Tag Archive | "tegra"

Acer’s Chromebook 2 CB5 is the cheapest laptop with full HD screen – $249

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The Acer Chromebook 2 CB5 with 1920×1080 screen qualifies, today, as the cheapest full HD screen laptop ever. For a crazy $249 in the USA (and this is very much a USA exclusive) you’ll get this lightweight Chromebook with 16GB storage and 2GB RAM. The Acer CB5 Chromebook is now number 4 in our Chromebook charts, and rising fast. [Acer Chromebook 13 CB5 Specifications and info here.]

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HP Chromebook 14 Tegra K1, Full HD, Touch, Hands-On

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The HP Chromebook 14 was popular and well-received. Maybe it was because of the 14-inch screen but I think in general it was the build quality, the keyboard and the Haswell-architecture performance that did it. It was an all-round quality Chromebook.  The new HP Chromebook 14 has an updated design, screen options and has switched from X86 to ARM in the processor department. Battery life is improved as a result.

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Microsoft Surface – UMPC Done Right?

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In 2007 Microsoft introduced 7 inch tablets based on low power CPUs and Windows with touch capability and an overlay user interface called the Origami Experience. The Origami UMPCs drove a huge amount of attention at launch but within 4 years all traces of the devices were gone from the market.

Yesterday Microsoft introduced 10 inch tablets based on low power CPUs and Windows with touch capability and an overlay user interface called Metro. The Surface has already driven a huge amount of attention, but will it last?

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What’s the difference and should we be more excited this time round?

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Post CES 2012 – Ultra Mobile Computing Solutions Remain Limited

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ASUS-Transformer-PrimeYou know what you want in an Ultra Mobile Computing solution. You want a rich spectrum of quality desktop applications with security, flexibility and processing power wrapped up into a handheld device. Unfortunately, after a busy CES, your options remain limited.

Computing at CES this year was all about Ultrabooks and Ice Cream Sandwich and while both of these topics are interesting, neither of the sectors produced anything that can be used today as a handheld PC.

Android devices continue to be crippled by low-quality and restricted software despite some amazing hardware solutions. The ASUS transformer Prime shows what can be done but is the same disappointment as the ‘smartbook’ devices I was testing in 2010. Just try using the Web Browser for a suite of web-based apps, try to write an article in the web-based WordPress back-end or try to book a flight. It’s actually quite embarrassing to see how little the software has moved on. Look for an office suite, a set of security tools, audio and video tools and a good quality image library and editing suite. It seems the only thing the Android ecosystem is working on today is gaming and that’s largely because of the attention that Nvidia have managed to drum up for the Tegra platform.

The fact is that the number of Android tablets out there doesn’t translate into any sort of business-case for porting and developing quality apps. Why bother investing $200K in a high-quality application port for a 7 inch or 10 inch screen when the market is an estimated 20 million customers and the average app purchase cost is under $4. The risk is not worth taking.

What the Android market needs is a huge boost in numbers. Fortunately, the Kindle Fire and the newly announced Asus Eee Pad Memo with Android 4.0 operating system and a price of $250 could help. Although the Kindle Fire only runs V2.x Android software the chances are that newer versions of the Amazon product will get an upgrade and boost the ICS customer base. The Eee Pad Memo at $250 speaks for itself. By the end of 2012 I estimate there will be well over 50 million Android tablets in the market and the numbers will be accelerating. At that point it makes sense to sit down with your developers and talk about an Android tablet application, albeit for a 2013 launch.

As I look across the other platforms and operating systems, I don’t see any major solutions rising up. The iPad continues to dominate mobile productivity apps but the form factor and operating system flexibility are limiting. The current Windows/Oaktrail pairing is disappointing too in terms of both battery life and performance.

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Intel held up the next-gen 32nm, re-architected ‘Clover Trail’ Windows tablet platform at CES which could provide the best chance of a quality handheld Windows experience and with Windows 8, this is probably the one to watch out for. Clover Trail is due in the second half of the year.

Cedar Trail netbooks and tablets provide an intermediate solution though and with the EeePC X101CH coming in cheap and light, it might be something to look at more closely but if you’re really looking for a handheld solution, I just can’t give you any news right now.

We’re at Mobile World Congress next month and at CeBIT in March so with Windows 8 looming, there’s a chance that UMPCPortal will come alive again. In the meantime, I can only advise buying a 7 inch Android 4.0 tablet and experimenting as soon as you can. While it can be frustrating for productivity, there’s a whole lot of good stuff that can still be done and I’m still not going anywhere without my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Paired with an Ultrabook, it’s a great solution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Hands-On. Sunspider Test – Good!

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On the last day of MWC I just had one more task to do and that was to spend as much time as possible with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Contacts at MWC had already told me that it was good so I headed over to Samsung with time to spare.

Galaxy Tab 101 (14)

Yes, the Galaxy Tab is a quality bit of industrial design. The back feels slightly disappointing if you’re looking for appeasing materials but it’s practical and I’m sure that it’s going to be of long-lasting quality. The camera is good – not awesome, but good enough. The speakers disappoint. The other part of the product that disappoints, and you might hear this from other reporters is that the UI was a bit underwhelming. Beware, this is incomplete software so we should’nt use it as any sort of indicator. In its current state it’s worse than that Galaxy Tab so I feel certain it can’t go out of the door like that. It was missing Market, some BT features and the browser had a lot of trouble with Google Mail and iGoogle.

In a Sunspider test I managed to get some idea of how Honeycomb and Tegra 2 are going to perform together. The score you see below is 4x better than the iPad and a lot better than results I have from Android 2.1 on Tegra2. A 7 inch Galaxy Tab returns about 7000 ms

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Yes that’s 2256. Over 2x faster than the Galaxy Tab 7 inch-er!

Sunspider live test on video.

Galaxy Tab 10.1 Gallery

Here’s my hands-on video. I’ll be happy to answer questions below.

LG Optimus Pad at MWC.

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Tegra and Honeycomb seem to be everywhere at MWC. We spotted the Acer Iconia 100 yesterday but that seems to be the only 7″-er. Everything else is 10″. At this early stage in the Honeycomb lifeline there isn’t a lot of time for manufacturers to make huge differentiation in the software layers so LG have chosen to go the hardware route on their tablet and have added 3D cameras. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test them.

With Honeycomb being so new its difficult to come to any conclusions but I saw an amazingly sharp and high-contrast screen that was let down by a user interface that should be a lot, lot smoother.

On the back you have a removable panel which seems to be only for the Sim card. I think I must have missed something there but I’m sure there’s no removable battery. Build quality overall seems very good and the gaming experience was an obvious step up from what I’ve seen on other devices. If developers jump on the bandwagon and optimise for Tegra, it will a real advantage in the gaming space.

With that 3D feature in the device I’m certainly not expecting it to be cheap and I wonder, is anyone really crying out for 3D camera like this?

Nvidia Showcase Tegra Games

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With an incoming surge of Tegra dual-core Android tablets and phones hitting the market Nvidia have made the move to highlight Tegra optimised games. To do this they have created a new Android app called Tegra Zone that will soon be available via the Android Market.

Tegra Zone will launch highlighting several games including Dungeon Defenders, Fruit Ninja HD, Back Breaker THD and Monster Madness. The highlight from that list is Dungeon Defends as it’s the first Unreal Engine 3 game to arrive on the Android platform offering immersive gameplay and stunning graphics.

Tegra Zone is designed to complement the Android Market as it offers additional information about the game such as professional reviews, gameplay videos and game trailers while at the same time allowing the user to download the game through the Android Market.

Source: Nvidia via TheNextWeb

Notion Ink Adam 3rd-Party Hands-On is Revealing.

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The Engadget team got some quality time with a working Notion Ink tablet this morning and their report sreavels some good details about the performance, buid, screen and software.

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One of the key features is the PixelQi screen which Engadget report to have good viewing angles, great sunlight reading characteristics but a slightly washed-out color mode. The build and weight is reported to be good for reading although at 1.5lbs (680gm) I’d argue that it’s still too heavy for long-term use. You need to be in under the 500gm mark for that. Admittedly that’s a huge challenge for a 10 inch device.

Engadget report some details about the UI but aren’t singing its praises at all –  “a few of us Engadget editors were perplexed by some of the features. inch

Overall one gets the impression that all the software work might be in vain following news about Honeycomb today but it’s good to see the tablet working and, finally, a product for the Pixel QI display technology.

Check out the Engadget post for more details.

Acer has 4.8 inch, 7 inch and 10 inch Android Tablets planned for April 2011

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Acer announced a set of Android tablets this afternoon that are sure to make people pause before they put an order in for the holiday season. The 7 inch Tablet looks like a belter and you can be sure that Acer will compete heavily on price.

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The 7 inch model on the left (neither model has a name yet) will come with a dual-core 1.2Ghz Snapdragon CPU,  1280×800 resolution screen, 3G, Wi-FI  and we hear, Android 2.2 with Flash 10.1. With front and rear cameras it looks like it will be suitable for Google application certification so we should see the Market and Google applications on this.

The 10 inch tablet on the right above, looks to be aimed at the home market and will also be a dual-core device. HDMI-out, dual-cams and ten-point multi-touch, indicate a high-end experience. Interestingly, reports are saying that this one has a dual-core Tegra 2 CPU at 1Ghz. Maybe there’s a gaming slant here.

There’s also a 4.8 inch super-wide-screen device with 1024×480 resolution on the cards. The strange resolution might be very good for landscape browsing.

Without full specs and pricing it’s difficult to position the devices but it looks like Acer is taking the tablet market seriously because Windows Tablets were announced too. I can’t believe all these devices are going to make it to the same markets but CeBit in March will certainly be interesting!

News via Netbooknews.com and Engadget.

Video – Toshiba Folio 100

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We didn’t get a huge chance for hands-on as we stumbled across the Toshiba press event at IFA today and with the device locked to the wall, without and sort of Internet connection and without any supporting technical staff, it was difficult to do a good test on the Toshiba Folio 100. We want to go back and ask about pricing, Google apps and Android 2.2 availability for the keyboarded version that we’re doing extended testing on, the AC100. I’ve published a video on YouTube (below) that might give you a few snippets of information about the Folio but we’ll be back over the next few days with more information. We promise!

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Click through for larger images.

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Android and Productivity – Live Testing with the Toshiba AC100

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Update: Live testing is over. Videos are available here.

A few days ago on UMPCPortal I wrote about the differences between smart devices and netbooks. Tonight, I put one of the latest and more productivitiy-angled solutions to the test.

Tegra2 testing begins tonight because within the next few hours I expect the AC100 to be delivered.

The Toshiba AC100 is the first Tegra2 device to hit outside Japan and only the second true smartbook to hit any global market. We’ve already reviewed the Airlife 100 so now its time to see if Toshiba and Tegra can bring anything new to the table.

Oh, and of course we’ll be running an Email Notification Rave so bring a few beers and join in. “‘Here come the emails!”

Live VIDEO Q&A and chat session on Carrypad.com/live tonight at 2200 Berlin time (1600 New York, see other locations. Approx 11 hours from the time of this post.)

JKKMobile will join to help moderate this independant review session.

We’re sorry for the late notice but with IFA creeping up on us it’s now or never! We hope you can drop in. (parts of the session will be recorded.)

Tegra 2 Javascript Benchmark Shows a Lot of Promise.

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At an ARM event in Taipei this week I was fortunate enough to have a few minutes with a Tegra 2-based tablet prototype known as ‘Harmony.’ It’s a fairly standard tablet with a capacitive touchscreen and weighing in at the 700gm iPad-weight. You’ll see more details in the video below.

The interesting thing was the SunSpider javascript benchmark I did. As you might know, SunSpider is a well-recognized test of a browser’s ability to run javascript and it serves as a good data point for working out how fast a processor is. As far as I know, most, if not all, the javascript processing is done by the CPU.

You’ll see a result of 9.8 seconds on the video which is about the same as you’d see on the iPad. The iPad uses what we believe is an ARM A8 core, or at least something very similar. However, that doesn’t mean that  dual-core Tegra 2 is only as powerful as a single-core A4 CPU because the two browsers are vastly different. The javascript engine on the iPad is super-fast where the engine used on the Android 2.1 browser isn’t.

Harmony SunSpider

  • Android 2.1 on Tegra 2 – 9 seconds (Tegra prototype shown in video)
  • Android 2.2 on Snapdragon 1Ghz – 6 seconds. (Nexus One, Google V8 engine)
  • Android 1.6 on Snapdragon 1Ghz – 24 seconds (Xperia X10)
  • Android 1.6 on Snapdragon 1Ghz –  54 seconds (Dell Streak prototype)
  • Chrome on Atom 1.6 – 2 seconds (average netbook, Google V8 engine)

As you can see there, the Android browser is at least 4 times less efficient in processing javascript on version 1.6 than it is on 2.2. I suspect that version 2.1 is close to 1.6 in its efficiency too which means that the Tegra 2 is over 200% faster than Snapdragon. Given that it has two cores, it’s not surprising. A single A9 core (in my estimate) brings about 20% more raw CPU performance over A8 so the figures look correct.

Add in the 4X improvement that you’ll see with Froyo’s Google V8 processing engine and there you go! Tegra2 with Froyo will be able to process javascript as well as a 1.6Ghz netbook. Just imagine what the 1.2Ghz dual-core Snapdragon will do!

More information about high-end ARM platforms in our primer, here.

We’ve already seen that ARM can beat Atom in certain low-end Atom scenarios and cross referencing to some other figures I have seem to confirm that ARM is going to challenge Atom in raw CPU. If only they could sort the operating system out and get some productivity apps going, we’d have some interesting smartbooks out there.

Chippy Sidenote: 2 cores needs 2x power! It would be interesting to work out the CPU drain figures under these javascript test conditions. Also note that system performance is not directly related to CPU performance. A lot of work has to go into a lot of other hardware and a lot of other software to get a system running ‘fast.’ Please remember that when Intel and ARM enter the clock-speed game over the next few years!

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