Random Thoughts on the future of LINMOB

It is one day before there will be likely a new Nexus Tablet, supposedly 7”, Tegra 3 and all – it’s all over the internet, if you care. I didn’t cover the last big trade shows at all, and over time I have had many devices in my hands which I didn’t cover except maybe for mentioning them in a few tweets or lines (Nokia N900, LG Optimus Speed, Sony Ericsson XPERIA Pro, Lenovo A750, Jiayu G2).

Honestly, I even shot a few videos I never published, because they were simply not good enough to be published unedited – and I didn’t prefer shooting it again last year for no reason – i am not that experienced at video handling, as I had to realize recently I can’t even rip DVDs without messing it up – audio is never in sync. I hate my own laziness, however, there are simply more important things in my life that need to be done than writing down (or saying on video) what exactly I think about a certain phone screen, or why this app is better than the other one. It’s not that work or private life steal the time of this blog, it’s simply that I am bored of most of what’s happening.

Don’t get me wrong: The mobile space has rarely been more dynamic in the past, not only talking of what one could call “spec sheet madness” (imagine someone would have told you in 2002 that there would be quad core phones with 2 Gigabytes of RAM in 2012). With Android dominant on smartphones, but not tablets and the soon to happen launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with more interesting convertible devices which really come close to what I dreamt of 5 years ago (and which than seemed really unlikely to happen, imagine how poorly (in terms of performance) an ASUS PadFone would have been back then)), with Intel still trying to find a place in your trousers pocket (initial reviews of 1st gen Medfield phones like the Orange San Diego haven’t been overly positive, though mostly because the overall package is not great) and MIPS is trying to get a foot in the mobile markets, too.

Then there is digital reading, a topic that interests me really and has made my buy not only Apple’s iPad 2 in last september, but recently a Barnes&Noble Nook Simple Touch, which – as you must know to understand that I as a german guy bought this US-Reader, runs Android 2.1 (Eclair) and thus is hackable to a certain extend. Display technology is not really going much forward right now – while AMOLED and LCDs have been getting better and better, delivering better pictures at higher resolutions (300ppi may be average in mid range smartphones in 2013), power saving reflective technologies optimized for sunlight reading like PixelQi and Qualcomms Mirasol technology have not been exactly successful yet.

Still, finding the time to even write stupid stuff like this post will continue to happen only on rare occasions. So don’t expect anything of this blog in the near foreseeable future. I may post something, but more likely, I will not.

A big part of Tizen will be to have a framework and the corresponding
SDK to support HTML5-WAC applications. Native applications development
should also be supported through the usage of the EFL
(Enlightenment_Foundation_Libraries –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightenment_Foundation_Libraries) with
the SDK. So we could suppose that the reference UI of the system will
also be based on the EFL.

Florent Viard on the MeeGo Mailing List

Of course this all pretty unconfirmed, but still, if you have ever seen what a performance EFL delivers on rather poor hardware (I am talking of the Openmoko FreeRunner here, of experiences I made years ago, so it has likely matured since thanks to Samsungs founding), this sounds promising. BTW, there will be a Tizen event in China in early December, so we may be knowing more soon.

2010. What to expect?

2010 is approaching pretty fast and it will be another interesting year for mobile devices, we will know that for sure after CES.

Why? First of all, the financial crisis did not really affect the sales of mobile devices, the industry sold lots of smartphones, netbooks and notebooks – and this will go on, thanks to innovation on both sides, hardware and software.
Let´s talk about hardware first – several devices have been rumored or even announced, and besides this, there are some trends. In terms of computing power, we will see more and more smartphones with Cortex A8/A9 SoCs (Snapdragon (2), OMAP 3/4, Tegra 2), running at clockspeeds up to one gigahertz or even more – an example device we already know is the Google Nexus One, which will be sold by Google, supported by HTC and use the T-Mobile network – in the US, at least – I am not sure, if (or when) it will be available in Europe or Asia as well, but as it is supposed to be launched in early january, we won´ t have to wait for too long – as Google Voice is US only currently, I do not expect it to come to europe too soon.
Besides these fast ARM based SoCs that impress with their speed for applications like web browsing and will be built into Smartphones, PMPs, MIDs, slates/tablets and Netbooks (“Smartbooks”), there will more devices using SoCs that are slower on applications, but have decent video (1080p) capabilities – like the nVidia Tegra or the Telechips TCC8900, which will sell at cheaper price points than those that deliver more speed – let´s hope that these Tegra1 and TCC8900 devices will vanish in the second half of 2010 (at least in terms of market entrys). Basically I expect devices that are (HD) video focussed, and others that are not (but are faster on other fronts) – those that do not aim at multimedia will likely run on Intels new Pinetrail platform, which does not allow high resolutions or digital video outputs – if you want Intel only (there will be video accelerators for Pinetrail by Broadcom and nVidia (Ion2)) and HD Video, you will have to get a Moorestown or CULV (e.g. based on the new Calpella platform) powered device. Actually Pinetrails graphics weakness might help VIA a little bit, maybe we will (finally) see some VX855+Nano (3000) powered netbooks/subnotebooks on western markets.
On the software side there are some big unknowns, especially concerning the ARM space: Will Android be used on slates/tablets, or rather other solutions? Will Jolicloud make its way to netbooks? What about Windows CE and Windows Mobile 7?
What is likely is that we will see some subsidized solutions offering special services up to netbooks – we will see netbooks with GPS, and we hear that e.g. ASUS is therefore partnering with RIM and Garmin to offer push e-mail and navigation on their ARM powered netbook devices – and as “Pine Trail” is even more power efficent than the previous “Diamondville” platform, we can expect similar things for the Intel powered part of the mobile device market, where Moblin will be finally ready to ship.
(More after CES.)