Posts Tagged ‘google’
We don’t often comment on articles written by staff members at our favourite technology company, but its latest article piqued our interest. It explains the relevance of the Open Source V8 Codec and how the contributions made by ARM and many other companies and individuals have led to significant improvements in performance.
We know that ARM processors are improving at a phenomenal pace, but what we often forget is the impact of the software they run. The article highlights how the latest V8 codec is many times faster than the version available just 12 months ago. Using the same hardware platform, the benchmarks highlight an improvement of up to 500% – impressive. The jump from a single-core Cortex-A8 to a dual-core Cortex-A9 is an approximate 2x gain in performance. Any software gain in software will seem like even more.
The author points out that the current V8 Codec will not be available in products until sometime in H2 2011, and goes on to tease us with even more optimisations in the pipeline for the upcoming Cortex-A15 super-processor. Well worth a read.
We knew Motorola would be demonstrating their first ever tablet at the CES show, and it seems that they are onto a sure-fire winner. The Xoom is the first tablet to support Android 3.0, and the it’s clear to see that the Operating System has been radically changed for the high specification devices such as tablets.
The video below shows a Motorola representative show casing the Xoom and all the changes and improvements to Android. It really looks like a very impresive tablet, and because it is powered by the Nvidia Tegra 250 processor we know it has all the power you require to handle games, videos and all other internet related tasks.
When asked about the launch date, the rep confirmed sometime within Q1 2011, which means it will potentially going head-to-head with the iPad 2. We must admit to being rather impressed with the Android 3.0. It looks very stylish and we would go so far to say that it makes Apples iOS look dated. Watch the video and enjoy.
The Adam tablet by Notion Ink has managed to get a lot of people excited since it was revealed almost 12 months ago. Whether it was the because of the choice of the powerful Tegra 250 processor or the inclusion of the Pixel Qi screen technology or simply because it’s a beautiful looking Android tablet with loads of inputs and outputs it’s hard to say. The latest official blog update from Notion Ink reveals the price range for the four variants of Adam they intend to sell; LCD or Pixel Qi with either Wi-Fi or 3G. $399 to $498 USD seems to be the price point they hope to meet,but as always allow some room for movement up or down.
In addition, they also reveal that they hope to get the tablet certified for use in the US in October/November, and provide some tantalising snippets of information about a much improved User Interface they have created for the Adam. And SlashGear web site published their second part of the Notion Ink interview with loads more exciting information; Support from a leading game developers and even information on the third generation Tegra processor.
For a relatively unknown company to receive so much “Adam-specific” software support suggest to us that a very large and well known company is helping Notion Ink become the first serious iPad rival. You like us, think it’s Google. Let’s hope we’re right because the Adam tablet sounds very impressive and we really hope it sells in high volume when it’s released. Could it be the very first dual-core Cortex-A9 device on the market?
This week could herald some new snippets of information relating to the future of ARM processors and we thought you might be interested. The first big piece of news is Google hosting their largest developer event of the year (May 19 – May 20) where it is expected by many to see the release of Android 2.2.
As the Operating System is integral to ARM’s plans to expand beyond the smartphone market, we are hoping for some big announcements coming from the 2 day event. Some rumours suggest that the final version of Flash 10.1 comes as standard with Android 2.2 which would be a very welcome piece of news to all ARM fans who have been waiting many months to finally use Flash on the move.
The second piece of news coming from the Android camp is a significant speed increase that the new version provides. A massive 450% improvement in running application code is due to Google implementing a JIT compiler into Android.
It is also hoped that more information on the forthcoming Chromium OS will be made available. Google announced the OS to the world last July and since then very little has been seen or heard of it. With major companies such as Acer and HP getting ready to launch netbooks/tablet using Chromium in the second half of this year we expect more information soon. Although with Computex just round the corner perhaps we just need to be more patient.
Google, Intel and Sony is supposedly in partnership with developing the next generation of Internet enabled TVs. Very little (if any) hard facts about this development is known, so we hope to find out a little bit more this week. We hope that ARM technology will be involved, but we’re not holding our breath on this one.
Both Nvidia and ARM Holdings are hosting their own Analyst days this week on Wednesday 19th May 2010. We hope that analysts in attendance will ask some important questions so that we mere mortals can try and make sense of the mobile phone and consumer electronics space.
Luckily for us, both companies provide webcasts so we can get the information directly.
|ARM||19 May, 10:00 am (BST)||3 hours|
|Nvidia||19 May, 9:00am (PT)||2 hours|
We’ll be sure to keep you updated if anything significant is announced.
Please excuse our title for this article – we are sure it has been used many times before when describing an important ARM announcement. This time the announcement comes from Google’s regarding their Native Client technology (NaCl), For those of you who are unaware of what it is and the potential importance of it, let us explain.
Today, Google confirmed that their NaCl software now supports ARM processors as well as 32-bit and 64-bit x86. This now means that ARM binary files can be downloaded via the web, and can successfully run on ARM devices regardless of the underlying OS; assuming the native client software is running in the background.
Google also produced a white paper which provides a lot of very interesting information such as benchmarks between x86 and ARM. Because the NaCl software must check each instruction to ensure it is safe to execute along with numerous other complex tasks, this adds a level of complexity and overhead which reduces the speed at which the binary files can be executed.
Google compared several basic linux applications on both x86 and ARM and clearly ARM Native Client binary files had a much lower overhead. An ARM Cortex-A9 had a maximum overhead of 4.2%, where as an Intel Core 2 was 20.0%. Very impressive.
Although Google Native Client technology is still not ready for prime time use, there is little doubt that it will play a part in Google’s new Chromium Operating System. Because Chromium is simply a browser, it makes sense that a method of running binaries is available to run complex applications such as Video Editing. The fact that ARM can run NaCl binaries closer to the speed of an unmodified executable means fast and more responsive apps than their x86 counterparts.
Rumours are currently circulating that Google, Intel and Sony are working together to create a new TV platform that aims to provide Internet, Video, Music and of course TV. With the launch of the Chromium OS later this year, this does not come as a great surprise to us, as we always thought that Chromium was an ideal OS to use in Digital TVs and STBs.
The ARM architecture is ideal to the next generation of TVs, but Intel is desperate to move into new markets so it’s no surprise to see Intel being mentioned. We’ll keep an eye on this rumour and see if more information comes to light over the next week or two. We assume that ARM in conjunction with the Chromium OS will play a significant part in this.
The Mobile World Congress has been and gone and proved to be a most interesting show for lovers of ARM technology. The show is not as well known or publicised as the Consumer Electronics Show but it continues to the be the number 1 show for the mobile world, where ARM is lord of the manor.
Many new hardware and software products were on display and several companies made important announcements that affect the ARM ecosystem. We have put together a short summary of our highlights from the show.
Windows Phone 7 Series – Steve Ballmer made the long trip to Barcelona where he hoped to make up for the rather poor press conference at CES last month. This time Steve and his company Microsoft hit the bullseye with the clever demonstration of their new mobile phone Operating System. Designed as a direct replacement to their current lacklustre version 6.5, it shows great features and a well thought out interface for both enterprise and consumer markets. Phones with the OS are not expected to be available until the end of the year which is a very long time in the rapidly changing mobile phone market. Currently, it only runs on the Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm which is a clear signal that Microsoft considers the processor a potential winner in the mobile phone CPU market.
Snapdragon processor – The ARM based processor from Qualcomm looks like it is ready to dominate the mobile phone market. Almost every major manufacturer was showing phones based on a Snapdragon processor, which came as a surprise as it is not known to be the fastest ARM SOC in the market. We assume that because Qualcomm has integrated its own highly acclaimed 3G mobile broadband technology, it is making it a very attractive proposition for handset manufacturers. The 1 GHz Cortex-A8 snapdragon is however to be replaced with a 1.5 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 version later this year. With a raft of manufacturers adopting the Snapdragon and Microsoft choosing to base their newest Windows Phone 7 Series OS using the Snapdragon chipset it looks like Qualcomm is in pole position.
Marvell – This is a company that we have ignored for far too long. They have an architectural license that grants them with an exclusive right to modify ARM designs such as re-using the old FPA coprocessor opcodes for their own iwMMXt FP unit in their sheeva class cores. This company has invested a great deal of resources into developing a new class of ARM cores that look ready to compete in the ferociously competitive ARM SOC market. They seem to have some very impressive technology at their disposal, but it remains to be seen if they can win designs from the incumbent Qualcomm.
Software support – Flash and Air are two leading pieces of software that is currently only available for computers. However, Adobe, Nvidia and ARM who are all members of the Open Handset alliance are working hard to rectify this situation. This isn’t simply a matter of dedicating resource to port the software to ARM, this is a strategic change by huge billion dollar corporations. They now believe that investing huge sums of money into the ARM architecture is the right thing to do. This is not a decision that it made lightly. We believe that ARM could be on the threshold of wide spread software support from other major companies such as Corel and game companies such as Epic who showcased their Unreal Tournament 3 running on a Tegra 250 (on Windows CE).
Android – The Operating System continues to gather momentum in the mobile space with many more handsets now adopting the OS. Although the OS has been ported to run on x86 and MIPS, the native SDK is for ARM and remains the CPU of choice. Google continues to commit major resources to Android and almost each month a new iteration of Android becomes available for download. We know that Google has high hopes for its Chromium OS, but it looks like Android could well dominate the handset and netbook market in the coming years. Many different companies continue to demonstrate Android on a variety of device form factors and we don’t see anything on the horizon that will change this.
Multi-core ARMs – 2010 is undoubtedly the year of dual-core ARMs; everywhere you looked there were devices taking advantage of the Cortex-A9 processor. The Tegra 250 from Nvidia is a 1 GHz dual-core processor speed demon. Texas Instruments had their new OMAP 4xxx platform on display that uses a 1.5 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 which has enough power to drive three independent displays which looked very impressive. NEC Electronics announced they had developed a quad-core processor and Snapdragon is going dual-core later this year. And of course we cannot forget the dual-core ST-Ericsson U8500 platform and Marvell’s dual-core and multi-core processors too. With the hardware almost in place, it just remains to ensure that Operating Systems such as Android are written to take advantage of multi-core designs. A dual-core Cortex-A9 is approximately 4x faster than a similarly clocked single-core Cortex-A8. We can expect to see some amazing hardware launches this year.
It was an amazing show that seemed to demonstrate the speed at which the mobile market is changing. Undoubtedly there is going to be some losers in the market, but with the growth in the smartphone market set to continue at least throughout 2010, there some serious financial rewards for the winners. The ARM phrase ‘Internet Everywhere’ looks like its going to be more than a buzz word – it’s going to be reality. And right now, only ARM has the technology to make this happen. Intel continues to beat its chest talking about the merits of their Atom chip, but looks like it could be another 24 months before they have a processor that can seriously compete with anything ARM have at the moment. And of course, ARM technology continues to improve at a tremendous rate. Fun times are ahead.
It has been an amazing twelve months for ARM, with so many new and exciting products containing their technology. But instead of looking back over the year, we want to look forward and highlight some of our predictions for 2010. Although we don’t expect all our predictions to materialise, we certainly believe we could get a respectable 50%. So in no particular order let us have a look in to our crystal ball.
AMD to obtain ARM license
AMD announced this year that they intend to enter the mobile CPU market with their own version of their Atom – codenamed Bobcat. This is an x86 processor dedicated to winning share of the netbook market from Intel. We do not doubt that AMD are capable of producing an impressive low power x86 processor, but we believe that AMD will also license an ARM core and use it for same target market.
They may be able to include the ARM core inside their Bobcat processor, but is more likely to be two separate processors. Nvidia are staking their future on their ARM based Tegra, while Intel is basing theirs on the Atom. It makes sense for AMD to obtain an ARM license so they can ride the Tsunami wave of ARM products in 2010. After all, the ARM market is considerably larger than the netbook market. Why spend a great deal of development on a possibly shrinking x86 netbook market?
Google Chromium OS to help ARM in new markets
When Google announced their new desktop Operating System, the world stopped and took notice. When Google demonstrated their Chromium OS in November, most people including us were rather deflated to see the OS was no more than a web browser. Since then, we’ve had time to reflect and visualise the benefits and use for such an Operating System, and firmly believe that when it is introduced at the end of 2010, will help ARM move into new markets.
Contrary to what everyone believes, Chromium OS will not just be found in netbooks. An OS that is secure, self-updating, with an up-to-date browser that can handle Flash, sounds like it would be an ideal OS for digital TVs and STBs. We believe that during 2010, several TV manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Toshiba will use Chromium OS as the basis of their new range of TVs.
MIPS to lose market share to ARM
This prediction follows closely on from the adoption of Chromium OS for Digital TVs and STBs. MIPS is the dominant supplier of processors in these markets, but with ARM technology being supported by many of today’s largest software companies, such as Adobe, Google, Microsoft and Apple, we believe that ARM will inevitably take market share away from MIPS in their core market.
STMicroElectronics, one of the world’s leading STB manufacturers has already switched from MIPS to ARM for their future range of consumer products. This is a huge win for ARM, and is a clear signal that ARM is well on its way to become the dominant player in this multi-billion dollar market.
Dual Core 2Ghz product launched
On the 16 September 2009, ARM announced the availability of two new super ARM processors capable of being clocked beyond 2Ghz. Using all their knowledge gained in the past two decades, they created a high performance chip that still uses a fraction of the power of comparable chips.
What makes this dual-core processor so special is its ability to mix the processor cores, the speed-optimised core can be used (say when plugged in to the main power supply), and the power-optimised core can be used when on-the-move. We believe that a company will launch a product that uses the dual-core 2Ghz ARM chip, where each core will be used depending on the user requirements. Performance or power saving. Something that Intel simply cannot do.
Delivery of the silicon is in Q4 2009, so it is quite feasible that a product will be in the shops by Q3 2010. ARM is stating that it can deliver 5x the performance of an Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6Ghz, while still within the same power envelope. Impressive.
ARM to buy Wolfson MicroElectronics
Wolfson MicroElectronics is a British company dedicated to providing world-class audio processors using with incredibly low power usage. The technology is found in high profile products such as the iPhone, and produces solid revenues each quarter. The company’s strategy of providing the best performance at the lowest power fits in well with ARM’s. They also have a fabless business model and is a global player in the semiconductor market.
We believe that the company currently valued at approximately £150 Million is an attractive acquisition target. A sound processor would complement ARM’s CPU and GPU range of licensable technology. Wolfson’s Q4 results are expected at the end January, and the current share price is 128.75p.
ARM to join FTSE 100
We’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again, we believe that ARM will gain entry to the FTSE 100 during 2010. The company is currently valued at £2.213 Billion, and is ranked as the 95th most valuable company in the UK stock market. However, for a company to gain entry to the FTSE 100 one of the following criteria must be met:
1) Any company rising to position 90 or above, gains automatic entry
2) Any current FTSE 100 company falling to position 111 or below will be relegated, and the highest ranked non-FTSE 100 company promoted
The FTSE quarterly review dates in 2010 are:
1) 10th March
2) 9th June
3) 8th September
4) 8th December
ARM has an amazing future ahead of it, and we believe that the share price will reflect this.
Well, that it folks, some of our hot predictions for 2010. It will be interesting to see how many we get right, as we have tried our best to think about things logically and strategically, rather than the usual Apple tablet, Google phone and ‘faster chips’ predictions.
It is important to note that the author of this article owns shares in ARM Holdings Ltd, and is not responsible for any movement in ARM’s share price. Prices can go down as well as up.