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Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push

Update: Asustek Takes Aim at Apple With Latest Tablet [Aug 2, 2011]

Asustek Computer Inc. is reportedly planning to fight off Apple with its latest Transformer-coded tablet PC in anticipation that Apple will cut down prices of its iPad 2 when launching iPad 3 at retail prices on par with iPad 2`s launching prices.

Industry executives estimated Apple to offer discounted prices for iPad 2s in order to clear inventories before launching sales of iPad 3s by this Thanksgiving or next year. They forecast iPad 3s would go on sales at the same prices as iPad 2s’ launching prices.

If so, iPad 3s will pose a threat to non-Apple tablets. To counter, Asustek is reportedly planning to introduce its next generation of Transformer laptop, which doubles as tablet by removing an optional keypad, in October this year.

People familiar with Asustek`s plan say Asustek is working with its components suppliers on developing advantageous designs that can compete with iPad 3. They point out that 2G Transformer is lighter, thinner, quicker in response to switch on and off, and longer in battery work hour on each electrical charge. Asustek is said to offer one definite price tag for 2G Transformer to get rid of speculation on further price markdown, which can inspire consumers to delay the purchases.

Upbeat sales are expected for 2G Transformer as sales of its predecessor are impressive. Asustek sets to ship two million 1G Transformers throughout this year.

Industry executives pointed out that Asustek is among the non-Apple tablet makers that are gearing up to fight off Apple.

Comparative Tablet Teardowns Reveal iPad Design Advantages [IHS iSuppli, Aug 1, 2011]

In the 15 months since the introduction of the iPad, competitive tablet manufacturers still can’t match the design efficiency of Apple Inc.’s groundbreaking product, according to an IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis of eight tablet modelsfrom information and analysis provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).“Since Apple controls both the operating system and hardware design of the iPad, it is able to attain design efficiencies that other tablet manufacturers cannot,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS. “These efficiencies become obvious in areas like the memory [see the half size SDRAMs in the below table] and the battery, where Apple maintains advantages in cost, space savings and performance compared with every competitor in the business.”

Other tablet makers employ operating systems from third-party firms—such as Google Inc., which provides the Android software used in most competitive products on the market today. Many of these tablet makers also outsource the blueprints of their products to third parties, employing reference designs and design services from contract manufacturers.

This contrasts with the model employed by Apple, which uses its own operating system and maintains tight control of its design, components and contract manufacturers.

Apple takes a vertically integrated approach to its products, from the operating system to the user interface, to the hardware design, down to the selection of individual parts used in the device,” Lam noted. “For example, Apple even uses its own applications processor design in both the iPad and iPad 2. In contrast, Android tablet makers buy those capabilities from the likes of Nvidia, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm. This gives Apple greater control in multiple areas of product development.”

The table presents an overview of the results of the dissection of eight tablet models. Note that the BOM figures accounts only for hardware and manufacturing costs and do not take into consideration other expenses such as software, licensing, royalties or other costs.


*Motorola XOOM only comes in 32GB which retails for $799. We’ve normalized capacity for purpose of this comparative exercise
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, Aug 2011

iPad’s Memory and Battery Stay Slim
Apple’s control over the operating system allows it to reduce costs by limiting the quantity of memory in the iPad. In the current-generation iPad 2, the density of synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) is 512 megabytes—half that of the 1 gigabtye used in competitive designs. This memory density reduction results in a nearly $14 reduction in the BOM of the iPad 2 compared to other tablets. Likewise, the original iPad contained half as much SDRAM as comparable competitive devices with single-core applications processors.

The iPad’s efficient memory usage stems from the fundamental difference in the architecture of the operating system,” Lam said. “Apple’s iOS handles multitasking differently than other tablet operating systems, allowing it to reduce the amount of memory required to support the microprocessor.”

Also, Apple’s tight management of its product design, software integration and component selection also allow the iPad’s battery to be the thinnest of all competing tablet designs while still having the largest capacity.

Tablet Trends
Extensive teardown research also reveals how Apple is setting the pace in the tablet market in the areas of pricing and screen size.

Apple established the sweet spot for tablet pricing, pegged at $500 for the Wi-Fi version of the Apple iPad that included 16 gigabytes of NAND flash memory. Samsung reinforced this pricing standard with the 16-gigabyte version of the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 model.

Other tablets such as the BlackBerry Playbook from Research in Motion Ltd. and the TouchPad from Hewlett-Packard Co. have gravitated toward that price point as well.

Apple also is setting the standard for display sizes, with the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen becoming the default standard in the market. Although some tablets have been introduced with screens in the 7-inch range, notably RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook and the upcoming HTC Flyer, the number of designs in the market with 10.1- and 9.7-inch displays have been more plentiful.

“Dual-ing” Tablets
The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service also illustrates the trend toward multi-core processors in tablet designs. Following the introduction of the Motorola Xoom in February and the iPad 2 in March, all new tablet designs within 2011 have included dual-core processors that deliver higher computing and graphical performance.

In 2012 IHS expects to see this trend to continue with the introduction of tablets featuring quad-core processors for even more enhanced performance.

Apple Rides High-Margin Hardware to Competitive Supremacy [IHS iSuppli, July 29, 2011]

As shown by iSuppli’s Teardown Analysis service, Apple commands hardware gross margins in the range of 50 percent on the iPhone, compared to 20 percent to 40 percent for competitive products.

These high margins are the product of the company’s unique approach to product design and Intellectual Property (IP). So far, competitors’ responses to the iPhone have been lookalike, brute-force solutions that throw money at expensive features. Such a tactic yields a higher Bill of Materials (BOM) and generates lower profits—but still doesn’t provide the same quality of user experience as Apple’s products.

Oil Money
The benefits of Apple’s high-margin hardware strategy recently have manifested themselves in the company’s titanic market capitalization. At a level of $234 billion, Apple’s capitalization exceeded that of Microsoft Corp., making Apple the largest technology company in the world based on this measure. In fact, among all types of companies worldwide, Apple’s market capitalization is second only to oil giant Exxon Mobil.

Meanwhile, Apple now holds a cash reserve of $23 billion, giving the company a massive war chest.

To put this into perspective, Apple could buy more than half of Nokia Corp. or all of Motorola Inc. just with its cash reserves—not that iSuppli actually expects the company to consider that.

Building Differentiation
While many companies have developed smartphones to compete with the iPhone based on assembling increasingly expensive subsystems, Apple has taken a unique approach.

For instance, Apple employs a touch controller Integrated Circuit (IC) from Broadcom Corp., but combines it with its own touch system architecture. In another example, Apple’s fingerprints are all over the new A4 processor used in the iPad. However, the A4 started with building blocks made by Samsung Electronics.

A third example is that Apple chose to build around Infineon Technologies’ baseband IC, rather than choosing a more encompassing Snapdragon solution from Qualcomm.

Apple’s Lucky Star
The stars have aligned for Apple, and the company’s hardware and design vision perfectly matches the demand for improving utility of the Internet.

The only company capable of directly challenging Apple’s prominence is Google Inc. Nonetheless, with the vast size of the market opportunity in the mobile world, iSuppli expects the two companies to profitably coexist.

At the same time, iSuppli expects Apple’s lead to extend. Given the variety of initiatives under way, iSuppli is convinced that Apple will offensively widen the gap that now exists relative to its peers, rather than simply extend the time defensively until others catch up.

Tablets to Power Growth of Mobile Broadband Market in 2011 [July 28, 2011]

Shipments of mobile broadband devices in 2011 are projected to climb to 157.9 million units, up from 100.1 million units in 2010. Aside from tablets, the mobile broadband segment includes devices such as notebook and netbook computers, as well as e-book readers.

This year’s growth rate for mobile broadband devices parallels the robust 57.4 percent expansion of 2010, and coming on top of a larger base affirms the market’s strong performance for the second year in a row. Shipments will continue to rise during the next few years but at lower rates, declining to 38.1 percent in 2012 and gradually trending downward until 11.0 percent in 2015 to some 350.7 million units. The five-year compound annual growth rate, computed from the starting year of 2010, stands at 28.5 percent.

Within the segment, tablets will represent the fastest-growing mobile broadband device this year with shipments projected to reach 58.9 million units, up a mighty 239.3 percent from 17.4 million in 2010.

“More than any wireless device, media tablets—exemplified by the best-selling iPad from Apple Inc.—appear to be at the forefront in boosting mobile broadband,” said Francis Sideco, principal analyst for wireless research at IHS. “Affecting everything from supply ecosystems to chipset design, to services, applications and business models, tablets are spurring innovation not just in the wireless sector but also across multiple industries,” Sideco noted.

In particular, media tablets are influencing every node of the value chain, including suppliers, device manufacturers, mobile network operators, third-party applications and service suppliers. In the supply node of the value chain, for instance, tablets impact not only how core chipsets and architectures are designed but also how chipset strategies are implemented and then marketed.

“The excitement surrounding tablets is primarily due to the virtually unlimited range of value-added services and applications that may be delivered through tablets because of their wireless networking capability,” Sideco said. “Whether tablets have built-in Wi-Fi or come with embedded 3G/4G chips, the wireless function of tablets enables them to transcend just merely being another cool gadget into a virtual storefront, with the potential to generate revenue for any number of downstream businesses and industries.”

Of the various ways to enable broadband access for consumer electronics devices, mobile hotspots and embedded chipsets are the fastest-growing methods, growing 25 to 50 percent faster than the overall market, Sideco noted. Key to their growth is the capability of mobile hotspots to combine data access for multiple devices while staying at the forefront of technology, as well as the flexibility of design enabled by chipset solutions in devices.

By 2015, the majority of mobile broadband devices will utilize the 4G wireless standard known as long term evolution (LTE), in line with consumer demand for faster speeds and, perhaps more important, lower latencies or delays from their mobile broadband networks.

“Growth in mobile broadband devices will drive an explosive increase in mobile data traffic, causing carriers to rapidly rethink their strategies for network and service deployments as well as data monetization,” Sideco said. “And as new players target the mobile device market, existing players at every node of the communications value chain will need to continually evolve their business strategies. Failure to do so in this dynamic market, with continually changing paradigms, will cause even well-established players to be relegated quickly to marginal roles.”

See also:
Netbook prices starting $50 less at $200 via Intel MeeGo strategy [July 29, 2011]
Tackling the Android tide [July 16, 2011]
Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs [June 17, 2011]
Microsoft’s huge underperformance on mainland China market [May 30, 2011]
Amazon Tablet PC with E Ink Holdings’ Hydis FFS screen [May 3, 2011]
– from the original post of March 29 (moved up to here): ASUS Eee Slate based Windows marketing from Microsoft [March 21, 2011] which is presenting the Windows Slate value proposition based on the Eee Slate product of ASUS being the first real slate product for Microsoft and thus finally enabling Redmond to start the long awaited value proposition campaign (just a start for MS but a very important one to build the much wanted by it premium value proposition over tablets from Apple and Google/Android)
– from the original post of March 29 (moved up to here): Follow-up: Acer’s decision of restructuring: a clear sign of accepting the inevitable disintegration of the old PC (Wintel) ecosystem and the need for joining one of the new ecosystems under formation [April 1, 2011] Worth to read along with this: Gartner: media tablets are the new segment next to mobile PCs and desktops, as well as web- and app-capable mobile phones [April 16, 2011]

Acer Iconia Tab A100 finally available in August for $300 [July 29, 2011]

It’s been a long and twisted road for Acer’s 7-inch Honeycomb tablet, but after all the starts and stops, we’ve finally got an ETA for the Iconia Tab A100. According to an email sent out to Acer retail partners today, the slab should land in stores sometime in early August with a suggested price tag of $300 [becoming the first Honeycomb tablet in that size]. The Tegra 2-powered device was originally slated for a mid-May launch, but was reportedly held up by Honeycomb compatibility issues. Also arriving early August, is a pair of new Aspire notebooks: the 15.6-inch 5750Z and the 17.3-inch 7739Z, ringing in at $475 a piece. Both laptops rock 4GB of DDR3 RAM (upgradable to 8GB), 500GB of storage, and Intel Pentium processors. Given the extra three months Acer’s had to get the Iconia Tab A100 to market, that Honeycomb better taste extra sweet when it finally makes its debut.

Acer to ship 300,000-400,000 tablet PCs in 3Q11, say sources [July 25, 2011]

Acer is expected to take up delivery of 30,000 units of its 7-inch Iconia A100 tablet PCs from ODM Compal Electronics in July and increase the volume to 100,000 units in the August-September period, according to industry watchers.

More on Acer towards the end of Aug 2 Update.

Wintek to supply touch panels for use in Asustek tablet PC Eee Pad Transformer [Aug 2, 2011]

Taiwan-based Wintek has become the second supplier of touch panels for use in the second-generation Eee Pad Transformer tablet PC model to be launched by Asustek Computer in October 2011, according to Eee Pad Transformer supply chain makers.

In view of booming sales of the 10.1-inch first-generation Eee Pad Transformer, Asustek is having its supply chain well prepared for production of the second-generation model and therefore has selected Wintek to supply touch panels in addition to HannStar Display, which makes touch sensors produced by its subsidiary Sintek Photronic into touch panels, the sources pointed out. Wintek will begin small-volume shipments in the middle of the third quarter and shipments in large volumes will begin at the end of the quarter, the sources indicated.

Asustek shipped an estimated 400,000 Eee Pad Transformer tablet PCs in the second quarter of 2011 and aims to ship more than one million units in the third quarter, the sources noted.

Asustek to ship 300,000 Eee Pad Transformer tablets in June, says chairman [June 10, 2011]

Asustek Computer’s shipments of Eee Pad Transformer tablet PCs will reach 300,000 units as projected for June, and will account for 10% of total revenues for the month, according to company chairman Jonney Shih.

For the first half of 2011, total shipments of Eee Pad Transformers will top over 400,000 units compared to its target of 300,000, Shih added.

Shih made the remarks while Acer has lowered its tablet PC shipment target for 2011 from 7.5-10 million to five million units [then even lower to 2.5 million units, see much below in this August 2 Update]. But sources at component suppliers believe that Acer’s revised target still remains too high.

While Motorola Mobility has said that it shipped 250,000 Xoom tablets during the February-April period, the sources indicated total shipments of Xoom tablets will be below 500,000 units by the end of June.

Additionally, sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs and HTC’s HTC Flyers tablets have been flat so far, the source added.

With plans to launch new models including sliding tablets and its Padfone, Asustek is confident that it will be able to sustain its goal to ship two million tables PCs in 2011, Shih stated.

Asustek sets prices lower for US-bound Eee Pad Transformer tablet PCs [May 23, 2011]

Asustek Computer has adopted an aggressive pricing strategy for its entry-level Eee Pad Transformer tablet PCs sold in the US market, a move which may force other vendors to adjust their pricing for comparable models, according to industry sources.

Asustek began to market its 10.1-inch Eee Pad Transformer in the US in May with the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model priced at US$399.99, which equals roughly NT$11,500 compared to a price of NT$14,900 set in April when the device was initially launched in Taiwan.

Asustek is expected to ship two million tablet PCs in 2011, with the Eee Pad Transformer accounting for about 50% of total shipments, the sources estimate.

Facing price competition from Asustek, Acer reportedly is reviewing its pricing for comparable models sold in the US market, said the sources, noting that Acer currently sets the price of its 10.1-inch 16GB Iconia tablet PC at US$449.99.

Additionally, prices for Android 3.1-based tablet PCs to be launched by other vendors in the second half of the year may also be affected, with ASPs of Android 3.1 models likely to be dragged down by US$100, the sources commented.

ASUStek’s promotional video:
Eee Pad Transformer- My Multiple Lifestyle, I decide [April 12, 2011]

[ http://www.facebook.com/ASUSEee ]
Visit the ASUS Eee fan to know more product information and join campaigns.

Meet the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, the best tablet choice for users looking for both media consumption and mobile productivity. Featuring an expandable keyboard docking station and a combined battery life of up to 16 hours, the Transformer is a 10.1″ tablet running the new Android 3.0 operating system, Honeycomb. Stay productive with Polaris® Office® or enjoy multimedia with Adobe® Flash®10.2 support. Combine it with ASUS’ intuitive Waveshare user interface and the most powerful hardware features available makes the Transformer an exciting portable device supporting both office work and social communication.

ASUStek’s product site:
Eee Pad Transformer TF101 [April 2, 2011]
already indicating Android 3.2

Android 3.2 comes to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer (while Acer’s tablet gets Android 3.1) [July 29, 2011]
Asus Eee Pad Transformer to get Google Android 3.2 starting July 28th
[July 27, 2011]

The latest version of Android doesn’t really bring much to the tablet for people that are already using Android 3.1. There’s better graphics support for some apps that were designed to run on smartphones, and some other minor tweaks. The key difference is that the operating system will run on 7 inch tablets with lower resolution screens, but you don’t really care about that if you’re already using a Transformer.

On the other hand, Asus appears to be bundling one minor update of its own with Android 3.2: After installing the update you’ll be able to use multitouch gestures on the touchpad on the optional keyboard dock accessory for the tablet.

See: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Full Review Video [with 3.2 already] [14:38 long, July 30, 2011] if you are interested in an overall usage experience including bundled applications like ASUStek’s own Polaris® Office® 3.0:

… a professional mobile office Solution which enables users to edit various types of office documents including documents (.doc), spreadsheets (.xls) and presentation (.ppt) files, making the Transformer very attractive for professional use.

Asustek Jumps to No.4 Spot in China`s Tablet PC Market in Q2 [Aug 2, 2011]

The Taiwan-based Asustek Computer Inc., a world-caliber PC brand, scored a 4.2% share as the fourth-largest brand in the Chinese market for tablet PCs in the second quarter, outpacing Motorola and Lenevo, according to a local market research body Enfodesk.

Enfodesk`s report shows that sales of tablet PCs totaled 1.4414 million units in the market in the second quarter of this year, with Apple Inc. remaining No.1 with a dominant market share of 74.3%. The China-based eben and Samsung posted a share of 4.8% and 4.5%, respectively, for the No.2 and No.3 spot. Trailing Asustek, Motorola and Lenovo came fifth and sixth, respectively, with a 2.2% and 2.0% share.

Enfodesk`s analysts indicated that with more players joining the competition, the market will see increasingly intense competition. They pointed out HTC`s Flyer, for instance, has similar technical specifications as eben`s competing models, and hence is expected to capture some of its potential shares in the future.

While Apple`s iPad keeps dominating the market, Asustek`s EEE Pad Transformer, which has received raving reviews from foreign news agencies, like New York Times, for its cutting-edge keypad attachment and friendly selling prices, has quickly gained its ground. In addition to China, in fact, the product has also enjoyed hot sales in different countries of the world, helping the brand to offset a sales decline in netbook PCs so far this year.

But, now that few brands can narrow Apple`s lead in a short time, the competition for the No.2 spot in the market will become even more intense, especially when more low-priced generic tablet PCs have also hit the market to threaten these runner-ups, indicated market observers.

DisplaySearch`s survey findings show that global sales of generic tablet PCs sharply increased to 1.9 million units to command a 19.6% share of the total in the first quarter of this year, only next to Apple`s market share and higher than any of a single PC brand. Compared to branded models that sell for between RMB3,500 [US$544] and RMB5,000 [US$777], generic tablet PCs are commonly priced at RMB2,000 [US$311] and below, well received as low-end alternatives in the Chinese market.

Market Share Recorded by Tablet PC Brands in China in Q2, 2011
Ranking Brand Market Share
1 Apple 74.3%
2 eben 4.8%
3 Samsung 4.5%
4 Asustek 4.2%
5 Motorola 2.2%
6 Lenovo 2.0%

Source: Enfodesk

ASUS Transformer Review: Buy ASUS Eee Pad, iPad, Xoom or Galaxy? [May 19, 2011]

ASUS Transformer is quite good, brown color and texturized surface Android 3.0 Tablet, despite of its Laptop Like Looks. It has 1024px 10 inches display with an nVidia Tegra 2 Processor inside. It has almost 10hrs Battery Life [compares with 10 hours for the iPad 2].

ASUS Eee Pad lacks the 3G connectivity at the moment which will be available in next coming model. It has a built in HDMI port. This hybrid gadget can rightfully claim to be one of the best tablets in the market so far, with far [more] beautiful looks than the bulky Xoom and a price cheaper than Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

The tablet computers that compete with the iPad have mostly been uninspiring. The Eee Pad Transformer stands out with a design that isn’t just copied from the iPad: It’s a tablet that turns into a laptop.

For $399, $100 cheapestr than iPad, you get a tablet computer with a 10-inch screen and hardware that doesn’t cut corners. It’s fully usable on its own. For another $149, you can buy a keyboard that connects to the tablet. Together, they look and open like a small laptop.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Display Screen uses the same technology as the iPad’s [see here: IPS Panel, 178° wide view angle], making it easy to read from any angle and in any orientation. It is slightly larger than the iPad’s and has a slightly higher resolution.

The ASUS Transformer tablet weighs 0.68 kg and has a rear 5MP camera that allows you to take picture with it, even if for some this can be quite uncomfortable. You can get the 16 GB version for 399$.

The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Camera quality is so-so but more than adequate for videoconferencing through Google Talk. The Transformer has two cameras, as we expect from this year’s tablets.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen small laptops running Android, but it is the first time ASUS Transformer runs Honeycomb, the first Android version specifically designed for tablets rather than smartphones. The update makes Android much better at taking advantage of a 10-inch screen.

But as tablet software, Android is still far behind Apple’s iOS software for the iPad. The biggest problem is the low quality and poor selection of applications from outside companies. Many of my favorite iPad apps, including Netflix and The Wall Street Journal are not available at all. Others, such as The New York Times, are available only in inferior versions, designed for the smartphone screen rather than the tablet.

I also had frequent crashes when using the applications. The Transformer is perhaps the best Android tablet out there, especially considering the price, but the software is still a major weakness. Still, the beautifully integrated keyboard should tempt people who don’t want to decide between a tablet and a laptop.

Honeycomb Market Unpredictable – Will not install apps [July 27, 2011]

We have 15 Motorola Xoom Tablets for a High School Classroom.  I have updated all of them to Android 3.2 (Honeycomb).  I have been testing installation of apps through the market and have had very unpredictable behavior on all the devices.  Sometimes I can install apps and sometimes I can’t.  At first it seemed like it didn’t work with our ‘Google Apps for Education’ accounts but then a few of the tablets wouldn’t install apps with our personal Gmail account.  We would take them home and sometimes that would help and sometimes that wouldn’t.  We put them outside our firewall here and that didn’t seem to help either.  When we go to install an app it just sits there with the green bar scrolling.  At that time, if we go to manage apps and the Market, stop the market and clear the data, then go back into the market, the app shows under ‘not installed’ apps……then when we click that it usually installs.  I’ve also tried pushing the installs through the web browser too and that didn’t seem to make a difference.  At this point it seems like they are door stops as they are practically unusable.  As soon as it seems like we have it narrowed down, another device proves that wrong.  And yes, I have tried Factory Resets on all of them.

Any ideas?  No way am I going to call Motorola because they’ll tell me to unplug it and stupid stuff like that.

There was neither cure nor help for that from anybody (neither the vendor nor other users). This is the current sad state of the Android tablet market! ASUStek’s case is not different either (couldn’t be).

Android 3.1 on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer [Anandtech, May 28, 2011]

At Google I/O Android 3.1 was unveiled along with details of Android Ice Cream Sandwich [a combination of Gingerbread and Honeycomb into a “cohesive whole”]. Here you see Android 3.1 (right) vs. 3.0.1 (left) on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. See also a very detailed ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Review [Anandtech, April 21, 2011] for the current (3.0.1) version where the ASUS tablet is also compared with Apple iPad 2, BlackBerry Playbook and Motorola Xoom.

Android 3.2 GPL source code published, update should follow soon [July 12, 2011]

… today Android Open-Source Project engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru has pushed the GPL portions of the 3.2 source code to the AOSP tree.  Don’t think this means that Honeycomb has been open-sourced — this is just the bits used for the 3.2 update that are using the GPL license, which requires the source code to be available when the software is shipped.

For you developers out there, JBQ also gives build instructions (they haven’t changed since last time) and warns that the binaries aren’t likely to run on actual hardware, again like the 3.1 code.  …

Motorola Xoom gets Android 3.2, 4G module’s FCC approval [July 12, 2011]

Motorola Xoom owners received two treats on Tuesday with new software and a hint of new hardware. Google has posted to its Android Building group  that Android 3.2 is both available to download and should be reaching the tablets. The upgrade adds legacy app zooming, Exchange fixes, and the SD card slot support that Google had promised half a year ago before the launch of the Xoom.

The OS is also poised to be the first from Google to natively support seven-inch tablets like the Huawei MediaPad and HTC Flyer. Acer should also use it for the repeatedly delayed Iconia Tab A100. The PC builder had tried to force Android 3.0 on to the small size but found it unworkable.

Another of the initially promised upgrades, the 4G LTE module for Verizon, has surfaced at the FCC. The mini PCI card itself is nondescript but shows that Motorola will likely have a quick turnaround for the upgrades, which require that owners send in the Xoom to have it upgrade by Motorola itself.

Motorola cuts Xoom prices in US and Taiwan [July 7, 2011]

Motorola Mobility has lowered the price of its 32GB Wi-Fi-enabled Xoom tablet PCs for sale in the US from US$599 to US$499 and in the Taiwan market from NT$19,800 (NT$687) to NT$16,900.

Motorola’s price reduction comes after rival Asustek Computer launched its entry-level Eee Pad Transformer tablet PCs in the US market in May for just US$399, according to industry sources.

More tablet vendors are likely to cut their product prices prior to the launch of iPad 3 and Google’s next-generation Ice Cream Sandwich tablets to avoid the piling-up of old models, the sources commented.

Acer is likely to be forced to lower prices of Iconia tablet PCs in August in order to fulfill its goal to ship 2.5 million tablets in 2011, noted the sources, adding that Acer’s tablet PC shipments could have been below 300,000 units for the year so far.

Toshiba is also expected to reduce the price of its Android 3.0-based AT100 tablets in the Taiwan market after August, added the sources. The AT100 is currently available at NT$18,800.

Acer cuts Iconia tablet price to boost sales [July 29, 2011]

Acer has slashed the price of its 10-inch Iconia Tab A500 tablet PCs in the US market from US$449.99 to US$395 aiming to achieve its goal of shipping a total of 2.5-3 million tablet PCs in 2011.

The price reduction apparently aims to take on Asustek Computer’s Eee Pad Transformer tablets which are priced at US$399 for the US market, pointed out industry sources.

Acer in June lowered its 2011 shipment target for tablet PCs from 5-7 million units to 2.5-3 million units following a corporate restructuring in the second quarter. But some market watchers expect Acer to ship only two million tablet PCs as a best case scenario in 2011.

To cope with price competition from Acer, Asustek is expected to cut prices for its Eee Pad Transformers in mid-August, indicated the sources, adding that other brand vendors will also be forced to cut prices for their comparable Android/Nvidia Tegra 2 models.

Acer aggressively headhunting software talent from HTC, Asustek, Pegatron [July 27, 2011]

Acer has reportedly been aggressively headhunting software talent from players such as High Tech Computer (HTC), Asustek Computer and Pegatron Technology recently hoping to fill its gap in software development capability quickly, according to sources from PC players.

Commenting on the market rumor, Asustek pointed out that the company provides great treatment to its R&D technicians and the team is currently performing several new product developments and it has not heard any rumors about its employees leaving for other companies.

Starting from the end of 2009, Acer has been working aggressively seeking software R&D talent and successfully recruited an R&D team of 30 technicians from HTC to help rescue its smartphone business as well as cut into development of tablet PCs. However, compared to its competitors, which have close to thousands of technicians, Acer’s software R&D manpower is still rather weak, the sources noted.

Since Acer is providing great packages for its software R&D talent, the three firms all reportedly have several technicians ready to join Acer, while the deal has attracted talent from other software designers, the sources pointed out.

To counter Acer’s headhunting strategy, most of the competitors are paying more attention to the personnel turnover and are providing better bonuses to attract them to stay, the sources added.

Google posts Android 3.2 SDK, sets seven-inch tablet limits [July 15, 2011]

In addition to helping create native apps, it also helps explain the new tablet support. The release is very narrow on its new tablet requirements and explains that it will be focused only on seven-inch tablets with a 1024×600 display in addition to the nine- and ten-inch tablets it saw before.Actual users will mostly see the new adaptation to sizes as well as the support for SD card media loading that Google had promised half a year ago. A new addition for zoom-in app compatibililty lets apps run on tablets that don’t work properly in the usual scaling mode.

Developers mostly get better control over how apps display their buttons and other interface elements on different-sized screens, including the earlier sizes as well as the new seven-inch form factor.

The 3.2 update is likely the last Google will post in the 3.x family before Ice Cream Sandwich. Its new OS, which may start off as 4.0, is due to bring the Android 3 interface down to the phone level and scale more gracefully without being locked into certain resolutions.

The first tablets due to ship with Android 3.2 will be seven-inch tablets optimized for it, such as Huawei’s MediaPad and Acer’s Iconia Tab A100. HTC is also due to upgrade the Flyer and get a true tablet-native interface.

From the above posts it is apparent that the 3.0 version of Honeycomb had half-baked functionality which is only now has been partially expanded. Particularly notable are the display / screen functionalities in 3.2 which show what kind of narrow support developers had before, and also the limitations they should still cope with:

 … some of the highlights of Android 3.2:

Optimizations for a wider range of tablets. A variety of refinements across the system ensure a great user experience on a wider range of tablet devices.

Compatibility zoom for fixed-sized apps. A new compatibility display mode gives users a new way to view these apps on larger devices. The mode provides a pixel-scaled alternative to the standard UI stretching, for apps that are not designed to run on larger screen sizes.

Extended screen support API. For developers who want more precise control over their UI across the range of Android-powered devices, the platform’s screen support API is extended with new resource qualifiers and manifest attributes, to also allow targeting screens by their dimensions.

From: Android 3.2 Platform and Updated SDK tools [Android Developers Blog, July 15, 2011]

The way of communicating such significant functional updates essentially needed for more general platform capability — only via a developers’ blog — is also showing how much Google’s way of delivering its Android OS is not platform-like at all. In the sense of ages old computing practices which began with IBM System 360.

End of Aug 2 Update

See also:
ASUS, China Mobile and Marvell join hands in the OPhone ecosystem effort for “Blue Ocean” dominance [March 8, 2011] which is describing a different strategy for the fastest growing mainland China market, with a range of smart phone products which also includes however a tablet PC albeit of different name (TD Pad or T Pad), different operating system (China Mobile’s OPhone which contains Android source code and in 3.0 version could be compatible with Android 2.3 or even 3.0) and different ARM processor (Marvell PXA 920)
CES 2011 presence with Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7] where you can find a lot of details related to this post for: Acer Iconia dual screen notebook, ASUS Eee Slate, AMD Fusion APUs (of which the dual-core C-50, former codename “Ontario”, is used in the Acer Iconia Tab W500)

Acer Lowers PC Sales Goal [March 29]

Acer Inc., one of the world`s leading personal-computer venders, has unexpectedly adjusted downward its first-quarter PC sales goal to a negative annual growth of 10% from originally set positive growth of 3%.

The outlook for Acer`s PC sales is gloomy because the company`s operating net profit margin will fall under 2% in the first quarter of the year from the preceding quarter`s 2.93%, casting a cloud over its future earning performance.

Another big PC vender—Asustek Computer Inc. is also struggling to keep the bottom line to see sales cut by 10% in the first quarter from the preceding quarter.

In a news letter released by Acer, its PC sales in the first quarter will shrink 10% from the preceding quarter because of the weakened demand of the PC markets in Western Europe and the U.S.

Acer predicted it will not see positive growth for sales of PCs in the second quarter, given an optimistic projection made by institutional investors that the worldwide notebook PC market will see shipment increase by 10% in the second quarter from the preceding quarter.

Acer revised guidance to affect Compal and Wistron performance for 2Q11 [March 28]

Earlier, industry sources predicted that Compal and Wistron would see their notebook shipments grow over 10% and 15-20%, respectively, on quarter in the second quarter.

For 2011, Acer is expected to outsource 40-50% of its notebook production to Compal and another 30% to Wistron, the sources estimated.

Acer, Asustek believe tablet PC to aid 2Q11 revenues, market watchers doubt it [March 29]

Acer expects its tablet PCs, which have already started shipping in March and will have even more models to be launched in the second quarter, will see strong shipment increase in the second quarter, while Asustek expects its Eee Pad series will contribute about 5% of its second-quarter revenues.

Comparing the products to the iPad 2, both Acer and Asustek have added special functions into their machines and iPad 2 but the two vendors’ devices do not have any price advantage, while facing a big gap in brand popularity, so their sales are unlikely to benefit much, the market watchers noted.

The market watchers are already conservative about Acer’s claim that the company will ship over five million tablet PCs in 2011 and believe Asustek’s goal of shipping 1.5-2 million units will have a better chance to succeed.

Asustek unveils Android 3.0 tablet Transformer [March 28]

Asustek Computer has unveiled its first Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet PC model, the Transformer, which is equipped with a Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 10.1-inch capacitive touch screen, a 1.2-megapixel front camera and a 5.0-megapixel rear camera, for pre-order immediately in the Taiwan market. It will debut the model in the UK on March 30 and the US in early April, according to the company.

The Transformer has an optional keyboard set for multiple extended use, Asustek indicated.

Asustek launched a 12-inch Wintel tablet PC model, the Eee Slate EP121, in January 2011. It will launch a 10-inch Android 3.0 Nividia Tegra 2 model, the Eee Pad Slider EP102, in May; and a 7-inch Android 3.0 model with 3G voice communication, the Eee Pad MeMo EP71, in June.

Asustek expects to ship 1.5-2 million units from the Eee Pad series to share 10% of total global shipments of non-iPad tablet PCs in 2011, the company said, adding of the total Eee Pad shipments in 2011, Transformer will account for at least 50%.

ASUS Tablet Computers — Providing Choice through Innovation at CeBIT 2011 [Feb 28]

Wide range of innovative tablet computers provide a variety of choices for consumers and businesses alike

CeBIT, Hanover, Germany (February 28, 2011)
— ASUS today presented a live demonstration of the four tablet devices announced earlier this year: the Eee Slate EP121, Eee Pad Transformer, Eee Pad Slider and Eee Pad MeMO. Designed for a wide range of users and applications, the models will be available with three screen sizes, and a choice of either Windows® 7 Home Premium or Google Android® operating systems for the ultimate in mobile flexibility and productivity.

Choice is essential when selecting innovative and technologically advanced personal computer devices. When it comes to tablets, there is a clear need for devices than can deliver a full multimedia experience with HD video, broad connectivity options, gaming, plus the broadest range of media compatibility with standards like Adobe Flash, all in a compact device. In short, there is demand for tablets that enable users to both consume and create content to learn, work or play.

ASUS Eee Slate EP121
The Eee Slate EP121 is designed for users who require a highly portable handheld device that can also run standard office software while multitasking with other applications. Powered with an Intel® Core™ i5 dual-core processor, the Eee Slate features a 12.1” LED-backlit display with a 1280 x 800 resolution and a wide 178° viewing angle, making it perfectly suited for both productivity applications and multimedia entertainment.

Windows® 7 Home Premium ensures full compatibility with a wide range of popular applications controlled by flexible input options thanks to the Eee Slate. The capacitive touch-screen responds instantly to fingertip control for day-to-day use, while the electromagnetic stylus offers fine precision input and control. An on-screen keyboard is also complimented by support for an external Bluetooth keyboard for traditional desktop use.

ASUS Eee Slate The Eee Slate is available with 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage (expandable via SDXC), and up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM. All models have 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, a 2-megapixel camera, plus two USB 2.0 ports that provide full support for a wide range of standard PC peripherals, along with a mini-HDMI port that is ideal for connecting to external displays.

The Eee Slate EP121 was recently honored with a CES 2011 Innovation Award in the Personal Electronics category, and initial sales figures showed it reaching the 3rd best-selling item in the Computers and Accessories category at Amazon.com.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer
Slated for release in April, the Eee Pad Transformer comes with a slim lightweight design and 10.1” capacitive touch-screen. It is the perfect pad computer for people who want to enjoy multimedia on the move, but still wish to have easy access to the web, email and other productivity applications. A custom user interface provides easy access to the many features of the Android® 3.0 HoneyComb operating system, while the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 chipset provides full support for Adobe Flash, smooth HD video conferencing and playback, a lightning fast web experience and incredible mobile gaming performance.

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer with Honeycomb

An optional docking station turns the Transformer into a full-fledged notebook with a QWERTY keyboard for desktop use, while extending battery life up to 16 hours. As with the Slider, front (1.2MP) and rear (5MP) digital cameras make for easy video chat and digital photography, while a built-in mini-HDMI port makes for easy connections to external displays for full 1080p HD video playback.

ASUS Eee Pad Slider
Mobile users who want the best of both tablet and traditional notebook worlds will be well served by the Eee Pad Slider. This pad computer not only features a 10.1” IPS touch-screen for finger-friendly use, but also a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for comfortable, use-anywhere typing. It is powered by the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2, the world’s most advanced mobile processor with a dual-core CPU and NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU for never-before-seen experiences on a mobile device.

ASUS Eee Pad Slider

Built-in digital cameras on the front (1.2MP) and rear (5MP) of the Slider allow for easy video chat and digital photography while the Android® 3.0 HoneyComb operating system makes sharing photos by internet, email and social media sites a breeze. The intuitive interface provides user-friendly control via the capacitive touch-screen and optional onboard 3G allows for go-anywhere internet access, making the Slider the ideal device for mobile professionals with work-oriented needs.

ASUS Eee Pad MeMO

ASUS Eee Pad MeMO

The Eee Pad MeMO provides the ultimate in mobile flexibility. Its 7” capacitive touch-screen makes it small enough to slip into a jacket pocket, yet still perfect for taking handwritten notes using the supplied stylus pen. The Android® 3.0 HoneyComb operating system with Qualcomm®’s dual-core Snapdragon™ offers a wide range of productivity and entertainment software, while a Micro HDMI port means the MeMO can even connect to an external display for full 1080p HD video playback. Built-in digital cameras on the front (1.2MP) and rear (5MP) of the MeMO also allow for easy video chat and digital photography, making it a convenient travel companion.

ASUS Launches the Eee Pad Transformer – An innovative tablet with an expandable keyboard dock [March 25]

ASUS today has announced the first shipments of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, the best tablet choice for users looking for both media consumption and mobile productivity. Featuring an expandable keyboard docking station and combined battery life of up to 16 hours*, the Transformer is running the new Android 3.0 operating system, Honeycomb. Combining Honeycomb with ASUS’ intuitive Waveshare user interface and the most powerful hardware features available makes the Transformer an exciting portable device supporting both office work and social communication.

Powerful mini-cinema entertainment on-the-go

Powered by the NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 dual-core processor, the Transformer browses the web at blazing speeds, providing a snappier response time and better performance when multi-tasking. An IPS Panel made from durable and scratch-resistant glass is viewable at angles up to 178°, and produces a crisper and more accurate color range by up to 50% when compared to other tablets in the market. Built-in SRS Sound technology provides a dynamic 3D stereo audio experience, with maximum bass response and a wide sound field from the discrete speakers housed in the 12.98mm thick frame that weighs only 680g. A 5MP rear- and 1.2MP front-facing cameras can shoot and record video, which can be played back in video on HDTVs via a mini HDMI output port, making it a true mobile entertainment device.

Transform from pad to notebook mode with keyboard docking station

The Transformer sets itself apart from other tablets on the market by featuring an optional docking station. This provides access to a full QWERTY keyboard along with unique Android Function keys, turning the tablet Transformer into a full-fledged notebook. Preloaded on the Transformer is Polaris® Office® 3.0, a professional Mobile Office Solution which enables users to edit various types of office documents including documents (.doc), spreadsheets (.xls) and presentation (.ppt) files, making the Transformer very attractive for professional use. A touchpad, 3.5mm audio jack, two USB ports as well as a built-in SD Card reader for easy file sharing and storage expandability makes the Transformer a versatile media hub. In addition, the ultra-convenient ASUS WebStorage with one year of unlimited storage space provides worry-free cloud computing. The docking station also extends the Transformer’s 9.5 hours* of battery life up to 16 hours*, so users can use it all day for work and play.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS with ASUS Waveshare UI

Google’s Android Honeycomb is a revolutionary operating system specially designed and optimized for tablets, and enables users a full web experience for on-the-go web browsing, communicating and casual computing. Supporting Adobe® Flash® 10.2** and the ever growing Android Market, entertainment is a finger swipe away. The convenient ASUS Launcher also allows users to easily launch software, manage content and access online services and connect devices with a few simple taps, while ASUS’ Waveshare Interface hosts a variety of unique applications such as MyNet, MyLibrary, MyCloud and more. MyNet easily streams digital media wirelessly within home network devices so HD videos or music can be played on devices such as an HDTV or desktop PCs for an even better experience from the Transformer. MyLibrary consolidates downloaded books, magazines and newspapers in to one easy to browse profile while MyCloud is a total cloud solution, providing access to digital content such as music, videos and files from the cloud anywhere, anytime. Users can even use MyCloud to remotely access and control any PC or Mac system and access applications or files to extend the versatility of the Eee Pad Transformer experience.
*9.5 and 16 hour battery life estimated under certain conditions.
**Adobe® Flash® 10.2 support requires an upgrade available online.

Highlights:

  1. Mobile Productivity with docking station (Full QWERTY KB and touchpad, up to 16 hours of battery life, Unlimited ASUS WebStorage)
  2. Mini-Cinema Entertainment (Brilliant IPS panel with 178⁰ viewing angle, HDMI support, NVIDIA® Tegra™2 1.0 GHz dual-core CPU)
  3. Trendsetting Tablet Experience (Android 3.0 OS for tablets, Flash support, thousand of applications on Android Market )

Asus EEE Pad Slider Tablet Hands-On (Honeycomb) @ Cebit 2011, Hannover, Germany [March 6.]

Brand-new tablet from Asus: OS based on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, 1.2 Mpx front and 5 Mpx back-cameras, 10.1 inches IPS LCD, nVidia Tegra 2 CPU & GPU. And a slider QWERTY keyboard in its thin design. It will be available in April and priced around 499-799 EUR in Europe.

Asus Eee Pad Slider Full Specifications And Price Details [March 6]

Network
3G Network
2G Network
Form Factor QWERTY-Slider
Dimensions
L x B x H 273 x 180 x 17.7mm
Weight 886 grams
Display
Type IPS Capacitive touchscreen
Size 7 inch
Colors & Resolution 16 Million Colors & 1280 x 800 Pixels
Input/ User Interface
Input Full Slide-out QWERTY Keyboard
Multi Touch
Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
System Properties
Operating System Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS
CPU 1GHz Dual-Core Nvidia Tegra 2 Processor
1GB / 512MB RAM
Memory Storage
Internal Memory 16GB/ 32GB memory storage
Memory Expansion
Browser & Messaging HTML, Flash
SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email and IM
Camera
Still – 5 Megapixels
– 2592 x 1944 pixels
– LED Flash, Auto Focus
Secondary – 1.3 Megapixels
– 1280 x 1024 pixels
Video Recording Capability – 1080p HD video recording capability @ 30fps
– 1920 x 1080 Pixels
Connectivity
Bluetooth & USB Bluetooth v2.1 with EDR & v2.0 micro USB
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Headset 3.5mm stereo headset jack
GPS A-GPS
3G Yes
HDMI Mini-HDMI
Music & Video
Music Format MP3, WMA
Video Format MPEG4, H.263, H.264
Battery
Type Li-Ion 25WH Standard battery
Battery Life 6 Hours Running
Other Features 1080p HD video playback
Micro HDMI Connector
My Wave UI
Optional onboard 3G
Adobe 10.1 Flash compatibility
Facebook integration
Android Market, G-mail, Google Maps, G-Talk
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa
Quickoffice, Digital compass
Colors Black

Price & Availability

Asus Eee Pad Slider will be available from May at a price ranging from $500 to $800.

Tablet PC Competition to Benefit Taiwanese Firms [March 25]

With PC vendors heavily promoting tablets to trigger more fierce competition in the marketplace, Taiwanese PC and related parts and component manufacturers are expected to benefit from the market boom this year.

Starting with Apple Inc.`s iPad 2G, launched on March 25 in 25 countries of the world and seen as a blockbuster for its upgraded specifications at a comparatively low unit price of US$499, more than 100 tablet models from different PC and handset vendors will be available in the market in the second quarter of this year.

In addition to existing players as Apple, Motorola and Samsung, others, including Taiwan`s Acer, Asustek, HTC, and MSI and the U.S.`s Dell and HP, will also join the competition starting the end of March.

For instance, Asustek`s Eee Pad is slated for launch around the end of March will sell for US$399 to US$699 per unit, and Acer`s Iconia will also be available starting in April, which will be built with a 2.1GHz dual-core processor with different price tags from US$299 to US$699.

Market observers estimate about 60 million tablet PCs will be sold worldwide throughout the year, with Apple to contribute 35-40 million units as the No.1 vendor.

Riding on the market booms, Taiwanese PC manufacturers, such as Hon Hai Group, Quanta Computer Inc., Compal Electronics Inc., Wistron Corp., Inventec Corp., Pegatron Corp., etc., will surely capture a big slice of the huge market pie this year.

Among them, Hon Hai Group is expected to emerge as the biggest winner in the competition landscape, as it has secured Apple`s contract orders on hand and revved up production in China for the client. In the meantime, Quanta and Compal, the world`s top two notebook PC suppliers, have shared Acer`s manufacturing orders for iconia, while Pegatron has garnered Asustek`s order for Eee Pad Transformer.

Also, HP`s tablet running Web OS and going on sale in June will be supplied by Inventec. Dell`s Android 3.0-installed model has been mass produced by Qista Corp, and RIM`s PlayBook has also been set for production by Quanta.

Makers of PC parts and components have also benefited from the tablet competition, such as TPK Holding Co., Ltd. and Wintek Corp. (touch panels), Largan Precision Co., Ltd. (optical lens modules), Simplo Technology Co., Ltd. and Dynapack International Technology Corp. (batteries), Unimicron Technology Corp. and Tripod Technology Corp. (high-density interconnection boards), etc.

Acer’s new ICONIA Tab W500: the best from PCs, the best from tablets [Feb 14, 2011]
2011-02-14 – Barcelona


Acer Iconia Tab W500 with Docking Station

Fun and productivity, entertainment and work. Our lives are made of different sides, that seamlessly blend one into the other. The devices we use should reflect this flexibility and ability to multitask, allowing us to enjoy and share content as well as be productive when there is the need.

This is why Acer created the ICONIA TAB W500, with an innovative design that effectively combines the best of two worlds: tablet and PC.

Capable of reconciling the opposites, ICONIA TAB W500 brings together the user-friendliness of the tablet with the familiarity of the PC, letting users enjoy the greatest entertainment or be productive, at home or on the go, according to their needs. The ICONIA TAB W500 effectively creates a bridge between the worlds of entertainment and productivity.


Acer Iconia Tab W500 with Docking Station and the Ring user interface

How? Acer ICONIA TAB W500 is a 10.1-inch multi-touch screen tablet that is complemented by a full-size chiclet docking keyboard. Calling the Acer ICONIA TAB W500 simply a tablet would be reductive. While the high-resolution screen, together with Dolby® optimized audio, are synonyms of fabulous entertainment, the handy docking keyboard is perfect for productivity.

The Acer ICONIA TAB is the perfect device for users who want to enjoy a flawless touch experience, but are not ready to retire the keyboard yet. The full-size chiclet keyboard doubles as a docking station providing optimal ergonomics and extended connectivity; plus it features the Acer FineTrack™ pointing device with two buttons for convenient navigation, an Ethernet port for fast Internet connections, and a USB port for external devices.

You can count on the Acer ICONIA TAB W500 to keep you updated on what’s going in your social networks, or have the latest news at your fingertips, check your mails or watch a movie on the fly, review a presentation or enjoy fun touch games. This is the beauty of having a multi-touch screen tablet that seamlessly transforms into a PC simply by docking it!

Acer Iconia Dual-Screen Notebook with Acer Ring

Starting point of the ICONIA TAB W500 touch experience is the Acer Ring. Easy to launch with a simple grab gesture, it offers immediate access to all the special features and touch application pre-loaded on Acer ICONIA TAB W500.

Utilities in the Acer Ring include Clean Disk, to manage and optimize disk space; Snipping Tool, to quickly select, tag and clip screen images; Device Control, to fine tune the tablet settings; Camera, to launch Acer Crystal Eye Webcam; Calculator and Game, to reach the games stored on Acer ICONIA TAB W500 in a breeze.

The Acer Ring also features a series of AppCards to effortlessly browse through and launch useful touch applications:

  • TouchBrowser, designed to provide a better user experience, it lets you search, open, resize, select content from the web with the tips of your fingers.
  • SocialJogger,
  • My Journal, where you can collect web clips that are dynamically updated to keep you posted on any news in the websites you find interesting.
  • clear.fi to search, share, and playback favourite music, photo, and video.

Acer clear.fi is Acer media sharing system that lets you enjoy your multimedia content across your home quickly and effortlessly. Thanks to clear.fi and the HDMI port your can stream and appreciate the multimedia stored on Acer ICONIA TAB W500 on any of the devices connected to your home network and clear.fi enabled.

Running on Windows 7 OS, Acer ICONIA TAB [W500] is equipped with AMD C-50 processor and AMD Radeon™ HD6250 graphics, for excellent visuals and gaming. Easy communication is a given with the ICONIA TAB W500, thanks to multiple connectivity options including Wi-Fi, 3G (on selected models) or Bluetooth® 3.0. To top it off, the dual, back and front, Acer Crystal Eye 1.3MP webcam, not only allows you to engage in video chats or video calls with your friends, it also enables you to record HD videos and share them on Facebook or YouTube.

Acer ICONIA -- Absolute Touch Experience
Acer Iconia absolute touch experience with Acer Ring

Acer’s ICONIA TAB A500 [Feb 14]
Full touch experience in HD
2011-02-14 – Barcelona

Mobility and innovation, which have always been part of Acer’s DNA, now find a new form of expression in the new Acer ICONIA TAB A500, a 10.1-inch tablet designed to maximize content enjoyment, providing the same rich multimedia, gaming and Web experience you can enjoy on your home PC with the added user-friendliness of multi-touch technology.

Sleek, smart and full of innovative features, the ICONIA Tab A500 will be equipped with the latest, highly intuitive Google Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system, the new version of the Android platform specifically optimized for tablets, combined with Acer UI to reach a whole new level of interactivity.

What’s more, the Acer clear.fi media sharing system will be preloaded on the device for seamless integration in the home clear.fi environment to easily access, play and share multimedia across the home network and to instantly publish updates to social media networks.

Designed for rich multimedia entertainment, this tablet comes with a high resolution, high colour contrast 10.1” display with wide viewing angle providing higher colour accuracy for better visuals from different perspective, allowing users to play or share HD video with friends on the go. Complete with a built-in HDMI port and 1080p output, it may also be used to enjoy HD content in full HD on a big screen TV or monitor.

The 10.1” full capacitive multi-touch screen ensures an optimal on-screen experience from every angle. Aluminum casing provides a cool look and feel, while its high gloss finish anodizing decorated with laser engraved textures demonstrates subtle sophistication. And despite being just 13.3mm thick, it’s powerful enough to provide fun and productivity in any location.

One of the tablet’s most impressive features is its ability to run and play premium HD arcade games and complex online 3D games, thanks to the multi-touch screen and gyro meter control, which guarantees an entertainment experience on par with the best game consoles.

The Acer ICONIA TAB A500 will be equipped with the dual-core NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2, the first mobile dual core CPU, that delivers up to two time faster browsing, for the best web experience ever, and amazing graphics, for optimized HD viewing, 3D and console-quality gaming, and multimedia playback anywhere thanks to the ultra-low power (ULP) NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU with Flash 10.1 support. What’s more you can relish movies, photos and more on your big screen TV in full HD glory thanks to 1080p HD video playback.

Multiple connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, 3G or Bluetooth® 2.1, maximise your mobile experience and keep you in touch with all you care about. The 5MP rear-facing camera plus HD front-facing camera are just perfect for video recording, video chat, or quickly snap a picture and upload it to Facebook, YouTube, Picasa; it can also be used as a barcode scanner

Available April 2011.

Acer Iconia Tab A500 Android Tablet Honeycomb [Gaming] Demo [March 28]

Acer Iconia Tab A500 Android Tablet Honeycomb Demo

Acer aims to ship 5-7 million tablet PCs in 2011 [March 24]

Telecom service provider AT&T has announced that it will carry Acer’s Iconia Tab A501 4G tablet PC. Acer expects tablet PC shipments in 2011 to reach 5-7 million units, and aims to grab a 10% share of the global market, according to company chairman JT Wang.

The Iconia Tab A501 supports a 10.1-inch panel, Android 3.0 and Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor. The device is scheduled to hit the market in the second quarter.

Verizon Wireless reportedly is interested in Acer’s other tablet PC, the Iconia Tab A500, according to industry sources.

Acer to Penetrate U.S. Market with 4G Tablet PC [March 25]

Suffering a sharp shrinkage in sales of netbook PCs in the U.S. due to the rise of Apple Inc.`s iPad, Acer is forced to switch focus onto tablet PCs and hence decides to join hands with AT&T, one of Apple`s major telecom partners, to fight back against the competitor, noted market observers.

The biggest functional features of the device include its interconnection with TVs and a built-in 4G LTE (long term evolution) modem. The device will be promoted along with AT&T launching its LTE services, with the selling price having yet to be determined.

To accelerate its foray into the emerging segment, the firm is scheduled to launch its first Android 3.0 tablet, Picasso, by the end of March, which, the firm`s Taiwan president Scott Lin confirmed, has been popularly ordered by retailers so far, according to the firm`s Taiwan president Scott Lin.

Acer Iconia Tab A500

AT&T Network to Support Acer’s High Performance,Android-Powered 4G Tablet [March 22]
10.1-inch, HD Ready, Android 3.0 4G Device Launching Q2 2011
Dallas, Texas, March 22, 2011

AT&T*, today announced plans to support Acer’s first 4G tablet, the Acer Iconia Tab A501, on the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network beginning this summer.

The 10 inch Acer Iconia Tab A501 will feature the Android 3.0 operating system with Android Marketplace, and an NVIDIA Tegra 250 1GHz dual core processor with integrated graphics for the fastest HD gaming, web and multimedia experience.

Designed for both consumers and small business customers, the tablet will also sport a high-resolution display with a wide viewing angle to view super sharp video and other multimedia content.  It will come equipped with a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, a high definition front-facing camera for video chat, and an HDMI port for playing 1080p video on a high definition big screen TV.

“Consumers are seeking cutting-edge mobile computing devices and we look forward to giving them another great choice with the Acer Iconia Tab A501,” said David Haight, vice president of business development, AT&T Emerging Devices. “This tablet is packed with features that will enable HD gaming and exceptional video playback. It offers a first-class on-the-go entertainment experience.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with AT&T on mobile solutions that allow consumers to remain connected and entertained in any environment,” said Sumit Agnihotry, vice president of product marketing, Acer America.  “The Acer Iconia Tab A501 combined with AT&T’s wireless service enables consumers to enjoy their favorite movies, games, blogs and social networking sites on the go.”

Distribution and pricing will be announced at launch, expected in the second quarter.

Acer’s ICONIA TAB A100 [March 14]
Mobility at its best
2011-02-14 – Barcelona

Whether you are into gaming, social network or enjoying your multimedia on the go, the new Acer ICONIA TAB A100 is your dream come true. Stylish and compact, this 7” tablet offers unrivalled portability and matches it with the ultimate high performance, taking your mobile experience to the next level.

The Acer ICONIA TAB A100 primary focus is on providing a truly rich user experience. This is why it will be equipped with Android 3.0 “Honeycomb”, the new Android operating system specifically optimized for tablets. On the home page, resources are grouped into four main content usages, within easy reach of your fingertips:

  • Games Zone: here you can find a variety of compelling preloaded games – online 3D, console and casual – that you’ll certainly enjoy.
  • eReading, where you can find the tools you need to download or read magazines and books. Magazines with Zinio, books with Nook and LumiRead.
  • Multimedia groups all the apps you need to enjoy music, videos and photos.
  • SNS brings your social life together. Not only you can find the links to Facebook, Twitter, but also Acer SocialJogger that lets you check, post and update all of your accounts at a glance.

Also pre-loaded on the Acer ICONIA TAB is clear.fi, the Acer media sharing system that enables the seamless integration of the device in the home clear.fi environment to easily access, play and share multimedia across the home network and to instantly publish updates to social media networks.

Acer ICONIA -- A100 Android Tablet

To provide a truly outstanding user experience, a device must have a powerful engine. The Acer ICONIA TAB A100 will be powered the dual-core NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2, the first mobile dual core CPU, that delivers up to two time faster browsing, for the best web experience ever. Plus, the ultra-low power (ULP) NVIDIA® GeForce® GPU with Flash 10.1 support, ensures amazing graphics for optimized HD viewing, 3D and console-quality gaming, and multimedia playback anywhere. What’s more you can relish movies, photos and more on your big screen TV in full HD glory thanks to 1080p HD video playback.

Don’t be fooled by size of the screen. On this 7” (1024×600) full touch screen tablet with a 16:9 aspect ratio, you can enjoy photos, videos and movies as well as read books and magazines, and most impressively you’ll be able to run and play premium HD arcade games and complex online 3D games, thanks to the multi-touch screen and gyro meter control, for a gaming experience on par with the best consoles.

The Acer ICONIA TAB A100 is also a joy for the ears. Complete with Dolby Mobile technology providing rich vibrant audio with extended bass performance and added depth, this tablet takes the entertainment experience to a new level. To top off the rich entertainment experience, the ICONIA TAB A100 comes with a 5MP auto-focus rear camera, to capture you’re life best moments and quickly upload them to your social networks, and a 2MP front-facing camera to engage in live chat with your friends.

Multiple connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, 3G or Bluetooth® 2.1, maximise your mobile experience and keep you in touch with all you care about. Complete with a built-in HDMI port and 1080p output, it may also be used to enjoy HD content in full HD on a big screen TV or monitor, while a full-size and a mini USB help connecting the ICONIA TAB A100 to other devices.

Compact and stylish, is easy to handle and flaunts a trendy back cover embellished by an eye-catching pattern.

Discover a new world of interaction with the Acer ICONIA TAB A100!

Acer to Dismiss 10% of Employees in China [March 28]

To enhance operating efficiency of its PC business unit in China, the Taiwan-based Acer Inc., one of the world`s top three PC vendors now, is going to cut 10% of employees in the country, according to the firm.

Acer acquired the PC business unit from China`s Founder Technology Group for NT$120 million last August as a strategic move to penetrate the Chinese market. The strategy has worked, as the Taiwanese firm effectively pushed up its share to 8.6% to rank as the second-largest brand by overall PC sales in the market in the fourth quarter of 2010, only next to Lenovo. During the same period, the firm also ranked No.3 in terms of notebook PC sales.

Top 5 PC Brands in China in Q4, 2010
Ranking Brand Market Share
1 Lenovo 30.10%
2 Acer 8.60%
3 Dell 7.20%
4 HP 7.20%
5 Asus 5.20%

Source: Gartner

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ASUS Eee Slate based Windows marketing from Microsoft

Microsoft strategy is to show that the Windows slates will provide premium value over tablets from Apple and Google/Android. While there had been nothing available to exercise that for quite a long time (see: Windows slates in the coming months? Not much seen yet [July 13 – Oct 6, 2010]) the situation is quickly changing with the first real slate product, Asus Eee Slate EP121 coming out of the pre-order status this week.

So now we have the opportunity to observe how Microsoft is starting to build the targeted premium value proposition with current offerings while the real slate value will only be available in a year timeframe probably (with a kind of next generation Windows offering). It will be quite interesting to see what software and/or service additions will be probably delivered to strengthen the current “bare bone” momentum over the next months, especially in the MIX’11 timeframe.

(more…)

ASUS, China Mobile and Marvell join hands in the OPhone ecosystem effort for “Blue Ocean” dominance

Follow-up: First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21 – Sept 25, 2011]

Information about China Mobile’s related efforts on this blog:
OPhone OS (OMS) 2.0 based on Android 2.1 [July 5 — Dec 13, 2010]
3.9G TD-LTE rollout in 2012 with integrated 2G, 3G and 4G? [July 19 — Dec 14, 2010]
Could China close the gap in mobile Internet? It should! [July 21 — Oct 21, 2010]
IMT-Advanced (4G) for the next-generations of interactive mobile services, China is triumphant [Oct 24 — Nov 24, 2010]
Cloud Computing Strategy for Digital China: Taiwan is leading the way except IOT [Nov 8 — Dec 30, 2010]
Marvell beaten by Chinese chipmakers in sub 1,000 yuan handset procurement tender of China Mobile [Nov 15, 2010]

Follow-up: High expectations on Marvell’s opportunities with China Mobile [May 28, 2011]

Marvell and ASUS Team Up to Enable Mass Market Availability of TD-SCDMA Smartphones [Marvell press release, Feb 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

Marvell … today announced that ASUS has chosen Marvell as a strategic partner to launch a new series of TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) smartphones in China. ASUS‘ new T10 and T20 series smartphones are powered by Marvell(R) PXA920 platform, the first commercially available single-chip solution which supports China Mobile’s latest version of OPhone OMS system. … delivers gigahertz speed, dynamic multimedia for mobile TV, live video, gaming and many exciting new applications, all to be unified by Marvell’s beautiful and easy-to-use Kinoma(R) software experience.

In fact there were additional three devices, T25, T60 and T Pad, as well. See the following Forbes blog article (and even more below, or a very detailed event report with plenty of photos in Chinese, or look at an English translation by Google):
Asus Brings Five Android [rather OPhone OMS, see later] Devices To China In Bid For Billions Of New Customers [Feb 23, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

On Thursday afternoon in Beijing, Asus plans to announce a wide-ranging partnership with China Mobile that will make four Asus smartphones and one tablet available to the carrier’s millions of customers.

The deal is the cornerstone of Asus’ newest strategy to boost its mobile devices business. Though Asus is widely known for its computer parts, laptops and netbooks, it remains a bit player in the global cellphone and smartphone markets.

The company hopes a tie-up with China Mobile, which is both China’s largest wireless operator and the world’s biggest carrier by subscribers, will raise its mobile profile. “China will be our biggest mobile market,” said Benson Lin, Asus’ head of mobile devices, in an interview. “China is very important to our future.”

The partnership will be something of a gamble for Asus. China Mobile, like all Chinese carriers, uses a unique technology standard (TD-SCDMA) for its 3G cellular network. That means the phones Asus is providing to China Mobile — known as T10, T20, T25 and T60 — can’t be offered to any other operator.

Lin said the potential is worth the risk. He declined to share specific sales goals, but noted that China Mobile currently has nearly 590 million subscribers. Capturing 10% or even just 5% of that audience is “still a huge number,” he said.

Though all handset makers are interested in China, many are waiting for the country to upgrade its networks to the 4G technology LTE, said Lin. Asus believes it will benefit from forging a relationship with China Mobile now, when other phone vendors “aren’t paying attention,” added Lin. Europe is currently Asus’ largest mobile market, but Asus anticipates China will replace it soon.

The opportunity has pushed Asus to customize its “T” series of phones to Chinese tastes. Instead of automatically connecting to Google for browsing, the devices will link to the popular Chinese search engine Baidu. And instead of Facebook, they will access the Chinese social network RenRen.

All of the T phones run on the 2.0 version of China Mobile’s Ophone operating system, which is a variant of Google’s mobile platform, Android [not a variant since it has a Linux core and another user interface, as the most different aspects, but compatible with Android through source code reuse – see much below]. They also utilize special processors from California-based chipmaker Marvell. The design, which combines a CPU and modem on a single chip, is more affordable, efficient and compact than systems that use two chips, said Lin.

Developing the T phones took a year and a half of intense development at Asus’ Taipei campus, said Lin. Asus already has some phones in the Chinese market, but they are at a smaller carrier, China Unicom, which uses a different 3G standard called WCDMA.

Asustek to sell new line of smartphones through China Mobile [Feb 25, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Designed specially for the TD-SCDMA network in China, this chip [the PXA 920] will help bring down the cost, size, and power consumption of Chinese mobile devices, Asustek said in a statement by email.

The information technology industry is turning from personal computing to cloud computing, and mobile phones are expected to become the most important cloud computing devices due to a wide range of applications,” Asustek chairman Jonney Shih said in the statement.

This type of industry collaboration [with China Mobile and Marvell] represents a shift in Asustek’s strategy for its smartphone line. Last October, Asustek, which had been selling smartphones under the Garmin-Asus brand since early 2009, said it would not introduce any more co-branded handset models.

Media reports estimate that China Mobile will purchase a total of 12.2 million TD-SCDMA-based handsets this year. This includes 4 million phones designed for entertainment use, 3.2 million multi-media smartphones, 3.2 million entry and mid-level smartphones, 1.5 million high-end connected devices, and 300,000 dual-network phones.

ASUS Four New TD-SCDMA Smartphones in China [Feb 27. 2011]

The ASUS T10, T20, T25 and T60 smartphones are powered by an 806MHz Marvell PXA920 processor and known as the world’s first single chip supporting TD-SCDMA. These new handsets are utilizing a Marvell Avastar 88W8787 chip for enabling Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, and FM radio.Asus Marvell TD-SCDMA Smartphone -- 24-Feb-2011

ASUS T10 smartphone has a 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen display with resolution of 320 x 480 (HVGA), 5-megapixel autofocus camera, front-facing camera for video calls, 512MB RAM, 512MB ROM, MicroSD card slot, and GPS.

The ASUS T20 similar the T10 handset, but it has 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display, TV tuner, CMMB and a more powerful battery. The Asus T25 comes with a 3.5-inch display, while the Asus T60 feature a 4-inch display.

Beside that, ASUS has also showcased the fifth handset that sports a 4-inch screen and support 4G TD-LTE network. All five smartphones are running on OPhone OS 2.0 which modified version of Android 2.1.

Marvell PXA920 Mass Market Smartphone Communication Platforms [Feb 17, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

The Marvell® PXA920 communication platform [also called Pantheon platform elsewhere, see the same Pantheon Platform Brief [Feb 17, 2011] as well] is an advanced, highly integrated 3G platform for multimedia-centric handsets. The PXA920 platform solutions incorporate the performance of Marvell’s mobile application processor with Marvell’s mature and proven 3.5G technology to provide low-cost Linux™ and Android™ handset platforms. The combination of Marvell’s advanced, high-performance, low-power application processor technology with Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA)/High Speed Downlink and Uplink Packet Access (HSxPA)/Enhanced Data for GSM Environment (EDGE) communication support for next-generation cellular services enable breakthrough end-user experiences for imaging, HD video, music, games, and other popular handset applications.

With Marvell’s 3G technology, seamless wireless connectivity, application processing, and support for next generation cellular data services — the new PXA920-powered smartphones offer exceptional performance for browsing, instant live video, access to personal music, 3D gaming, and other popular handset applications at attractive price points. The PXA920 supports Android and other major mobile operating systems (OS).

Marvell PXA920 Block Diagram -- 17-Feb-2011

Tri-core, Shared Memory Hardware Architecture

  • Dedicated Modem and Applications Processor Cores
    – Modem RISC Core: Marvell-designed ARM9 [their pre-Sheeva core] with packet processing accelerators and L1/L2 caches
    – Modem DSP Core: Micro-Signal Architecture VLIW DSP core with L1/L2 caches
    – Marvell [Applications] CPU Technology with ARMv5 core [Sheeva PJ1 core, which is the less performant synthesizable Sheeva core, see: Marvell ARMADA beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung/Apple Hummingbird in the SoC market [again] [Sept 23, 2010]] supports up to 806 MHz operation (1130 DMIPS)
  • Shared External Memory Interface

Multimedia (video, 3D, audio, imaging, display)

  • Video Playback 720p at 30 fps for H.264, WMV, MPEG-4, H.263; Video Capture D1 at 30 fps for H.264, WMV, MPEG-4, H.263
  • 3D Graphics capability up to 10Mtriangle/s sustained and 20Mtriangle/s at 50% cull rate; Integrated 2D accelerator; Supports industry standard APIs.
  • Marvell’s unique Audio Accelerator Subsystem offers low power audio playback via audio streaming
  • Image Sensor support for primary and secondary smart image sensors with MIPI CSI-2 and parallel interfaces; Supports one MIPI-CSI2 serial interface
  • LCD Controller supports parallel LCD displays over an 8/16/18-bit parallel smart panel interface or a 16/18/24bit parallel active matrix interface with sync signals; Primary/secondary display supports up to 4 simultaneous overlays with base + rotation scaling

All details about Marvell’s System-on-a-Chip (SoC) products and related strategies on this blog:
Marvell ARMADA beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung/Apple Hummingbird in the SoC market [again] [Sept 23, 2010 — Jan 17, 2011]
Marvell ARMADA with sun readable and unbreakable Pixel Qi screen, and target [mass] manufacturing cost of $75 [Nov 4, 2010 — Jan 11, 2011]
Marvell beaten by Chinese chipmakers in sub 1,000 yuan handset procurement tender of China Mobile [Nov 15, 2010]
Marvell to capitalize on BRIC market with the Moby tablet [Feb 3, 2011]
Kinoma is now the marvellous software owned by Marvell [Feb 15, 2011]

Blue Ocean Strategy [Wikipedia] (emphasis is mine, see also: What is Blue Ocean Strategy? Ten Key PointsBlue Ocean Strategy book by W. Chan KIM and Renée Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy is a business strategy book first published in 2005 and written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of The Blue Ocean Strategy Institute at INSEAD. The book illustrates what the authors believe is the high growth and profits an organization can generate by creating new demand in an uncontested market space, or a “Blue Ocean”, than by competing head-to-head with other suppliers for known customers in an existing industry.

Unlike the “Red Ocean Strategy”, the conventional approach to business of beating competition derived from the military organization, the “Blue Ocean Strategy” tries to align innovation with utility, price and cost positions. The book mocks at the phenomena of conventional choice between product/service differentiation and lower cost, but rather suggests that both differentiation and lower costs are achievable simultaneously.

The authors criticize Michael Porter‘s idea that successful businesses are either low-cost providers or niche-players. Instead, they propose finding value that crosses conventional market segmentation and offering value and lower cost. Educator Charles W. L. Hill proposed this idea in 1988 and claimed that Porter’s model was flawed because differentiation can be a means for firms to achieve low cost. He proposed that a combination of differentiation and low cost might be necessary for firms to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.

China Mobile 2010 Interim Results [Aug 19, 2010]

China Seeks Blue Ocean Dominance in Mobile Internet [Borqs company news, Jan 8, 2011]

China Mobile is striving for blue ocean dominance in China’s mobile Internet, during which, the launching of OPhone has become an important milestone. At a recent conference, Xi Guohua, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology of China, recognized the development and achievements of OPhone over the past two years since its birth, and expressed his wish for introducing OPhone to the global market.

the mobile Internet is the largest breakthrough innovation in the communication industry in the 21st century. Those who have dominated any blue ocean of the industry will obtain the greatest benefits and lasting advantages. The strategy and development of the mobile Internet is essential to China if the country wants to win an appropriate industry position and take the power to reshuffle the communication industry.

With the help of iPhone, China Unicom has achieved great market performance in a very short time. However, the success of iPhone attributes more to the worship of Steve Jobs by millions of Apple fans than to the product innovation of Apple. … China Unicom has no say on iPhone and has not entered into any cooperation in technology during the cooperation with Apple. Therefore, in my view, a great risk may sneak in the success of iPhone since China Unicom rests its market on a single product from its partner. This is almost against the “Blue Ocean Strategy” of the mobile Internet industry.

Quite differently, China Mobile has avoided this dependency relation wisely. Based on Android, an international advanced operating system, it develops a technical platform within its control, further cooperates with upstream and downstream vendors, and creates a global system featuring complete industrial chain with its advantage of leading position in user base. That is the origin and development strategy of OPhone.

Talking about OPhone, Mr. Li Yue, new President & CEO of China Mobile, defines the company’s short-term strategy as “Giving priority and building quality in par with competitors”. This strategy reveals the correct attitude and understanding of China Mobile in terms of the development of OPhone: The exclusive support policy used in China before shall be thoroughly abandoned to help OPhone become a powerful weapon for controlling mobile Internet. With priority given, OPhone must be built with the same and even higher quality than its competitors. OPhone, from its version 1.0 to 2.0, is reported to undergo an extensive rage of development and test in the aspects of web data processing, multimedia performance, graphic/entertainment performance, and full-range service processing. For China Mobile, whether mobile Internet is the “last ocean” in the communication industry remains unclear. But I believe that we will never act before it’s too late.

Guided by the idea of “Giving priority and building quality in par with competitors”, OPhone is breaking the monopoly of iPhone in mobile Internet. Thus, our understanding of mobile Internet is experiencing slight changes. … mobile Internet  users have no real “loyalty”: they have switched to iPhone from Blackberry today, and in future they may again switch from iPhone to OPhone. Sticking to the strategy proposed by President Li , OPhone will substitute for iPhone, and easier to use. Openness is the key to realize these two advantages. The first character “O” of “OPhone” does stand for “open”.

Other strategy related communication of relevance from the new CEO Li Yue:
China Mobile chief not optimistic on industry’s growth [Nov 18, 2010] (emphasis is mine)

“There are some who think the increase in data usage will lead to growth, but I am not so optimistic,” Li said at the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress conference in Hong Kong yesterday.

The head of the world’s biggest phone carrier by market value said operators need to offer services that integrate well with the daily lives of consumers and businesses.

Li is adding services such as a search-engine for mobile phones and wireless payments to sustain growth at China Mobile, where he took over as chief executive this year.

New China Mobile CEO builds bridges [Nov 17] (emphasis is mine)

There is a big opportunity for mobile operators to act as the bridge between different partners within the telecoms space and between the telco industry and others, and future revenue is to be found in penetrating the daily lives of mobile users, according to the new man at the helm of the world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile.

“The mobile market will become the future channel for all walks of life,” said Li Yue, president and CEO of China Mobile, in his first international keynote speech since taking over at the telco in August.

He also highlighted some of China Mobile’s new services, including the mobile reading offering launched by the telco in May. The service has attracted more than 30 million users, and now has 6 million paying customers, Li explained.

In a bid to drive mobile data services forward, China Mobile has created a platform to engage with content creators and partners, including a pool of terminals and operating systems to aid applications developers. The company believes it can create a “win-win situation” in the mobile marketplace, where all members of the value chain benefit.

China Mobile aims to be “a bridge with all suppliers… and also a hub,” said Li, adding that the telco is working on signing up more partners.

“[The mobile Internet] is changing our traditional ecology as a mobile operator,” said Li, since it has changed the way end users collaborate. And changing customer behaviour provides “a lot of opportunities” for mobile providers, he said.

Those opportunities also include vertical markets.

“[We will] try whatever possible to penetrate into all kinds of industries,” said Li. “We are the connecting bridge with all kinds of industries.”

Related development: Government Drives New Chinese Search Engine [Feb 24, 2011]

Transcript by http://www.newsy.com

BY KELSEY WAANANEN

You’re watching multisource tech video news analysis from Newsy.
If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. That seems to be China’s approach to the Internet. State-owned news agency Xinhua and state-owned China Mobile – China’s largest phone carrier – are teaming up to run Panguso – China’s newest – and government-approved search engine.

This joint venture was announced last summer – right after Google decided to pull out of China because the search giant refused to continue censoring material. A CBS report details the repercussions of Google’s departure.

“Now when users in mainland China go on to use this site, like this, they’re automatically redirected to a different site based in Hong Kong, where Google isn’t legally required to censor itself. … China’s own filter, known as the ‘Great Firewall of China’ is still at work screening out sensitive material. In fact there are concerns that China could now clamp down even harder…”

And it certainly looks like they have. In terms of just what Panguso is leaving out, PC Magazine notes…

“According to Panguso, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo doesn’t exist. The same is true for the People’s University in Beijing, the first university founded after the 1949 communist revolution. “Dalai Lama” returns only tourism sites or state-sponsored criticism.”

But Panguso isn’t the only search engine on the market. Baidu, the current prominent search engine, accounts for more than 75 percent of web searches. But as TMCnet notes, Panguso offers a platform that Baidu doesn’t.

“…Baidu only controls about 36 percent of the mobile search market. By partnering with China Mobile, Xinhua may soon have a leg up on its competition in the mobile space.”

But a blogger for Download Squad suggests the Chinese government might have an ulterior motive — trying to get a slice of the search engine market.

“China already has a very strict policy on censoring politically-sensitive material, which Baidu strictly abides by — so unless it wants to further extend its control of information inside its borders, why would the Chinese government be interested in offering an alternative?”

According to Xinhua, the search engine will primarily focus on news for now. Xinhua will provide the news content — and China Mobile – the mobile subscriber base.

Follow @Newsy_Videos on Twitter

Get more multisource video news analysis from Newsy
Transcript by Newsy

ASUS Joins Hands with China Mobile to Launch ASUS TD Smart Phones [Borqs company news, Feb 28, 2011] (emphasis is mine) 

On February 24th, ASUS held the ASUS TD Smart Phone Launch & Strategy Press Conference jointly with China Mobile and Marvell in Beijing. At this conference, the strategic cooperation of ASUS with China Mobile and Marvell has become the industry focus in addition to the launch of new TD smart phones and a TD slate.

Distinguished attendants at the conference include Mr. Wang Jianzhou, Chairman of China Mobile, Ms. Li Huidi, Chairman Assistant, Mr. Wu Wining, General Manager of Terminal Business Department of China Mobile, Mr. Huang Xiaoqing [also known as Bill Huang], President of the Research Institution of China Mobile, Mr. Shi Chongtang, ASUS President, Mr.  Pat Chan, President & CEO of Borqs (accompanied by some other vice presidents of the company), and Ms. Dai Weili, President of Marvell.

Mr. Wang Jianzhou, Chairman of China Mobile, comments that China Mobile is very pleased to work with ASUS for the TD industry; since the emergence of this industry, terminal vendors have helped drive China’s TD industry. All terminals launched by ASUS at this time use OPhone OS and Marvell’s chips with significantly reduced costs, meeting the demand of China Mobile for low-price smart terminals. Also, Chairman Wang says that China Mobile will promote TD terminals this year, and purchase middle- and high-end TD terminals following its purchase of middle- and low-end TD terminals in 2010, bringing more choices to consumers.

At this conference, ASUS launches five new TD-SCDMA smart phones, including T10, T20, T25, T60 and TD-LTE, and one TD slate [TD Pad]. Based on the latest OPhone OS, these products adopt Marvell PXA 920 – the first TD-SCDMA single chip solution in the industry as core processor. TD smart phones with a single chip-based processor feature a slim body, high efficiency, and low price. By applying single chip solution into TD smart terminals, ASUS has maintained a benign partnership with Borqs and Marvell. This helps them meet the market demands for both quality but price. Furthermore, ASUS has become the first TD smart phone manufacturer applying single chip solutions in the world.

ASUS TD Pad -- 24-Feb-2011

China Mobile has maintained a good share in China’s communication market and a great potential in OPhone OS system. This may be the main reason that ASUS has chosen to partner with it. As an open operating system developed by China Mobile, OPhone OS allows users to create personalized interfaces and install applications upon their demands, delivering users the operating experience of “My phone, my decisions”. By empowering mobile terminal products to deliver innovative, easy-to-use applications and enhanced experience, OPhone OS is a better choice for Chinese users.

The joining of ASUS has further expanded China’s TD camp, signifying a brand new beginning in the TD-SCDMA industry between the Mainland and Taiwan. This will promote and expand the development of the TD industry and OPhone-based terminals, also showcasing ASUS’s robust competitiveness in the Mainland market.

Borqs OPhone OS Roadmap [Feb 2011]

OPhone OS roadmap by Borqs -- Feb-2011

Greatest Shanzhai may prove to be an OS, not a handset [March 2, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

OMS is based on the Linux Kernel, and uses Android source code and integrated Java application framework to provide a complete software platform for application developers and users. … OMS is the first Android customization project where the developer (China Mobile and partners like Borqs) customized the entire user interface and applications of Android for a non-English language (in this case, Chinese).

… In a short span of time, China Mobile has been able to rope in the world’s leading mobile manufacturers to launch smartphones in China based on OPhone mobile OS. Motorola, LG, Philips, Dopod, Lenovo, ZTE, Samsung, and Sony are just a few of the distinguished makers of China Mobile’s OPhone range.

The extensive range of phones running the OPhone OS, based on the OMS platform, supercharged the 3G business and value added services of China Mobile. The OPhone OS, although it’s a variant of Android, doesn’t support Android Market; however, it has been tailored to include a built-in mobile app market called Mobile Market (MM), and other exclusive applications like Flying Letters, 139 Email, wireless music players and many more value-added services.

China Mobile is happy with the progress of the OPhone OS and unlike the rumors of it being shelved [see: China Mobile’s Ophone is Dead [Dec 16, 2010]], they have plans to provide new upgrades in 2011. Lu Zhihu, a deputy director at the China Mobile Research Institute, confirmed new updates at the 2010 International Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing. Version 2.5 will be out somewhere in February or March 2011 and version 3.0 later in 2011, with advanced features like voice recognition and better connectivity to mobile services.

China Mobile’s partner, Borqs, has already rolled out an international version of OPhone, which has been used by Dell and will run on AT&T. China Mobile has also established an industry alliance, the OPhone Innovation Alliance, to encourage developers and manufacturers to the OMS platform and OPhone OS. Rumor has it that China Mobile now want to show more convergence with Papa Android and they are planning to bring support for Android Market and many Android features into future releases to attract more users.

Important and quite illustrative information about the significant user interface improvements in 2.0 version:
Mobile OPhone2.0 design documents Exposure: compatible Android2.1_China Mobile China Mobile G3 / TD-SCDMA [June 4, 2010]
All other details about Ophone (OMS) on this blog:
OPhone OS (OMS) 2.0 based on Android 2.1 [July 5 — Dec 13, 2010]

Asustek announces 4 TD-SCDMA smartphones [Digitimes, Feb 24, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

… and the Taiwan-based company noted that it will participate in telecom carrier China Mobile’s open bid for TD-SCDMA handsets in February with result announcement scheduled for April.

The smartphone launch marks Asustek’s first foray into the TD-SCDMA segment. The devices include the T10, T20, T25 and T60. At the press event, the company also showcased a TD-LTE smartphone, and indicated it plans to incorporate TD-SCDMA modules in its tablet PC for China Mobile networks.

Asustek’s TD-SCDMA line is based on the Marvell 920 chip. The T10 is Ophone OS 2.0 enabled.

AsusTek Announces New Handsets, Partnership with China Mobile [Feb 25, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Taiwan’s AsusTek Computer Inc announced a strategic partnership with China Mobile in Beijing on Feb. 24 while unveiling several customized products for the Chinese telecom operator.

At a press conference, AsusTek launched five smartphones and one tablet computer, using the Chinese time division-synchronous code division multiple access (TD-SCDMA) standard for mobile communication, with China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou attending the event.

This is the first time that Wang has taken part in such a product launch, which market observers viewed as a move by China Mobile to show the importance of its cooperation with AsusTek.

Wang’s presence was also seen as a positive sign for the Taiwan company, which made a bid with three of its models — the T20, T25 and T60 — in response to China Mobile’s announcement on Feb. 23 that it wanted to place orders for 12.2 million smartphones.

While China Mobile is not expected to announce its decision on suppliers until April, Wang said that the company plans to purchase more high-end smartphones to offer better options to its customers using third-generation (3G) mobile services.

Meanwhile, Benson Lin, general manager of AsusTek’s hand-held devices business, said that the company’s T-10 smartphone will make its debut on the market in March.

China Mobile to procure over 10 million TD-SCDMA handsets [March 2, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

China Mobile will announce suppliers in the second quarter, with large shipments slated for the second half of 2011, the sources indicated.

China Mobile had previously placed more emphasis on low-end smartphones since international handset vendors lacked higher end devices supporting the TD-SCDMA platform. Smartphones represent less than 20% of China Mobile’s revenues versus 40% for China Unicom and more than 20% for China Telecom, according to the sources.

Since China Mobile plans to procure higher-end TD-SCDMA handsets this time, both international and China-based vendors will see orders, unlike last round of procurement when China-based companies dominated the mainstream segment.

Both Taiwan’s HTC and Asustek Computer have already formed strategic alliances with China Mobile, the makers said, adding that the two companies should receive orders as long as their pricing and specifications match the procurement criteria.

Marvell Technology Group’s CEO [dr. Sehat Sutardja] Discusses Q4 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, March 3, 2011] (emphasis is mine):

Last year, we introduced the PXA920 [see: Marvell Drives $99 Smartphones to Market With New Pantheon Platform [Feb 12, 2010] and Marvell Empowers Mass Market TD-SCDMA OPhones with PXA920 Chipset [Sept 8, 2009]]. 920 is a single-chip solution enabling mass-market availability of high-end TD smartphone markets specifically to the China market. These solutions that we provide includes a modem, application processor, management and RF devices. We are the first and only suppliers in the world with the complete high-performance TD smartphone solution for this market.

At the Mobile Congress last month, we announced the follow-on of the 920 device. The 978 [PXA978] device is a single-chip solution of TD-SCDMA but now is combined with rigorous performance and advanced 3D graphics and 1080p multimedia, as well as the traditional 3G UMTS release [indiscernible] solution to address the requirements of the rest of the world. With these new solutions, cellphone OEMs will now no longer need to design separate development platforms to accommodate different wireless standards for the rest of the world and China. And they will be able to target markets around the world saving at the same time in development cost.

Now hopefully, you can see how our TD platform strategy unfolding. The 920 introduced last year initially targeted TD high-end and as well as medium-end smartphones. However, over time, as we reduce cost of the silicon, the wafers that used to build the 920, this platform will quickly transition to low-end and high-volume smartphones replacing the feature phones, which is the sweet spot market for many of the smartphones in this market. While the 978 will emerge as the new high-end TD-SCDMA phone, as well as high-end global phone.

… At Mobile World Congress, we, Marvell, introduced Kinoma, a software platform that is dedicated to dramatically transform the consumer interactions with electronic devices. Kinoma is a new foundation for creating and delivering fast, simple user experience for a wide range of devices and offers an experience and solution that is truly integrated of silicon to applications, creating new opportunities for OEMs and manufacturers.

…. Last year, when they [China Mobile] introduced the first-generation OPhones, the first-generation OPhones were selling for $300, $400, even $500, U.S. dollars. … In contrast, today, the 920 devices … are high-end smartphones targeted for prices the range of $100 to $150 smartphones. So now, we just need to figure out. The time will tell what will be the difference in the volumes of the TD smartphones when it’s priced between $100 to $150 versus when it was priced at $300 to $500.

Update: The PXA920 opportunity was realized only in September 2011, two years later than the September 2009 launch. See:First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21, 2011]

ARM at MWC 2011 with Marvell – Kinoma [Feb 25, 2011]

All details about Kinoma on this blog:
Kinoma is now the marvellous software owned by Marvell [Feb 15, 2011]

Marvell Announces First ‘World Phone’ Single Chip Solution: 3G TD-SCDMA Baseband Combining High Performance 1.2 GHz Application Processor with Advanced 3D Graphics and 1080p Multimedia [Feb 14, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, continues to build on its heritage of mobile communications innovations with the announcement of its world phone platform based on the Marvell® PXA978 communications processor with Marvell HSPA modem. Marvell’s PXA978 is the industry’s first single-chip solution to feature 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and China’s TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) standard with HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) support and is intended to enable mobile developers to design 3G cellular devices and tablets that can be used and supported globally.

“… It’s truly amazing that a tiny chip like the PXA978 integrates both 3G and TD-SCDMA basebands, a powerful application processor, all advanced 3D graphics capability, with a very low-power profile and affordable cost structure ideal for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets,” said Weili Dai, Marvell’s Co-Founder. “With the addition of Kinoma‘s elegant and intuitive software experience and integration of cutting-edge mobile technologies, Marvell has enabled the entire ecosystem – in both its depth and breadth – to convert conventional cell phones into multi-functional mobile gadgets ideal for gaming, video chatting, live news, and more. This small device has the potential to make a huge impact on our world. I envision that a true world phone will transform the global economy by lowering the cost and barriers to entry for billions more consumers and innovators.”

Unlike current technology on the market, the Marvell world phone development platform is the world’s first and only available solution of its kind featuring R7 3G UMTS and TD-SCDMA with HSPA. Additionally, the platform will feature the industry’s first Mobile MIMO, Avastar(TM) 88W8797, an 802.11n 2×2 dual-band Wi-Fi SoC designed to support high data rates for next-generation mobile devices.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) no longer need to design separate development platforms to accommodate different wireless standards and target markets around the world, saving months of design time and cost. Instead, they can focus on creating a wide portfolio of 3G UMTS supported phones that can be used globally with other UMTS carriers worldwide – all based on a single development platform.

Marvell’s PXA978 single chip solution uses advanced 40nm process technology and is designed to deliver 3G TD-SCDMA baseband combining high performance 1.2 GHz application processor with advanced 3D graphics and 1080p multimedia, ensuring a feature-rich, fast and exceptionally smooth user experience. Additionally, the processor’s extremely high power efficiency and true multitasking capabilities is intended to enable OEMs to design mobile devices that represent a significant leap beyond today’s most advanced smartphone and tablet devices. The platform will support all leading OS platforms.