Windows 8 era, manufacturers can still choose between ARM and x86 options, desktop and no-desktop options but this time round there’s the possibility of crossover. If the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a success then why not allow Windows 10 Mobile tablets to compete with large Windows tablets and small laptops? The inclusion of ARM in this segment could increase competition and lower prices which is a bonus for Microsoft. It could also reduce the desire for a ‘desktop’ and puts consumer Windows devices at risk from competing post-desktop products.

 The Universal Windows Platform

The Universal Windows Platform

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Intel Chromebook push focuses on ARM. 15 reports now available.

A few weeks ago Intel posted 2 videos featuring Chromebooks and they appear to be part of a bigger campaign to push ARM out of the market. Clearly Intel thinks that there’s something big worth fighting for here. The videos lead to a set of 15 Intel-commissioned reports from Principled Technologies that are all available to the public and listed below.

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Analysing Smart vs Ultra with the Samsung Series 9 and ASUS Transformer Prime


I’ve been tracking ‘smartbooks’ for a few years now. I’ve tested the Android-based Compaq Airlife 100 and owned the Toshiba AC100. I also have a couple of Android tablets here in my life, one of which I use daily for work. I have tried many times to integrate them into my work processes but only the Galaxy Tab 7” has made any impact because it fits nicely as a microblogging and social networking tool. There are some good music, radio and podcast apps that I use too. The problem with the ‘laptop’ style devices is that although they are light, fun and have good battery life (8hrs out of the 800gm Toshiba AC100 was great!) the quality of apps doesn’t match the scenarios where you use the product – on the desk.

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Screen Size Analysis (Sub 12″) August 2011

This is the seventh report on sizing trends in PCs below 12 inch screen size (and above 5 inch) appearing in the German market through the popular price comparison engine, Geizhals.at (*1) The last one was done in Feb 2011. Once again we’ve seen a big jump in overall numbers. The 7″ segment and 10″ segment have grown while the 11″ segment has shrunk. The 10″ market dominates more in this report than it did in the report of Feb 2011 although there is a clear trend occurring in the 7″ space where growth in products has occurred in all of the last 4 reports.

Number of SKUs in the market

The number of choices in the mobile screen space (above smartphones) has grown over 2x from approx 240 SKUs to over 630 SKUs.


Screen size distribution

The big jump in numbers is clear to see from the top graph. Total numbers jumped by 115 with most of that growth coming from the tablet form factor and the 10″ netbook/notebook sector. Big increases in the 7″ tablet sector (now the biggest number so far) and a reduction in the numbers of 11″ devices mean that  percentage distribution has changed a lot. The iPad2 introduction caused the growth in the 9″ segment.

In the 10″ netbook space which accounts for 75% of the 10″ category there are now 18 AMD C-Series SKUs and 315 Atom SKUs. 64 of the Atom-based devices (20%) use the high-end N570 version.

In interesting statistic is that 1 in 5 devices on the market in the 5-11″ segment are from ASUS.

Across all categories, ARM-based CPU designs account for  23% of all devices, almost exclusively in the tablet sector. It will be interesting to see how that changes over the next 2 years with the introduction of Windows for the ARM processor.

In terms of weight, the tablets mean that the average weight of a device has gone down.  28% of the devices weigh under 1KG.

Meego appears for the first time along with the cheapest and lightest netbook ever launched. The ASUS Eee PC X101.

Chromebooks did not enter the sub 12″ screen space yet. (Acer 700 not available in Germany)

Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation Intel Core CPUs) enters the sector with 14 SKUs from 5 devices.

Total number of tablet form-factor devices:  193 (30% of total)

Cheapest devices:

  • X86/Windows Laptop – Eee PCR101D at 199 Euros. (Was: Samsung N145 at 228 Euro)
  • Non-Windows Laptop (X86-CPU) –  Eee PC X101 (Meego) at 169 Euros
  • ARM Tablet – Debitel One Pad  (Android 1.5) at 59 Euro
  • X86/Windows Tablet – Archos 9 at 370 Euros (was 402 Euros)

In terms of netbook trends, the search and news volumes seem to be steady after their large drop in Q1 (see Google Trends.) Numbers of devices in the market have increased and obviously the introduction of Cedar Trail in Q4 will create news, products and searches in the netbook category. The trend for netbook products, news and search is going to be level-to-rising for Q4 That may, or may not, relate to sales numbers.

In terms of handheld PCs, our focus here at UMPCPortal, it’s a sad story. The online market is now almost totally clear of 5-9″ X86-based Windows devices. It will be interesting to see how the Windows 8 market affects this in 2012.

Warning: Please remember that this is a single data-source analysis of what is happenning today, in the German market. This is not a complete market analysis report. You may use the data and images but please also reference this article which includes this warning.

*1 Based on SKUs, not model families. Data taken from Geizhals  An English language (and UK market) version of Geizhals is available at Skinflint.

200mw Internet Access on the Acer Iconia Tab A500

If you measure the power used by a netbook PC when it’s in standby, a frozen unusable state, it uses around 500mW of power.  Leaving a netbook on with WiFi connected in an idle state with the screen blanked, maybe with an email program polling occasionally, you’ll see about 10 times the power usage. In PC terms, 5W is impressive but if you go to the smartphone world and take a look at the figures there, there’s a huge huge gap that needs to be tackled. As smartphones become tablets, become smartbooks, there’s a threat that ‘always-on’ becomes ‘must-have’ and that X86-based devices will struggle to compete in casual computing scenarios.

Smartphones are designed from the ground-up around the concept of ‘always-on. From the moment a smartphone is conceived, every element of the design has to be checked for power consumption which is why a smartphone can sit connected to the GSM telephone network drawing power consumption levels lower than 50mw. That’s 1/10th of the power consumption taken by a good netbook when it’s in a frozen state. Impressive.

But what happens when you connect a smartphone to the internet ? You can use cellular data services to achieve a good rate of connectivity by switching on UMTS for example. Switching to WiFi on a typical smartphone brings faster connectivity and, in a lot of cases, lower power that can be done on cellular networks. A smartphone can run a multitasking operating system and remain connected to internet and voice networks in well under 500mw of power, the same as it takes a netbook to sleep.  In fact, the best smartphones are running in this configuration for over 24hrs on a 5Wh battery which is an amazing 100mw of power usage. Turn on some background internet activities and it will jump to an average 200mw!

What happens if you take an ARM platform that’s in the same processing power category as a low-end netbook. Put it in a 10 inch screen form factor and do the same test? Actually, it’s the same as a smartphone. The only difference between a high-end smartphone and a smartbook with a 10 inch screenand a huge battery is the screen itself and when that is off, there’s practically no difference at all.

To prove this, I took one of the most powerful mobile computing platforms in a large 10 inch form factor device with 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM and integrated WiFi. The device has a 23wh battery (about half that of ‘6-cell’ netbooks. The device is the Acer Iconia Tab A500 Android tablet which runs honeycomb. I connected to the Wifi (at 54mbps) and left the device connected with the screen off while it did it’s stuff in the background. Marketplace checks, email checks, Twitter checks and even some GPS usage by Google Maps. A weather service was running, the volume was set to silent and Bluetooth was turned off.

Over a 48  hour period with a few screen-on moments for checking progress (and a 10 minute in-use period as my daughter grabbed it to use a paint program)  I measured 46% fall in battery usage of which 5% was due to screen-on time. Take away the screen-on figure and you have 209mw of power usage.  The Acer Iconia Tab is nothing more than a smartphone inside!

‘Always-on, Always Connected’ will be a ‘Must-have.’

Always-on tests are interesting because it’s a hands-off test that people think only applies to idle smartphones.  In fact, it applies to many computing scenarios. With location, polling, sync, presence, alarms, push updates and of course, cellular voice and messaging becoming the norm in the hand, they will also have appeal on the desk. Not having to wait 5 seconds for a machine to start-up, another 5 seconds for a Wi-Fi connection and another 10 seconds for tweets, emails and other features to catch up is annoying.  There’s also a bunch of other screen-off, connected activities that are interesting. Servers for example. By that, I mean computers and gadgets that serve information to the Internet. This doesn’t just cover web servers. Think about internet-connected weather stations and web cameras, in-car data storage and notification systems. Then there are the devices that just don’t need big screens; Connected musical instruments. Digital cameras with 3G. Internet Radios. Low-power internet connectivity is important for these devices.

Related: Social Netbooks and ARM’s Lock-In Netbook Opportunity.


The point here is not to highlight that ARM is better than X86, it’s to highlight the gap. This gap is currently a huge advantage for ARM-based platform designers.

  • The first point is, if manufacturers using X86/PC architecture don’t get products to market with active standby soon, with the help of Intel (the only X86 player trying to tackle this problem) customers will have a chance to experience, and may not turn back from, ARM-based always-on products.
  • The second point is that this is a screen-off gap. Current screen technology is killing ARMs advantage in the ‘in-use’ scenario where screens are larger than 7 inch. It reduces the ARM advantage from 20x in idle to about 4x with a 10 inch screen being backlit. When the devices CPU is being actively used, the advantage drops even lower to around 2x. [Acer Iconia Tab – 4W. Samsung NC210 – 8W)
  • Finally, the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is a good example of low-power internet connectivity. It’s likely that other devices in this ARM tablet segment hit the same figures.

Keep an eye on high-end ARM-based platforms over the next year or two. Honeycomb and iOS are leading the way into the professional space with their software and application ecoystems and you might find that this always-on advantage starts to lock people in soon.

My UMPC and Netbook Retire Today. AMD and ARM Move-In. What Happens Next…

Intel have dominated my mobile device choices for nearly 5 years but all that has changed in the last 4 months. Today, my ultra mobile PC retires and my netbook gets an upgrade.

For the last two, years my main computers have been a Quad-Core desktop that I use for hosting live sessions, podcasts and some video editing, and two mobile devices. The Gigabyte Touchnote Convertible Netbook has been my laptop and a Fujitsu U820 (actually a Japanese version U/B50N) ultra mobile PC has been used as my hot-desktop (as shown in this article.)

Today, the two mobile PCs drop away and are replaced with an AMD-based netbook solution and an ARM-based tablet. The Acer Aspire One 522 and Galaxy Tab have become my mobile device choices which means there is no longer a ultra mobile PC in my life.



The Fujitsu U820 had previously been my ultra mobile computer for expo’s and conferences and I remember using it successfully at SXSW in 2009. Over the last 5 months though its usefulness has waned because the Galaxy Tab has taken over. It fits *my* usage patterns a lot better. I sacrificed some ‘Full Internet Experience’ for weight, battery life, location, social networking apps, built-in camera, always-on and 3G. I talked about this ‘changeover’ last year. It’s now happened.

The Touchnote was still working well and I had no problems with it. After 2 years it’s proved to be rugged and capable but when the Acer Aspire One 522 came along last week it gave me so much more, in less weight and cost. Now that the Tab has taken over ultra-mobile duties to an acceptable level, there’s also no need for the U820.

I’ll miss the touchscreen on the Touchnote but I’m getting better battery life, more processing power,  way better HD and graphics acceleration and my 4GB RAM, SSD and Home Premium upgrade are adding to the experience i’m getting from the Acer Aspire.

The Acer Aspire One 522 is now my daytime desktop as well as my lightweight notebook.


What happens next?

As 7-inch tablets get better and better with improved software, faster processing engines and higher quality connectivity there’s more and more that can be done on them. I’m already creating articles, emails, Tweets, IM and images but I see improved video and camera hardware and software coming too. I see accessories that could help the tablet become a unit that everything could be done on if needed. I would have no problem whatsoever using a solution like this for a week if weight and energy restrictions demanded it. The need for an ultra-light netbook is reducing for me. Having said that, the requirement for a PC with a keyboard doesn’t drop away completely.

7-inch screens aren’t comfortable for rich content generation and editing so I still see the need for a netbook or notebook for ‘bum-on-seat’ activities. What I see happening is that my netbook will get taken up a notch into a 11.6 or 12.1-inch territory that allows me to improve my video work. It’s a project I’ve already started. That could happen very soon as the Asus Eee PC 1215b nears availability.

Smartphone load drops.

As for the pocketable device in my life, I’m finding I use a smartphone less and less now. Dropping back to a 3.5-inch or even 4-inch experience for Internet and social networking activities is painful and I’d rather take the Tab with me than have a large smartphone. My smartphone is now a voice, sms, MP3, USB storage and emergency internet device. The N8 fits in so well here because it also has a stunning camera that allows me to photoblog with ease.

Because of my tablet use, I don’t expect to be putting much load on my smartphone any more and the list of requirements changes totally.

Intel’s next netbook move.

I confess that I didn’t have a lot of faith in AMD’s Brazos solution but they did it. They’ve made a classic disruptive move which will change the face of the netbook forever and, unless Intel repond quickly, take share away from Intel in the low-cost computing market. Well-known features/keywords like ‘HDMI’ and ‘1080p’ that are recognizable to the man on the street will differentiate AMD from Intel and where the price is the same, there’s little to think about. Games are also possible on AMD netbooks and it leaves little room for Intel to play in when it comes to Cedar-Trail.  They’ll have to increase the CPU power (1.66ghz dual-core is a nice figure that looks better, and performs better than the AMD 1.0Ghz solution) and add their thermal monitoring to allow overclocking on a core-by-core basis. 2.0Ghz ‘Turbo’ will be worth seeing. They’ll also have to add the 1080p capability from their Menlow and Moorestown platforms. To beat AMD they will need Wireless Display and hardware-accelerated H.264 and WMV encoding features to help with video format conversion. Longer battery life is a must and this is something Intel is highly likely to deliver with amazingly low quiescent states and very tightly-coupled wireless solutions. Given the likelihood that they will have a lower platform TDP and enable a smaller motherboard size, Intel solutions are likely to be thinner and lighter.

Can Intel enter the always-on tablet space?

AMD appear to be a long way off from having a soft/hard stack that satisfies the requirements for an ultra mobile computing device but I still see big opportunities in the near, 1-2 year timescale for Intel. 2011 truly is just the start of a new era of multi-device computing and Intel have been working on developing solutions to hit all areas of the market for the last 3 years or more. Wi-Di (wireless display), hardware security, thermal monitoring, overclocking and Intel Insider are features that could really add something to a mobile platform and as we look towards higher processing platform capability (including faster busses and rich connectivity) Intel do have an advantage, especially where screen and wireless connectivity take the lions share of the battery drain. As for always-on, their Moorestown and Medfield hardware, coupled with their software solutions, appear to have that covered. Android for consumption; MeeGo for a cross-over Linux-based solution. Windows for a full, pro-computing solution. They have had serious problems getting a partner to make a compelling device but lets talk about this again after the MeeGo conference in May and the Nokia MeeGo product which could also air at that time.

And don’t think I haven’t forgotten about all the advantages that come with having a traditional mobile PC soft and hard architecture. USB host, multitasking user interface, mouse-over, business software, security, multi-user, extended display, remote desktop, upgrades and hacks, printing, ad-hoc Wi-Fi and a thousand other features that you forget about until you need them. If anything, my desire for high quality, flexible productive systems has gone up in the last months and this might sound strange but since the Japan disaster last week, I’ve been looking at mesh networking and emergency computing again and find that an X86 ultra mobile PC would be the best place to start. To that end, I’ll be loading up the U820 as my emergency computer.

That’s enough about me. How are you finding the ‘X-Over’ year of 2011?

Note. All my computing solutions have been paid for by my company and are not sponsored in any way. Runcore, however, supplied the SSD that i’m using in the Aspire One 522.

Aigo N700 Android Tablet Hands-On Preview

We’ve got an Aigo AigoPad N700 here that has kindly been sent over by Think4Mobile in the UK. It’s a preview model and something that may, or may not, make it to European markets. Given the rough seas right now and the specs of the N700, we’re not sure it has the right stuff to succeed. See our article below and the video at the end for more information.


Android 2.1 on ARM11 with 800×480 and no Google Market/Apps is a surprisingly low-quality combination, especially compared to the build quality and looks of the AigoPad which say so much more. Capacative touch is there and it has a nice ruberised back that I’d love to see on the Galaxy Tab. A magnetic charging port and even 3G is included [The model we have is CDMA /EVDO for the U.S. market so we’re unable to test that bit.] but even if the OS was upgraded to 2.2 with Google Market, the 800×480 screen and ARM11 processor just wouldn’t cut it in the market today unless the price was amazingly low.

Admittedly, there aren’t any 3G-enabled low-cost tablets in the European market right now but given that Viewsonic will likely reduce its Viewpad 7 price very soon to give it breathing space from the Galaxy Tab, that niche might be filled very quickly. Even so, the ARM11 niche isn’t going to last long as features and applications on Android demand ARMv7 architecture and multi-core platforms date it even further.

The N700 appears to have one thing on its side…battery life. Aigo have dropped a 4250mah battery into this thing and I havent charged it for 4 days. Admittedly it was on standby (bluetooth and Wifi on) for 3 of those days but I was extremely surprised to see it still running – with 50% battery. After another day of testing (about 3hrs) we’re only down to 36% battery. This could be the most power-efficient tabelt i’ve ever tested so if you’re looking for that as a feature, here it is!




  • Mono loudspeaker is loud and good
  • Screen has some fading at angles
  • WVGA is noticeable on test having used the Galaxy Tab for 4 months!
  • Button hardware: solid
  • No Wifi-N support
  • Browser fixed to landscape mode
  • GPS, accelerometer included
  • Sideloading of many apps works without problem
  • 3mm longer than a Galaxy Tab (same width)
  • About 1mm thicker
  • Brightness – good range but nothing new
  • No docking port, no hdmi
  • Platform doesn’t support 720p decoding
  • Only supplied charger worked despite it being a USB cable.
  • No search button
  • No camera

Overall I’m impressed with what Aigo have done in terms of engineering but the total package misses the mark for developed countries in Q1 2011. We’ll definately keep an eye on Aigo though.

Update: Think4it Solutions tell us that they will be putting the N700 on the back-burner for the time being as Aigo have just revealed a 2.2, ARMv7 version (likely Cortex A8) with european 3G support  that is planned for an April launch.We’ll stay in touch in because a low-cost Cortex-based device is exactly what’s needed. Fingers crossed for 1024×600!

Tegra2 vs Atom in Browsing Test

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 inch 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.

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