Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Posts Tagged / tablets

  • Apr 22 / 2014
  • 12

Intel Desperately Struggles To Maintain Relevance Against ARM

Intel, despite Moore’s Law advantages, and serious price-cutting, still has difficulty competing against ARM.“Intel is currently offering its dual-core Atom Z2520 for 7-inch models and Atom 3735G for 8-inch ones, while MediaTek is mainly pushing solutions such as 8382 for the white-box tablet market, the sources said.
Intel’s 7-inch tablet solution is currently priced at about US$20 and the 7.85-inch one around US$27. With a LTE module, which raises the overall cost by about US$20, a 7-inch Intel-based white-box tablet currently has an ex-factory price of about US$50, the sources detailed.
A 3G white-box tablet using MediaTek’s solution has a competitive ex-factory price of US$39.9, the sources added.”
They even have ASUS going exclusively with Intel thanks to huge discounts.

OEMs are paying attention. They will demand similar sharp price-cuts for desktop/notebook PCs and M$’s price will stick out like a sore thumb. GNU/Linux, here we come…

See Intel, MediaTek become favorites in China white-box tablet industry.

  • Feb 27 / 2014
  • 5

Android/Linux Overtakes XP on Weekends

The title says it all. Folks are using their Android/Linux smartphones a lot everywhere, even at work. Same with tablets. The personal computer has been redefined by consumers, employees, everyone but the sycophants of Wintel. The small cheap computers flooding the markets are computers and people, real people, love them. They are personal. Since “7″ is on borrowed time and declining while Android/Linux usage shows higher growth than M$’s other offerings, it looks like in a year or two, Android/Linux will be the top dog in a sea of “others”.

Speaking of others, they are a fragmented mess with none able to gain huge share. Even the OS with few salesmen, GNU/Linux, trumps M$’s Phoney OS. It looks as if the future will soon be Android/Linux with a huge share and everyone else getting something like a few percent each. iOS is losing ground to Android/Linux. The only thing that’s sure is that there is competition for operating systems on retail shelves, something we did not have a few years ago. It’s all good.

“Linux server demand continued to be positively impacted by cloud infrastructure deployments, as hardware revenue increased 14.4% year over year to $4.1 billion in 4Q13. Linux servers now represent 28.5% of all server revenue, up 4.6 points when compared with the fourth quarter of 2012.”I do have fond memories of each new PC being more powerful than the one before but I don’t miss the fact that Wintel sucked up that power every few years pressuring people to buy anew. Apparently more CPU power will shift to servers/clouds. We have plenty on the small cheap computers for doing everything but drying hair. According to IDC, GNU/Linux is doing great on servers.

  • Feb 24 / 2014
  • 1

The Strange Case of Tablets

I haven’t had much in the way of statistics on tablets since the year-end stuff. This needs to be fixed…

I visited StatCounter and asked for all of the CSVs of Tablet OS v Continent. After a lot of cutting and pasting this emerged:

I noticed a few things:

  1. In “established” IT markets there are some GNU/Linux tablets rattling around.
  2. Everywhere, iOS had a head start. That’s because Apple went to market first.
  3. In established IT markets iOS holds its lead longer.
  4. In emerging markets Android/Linux is nearly caught up with iOS.

This is about installed base assuming folks are using those tablets to browse which is very likely. It looks like iOS is converging to be somewhat less than 50% everywhere. It looks like Android/Linux is going to take over emerging markets this year and established markets within a couple of years. I have no idea what’s happening with GNU/Linux on tablets. Is that Ubuntu GNU/Linux? Why is there a spurt followed by a plateau? It’s all good. Freedom has come to smartphones and it will this year to tablets as well. Wake up OEMs and retailers! FLOSS sells! Start selling it on legacy PCs.

  • Jan 03 / 2014
  • 2

Happiness In USA – 2013

A lot of people opened their Christmas presents early in USA it seems and they were loaded with */Linux.
Every */Linux OS increased share dramatically in a single month. Every */Linux OS had highest usage on Christmas Day.

  • Dec 18 / 2013
  • 3

New Dell

Now that Dell is no longer a public corporation, is its attitude to FLOSS different? I poke around.

The problems I used to have were an overly segmented website making it difficult to find the GNU/Linux PCs. That no longer seems to be an issue. Further, there is a new attitude to operating systems:
The operating system is one of the most important programs on your computer.

- Every PC must have an operating system to run other programs.
- Operating systems perform basic tasks such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the monitor, keeping track of files and directories on the hard disk, and controlling devices such as optical drives and printers.
- Operating systems also manage how your computer accesses available networks.
- Windows 8 Ultimate 64-bit
- Windows 7 Ultimate 32-Bit; Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit
- Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® WS v.6.4 EM64T (Also certified to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 5.8 64-Bit)
- Ubuntu 12.04 Linux (China only)

China-only, eh? What’s with that? Could it be those retailers got long-term contracts for Ubuntu GNU/Linux? Is it RedHat for the rest of the world?

Same old site. I can see GNU/Linux systems, but I can’t buy any in Canada. The tech specs show Ubuntu GNU/Linux but it’s not an option for purchasers on the site. Searching for “Linux” finds stuff you can’t buy:

They do have some Android/Linux tablets however. Consolation prize for visiting the site? They certainly don’t make it easy to be a customer if you want FLOSS.

  • Dec 02 / 2013
  • 0

Mobile */Linux

Of course, */Linux is on the move everywhere but the latest triumph is mobile computing. China and India typify emerging markets where many are buying IT for the first time and the affordability, mobility and functionality of small cheap computers are irresistible. The Linux kernel which is supported by most hardware-makers to run on almost anything is a great base. The GNU system or the Android system are both advantageous: they are Free Software and come with few restrictions and all the right permissions to promote global proliferation, they cost about $0 so any OEM large or small can use them and they are made by users for users so millions like it.

The uptake of Android/Linux has been amazing. A bit of salesmanship by Google and a few front-runners setting a good example was all it took. Retailers everywhere are cluttering shelves with Android/Linux smartphones and tablets. Even ISPs and other businesses are getting in on the act by offering customers freebies or discounted products as inducements. Google’s business-plan is audacious: offer free services that promote their core business, advertising. It worked beautifully with e-mail and search and video. Now it’s working with mobile connectivity.

GNU/Linux is a little late to the show but OEMs know that clinging to a single source of supply can be dangerous. M$ taught them that. So, OEMs welcome a second mobile OS, GNU/Linux, in distributions like Tizen. They are showing a bit on a logarithmic graph but there is growth. That other OS is down there in the weeds, too, after years and $billions of trying. Given a choice, the world prefers Free Software like */Linux.

Data supplied by StatCounter: China, India, WorldWide.

  • Nov 29 / 2013
  • 0

FLOSS Inspires Diversification In Hardware For Small Cheap Computers

Never has IT been more diverse. All kinds of units are shipping today with single, dual, quad and penta 32bit cores, but soon 64bit cores will be everywhere and there will be a few octal cored chips. It took Intel decades to reach that level of performance but ARMed CPUs fueled by low cost FLOSS software have advanced far in just a few years. Diverse companies in a highly competitive market can diversify to explore different niches to hold or grow market-share instead of a single company giving us what they want to do comfortably ensconced in their blanket of monopoly. Unlike monopoly where there’s one winner and a bunch of slaves, everyone can win today with a market that’s huge and growing rapidly. Even when the market matures and doesn’t grow so rapidly there’s still room for many suppliers to meed diverse needs. Many more people can afford IT now.


  • Nov 27 / 2013
  • 9

Monopoly of Client PC Market Died in 2013

I hate to beat an old drum but, according to Canalys, “The worldwide client PC market grew 18% in Q3 2013, despite desktop and notebook shipments continuing to decline. Tablet PC shipments accounted for 40% of PC shipments in Q3 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments. Tablet domination is set to continue, with Canalys forecasting 285 million units to ship in 2014, growing to 396 million units in 2017.”

See Tablets to make up 50% of PC market in 2014.

M$ took 2% of the growing market for tablets and might grow to 5% according to Canalys. That’s not monopoly. That’s being another competitor. How does it feel, M$? Expect that to continue as your anti-competitive tactics have finally died of natural causes and a few governments suing you.

Not only is this a story about tablets and smartphones either. ChromeOS has taken a few percent share of legacy PC shipments, mostly notebooks and there are some Android/Linux and GNU/Linux PCs shipping. That will only increase as the market explores new possibilities without M$.

The world can and does make its own operating system software and shares the load amongst millions of developers, hundreds of millions of users and hundreds of corporations/organizations. That’s FLOSS in action. No one can make software at lower cost and distribute it at lower cost than FLOSS. The GNU system and the Android system atop the Linux kernel. The Linux kernel is $free for all manufacturers, developers, and users of IT. Millions of developers have written software that works with Linux. In a competitive market free from lock-in FLOSS always wins because everyone has a stake in it and it works for all of us, not just a few. With FLOSS the cost of having software for a computer drops from ~$100 to near $0 as does the cost of upgrading the software because anyone can find and fix bugs and write software to work with FLOSS using open standards.

There is no reason to go back to Wintel or any other monopolized software architecture these days. We can choose *86 CPUs from Intel, AMD, Via, and ARMed CPUs from many different manufacturers and install them on motherboards or SoCs (Sytem on Chip) with the same software working on all. There are many thousands of applications available for */Linux on clients and servers. No longer is there a blessed supply-chain able to charge monopolistic prices. No longer is there a single source of supply for software. We are free at last to use our computers any way we want with the greatest efficiency and ease.

This all started more than a decade ago when the world discovered that servers and other network infrastructure running FLOSS made a lot of sense. High performance computing, networks, virtualization, and embedded systems were gradually taken over by FLOSS, mostly GNU/Linux over the next few years. Then Dell, HP, and many smaller OEMs began to ship GNU/Linux on legacy PCs. The icing on the cake for consumers was the development and pushing of Android/Linux to OEMs particularly of smartphones and tablets, devices without standard keyboards and mouse-pointers. There are few consumers or retailers who remain unaware of FLOSS and its advantages today. All of the FUD, lies, patent-threats etc. of the monopolists has come to naught. The only residue of that is a tiny tax in lieu of litigation for using Linux on some devices. That will pass in a year or two as the world shrugs off software-patents. In the coming year, retailers everywhere will offer consumers FLOSS at last on every kind of PC. It’s too bad that it took so long but the struggle has been worthwhile. FLOSS is the right way to do IT.

Because the monopoly has died nearly a billion more people will be free to use IT for the first time this year instead of just a few million with deep pockets. This is also an end to the digital divide separating rich and poor, North and South, and every region on Earth will have freedom to use IT unfettered by slavery to big corporations.

See also, PC market: ABANDON HOPE all ye who enter here

  • Oct 29 / 2013
  • 11

No Monopoly in Client PCs

As much as Apple lets on that they are the only ones who know how to make a tablet PC, according to Digitimes, “In the third quarter of 2013, global tablet shipments reached 35.68 million units, up 15.3% sequentially and 34.6% on year, driven mainly by non-iPad tablet shipments, which reached 20.08 million units, up 22.9% from the previous quarter and accounting for 56.3% of the total volume, according to Digitimes Research’s latest figures.”

According to DisplaySearch, “Overall global tablet PC shipments are expected to reach more than 255 million units in 2013, capturing nearly 60 percent of the mobile PC market. The once-dominant standard notebook PC segment is forecast to fall to 160 million units, making up just 36 percent of the mobile PC market. Shipments of ultra-slim PCs are expected to reach 19 million units, or 4 percent of mobile PCs, according to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report.”

While shipments of notebooks are falling, “As for Chromebooks, Digitimes Research expects the devices to have a chance to reach three million units in 2014 and account for 5% of total notebook shipments in 2015. However, the devices’ shipment growth will be contributed mostly by demand for replacements for conventional Windows- or Linux-based notebooks.”
see Digitimes Research: Global notebook shipments expected to drop almost 7% in 2014

Good. The world has seen more than enough monopoly in IT. Both M$ and Apple are being cut back down to size in 2013.

see Digitimes Research: Non-iPad tablets account for over 50% of global shipments in 3Q13.

  • Sep 30 / 2013
  • 0

Another Monopoly Bites The Dust

When Nathan Myhrvold wrote that monopolies in IT were “natural” and that it was natural that M$ have a monopoly in desktop OS, he was clueless. Two decades later people were saying that about Apple and tablets but
“During the second quarter of 2013, the number of Android-powered tablets surpassed iOS-based slates for the first time, tablet-related hardware revenues reached parity, and perhaps most important, the average selling price (ASP) of iPad is rapidly approaching the market average.”

see Android Ecosystem Takes the Baton From Apple iPad.

The reality is different these days. Monopoly does not stand a chance with FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) because FLOSS can always beat the price of non-Free software. In reality, price matters. Apple making its own OS from scratch is more expensive and less flexible than the world cooperating to create Android/Linux and a raft of applications that perform very well compared to Apple’s stuff. Apple did have a near-monopoly for a couple of years… but then Android/Linux gained a bunch of ISVs and OEMs and took off. No single OEM had to develop all that software so every single OEM could ship a great product for less money than Apple. QED

The same is happening with desktop/notebook operating systems. The last hint of monopoly is that many retail shelves still offer nothing but M$’s OS. That’s changing rapidly as Dell doubles it stores selling Ubuntu GNU/Linux in China and, globally, fewer desktop/notebook systems are being sold. OEMs are shipping GNU/Linux trying to produce more profit in a shrinking market. The world is demanding less expensive/bulky/energy hogging systems and GNU/Linux is providing them. This is not about replacing one monopoly with another. It is about destroying monopoly. No one business can have a monopoly with FLOSS because of the FLOSS licences. They can still compete and win on price/performance which is good for everyone.

  • Aug 13 / 2013
  • 5

M$ In Deep Hot Water

No, they’re not being cooked, just sued for misrepresenting their financial situation in public statements upon which some investors base their decisions.
“The complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial performance and its tablet computer, the Surface RT. Specifically, defendants misrepresented and failed to make public the following adverse facts: (i) that the Company’s Surface RT product was experiencing poor customer demand and lackluster sales; (ii) that the Company’s Surface RT inventory experienced a material decline in value during the quarter ended March 31, 2013; (iii) that the Company’s financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 were materially false and misleading and violated Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and Microsoft’s publicly disclosed policy of accounting for inventories; (iv) that the Company’s Form 10-Q for its third quarter of 2013 failed to disclose then presently known trends, events or uncertainties associated with the Surface RT product that were reasonably likely to have a material effect on Microsoft’s future operating results; and (v) that based on the foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the Company’s Surface RT product during the Class Period.”

see Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP Files Class Action Suit against Microsoft Corporation.

I’d say that’s a winning case because M$ was going on about how wonderful RT was doing just days before the latest information, complete with $900million write-down.

10-Q 2013-04-18:“Windows Division revenue increased, due mainly to the recognition of $1.1 billion of revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer. Revenue from Surface and increased commercial sales of Windows was offset by the impact on revenue of a decline in the x86 PC market. OEM revenue grew 17%, reflecting the revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer, offset in part by the impact on revenue of a decline in the x86 PC market.
Windows Division operating income increased, primarily due to revenue growth, offset in part by higher cost of revenue and sales and marketing expenses. Cost of revenue increased $306 million or 65%, reflecting product costs associated with Surface and Windows 8. Sales and marketing expenses increased $291 million or 43%, reflecting advertising costs associated with Windows 8 and Surface.”

Yes, that rosy picture became a $900 million write-down…

Thanks to a loyal reader for this link.

see also the complaint in Gail Fialkov and others v M$, Steve Ballmer, Peter Klein, Frank Brod and Tami Reller
“9. Unbeknownst to investors, by the end of its March 31, 2013 quarter, Microsoft had amassed a large excess of Surface RT inventory. In violation of the Company’s publicly disclosed inventory accounting policy, generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and SEC rules and regulations, Defendants caused Microsoft to issue materially false and misleading financial statements and financial disclosures for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. These false and misleading statements materially misrepresented the true financial effect that Surface RT was then having on the Company’s operations.”

Oh, my! How will M$ make right a $34billion in stockholders’ equity? That’s a good chunk of their piggy-bank.

  • Aug 12 / 2013
  • 8

Tablet PC, Tablet PC, Tablet PC

The strategy early on for M$ was to equate “personal computer” with a computer running their OS.
Tablet_PC That’s all gone now. When a retailer like Wal-mart has the temerity to use a term like “Tablet PC”, they are going off-script. A search for “tablet pc” finds a mess of devices, none of which has M$’s OS although just poking around the menus does find 5. While the “talking points” of the trolls for M$ call tablets accessories to real PCs the mind-share is not there. The world of retailers and consumers sees them for what they are, small cheap computers, and consumers love them.
Quoting Bill Gates from 1999: “the PC will morph into many new forms, such as book-size “tablet PCs” but they’ll still be PCs underneath with all the benefits of the universal PC model.

That model will play a vital role in this new world of any time anywhere computing. The PC’s high-volume, low-cost approach will be adopted by many of the new smart devices because it offers amazing value to consumers. The cost of innovation is spread widely, so everyone benefits from billions of dollars of R&D. And the PC’s broadly accepted technical standards – and open Internet standard – mean that when you buy a new device, you’ll know it will function with your existing equipment. In this new “PC-plus” era connectivity will be king, and the PC model’s common standards will be more important than ever.

PCs gave the world a whole new way to work, play and communicate. The PC-plus era will be just as revolutionary. It will take the PC’s power and make it available almost anywhere, on devices that haven’t yet been dreamed up. Given my job, it’s hardly surprising that I’d say this. But I’m betting Microsoft’s future on it.”

Clearly, he envisioned tablets being PCs. He just did not understand that a PC could be without M$’s OS. M$ never understood small cheap computers. In 1997 Joachim Kempin wrote, “OEM division revenue growth over the last 8 years has depended heavily on volume increases and a trend to higher priced OS. During that time ASPs have stayed stable or have gone up which made it easier to ride the wave and get the value we deserve. We have shown larger then 40% growth rates annually and expect in the future that OEMs will take a very hard look in how to avoid paying us more $5 per system in order to hit most aggressive price points. Will this lead to significant higher volumes and thus allow us to relax some prices while gaining share where we need it? The danger does exist that more PCs might get shipped without an OS and we should
not take this lightly!”
He was worried about PCs costing less than $1K… His strategy was to increase unit sales by

  • “1. Moderately more volume by finding new buyers who can now afford to buy PCs (This should be true for consumers as well as small biz)
  • 2. Acceleration of replacement cycles (Knowing that 80M PCs cannot run NTW or WlN 98)
  • 3. Shortening of PC “life time” in general
    The only counter argument to make here is that current PC technology is totally sufficient for most
    office tasks and consumer desires and that any performance bottleneck is not in today’s PCs but
    in today’s COM pipes. This in itself might slow down replacement cycles and life time shortening
    until we find true MIPS eating appIications – a priority not only INTEL should subscribe to.”

How’s that for morality, telling the world how great the product was while sabotaging it at the same time?

Memo to Bill in 1995: “My nightmare scenario is that the Web grows into a rich application platform in an operating system-neutral way, and then a company like Siemens or Matsushita comes out with a $500 “WebMachine“ that attaches to a TV. This WebMachine will let the customer do all the cool lntemet stuff, plus manage home finances (all the storage is at the server side), and play games. When faced with the choice between a 5500 box (RlSC CPU, 4-8Mb RAM, no hard disk, …) and a $2KPentiurn/P6 Windows machine, the 2/3rds of homes that don’t have a PC may find the $500 machine pretty attractive!” (see discussion of this memo at The Register)

No, M$’s concept of a personal computer has always been of a small computer that many could afford with a hefty lump of cash for M$. They even fooled most of the people into accepting the definition of PC as a Wintel machine… Plamondon wrote, “”A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.” This is the mission statement of Microsoft itself; it is the definition of the conditions under which Microsoft itself can declare overall victory.” They had their “victory” almost within reach about 2003-2005 but it’s slipping away now as they are no longer the goto platform on the only viable hardware on retail shelves. What took them decades to achieve has washed away in a few short years since the netbook with GNU/Linux on Intel and Android/Linux on ARM began to appear on retail shelves. Now everyone knows that other operating systems exist and no one needs M$’s blessing to use hardware they own.

At this rate, this year, I expect GNU/Linux to appear on retail shelves at my local Wal-mart.