A leading chip, even SoC company buying a leading software company and moving immediately with that into the heart of the Android software and solution market? It is not so strange if one is considering Marvell’s strategy as expressed in my posts: Marvell ARMADA with sun readable and unbreakable Pixel Qi screen, and target [mass] manufacturing cost of $75 [Nov 4, 2010] and Marvell to capitalize on BRIC market with the Moby tablet [Feb 3]
– First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21 – Sept 25, 2011]
– High expectations on Marvell’s opportunities with China Mobile [May 28, 2011]
But, Kinoma as a marvellous software? Here is a video recorded yesterday at Mobile World Congress 2011 by IntoMobile in which Kinoma is demonstrated on the last year’s leading Android 2.1 based (now with 2.2 already) Nexus One by Google & HTC device, and this is the best proof of such judgement by itself (after that you can also follow the Android community responses on the Android Central’s Kinoma Play for Android beta):
“We take Marvell’s Kinoma platform for a spin with Kinoma Play. The third-party app runs on the Kinoma runtime, and beats out native apps in terms of performance and battery life. The demo speaks for itself.”
Truly amazing closing remark from Marvell’s Peter Hoddie in the video:
“Not just a bunch of application silos but you are really getting a suite of applications that works together and cooperates to give you the kind of user experience you expect to have.”
My own comment: a much needed enhancement for the whole Android world.
Some quotes from IntoMobile’s Hands-on: Kinoma Play – When third-party apps beat native app performance [Feb 14] article accompanying the above video (emphasis is mine):
What is Kinoma? Well, to put it simply, it’s an application platform that runs a virtual environment on your smartphone … But, unlike other runtime solutions (cough, Java, cough), Kinoma integrates with your phone at almost the hardware level, allowing it to optimize apps for speed and power usage. The end result are apps that run within Kinoma’s runtime that can outperform even the fastest native apps out there.
We got a chance to sit down with Kinoma’s Peter Hoodie at Mobile World Congress 2011 to see what the app runtime, recently acquired by Marvell, can do. We were amazed that Kinoma Play was able to load full-resolution pictures in it’s gallery in near real-time. In less than a second, full-res images were ready to zoom and pan in the Kinoma Play image gallery. We were also impressed by the super fast, but still smooth, scrolling capabilities of Kinoma. And, to top it all off, Kinoma Play apps were capable of cross-communication, allowing apps to share their data on demand with other apps.
The idea here is to get Kinoma out to market and get developers to start making apps using the Kinoma platform.
Then there is another article about Kinema by VentureBeat emphasizing another aspect: Chip maker Marvell debuts a cool mobile user interface with Kinoma Play [Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):
Kinoma Play is a user interface for smartphones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices. It can be built into a single application or become the user’s main interface for operating the multimedia apps on a phone. Kinoma Play is a beautiful, functional, fluid and fast interface. It works great with a touchscreen, letting you do tasks more easily, such as flipping through your music collection or zooming in on a face in a picture. Marvell acquired the small software company Kinoma with just 12 people a month ago.
Kinoma Play can move really fast. It loads a five megapixel photo in under one second, compared to three seconds for other software. You can put your finger on a touchscreen and hold it there. The software will zoom in on the spot in the photo where you are pressing. You can scroll through music or video collections as if you were looking at a carousel. And you can do that in either horizontal or vertical modes. If you run a video and then exit to the main menu, you can still see a video icon with the video imagery moving.
Founded more than eight years ago, the Kinoma team created software that ran on the Palm operating system and Sony’s original Sony Reader eBook device. Some 40 or 50 apps were built to work with Kinoma Play, which is not a full operating system but a subset of one, dubbed a user interface. Kinoma Play has been used on some phones in Japan and the Google Nexus One. It’s also being designed into phones that are coming out in the future.
And here Kinoma Play is shown on the Samsung Galaxy tablet as well in the accompanying video (from 3:58 on):
– “We’re a bunch of software guys who worked on things like the original Quicktime” media player, Peter Hoddie VP of the Kinoma Platform at Marvell said. “We have deep roots in software.”
– Peter Hoddie: For nearly a decade, Peter played a central role in defining, building, and promoting Apple’s trailblazing QuickTime technology.
– Brian Friedkin: As a Principal Engineer at Apple, Brian was a member of the small engineering team that brought Quicktime to Windows. He also researched and developed prototype QuickTime software targeted at small devices.
– Michael Kellner: At Apple Computer he was involved in open systems platforms, focusing primarily on developing multimedia infrastructure and core system software that was used in multi-platform QuickTime and became the basis for the development authoring platform Carbon in Mac OS X.
Marvell sells billions of chips each year for mobile devices. The combination of the two makes sense because Kinoma Play runs efficiently on both lightweight and heavy-duty hardware. This approach is called a “stack,” where Marvell provides not only the hardware but the software that makes the hardware functional.
“Marvell is a hardware company that sees what software means,” [Peter] Hoddie [VP of the Kinoma Platform at Marvell] said. “It is working its way up the stack.”
[Note that the Kinoma like platform software is far the best for Marvell strategies indicated above. They can add Kinoma to whatever Linux distribution (or other OS like vxWorks, u-boot, Windows Mobile 6.1/6.5, Windows CE etc.) they generally and to Fedora 11 and above which particularly with OLPC are using, as well as the Android used by their Moby tablet effort or elsewhere.]
Hoddie said that Kinoma Play can work on phones with slow 150-megahertz processors because it is built into a very low level of an operating system. It has a performance advantage over software that sits on the highest level. It can thus flip through a collection of photos at a much faster speed than other photo viewers could. It works on either capacitive (multitouch) screens or resistive (single-touch) screens.
Kinoma Play can pretty much run on any operating system. Over time, Hoddie expects to make the platform available as open source software so that others can modify it for their own purposes. After all, Marvell wants to make money selling chips, not providing software. Users who learn how to use Kinoma Play on one device will find they can use it on another.
Hoddie said Marvell can take Kinoma Play’s user interface into new markets such as home automation controls and smart meters. In these markets, the hardware is often light years ahead of the software, which is often difficult to use because it has been designed by engineers who aren’t used to creating consumer software. The first phone with the new version of Kinoma is expected to launch at the end of February.
The press release from the new owner says not less than: Marvell Introduces Kinoma – Revolutionary Open Software Platform to Unify Applications [Feb 14] (emphasis is mine):
Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced Kinoma®, a software platform that will dramatically transform the way consumers interact with the devices that fuel their digital lives. Kinoma is a new foundation for creating and delivering fast, simple user experiences for an unprecedented range of devices. Through its recent acquisition of Kinoma Inc., a visionary creator of mobile media software, Marvell now offers an experience and solution that is fully integrated from silicon to applications, creating new opportunities for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and manufacturers while freeing developers from traditional restraints.
“We are living in an exciting world of proliferating electronic devices. They are becoming a key part of our lives. More than ever consumers demand great ease-of-use and seamless connectivity across all these devices,” said Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-Founder. “I am very excited to bring the talented Kinoma team to Marvell – it is our mission to coherently integrate our industry-leading hardware solutions with beautiful software experiences to enable the entire ecosystem to address this emerging demand. The addition of Kinoma – a simple, intuitive, easy to use software experience optimized for Marvell’s total silicon solutions – provides a unified look and feel across an array of products from handheld devices to smart appliances and smart furnishings. …”
To encourage broad industry adoption, Marvell will offer Kinoma under an open source license. Developers will be able to adapt Kinoma for any device they can imagine. Marvell will also provide two software development kits (SDKs). The first SDK is for application developers to fully integrate their content and services into Kinoma powered devices. The second SDK is for OEMs and manufacturers to port and customize Kinoma for their products.
Marvell will announce further information on developing with Kinoma and licensing in the coming weeks.
And here is the Kinoma value proposition video as released simultaneously by Marvell:
Kinoma Play for Android beta availability has been announced just on the forum of Kinoma, see Sign up for the Android beta NOW [Feb 13]. On their homepage (http://kinoma.com/) you can also signup for the Kinoma app developer SDK avaialbility. This was welcomed enthusiastically by Kinoma users, see Finally! [Feb 14]. Regarding Windows Phone 7 see what Kinoma said on that in the Some space for Kinoma on Windows Phone 7 [Nov 22, 2010] topic (emphasis is mine):
[as the issue has been raised by the creator of the topic]
I’m using Windows Phone 7 for 3 weeks. All I can say is that Zune is absolutely great as an audio player. Still I regret some Kinoma’s features, and all I can say is that, despite Zune, there is some space for Kinoma on WP7.
Indeed, we are missing a lot of features on Zune, and especially access to third party services (RSS, shoucast, Bing Images, Flickr, Last.Fm, Box.net, etc, etc, etc…)
Therefore the Last.fm team shall really reconsider the opportunity to join Windows Phone 7.
A Kinoma App to complete Zune would be fabulous.
WP7 is the future, but it would be even better with Kinoma.
[as the issue has been answered by Kinoma]
Regarding Windows Phone, there’s currently no official way to develop native apps for it, and so no way to consider bringing Kinoma Play to that platform. Once Microsoft provides an SDK for native apps, we’ll definitely take another look.
— Charles Wiltgen
There was a somewhat more detailed answer to that from the same person in the Possible update of Kinoma [July 22, 2010] as well:
Actually, we can’t support Windows Phone 7 because that OS doesn’t have the ability to support native apps. Mozilla has announced that they’re not supporting Windows Phone 7 for that and other reasons as well.
In the meantime, “Windows Phone Classic” support is going to be important to Kinoma for several years. It’s going to continue to be the Windows Phone OS of choice for emerging markets and enterprise, and emerging markets are very important to indie developers like Kinoma because that’s where the volume’s at.
— Charles Wiltgen
Kinoma’s Success Story before the acquisition by Marvell
Kinoma Play in fact has been first introduced two and a half year ago for Windows Mobile smartphones, see Kinoma Introduces Kinoma Play — the world’s first mobile media browser [Aug 25, 2008]:
With Kinoma Play, smartphones now have digital media capabilities that meet, and sometimes even exceed, what users can do on their personal computers. Kinoma Play goes beyond organizing and playing a user’s video, audio and picture files, by bringing in media from around the Internet through the built-in Kinoma Guide, the most comprehensive catalog of the freshest, most diverse mobile media available.
Kinoma Play provides on-demand access from your phone to an unparalleled range of content:
- Media files – Play the music, video, pictures, panoramas and audio books on your phone
- Media services – Share your Audible.com, Flickr, iDisk, Live365, and YouTube accounts between your phone and computer
- Internet – Explore a terabyte of constantly updated, free streaming podcasts, music, radio stations, web-cams and audio books from thousands of providers including ClearChannel, CNN, NPR, Reuters, SHOUTcast, TUNED.mobi, and SomaFM
- Home PC – Access the gigabytes of music, video and pictures on your home PC from your phone – both on-demand streaming and download
Among the key innovations in Kinoma Play:
- Streaming podcasts – Instead of tediously downloading and syncing, podcasts stream on-demand, so users are always up to date
- “Media First” user interface – User interface elements all-but-disappear when viewing photos, listening to music, or watching video to keep the focus on the media
- High quality YouTube – Kinoma Play provides high quality YouTube video by playing the same feeds delivered to your PC, when bandwidth permits
- Integrated search – Search your phone, your home PC and the Internet to find what you want
- Menu Pod – A beautifully animated dynamic menu providing fast access to many powerful features
Pricing & Availability
Kinoma Play is available at the Kinoma web site (www.kinoma.com) for a one-time payment of $29.99. The software is compatible with Windows Mobile 5.0 and higher.
It was immediately recognized by The Wall Street Journal: “Kinoma Play desperately needed by Windows Mobile users” [Aug 27, 2008]
10 days later the company announced that the first post-launch Kinoma Play update now available [Sept 5, 2008] for a wide of devices from Samsung and HTC as well as a few from HP, ASUS and Dell.
No wonder that just 7 months later Kinoma Play chosen as anchor application for Windows Marketplace for Mobile [March 31, 2009]:
The recently announced application marketplace will be included with all Windows phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5 this fall.
“Enthusiasts have embraced Kinoma Play as a ‘must-have’ application that shows how powerful the Windows Mobile media experience can be,” said Peter Hoddie, co-founder and CEO of Kinoma. “Windows Marketplace for Mobile opens up users to a new experience where they can discover and experience dynamic applications, like Kinoma Play, on their Windows mobile device.”
“As a creator of mobile media software, Kinoma offers technology that is a great asset to the Windows Marketplace,” said Steve Hegenderfer, group product manager, Microsoft. “We look forward to making it easy for millions of Windows phone users to download Kinoma Play, one of the latest mobile media browsers available for finding and accessing video, audio and pictures.”
At the same time it came that Kinoma to preview Kinoma Play for Symbian/S60 at CTIA Wireless 2009 [March 30, 2009]:
Kinoma Play for S60, slated for launch on Nokia’s forthcoming Ovi Store, lets consumers see and hear their favorite media faster.
“Kinoma Play for S60 is a natural progression for us,” said Peter Hoddie, co-founder and CEO of Kinoma. “S60 on Symbian OS is the world’s leading mobile platform, and that’s appealing because we want the whole world to be able to enjoy the Kinoma mobile media experience. Through Forum Nokia, we get access to devices like the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which is a great showcase for Kinoma Play, and we’re excited about the prospect of being able to connect with Nokia customers through Ovi Store.”
As well as the news that Kinoma Play to debut in Japan on SoftBank handsets [March 31, 2009]:
Kinoma Play for SoftBank is available immediately for users of the advanced SoftBank X04HT and SoftBank X05HT handsets by HTC.
Then another 2 months later the news came that Kinoma Play Debuts with World’s First “Snapdragon” Phone on NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s Largest Mobile Operator [May 20, 2009]:
“Sorry iPhone fans,” said Peter Hoddie, CEO of Kinoma. “The unbelievable combination of NTT DOCOMO’s network, Toshiba’s stunning T-01A, and our own Kinoma Play set a new bar for how cool a phone can be.”
A week later the actual functionality of Kinoma Play has been extended with social networking services like Twitter and Facebook integrated into it. See Kinoma Introduces World’s First Mobile “Social Media Browser” [May 28, 2009]:
With today’s release of Kinoma Play, the best way to find, play and share media on a mobile phone is now also the best way to find, play and share media across social networks and media services like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Picasa.
- Cross-social sharing – Kinoma Play’s unique approach to supporting social media services and social networks breaks down the barriers between them and is key to its “share everything with everybody” approach. Users can share YouTube videos on Facebook, share Facebook photos on Twitter, share tunes via SMS, and more — because everything’s a first-class citizen, they can do it in a way that would otherwise be clumsy or impossible.
- Your mobile media home – Users can now create personal Home screens for fast access to their favorite stuff. Exclusive ZoomLinks let users jump instantly to almost anything — individual items, entire albums, even to specific features of any Kinoma Play application. They can make pages that collect friends’ Flickr photostreams, YouTube favorites and Twitter tweets, pages of “presets” to live radio streams and podcasts — the possibilities are infinite.
- Twitter – Allows users to tweet about the music, videos and podcasts they love on the world’s largest microblogging site. They can update their status, and photo-blog their day for friends, family and followers all around the world with built-in TwitPic integration. There’s even built-in search so users can see what the world’s saying about breaking news, or about themselves.
- Facebook – The world’s largest social network is also the world’s largest photo sharing site, and Kinoma Play is now the easiest, most convenient way for users to update their status and instantly share the pictures that tell the story of their life.
- App stores — Kinoma Play’s built-in store allows users to download and update their Kinoma Play apps. With two clicks they can install the Mobihand Store app to buy Windows Mobile apps for their phone, check out screenshots and YouTube video demos before they buy, and even download free trials.
- YouTube — Kinoma Play is now the world’s most comprehensive mobile application for YouTube, the world’s largest social video site. There’s an all-new user interface and tons of features — upload, browse, search, play, favorite, rate, comment, share and lots more.
- Last.fm — It’s the music service that “learns what you love” and now Kinoma Play lets users share their love of music with the world. Users can automatically “scrobble” while they listen, see and read about favorite bands and artists, find more artists like the ones they love and connect with what their friends are listening to as well.
- News Reader — Kinoma Play’s new built-in news reader application lets users read their favorite blogs and other news right within Kinoma Play, and play associated video, music, podcasts and pictures as well. By subscribing, they’ll automatically be notified about new posts as they become available.
- Flickr and Picasa — They’re two of the world’s largest photo-sharing sites, and they’re built right in. With Kinoma Play, the phone is an “infinite photo album” of personal photos, photos from friends and family and the most interesting photos taken by people around the world. Even upload new photos on the fly in just seconds.
And finally, just over a year of the introduction of Kinoma Play the news came that the company was Introducing Kinoma Play for Symbian/S60 phones [Sept 15, 2009] (emphasis is mine):
“Nokia’s goal is to provide the best media experience possible on mobile, so we’re thrilled that Kinoma Play is now available for Nokia S60 phones,” said Purnima Kochikar, VP, Forum Nokia and Developer Communities, at Nokia. “It’s exciting and fun for consumers who want to play and share the world’s best entertainment content, and indispensible for business users who need constant access to the latest business and financial news. Innovators like Kinoma show that the only limit to Nokia platforms is their imagination.”
Kinoma Play for Nokia Symbian/S60 is available immediately (in 11 languages!) for supported phones [of Nokia 5000, 6000, E and N Series] running S60 3rd Edition, Feature Pack 1 or Feature Pack 2.
The platform story essentially has ended a week later by New Kinoma Play update: Twitter location, location, location (and more!) [Sept 22, 2009]:
Not only did we introduce support for a new mobile platform with the release of Kinoma Play for Symbian/S60, but we also released a very nice update for all of our Windows Mobile customers as well.
Kinoma Play’s Twitter app is now location aware. A new Set Location command in the Profile tab lets you enter a location, or use your phone’s GPS to choose your location from a list. A list of recent locations makes it super-quick to update your location.
Plus, a new Nearby search (GPS required) shows you nearby news, views and gossip. Who needs a watercooler when you’ve got Kinoma Play?
- If a message contains links to a YouTube video or Flickr image, Kinoma Play now opens them directly in its YouTube and Flickr apps rather than launching a web browser. It’s much faster, and (unlike a web browser) always works.
- The Twitter app now shows the source (web, Kinoma Play, API, etc.) of individual tweets.
What came after this was “just” a great series of new content announcements with minor updates and a few reminders (sometimes via quoting 3d party reviews) of the values of the available features. There were just three anoouncements related to the “expansion/enhancement” of the platform:
– Kinoma Play powers the media experience of another Snapdragon phone [Nov 12, 2009] the the dynapocket SoftBank X02T
– See Kinoma Play on Nokia’s just-launched E72 [Nov 23, 2009] “how Kinoma Play turns the mild-mannered Nokia E72 (and other Symbian/S60 phones) into a mobile media monster.”
– Kinoma FreePlay and Kinoma Player 4 updates now available [Apr 2, 2010] as “YouTube recently made some unannounced changes that broke YouTube support in some of our products”
Below you can find the headlines of not less than 53 posts describing quite well the richness and usability of Kinoma as a multimedia platform:
New! Listen to The New York Times on mobile with Kinoma Play [Sept 29, 2009]
Feature focus: Flights [Oct 1, 2009]
Feature focus: Yelp – Quick, easy local business search [Oct 21, 2009]
We’ve just released a new Kinoma Guide update that adds all currently-available SKY.fm and DI.fm (Digitally Imported) stations in all available stream formats — including aacPlus.
AAC is the standards-based successor to MP3. It offers far higher-quality than MP3 at similar bitrates.
Kinoma Play is the only mobile player that supports not just AAC, but also the even more-advanced aacPlus and aacPlus v2 (a.k.a. HE-AAC and HE-AAC v2) formats.
I love being able to stream my entire personal media library on-demand. Not just because my collection takes up more space than any SD card could ever hold, but also because I don’t have to worry about ”syncing” my phone every time I leave the house.
Our customers seem to agree, and that’s why we built support for Orb — a free personal media server that runs on your PC — into Kinoma Play, Kinoma FreePlay and Kinoma Player 4 EX.
The only problem? Until very recently, Orb was only available for Windows. Today I’m glad to share that Orb is now available for Mac OS X.
If you’re a Mac users, it means that now you can enjoy the best way to play your entire library of movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, pictures and more while you’re out and about. Try it today!
New! Watch 500+ TEDTalks on your phone with Kinoma Play [Dec 15, 2009]
New! 938 audiobooks from Project Gutenberg [Dec 30, 2009]
Can’t remember where you stopped? Kinoma Play does! [Jan 5, 2010]
New! Stay on top of tech with 650+ videos from O’Reilly TV [Jan 29, 2010]
Watch, re-watch and share Super Bowl 2010 commercials [Feb 8, 2010]
Two ways to send a direct message with Twitter for Kinoma Play [March 8, 2010]
Enjoy “Maximum Fun” shows on your phone with Kinoma Play [March 24, 2010]
New! Watch FreeBe TV shows on your phone with Kinoma Play [March 25, 2010]
JAMM: “I am an app junkie…I bought Kinoma Play and haven’t looked back” [April 7, 2010] (emphasis in red is mine)
David Gray‘s published his review of Kinoma Play on Just Another Mobile Monday this weekend. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer Easter present!
“I tried it, was so impressed by it’s graphics, intuitive ease of use, and its inclusion under-one-roof of some functions I already had individual apps for, I immediately bought the pay-version, called Kinoma Play, and haven’t looked back. I was also able to un-install a bunch of those now unnecessary space/memory wasters.”
The Really Mobile Project: Kinoma Play “a bloody good app” [May 20, 2010]
The site published an excellent review of Kinoma Play. … the author — mobile technology expert Ben Smith — gets to the heart of both the what and the why of Kinoma Play. To quote (emphasis mine):
So what is Kinoma Play? At heart it’s a media player, but that description sells it short. It’s an audio player, picture viewer, a video player, a podcast manager (and player), a YouTube client, plus it’s got interfaces to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
The trouble is, that longer description makes it sound like a mess — trying to be all things to all people… But it’s not. And that’s actually made me a fan. It’s the polish…the refinement, the usability.
I quickly re-produced my media library (normally on my iPhone) onto my now-ageing N82 — podcasts, audio in multiple formats (including non-DRM content from the iTunes Store) and RSS feeds were all viewable just as easily as the iPhone. It’s advanced enough to keep the geeks happy and I’d happily give it to a ‘non-geek’ to use too, it’s that good.
Kinoma Play YouTube app update now available [May 21, 2010]
Follow the FIFA 2010 World Cup on your phone with Kinoma Play [June 10, 2010]
Kinoma Play Flights update now available [June 12, 2010]
Enjoy TWiT.tv shows anytime, everywhere (now with video!) [June 15, 2010]
One of the apps we use every day is Kinoma Play’s Google Reader app. It’s a fast, easy way to keep up with your favorite sites, and the full-text searching makes it incredibly easy to find posts on the exact topic you want no matter what feed or folder they’re in.
The reason we keep the word “Beta” painted on is that Google hasn’t quite settled on its “API”, which is what software developers like Kinoma use to access your Google Reader feeds. That means that they can change it anytime without notice.
That’s exactly what just happened, and so today we have a shiny new update of the Google Reader app for you!