Microsoft has finally decided to go head on against Apple iPad today with the announcement of their new hardware product line of Windows 8 tablets the Microsoft Surface (update: watch the full event after the break). Those of you who haven’t been leaving under a rock already know that besides being the number one Software company in the world Microsoft is also one of the leading hardware design tech firm in the industry thanks to it’s decades old line of keyboards, mouses, webcams, joypad/stick/wheels and last but not least, Surface tables and the mighty Xbox consoles. The Redmond company is also know to take bold steps that sometimes defy common logic when they think that their hardware partners aren’t doing a good enough job (Xbox, Zune etc..).
Today the company has introduced to Windows 8 tablets under the Microsoft Surface brand which was originally only used to refer to the Surface tables (now re-branded PixelSense for the Surface 2 SUR40 table manufactured by Samsung). So what’s really existing about them ? Well the first thing to note is that Microsoft is covering all bases by offering a Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro model. Both tablets have mostly the same design but have slightly different physical and hardware specifications to accommodate the chips powering them:
Continue reading Microsoft Surface tablets announced: The iPad killers are finally here →
As I noted yesterday; NVIDIA, alongside other hardware manufacturers, is heavily involved in the development of Windows 8 and to prove this the company has just launched its own Windows 8 developer program to help developers by proving tools and and resources for building ARM and X86 applications. You can expect Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Intel and AMD to launch similar developer programs in the coming weeks.Remember that you will be able to start downloading the developer preview of Windows 8 tonight at around 8PM PT. Full press release after the break:
Continue reading NVIDIA launches Windows 8 developer program →
Nvidia‘s CEO Jen Hsun Huang discussed and partially unveiled his company’s Tegra roadmap last week during the Citi Global Technology Conference and the Kaufman Brothers, L.P. Investor Conference. As of right now Nvidia’s Tegra SoC are principally powering several high-end Android smartphones and the vast majority of Android 3.0 tablets but things are bound to change in 2012 with the launch of Windows 8 (the ARM version in this case). NVIDIA along with Qualcomm and Texas Instrument are all working on getting their upcoming SoC to work with Windows 8 and it is also expected that Microsoft is going to start handing out free Win8 prototype tablets powered by NVIDIA’s new Quad-Core Cortex A9 Kal-el Chipset this week to all developers at the Build conference in LA.
Continue reading NVIDIA unveils upcoming Tegra Roadmap. Hopes to power all platforms even Windows Phone →
NVIDIA’s current Tegra line of mobile SoCs have one glaring weakness: they don’t integrated a built-in baseband / RF radio so OEMs have to combine NVIDIA‘s offering with an other companies radio module ( usually Qualcomm, STE etc..). This is essentially means that designing a Tegra based handsets can be more expensive and time consuming for and OEM compared to other competing platforms like Qualcomm’s SnapDragon which includes everything from the GPS receiver to the FM radio. Today’s announcement that the GPU’s giant will acquire baseband and RF chip manufacturer Icera is a big step forward and will probably incite more OEMs to use nVidia’s upcoming mobile SoCs. Press release after the break:
Continue reading NVIDIA acquires baseband and RF chip manufacturer Icera →
People familiar with the PC Graphics industry know that one of NVIDIA‘s biggest strength is its developer relation and evangelism publicly know as The Way it’s Meant To BE Played program. With the arrival of the first Tegra 2 powered Android devices NVIDIA has officially launched its Tegra Zone section in the Android Marketplace which is only accessible to devices powered by the company’s chipsets. It contains graphically upgraded version of current big hits like Fruit Ninja and other exclusive that are supposed to showcase the power of the GPU inside the Tegra2 SoC. Keep in mind that most of these games could technically run on other competing products (like the SGX540) but this is unfortunately way things are done in the industry. Companies have to differentiate theirs products one way or another so you get even more fragmentation in the ecosystem as a result. But there’s no denying that NVIDIA’s hardware offering is one of the best right now and from what I saw at MWC they are really pushing hard to get a foothold in the mobile market. Full press release after the break and video of the Trega 2 in action:
Continue reading NVIDIA Tegra Zone Android Market section officially launched →
LG has officially unveiled and launched the LG Optimus 2X (also know as the LG Star) today in Seoul. The Optimus 2X is the first commercially available smartphone to feature an nVidia Tegra 2 chipset which includes a Dual-Core Cortex A9 CPU coupled with a higher clocked GPU similar to the one found in the original Tegra. The device has a 4″ WVGA LCD screen, 8GB of internal memory (expandable via the micro-sd slot), an 8 MPix camera, 1.3Mpix front facing camera, HDMI out and the ability to encode/decode 1080P videos. It will first ship with Android 2.2 but will be receive an Android 2.3 / Gingerbread update in the future. Check out the LG Optimus 2X specifications and press release after the break:
Continue reading LG Optimus 2X Dual-Core Tegra 2 powered Android handset officially launched →
Are we finally going to see Tegra powered smartphone hitting retail stores after all these years of hype? Well it’s starting to like nVidia may finally have something real to talk about now. GSM-Isreal managed to get some hands-on action with the recently leaked LG Star which is supposedly powered by dual-core Tegra 2 chipset that allows it to capture and playback 1080P videos. As you will see in the video after the break the device features an HDMI connector to plug it in your HDTV. There’s also a short browser comparison against the iPhone 4 but nothing really exciting comes out of it. Unfortunately (because Android browser and UI isn’t GPU accelerated) the scrolling isn’t smooth like on the iPhone 4 or Windows Phone 7 (as seen in my Android vs WP7 browser comparison video). The LG Star also seems to natively support DviX video decoding.
Continue reading Tegra 2 powered LG Star Android smartphone video hands-on and iPhone 4 comparison →
The Tegra 2 powered Android device that LG talked about a few months ago is now in the wild and is named the LG Star. That thing supposedly has a 4inch screen (and a gigantic bezel..), 8Mpix camera with LED flash capable of shooting 1080P videos, micro-sd slot, it’s running a version onf Android and has a 1500Mha battery. I’m not realy sure that the Tegra 2 is the best solution for a smartphone but it will definitely be interesting to see how it stacks up against the competition from Qualcomm, TI and Samsung. More pictures after the break:
Continue reading LG Star Android smatphone with Tegra 2 chipset in the wild →
LG is definitely going all out at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin this year. After showcasing a couple of new HDTV’s, OLED TV,Android Tablets and yesterday’s DLNA on Windows Phone 7 feature they are now officially announcing the launch of a couple of Tegra 2 powered Smartphones this fall under the Optimus brand. Keep in mind this probably only applies to Android based devices given that only Qualcomm’s SnapDragon line of chipsets are certified to work on Windows Phone 7 right now (this will change in the future). The Tegra 2 SoC is made of a Dual Core CortexA9 CPU@ 1ghz each, a higher-clocked Tegra 1 GPU and has the ability to encode/decode 1080P videos (H.264/VC-1) without breaking a swea (you can see the block-diagram above) t. Interestingly Samsung’s Hummingbird Chipset still sports the fastest mobile GPU (PowerVR SGX540) but all this power doesn’t mean anything to the end user when it barely used by the OS and aplpications. Unlike Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, Android’s GUI isn’t GPU accelerated yet and one has to wonder what is exactly the point of having Dual-Core A9 CPU in a smartphone this fall. Things should be more interesting on this front one year from now when the software platform finally catches up and start to benefit from all this power. Full Press Release after the break:
Continue reading LG Officially Announces Tegra 2 powered Optimus line of Smartphones →
Chipworks just finished tearing down Microsoft’s KIN TWO
handset and posted some interesting pictures and info. Surprisingly they found out that contrary to what was officially announced, the camera is not from OmniVision but from Sony (Sony IMX046 8 Mp Image Sensor). The KIN TWO also features a Qualcomm
QSC6085 CDMA Processor alongside the nVidia Tegra APX2600
. The Capacitive controller of the touch screen is a T1021A ClearPad
Controller from Synaptics.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise especially for those who have been following nVidia for a while. The big green company has always been known to be good on the PR front but severely lacking when it comes to product delivery and real functionalities. According to Semiaccurate, Samsung has decided to drop a major contract it had with Nvidia for Tegra based phones. I’ve been following Tegra news and developement ever since it was announced back in 2008 find it kinda ironic that the only handheld products shipping with a Tegra SoC are the Zune HD and the Samsung M1 PMP (this thing shouldn’t even count given that it was only released in South Korea and nearly didn’t sell at all). Interstingly the first (and probably last) Tegra based phones are only coming out now, the Kin One & Two. Here again there’s nothing exceptional given that those two products are basically Zune HD phones as I reported here they have the exact same Tegra APX2600 and run on the same WinCE Kernel. As Charlie points out in his post, nVidia totally messed the whole thing since the beginning by partnering exclusively with Microsoft. Tegra was supposed to be the preferred SoC for Windows Mobile 7 handsets (launching in Q3/4 2009) and if memory doesn’t fail me, a couple of WM7 Motorola products were supposed to hit the market in Fall 09 and even HTC had a Tegra based phone (SuperStar) in the works back then,same for Samsung (see linkedIn info on WM7/Tegra work). Unfortunately Microsoft decided to scrap WM7 aka Photon in Q2 2008 leaving nVidia only with the Pink Project that was supposed to launch at MWC 09 (it didn’t and MS only unveiled WM6.5.) Because Tegra was only compatible with WinCE, nVidia had to go back and work on Android/linux support if it wanted to have a chance to sell its chip to OEM/ODMs. But it was too late, Motorola decided to goo 100% Android and use TI OMAP and Qualcomm MSM SoCs, HTC didn’t see any reason to continue developing a Tegra device given the availability of the more advanced Cortex A8 based Snapdragon SoC etc…And to make matters worst, Microsoft has decided that Qualcomm’s SnapDragon will be the only supported chipset in Windows Phone 7 in the near future. That leaves nVidia with the KIN phones which are basically the result of the initial partnership with Microsoft 2 years ago. So don’t expect to see any Tegra smartphones in the market soon (and Tegra 2 is currently aimed at the smartbook/netbook market now).
I asked Microsoft if they could tell me which Tegra chipset was used in the KIN handsets and finally got an answer: it’s the Tegra APX 2600. I basically wanted to make sure that it was not the 2500 version (see full KIN specs here). The APX 2600 is indeed the same SoC used in the Zune HD so it should be pretty clear now that the underlying OS used on the KIN handset is closer to the Zune OS than it is to WP7 (which doesn’t use the same Kernel). One has to wonder why Microsoft didn’t announce some kind of A/V connector for the KIN Phones to output HD content bought in the Zune Marketplace orsShot with the 8Mpix camera of the KIN TWO. It would be great if their was a HDMI dock similar to the Zune HD one IMO.
When it comes to world wide availability of the handsets, Microsoft has already announced that Vodafone is set to launch them in Germany,Spain, italy and the UK. Microsoft didn’t ink a deal yet with French operators yet, but they expect/hope to release them this fall. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft is going to deal with the nearly simultaneous launch of Windows Phone 7 and KIN in Europe. The Zune Pass/Marketplace will also officially launch in Europe at the same time. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean the Bing is going out of beta in those countries (expect in the UK where it’s already out of beta), Microsoft told me that the Bing roadmap isn’t tide to the Windows Phone 7 and Kin launch in Europe.
As it was expected nVidia just announced their Tegra 2 chipset based on a Dual Cortex9 ARM core (Android, Windows CE, Windows Mobile and Chrome OS compatible). This is a giant leap from ARM11 Tegra 1.
Highlights / Key Facts:
- Tegra is the power behind the new generation of tablets, offering:
- 3D touchscreen user interfaces
- Amazing battery life— always-on and always-connected
- Adobe Flash Player 10.1 acceleration for streaming video and 3D mobile games
- Resolution ranging from four-to-eight times that of smartphones
- Form factors and screen sizes ranging from 5-15 inches
- Immersive gaming, vivid photos and video, and crystal-clear audio
- Next Generation Tegra is a leap in mobile computing performance with:
- The world’s first dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU running up to 1GHz
- Eight independent processors to handle web browsing, HD video encode and decode and mobile 3D gaming
- 10x faster than the processors used in smartphones today, and up to 4x the performance of the previous generation Tegra processor
- Advanced TSMC 40nm process with active power management
As it is usually the case with nVidia, the product looks awesome but unfortunately don’t expect any Tegra 2 smartphones in the near future. nVidia sure knows how to hype their products though. The original Tegra chipset was announced 2 years ago and we still haven’t seen it in a commercially available smartphone. The only shipping devices sporting a Tegra 1 are the Zune HD and Samsung M1. nVidia’s problem has always been arrogance (and shady PR/Marketing stunts) and I’m not the least surprised to see that not a single smartphone has shipped with a Tegra chipset inside (yet). The biggest disadvantage compared to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon is, IMO, the lack of cellular modem & aGPS receiver in the SOC. Anyway, head over here for an in-depth analysis of Tegra 2, but beware, Anand’s article sounds a lot like an nVidia ad…
The first product packing a Tegra 2 is the Boxee Box from D-link
Here are two videos of the newly released 3D games on the Zune HD:
PGR & AudioSurf:
Source: Engadget & WMexperts
We were expecting them soon after the 4.3 firmware update and they are now finally here and available for free in the Zune HD marketplace:
•PGR: ferrari edition, a 3d racegame
•Lucky lane bowling, a 3d bowling game
•Vans Sk8: Pool service, a 3d Skate game
•Piano, a simple piano where you can play your own tunes on
•Audio Surf: Tilt, ride your music – you choose a song that the game will turn into a roller coaster track for you to ride
•Checkers, I don’t think you’ll need a description for this one
Over the weekend we pushed out a Zune HD firmware update, version 4.3, which enabled 3-D gaming on Zune HD. Today six new games are available in the Zune Marketplace. The new games take advantage of Zune HD’s beautiful multi-touch OLED screen and accelerometer and some (Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition, Audiosurf Tilt and Vans Sk8: Pool Service) utilize the powerful NVIDIA Tegra processor to deliver immersive, 3D gaming to Zune HD. As with the other games offered for Zune, these games are available for free to Zune HD users and feature a short ad at start-up. In addition to existing games on Zune HD the new games include:
* Audiosurf Tilt: Audiosurf creates a rollercoaster ride from any song. Choose any song from your music collection and watch Audiosurf turn it into a unique roller coaster track for you to ride. The song you choose determines the shape, the speed, and the mood of each track. Tilt your Zune like a steering wheel to collect colored blocks and avoid speedbumps. Unlock more than 30 designs, each with its own special theme and color palette.
* Checkers: Enjoy the classic game of Checkers in a beautiful outdoor park setting. Play against the computer or against a friend.
* Lucky Lanes Bowling: Bowl in different game modes: exhibition, blackjack, golf. Play in five different bowling alleys with unique themes, all with the swipe of a finger. Choose from twenty different bowlers and twenty two different ball styles. You can play against the computer or play with up to four friends.
* Piano: Play your own tune, or play along with your favorite music on this electronic piano.
* Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition: Tear through the streets of London, Tokyo, and New York in the Ferrari of your choice using multi touch controls and the built in accelerometer.
* Vans Sk8: Pool Service: From the Admiral to the old abandoned rec center pool, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan know a good bowl to skate. Hit the pools and put these Vans skaters to the test with all the tricks in their bag and achieve hero status once you unlock their pro model skateboards.
We’re excited to be bringing these games to Zune users today. And, as we’ve said in the past, we will be delivering additional applications for Zune HD including Facebook and Twitter in the future.
UPDATE: Here’s a video of Project Gotham:
Source: Hellofromeurope via Engadget
Adobe has finally announced that Flash 10.1 which is compatible with Windows Mobile, Android, WebOS, Symbian and BlackBerry is nearing final release. Betas for Windows Mobile and WebOs should be availalbe before the end of the year with Android, BlackBerry & Symbian following in early 2010. Here’s the PR:
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today unveiled Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1 software for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Internet-connected devices, allowing content created using the Adobe Flash Platform to reach users wherever they are. A public developer beta of the browser-based runtime is expected to be available for Windows® Mobile, Palm® webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year. Public betas for Google® Android™ and Symbian® OS are expected to be available in early 2010. In addition, Adobe and RIM announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to Blackberry® smartphones, and Google joined close to 50 other industry players in the Open Screen Project initiative.
Flash Player 10.1 is the first consistent runtime release of the Open Screen Project that enables uncompromised Web browsing of expressive applications, content and high definition (HD) videos across devices. Using the productive Web programming model of the Flash Platform, the browser-based runtime enables millions of designers and developers to reuse code and assets and reduce the cost of creating, testing and deploying content across different operating systems and browsers. Flash Player 10.1 is easily updateable across all supported platforms to ensure rapid adoption of new innovations that move the Web forward.
The browser-based runtime leverages the power of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for accelerated video and graphics while conserving battery life and minimizing resource utilization. New mobile-ready features that take advantage of native device capabilities include support for multi-touch, gestures, mobile input models, accelerometer and screen orientation bringing unprecedented creative control and expressiveness to the mobile browsing experience. Flash Player 10.1 will also take advantage of media delivery with HTTP streaming, including integration of content protection powered by Adobe® Flash® Access 2.0. This effort, code-named Zeri, will be an open format based on industry standards and will provide content publishers, distributors and partners the tools they need to utilize HTTP infrastructures for high-quality media delivery in Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe® AIR® 2.0 software.
To learn more about Flash Player 10.1 and to see video demos visit Adobe Labs.
“With Flash Player moving to new mobile platforms, users will be able to experience virtually all Flash technology based Web content and applications wherever they are,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “We are excited about the broad collaboration of close to 50 industry leaders in the Open Screen Project and the ongoing collaboration with 19 out of the top 20 handset manufacturers worldwide. It will be great to see first devices ship with full Flash Player in the first half of next year.”
“We are excited to join Adobe and other industry leaders in the Open Screen Project,” said Sundar Pichai, vice president of Product Management at Google. “This initiative supports our common goal to move the Web forward as a platform and to spur innovation in the industry through technology such as Adobe Flash.”
“Adobe Flash technology provides a key experience on new Windows phones, enabling people to enjoy rich Flash based games, videos and other interactive Web content on the go,” said Stephanie Ferguson, general manager, Product Management, Microsoft Corp. “We look forward to bringing in the new capabilities of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 to the Windows phone browser when it becomes available.”
“Motorola is excited to be one of the first handset manufacturers to ship Android based devices with Flash Player support early next year,” said Christy Wyatt, vice president of software applications and ecosystem at Motorola. “As the No.1 platform for video on the Web, uncompromised browsing of Flash technology based content is essential for a rich mobile experience and something users expect from Motorola today.”
“As a longtime partner of Adobe, and more than 400 million Nokia phones shipped with existing Flash technology to date, we are excited to see Flash Player becoming a reality for mobile phones and other mobile devices,” said Purnima Kochikar, vice president, Forum Nokia. “Nokia is excited about full Flash Player coming to devices and we are committed to supporting Flash Player 10.1 on mobile devices in 2010.”
Engadget also notes:
Speaking of fast chipsets, the other big news out of the show is that Flash 10.1 will take advantage of GPU acceleration on a number of key mobile platforms, including both nVidia’s Tegra and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon alongside ION for smooth (well, theoretically smooth) 720p and 1080p video on the latest generation of netbooks and smartbooks.
Good news for the ZuneHD and HTC HD2 / Leo (Toshiba TG01 and Acer F1).
Source: Adobe via Engadget
Photo courtesy of Mobinaute
Remember the mysterious Samsung M1 PMP
? Well it’s been announced today at IFA and Samsung has confirmed that it has an nVidia Tegra
chipset inside just like Microsoft’s Zune HD
and can decode 720p videos, it also sports a 3.3-inch AMOLED touch screen, micro-SD slot, built-in stereo speaker, FM radio, BT and voice recording. There is no WiFi though and the Flash-based UI is far from looking as good as the one on the Zune HD. It should be available in 2 versions, 8Gb (€150) and 16Gb (€215) at the end of the month in the UK.
I know I’m a bit late on this one cause the player has been available in Asia since mid August. Here’s a 10 minutes long video I found on YouTube:
Source: Tipped by MajorT
UXEvangelsit just found out some interesting info about Windows Mobile 7. This LinkedIn profile of a Motorola employee shows:
“Runtime Environment: Windows Mobile 7.0 (Beta)”
A couple more LinkedIn profiles hint at the Windows Mobile 7 feature set:
Developer for the WM7 Handwriting Recognition system. Source
I am responsible for designing and developing the Multimedia subsystem development for Tegra (APX2500) on Windows platforms including latest OS Windows Mobile 7. Source
Planned, designed, architected and implemented MEMS sensor capabilities in Windows Mobile 7-based platform, including accelerometer and compass. Source
Owned the testing of the Nickname Cache feature and Windows Live ID feature implemented by the Exchange Mobile Client team to be included in the Windows Mobile 7 release. Source
Sr. SW Dev. Engineer – Symbian S60 & WM7 (2008 to 2009), System Integration & “Bring Up” Flow, using diff. Design Platforms (Linux/Java, Symbian/S60 and WM6/WM7) Source
Responsible for the integration of BCM4325 wlan chip on Caesar Platform (OMAP3430) on WM7 as a native host driver. Source
Oversaw development of the Rich Video Call(AT&T Video Share) UI, session control, and porting of the IP Multimedia Subsystem stack to Windows Mobile 7. Source
Working on creating and maintining automation software used for automated testing of ActiveSync in Windows Mobile 7. Source
(Premium Mobile Experience Group) RIL, GPS, WiFi, and USB on Windows Mobile 7. Source
Managed Test Automation for Windows Mobile 7 Outlook Mobile syncing. Source
Low level programming (database/sync management) for Outlook in Win Mobile 7. Source
Windows Mobile 7 Board Support Package for Freescale chipset. Bootloader development, NAND and OneNAND Flash Memory drivers. Source
Development of Test automation for Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Mobile 7, the next generation of Mobile Operating System. Source
Last assignment was as consulting Dev PM/Lead on the Windows Mobile Platform Team (MESE Dogfood). Working to help make Windows Mobile 7 rock on Motorola and Samsung devices. Source
Develop Windows Mobile 7 BSP for Freescale ICs. Source
Collect requirements from internal teams and create a long term deployment plan for Windows Mobile 7 Labs. Design and direct the creation of self servicing lab spaces for three Windows Mobile 7 add on projects. Oversee the public launch of one of the Windows Mobile 7 add on projects. Source
Windows Mobile 7 integration on TI chipset platform. Source
Now, I’m leading a team, responsibility for Qualcomm platform and Windows Mobile 7. Source
Working on the (then) next generation Windows Mobile 7 Messaging Application. Focusing on Messaging functionality and interface. Source
As a researcher, gathered requirements from the project team and formed the test task list and test document of WM7 IME, Live
Video Search, and Mobile Search usability test. Source
Microsoft UX Team Project Manager for the Mobile Insights Panel
• Drove progress for this $2 million instrumented mobile phone research project to collect user activity data from 400+ users to improve the Windows Mobile software experience.
• Worked with the Windows Mobile team to create special data collection software for the MIP devices. The WM team is looking to include parts of this software in the production release of WM 7.
Creating feature prototypes for Windows Mobile 7 in Silverlight. Source
It’s speculated that some WM7 will be revealed during PDC09 in a few weeks.
It looks like WinMo 7 has already been 6 years in the making!
Product / Interaction Designer, Illustrator
2004 – 2005 (1 year)
Illustration for user research and internal communication materials
communication applications for Windows Mobile 7 (blue sky exploration)
Source: UXEvangelist here