Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / ARM

  • Apr 16 / 2014
  • 0

Wintel Sinks Further

As expected, Intel has raised prices in an attempt to maintain profits as long as possible rather than trusting the market to yield them a reasonable living.“PC Client Group revenue of $7.9 billion, down 8 percent sequentially and down 1 percent year-over-year.” This will hasten the demise of Wintel as consumers see greater advantages to switching to */Linux on ARM. Without the monopoly on retail shelves for legacy PCs there’s no way Intel would raise prices at all and consumers should vote with their wallets. Expect 2014 to be the greatest year yet for FLOSS on ARM.

See Intel News Release.

See also, CFO Commentary on First-Quarter 2014 Results

  • Apr 09 / 2014
  • 0

Qualcomm: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

If you are a fan of mobile computing (I’m not. I use GPS and wifi but not much else on my smartphone), you’ll drool over Qualcomm’s new chip.“Rich native 4K Ultra HD interface and video, along with an upgraded camera suite using gyro-stabilization and 3D noise reduction for producing high quality 4K video at 30 frames per second and 1080p video at 120 frames per second. The combined 14-bit dual Image Signal Processors (ISPs) are capable of supporting 1.2GP/s throughput and image sensors up to 55MP. Advanced imaging software helps enable advanced mobile camera features, including enhanced exposure, white balance and fast low light focus.”
It has a good mix of power and specialized high performance mobile networking and 4K graphics. To back that up it uses LPDDR4 RAM and lots of ARMed cores. Beast, my ATX box, is shivering… Beast’s replacement is likely to be such an ARMed processor minus a few of the mobile features.

This is all done at 20nm compared to Beast’s 45nm and about 100 watts less power waste. I probably wouldn’t even have a fan to annoy me, not on the PSU, and not on the CPU. Beast’s replacement will likely be just big enough to hold a few hard drives or SSDs. Qualcomm will ship in 2014, probably just in time for Christmas.

See Qualcomm announces highest-end Snapdragon 810 and 808 processors.

See also, Introducing the Snapdragon 810 and 808 Processors: “The Ultimate Connected Computing” Experience” [VIDEO].

  • Mar 23 / 2014
  • 156

Linux And World-Domination

“What Google has done for Linux, over the past few years, no other company has managed to pull off. By releasing two major platforms, both getting the most out of a Linux kernel, Google has put Linux in more hands than Canonical, Red Hat, SuSE, and any other company to have attempted to bring to life the Linux platform.” Yep. Jack Wallen is right. Canonical did a lot for GNU/Linux on desktop and server but that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions Google has introduced to the joys of Free Software, stuff you can run anywhere anyway, examine, modify and distribute. Google did that by shipping hardware running the software and selling/shipping units. OEMs pay attention to that. Retailers pay attention to that. Consumers love it when businesses do what they do best and ignore the lock-step stupidity of Wintel. Now, anyone who has a better idea does not have to agree to the EULA or any other silliness from M$. Neither do they have to agree to use an Intel-compatible hair-drier for computation.

Further, Google combined all the best features of the cloud and thin client technologies to bring the user what they want, small cheap computers that can do all the things the user wants to do. Cheap hardware combined with cheap software makes cheap personal computers, exactly what users want. If you spend 6 hours a day on FaceBook, all you need is a browser and a platform to run it. Done! If you take thousands of photographs of your world and want to share them with the rest of the world, all you need is a device with built-in camera, operating system and networking hardware. Done! If you want to know where on Earth you are and how to get where you want to be, all you need is a device that is GPS-aware and goes with you. Done! To Heck with Wintel, a burden to all mankind. Wintel is for slaves, not free people. Thanks, StatCounter.

Google has leveraged its search engine, on-line ad business and FLOSS to bring */Linux to the masses and it took only five years to replace that other OS as the dominant OS of personal computers. They proved that FLOSS is good business. They proved that ARM works for everyone. Thanks, Google! You finished off the monopoly.

See Google propels Linux to the top.

  • Mar 07 / 2014
  • 9

If Beast Died Tomorrow, Chromebook 2 Could Be Its Replacement

Beast is fine. It’s old, but still kicking. It boots. It edits. It searches. It networks. Beast’s CPU is way over-sized for what I do and I do a lot. 99% of the time it idles. Every few weeks I open it up to full throttle to build the next Linux-3.10.x kernel, but what’s the rush? If it took twice or thrice as long I would still be happy.“The Samsung Chromebook 2 Series offers users nearly instant access to everything they need. It wakes up in less than one second and cold boots in less than ten. Samsung’s energy-efficient Exynos 5 Octa processors allow for effortless multitasking and rapid rendering of graphics and videos, so multimedia content never misses a beat.” The Chromebook 2 is so much smaller, has so much longer battery-life (Beast only has a CMOS battery…), and is portable. I could hook a USB keyboard and mouse up to it and get an HDMI monitor going. In fact, we already have 3 but they are called TVs for some reason. There’s plenty of RAM for Beast’s 200 processes and I can add USB storage galore, meaning I can ditch the big box that has travelled thousands of miles in Canada’s North and barely survived (the sides no longer fit…). I don’t use CDs or floppies any longer. I don’t need that box. Heck, I could even use a wireless keyboard/mouse and sit in an easy chair…

So, if Beast dies, I would be perfectly happy with a machine like this. Check out the specs:

Category Details 11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook 2 13.3-inch Samsung Chromebook 2
Display Size 11.6″ 13.3″
Resolution HD LED Display (1366×768) Full HD LED Display (1920×1080)
Performance OS Google Chrome Google Chrome
Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (1.9Ghz, 2MB L2 Cache) Samsung Exynos 5 Octa (2.1Ghz, 2MB L2 Cache)
Memory 4 gB DDR3L 1600Mhz 4 gB DDR3L 1600Mhz
Storage 16 gB Flash Drive 16 gB Flash Drive
Camera 720p HD Web Camera 720p HD Web Camera
Battery Life Battery Life Up to 8h Up to 8.5h
Dimensions Dimensions 11.40″ x 8.06″ x 0.66″ 12.72″ x 8.80″ x 0.65″
Weight 2.43 pounds 3.09 pounds
Jet Black, Classic White Luminous Titan Gray
Ports Ports 1 HDMI, 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, MicroSD Multi-media Card Reader, Headphone out/Mic-in Combo, DC-in 1 HDMI, 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, MicroSD Multi-media Card Reader, Headphone out/Mic-in Combo, DC-in
Availability MSRP $319.99 $399.99
Availability Date April 2014 April 2014

See Samsung U.S. News.

  • Feb 23 / 2014
  • 9

Hating Microsoft With Good Reason

Hatred like any mind-set can be rational or irrational. We are right to hate the dog chewing on the kid. We take brisk action to deal with that evil. We are wrong to hate someone for something they can’t help like skin colour, genes, or their ancestral home. There’s nothing anyone can or should do about things like that. Microsoft? It’s definitely in the rational hatred category. M$ is out to get us. It has been from early on in its existence and it’s still run by the same people. Some have changed. But Gates and Ballmer are still around. They are evil people trying to harm us all by supporting and exploiting monopoly to do unspeakable things in IT, meddling with the business of software development, manufacturing, retailing, end-users to enrich itself at the expense of everyone else. Proper businesses serve customers, not enslave them.

“That was initiated in 1998 for actions in 1994. That’s 20 years ago.  And for bundling a browser in the operating system that couldn’t be uninstalled or easily replaced? Sure, no operating systems do that in 2014. I wonder if I can swap out Chrome from Chrome OS or Mobile Safari in iOS. Point is, it’s common now.”Scott Hanselman disagrees. He claims we should forget history. He’s wrong. You can simply replace the browser in ChromeOS. It’s GNU/Linux underneath. Just cut and past applications. Oh, you may not be able to do it directly within ChromeOS but there is no dreadful EULA threatening users with jail or fines to use, examine, modify or distribute the software… Those kinds of things are purely restrictions M$ places on end-users and everyone up and down the supply-chain. I don’t know about iOS. I don’t use that stuff at all, but Apple is just as evil as M$ one way or another. They sell the same hardware (x86 + PCI) as everyone else and charge a huge premium for it, essentially lying to consumers about its quality. Their licence limits the hardware on which the software may run. What other nonsense would they do on ARM? Oh, yes, they sue the world for copying Apple’s ideas about geometric shapes and logical operations…

So, Hanselman is just another apologist for M$ not a revealer of truth. Continue hating. It’s the best way to be alert to the next crime M$ tries to put over on us, like “insecure boot” or OOXML or “software assurance”… See? M$ does innovate but it’s all about new ways to maintain monopoly not to provide good IT for the world.

For those too young to remember the browser wars, I will quote Bill Gates:“I was quite frank with him that if he had a favor we could do for him that would cost us something like $1M to do that in return for switching browsers in the next few months I would be open to doing that.” That’s right out of the US DOJ v M$ archives I have indexed on Beast. Bill Gates offered to pay Intuit to ship IE instead of Netscape. That’s not a business deal. That’s a criminal conspiracy to drive Netscape out of business. That’s what Bill Gates is all about, harming others going about their businesses. He’s still in charge last time I checked. That’s why I continue to hate M$. If M$ were a proper business they would have fired Gates long ago for besmirching their reputation…

See Microsoft killed my Pappy.

  • Feb 09 / 2014
  • 4

Even Dell Is Getting Into Smaller/Cheaper Personal Computers

“The Cloud Connect isn’t much larger than a USB flash drive and plugs into the HDMI or MHL port of your display. It has a multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of flash storage. The Cloud Connect supports WiFi and Bluetooth, has micro USB and mini USB ports, and features a microSD card slot.”Thin clients aren’t standing still. While that other OS on legacy PCs sinks into the mud, ARM+*/Linux is everywhere helping to make small cheap computers smaller and cheaper. Dell gets this and is giving people what they want, perhaps before they know they want it. That’s the way to catch the wave of adoption. That’s what M$ has missed.

Like FLOSS, these small cheap computers are limited mostly by the imaginations of users. Being able to whip something out of your pocket and to turn a TV/monitor into an access port to the LAN or the Internet connecting to one or a hundred powerful web applications opens up a whole new world of computing. I expect we will see Dell selling theft/loss insurance for these guys soon. There are so many ways to use/profit from FLOSS on ARM.

See Dell Wyse Cloud Connect launches for $129 (Pocket-sized thin client).

See also, Fat Client, Thin Client

  • Jan 23 / 2014
  • 5

Small Cheap Computers Eat Legacy PCs For Lunch Any Way You Measure It

“Samsung Electronics and Apple remained the top semiconductor buyers in 2013, increasing their combined semiconductor demand by 17 per cent, according to Gartner, Inc. Samsung Electronics and Apple together consumed $53.7 billion of semiconductors in 2013, an increase of $7.7 billion from 2012″ Recently, apologists for Wintel have been arguing that real people need really powerful computers and must use Wintel. That’s false of course, because most PCs are idling but here’s another way to “weigh” the matter: total cost of semiconductors… There’s a reason Samsung and Apple top the list. They are shipping the semiconductors in small cheap (?) computers by the shipload and are growing rapidly while Wintel is shipping less and hating it.

All that silicon is going into flipping bits so whether or not some particular chip has more MIPS, */Linux on ARM and iOS on ARM are flipping more bits… If you must include clockspeeds, if this is not true today it will be sooner rather than later. If the apologists are right about some individuals, they clearly don’t understand the world.

See Samsung Retains Position as the Top Global Semiconductor Customer in 2013, According to Gartner.

  • Jan 20 / 2014
  • 5
Linux in Education, technology

The Price Of IT These Days

I am glad I have lived to see the day. Today, consumers are paying what IT costs plus a bit for the profit of designing, making, distributing, servicing and selling of the devices. Gone are the days when folks like M$ and Intel just wrote zeroes into the price, what they could get away with given the Wintel monopoly on retail shelves. Today, we wouldn’t pay $1 for a screw that costs 1 just because M$ or anyone else has a monopoly on screws sold retail. That’s just as silly for software and hardware as it was for Wintel personal computers.

“The average BOM cost for a white-box tablet – most of which adopted a dual-core processors – stood at about US$25 as of the fourth quarter of 2013. Dual-core processor pricing could not drop any furrther, as their average prices came to about US$4, only less than US$1 higher than that of a single-core one.”

The result is likely that billions more human beings will be able to join the human race of IT-users. That’s good for all of us as communication bridges barriers and has potential to make us all more harmonious and friendly. At the same time businesses and organizations large and small will really be able to act locally while thinking globally. This is important for individuals, education, government, business, and all the daily things we do.

I see this commoditisation of hardware also being a boon for software freedom, the licensing of software with permission to run, examine, modify and distribute software with no strings attached because it delivers software at the lowest cost through re-use, reducing duplication, and recycling software and the ideas it represents. It’s all good. This stimulates creativity everywhere in every way because the cost of entry into the software business is least and the number of users accessible to a developer is maximized.

See China white-box makers add extra value to tablets as cost reduction is no longer possible.

  • Jan 13 / 2014
  • 1

IDC, Get A Clue

A recent press-release from IDC:“United States – With shipments totaling 17.1 million PCs in 4Q13, the U.S. market contracted by -1.6% from the same quarter a year ago. Consumers continued to take a wait-and-see approach, leading to delayed purchases. The migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 and 8 continued to drive some momentum in the enterprise sector and once again businesses fared better than consumers.”

That’s an amazing example of wishful thinking. Consumers are not “waiting”. They “see”. Almost everyone they know has an Android/Linux or iOS smartphone and/or tablet and these devices do what consumers want done with a quite different feature-set and lower prices if they want. Consumers in 2013 stampeded to get what they wanted, small cheap computers. They are not waiting for Intel or M$ to tell them what they want. The world can and does produce great IT products for consumers at every price/performance-point.

What is IDC smoking?

IDC got it right when they wrote, “Looking forward, the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge, with overall shipments surpassing 2 billion units by the end of 2015 with a market value of $735.1 billion. In terms of device mix, total PC shipments accounted for 28.7% of the smart connected device market in 2012 while tablets accounted for 11.8% and smartphones for 59.5%. By 2017, total PCs are expected to drop to 13%, while tablets and smartphones will contribute 16.5% and 70.5% respectively to the overall market. The shift in demand from the more expensive PC category to more reasonably priced smartphones and tablets will drive the average selling price (ASP) for the collective market from $462 in 2012 to $323 in 2017.” That was just a few months ago…

See Holiday PC Shipments on Target as Lenovo Expansion Continues, According to IDC – prUS24595914.

  • Jan 13 / 2014
  • 5

$Freeing IT

Finally, the world is seeing price/performance competition in client OS. It’s been a long time coming…
“Microsoft’s OS license fees will fall to $10 to $30 for each device down from $40 today. Those concessions, however, are just the beginning.”

Obviously, small cheap computers running */Linux forced this. At the same time that Wintel is feeling the pinch, the world of ordinary users, businesses and governments are all appreciating that FLOSS, GNU/Linux and Android/Linux have saved them from monopoly. The fallout will be enormous in 2014 and beyond. The world saving $billions annually forever is a huge pile of cash saved. Is it enough to save the planet or to feed the hungry? No, but there are other benefits too: better utilization of hardware, no arbitrary restrictions bundled in the EULA, more flexibility, closing of the Digital Divide, freedom from lock-in, and just plain freedom. This means more profits from IT suppliers all over the planet instead of M$ and “partners”. This means Intel will have to compete on price/performance too. This means huge savings in energy and waste everywhere. Even if M$ makes its price $0 or pays people to use their OS, they never again will have ~90% market share.

So, all in all, this is a good thing and will make the world a better place. The idea, that M$’s stuff was the standard technology of the world and essential, will finally die. That lie that crippled the world for decades will do so no longer and the world of IT will run and jump higher and farther faster. It’s all good.

  • Jan 08 / 2014
  • 3

Small Cheap Computers Trounced Legacy PCs. Pattern To Continue.

Ever the optimists, Gartner predicts some growth in units sold for M$’s client division in 2014. I have my doubts.
“In 2014, the worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 47 percent with lower average selling prices attracting new users. Consumers continue to buy tablets as an additional device that they carry everywhere. According to a recent consumer study that Gartner conducted in the third quarter of 2013 across Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., the U.S. and Japan, over two-thirds of tablets were used outside the home for activities such as vacation or concert. This is a similar pattern to that of smartphones as smaller form factors are driving more portability outside the home.
Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 278 million units in 2014, a seven percent decline from 2013. Driven by an uptake in Windows ultramobiles, the PC market is estimated to remain flat in 2014 (0.2 percent), after a decline of 9.9 percent in 2013. The Gartner consumer survey showed that less than eight per cent of users would replace their laptop with a tablet”

I would bet another 8% would drop their traditional/legacy PC for their smartphone. Think of all those young people with a smartphone wired to their hips or stuck in a pocket… Are they really going to go out and buy a new legacy PC when it dies so they can walk extra distance even in their homes to “check their e-mail” or FaceBook? Nope. The folks who never use a spreadsheet or a keyboard just don’t need Wintel nor a legacy PC. That’s a lot, at least 15%. I know people who are on their third smartphone but have not replaced a legacy PC in many years.

See Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments On Pace to Grow 7.6 Percent in 2014.

  • Jan 07 / 2014
  • 8

Opening The Valve To High-volume GNU/Linux PC-Production On A Global Scale

OK, gaming’s a niche in IT, a place where teenagers and young men work out their frustrations with the real world… but it has long been one of the few places GNU/Linux has not thrived: gaming, business, and retail shelves. All that is ending in 2014 with news from CES 2014:
“Valve’s new hardware partners are Dell’s Alienware, Alternate, CyberPower PC, Falcon Northwest, Gigabyte, Maingear,, Next, Origin, Scan Computers, Webhallen, and Zotac. Prior to Valve’s small CES news conference, Digital Storm and iBuyPower announced that they will be building Steam boxes. Many of these are small, obscure computer OEMs, but three of the companies — Dell’s Alienware, Falcon Northwest and Gigabyte — are major PC gaming powerhouses.”

See Valve announces over more than a dozen Linux-powered Steam gaming boxes.

OK, if those players are too small, consider that HP and Lenovo are at long last going to produce */Linux PCs for businesses and consumers. Lenovo is the Chinese outfit that bought out IBM’s client PCs, remember? They have grown globally. If they enter a market, it will be in a big way. HP? They are reputed to be #1 in production of legacy PCs. HP has been struggling to maintain that share recently but if new management sees */Linux as viable, it will happen and retailers will sell what these two produce because they are globally recognized brands.

There you have it. All three of the last props under the Wintel house of cards are being yanked out. The world can and does make its own software and does not need M$. The world can and does make other CPUs than Intel. After 2014 there will be no niche in IT owned by M$.