There is not much to write about this years Computex, as almost every news has spread a thousand times throughout the web. This is thus more a personal note: Intel have finally managed to win quite a few smartphone and tablet designs, and at the same time they have managed to really lower the consumption of their performance platform with “Haswell”. Finally, thin, light, powerful and long lasting mobile computing solutions are possible. Thumbs up!
According to Acer Germany’s twitter account @AcerDeutschland there won’t be a Gingerbread Update for the Acer Stream. While it certainly makes sense for Acer to discontinue support for the “Stream”, which didn’t sell that well (just have a look how few posts about the Acer Stream Android forums contain), this is another sad Android support story.
Personally I really think the “Stream” is a nice device, that probably suffered from a not too handsome design – but most likely more from a poor marketing. Acer are in fact shooting themselves in their foot by discontinuing the support for a device that’s not yet a year old – knowing that they discontinued the support for their “Stream” so soon, how can I possibly recommend their Acer Iconia Tab A500 which got positive reviews (BTW: when I went hands on at a local electronics store earlier today, i liked it, too)? I can’t and I doubt others can. Software Updates are very important, not only to enable the user to run the latest apps, but also to fix possible vulnerabilities – who feels comfortable using a smartphone with known vulnerabilities, knowing these won’t be fixed?
Especially if Android phone manufaturers really want to compete with Apple, they should provide software Updates for at least two years. Everything else is pathetic and a disaster for the whole “Android” brand.
Still interested in Acer products? Acer Iconia Tab A500 at Amazon.de
Christmas holidays are no more that far away, and so many companys get their product portfolios reader for the holidays.
But that wasn´t what I wanted to write about. I rather want to comment on all these new mobile smartphonish devices, that are on their way to market right now – we see a new generation of devices – in terms of performance.
Being powered mostly by ARM Cortex A8 based SoCs, manufactured mainly by Texas Instruments (OMAP 3 series) and Qualcomm (Snapdragon) these devices actually have the power to do “real computing tasks” if you want to call it like that – running on the same chips as the still awaited “smartbooks”, which are basically netbooks powered by ARM CPUs.
While all these devices are really nice (e.g. I really like the Motorola Droid and hope that Motorola will offer something comparable for GSM networks (the Droid will be on Verizons CDMA networks) I actually do not consider to buy any of these.
‘Why?’, you might ask, and well, the answer is that I am actually pretty sad about the manufacturers, that just make these devices as smartphones, not as mobile computers – even if some claim so. Still not clear what I want to say?
It is about some simple features these devices lack, though they could actually hardware wise support it. #1 is USB OTG or USB host. Really, this would make these devices much more interesting, not for just for me, but e.g. for IT professionals as well – and #2 is a video output, e.g. HDMI or something similar. If the devices would feature these features, they would be real mobile computing devices if you ask me.
Of course there are reasons why these devices are limited. The manufacturers always would have to supply more drivers for external devices, or open their devices so much, that skilled people would be able to get themselves what they need. Than, considering Acer and Nokia are selling netbooks as well, such mobile computing devices would possibly be bad for netbook sales – though I don´t really believe that- netbooks aren´t pocketable and another cup of tea. And the last reason is, that there is a rather low demand for these features – only real enthusiasts request such strange stuff ;)
Now there is one more question one might ask: Is there a device which is pocketable and has the features mentionned some lines ago? Well, there is one – or at least will be one device that sounds pretty promising.
The SmartV5, which is basically the known cheapo-MID with more power inside (supposedly some Cortex A8 + 256MB Ram [UPDATE: Might be wrong, as the SmartV7 MID uses a Telechips TCC8900 chipset – I couldn´ t find any further datasheets or informations about it, but it is believed it is an ARM11 chipset which video acceleration (somewhat comparable to the nVidia Tegra)]) and a HDMI output – manufactured by the chinese company Smart Devices, it is some kind of open – as it will be available with three different operating systems, like the companys known offerings: Android, Ubuntu and Windows CE – and that´s just what the manufactorer supplies.
Anyway, you would not use that device as a phone anyway, featuring a 4.something” display, it is not THAT pocketable – but I still like it and await some reviews of it – if the reviewers are not too dissapointed about the built quality, i am likely to order one of these devices.
If I have the money to do so – I need a new notebook, as my current one (HP Compaq NX6325) just turned three years old. But this an entirely different topic…
Time for another quick roundup of what happened this week in the world of mobile Linux – it wasn’t that much considering that this was the “Mobile World Congress” week.
The Android-powered phones being announced are easy to name, as they are few:
– HTC Magic (likely to be T-Mobile G2 in US, will be sold by Vodafone in Europe)
– General Mobile DSTL1 (glossy, WQVGA (resistive touch) Marvell PXA3xx powered dual-SIM)
..and then there was a chinese QVGA device running Android I saw on video this week, but I don’t find it right now.
Additionally (ex E-TEN) Acer (who reintroduced the Glofiish/gnufiish DX900) and Samsung announced to be working on Android devices to be launched this year, while presenting solutions running other mobile OSes.
Aside these Android running devices, there is still the LiMo foundation / platform – which I, to be honest, don’t like a lot, as it just appears to be interesting for the industry, which shares knowledge in it (like “how to take a way the power from the user” ;-) ), but not for the user who looks for a great, extendable platform – which announced to grow even more.
Astonishing: GSM variant of the Palm Pre wasn’t announced.
When you have a look at mobile Linux platforms, you have to have (at least when you are about to become a businessman one day, like i do) a look at the competitors on the markets. On the market for smart phones, which are about to feature a rich internet experience as well these are certainly the Symbian Foundation and Windows Mobile.
Besides adding new members, there were some rather nice Symbian handsets from Samsung (Omnia HD), Sony-Ericsson, LG and of course Nokia, who has made the Symbian Foundation possible – another hard competitor for Microsofts aged Windows Mobile, which is e.g. in my opinion really bad at multimedia and internet performance.
Of course Microsoft knows that their OS has its weaknesses, but as Windows Mobile 7 isn’t ready yet, the “being forced to do something to avoid a huge loss of market share” Microsoft guys announced Windows Mobile 6.5, which is at least an improvement – I wasn’t at MWC, but a friend of mine has a 6.5 rom on his good old HTC BlueAngel, so I’d say that I can talk about this. But I won’t do that now, maybe later, as it isn’t sensational anyway.
Besides this there has been a bunch of Microsoft powered new devices to be announced at MWC, of which I will mention the devices that actually were interesting, if they didn’t run Windows Mobile.
HTC, a smartphone maker gaining more and more market share, has announced the Touch Diamond2 and its keyboarded, more business aimed brother, the Touch Pro2 (which is in fact in my opinion a grandchild of the HTC Universal). Most interesting change you will notice while comparing them to their predecessors: They both got bigger screens – a 0.4” increase on the Diamond, and a 0.8” raise on the Pro (while adding 160×480 pixels in terms of resolution) – a fact I like, as bigger screens makes the devices more finger friendly.
The other manufacturer, who’s devices weren’t that hyped in press, which is quite new to the market, Acer, showed up some devices with bigger screens, too. Namely these are the F900 and its keyboarded brother M900, both featuring WVGA 3.8” screens – and the same SoC like the Openmoko GTA03 will most likely feature: Samsung S3C6410. So what about some more gnufiish?
Hope to see you again next week…