Tag Archive | "tegra2"

Eee Pad Transformer Official Launch on Friday

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ASUS-Eee-Pad-Transformer Friday is turning out to be a good day. The iPad 2 launches in Europe (although I still don’t see any official pricing in Germany) and it’s my Birthday. Now, I hear that the Eee Pad Transformer is launching too. Decisions decisions!

The Eee Pad Transformer is an interesting product because it takes the idea of the smartbook one step further. It uses the Honeycomb operating system (which could enable a far superior laptoping experience than 2.x ever did) and it uses a keyboard mechanism that can be un-docked to allow tablet-only usage.

I tested the Transformer out at mobile world congress in February (video below) and wasn’t too impressed with the weight but full USB ports made me wonder if ASUS are building some nice USB hosting capabilities. The weight with the dock also seems a little over the top. With connectors and an additional battery in the keyboard unit, I’m expecting the total weight to tip 1KG. The unit I tested wasn’t running Honeycomb.

Pricing has me a little worried. The price for the tablet seems OK at 399 Euro although confirmation is still needed on storage and 3G capability. 32GB and 3G included is what I’m assuming at this stage. The price of the dock could add 120 Euro to that. The price isn’t too bad when compared with high-end tablets but when compared with the Tegra-2 based Toshiba AC100 smartbook (under 300 Euro with 3G) you get the idea that there’s a huge margin being added here and that the price should come down by at least 100 Euros over time.

The March 25th launch is for Taiwan only at this stage and will only include pre-order. Actual availability around the world is still unknown but we’ll probably hear more on Friday.

VIa Netbooknews

Xoom Reviews Highlight Speed, UI, Multitasking, Possible Rush to Market.

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Many of the large U.S. based computing websites got a Xoom to test under embargo recently and obviously there’s been a quick rush of content out of the door as the embargo lifts today. (List of reviews below)

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More images in our Gallery

Our Hand-on Here.

Full specs, review links and more videos here.

Of the Honeycomb tablets we saw at MWC the Xoom was clearly the best in terms of UI-feel but both Samsung and LG still have time to optimise their software before launch. Interestingly, the Xoom is looking very vanilla in terms of applications and that’s probably because this is a project that Google have been heavily involved with as the launch product for Honeycomb. Expect both the Samsung and the LG tablets to have different angles with Samsung likely to go for a heavily enhanced software package and LG using their 3D technology to make a difference.

Back to the Xoom though and it’s difficult to get a real feel from what looks like a 2-day hands-on before the ‘reviews’ were posted but there’s already unanimous agreement that the UI is good, it’s fast (we measured the fastest Sunspider/Android result ever on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which uses the same hardware and software.)

There’s also a widespread worry about the lack of Honeycomb/Tegra2 optimised software (although the Google applications suite does look to be well designed) and obviously a question over the $799 price. That, however, is likely to drop fairly quickly as soon as market competitors launch.

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Image via Slashgear

Battery life reports are positive as are thoughts on the camera quality and software. It remains to be seen just how many will be using it as a photographic device but there’s some interesting virtual reality use-cases that shouldn’t be forgotten.

One element of the software suite that I’m interested in is the video editing software. Without even looking at it I can’t see how it can be that fast at processing 720p video for overlays and fades; processes which take huge amounts of CPU power. We must not forget that the Tegra 2 platform is still in the sub-netbook performance category. Engadget report that Movie Studio is ‘ inchgenerally sluggish. inch Laptop Magazine, however, calls it a “fairly robust editing app. inch but then goes on to talk about how the Xoom started to get “bogged down inch when previewing and editing.

Flash support is missing along with support for the Micro SD card slot but Motorola are promising a software update to enable those features.

There’s a feeling that Motorola might not have been 100% ready for the launch of the Xoom but have gone ahead and taken the risk anyway. We would expect the first firmware updates in just a few weeks an at that point it’s probably worth re-visiting updated reviews to see if some of the holes have been patched.

At $799 the Xoom is not quite worth its money in its current state and with competitors like the Iconia Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, LG Optimus Pad and, potentially, an iPad 2 it would pay to wait. Certainly don’t go committing to a 2-year contract today!

A list of current reviews is show below and we’ve selected some YouTube videos for the product database page. Tip us here if you see any other good reviews.

Motorola Xoom Review Roundup
Motorola Xoom Review – PC Magazine
Motorola Xoom Review – Laptop Magazine
Motorola Xoom Review – Mobile Crunch
Motorola Xoom Review – Cnet
Motorola Xoom Review – JKontheRun
Motorola Xoom Review – Android Community
Motorola Xoom Review – Engadget
Motorola Xoom Review – Slashgear

Also check the Xoom Questions List before you buy.

AC100 Gets Froyo. The Smartbook Lives! – Video

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Back at IFA in Sept 2010 Toshiba told us the 2.2 update was due in 6 weeks. To be honest, I had lost all hope of ever seeing Froyo on it but sure enough, there it is as a downloadable firmware upgrade through the Toshiba Service Station application today.

I’ve downloaded, installed and tested and can confirm that not only are you getting V2.2 of Android with a noticeable performance boost but you’re also getting Flash support which finally enables a reasonable YouTube experience. There’s also the Toshiba market for apps, music and radio and, of course, some nice features in 2.2 like the 3G hotspot feature for those of you with 3G versions. I’ve also noticed an increase in compatibility with sideloaded applications. Streaming audio through applications like Last.FM now work and there’s better graphics compatibility. Previously, many games just weren’t working.

One of the big question marks though is about standby. Original versions of the AC100 would often jump out of standby, an almost off state, and never fall back into it meaning batteries would be dead by the morning. I’ll be testing that tonight [Update: This morning it was still in standby. More testing needed thought] but in the meantime I’ve been checking to see if Toshiba have improved the active-idle battery life. They haven’t. Screen off idle, with Wifi on and apps able to use the Internet results in about 2.5w continuous drain. That is, in ARM-platform terms, quite embarrassing for Toshiba. I’m not able to test Internet-connected idle mode with the 3G here. [Previous testing here] In-use battery life still seems to be around the 6hr mark which is good for 800gm of device with a 25Wh battery but they really should have worked on the active-standby figures before the product went out of the door.

Performance increase is noticeable with browsing, UI actions and measurable in Sunspider and other tests. Sunspider results have improved from 4800 seconds to 3900 seconds – a 19% improvement. Quadrant results are at the 2000 mark and Linpack returns 34MFlops, an impressive figure.

So does it bring the AC100 back from the dead? I just had a look at the prices and I certainly think there’s value here now. The model I have under my fingers right now has just broken through 200 Euros in Germany. That’s with 512MB of RAM and 8Gb of storage, USB OTG and 1080P playback (with uPnP support) a good keyboard, about 6hrs battery life (10+hrs max) in an 800gm chassis. You don’t get Google applications (I would happily pay 50 Euros for that enhancement) and you’ll pay 40 Euros for the addition of 3G but still, that’s a great deal. Remember that a Novatel MiFi costs at least 150 Euro and you certainly can’t type docs, play music and 1080p video or Angry Birds on that! It’s not a netbook, but it’s a good value gadget.

I captured my download, install and testing on camera this afternoon:

 

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” Galaxy Tab returns about 7000 ms

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

Motorola Xoom Hands On

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We’ve had a chance to have some hands on wit the Motorola Xoom. To be honest, I’m quite amazed at the difference Honeycomb makes. The multi-pane enhancements make such a difference. The YouTube app has just come alive! Smooth UI (better than the Galaxy Tab) proves that the core has been optimized for a better touch experience too.
I’m impressed, and yet worried about how much it will cost. This is a premium.product that will have a premium price.

We’ve got  a video to show you and will be posting it as soon as we have the chance.

Tegra2 vs Atom in Browsing Test

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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.

Viewsonic Viewpad G10S Destined For Europe

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IMG_6403

Viewsonic seem fairly clear about the G10S products final specs and seeing as their are some very similar / branded variants on the market already, it is likely that this will be available very shortly.

We’re talking about an Android Open Source 2.2 (no Market, Gmail, Navigation etc.) buid on a  Tegra2 platform with some talk (!) of Honeycomb. Certainly the specs seem ok, the build quality is acceptable and, to me, it appeared fairly light for 10 inch device. 3G was mentioned too so this might be the main difference over the Advent Vega version that already sells in the UK. Once again, pricing is going to be the key differentiator in this busy 10″ Android Tablet space. We should get that in just a few weeks. We’ll also be keeping an eye on Honeycomb ports over Q2 because with the docking station and potential USB host capability this could turn into something completely different over time.

How’s That Notion Ink Adam Working Out For You?

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adam Now that we’ve finally got some proof that the Notion Ink Adam is at least available as a working sample (below,) lets have a chat about it.

Notion Ink have had no shortage of media coverage about their device and unique features such as daylight-readable screen and Tegra 2 platform running 2.2 with a custom UI mean there are interesting things to discuss. Fans seem to be following too. In droves! It’s a bit like the WeTab and JooJoo following in that respect.

Personally, I like the Tegra 2 platform now that Google appear to be using Tegra 2 as the reference processing platform for Android 2.3 (I’m praying that Toshiba claws back some credibility and  release 2.3 for the AC100!) but this is a 10 inch tablet and weighs more than the iPad. That knocks me out of the customer list and I’m sure a lot of other people too.

10 inch screens work well for newspaper and magazine content though and Google Earth will look great on this… when you managed to find the APK and sideload it.

Sorry to sound so negative on this one but I haven’t yet seen a well integrated Android stack on a 10 inch device. From CPU and core OS through UI to content availability there’s a mismatch. My head thinks ‘multitasking’, productivity’ and I immediately get disappointed when I go through the real-world scenario in my head.

The Archos 101 article I wrote recently (‘One for the Coffee Table’) has some good pointers on the 10 inch platform. Sofa, coffee-table, holiday.

What are you going to use this coffee-table gadget for? Ignore email, Twitter, Facebook and anything else that needs an account because when you share a single-user Android device with the family, you’re at risk. What the family needs (possibly) is a flexible on/offline video player, image viewing, web browsing and gaming, a bus/train/flight timetable, holiday booking, Wikipedia and other casual activities. Pure entertainment. [source]

At 299 Euro I can really see the match but at $375 it’s pushing it a bit.  Maybe the custom UI changes everything though? [See video below]

It does indeed look good and I’m really pleased to see the window manager so truly active that you can interact with programs running in it. You’ve got the makings of a windowing Android OS there! Certainly side-by-side apps is something I’ve been thinking about on the Galaxy Tab. Here’s the demo video from Notion Ink.

We’re bound to see the Adam at CES in a few weeks so I’ll report back when I’ve had hands-on but for the time being I remain skeptical that it’s going to be a device that really satisfies customers.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

Advent Vega; Sold Out.

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advent_vega3We’ve already had an Advent Vega [tracking page] order cancelled due to high demand but its looking increasing like new stock isn’t going to arrive before Christmas.

Its no surprise really, at £250 its cheaper than many of the alternatives like the Viewsonic Viewpad 7 (£400) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab (£449) and yet for your money you still get a good specification. With Android 2.2, nVidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz CPU, WiFi, 512MB RAM, 4GB expandable microSD storage and a multi-touch capacitive 10.1 inch display, its certainly no slouch.

The early reviews are as we expected, good hardware but the lack of Google applications and access to the market leave the device feeling bare. I’ve also seen several mentions of user interface lag and keyboard freezes which result in several letters being pressed instead of just the one.

Luckily both of the above can be remedied with a little work and the help of MoDaCo.

Until we can finally get hold of a unit for review ourselves you can keep your need for more information in check with the following reviews;

PCPro / TechRadar

The gallery and tracking page are also now online so you can compare the Advent with its competition and if your interested in the Vega, follow @adventvega for the latest information and stock updates.

Acer has 4.8”, 7” and 10” 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” Tablet looks like a belter and you can be sure that Acer will compete heavily on price.

acer7tabletacer7android

The 7” model on the left (neither model has a name yet) will come with a dual-core 1.2Ghz Snapdragon CPU,  a 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”er 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 multitouch, 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” super-wide-screen device with 1024×480 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.

Toshiba AC100 Ubuntu Demo Video

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Open Office on AC100You might have caught my excited tweets and posts about getting Ubuntu running on the AC100 over the last few days and if so, you might be starting to realize how close these ‘smart’ books or ARM-based netbooks, effectively smartphones in a netbook-style case, are getting to the netbook experience. The overall experience is certainly not ready for the average customer but take this video as a demonstrator that 1) Processing power is significantly better with dual-core devices to the point where Web browsing is not slow 2) A productive experience is possible through Linux applications 3) that the AC100 is well positioned as a device for further hacks. MeeGo, Android 3.0, Chrome OS and other Linux builds included.  At 800gm for 4hrs productivity, Intel need to take note. I’m definitely looking forward to see if the same hacking process works on the Toshiba Folio 100 tablet.

Before you watch the video though, note that there are problems.

  • 512MB RAM – Ubuntu 10.10 netbook build needs to be a lot slimmer for the AC10. 512MB might work if swap space was fast (not on the SD card.)
  • Battery life – The AC100 is lasting 4 hours but should last 6 or more. A big part of the problem is the lack of screen brightness control – it’s on 100%, all the time. Also, Linux is very uncontrolled when it comes to networking and disk access too and with 152 process running (gulp!) I doubt there’s a moment’s silence for the silicon inside the device. Take the iPad as a benchmark in this area because with a similar size screen and battery it’s getting 10hrs or more.
  • You can’t run a full Linux build from an SD card without disk access blocking from time to time.
  • No sound, video, 3D graphics support or WebCam at the moment as far as I can tell.
  • Installation requires flashing the BootROM of the AC100 – A risky process
  • I’ve seen a few too many crashes.

For HOW-TO articles on how to do this, see the forums mentioned in this post.

Update: Toshiba have obviously taken notice of this work as they’ve allocated someone to take a closer look at it.

Again, this isn’t a solution that anyone could use on a day-to-day basis yet but I regard this as a seminal moment for ARM-based ‘netbooks’ because it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to efficiently run my desktop work processes (Web apps, blogging, image editing, twitter) on an ARM-based device. With the doors open now, I expect the AC100 to get picked up by quite a few hackers in the coming weeks and for progress to accelerate even faster. My testing continues but i’ll refrain from posting further articles on Carrypad unless anything significant happens.

HACKED! Toshiba AC100 – Ubuntu 10.10 is Running.

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Firstly, thanks to these forums (I’m just putting the pieces together here and testing it all out)

The work of the uber-Linux and Tegra Lords of these three forums allowed me to do this today:

Ubuntu 10_10 on Tegra2 _Toshiba AC100_.jpg

Yes, you’re looking at Ubuntu 10.10 (RC) running on a Toshiba AC100 smart book.

This is the most exciting thing I’ve done in a long long time. It’s not quite there yet (the boot hangs at this point but the people-that-know are working on it) but apparently everything works apart from sound.

If I can fire up Firefox and get 7 hours battery life out of this 800gm slim-n-lite then I’ll be shouting “See. I told you the smart-book wasn’t dead. inch

It took one Linux box, some Nvidia Tegra tools, a new bootloader (dangerous) and Ubuntu built for ARMv7 on an SD card. Clearly the doors are now open for other installations although if Ubuntu is fast enough it should be good enough for most people.

I’ll be doing more work on this when the new tarball arrives.

See this new post for more info, images, early test results.

How does the AC100 look to you now? Did we just boost sales?

Full AC100 specs, info and buy links for UK and Germany (!) are here.

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