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Monthly Archives: November 2011


1st W3C conference for Web developers and designers

14 Sep: W3C is holding its 1st web developer conference in Seattle! Nov 15-16

19 Sep: We may talk a bit about semantic web and metadata, such as RDFa, microdata, and microformats, but the focus is on client-side tech @zaythar

7 Oct: Registration for W3Conf opens today. Only $199 for 2 days of Web tech awesomeness. Limited to 250 seats, so register early! #w3conf #HTML5

As referred by Jeff Jaffe on Successes and Challenges slides at TPAC 2011 (31 Oct to 4 Nov 2011 in Santa Clara, California)

If you are a developer or designer wanting to hear the latest news on HTML5 and the open web platform, and your place in it, save the date.

W3Conf: Practical Standards for Web Professionals
2011: HTML5 and the Open Web Platform

W3Conf has industry leaders speaking on a wide variety of topics that every developer needs to know: HTML5, APIs and Javascript, graphics, accessibility, CSS, and much more.

We have selected speakers on an invitation-only basis to deliver the most educational and entertaining experience for our audience on the topics we felt were the most pressing for Web developers and designers today.

http://www.w3.org/conf/#presentations [downloads and video recordings]

Below is a rearranged for reading and highlighted copy of the live blog of the conference by Manu Sporny:

W3Conf LiveBlog – Day One [Manu Sporny, Digital Bazaar, Nov 15, 2011]

Ian Jacobs (W3C): Welcome: Contributing to Open Standards

Focus on why developers are key to W3C and the future of the Web. W3C doing standards since mid 1990s – learned a great deal in that time: You have to have the right people involved. Who the right people are changes over time. Consensus building takes a lot of time, but you can’t let it go on forever – there is a balance. Royalty-free patent policy is important. Use cases and real-world developer stories are needed. Tests are needed for proper implementation. Developer buy-in is very important.

Continuing improvements at W3C is important – HTML5 logo, community groups, Unicorn testing framework, training material – useful documentation for developers/designers.

Community groups – important for bringing new work to W3C. This conference is a call for action – for web developers to get more involved in W3C.

Video of Tim Berners Lee (W3C):

Asks people here to have fun. Keep the Web open – use open standards. Do really exciting things – HTML5 and Web Apps – the platform allows you to do things that were only possible via native apps before.

Try to focus on Web Apps – not native apps. Being part of the Web is more powerful than creating siloed apps. Bit by bit – everything that you can do on a native app, you will be able to do via a Web Apps. By making Web Apps – you are helping to keep the Web open.

Keeping the Web open has always been a battle – we have to fight for openness.

Philippe Le Hégaret (W3C): Testing to Perfection

Asks audience to raise their hand if somebody has ever logged a browser bug (very few people raise their hands). “How many of you expect the web to work?”. Laughs from the audience.

Shows a testing example on CSS – asks audience what’s going to happen. Nobody seems to know. Different browsers show a different result… 25% of browsers will not work. This is what we would like to improve. Replaces test DIV elements with SPAN elements… invalid document, but will still render, but not exactly the same.

When testing, you find yourself in a lot of situations where it’s difficult to tell what should happen. We are not testing one spec with HTML5 – we are testing CSS, HTML5, JavaScript APIs, lots of things. Different levels of stability – difficult to synchronize between specs. Need web developers to participate.

Is testing to perfection possible? No. Testing is an approximation.

Lots of it can be automated, but a lot of it cannot. We need help testing plenty of combinations – HTML, HTML+SVG, DOm manipulation, CSS combinations. We’ll never get 100% coverage – but we still need to set a goal. Who are we testing for?

We are testing for the people that use this technology – manufacturers, spec editors, content providers, people using the Web… etc.

Manu Sporny (Digital Bazaar): Community Groups: A case study with Web Payments

Doug Schepers (W3C): Shortcuts: Developer Documentation

We’re back with Doug Schepers, SVG, Web Apps, Audio, that will be talking about Web Education. “Who here has used the Web?”… “How many have programmed for the Web?”.

“How many people learned the Web via ‘view source’”? Just about everyone raised their hands. “How many of you still do that?” Most dropped their hands.

The Document Web was pretty easy to learn. In 2000, we started to get the application Web. Media Web, Social Web… you have to learn a lot in order to be able to do these things. People can’t read standards – they’re really difficult to read.

WebMoney came early on. W3Schools, W3Fools.com is a good site. Opera Web Standards Cirriculum, SitePoint, MDN, Google’s “Ground Up” Videos. Tons of other sites – not just HOW-TOs, but help more.

At universities you learn serious programming languages like “lisp”. Laughs from the audience. Web Standards Project is great, InterAct Cirriculum is great – teachers can take these cirriculumns and plug them into their classrooms.

W3C has tutorials and primers, podcasts and videos. The W3C wiki has a bunch of resources, HTML5 reference guide, CSS reference guide. The problem with W3C’s documentation is that it’s scattered everywhere. Internationalization documents on W3C site.

Web Education Community Groups – launched to focus on learning material, curriculum, outreach, training, international resources. Trying to improve teaching resources at W3C. Why should people get involved in Web Education? Many eyes, pay it forward, reap what you sow.

How to help: write articles, review articles, help write curricula, help translate.

We started the Web as a hobby. We need to change it from a hobby to a craft. Make it easy to learn the basics, need smooth transition from casual development to career. Web developers learn throughout their lives – we hope these resources will persist and keep getting better.

Divya Manian (Opera): 5 CSS Magic Potions for your Layout Troubles from the Future

Divya is a Web Opener for Opera – contributes to HTML5 boilerplate, member of the CSS WG. Arsonist of the Semantic Web. Current state of CSS layout – what to look forward to in the future.

Many people use ‘floats’ for layout – absolute positioning. Problems with floats – they’re not content agnostic – floats require clearing. So, what can we look forward to in the future?

Paged media layout – “@media paged” – allows you to tread HTML as paged content.

Multiple columns – “css3-multicol – column-width: 12em;” – allows you to setup column sizes. Column spans allow you to say that a particular item can span multiple columns.

Regions allow you to flow text content from one region to another, even if they are separated by a large distance.

Exclusions – allow text to flow around the outline of irregularly shaped objects. For example – a large rock with text around it. Lots of options on how to wrap text via CSS.

Grids – standardize a way to do grids inside CSS. Grid templates look simple to start – very complex.

Flexboxvery much in flux – allows you to distribute layouts in a more flexible box layout.

Make sure to use feature detection via modernizr. Subbornella’s tutorials are great. Isotope jquery plugin is great – isotope.metafizzy.io – if you have complicated layouts, use Isotope.

More discussion on the www-style mailing list at W3C. Lots of traffic on the mailing list. Help by submitting bug reports. Divya can be found on Twitter at @divya

Vincent Hardy (Adobe): Web Graphics – a large creative palette

Vincent talking about passions – Web and Graphics. Formal education in distributed computing – worked at Sun on 2D APIs. Worked on SVG. Worked at Oracle on Data Visualizations.

Towards a more graphical, fluid Web. Shows graphical clock via Raphael. Amazing WebGL demo showing shader-use and cool artistic effects.

You have lots of tools – canvas, WebGL, CSS Animations, imperative vs. declarative programming for graphics. Very nice visual effects in canvas/SVG.

Canvas – imperative model – big array of pixels. SVG – declarative model – looks more like the HTML/DOM.

SVG – graphical elements w/ attributes that control how content gets rendered.

Canvas – pixel-based, you write scripts to draw what you want. You create a context, set it to 2D or 3D, then you specify drawing commands (draw an arc, fill with color, etc)

Canvas – more difficult to detect where events happen in your object – you have to write that code. SVG – events are tied to graphical objects. Easier to do event inputs via SVG – but both allow you to have very fine grained control over your graphics with either.

Scripted animation is still in the works – but you have scripting APIs today. Canvas uses scripts for animations. With SVG you can use CSS animation, scripts, and declarative animation with SMIL. All browsers except IE support SMIL. Declarative animation allows you to morph geometry between objects.

Timing – you can time animation events and chain them together via SMIL pretty easily. You can style SVG using CSS, just like any other HTML document.

Multimedia integration –

You can also do video in SVG – Video element embedded in SVG document, you can apply filter effects to SVG – filter effects apply in real-time. Foreground decorations with SVG – looks really nice.

Why two different models? Canvas is low-level, pixel access. SVG is very high-level, nice API, DOM events, etc… but no pixel access, can be limiting. There are good reasons to have both. Graffiti Markup Language – uses SVG and Canvas together.

Frameworks that can help: Raphael.js, Paper.js, Easle.js, D3.js, Canvg.

Canvas support is very good – supported in all recent browsers. SVG is supported in all major browsers, except for SMIL animation and font stuff in IE.

WebGL support is coming, but not quite there yet. Issues with in-line SVG.

What’s coming: Better 2d/3d integration, improved integration w/ canvas/SVG, additional features for SVG 2.0, filter effects and CSS shaders, video integration, etc. Presentation was created with HTML5.

Arvind Jain (Google): Web Perfomance: Making the Web Faster

Arvind is the Chair of the W3C Performance Working group – try to make web page performance better. Web Timing API – “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” — Lord Kelvin.

Web Timing API allows web pages to get detailed information about how long it takes pages to load. Web Timing API has four areas – navigation, resource, user and performance.

Navigation Timing API allows developers to create a complete picture of how long it takes for a page to load in very accurate detail. Supported in IE9, Chrome, Firefox and Android.

Resource Timing API – timing info related to individual resources on a page like images, scripts, objects, etc.

UserTiming API allows high precision (1 ms accuracy) to measure the execution time of their code.

Performance Timeline API – single interface for accessing all timing attributes.

Resource, user and performance implementations are not entirely implemented yet, but coming soon, around March 2012.

Security and Privacy implications – trying to ensure that people can’t be easily tracked with these new features.

Web Timing stuff is in use – Google Analytics Speed Report, WebPageTest.org, Dynatrace UEM, Boomerang.

Page Visibility API – helps you figure out of the page is visible or not – helpful to know if you need to keep running animations/etc. Ready in March 2012. In use on Google Analytics (count impressions correctly – page isn’t counted if page is opened in a tab that is never looked at), YUI Idle Timer, Google.com Instant Pages loads pages if it can predict if you’re going to click on a link (loads in the background).

Question on Usability Testing and improving the browsing experience. Yes, the Timing APIs can be used to figure out how long it takes for someone to click on a piece of a page.

Question on using image bundles or not. Google performance testing has shown that it depends on the types of images – large image bundling is bad. Tiny image bundling is good.

John Allsopp (Web Directions): Shortcuts: Getting off (line) with the HTML5 appcache [his slides on the web]

Great criticisms of the Web – it only works when you’re online. Not necessarily true.

For Appcache to work – create an appcache manifest file and link it to your HTML file. You have a file with a .appcache extension – appcache file has sections for cache, fallback and network.

Cache section – which resources must be cached.

Network section – which resources must NOT be cached.

Fallback section – which resources should be used for anything that is not cached and when you’re offline.

Gotchas: Appcache manifest must be served with text/cache-manifest. New-ish technology. Cache failure if one resource is not available – must verify your cache. Appcache is cached forever – when developing, don’t use appcache. Only things that are explicitly cached are available – must be explicitly included. There is lazy-caching, other cache controls in use in the browser may cache other files.

Do not develop with app-cache turned on.

If you change the contents of the appcache, it will be refreshed. Use #version 1.0. Some browsers limit to 5MB-10MB.

Appcache is supported in all modern browsers.

ManifestR creates a manifest file for any web page you visit – helpful for starting with AppCache development.

Rajesh Lal (Nokia): The N-Screens Problem: Building Apps in a World of TV and Mobiles [YouTube video]

7 Key challenges for the N-Screens problem.

Four screens – mobile smartphone, PC, tablet, Internet-connected TV.

Design Problem – N Screens – Mobiles, screen size 2-4″, viewed from a distance of one foot. Not reliable, finger input, highly interruptible. Very dynamic environment. Tablet – 7-14″ screen size, input touch, not as interruptible. PC – screen size 12-27″, very focused use. TV – screen size 25-65″ screen size, 10′ viewing area, total immersion, D-pad remote.

Native vs. Web App

Native, pros: each screen has an SDK, great for a specific device, robust, device APIs. cons: steep learning curve, not scalable. Winner: WebApp solution.

WebApp is an application created using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Two types – in-browser, or WebApp in a native container(Hybrid).

History: Old HTML, Server-side web apps and CGI, Rich Interactive Apps – Flash, Silverlight, HTML5 and now WebApps.

[see between 7:35 and 9:48 of the YouTube video]

Seven key challenges

  • How do you detect features? Device detection (bad) vs. Feature detection (good). Modernizr and jquery.support help with feature detection.
  • How do you detect screen layout/orientation? Media queriesare great – you can query based on resolution, based on device aspect ratio and based on orientation.
  • Graceful degredation? moz-* ms-* o-* etc… you can use CSS graceful degredationfor this.
  • How do you Animation? WebGL is best, followed by CSS3 animation, followed by Canvas and JavaScript and then SVG and JavaScript.
  • Audio? Web Audio in order of preference – OpenAL, Audio Data, RIA Audio HTML5 audio.
  • AJAX? CORS is best, followed by a proxy, JSONP, then a hybrid app.
  • Fallback for HTML5 APIs? polyfills and shims. Use HTML5 APIs, then polyfills and shims, then JavaScript code.

Rey Bango (Microsoft): The Great HTML5 Divide: How Polyfills and Shims Let You Light Up Your Sites in Non-Modern Browsers

Up now, the Great HTML5 Divide by Ray Bango of Microsoft. Works on jQuery, HTML evangelist. HTML5 is great, it’s definitely the future, but there is a divide. Talking about browser fragmentation today, feature detection, polyfills and shims. How do you leverage HTML5 and CSS today? Solutions will be provided.

Biggest problem now is non-modern browsers. caniuse.comis a good resource for figuring out which browsers support. Lot of browser fragmentation, across browsers, within the same browser, different versions.

Feature detection is a good thing – do it. Don’t do browser-based detection.

Modernizris great for feature detection – detects all major features for CSS3, HTML5, etc.

Polyfills and shims – polyfills are used to fill in cracks – shims fill in cracks. SVG support, Web Storage, WebSQL, WebSockets, etc. Consider 3rd party library– developers may not want to support it anymore.

Take-aways: avoid browser detection, use polyfills, do smart fallbacks.

Christopher Slye (Adobe Systems, Inc.): Shortcuts: Web Typography

Next up, Christopher Slye from Adobe to talk about Web Typography. Involved in WOFF standards group. Two real font formatsTrueType and PostScript. Going forward, quality will be about the same. EOT is Microsoft’s font container – been exclusively for Internet Explorer. WOFF is new Web font format – will be the first interoperable Web Font Format.

WOFF is a compressed font container, has font metadata. CSS3 Fonts Module – contains entries for properties size, weight, style. OpenType has nothing to do with the Web. Kerning, ligatures and alternates.

CSS font spec allows you to “optimize readability”, which uses ligatures. Discretionary layout features. Good typography on the Web requires font designers to be able to specify font choices on a per-character, per-stroke basis – let’s typographers add case shifting, kerning, alternates, small caps, oldstyle features, etc. – all help readability.

Paul Irish (Google): HTML5: The Foundation of the Web Platform [see also his blog post about it]

Next up, Paul Irish from Google talking about The Foundation of the Web Platform – HTML5. Talking about HTML5 underpinnings – on the jQuery team.

Explains that came about because browsers don’t really care about all of the variations and that all of the variations are difficult to understand for Web developers. was introduced because of a security vulnerability in UTF-7 and script tags.

Browsers used to parse broken markup in a different way. Now they all parse broken markup in the same way. There are optional tags – html, head, body, etc.

You can not use quotes in HTML5 attribute IDs, you can use many UTF-8 characters (like hearts and the unicode value for a snowman).

The HTML5 spec is a repository of valuable browser knowledge – acquired through copious reverse engineering.

W3Conf LiveBlog – Day Two [Manu Sporny, Digital Bazaar, Nov 16, 2011]

Giorgio Sardo (Microsoft): HTML5 Demo Fest: the Best from the Web

Some amazing SVG demos happening on screen at W3Conf. An SVG music video, amazing filter effects with SVG, CSS applied to SVG, etc.

Amazing HTML5-based demos. BMW using canvas to preview cars interactively using open standards. The Killers (the band) launches a pure HTML5 and canvas page. Amazing TRON interactive comic book done in pure HTML5.

CSS3 demos showing off animation. Amazing font work showing off WOFF (new font stuff in HTML5). Associated Press showing interactive news demo showing top stories in an interactive way, using Local Storage to save stories for offline viewing.

Demos showing that pen-based input, touch inputs, motion inputs on HTML5 pages – no plugins necessary. Showing smooth transitions between HTML5 video and page content, giving a very smooth website experience.

Current presenter is Giorgio Sardo, doing a great job showing off the power of HTML5 today. Showing off the need for multi-touch events – talking about mobile phones or large screens shared among different people, running HTML5 Apps.

Moving on to WebApps and the File API. Showing drag-drop of files from the desktop to the browser window. Drag-Drop API allows you to take files from the desktop and drop them into a web page – file information and the byte stream is made available to the browser. Web Performance API allows you to know when someone isn’t viewing a page and allows you to shut down processor intensive or battery draining portions of Web Apps.

HTML5 games being demoed now – Angry Birds in pure HTML5, 65,000 PacMan mazes in pure canvas, high speed, smooth interoperation.

See @gisardo on twitter for a link to all of the amazing HTML5 demos.

Mike Bostock (Square): Shortcuts: Data Visualization with Web Standards

Mike Bostock is up now, talking about Data Visualization with Web Standards. We should not put a focus on charts and graphs, but rather visualizing information in a way that is closer matched to the data we’re trying to understand. D3.js – Data Driven Documents.

D3.js looks at data visualization as a document. Map a quantity/value to a symbol then render. decoupling data from visualization. D3 mixes SVG, CSS and HTML togetherto build beautiful visualizations – for example hierarchical data sets can be visualized as hierarchical bar charts, or bubble graphics, and smooth transitions between them.

Showing off how D3 also allows you to do interactive visualization – select part of the data set, see highlights elsewhere in the data set. The tools we create don’t exist in isolation – combining SVG + Canvas + CSS allow us to create very compelling visualizations.

Becky Gibson (IBM): Making Accessibility Mainstream

Becky Gibson, from IBM – Senior Technical Staff Member, on stage now.

Issues with Accessibility – Vision issues, Mobility issues (not everyone is able to use a mouse), temporary disability, learning disabilities, hearing disabilities, age. Eventually all of us age – every one of us will have accessibility issues.

Why care about Accessibility? Government/legal reasons, monetary reasons (1.75B of disposable income from people with accessability issues), independence, altruism – it’s the right thing to do. People with disabilities don’t want a hand out, they want your respect.

Enabling Accessibility. Use semantic HTML, use alt-text on images, label form elements, add keyboard support, use tabindexes, support high contrast mode (all background images are removed).

Assistive Technology Support – WAI-ARIA – uses role attribute and aria-* attributes to enable accessible applications. Multiple roles – tree, spinner, grid, many more. States and properties – required, expanded, checked, owns, many more.

ARIA Roles landmark the main roles on the page – banner, main, navigation, search, form. Popular screen readers support landmarks. ARIA Presentation role – preferred way to say that something is being used to present some information?

ARIA states and properties. ARIA allows one to specify that a region of the page has been updated and how one should be notified that it’s been updated. For example: “aria-live=”assertive” aria-atomic=”true”. aria-required indicates that a field is required. aria-invalid tells us that something someone has entered is invalid.

The future – mobile – VoiceOver screen reader and ARIA support is in Safari – iOS has the accessibility advantage right now. Intent-based Events – how do you do generic events?

Brad Hill (PayPal), Scott Stender (iSEC Partners): Securing the Next Generation of Web Apps

Up on stage now – Brad Hill from PayPal and Scott Stender (iSEC Partners) talking about Web App Security. We need a way to protect information from prying eyes on the Web. New threats are client-based – Cross-Site Scripting and Cross-Site Request Forgery.

Same-origin policy guards against most attacks. Most attacks can be prevented on the Server-side. Conventional wisdom: Never trust the client – Defend the server, at the server. Web Security 1.0 puts up defenses at the server. Client Code Injection – DOM Cross-Site Scripting – you can use fragment identifiers to attack sites now because of JavaScript running on a page.

Big security vulnerabilities are now showing up in native apps that wrap HTML containers. When there are no servers, and you have stuff running on your local system, a script-injection attack can take files on your hard drive and send them across the network without your knowledge. Demo of Skype window sending passwords to attackers based on a JavaScript attack.

Old clever tricks – like script tags, iframe elements, JSONP are mature, but you have to understand what security model you’re signing up for– you’re effectively giving the source of a JSONP data/iframe check-in rights to the code on your page. So, if you use these clever hacks, be careful how you do it and who you do it with.

New features coming up that help web security – CORS, XHR2, WebSockets – powerful tools. Auditing is more difficult with these new technologies. postMessage (communication between two tabs in the same browser) and Web RTC (real-time data/media streams). These technologies, while very cool, open up the attack surface on the Web App.

Assets and attack surface are moving to the client, but the focus is still on securing the servers. Future of Web App Security is in the client, not the server. We are falling behind on making sure we’re securing our Web Apps.

What can we do to mitigate these threats? Comprehensive testing/verification, do tests on production code. Get rid of built-in “Game Over” security threats – JSONP is bad, plaintext HTTP is bad. Create code that is designed to be securable– compartmentalize the code, decouple the code, be explicit, do test-driven design.

More specific thingsyou can do: Use HTML5+ Mashup APIs, use HTTPS (and authenticate your origins), secure design – compartmentalize and sandbox origins, do good client-side testing.

For compartmentalization: use credential state isolated from the DOM, minimize foreign origins, create unique origins to isolate apps and sandbox dangerous or active content.

You can sandbox bad JSONP code using postMessage.

Implementation validation is also important. Test using security tools – DOMinator, DOM Snitch, WebDriver and Selenium for testing. Start using them, contribute bugs, make the tools better.

Content Security Policy – pioneering work at Mozilla/Google– Least-Privilege environment. Let’s you say: “No in-line script, no code from strings via eval(), no data URIs, code must come from libraries with origins specified in a whitelist, origin whitelist for images, media, frames, fonts, plugins, etc.”

Click-jacking and UI Redressing is still a problem with Mashups. DOM is still a mess – lots of browser-specific quirks.

Grant Goodale (Massively Fun): Shortcuts: Touch Events

Grant Goodale up now from Massively Fun (@ggoodale) to talk about touch events. First touch API appeared in iOS 2.0, now a part of the HTML5 spec.

Many differences still exist between vendors – many of the browsers don’t support it yet, but there are lots of mobile browsers that do support touch events. Many different types of input, you want native-like behavior. Firefox supports touch events.

Cross-platform multi-touch webapp checklist – disable standard gesture handling, handle rendering in a loop outside of the touch event handler, support single-touch devices (like Android phones), handle mouse events (phones w/ a physical pointer, phones with no touch events, desktop browsers).

Grant Skinner (gskinner.com): Hello. Games. HTML5 Gaming Today.

… by Grant Skinner (gskinner.com) – creator of Eazel.jsand Pirates Love Daisies.

Traditionally worked with Flash – moved to working with HTML5. Games on the Open Web today and in the future.

What do you need to make a great game? An idea – you can be inspired by the technology you have available to you. Can we design games designed for the Web? Loading – critical piece, how do you get the game onto the client? Monitoring progress is difficult in games (no clear standards to see how long it’ll take to load everything).

XHR2 is great because it has progress events – ability to load in binary assets. caching – minimizes bandwidth/connections – cache manifest is good, but it’s an all-or-nothing solution. If you change the cache manifest, everything downloads again. HTML5 local storage is good, tricky to store non-text assets, low-level way of supporting cached data – lots of custom implementation work.

Graphics – lots of options. DOM and SVG is good – interaction model is good, ubiquitous, hardware accelerated… but high overhead (can be a performance killer). Hardware acceleration works really well for Canvas, not so great for SVG and the HTML DOM. WebGL (based on OpenGL ES2) – fast, low-level hardware graphics, 3D vertex shaders, extremely sharp learning curveThree.jsmay help, but still very difficult to use. Canvas 2D is broadly available, including mobile, consistently implemented, easy to get started with, increasingly performant.

Combining surfaces is good– combine Canvas and SVG and DOM. HTML DOM does the UI very well – all UI in their games is done with HTML – use Canvas/SVG for graphics. Using pluggable renderers – you can switch between three.js, EaselJS based on your platform – write the content once, pick the renderer based on the device.

Sound is a little more challenging in games right now– audio tag is broadly supported, but suffers from browser-specific issues, latency, codec support, maximum number of audio elements (arbitrary). Using solutions like Flash, SoundJS, SoundManager2 allow you to launch with good audio today. Sound sprites, like image sprites – one very long audio clip with gaps, use JavaScript to see and play different parts of the audio track.

The Web Audio API is coming– very powerful API for real-time audio manipulation, runs at native speed, synthesis, analysis, mixing – limited support now, but will solve a ton of problems.

Basic interaction – keyboard capture is incomplete, but mostly adequate. Mouse interaction is fine for point and click games. WebGL and Canvas require custom handling of mouse events. Full-screen and interaction API is a bit quirky. mouse lock and synthetic mouse events are necessary when you want the cursor to go off-screen and still generate mouse events (which you need to do in first-person games when walking, running, navigating).

Upcoming device APIs – touch events, orientation change API, device orientation API, nothing for orientation lock yet (don’t change the orientation when playing a game).

Communication – XHR (http requests and polling), WebSockets (text only for now, but binary coming soon). WebRTC / Peer Connection API – peer-to-peer audio, video and data. Network Status API – is the device online or offline.

Code authoring – JavaScript performance has gotten faster, IE has improved the most, but many browsers are doing great work with JavaScript performance. ECMAScript 5 is good – strict mode should be used. New features in ECMA5 – seal, freeze, prevent extension for objects, property descriptors allow you to specify when a property should be writable, readable, etc. There are still challenges: no type safety, no interfaces, limited inheritance, no super() – difficult to write a big game engine w/ JavaScript. JS is great for hacking together a game. Some solutionsGoogle Closure is neat and a good IDE, cross-compilersHaxe, CoffeeScript, Jangaroo– compile down to JavaScript.

Tools – good dev tools – WebStorm, debugging tools are good, profiling is good for JavaScript – not so good for profiling graphical processes. WebGL inspectoris really neat, lets you see where a single pixel came from in the code.

Asset preparation (for designers) 3D – Inka3D exports to WebGL. Sprite sheets – Flash, Zoe, TexturePacker. 2D – Wallaby, SVG to Canvas, EaselJS.

Marketing and Monetization – Web games are great because you’re already in a social medium.

Flash is more ubiquitous, it has more tooling, building a game is cheaper in Flash… but it doesn’t run in iOS, probably won’t run in mobiles, Windows 8 Metro won’t run it either.

Exciting times for Games in HTML5 – still some rough edges, but technology is maturing quickly.

Faruk Ateş : Shortcuts: Modernizr

Design for the browser of the future by detecting features instead of browser versions – useful for progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, regressive enhancement.

Modernizr allows you to test a feature and then conditionally load code that expects the feature or code that uses a polyfill.

People arrive at your site for the content, but will leave very quickly if the site isn’t fast. Showing demo of progressive enhancement.

How to use modernizr? Go to http://www.modernizr.com

Development and production version. Good for CDN distribution.

Art Barstow (Nokia), Paul Cotton (Microsoft), Tantek Çelik (Mozilla), Charles McCathieNevile (Opera), Chris Wilson (Google), Peter Vosshall (Amazon):
PANEL: Browsers and Standards: Where the Rubber Hits the Road

What’s interesting about the browsers?

  • Nokia has shipped millions of browser installs – written from the ground-up in some cases – shipped browsers from Opera – also shipping Windows Phone browsers – large swath.
  • Microsoft – IE9 and IE10 – driving home the message about all web developers using the Web Platformpicking stable specs, moving it into the browser.
  • Mozilla – we’re a non-profit, our focus is a bit different – mission driven focus– we’re concerned about SOPA and censorship over profits.
  • Opera – we’re a commercial company, we are out of Norway, we are product focusedfor our customers.
  • Google – focus on making the Web platform better.
  • Amazon – just got into the browser game, built from the ground-up to use Amazon web services infrastructure – browser running on a mobile device.

What do you think about DART and SPDY and how they were brought to market?

  • Paul Cotton (Microsoft) – innovation is good, we should have more of it but we need to coordinateon those things.
  • Paul (Amazon) SPDY is great, we ship it, it reflects what’s happening in the real world today.
  • Chaals (Opera) browser vendors are just one part of the puzzle, developers need to take part in it, security folks need to take part in it.
  • Tantek (Mozilla) – the problem is delayed open – for a fair look on the problem search for “delayed open google microsoft”.
    [ 20 Nov: @t Tantek Çelik also @ #W3Conf: fight “delayed open” tactics per Eran’s post: Open vs. Fast, Good vs. Evil, Google vs. Facebook: ttk.me/t4Ex4]

Vendor prefixes, are they outmoded?

  • Chris Wilson (Google), vendor prefixes are not that good.
  • Chaals (Opera) bad authoring is worse, so is bad Web teaching, we need a mechanism for innovation – vendor prefixes are terrible, except for all of the other things we tried, which are worse – sunset the vendor prefixes.
  • Paul Cotton (Microsoft) we want vendor prefixes to be taken out when we go to Candidate Recommendation status – we need to get to CR faster, we need to do our specs in a much more modular fashion. Part of the standards process is at fault here – standards need to move faster.
  • Tantek (Mozilla) The better that we can get about dropping vendor prefixes, the better. Vendor prefixes suck, but it’s the best we’ve come up with so far– we could do better – we’re all open to suggestions on this point.
  • Paul (Amazon) Vendor prefixes are a form of technical debt, you have to pay it down eventually.

Tantek asks why VIDEO element didn’t have a vendor prefix – but it still worked… why?

  • Chaals: It was easy to understand what Video should do.
  • John Allsopp: It had a good fallback.
  • Tantek: Video wasn’t easy, but we got it right – why was that? Arguing on stage :)

What about operating system integration, like with Chromebook?

  • Tantek: it’s bad – robs the user of choice. iPhone, no choice – Chromebook – no choice.
  • Chris (Google) – Chromebook is just the Web layer, you can replace the OS if you want to– there is choice there.
  • Paul (Amazon) having HTML5, creating a true application environment – maybe the model of using the OS as the browser is terrible.

How do most of the regular web developers know what should be used and what shouldn’t?

  • Chaals (Opera) All of us building the Web need to go out and learn and teach other people. There is nobody spoon feeding information to you – this field changes so quickly – look around to your peers, they will help you.
  • Paul (Microsoft) Browser vendors need to hang out with one another – we need to work together, get things done. Community Groups at W3C are going to be key – get groups going with least amount of overhead, understand what minimum required to get a spec done is needed. The way we’re dealing with the HTML5 spec is bad – it’s a flawed way of working on a standard. We will continue to work together at W3C. We have a real obligation to the community here.
  • Tantek (Mozilla) – it’s not sufficient for browser vendors to work together – we need to work together IN THE OPEN.

Is there any plans to replace JavaScript?

  • Chris (Google) One of the goals behind DARTwas to provide something simpler.
  • Chaals (Opera) it would be terrible if the solution was not interoperable.
  • Paul (Microsoft) JavaScript will become “copper pipe” in 5-6 years… it’ll be what we use just like we don’t think about processors and compilers today.


  • Chaals (Opera) different societies define privacy differently, difficult to start the work when you don’t know where you’re going.
  • Chris (Google) people should have the tools to control their own privacy, you can’t just leave it to the end user.
  • Doug (W3C) Good work on do not track, cryptography going on at W3C.

What about internationalization?

  • Paul (Microsoft) We need to be able to ship browsers worldwide – how to bring rest of the world into the conversation.
  • Tantek (Mozilla) There are 70 versions of localized Firefox browsers – built by the international community. Customized for specific locales and markets.

Women in browsers, why are they not represented?

  • Paul (Microsoft) I work with 2 women on my team, 3 men. More women attending at TPAC, this is a good sign.
  • Chaals (Opera) different societies have different levels of participation.
  • Paul (Microsoft) Women are certainly welcome here – we want much broader participation than we have now. I think some of the problem is societal, it’s not a social norm in the USA – we need to get better about teaching science and math to he smarter of the genders.

Web apps for the open web from Mozilla

Mozilla releasing new version of Firefox for Android [Nov 22, 2011]

The new version is strategically important for Mozilla for multiple reasons. First, smartphones and tablets are at the center of a mobile-first transformation of the computing industry, and Firefox isn’t preinstalled anywhere right now. Second, with Firefox shut out on Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Android is effectively the only route for Mozilla to bring its browser to the mobile market.

Last, Mozilla’s objective–to ensure an open Web–relies on Firefox. Right now, Apple and Google browsers based on the open-source WebKit project dominate mobile browsing.

Release manager Christian Legnitto announced the move Friday. Initially the new version was geared just for phones, but Mozilla expanded it to tablets, too, after concluding it couldn’t offer separate versions.

Firefox for personal computers, and many of the add-ons that helped make the browser popular by making it more customizable, use an interface called XUL (XML User Interface Language). But because the XUL-based version of Firefox took so long to start up on Android and isn’t as responsive, Mozilla instead embraced Andoid’s built-in technology.

Mozilla releases roadmap for Boot to Gecko project [thinq, Nov 7, 2011]

Mozilla is continuing its assault on the operating system, releasing an updated roadmap for its Boot to Gecko (B2G) project that sees its developers using the mobile platform as their primary phone device by the end of the year.

Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project first appeared back in July, when researcher Andreas Gal posted a message to the mozilla.dev.platform Usenet group asking for volunteers to help develop a new mobile platformthat brings the concept of the open web to smartphones as well as the desktop.

“We propose a project we’re calling ‘Boot to Gecko’ (B2G) to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web. We will do this work in the open, we will release the source in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process. We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox,” Gal claimed at the time, “we’re trying to have them run on the web.”

As well as a standalone platform, Gal explained that initial versions of the software would operate as a “low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device,” allowing tablets and smartphones based on Google’s popular mobile platform to boot into B2G as well.

The B2G project stands as an apparent answer to the success of Google’s Android and the work the advertising giant has done on the Chrome OS project for so-called ‘Chromebook’ devices. A combination of the two – a smartphone platform and a web app platform – B2G promises to appeal to those looking to offload their processing from a mobile device to the cloud.

In the latest version of the B2G roadmap, Mozilla claims that the first milestone is to get developers using a B2G device as their day-to-day smartphone – a goal it aims to achieve by the end of the year.

The project has a way to go, however: while B2G currently has access to smartphone features including the camera and the ability to make outgoing calls via Android, work has yet to be completed on messaging and full telephony functionality, along with power management, Android contacts integration and screen management.

Mozilla B2G interface mockup

Once complete, the team is planning to turn its attention to the nicer aspects: support for Bluetooth, USB and Near-Field Communications hardware is planned – although not yet scheduled – while plans to release an open web apps store= much like Google’s own Chrome Store, which lists web apps solely for use with its own browser – and add full Firefox-like functionality to the web browser are scheduled.

Once complete, that work will result in a public demonstration of the project as early as Q1 2012, the team claims, followed by “productisation” in Q2 – at which point the public at large will be given their chance to play with Mozilla’s creation.

The company has a long road ahead, however: Google’s Android is a popular platform, and while B2G promises to maintain compatibility with the system – likely by integrating a dual-boot functionality or using B2G as an overlay on top of the still-running Android OS where possible – it’s likely to struggle to convince non-technical types that it’s worth the effort.

Should the company secure a deal with a major handset manufacturer to ship B2G as standard with a smartphone, however, that could rapidly change.

Full details of the B2G project are available on the official wiki.

B2G/Roadmap [Nov 4, 2011]

This page is edited by brendan, cjones. Please don’t change without permission. DRAFT
[Brendan Eich co-founded mozilla.org and is currently the CTO of Mozilla. He is widely known for his contributions to the evolution of the Web, including inventing JavaScript and spearheading its ongoing standardization and evolution. See also: Mozilla’s Brendan Eich on the Birth of Firefox [Nov 9, 2011].]

Milestone 1: Developer Phone Q4 2011

Developers will use B2G as their day-to-day phone.


Gecko implements standard and proposed Web APIs.

  • Accelerometer
  • Geolocation
  • Camera
  • Visibility
  • Messaging: (filed 7/27)
    • android backend (ON TRACK, first patch 8/11)
    • RIL backend (ON TRACK)
    • SMS IndexedDB database (ASSIGNED)
  • Telephony: (filed 7/27)
    • outgoing calls on android
    • RIL backend (ON TRACK)
    • mute and speakerphone-toggle through libaudio (ON TRACK, landing estimated 11/15)
  • Battery: (filed 8/12)
    • android backend (ON TRACK)
    • Linux upower backend (ON TRACK)
    • sysfs backend (ON TRACK)
  • Contacts: (ON TRACK)
    • android backend (ON TRACK)
    • native IndexedDB backend (ON TRACK)
  • Screen/power management: (SCHEDULED)
  • Settings: (SCHEDULED)
  • Intents/Actions interface (SCHEDULED)

System (Gonk)

Gonk provides the OS kernel and lower-level native-code libraries that Gecko depends on.

  • Boot into Gecko-based runtime
  • Basic developer tools
    • debugger (gdb)
    • profiler

User Interface (Gaia)

Gaia is Mozilla’s phone user experience.

  • Home screen
  • Lock screen
  • Dialer
  • SMS application
  • Basic web browser
  • Contacts manager

Integration and testing

Infrastructure to collaborate with partners on source using established tools from Android ecosystem. Test correctness and performance.

  • Project Eideticker(performance testing): (ON TRACK, prototype finished)
  • Control B2G devices: (ON TRACK)
  • git.mozilla.org and gerrit server: (ASSIGNED)

Milestone 2: Product Demo Q1 2012


  • Open Web Apps and Store (ON TRACK)
  • Network status
  • Network management
  • Vibrator(ON TRACK)
    • android backend (ON TRACK)
    • sysfs backend (ASSIGNED)
  • Lights
  • Sensors(ON TRACK)
    • proximity and ambient-light sensors (ON TRACK)
      • android backend (ON TRACK)
      • gonk backend (ASSIGNED)
  • Bluetooth(STRETCH)
  • Completed port to Gonk
    • widget backend built on GL context for screen (ON TRACK)
    • user-input processing (ON TRACK)
    • gonk backend for all device APIs
    • audio and video playback
  • Developer tools: remote debuggers
    • JS

System (Gonk)

  • Dalvik removal
  • Developer tools
    • valgrind
    • OpenGL debugger
    • OpenGL profiler


User Interface (Gaia)

  • Full-featured web browser
  • Settings manager
  • Apps store
  • eBook reader
  • Camera
  • Gallery
  • Media player
  • Distinct look-and-feel

Integration and testing

  • Automated correctness testing

Milestone 3: Productization Q2 2012


Boot To Gecko (B2G) [A Minute With Brendan, Oct 19, 2011]

Back from JSConf EU and other travels, the minute with team is happy to return with a special episode from Brendan about the new Boot To Gecko (B2G)system. This is targeted to allow users of mobile devices to boot directly to a Gecko based browsing interface and to run web applications. It is really doing some stunning work around the new web APIs and privilege model that all developers should be aware of. Enjoy!

Crowd Sourced Full Transcript: http://piratepad.net/amwb-20111019 [Brendan Eich, Oct 19, 2011]

When I last spoke about the whole area of the rise of mobile smartphones and tablets really, and how Mozilla needs to climb the stack, use the Firefox desktop-heavy user-base to grow and make new product offerings, new projects, I did not talk about Boot To Gecko, but it’s, it was latent in what I, I did talk about, because we, we look around the world of mobile devices, and we see different operating systems that are increasingly locked in, vertically in terms of browsers or app models, or, even down to the OS and hardware, and that goes against Mozilla’s mission.

So what we really want is an offering that allows you to use the web to access all those great device APIs, with security, with user, user’s permission, with the principle of least-authority, so that there’s not a big security nightmare. But we do expect that the web languages, JavaScript especially, are capable of doing the high level sequencing and operations that you want, for things like your camera, USB connectivity, even futuristic stuff like Near Field Communication. That can all be just APIs exposed to JavaScript. You shouldn’t have to write native code that’s like Java interfaced on Android, or Objective-C, on, on, or C or C++ on another platform.

And so Boot To Gecko really is trying to make a thin OS layer, using open-source stacks like the linux kernel that’s in Android, or some similar linux kernel, and lib-c, and, you know, the Bluetooth open stack, and other things, to have a completely unencumbered operating system that gets you straight into the web languages as fast as possible. The, the launchers, home-screen, or the front-end of the user experience of the OS will really be realized with web technologies.

And, you know you might think this is similar to webOS, from Palm originally, now HP, and ChromeOS, there’s a lot similar in spirit. I would, I would say there’s some differences strategic for Mozilla and in what users will see there. What we’re trying to provide is not a new big fat JavaScript library or stack, but the web libraries that you find on Github, the ones you’re already using in your front-end development. We want web developers to be right at home, we don’t want to give them yet another, sorta framework. And I think that the webOS has some of that going on, which you know, may or may not be a strike against it, but it’s different from what we intend. We intend to be totally aligned with the grain of the web.

ChromeOS is fully open source, as fully as it can be, I think, more so than Android, at least Android Honeycomb, and that’s, that’s a good thing about it. It’s currently targeting you know notebooks, machines with keyboards, I think it’s, it’s also being brought up on some tablets, I’m not sure where that stands. And maybe even some phones, so the telephony, you know the dialer and the signaling stuff will be there. And not sure how that’ll play out. But ChromeOS is kind of Chrome, and therefore Chromium Webkit, and sort of Google dominated, to be fair. And I, so inspite of the philosophical alignment I feel with ChromeOS, it needs to be something like Android, which is really linux plus some Java stuff, I think Mozilla has to take a shot at something like Boot To Gecko.

We want to keep the Gecko code base relevant, even as it sort of dissolves into the operating system, becomes part of the ambient functionality you find on devices. So we’re looking for interoperation between Webkit and Gecko. We’re not just saying: “one open-source widely-used renderer is enough”. And, of course, as, as I mentioned last time, there’s a lot of, sort of, implicit version forking or vendor specific, you know, bug injection going on with Webkit. This is inevitable with any widely used codebase, it’s not something peculiar to Webkit.

But it, I think it even more raises the temperature on having another rendering engine, ideally open-source, like Gecko, out there, with a lot of users, even in the future where tablets and smartphones dominate the desktop population of devices, of PC’s and Macs.

So, Boot To Gecko is trying to differentiate by bringing web developers all those APIs that are going to take awhile to standardize. The stuff that Phonegap, from Nitobi, does well, we want to bring it as quickly as possible and feed it into the standards body, and, bodies, and iterate on it, and we want to run well on certain, certain devices. Now, this also requires making choices, because you can’t just say this is gonna be something users can download for any old phone. It, it, all the phones are different, you really have to flash into ROM, and you know, to burn, burn a ROM with this code. That’s part of the challenge, because for tablets, you might need some, some extra support that isn’t yet open-source. I mentioned Android Honeycomb.

We’re gonna persevere, and try to get this to be completely open-source, and running on relevant devices. There’s some really sweet hardware out there that we like a lot. We like the Samsung devices, the Galaxy II-S, we went with the Galaxy Tab 10 inch. Getting up on those right now with fully open-source stacks is a little hard. So part of our mission is to overcome that obstacle, and then interface the device APIs in the OS and down in the linux layer directly to the web.

And, so we won’t run equally well on every device, but we will pick devices that we think are likely to be popular, that are well executed hardware, that, you know, can actually give Apple a bit of a run for its money, and try to get something up and demonstratable in a few months.

So, I will be talking about this at least in, in October at a couple of conferences, probably Web 2.0 Expo in New York, and another one. And that, that puts a short fuse on the initial prototyping work for Boot To Gecko, so it’s paramount that we leverage what’s out there as open-source already, and then build on it with the Gecko technology that allows web developers to get at the device APIs. And I’ll have more to say about this as it progresses, but it’ll be exciting, and I, it’ll, I hope be really awesome on certain well designed hardware.

Booting to the Web [Andreas Gal, Director of Research at Mozilla Corporation, Jul 25, 2011]

Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development. To make open web technologies a better basis for future applications on mobile and desktop alike, we need to keep pushing the envelope of the web to include — and in places exceed — the capabilities of the competing stacks in question.

We also need a hill to take, in order to scope and focus our efforts. Recently we saw the pdf.js [http://github.com/andreasgal/pdf.js/] project expose small gaps that needed filling in order for “HTML5” to be a superset of PDF. We want to take a bigger step now, and find the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are — in every way — the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and WP7.

To that end, we propose a project we’re calling “Boot to Gecko” [http://wiki.mozilla.org/B2G] (B2G) to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web. It’s going to require work in a number of areas.

* New web APIs: build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content (Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.)
* Privilege model: making sure that these new capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications
* Booting: prototype a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device;
* Applications: choose and port or build apps to prove out and prioritize the power of the system.

We will do this work in the open, we will release the source [http://github.com/andreasgal/B2G] in real-time, we will take all successful additions to an appropriate standards group, and we will track changes that come out of that process. We aren’t trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we’re trying to have them run on the web.

This project is in its infancy; some pieces of it are only captured in our heads today, others aren’t fully explored. We’re talking about it now because we want expertise from all over Mozilla — and from people who aren’t yet part of Mozilla — to inform and build the project we’re outlining here.

brendan, cjones, gal, shaver

Boot To Gecko misconceptions [Luke Wagner, Sept 16, 2011]

I’m all jazz hands about Boot To Gecko (B2G). I think B2G is really important to the Mozilla mission. Perhaps stemming from the early-and-open nature of B2G, there are some misconceptions about B2G that I’ve seen in articles and forums. I am not closely involved in the project, but I do know enough to identify and correct a few of these misconceptions with the following three B2G facts:

  1. B2G will not run in kernel mode. To be clear, B2G will run on top of the Linux kernel; Gecko will run as user-mode processes. Furthermore, a crash in Gecko will not take down the entire phone: with Electrolysis (already being used in Firefox Mobile), different apps/sites will run in different processes.
  2. B2G will (ultimately) not run on top of Android. To bootstrap the project, work is currently being done on top of Android. However, the goal is to incrementally remove each dependency on Android, leaving only drivers and low-level libraries. In particular, this means B2G would not contain the Dalvik Java VM which should significantly improve the patentencumbered Java situationas well as reduce the number of VMs needed to browse the web from 2 to 1.
  3. B2G will use Gecko, but it’s not just about Gecko. A clearer name might have been “Boot to Web platform”. Gecko will, of course, be the engine used to prototype new Web APIs but since these are targeted at open standards developed in the open (as opposed to dumped in the open) [referring to a Dart presentation], a possible/desirable outcome is a separate “Boot To Webkit” implementation able to run the same home screen and apps as B2G.

If you are excited, feel free to contribute to the project; it’s just starting and there are many important problems to be solved.

1st search: HTML5 CSS3 Javascript “Windows 8” Chrome Firefox Apple Opera “web apps”

2nd search: “web apps” Mozilla

The State of Mozilla Annual Report – Opportunities [Oct 10, 2011]

Improving Web Capabilities

Mozilla has long been at the forefront of making the Web a more capable, rich and compelling platform. We continue this leadership today.



Apps represent a new, convenient way of interacting with the Internet, but they lack a number of the features that are great about the Web. The Mozilla open app ecosystemwill let users take their apps with them across platforms and devices. It will bridge contact lists and social graphs from different providers across the Web. It will allow users to discover apps in open and flexible ways, just as we discover other content on the Web.




Boot to Gecko

The State of Mozilla Annual Report – FAQ [Oct 10, 2011]


What are the key projects for Mozilla in the next year? How do you plan to influence the market going forward?

Firefox continues to be a fundamental lever in driving the Web forward and advancing the Mozilla mission. At the same time, the Web is evolving and moving into new areas and so is Mozilla. In addition to delivering Firefox on mobile phones and tablets, we will focus on new projects in the important areas of Apps, Identity, Education, and more.

Do you see a continued need for an independent player like Mozilla, now that competition in the browser market has accelerated?

Absolutely, Mozilla’s public benefit mission and nonprofit nature enables us to advocate for the user and remain committed to keeping the Web open and participatory, rather than focusing on market share or profits. The desktop browser market is innovative and competitive, but no one other than Mozilla is organized solely for the good of the Web as a whole, and we believe that as people become increasingly aware and informed online citizens that more and more people will look for a Web browser, like Firefox, that answers only to them.

What was Mozilla’s total revenue for 2010?

Mozilla’s consolidated reported revenue (Mozilla Foundation and all subsidiaries) for 2010 was $123 million, up approximately 18 percent from 2009.

How does Mozilla generate revenue?

The majority of Mozilla’s revenue is generated from search functionality included in our Firefox product through all major search partners including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Amazon, Ebay and others. Mozilla’s reported revenues also include very important individual and corporate donations and grants as well as other forms of income from our investable assets.

What is the status of the organization’s search partnerships?

We currently have partnerships with a number of search providers that differ by market. Our largest contract, with Google, comes up for renewal in November. We have every confidence that search partnerships will remain a solid generator of revenue for Mozilla for the foreseeable future.

Do Mozilla’s partnerships affect its independence?

Our mission and development process are completely unrelated to revenue or revenue generating relationships. Our open development process is governed by Mozilla’s mission and our commitment to improving the Web.

Are you exploring partnership opportunities to diversify your revenue stream?

We currently have several key business partnerships and are actively exploring search partnership opportunities and other potential revenue opportunities. We’ll continue to build great products that help people enjoy the richness of the Internet, and we’re confident that this allows us to identify appropriate sources of revenue.

Prototype of an Open Web App Ecosystem [Mozilla Labs, Oct 19, 2010]

The open Web is a great platform for rich applications. It would be even better if it had additional capabilities to ease discovery, acquisition, installation and use of apps, while also enabling monetization for developers. We designed and built a prototype of a system for open Web apps: Apps built using HTML/CSS/JavaScript that work both on computers and mobile phones, have many of the characteristics that users find compelling about native apps and provide developers with open and flexible distribution options.

Today, we are releasing technical documentationof the proposed system and a developer preview prototype that allows you to install, manage and launch Web apps in any modern desktop or mobile browser (Firefox 3.6 and later, Firefox for mobile, Internet Explorer 8, Chrome 6, Safari 5, Opera 10 and WebKit mobile). This prototype provides a simple mechanism to support paid apps and authentication features to allow apps to log users in upon launch.

The design proposed here provides the following capabilities and enables a new category of what we call “Open Web Apps” — apps that are truly of the Web.

Open Web Apps:

  • Are built using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  • Can be “installed” to a dashboard within your mobile or desktop Web browser, or to your native OS desktop or mobile home screen.
  • Work in all modern Web browsers, while enabling each browser to compete on app presentation, organization and management user interfaces.
  • Support paid apps by means of an authorization model that uses existing identity systems like OpenID.
  • Support portable purchases: An app purchased for one browser works in other browsers, and across multiple desktop and mobile platforms without repurchase.
  • Can request access to one or more advanced and/or privacy-sensitive capabilities that they would like access to (like geolocation) which the system will mediate, giving the user the ability to opt-in to them if desired.
  • Can be distributed by developers directly to users without any gatekeeper, and distributed through multiple stores, allowing stores to compete on customer service, price, policies, app discoverability, ratings, reviews and other attributes.
  • Can receive notifications from the cloud.
  • Support deep search across apps: Apps can implement an interface that enables the app container (generally the Web browser) to provide the user with a cross-app search experience that links deeply into any app that can satisfy the search.

Mozilla Labs | Open Web Apps [Oct 19, 2010]

Overview of Mozilla Labs’ proposal for an Open Web App Ecosystem, its underlying technology and tech preview implementation.


Q: Why is Mozilla building an Open Web App platform?

Web apps are becoming a commonly used class of applications – often directly competing with native apps. Web apps offer similar features to native apps and are available through any modern Web browser (both desktop and mobile) from any place in the world. Yet, Web apps lack certain essential features around the user experience, including installation and launch, app discovery, monetization and some platform features, such as notifications and unified search through installed apps. App experiences are usually a tightly vertically integrated (e.g. iPhone/iTunes) with problems such as an opaque approval processes, lack of choice for developers, platform lock-in, high(er) development cost when going cross-platform, etc. Realizing these gaps and issues, Mozilla decided to build the underlying system to enable Open Web Apps – these apps are fundamentally built upon the Web infrastructure.

Q: Is Mozilla creating an Open Web App store?

At this point in time, Mozilla has no intention to build our own store or distribute apps ourselves. We expect to see app stores develop, which will provide access to both free and paid Open Web Apps. Developers will be able to publish their apps on their own sites and, if they choose to do so, charge for them.

Q: How are Open Web Apps different from add-ons?

Open Web Apps are applications produced on and delivered through the Web. Open Web Apps are complete applications such as office applications, productivity applications, image processing applications, games, etc. Open Web Apps run in any modern Web browser (both on desktop as well as mobile). Add-ons are extensions to your Firefox browser, which provide specific functionality to the browser itself.

Q: How will people discover new apps? Will there be recommended apps?We expect that we will see a whole array of directories and stores being developed to aid in discovery. This will be another area where stores will compete with each other. Further – as you can link into apps – a developer can market an app through the established online marketing channels such as keyword advertising.

Q: Will developers need to submit or create a new app?

All developers have to do to make their apps work in the proposed system is to provide a short manifest (as text document consisting of a few lines of JSON code). There is no submission process – the simple existence of a manifest is enough for the system to understand that the particular URL is an app. If the developer chooses to sell her app, she has to add some boilerplate code for purchase verification. We will provide example code and libraries for this purpose.

Q: Will the apps be localized and available globally?

This is completely up to the developer. An app can be distributed globally in exactly the same way you publish a website today – once the app is available through its URL, anyone around the world can access it. It’s up to the developer to decide if they want to localize, provide special features for certain geographies, etc.

Q: What is important about Mozilla’s proposed Open Web App infrastructure?

Apps are fundamentally of the Web; they live on the Web and you can link into them.
– Apps can be published without limitations (on your own site, in directories, in stores), fostering innovation on the store fronts/directories, remove problems with approval processes, etc.

  • The system provides mechanisms for identification and authentication.
    – You can easily charge for apps, similarly to experiences you have today on the iPhone or Android devices.
  • Apps run in any modern Web browser.
    – You are not tied to a specific browser, your apps travel with you from browser to browser independent from the underlying OS (e.g. desktop to mobile). For developers, this means that they develop once and can deploy on every device that runs a modern Web browser.

Open Web Apps – An Update [Nov 30, 2010]

There has been a lot of discussion and progress in the month since we announced our proposal for an “Open Web App Ecosystem”, and we wanted to provide a snapshot of our progress and current thinking. This post outlines a new feature, “Application Sync”, as well as several proposed technical changes to Open Web Apps.

Syncing Apps

The way the Web works today, changes made on a site are often transparently visible across all of a user’s devices, changes such as photos posted to Flickr or updates sent to Twitter. Given that many popular sites use server based storage behind an authenticated user account, this “feature” is quite natural for the Web.

Open Web Apps, on the other hand, are more similar to browser bookmarks than they are to photos on Flickr. The set of applications that a user has installed is persistent in a browser’s storage on the client, and is not stored on any central server by default.

A problem in user’s expectations arises here: the more and more the dashboard ends up feeling like a hosted Web application, the more a user will expect to see her stuff wherever she is.

To address this problem, we have included “application synchronization” as a first class feature. The goal of this feature is to allow a user to synchronize their applications between devices and browsers if they choose. We’ve begun prototyping synchronization, and you’re welcome to follow our progresson github.

Refining the Manifest

The application manifest format for Open Web Apps is a specification of JSON encoded meta-data that describes the presentation, launch, and capabilities of an Open Web App. This specification is central to the system we propose, as it will be an important integration point for application developers, browser vendors, and application stores.

Given the central role of the manifest, it has been the focus of a commensurate amount of attention. We have received feedback from standards groups, engineers working on “Installable Web Apps” at other browser vendors, companies and individuals interested in running application stores, application developers, and our own security experts here at Mozilla.

All of this discussion has culminated in a handful of concrete proposed revisions to the manifest format which attempt to build a more secure platform for Web apps that serve all parties involved in the ecosystem. You can learn more about the current proposed changes, and join the discussion, in a separate blog entry dedicated to refining the manifest.

Defining the Application Repository

One key component of Open Web Apps is what we’re calling the Application Repository. This is a client side entity that exposes an API to Web content: applications, stores, and dashboards. Its primary responsibilities are to manage the collection of installed applications and ensure that the user remains in control of them.

One interesting element of the application repository is that it is the piece that we propose be built into browsers as a native component. In the past month we’ve completed a first pass proposal and proof of concept (in the form of browser add-ons) of the API that the application repository will expose. This API can also be provided by a JavaScript library to support browsers that have no special support for Open Web Apps.

You can view the latest versionof this API specification on github, and we’re especially interested in feedback from browser developers on this API. Our hope is that it will be possible to implement this API on browsers across mobile and desktop environments alike.


In the upcoming weeks we hope to complete a first prototype of application sync, and we will have a complete revision of the application manifest ready for further community review. Finally, we should have prototype add-ons complete for multiple browsers available for people to try out.

Our longer term goal is to have an Integration Release of the Open Web Apps concept ready by early next year, which will serve as a blueprint from which we can work with members of the community to help spark a vibrant new ecosystem of rich applications for your browser.

Building the Open Web App Ecosystem [Dec 6, 2011]

Editor’s Note: Today, Mozilla Labs posted an update on the Open Web App Ecosystem project. Included below is an excerpt from this post. You can read the full details from Director of Mozilla Labs, Pascal Finette here.

The Web needs support for the co-existence of multiple Open Web App stores, and to enable users to use applications from these stores in a consistent manner. People buy their shoes, food and music from different stores on the Web today, and we see the same need for diversity and choice with Open Web Apps. We are excited to build a truly free and open market which is the basis for innovation and fundamental to the Web.

We recently launched a project to build the infrastructure for an Open Web App Ecosystem because we want to enable many different stores to exist and work in any modern browser across devices and platforms. The Open Web App Ecosystem will allow app developers to publish apps on their own website under their own terms, and will provide opportunities for individuals and companies to develop innovative services.

Building the Open Web App Ecosystem [Dec 6, 2010]

The Web needs support for the co-existence of multiple Open Web App stores, and to enable users to use applications from these stores in a consistent manner. People buy their shoes, food and music from different stores on the Web today, and we see the same need for diversity and choice with Open Web Apps. We are excited to build a truly free and open market which is the basis for innovation and fundamental to the Web.

We recently launched a project to build the infrastructure for an Open Web App Ecosystembecause we want to enable many different stores to exist and work in any modern browser across devices and platforms. The Open Web App Ecosystem will allow app developers to publish apps on their own website under their own terms, and will provide opportunities for individuals and companies to develop innovative services.

Concretely, the system consists of a machine readable format to describe applications (the manifest), a client side collection of the apps a users has installed (the app repository), a user facing application launcher (the dashboard), as well as the interactions to support commerce (such as proving a user’s ownership of an app).


Numerous app developers and companies have shared plans to build stores and services (search, recommendations, etc.) based on the Open Web App Ecosystem prototype we released.

On the technical side, we are in the process of finalizing the APIs and the manifest format for developers (read more about the details of this work here).

We are experimenting with new app capabilities such as notifications, app sync and the possibility for apps to exchange data directly if permitted by the user(allowing your email app access to your address book and calendar app for example). We also continue to work on multi-browser specific integrations of the user-facing application launcher (currently referred to as the Dashboard).

What’s next?

Our “integration release” is on track to be available in Q1 2011, and will have a stable manifest format and APIs, and will include initial custom browser support for most popular browsers (via extensions), application sync, and an application dashboard. Additionally we are actively working with developers of apps and stores to help them integrate a presence within the Open Web App Ecosystem into their plans.

Find out more

To stay up to date on the development or get in touch with the team,

First developer release of Web Apps Project [March 3, 2011]

We are excited to announce the availability of the first milestone release of Mozilla’s Web Application project. Web Apps are applications that run on any device, and can be distributed through any store or directly by the developer. This release contains stable APIs, developer utilities and documentation to help you get a jumpstart on building Web Apps and stores.

Developers can use this release to publish their application to users, or to create a Web App store or directory. Users can review a gallery of user experience ideas and beta-quality versions of Firefox and Chromeadd-ons that integrate the Web App experience more tightly with the browser.

To get started, watch this short video which describes the main features of the release, then head over to our landing page to learn more.

Web Apps are applications that run on any device, and can be distributed through any store or directly by the developer.

Ready. Set. Build!

Head on over to the Mozilla Developer Network to understand how to:

  1. Build a Web App
  2. Describe your Web App using the stable manifest description
  3. Use our stable JavaScript APIs to let your Web App interact with the browser

Check out this gallery of some of the cool Web Appsthat developers have already started building using our APIs.

If you are interested in building a Web App Store, we have documentation to help you get started.

Further we have some nifty utilities that will help you test how your new Web App works in modern browsers:

  1. Download the Mozilla Web App extension for Firefox and/or Chrome. This extension implements the application launch and application management APIs.
  2. Use the Manifest Validatorto ensure your Web App manifests are working.
  3. Check out this proof-of-concept Web App dashboard written in HTML5. You may even be inspired to write your own dashboard!

To give you a taste of how we envision Web Apps will enable rich, immersive user experiences, head over to the user interface concepts gallery

What’s next?

In the coming weeks, we plan to pursue several new ideas, including:

  • A deeply integrated “in browser” experience that spans the entire find, install, launch, use and manage flow.
  • Syncing your Web Apps to your mobile devices.
  • Supporting native browser controls and OS integration.
  • Support for widgets and notifications to make your Web Apps more lively.
  • and many more.

Give us feedback!

As always, we would love to hear from youas you build and deploy Web Apps. In particular, we’d love to hear if:

  1. You have feedback on improvements you’d like to see in our APIs and documentation.
  2. You have built an awesome Web App and want to show it off.
  3. You have an amazing dashboard you’ve built.
  4. You have an idea for a cool Web App.

We believe Web Apps enable us to package all the generativity of the Web as rich, immersive experiences that delight users. We look forward to building this world with you.

The Mozilla Web Apps team

Web Apps Update – experiments in Web Activities, App Discovery [July 7, 2011]

At Mozilla Labs, we’ve been experimenting with several concepts and ideas to build a Web of Apps. Today, we’re proud to release a new version of the experimental OpenWebApps add-on for Firefox that allows you to easily install and manage web applications in Firefox and aims to provide a tightly integrated app experience.

These features are aimed at developers and adventurous users and give you an idea of what to expect in the future. You can download the latest version of the add-on here.

With this release, you can try two new experimental features – Web Activities and App Discovery.

v0.3 release of the Mozilla Open Web Apps project

Web Activites

This experiment is focused around the concept of linking apps together.

For example, if you use Flickr to share photos, then the Flickr Web App should let you easily share and integrate your Flickr photos with other Web Apps. If you use Twitter to share links with your friends, then other Web Apps should allow you to easily share via Twitter.

To try out Web Activities, do the following:

  1. Install the Rainbooth Add-On.
  2. Take an awesome photo.
  3. Install and Authorize the Flickr Connector Web App(you’ll need a Flickr account).
  4. Click Send To in the Rainbooth Web App to automatically send the photo over to Flickr.

We’re working with Google’s Chrome team on this new feature.

App Discovery

This experiment is built around the notion that you should be able to discover interesting Web Apps as you browse the web. To try this, once you have installed the OpenWebApps add-on in Firefox, visit nytimes.comand you will see a prompt to install the awesome NY Times web app.

Note:We have faked this for the NY Times site to give you a sense and idea of what the experience might be as more web sites add support for browser-based App Discovery.

What Next?

As a developer, you can:

  1. turn your web page into an Open Web App by publishing a manifest
  2. play with Web Activites by declaring that you support certain services in your manifest, and implementing the service handlers.

As always, we would love to hear your feedback. Check out our github repository. File bugs. Join us on irc and join our Google Group.

The Mozilla Web Apps team

Windows 8 gaining smartphone like “connected standby” capability

New power state called “Connected Standby”

  • Windows coalesces all the timer and network requests, turns the radio on periodically to satisfy them, then goes back to very low power consumption.
  • But because app requests are getting satisfied they are up to date as soon as you press “ON”

8 ways Windows 8 benefits the retail industry [MSDN Blogs, Oct 5, 2011]

7. Energy friendly – The tradeoff between instant-on for customer service and the constant consumption of power has been minimized.  Now retail environments with any number of client machines can use the Windows 8 “Connected Standby” mode to ensure that devices are available for use instantly while using the least amount of power possible.  This feature will even allow enterprise software updates to machines that are in a low power state.

Dr. Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm on the Wireless Future [Global Technology Leadership Conference  at the University of California Berkeley’s College of Engineering, Nov 18, 2011]

[24:10] Up to this point – I would say – tablets predominantly have been an iPad story. The Android tablets are out there. They haven’t been quite as successfull. But I think that will change, not just with the Android but also with Microsoft working on having Windows. So they are porting big Windows onto mobile phone chips.

And the interesting thing about that is now your Windows computer will act much more like a smartphone. So Microsoft spent a lot of effort implementing a feature that’s called ‘Connected Standby’ which means that when your PC goes to sleep it will go to sleep like a smartphone – meaning that power consumption goes down to very low and every so often it will blip up, collect your e-mail and your Facebook notifications, and whatever else it is that needs to update, and it goes back to sleep at very, very low power. And when you touch the screen, boom it comes on right away.

And that is going to be interesting because now you have a tablet with a full computing environment, on a full web, all the stuff that you would expect. So I think that’s going to be a very, very interesting thing. I’ve seen the form factors. There are extremely, extremely aggressive form factors that are going to be coming out when these Windows 8 launches happen. [25:30]

Steven Sinofsky, Julie Larson-Green, Antoine Leblond, Michael Angiulo, and Chris Jones: BUILD Keynote – Day 1 [Microsoft transcript for the press, Sept 13, 2011]

MIKE ANGIULO: ARM and SOC hardware combined. This is a Qualcomm ARM reference design, this is the one we showed at Computex, this is an 8660 Snapdragon. It’s hooked up to this debugging system here that’s measuring power really accurately. And what’s going on on this monitor is you can actually see the amount of power being used. It’s very low. The system is not off, it’s in a new power state called “connected standby” which is a really low-power idle state. You can see these little spikes that show up here. What’s going on is Windows is coalescing all of the timer requests and all of the network requests, turning the radio on briefly, updating the apps, and then shutting the radio back down. So, when I turn the system on, it turns on with one click — or two depending on if you have demo gremlins.

The system is on. You can see the power jumps right up. It’s an instant-on type scenariobecause it was never off. I can interact with the system here and you can see the power kind of changes as we’re rendering and we’re drawing on the screen. And then when I go to turn it off, I click it, immediately the power drops down. What’s going on right there is the apps get a chance to pack up their data and then it’s shutting down and it immediately drops back to idle. That’s the kind of system — yeah. (Applause.)

STEVEN SINOFSKY: I mean, when we talk about fundamental performance, that’s what we’re talking about. We’re actually taking the things that you’d experience like in phones, and we’re bringing that to the PC architecture at the base kernel level.

MIKE ANGIULO: And it’s one of the things that all of these SOC systems will be able to do. If you’re good to the understanding connected standby session, you’ll see the same power demo running on the Nvidia Tegra 3, we showed — it was nine months ago at CES was the first time we showed ARM booting at all. And all it could do is just boot Windows 8 up to the desktop in one touch.

Understanding Connected Standby [Microsoft Channel 9 video, Sept 14, 2011]

Your PC in a year: how Windows 8 will change hardware [TechRadar, Nov 16, 2011]

Connected Standby

Microsoft uses words like ‘fresh’ and ‘alive’ to describe the future of the PC, especially when it’s talking about the Connected Standby mode that PCs using both ARM and low-power System On Chip (SoC) x86 processors will have. “It’s about the application experience,” says principal program manager Pat Stemen; “You want an app that’s fresh, that has connected content.

I don’t want to wait for it to download and I want it to show that fresh information when I turn on.” In fact the official name of PCs that support this is Always On Always Connected.

It’s also about consistent, consistently long battery life, he says; no more guessing how long the battery will last – you’ll know how much power the PC uses when it’s on and when it’s in Connected Standby, so you can accurately predict battery life.

Connected Standby is an “ultra-low power idle mode” implemented as a new level 5 ACPI modein the processor and it needs new hardware throughout the PC as well.

You need low-power memory (the kind of DRAM that’s been going into servers to save money because it doesn’t generate as much heat), low-power buses and devices and flash storagerather than a hard drive; that’s for speed as well as power saving, because the system can’t predict when the drive will be in use.

What will your pc be like in a year?
Connected Standby stops using power much faster than today’s PCs

The Wi-Fi in Connected Standby PCs has to be much smarterbecause it’s on all the time, checking whether any of the network traffic matches the patterns of notifications that can wake the PC up – incoming VOIP calls or SMS and instant messages, for example.

That turns the whole PC back on so you can answer the call. Otherwise, the Wi-Fi connection periodically wakes itself up and collects data for the Metro apps that are on the Start screen.

That means putting a small processor in the Wi-Fi chipset and supporting NDIS 6.3, which lets the chipset do in hardware some of the network processing the PC would usually do in software; it also makes networking faster when the PC is on as well.

With Wi-Fi so important for Connected Standbyit has to get connected quickly; expect to get onto a hotspot or access point in about a second rather than the 12 seconds common now, even if you turn a PC off at work and turn it back on at home.

Tablets and a lot of notebooks will have built-in 3G next year. That’s going to use less power because new 3G connections will let Windows tell them when to turn off the transmitting radio because the PC is idle and just listen for incoming traffic, so the 3G card can go into ‘fast dormancy’ rather than keeping the radio on just in case (because turning the radio off saves power but turning it off and on again can use more power than leaving it on).

What will your pc be like in a year?
Knowing when to turn the radio off will stop 3G eating your battery

USB 3 will be on all these PCs too, not just for the faster speeds but because “it works better at low power,” according to Dennis Flanagan, who runs the team implementing Connected Standby for Windows 8. “It uses much less steady-state power when there’s nothing being used on the bus.”

But the two main ways of connecting peripherals will be peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, using the Wi-Fi Direct standard which lets your notebook get online and connect to a Wi-Fi-enabled device at the same time, and the lower-power Bluetooth LE.

Flanagan calls that “low-power wireless connectivity for longer battery life and for a new class of low power devices that can last two or four years on a couple of batteries”. Having NFC that’s cheap enough to put into all PCs helps here as well, because you’ll be able to tap Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices against your PC to pair them instead of following on-screen prompts.

Smarter than Smart Connect

Intel’s Smart Connect mode, coming in second-generation ultrabooks and netbooks with Cedar Trail Atom CPUs next year, also aims to keep new PCs up to date when they’re in standby but it’s not as sophisticated as Connected Standby– and doesn’t need as much new hardware to work. “It keeps your PC always updated,” Intel’s John Wallace told us.

“When the device is in a sleep state it wakes up and pings network so it can download email and update content. Windows 8 is push, this is pull; we’re waking up periodically and pulling content.” The problem with that is the PC will wake up and connect even if there’s no new content to download.

We’ll have true connected standby on next generation hardware that gets push notifications and wakes up,” Wallace predicted; that could be the Haswell chip that will be used in third-generation ultrabooks, if it’s delivered as a SoC.

With ACPI 5 and Connected Standby, Wallace says Windows 8 PCs will have “weeks of battery life” in standby. In 16 hours in Connected Standby a Windows 8 PC will use up no more than 5% of battery life; if that sounds an odd amount of time to measure, it’s what you get if you put your PC into Connected Standby at 5pm and pick it up again at 9am next morning.

Initially Connected Standby and Smart Connection are only aimed at tablets and notebooks. “Over time, Connected Standby may also scale to all-in-on systems and desktop PCs as well, although we’re not really focused on that right now,” Stemen explained.

Rapid Start and fast boot

The improvements we’ll see in all PCs next year are include faster boot and better security. Again, the Microsoft approach to starting up faster is more aggressive than Intel’s Rapid Start, which aims at taking less than seven seconds to resume from hibernation; PCs with Connected Standby will wake in less than 300ms and all PCs with UEFI BIOS will boot in six seconds(and Windows 8 will actively warn you of any software you install that slows that down).

That includes checking that no malware has tampered with Windows and turning on your anti-virus software before you bootto avoid malware lurking on any USB sticks you have plugged in.

What will your pc be like in a year?
UEFI means PCs can start checking for viruses before they start Windows

Building a power-smart general-purpose Windows [Pat Stemen, program manager, Windows 8 Kernel team, MSDN Blogs: Building Windows 8, Nov 8, 2011]

Our goals

We have 3 goals in mind when engineering Windows 8 power management:

  • Let the hardware shine. We built Windows 8 such that the power efficiency of the hardware platform shines through, regardless of whether the system is a SoC-based Windows tablet or an SLI-equipped gaming PC. We designed our power management interfaces in a consistent, standardized way across all platforms. This allows our hardware partners and application developers to focus on their unique innovations and experiences instead of the differences in platform hardware and power management.
  • Continue to deliver great battery life. Windows 7 delivered a significant reduction in power consumption and increase in energy efficiency, particularly mobile PC battery life. (In fact, you can read how we thought about it in this e7 blog post.) In Windows 8, we want to maintain that same level of efficiency on existing PCs even as we re-imagine the rest of Windows.
  • Enable the smartphone power model. One of the coolest things about the System-on-Chip (SoC) platforms you’ve seen us talk about at CES and //BUILD/ is their capability to quickly enter very low-power idle states. We want to leverage that ultra-low idle power to bring the constant connectivity and instant-on features of the smartphone power model to capable Windows 8 PCs.

How software influences power consumption

Software can influence power consumption by consuming resources—CPU, disk, memory, etc.–as each of those resources has a power cost associated. Software also influences power consumption through the OS and driver software responsible for managing hardware power states.

Windows 8 features 3 key innovationsto improve how software influences power consumption—the Metro style app model, idle hygiene, and a new runtime device power management framework. We will give you a brief overview of how these innovations improve power consumption in this blog post.

The Metro style application model

Most of us have experienced the influence of software on power consumption first-hand. It might be that you have an app on your phone that goes through battery quickly or you’ve heard the fan turn on in your laptop when playing a game or computing a spreadsheet. These are all examples of applications directly consuming CPU, GPU, network time, disk and/or memory.

One of the new power management innovations in Windows 8 isn’t a power management infrastructure feature; it is the Metro style application model itself. The Metro style application model is designed from the beginning to be power-friendly. The power management benefit is that the model makes it easy for developers to ensure their application is running only at the right timeapplications in the background are suspended such that they do not consume resources and power when not in use.

Of course, we recognize that background activity is a critical component of apps that are always connected and responsive. The Metro style application model and the underlying WinRT support background activity through a new set of capabilities called background tasks. (See this Introduction to Background Tasks for more details.) Background tasks make it easy to perform background activity in a power-friendly fashion. They also enable developers to continue to deliver responsiveness and “freshness” in their applications, but the mechanisms are different than the existing Win32 model because of the desire for a fast-and-fluid interface and the other key attributes of Metro style apps (see 8 traits of great Metro style apps).

We’ve engineered background tasks and the overall Metro style application model to enable a new level of app responsiveness, while at the same time considering overall system attributes including power and memory consumption.

Processes tab (more details view) shows several Metro style apps in suspended mode, all at 0% CPU, and using between 17 and 85.1 MB of memory.
Task Manager showing suspended Metro style apps

Idle hygiene

Software can have dramatic influence on power consumption even without consuming a lot of resources through intermittent idle activity. We refer to improvements to idle activity as idle hygiene.

Most PC platforms feature processor and chipset idle states that allow the hardware platform to stop the clock or completely turn off power to parts of the silicon when they are unused. These idle states are absolutely critical to enabling long battery life, but they require a minimal residency duration—that is, you have to be idle for long enough to make the transition in and out of the idle state worthwhile in terms of power used. This is because some power is consumed on the way into and out of the idle state. Software most effectively uses these idle states when there are as few exits from the idle state as possible, and the duration of the idle state is as long as possible.

We track the idle efficiency of Windows 8 using built-in ETW Tracing, some additions to the Windows Performance Analyzer, and a basic histogram. Below, you can see the difference in idle durations between Windows 7 and Windows 8. When the screen is on, we’ve already moved the bar significantly from a maximum idle duration of 15.6ms in Windows 7 to 35% of our durations longer than 100ms in Windows 8! With the screen off and during Connected Standby, our idle durations are even longer, currently in the tens of seconds.

Chart comparing Win7 and Win8 idle period duration with screen on. In Win7, about 95% are 10ms - 16 ms. In Windows 8, this is approx. 35%.

Runtime device power management

PCs attain their longest battery life when all devices, including the processor, storage, and peripheral devices enter low-power modes. Almost every device in the modern PC has some kind of power management technology, and runtime device power managementdetermines how we use those technologies seamlessly without impact to the user experience. A really good example of runtime device power management is dimming the automatic display after a timeout in Windows 7.

Just to underscore how important device power management is, we have seen many systems where not enabling a single device’s power management features can easily reduce total battery life by up to 25%! (It’s worth noting here that disabling a device in Device Manager is almost equally bad—most devices are initialized by firmware at their highest power modes and require a device driver to get them to a more nominal power consumption.) You can diagnose some device power management problems using the built-in powercfg.exeutility in Windows 7 with the /ENERGY parameter. The output of /ENERGY is an HTML file that gives you a view of which devices and software are potentially running in a power-consuming state. Of course, using the factory image for your PC that came loaded with OEM and vendor-supplied drivers is almost always the best way to ensure the devices in your PC are well-behaved for power management.

Efficient power management of devices is performed by the driver for the device, in conjunction with the Windows kernel power manager and platform firmware. The power manager makes it easy for the drivers of these devices to implement their power management routines and coordinate any power state transitions with other devices on the platform.

For Windows 8, we’ve built a new device power framework that allows all devices to advertise their power management capabilities and integrate them with a special driver called the Power Engine Plug-in or PEP, designed for SoC systems. The PEP is provided by the silicon manufacturer and knows all of the SoC-specific power management requirements. This allows device drivers like our USB host controller or a keyboard driver to be built once, and still deliver optimal power management on all platforms from SoC-based PCs to datacenter servers.

We are hard at work with all of our ecosystem partners to deliver the low-power and long battery life technologies we all want in our Windows 8 PCs.

Designing smarter phones–Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Albert Shum (Microsoft)

Including Joe Belfiore’s “Building a different kind of UI” talk as well (for completeness): see that in the very end.

Marko Ahtisaari interview: Nokia Senior VP of Design [The Verge, Oct 31, 2011]

Nokia designer Marko Ahtisaari sits down with us to chat about innovation in the phone world, why the Lumia 800 looks so much like the Nokia N9, and why the future of interfaces won’t be voice commands but something he calls “sloppy gestures”.

… the fact that he finds such harmony with Albert Shum’s Metro UI demonstrates the synergy that exists between Microsoft’s and Nokia’s design teams. As Marko explains while gesturing to his beloved Lumia 800, “What struck me so much is that when we got together, and looked at design principles that went into Metro, the design principles that went into this design language — it’s nearly identical, slightly different words. So great teams think alike.”

Nevertheless, Marko’s clear that innovation in the phone industry “isn’t done yet,” reminding me that it took 15 years for the automobile industry to standardize on the steering wheel as the dominant interface. While voice interaction like Apple’s Siri is an important development in the humane machine interface, Marko’s near-term interest is improving “design on the glass” via “sloppier gestures” that allow users to do something without requiring their full attention. He’s also exploring off-the-glass gestures, calling it a “key area where we’ll continue to innovate.” “The prototypes already exist,” he reassured me with a glint in his eye.

Suggested preliminary reading:
Nokia to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [Dec 9, 2010]
Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [June 24 – Oct 27, 2011]
Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition [Oct 26, 2011]

Albert Shum on the Design of Windows Phone 7 [Feb 16, 2011]

Albert Shum, one of the key thinkers behind the new Windows Phone 7 Series design, admits that 12 years at Nike doesnt sound like an obvious springboard to becoming director of Microsofts Mobile Experience Design team. In this video, Albert talks about the principles, thinking and user factors that went into the design of the completely reworked-from-the-ground up Windows Phone 7.

Windows Phone Designer Seeks the Right Balance [Microsoft Feature Story for the press, Feb 16, 2010]

Before joining Microsoft two and half years ago, Shum met with J Allard, chief experience officer in the company’s Entertainment & Devices division, and Don Coyner, general manager of Microsoft’s Entertainment Experience Group. They talked about using design as a way to not just create new mobile experiences, but also to help shift the culture at Microsoft.

“The tone was, ‘Let’s mix some folks from Nike, from the entertainment world, and from the technology world and start thinking differently about how we design, build and launch products,’” Shum says.

The first result of that new approach is Windows Phone 7 Series, a new mobile experience that’s designed for a life in motion, Shum says. The new user interface aims to connect content from the Web, applications, and services into one simple experience. “It presents a way to navigate and interact with the things you care about. That’s really the new fresh start we’re bringing to Windows phone.”

According to Shum it took an open, diverse team to look out across Microsoft’s various entertainment offerings and bring them all together into the new mobile experience. The key to connecting the dots was to stay focused on the consumer.

“You know, everybody says simple is the new awesome,” Shum says. “OK, make it simple. But also make it emotional and relevantfor the consumer.”

That’s what the design, engineering and business teams set out to do with Windows Phone 7 Series, he says. Shum hopes consumers see that personal connection right from the revamped Start page.

Microsoft Windows Phone Start Screen -- 16-Feb-2010Dynamic icons called “live tiles” display real-time content from users’ contacts and applications. The tiles are gateways to “hubs” of the content consumers care most about: people and social networking, pictures, games, music and videos, their workplace, and an application marketplace.

“We took the idea of making it personal so when you look at it with the Start experience, it’s all your content, it’s all your people, it’s all your pictures, it’s all your music,” Shum says. “I think that’s really a key part – that personalized way of navigating the things that you care about, the things that you want to share, the things you want to listen to.”

Metro Design Language of Windows Phone 7 [Microsoft Tutorial, Dec 10, 2010]

Metro Design Language of Windows Phone 7

Metro is the name of the new design language created for the Windows Phone 7 interface. When given the chance for a fresh start, the Windows Phone design team drew from many sources of inspiration to determine the guiding principles for the next generation phone interface. Sources included Swiss influenced print and packaging with its emphasis on simplicity, way-finding graphics found in transportation hubs and other Microsoft software such as Zune, Office Labs and games with a strong focus on motion and content over chrome.

Not only has the new design language enabled a unique and immersive experience for users of Windows Phone 7; it has also revitalized third party applications. The standards that have been developed for Metro provide a great baseline, for designers and developers alike. Those standards help them to create successful gesture-driven Windows Phone 7 experiences built for small devices.

Guiding Principles of the Design Language

There a few core concepts of the Metro design language which we’ll outline here. Each concept, or guiding principle, contributes to the look and feel of the whole system as well as the layout and frequency of elements used within the interface.

What’s covered in this video:

  • Design inspiration for Metro
  • Guiding principles of the Metro design language
  • Examples of each principle in action
watch video [clickable in the original]

Principles of Design

Typography. Type is beautiful. Not only is it attractive to the eye, but it can also be functional. The right balance of weight and positioning can create a visual hierarchy. Additionally, well placed type can help lead you to more content.

Motion is what brings the interface to life. Transitions are just as important as graphical design. By developing a consistent set of motions or animations, a system is created that provides context for usability, extra dimension and depth and improves the perceived performance of the whole interface.

Content not Chrome is one of the more unique principles of Metro. By removing all notions of extra chrome in the UI, the content becomes the main focus. This is especially relevant due to the smaller screen size and gesture-based interactions.

Honesty. Design explicitly for the form factor of a hand held device using touch, a high resolution screen and simplified and expedited forms of interaction. In other words, be “authentically digital”.

Unique Components of the Interface

Following the guiding principles of Metro, the Windows Phone design team has come up with more than a few unique interface components. In this section you will see different Windows Phone 7 UI components in action.

What’s covered in this video:

  • Fonts, colors and themes
  • Interface navigation components
  • Application level components
watch video [clickable in the original]

Signature Examples of Motion

At this point, you have seen examples of the signature animations in Metro. In this section, you will see each animation singled out, allowing you to see how the system of interactions is created and how the motions adhere to the guiding principles. Not only will this continue to illustrate the Metro design language but it will also help you design your use of motion in your own applications.

What’s covered in this video:

  • Taking a look at interface level animations such as Live Tiles
  • Application level animations such as Swivel and Zoom
watch video [clickable in the original]


In this lesson, an overview of the design language of Windows Phone 7 was provided. After a brief background, the guiding principles were explained and examples of the principles in action were given. You were also given a look at the unique interface and application level components and the signature animations that comprise the Windows Phone 7 interface.

Nokia World 2011 Panel Discussion: Designing smarter phones [NokiaConversations, Nov 8, 2011 [upload date]]

Panel Discussion at Nokia World 2011: http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/ titled “Designing smarter phones” with Marko Ahtisaari from Nokia and Albert Shum from Microsoft Nokia World is an annual conference and exhibition devoted to all things Nokia, that took place this year on the 26th and 27th October in London. The two days were packed with captivating talks, inspiring discussions, exciting surprises and fruitful networking. The event offered visitors to experience all new mobile products, services and innovations from Nokia and partners. Marko Ahtisaari heads the Design team and is responsible for user experience and industrial design. Albert Shum is the General Manager of the Windows Phone Design Studio.

Designing Smarter Phones [Steve Litchfield, David Gilson, All About Windows Phone, Nov 2, 2011]

Marko Ahtisaari

He [Marko Ahtisaari] described the designas a reductionist process, leaving only what was absolutely needed“.

He went on to explain that just because the design process strips away all unnecessary elements, the result doesn’t have to be “de-humanising”. Things can always be reduced in such a way that they still feel natural, rather than “artificial and impersonal”. This is certainly reflected in the N9/Lumia 800, with its gently curved back and front glass.

Even though the design is stripped down to bare essentials, it isn’t boring to look at. Marko elucidated to the audience how the design looks very different from various angles. From the front or back, it’s a hard rectangle. However, the back has a “complex pillow-like curvature“, whilst the sides are semi-cylindrical. The curved glass screen complements the curvature by blending in smoothly with the body.

Marko went on to describe how the polycarbonate uni-body required “extreme product making”, and that it was not at all easy to manufacture. There was a lot of attention to the craftsmanship involved, and that each process was “extraordinary”. For those who don’t know, the body of each N9 and Lumia 800 is made from a single piece of polycarbonate, which is precisely milled to the required shape. There is a great deal of attention to ensure that no production marks are left on the body. He also commented that the final assembly (which is done by hand) was like “putting a ship in a bottle”.

Albert Shum

… started by telling the audience that even though the partnership was only eight months old, “both teams have worked together very well“. He explained how each had introduced itself to the other by summarising its core values. Both groups soon saw that those values “aligned very well“, as shown below.

Design values
Common design values

Albert discussed the design principles of Windows Phone, citing the line “People First“, as we’d heard several times from Joe Belfiore; and matching with Nokia’s “Connecting Peoplevalue. He also explained that Microsoft has conducted lots of case studies, which enabled it to build four archetypal “personas”for which it is designing Windows Phone.

Another common value between the two teams is “craftsmanship“, balancing the needs of science and art. An example of this was working with Nokia to optimise the touch screen drivers for individual handsets.

Albert talked briefly about how important typography was to Windows Phone. It has to be “artistic, yet facilitate finding information quickly“. …

In-depth checking of typography in Windows Phone
In-depth checking of typography in Windows Phone

Albert then reflected Marko’s reductionist point of view. He stated that the Windows Phone development studio believes in “Content, not chrome“. Furthermore, a design philosophy that his studio finds useful is, “You’re never done with a design until you’ve removed all you don’t need“. Therefore, a lot of the Windows Phone design process has been removing and simplifying elements. This is reflected in the set of Windows Phone icons, which was shown on the slide below.

The Windows Phone 7 icon set
The Windows Phone 7 icon set

Albert finished by discussing how Microsoft is trying to improve the Windows Phone ecosystem. One way is to “bring diversity to its services and applications“. Of course, he cited the software and services that are exclusive to Nokia as a way of doing this. The team are also looking ahead to other opportunities for expanding Windows Phone. To illustrate this, he showed a chart with phones, tablets, televisions and other nondescript devices.


After both had given their speeches, they sat down for a discussion about their views on user interface (UI) design. Marko opened with his view that UIs should allow people to have their “heads up again, rather than down in their phones. This is the idea that UIs should give you quick glanceable information, rather than having you tap through applications. He believes that Live Tiles are a good way of achieving this, because information “bubbles up”when you need it.

Both of the designers agreed that Windows Phones need to be tried before you buy one. Albert made the analogy that you “wouldn’t buy a car without trying it first“.

They wrapped up the discussion by echoing Joe Belfiore‘s comment, that the Metro UI grid is a consistent way to present information to the user in each “Scene”. The mention of Scenes was the real piece of new information here. It turns out that this is the term given to the section of the UI that is currently on screen. One can think of an application page as a panorama, and we drag horizontally from scene to scene within the panorama.

Positive impressions: HTC Radar and Nokia Lumia 800 [Tero Lehto from Espoo [but not Nokia related], Nov 20, 2011, ]

The second Windows Phone 7.5 smartphone I played with is the highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 800. Microsoft held two events, Hello Helsinki for consumers and TechNet for developers and IT pros. There I had the chance to try Lumia 800, but just for about one hour, in two sessions. Even though Lumia 800 does not yet bring anything very special to the Windows Phone platform, I have to say it’s absolutely the best looking and feeling Windows Phone device so far. It’s almost as great piece of art as Nokia N9, and somewhat even better.

Lumia 800 has got very good reviews online. Many have written it’s probably the best smartphone Nokia has ever done. Of course, it’s good to note Americans haven’t got most of Nokia’s smartphones to the United States, and it seems they never got used to Symbian. Nokia N9 (MeeGo) is not shipping there either.

Lumia 800 has the same kind of nice polycarbonate chassis as N9, which means a special quality of plastic. In this case plastic is not a bad thing, because the device feels very robust and sturdy. And the material enables having very vivid colours of cyan, magenta and black. And if you scratch the device, the colour surface should remain the same, because all of the plastic material has been painted. The last argument is from Nokia, I haven’t actually seen that in real life yet.

Looking at hardware specifications, Nokia Lumia 800 is not the best WP Mango device available. HTC and Samsung have models with front cameras for video calls. HTC Titan also boasts an impressive 4,7 inch screen and faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 1,5 GHz processor.

I was disappointed to note Lumia 800 uses the same, very modest standard camera application of the Windows Phone platform. As mobile cameras are Nokia’s core know-how, I would have expected them to shine in this areawith the same kind of an application we’ve seen on MeeGo and Symbian. I took a few pictures live at the event, but I couldn’t figure the image quality based on that yet. However, in those dim light conditions the result did not look as good as what I’ve used to with N8 and N9 based on what I saw on the screen.

It’s clear Nokia can do a lot better than what Lumia 800 shows, and fortunately they are already working on this. I got to meet Albert Shum from Microsoft at the same event. He is the man responsible for the Metro UI of the Windows Phone platform. Shum told they have very close co-operation with Nokia. He has described his work on this YouTube video.

Even though Shum obviously couldn’t reveal any specific new features of future Nokia device, based on the interview I’m convinced we will see more personalisation and more features specific to Nokia. The camera application and integration to other parts of the OS are important. People centric features will become even more advanced. IM and VoIP will be integratedwith Lync and Skype support. Lync should come already before the end of this year, for Skype the schedule is more uncertain.

You could possibly see where people are, what they’re doing, invite them for a coffee based on your map location, or pictures taken with the camera could be shown on your map location, et cetera.

It’s also interesting to see which features will be specific to Nokia, and which ones will become available for all the vendors. I will blog more about the interview with Albert Shum if I have time later.

Nokia World 2011: Joe Belfiore – Building a different kind of UI [NokiaConversations, Nov 8, 2011 [upload date]]

Joe Belfiore at Nokia World 2011: http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/ speaking about “Building a different kind of UI” Nokia World is an annual conference and exhibition devoted to all things Nokia, that took place this year on the 26th and 27th October in London. The two days were packed with captivating talks, inspiring discussions, exciting surprises, fruitful networking. The event offered visitors to experience all new mobile products, services and innovations from Nokia and partners. Joe Belfiore co-manages the Windows Phone team, heading up product definition and design. A huge consumer advocate, Joe has spent his career working to make technology products easier to use and to give people a more satisfying and “delightful” experience. The “Metro” design language of Windows Phone is a product of Joe’s team working over many years to revitalize design at Microsoft.

Building a different kind of UI [Steve Litchfield, David Gilson, All About Windows Phone, Oct 28, 2011]

Joe started with the assertion that “Windows Phone is about celebrating people”, quoting core values stated by the design team:

  • People first” – your friends and loved ones (and what they’re up to) should be front and centre in the interface. Being ‘people first’ is. Joe contends, fundamentally different to iOS, Blackberry, Symbian and other mobile operating systems, which all force an “application by application” basis.
  • Celebrate me” – Joe contrasted the effortless celebration of ‘you’ to Android’s customisability, where you have to put in quite a lot of effort in terms of homescreen tweaking and configuring. In Windows Phone, an awful lot is done for you.
  • Right here, right now” – instant display of the people, events and information that you need in real time, plus an awareness of searching for things physically close ro you in real life

Metro is, as you will have observed, and as Joe contends, “completely different”. It has evolved from other things that Microsoft have done. E.g., Windows Media Centre and Zune HD, and the name comes from the idea of taking the user on a journey. And, to set that up nicely, the visual style was inspired by metropolitan transportation signs – i.e. they do what they need to do, clearly and simply, “expressing typography, without unnecessary frills”.

Transport sign inspiration

The same is true of Metro UI’s textual elements and iconography, with the added aim to be “artistic” – Joe showed some examples of classic and modern art based on typography. Ideas above a mobile OS user interface’s station? Pretentious? Maybe, but we can absolutely see what Joe means and the overall effect is undoubtedly very stylish.

Metro design languageMetro UI certainly offers a different approach to the usual grids of largely static icons, though the cheeky resizing of the phones to give one a psychological edge made us chuckle!

Also important to Metro is “motion“, whether it’s your Xbox live avatar peeking out cheekily in your live tile, the lock screen bouncing when tapped to indicate what to do, the ‘busy’ moving dots or indeed the core kinetic scrolling of all the panes and content. Joe says that “motion makes so much difference, which is why comments based on screenshots don’t represent the whole ‘picture’…” He says that “the motion helps to create an emotional connection.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Metro UI design is “getting better feedback from women and first time users”. The competing Android UI design “is like the web – it can accomodate lots of styles”. Joe defends Windows Phone in a direct comparison saying that Metro isn’t as constrained as some say and that the very consistency and the ‘airyness’ helps users, plus developers can create their own design, incorporating the Metro style without it getting in their way.

Qualcomm mirasol display technology delivered

Follow-up: Qualcomm added a superior to its mirasol, but also MEMS display technology for its upcoming US$1B fab [Jan 26, 2012]

Updates as of July’12: QUALCOMM Incorporated Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, July 18, 2012]

Paul E. Jacobs – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:
With respect to QMT, we’re now focusing on licensing our next-generation mirasol display technology and will directly commercialize only certain mirasol products. We believe that this strategy will better align our updated roadmap with the addressable opportunities.

Question-and-Answer Session

I just wanted to say also we’re obviously investing a lot in QMT. We’re looking at the opportunities to — on that business model to reduce some of the expenses that we have there. And so that could have a pretty significant impact as well [on OpEx].

Updated: Qualcomm: No Launch Date in Sight For New 4.3″ Screen (video), Factory Delayed Until 2013 [The Digital Reader, June 6, 2012]

Do you know that new factory which Qualcomm is building in Taiwan, the one which was going to produce Mirasol screens and was supposed to be up and running by now? Yeah, that one. I was told yesterday by Bruce Lidl [PR manager of QMT] that the factory is not due to start operation until sometime in 2013, and that means we won’t see consumer products using screens made there until late in 2013 at best.

Right now Qualcomm is making the Mirasol screens on a smaller production line, and from what I’ve heard it doesn’t have the capacity to make enough screens for a major partner. The last info I got from my source at Pocketbook, Qualcomm’s still unconfirmed European partner, was that Pocketbook’s Mirasol based device was on hold because they couldn’t get enough screens.

Kyobo Mirasol eReader Now on Clearance – 71% Off [The Digital Reader, July 6, 2012]

Kyobo Book Centre, South Korea’s leading bookseller, has recently put their Mirasol eReader on sale at a drastic discount. I’m still waiting for confirmation from Kyobo or Qualcomm, but it looks to me like this ereader is on the way out. That’s great; neither the software nor the screen techwere worth the original retail, which was more than $300 USD.

The price posted above is 99,000 won, or about $87 USD. That’s a considerable discount off the original 350,000 won, and it leaves little doubt that this ereader is headed for the scrapheap.

End of updates as of July’12

Hanvon Reveals New E-reader Design for China Market Featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol Display Technology [Qualcomm press release, Jan 10, 2012]

World’s Thinnest and Lightest Color E-reader Unveiled at CES Opening Keynote

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Hanwang Technology Co., Ltd. (Hanvon), a leading provider of e-reader devices in China, today announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show the Hanvon C18, the thinnest and lightest e-reader to incorporate mirasol® display technology to date. The Hanvon-branded device, revealed by Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs during his opening day CES keynote, delivers a premium reading experience, a touch display, vibrant color even in bright sunlight and weeks of reading under typical usage. *

 Hanvon C18 Color E-reader featuring Qualcomm's mirasol display. World's thinnest and lightest color e-reader to be available in China market in early 2012Hanvon C18 Color E-reader featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol display. World’s thinnest and lightest color e-reader to be available in China market in early 2012

“Hanvon has chosen mirasol displays as the enabling technology that will best place the full color potential of their vast content library into the hands of their customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “This Hanvon e-reader validates customers’ evolving expectation of color as part of their e-reading experience and mirasol displays deliver an unparalleled experience.”

The Hanvon C18 e-reader includes access to tens of thousands of e-books, more than 100 Chinese newspapers and more than 300 magazines, 90 percent of which offer full-color digital editions. Hanvon’s continuing collaboration with more than 300 publishers ensures a deep and diverse stream of digital content for consumers. Additionally, the device features Hanvon’s patented handwriting recognition technology – Hanvon Input – to further enhance the user experience.

“Thinner and lighter than any color e-reader, the Hanvon C18 e-reader is a revolutionary product that Hanvon and Qualcomm are bringing to consumers,” said Mr. Liu Yingjian, president of Hanwang Technology Co., Ltd. “With the exceptional mirasol display technology, it will break new ground in the e-reader industry.”

The Hanvon C18 e-reader features a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 class processor. Hanvon’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.

* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and integrated reading light set to 22 percent utilization

Kyobo 5.7″ eReader with Mirasol Display Walk Through by Qualcomm [Dec 14, 2011]

Unsolved Mysteries of the Kyobo eReader (Not Really) [mirasol Displays blog, Dr. Clarence Chui, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc., Dec 20, 2011]

A few weeks ago, we proudly announced the world’s first color e-reader to feature mirasol® display technology – the KYOBO eReader. We believe this announcement is the first step in changing consumer’s expectations about what an e-reader is; delivering color and interactive content, while maintaining the outdoor visibility and weeks of battery life to which they’ve become accustomed.

Since the announcement, there has been some dialogue online and I’ve had a few questions about the device, the display and its capabilities. Let me take a moment to answer some of these questions.

Battery Life:

The Kyobo eReader delivers up to three weeks of battery life, preserving an important attribute that identifies the e-reader category. Kyobo built this device to function as an e-reader and accordingly, applied the industry standard e-reader usage model (of course, those other e-readers feature black and white displays) of 30 min of use each day, WiFi Off, standby power the rest of the time – and in our case, 25% front light brightness – we’ll get to that next. These are Kyobo’s reported numbers.

Reading Light:

Our mirasol® displays work by reflecting ambient light (see how it works), and for darker environments, an integrated reading light is used (we’ve blogged on this before), and in the case of the Kyobo eReader, is controlled by an ambient light sensor. Above, we discuss how there is an assumed 25% brightness in all usage. Try not to think about this as an LCD, where “brightness” equates to the amount of light coming out of the display. Instead, this is the additional light the reading light adds to supplement the existing reflected light. My point is that the display offers visibility in both bright and dark conditions while preserving the battery life consumers expect of an e-reader.

Commercialization, Product Availability and the Korean Market:

First, as to when the product is available, it’s available now and has been on sale in Kyobo’s flagship store in Seoul since it was announced. We have made good on our promise to commercialize mirasol displays in 2011.

I want to also take a moment to talk about why Kyobo is our first customer out the door. Kyobo’s product development focused on finding a tool to enable digital education and meet the Korean consumer’s expectations for an e-reader, something black and white e-readers have not done in Kyobo’s past experience. This focus and execution on mirasol display’s precise value proposition is why Kyobo is right customer and Korea the right market to enter first. Additionally, it’s worth noting that while our current fabrication facility is capable of supporting customers of modest volume requirements, we expect higher volume customers to come into focus once our next, higher volume facility comes online later in 2012. So in the short term, we will keep focused on mostly international markets.

More information: http://www.facebook.com/mirasoldisplays?sk=wall

End of updates

Kyobo Book Center Ereader [Nov 22, 2011]

KYOBO eReader – mirasol [Nov 22, 2011]

Kyobo, Korea’s Largest Bookseller, and Qualcomm Introduce Kyobo-Branded Color E-reader Featuring Qualcomm’s mirasol Display Technology [press release, Nov 21, 2011]

SEOUL, South Korea and SAN DIEGO

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. (QMT) a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), and Kyobo Book Centre, Korea’s largest seller of books, today announced the retail availability of the world’s first e-reader to include mirasol® display technology. Kyobo and Qualcomm have collaborated to deliver an unmatched reading experience by providing a large and diverse content portfolio spanning books, magazines and video on a touch display that features  vibrant color in bright sunlight. The device allow for weeks of reading under typical usage.*

“Kyobo is a recognized content leader focused on bringing unique and innovative experiences to its customers,” said Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. “Kyobo’s customers will be the first to enjoy the exceptional color e-reader experience and long battery life that only mirasol displays can provide.”

The Kyobo e-Reader includes access to Kyobo’s 90,000 ebook library, notably including early rights from Korean publisher Minumsa for the much-anticipated Steve Jobs’ exclusive biography, a full one-month before any other Korean digital outlet.  Additionally, the device features: video lecture content exclusive to EBS, a leading Korea-based provider of educational material; content sharing through Korean social networking services; English language text-to-speech capabilities; and searchable content through the popular Diotek dictionary application.

“The Kyobo e-Reader brings the user a true book reading experience,” said Mr. Seong-Ryong Kim, chief executive officer of Kyobo Book Centre. “With our diverse content and leading edge technology from Qualcomm, Kyobo Book Centre will provide a premium reading experience to our customers.”

Qualcomm mirasol technology 1st in Kyobo e-reader -- 21-Nov-2011

The Kyobo e-Reader features a 5.7” XGA format (1024 x 768 pixels) mirasol display (screen resolution of 223 ppi) and Qualcomm’s 1.0 GHz Snapdragon™ S2 class processor.  Kyobo’s custom application interface sits atop an Android 2.3 base.

Kyobo’s e-Reader is now available for purchase at the full retail price of KRW349,000 (US$310).  Kyobo Platinum Book Club members can purchase the e-reader at a discounted price of KRW 299,000 (US$265). Kyobo’s e-readers are available at bookstore locations across South Korea, including Kyobo’s flagship Gwanghwamun-jum location in Seoul.

* Battery life varies depending on usage and ambient light. Battery life based upon 30 minutes of daily reading time with Wi-Fi off and front light set to 25 percent utilization [?setting the backlight to 25 percent brightness?].

About Kyobo Book Centre

Kyobo Book Centre has contributed to preserving Korean culture and improving knowledge and education in Korea through its distribution of high quality books and services throughout all of Kyobo Book Centres. Beginning with the Gwanghwa-Moon branch in 1980, Kyobo Book Centre has been Korea’s leading bookstore and an icon of knowledge and education throughout the country with multiple branches and an online presence. Kyobo Book Centre aims to conserve culture, expand knowledge and create a better world for all of humanity.

About Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc.

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc. has drawn on the same color-producing process that makes a butterfly’s wings shimmer to develop the revolutionary mirasol display technology. The mirasol display is the industry’s first to use interferometric modulation (IMOD); a micro-electro-mechanical systems-based technology capable of creating color from ambient reflected light. Qualcomm’s mirasol displays are bi-stable, energy efficient, offer refresh rates to support interactive content and are highly reflective, allowing for superb viewing quality in a wide range of environmental conditions, including bright sunlight. With applications in a variety of mobile devices, mirasol displays support Qualcomm’s overall strategy of mobile innovation by enabling a compelling viewing experience with significantly less power.  For more information, visit the mirasol displays website, our Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.

mirasol story (MEMS for the IMOD element), innovation story (biomimicry) and the mirasol subsidiary story on the mirasol displays website

Interferometric modulator display – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chipmaker partners Kyobo in e-book reader, talks with Samsung, SKT [The Korea Times, Nov 22, 2011]

Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, right, and Kyobo Book Centre CEO Kim Seong-ryong unveil the bookstore’s new electronic book reader at an event in Seoul Tuesday. The companies say it is the first device to include Qualcomm’s “Mirasol” display technology, designed to feature vibrant colors in bright sunlight. / Korea Times

Qualcomm is eager to spread its business tentacles in Korea. Its involvement in developing an e-book reader tailored for Korean customers is just a dot in the bigger picture pursued by the San Diego-based chip giant, according to its CEO.

Paul Jacobs, the charismatic Qualcomm chairman, was in Seoul Tuesday to unveil a new digital reader it developed with Kyobo Book Center, the country’s largest book retailer.

The device is the first in the world to include Qualcomm’s Mirasol technology, which is designed to feature vibrant colors in sunlight, thus eliminating a key flaw that has plagued conventional e-book readers.

Jacobs, who also gave the green light to a plan last year to establish a Korea-based research and development center, said the company continues to seek business opportunities with partners here, although declined to comment specifically on the details or cost of projects currently in the pipeline.

Meeting with Korea Communications Commission (KCC) Chairman Choi See-joong earlier in the day, Jacobs expressed intentions to hire more Korean research personnel for developing telecommunications technologies.

He also met with executives from local technology giants Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics and mobile phone operators SK Telecom and KT to discuss mutual business interests.

Jacobs’ visit to Korea comes amid speculation that Samsung, currently the world’s top seller of smartphones, is considering using non-Qualcomm chips in its upcoming smartphones and touch screen tablets to diversify its parts sources.

“Jacobs clearly wants to reaffirm Samsung’s support of its chips and may offer better pricing for handset vendors, which also overlaps with the business interest of wireless carriers,’’ said a Samsung executive, who asked not to be named.

Qualcomm’s technologies and chips remain vital for devices that run on third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) networks.

Samsung and LG are shifting their focus from 3G-based devices to products that run on 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, which enable faster data movement.

“Jacobs checked out the development phases of tablets and smartphones that use its Snapdragon mobile processors and asked the Koreans for further cooperation,’’ said an SK Telecom official.

Aside of the Mirasol display, Kyobo’s new book reader packs the most advanced technologies Qualcomm currently offer, including its 1-gigahertz Snapdragon processor.

Qualcomm could only hope that its new e-book reader would yield better results than its first Samsung-made entry in the Korean market, which tanked.

“This time will be different because Kyobo will fully manage manufacturing, sales and after-sales (AS) policies,’’ said a spokeswoman from Kyobo.

Qualcomm has been eager to find its next cash-generating sources. Under the basis, it’s been investing heavily for panels. The San Diego-based firm invested more than $1 billion in its latest plant to produce the Mirasol screens.

Jacobs said he is set for operating losses from its Mirasol business because Qualcomm is targeting to put Mirasol on a wider range of electronics in the future, tapping e-readers as it first commercial target.

Qualcomm begins global e-book launch in Korea [The Korea Herald, Nov 22, 2011]

Qualcomm Inc., the world’s largest mobile chip maker, and Korea’s biggest book store Kyobo announced the global launch of an e-book reader based on the Mirasol display technology in Seoul on Tuesday.

Qualcomm said it was the beginning of its global launch of e-book readersas it soon plans to dive into other overseas markets.

“This is the global launch starting with Korea,” Clarence Chui, senior vice president and general manager of Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, told The Korea Herald. “We will be rolling it out in other regions for other customers.”

Chui said he could not comment on the company’s next plan, however, he elaborated that the joint effort conducted with Kyobo was “very aligned with what we’re trying to do.”

The device, dubbed “Kyobo eReader,” will be equipped with a 5.7-inch Mirasol display and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and will cost 349,000 won ($310). Released for the first time on Tuesday, about 93,000 different e-books, including the biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson, are currently available for download. It will be sold at online and offline Kyobo stores, and the number of books available will be increased to 100,000 by year end, said a Kyobo official.

“I think everyone knows Korea has a very special place in the history of the company, so we’re here to launch a new product, a new technology and in conjunction with Kyobo, a new vision on how children will be educated and interact with books,” said Qualcomm’s chairman and chief executive Paul Jacobs.

“The device is the first one that has low power, sunlight visibility and also provides color and video ratecapability.”

The new Mirasol display technology, pointed out Jacobs, has enabled Qualcomm to garner a bigger share in the electronics display market. The gadget can go for weeks without additional battery charging and is also capable of video rate response times, according to Qualcomm officials.

“Mirasol is a very flexible technology. We chose to focus on this size because we think it’s a very good match with Kyobo’s vision,” Chui said during a press conference in Seoul.

He also said that the firm will unveil gadgets with different display sizes together with Kyobo and other partnersif it is necessary.

Qualcomm, a company that earns most of its sales revenue from mobile phone processors and radio chips, is moving to expand into displays with its Mirasol technology which it claims extends battery life in handheld devices. The San Diego-based firm is reportedly investing over $1 billion in a new plant to produce the display screens.

The company does have plans to expand the Mirasol display into a wider pool of gadgets, but it has said it works best with e-readers at the moment.

According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, the global e-book industry is projected to grow an average of 27.2 percent by 2014, while the paper book market’s growth rate was expected to average at 1 percent by the same year.

The local e-book market has been referred to as an industry with enormous potential as some expect it to grow 10-fold from 2006 to 2012.

E-books, deemed to become especially popular among overseas Koreans or people who wish to buy Korean-language books in digital format, will be sold for at least 40 percent less than paper books.

In a related effort, the Culture Ministry also announced earlier in April that it would invest 60 billion won over a five-year period to nurture the local e-book industry.

It pledged to work on increasing the ground which the industry could bloom in, standardize e-book publishing technologies and spread digital reading habits.

The plan also includes supporting small and mid-sized publishing firms that have financial difficulties, and will nurture 1,000 people who are needed on-site by 2014.

The ministry said it would assist the production process of 10,000 well-recognized e-book every year and look for talented writers.

A total of 240,000 e-books are to be made available for borrowing from public libraries by the government in 2014.

Experts, however, say the industry — led mostly by small and mid-sized firms — still faces hurdles today in Korea with local giants, such as Samsung Electronics, claiming e-books will only play the part of an application for tablet PCs.

QUALCOMM Incorporated’s CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Nov 2, 2011]

… With respect to mirasol, we continue to work with partners on low-volume projects as we await the completion of our new fab. …

Q& A

… what the drag from mirasol was in fiscal year 2011, and how we should think about that for 2012.

William E. Keitel [executive vice president and chief financial officer]: … on mirasol, we did give an indication at the outset of 2011 that we expected — I think it was — if I remember correctly, we said about a $225 million operating loss. I expect we’ll update that in New York. And at this point — but with the business progressing, the R&D continuing and starting to bring more fab capacity online, we have a larger operating loss built into our guidance.

… on outlook for mirasol, specifically CapEx. I know you’re supposed to spend $1 billion this year. I think Japan pushed some of their CapEx into 2012. Can you give us some sort of updated perspective on where you see CapEx for that going as you continue to build out your fab into 2012 and maybe even beyond?

William E. Keitel: … on the mirasol CapEx. We did slow down what we had planned at the outset of this year to spend on the mirasol CapEx. At this point in our plans for fiscal ’12, we will catch up on the amount that we had originally projected for fiscal ’11.

LCD, E-ink Challenger Mirasol Will Be on Devices in Months [PCWorld, Nov 17, 2011]

Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology, which has been under development for years, will be in full production and in devices by the middle of next year, said Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, during a webcast investor meeting earlier this week.

The company is primarily focusing the screen technology on e-readers, but Mirasol displays have also been shown on tablets.

“We have partners who are really excited about the kind of capabilities that Mirasol brings — the ultra low power, sunlight visibility, the fact that we can do video on these things. So the devices are coming out, we’re feeling good about where we’re headed,” Jacobs said.

Displays are the biggest power hog on devices and Mirasol’s low-power attribute is its biggest advantage, Jacobs said.

“If you have an Android phone … you’ll generally see it’s the display that’s using most of the battery. We have just got to deal with the issue,” Jacobs said.

Application Craft: a multiplatform rapid development system and SaaS for HTML5 et al

Application Craft – our one minute overview [Oct 29, 2011]

Check out our fantastic one minute video. It shows you just some of the great development features available.

Related information: Microsoft and jQuery Mobile, PhoneGap [Oct 13, 2011]

More information:
New website [Nov 4, 2011]
How our system works [Nov 9, 2011]
– Example SmartSites (=websites for smartphones, their core value proposition) in the Content ideas: Location Specific Web Sites, Retail, Publishing and Other
– Use cases in App Dev – Build Web, Mobile and Tablet Apps: Mobile, Workflow, Forms, Reporting, Mashups and Features for that
[this is called by them AppOps – their developer value proposition – meaning: “a substantial set of developer oriented functionality that allows you to build pretty well any sort of business or data-centric App (so not great for games) ”]
Application Craft – Learning Center [from Oct 22, 2011 on, only half done yet]
(including an API Cheat Sheet, the other resources are very concise videos and links to the reference manual )
Application Craft – User Guide
Professional Services [Oct 20, 2011] offerings:

Developer Resources

Fork Application Craft on GitHub

As of today (November 3rd, 2011) we are preparing our code for public availability on GitHub. Current estimations are that it will be available in the last week of November. As soon as it is available, we will be letting everyone know and you will find a large link here.

Freddy May, Founder CEO:

I founded Application Craft in September 2009. We started writing code a month or two later and we released our first really proper version in June 2011.

I do the product design and have an extraordinary team of guys and one gal in Russia [in Yoshkar-Ola the capital city of the Mari El Republic]who are a full part of the company. They do all the really hard work and have most of the brains.

Investors [April 8, 2011]

Application Craft is a UK company, founded by Freddy May and backed by 3 Angel Investors.

Urs Wietlisbach – Angel

Urs is the co-founder and Vice Chairman of Partners Group, one of the world’s largest independent private markets asset management companies, with over US$ 23 billion in assets under management [and over 500 employees and 15 offices].

Application Craft IDE [Fredy May, Application Craft, Oct 13, 2011]
[Release: 1.12.1, October 24, 2011 with jQuery Mobile RC1 and Alpha release of Workflow.Detail; Release: 1.10.7, October 3, 2011]

We are just launching our new IDE for building Apps and Content that can be deployed to Mobile, Tablet and Desktop. It is all browser based and uses just HTML5/Javascript/CSS.</p>
<p>It is now released and available on our cloud platform (for not a lot of money) as well as on Amazon AWS from November (for free).</p>
<p>We are looking for advanced content designers as well as javascript developers of all levels to give us their feedback and help guide the product. We are still offering free support at this stage so there really is $0 cost.</p>
<p>It has full support for Responsive Design as well as Client and Server Side Javascripting. </p>
<p>Anyway, take a look and please feel free to contact me directly fmay@applicationcraft.com or on skype 'freddymay'.</p>

We are just launching our new IDE for building Apps and Content that can be deployed to Mobile, Tablet and Desktop. It is all browser based and uses just HTML5/Javascript/CSS.

It is now released and available on our cloud platform (for not a lot of money) as well as on Amazon AWS from November (for free).

We are looking for advanced content designers as well as javascript developers of all levels to give us their feedback and help guide the product. We are still offering free support at this stage so there really is $0 cost.

It has full support for Responsive Design as well as Client and Server Side Javascripting.

Anyway, take a look and please feel free to contact me directly fmay@applicationcraft.com or on skype ‘freddymay’.

Responsive Design and Javascript Coding in a 100% browser based IDE. [Fredy May, Application Craft, Oct 30, 2011]

Responsive Design and Javascript Coding in a 100% browser based IDE. The first of its kind.</p>
<p>There is lots of chatter and twitter about Responsive Design for Web content right now. What about Apps (both Web Apps and Native ones)? This is my blog post on this topic </p>
<p>http://www.applicationcraft.com/blog/495-responsive-design-adaptive-layouts-application-craft </p>
<p>One of the key things that developers should be focusing on is how to build an App once that works on various screen sizes and, more importantly, on different devices such as Smartphones and Tablets. </p>
<p>This blog post looks at an extremely cool, 100% browser based IDE that enables mobile and desktop apps to be built while meeting all of these requirements for Responsive Design.</p>
<p>It highlights an App that works on everything from a large screen to an iPhone and looks great on all of them. This IDE (from Application Craft) also allows mobile content Apps to be built that also follow the Responsive Design principles.

Responsive Design and Javascript Coding in a 100% browser based IDE. The first of its kind.

There is lots of chatter and twitter about Responsive Design for Web content right now. What about Apps (both Web Apps and Native ones)? This is my blog post on this topic


One of the key things that developers should be focusing on is how to build an App once that works on various screen sizes and, more importantly, on different devices such as Smartphones and Tablets.

This blog post looks at an extremely cool, 100% browser based IDE that enables mobile and desktop apps to be built while meeting all of these requirements for Responsive Design.

It highlights an App that works on everything from a large screen to an iPhone and looks great on all of them. This IDE (from Application Craft) also allows mobile content Apps to be built that also follow the Responsive Design principles.

URL: http://www.applicationcraft.com/blog/495-responsive-design-adaptive-layouts-application-craft

PhoneGap + Application Craft = Pain-Free Mobile App Development [a PhoneGap case study, Nov 7, 2011]
Remark: while among jQuery related tools it is one of 13, it is the only other development system case-study by PhoneGap next to the earlier mobileFX!

Just as the PhoneGap mantra is fast and easy cross-platform mobile app deployment, Application Craftcreators are committed to making the mobile app and content development process pain-free. No wonder these two technologies get on so well!

Application Craft is a cloud-based, desktop and mobile app development environment for building enterprise apps and mobile and tablet content. On top of its advanced browser-based IDE, Application Craft offers a sophisticated back end that supports database integration, data storage and more. Examples of apps built with Application Craft include the Tate Modern Museum mobile app and the JamieOliver.comapp.

So, why is Application Craft and PhoneGap a match made in heaven?

Application Craft generates 100% JavaScript apps. When combined with PhoneGap and PhoneGap Build, apps built using Application Craft can access native device features and can be automatically deployed to app stores.

PhoneGap Build–a cloud-based services that compiles PhoneGap apps for various platforms–provides a “huge bonus” because it seamlessly manages the complexities of native compilers, says Freddy May, Founder and CEO of Application Craft. “The PhoneGap Build API is icing on the cake because it meant we were able to achieve the tightest possible integration with Application Craft.”

May adds that integrating the PhoneGap API into Application Craft was easy. Despite PhoneGap Build being in beta, Application Craft developers completed the integration without a single email or call to PhoneGap. The result is an app deployment feature that Application Craft is proud of–a build of five platform binaries takes about a minute. “This is more than acceptable especially when you consider it’s an asynchronous process and we allow our users to work on other things as the apps compile. Once a user can specify a single platform build via the build API, it should be even faster,” he says.

By adding cross-platform app compilation to Application Craft, PhoneGap Build saves developers many tedious testing hours, which translates into a major competitive advantage for the Application Craft development environment and, ultimately, makes for happier app developers.

Watch this video to get a closer look at how Application Craft and PhoneGap work together:

AC Phonegap Short.mov [Sept 6, 2011]

Application Craft Phonegap Build Ripple Emulator Short

In the last couple of weeks, Application Craft has launched a major update with a comprehensive implementation of jQueryMobile and added a new feaure allowing UI designers to build responsive design type page using the IDE. You can read more about this news on their blog.

World’s best and true cross platform to develop mobile application [dineshkamath1982, Nov 14, 2011]

Application Craft (AC) is the best true cross platform for developing mobile apps. AC allows you to develop apps and generate native files for major platforms (symbian, apple – ios, android, webos, blackberry).

They have excellent support (response within minutes) and they also direct you to the necessary documentation for your requirement. They have very good example videos.

The cloud based IDE for developing the apps is excellent. They provide you also preview and live mode to see how would your application behave on your mobile (even before trying out on your mobile).

I decided to go to AC after going through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_a…. Its mentioned as it is the true cross platform (this is mentioned only for AC). But now i really know why is it.

I am neither an employee or marketing guy of AC. I am just a normal user trying out AC for my personal interest. Please try it out and see if what i quoted make sense 🙂
Application Craft ROCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Roadmap [Nov 9, 2011]

To be Released (target release date 21st Nov)

ServerSide Javascript Support

This will enable an AC User to build scripts that run and execute server side. This will allow secure execution of rules etc. It will also tie in with the Data Storage Access and associated permissions so that only server side scripts can read from and write to connections and queries.

Other Plans not yet prioritised

Improved WYSIWYG editor features

The Editor currently does an imperfect job of pasting in HTML from the clipboard. It also does not allow perfect support for AC’s own Styles. This is being rectified along with other user-friendliness aspects of the editor.

CRUD for Regular Databases

CRUD (database Create Read Update and Delete) operations only work on other Apps currently. We have just completed support for CRUD operations on regular databases such as MySQL, Postgres, Oracle etc.

Offline Instance Storage for Mobile Apps

Currently, a Native App cannot store instances to an offline mobile device. We are adding extensive capabilities to allow offline data collection that can be uploaded later.

JQuerymobile Themeroller [Freddy May, Nov 7, 2011]

Just been looking at the new JQuerymobile Themeroller and it  is a beauty. My plan is to annoy the hell out of Tolstoy (that is by new nickname for Max Kraev [Head of Engineering] by the way) and get this shoehorned in by the end of the year.


I think it will make a beautiful addition to the product and give great control over the way that Mobile interfaces are created.

I think that we may then look at the regular Themeroller in a later stage as I think that our theme implementation is in need of improvement.

Anyone who wants to contribute thoughts and ideas on this before we get started, please do so here.

My thoughts are that it will fit into the Themes section of the console and pressing ‘edit’ will bring up the Themeroller Editor. Obviously, it will tie in nicely with the system and not require any manual messing around with the resultant CSS.

Why we love the ACE Cloud 9 Editor (and how we’ve integrated it) [Nov 8, 2011]

There are some parts of the Application Craft system where we need to give credit to other people or products where it is due. One of these is the ACE Cloud 9 Editor from ajax.org.

Code Editing is often an integral part of building an App and so having a really superb code editor is essential. We have successfully incorporated the ACE Editor into our IDE and we are extremely pleased with the result.

Click here to see a video in our Learning Center. Look at the first video (from 1:15) or the second one.

Where we use it

The most important part of our system is the Application Craft IDE. This does 2 main things

  • build UI screens with the WYSIWYG, drag-and-drop UI Layout Editor
  • edit javascript code (currently client-side code and, very soon, also server-side)

Mobile Widgets (from the AC User Guide)

We have gone to a lot of effort to make developing for Mobile devices a really positive experience. There are three main components that we are working with which we have integrated very tightly into the product.


Application Craft has embedded JQueryMobileinto the Application Craft widget framework. We comment on this only because we would like to thank the JQuery team for their very high quality work. If you find that there are some things on the jquerymobile.com site that you would like to see included in Application Craft then please let us know.

Phonegap [currently pointing to PhoneGap 1.1.0 not the latest 1.2.0 released by Nitobi on Nov 7, 2011]

Phonegapis the magic that transforms the Web Apps that come out of Application Craft into Native Apps. This lets your Apps be deployed through App Stores and it lets them access device features and hardware such as GPS, Camera, Audio, Contacts and so on.


Rippleis a superb emulator plugin for Google Chrome that lets you test out device features without needing to deploy to an actual device.

Thanks to all of the above for majorly improving both our own and our users’ lives (well the development part of their lives at least).

Big Update – Application Craft & jQueryMobile [Fredy May, Application Craft blog, Sept 23, 2011] [Release: 1.10.6, September 20, 2011 with PhoneGap and jQuery Mobile Beta 3 and heavily extended Mobile Widgets support]

We have just launched a major update. It contains a comprehensive implementation of jQueryMobile within Application Craft. We think that this combination of JQM and AC has to be the easiest and fastest way to build Web Apps for mobile and tablet devices (and they pretty good on the desktop, too). And thanks to our Phonegap:Build integration, Native Apps are also extremely easy.

In this post, I am covering

  • A bit about the jQueryMobile implementation
  • The range of jQueryMobile widgets we currently support
  • A typical JQM widget inside the Application Craft IDE
  • Requests for widgets and jQueryMobile related features we don’t yet support
  • The next major announcement – Responsive Design and Adaptive Layouts

jQueryMobile implementation

The latest jQueryMobile (Beta 3) is a leap forward in terms of stability, functionality and speed. There were quite a few architectural changes, too. We have added these into a special ‘mobile’ toolbox section in the AC IDE. We find the stability to be really excellent and any bugs we found we have patched up, but they were few and far between. All jQueryMobile components have a comprehensive range of properties rendered in the IDE’s property bar and there is full javascript event support. Appropriate widgets also support the AC Data Storage Framework.

JQM comes with 5 standard themes. These have been well designed by the JQM team but we will soon be adding the ability for designers to upload their own custom CSS themes. These Themes are actually very simple and easy to add and everything is done in CSS. We’ll announce it on this blog when it’s ready.

The Mobile widgets we currently support

The table below shows the mobile specific widgets we support (we have a load more desktop ones, most of which can also be used in mobile Apps).  Each of these widgets is highly configurable via the property bar in the IDE as well as from AC Scripting (Javascript).

  • Checkbox
  • Checkbox Group
  • Select Button Group
  • Single Line Text Input
  • Multi Line Text Input
  • Mobile Toolbar (dockable)
  • Buttons (multi-size)
  • Search Input Field
  • Slider
  • Flip Switch
  • Navbar (button bar)
  • Popup Dropdown (selection wheel)
  • Popup Multi Select List
  • List (for navigation and content)
  • Collapsible Container
  • Accordion

A typical JQM widget in AC

You either set properties or use javascript to control all the finer points of a widget’s behavior. Below are a few variations of the Mobile List widget

You can add Items to the list in two ways. You can use the Item dialog for navigation type stuff where you know your items in advance. Or, you can add data to the list programmatically.

1. You have an array of the following object, one element for each list entry

{ “value”:”1″, // Data value that gets stored in AC (if required)

“label”:”United Kingdom”, // appears as list content

“image”: imgUrl,   // image url if required

“divider”: “false”,  // true if divider should be shown

“count”: “25”,   // the number to show in the count bubble

“aside”: “Short Text”,  // appears on the right in smaller font

“action”: id    // page jump action id


2. And this is how you update your list widget with the list item array
app.setData(‘myMobileList’, lstItems);

Populating a Mobile List manually
Populating a Mobile List with Javascript

Over in the property bar, we can now start to make all sorts of adjustments relating to cosmetic and functional behavior. Here are the two more interesting proeprty sections for the Mobile List widget


We have documented the new Mobile features. Your can find them here.

Requests for widgets and jQueryMobile related features we don’t yet support

If anyone is aware of a mobile feature that we aren’t supporting but should be, then please let us know. We are also interested in any cool widgets that are already mobile compliant or with a little work, could be.

Responsive Design / Adaptive Layouts

This is a really exciting topic and one which one of the next blog posts will go into in detail. Initiatives like “Mobile First” state that modern web designers and app builders should think about putting the mobile device at the top of the list when thinking about platform support.

Responsive Design allows you to build a single app design that looks and works great on Desktop, Tablet and Mobile devices.

Inaugural Blog Post as Application Craft and SmartSites enters Private Beta [Fredy May, Application Craft blog, June 23, 2011] [Beta 1.0, June 22, 2011, first full Private Beta Release, pre-launch announcement: “Full mobile support and lots of ‘Visual Basic in the Cloud’ features.”]

After some long, hard development and a little bit of pivoting from the original concept, Application Craft is now ready for prime time. We are extremely proud of the platform we have built and we think it does a totally unique job of delivering beautiful, rich mobile and desktop sites (SmartSites) all the way up to full-blown applications.

If you are a Web Designer or Marketer, SmartSites lets you build device independent sites incredibly quickly. If you are a Javascript developer(or about to become one) then Application Craft lets you build anything from great front-ends to forms apps, workflow apps or full-blown relational applications.


[The essence of the new value proposition, i.e. the evolution from the original one: “Democratizing the Building of Data-driven Apps … for Citizen Developers as well – i.e. application stakeholders who have historically been peripheral to, or shut out of, the development process” see the below September 27, 2010 announcement]

A SmartSite is really a Mobile Web Site built on the Application Craft platform. There are several things that make SmartSites very different from other sites.

  • It is properly platform independent
  • The layout options are really exceptional, supporting many mobile specific widgets
  • Device orientation changes are fully supported
  • You can deploy your SmartSite app as a Web Site OR as a Native App
  • Thanks to the full development capabilities of Application Craft, you can turn a simple, static site into a full blown App with some Javascript knowledge.

Example SmartSites

Rather than explain what they are, take a look at the SmartSites section of our website, where you will find some really good examples.
See some examples on the various tabs on the SmartSites page

Application Development

Javascript is the lingua franca of the web and everything about Application Craft is Javascript. It is written 100% in it(a lot of thanks to JQuery and JQueryMobile by the way), SmartSites and Apps are pure Javascript and you can add business logic to your Sites and Apps using it.

More about Application Craft AppOps

Private Beta

We are starting off with a Private Beta phase which I anticipate will last 3 to 4 weeks before it goes into Public Beta. We are delighted with the stability and the feature set of the product but we want to make sure that our provisioning systems and platform operations are functioning smoothly before we switch on the automated provisioning.

Support & Feedback

Our main goal in the next months is to work very, very closely with our users. We brought the product to where it now is by working with real users with real issues. We started working with these users in the early days after Robert Scoble did a pre-release video interview late last year. We are immensely grateful to their input and we now are ready to do the same with the next wave of users.

If you contact us for help or suggestions, you will hear back from us. We don’t just want your feedback and input, we need it. We are available on Skype, Twitter etc. You can find full support and contact information here (click on the Support button).

Version 1.0 Release

Application Craft has had a lot of very hard testing before Private Beta from ourselves as well as a handful of early adopters who have built substantial Apps and Sites using Application Craft. The first Commercial Offering is not yet certain but it will not be later than Fall 2011.


We will be announcing proper pricing plans in July. There will be versions for all types of users. including a Free version for basic, single-user SmartSites usage all the way up to high end versions including special releases, features, unlimited users (SmartSite/App builders not consumers) and support options.

Future Blog Entries & Requests

Initially, I plan to write a series of blogs on the many usages of Application Craft and SmartSites. I will be showing real examples that focus in on a particular use of the product. If you would like to see me blog on a specific topic, please tweet either @appcrafty or me (Freddy May) personally @3bfred.

SmartPhones need SmartSites [Fredy May, Application Craft blog, June 24, 2011]

The main thrust of this article is to discuss a major problem (and a corresponding solution) with almost all web sites when they are visited by a SmartPhone. They appear so small as to be pretty well unreadable and clicking links is a lottery.

We all know that SmartPhone usage is growing rapidly, so many companies should prepare for lots more people to visit their web site using a SmartPhone. The proliferation of Gelocation Apps and Services (Google Search/Places/Maps, SimpleGeo, Factual etc.) cater explicity to the Mobile user and increase SmartPhone traffic even further.

If you take a look at the image on the left, it will probably be a familiar sight. Given the size of the opportunity, it is pretty amazing how poorly this situation has been addressed.

As you can see from the infographic excerpts above (full Infographic from Microsoft Tag available here), there is already a lot of mobile based internet usage and by 2014 it will exceed desktop usage. And already one half of all searches are performed on mobile devices. This all leads to a lot of people visiting web sites using their SmartPhones.
You should view SmartPhone web site visitors as exciting opportunities, because

  • they are probably nearby
  • they probably have a very specific and immediate interest in your product or place
  • they need information, a local service or a product

One big problem

The big problem is that almost every web site looks terrible in a SmartPhone browser. And site navigation is even worse due to tiny links colliding with fat fingers (my good friend Dobs would appreciate this). Get your phone out and visit some random sites.

There are some notable exceptions (Twitter, Facebook) but take a look at these well known names below. Click on these to see them at their original size or go to the website on your phone or scan the QR-Code if you’ve got an App.

FYI: The QR-codes shown here can be read with QR-Reader Apps (iPhone try ‘ConnectMe’, Android try ‘Google Goggles’)




… with a SmartSite solution

Take a look at the following example, which is a typical local business you might want to get information on. Click on the thumbnail or scan the QR-Code to see the website rendered on a phone, then read on.

Now, take a look at the SmartSite below, which is an Application Craft SmartSite. It is actually live, so you can interact with it. Be sure to check out the Location pages and both tabs on the Contact page.

  • imageThis SmartSite took about 1 hour to build
  • It includes a simple but cool ‘contact’ form
  • It required absolutely no programming skills
  • It is a really easy job for a Web Designer, Marketer or Product Manager
  • If you want to add really advanced App capabilities and you have some Javascript knowledge then our AppOps features are genuinely superb (more on this in another post)

also reachable at

SmartPhone Visitors will probably want different (and simpler) content

Clearly, this is a good thing, because they will usually want access to

  • only the most relevant information
  • information that relates to the fact they are on the move and probably nearby
  • complex and rich layout is not required due to the limited form factor

Location Specific Content

There is another set of very relevant uses of SmartSites that are described on our SmartSites page. Location Specific Content is where you build a SmrtSite that is tied to an object, place or business and targets the SmartPhone user who is actually standing at the location. For instance, information boards at Airport, Tourist Office, Hotel or Shopping Centre. Or providing information to in-store shoppers. Printing QR-Codes/tiny URLs onto products as a better way of accessing manuals and assembly guides. The list is pretty well endless. Go to the SmartSites page to take a look at the example uses.

What are the alternatives?

There are alternative, but very expensive and non-trivial, ways of achieving an effective mobile-ready site

  • Hand code it using developer tools such as Sencha or JQueryMobile. This requires proper web development skills and will take many times longer than using Application Craft
  • Design your main web site to reformat for SmartPhones but this is really not for the faint-hearted

What if I want to add App like capabilities to my SmartSite

Well, this is where you really are in luck. Application Craft was initially conceived as a cloud based App development platform. Alongside SmartSites, we have AppOps, which is a substantial set of developer oriented functionality that allows you to build pretty well any sort of business or data-centric App (so not great for games) that you are likely to need.

I plan to do another blog post on AppOps soon, but feel free to explore AppOps now.

Application Craft: Sam Schillace to Advise Application Craft [Oct 7, 2010]

Google Docs Creator to Advise Cloud-based Rapid App Development Platform Innovator

London, UK October 7, 2010 – Application Craft today announced that Sam Schillace, creator of Google Docs and co-founder of new venture Restartle, is joining Application Craft as an Advisor. Launched at Tech Crunch Disrupt 2010 and currently in Public Beta, Application Craft radically shortens development cycles for even complex data-driven desktop and mobile applications. Importantly, Application Craft’s drag and drop Data Graphs and built-in collaboration tools allow an unparalleled level of involvement by Citizen Developers in the application development process. By eliminating the user/developer gulf, Application Craft reduces strain on development teams, promotes on-time and on-budget projects and blurs the boundary between content and applications.

Schillace led the Google Docs team after Google acquired Upstartle, the company he co-founded to bring the collaborative word processor Writely to market. Before leaving Google in June 2010 to found Restartle, he led the Internet giant’s Gmail and Apps team as Senior Engineering Director.

“I have seen how fast the Application Craft team has built a really superb product over the last year,” said Mr. Schillace. “It is a genuine enabler for a new class of application developer and I think it will result in some major changes to the desktop and mobile application development landscape. I am excited to be involved with Application Craft during these early, formative days.”

“You would be hard pressed to find a software entrepreneur with as much SaaS and PaaS expertise as Sam Schillace,” said Freddy May, Application Craft Founder and CEO. “I have benefited greatly from Sam’s counsel over the past year and I am delighted that Application Craft will continue to do so now that he has joined as a formal company Advisor.”

About Application Craft

Launched at Tech Crunch Disrupt 2010 and currently in Public Beta, Application Craft’s rapid application development platform allows professional and ‘Citizen’ developers to quickly and collaboratively build amazing data-driven desktop and mobile apps. By eliminating the user/developer gulf, Application Craft reduces strain on development teams, promotes on-time and on-budget projects and blurs the boundary between content and applications. To learn more, please visit: http://www.applicationcraft.com

Application Craft Invites Citizen and Pro Developers to Get Crafty Rapid Development [TechCrunch Disrupt, London, UK and San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 27, 2010]

Platform Democratizes the Building of Data-driven Apps

Application Craft today opened the public beta for their rapid development platform that allows both professional and ‘Citizen’ developers to quickly and collaboratively build amazing data-driven desktop and mobile apps. Citizen Developers are application stakeholders who have historically been peripheral to, or shut out of, the development process, such as web designers, analysts, knowledge workers and IT staff. Getting Crafty means unprecedented ease of collaboration between hard core coders and Citizen Developers.

“Throughout my IT career, I have witnessed countless development projects fail due to lack of alignment between users and developers and overloaded development teams. Application Craft aims to eliminate the user/developer gulf by fostering active collaboration, which reduces strain on dev teams and promotes on-time and on-budget projects,” said Freddy May, Application Craft Founder and CEO.

You’re Getting Crafty When…

  • Your apps can instantly pull data from virtually any source
  • You can rapid prototype in minutes and build a production app in hours
  • Web designers become Web developers in a day
  • Agile is easy!
  • Apps run everywhere out of the box
  • Usability takes center stage
  • Your projects are consistently on time and on budget

Watch this video to see it in action: http://tinyurl.com/GetCrafty

_C_ollaborative app development that welcomes pros and amateurs
_R_ich apps, extreme mash ups
_F_lexible deployment
_T_otal customization
_Y_our projects on time every time

About Application Craft
Application Craft is the quickest way to build apps. The company opened the Public Beta for their revolutionary Rapid Application Development Platform for Professional and ‘Citizen’ developers at TechCrunch Disrupt, where the company is also exhibiting on Tuesday, September 28. Application Craft is seeking Public Beta participants. To learn more and apply for the Beta, go to: http://tinyurl.com/GetCrafty

About TechCrunch Disrupt
TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco (http://disrupt.techcrunch.com), is being held Sept 27-29 2010, at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse. TechCrunch Disrupt attracts over 1,500 leading technology innovators and investors and over 150 new startups. The format combines top thought-leader discussions with new product and company launches. Morning executive discussions debate the most timely disruptions in media, advertising and technology. Afternoons host the Startup Battlefield where 25 new companies will launch for the first time on stage, selected to present from more than 500 applications received from around the world. Another 100 early-stage startups will exhibit in Startup Alley. TechCrunch will award a $50,000 grand prize along with other award recognitions at the conclusion of the conference.

Corporate developers: exclusive first look at Application Craft, a new tool for corporate web apps [Robert Scoble, Sept 26, 2010]

http://www.applicationcraft.com/ has what they say is the quickest way to build apps. This is generally aimed at corporate developers, and looks like a modern Visual Studio — everything is in the web browser. Here I spend a bit of time with founder Freddy May who gives me a good look at what it does and why it’s an important new entrant into the web programming field.

In the 1990s we had Visual Basic, Delphi, and then Visual Studio come along. All great tools for corporate developers who needed to build apps for their workgroups.

But since then developer tools have stagnated. Yeah, we’ve had Ruby on Rails, but that’s really aimed at web developers (Twitter was originally built in it, for instance) and the kinds of database and UI tools that corporate developers needed weren’t there.

Today Application Craft (CrunchBase info on Application Craft) is releasing a new system that looks somewhat like Visual Studio, but is completely web based. Here CEO Freddy May spends a lot of time with me showing how it works and giving me some idea of the power underneath.

Oh, and you can build a LOT without knowing any code. May says it’s not just aimed at developers, but can be used by “citizen developers.” IE, those who don’t know how to code very well. That is exactly the audience that Visual Basic was aimed at back in 1992, and it went on to be the tool for corporate developers. Will Application Craft take over that mantle? We’ll see, but this is a very interesting start. What do you think?

NVIDIA Tegra 3 and ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Follow-up: Kindle Fire with its $200 price pushing everybody up, down or out of the Android tablet market [Dec 8, 2011]

Update: ASUS introduces [i.e. making available] the Eee Pad Transformer Prime with NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 Quad-Core Processor and Google® Android™ 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich [ASUS press release, Dec 1, 2011]

Meet the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the world’s first quad-core tablet. – Incredibly beautiful with a spun aluminum finish and measuring in at 8.3mm thin and 586g light. – Ultra performance with NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor, with 18 hours of battery life and upgradable to AndriodTM 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. – Amazing 8MP camera with LED flash and large F2.4 aperture. – Super IPS+ panel with 178° viewing angle and 600 nits display for outdoor enjoyment. – Supreme sound powered by ASUS SonicMaster Technology. ASUS exclusive application combined with the above makes the Transformer Prime the most powerful tablet ever.

Update: Nvidia Tegra 3 to challenge shipments of 25 million units in 2012 [Dec 2, 2011]

Nvidia is set to challenge to ship 25 million Tegra 3 processors for use in smartphones, tablet PCs and automobiles in 2012 as the company is unlikely to be able to achieve the same shipment goal for its Tegra 2 in 2011, according to industry sources.

Despite that Tegra 2 successfully landed orders from Motorola, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Asustek Computer and Acer, because the chip was not able to gain enough share from the smartphone market, which is currently dominated by Qualcomm, while shipments of non-Apple tablet PCs, which Tegra 2 accounts for 75% of the volume, are limited, Nvidia’s goal of shipping 25 million Tegra 2 chips in 2011 will not be able to be realized, the sources noted.

Although Nvidia still faces strong competition from players such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, the company with its advances with the Tegra 3 processor will try to challenge the same shipments goal in 2012 and is eying Windows on ARM (WOA) in 2013 to achieve further growth.

Currently, there are 11 smartphones that have adopted Tegra 2 including Motorola’s Artix, LG’s Optimus 2X and Samsung’s Galaxy R. Meanwhile, there are 23 tablet PCs with Tegra 2 including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, Asustek’s Eee Pad Transformer and Acer’s S3.

Tablet Specification Comparison (source: Anandtech)

  ASUS Eee Pad Transformer ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime Apple iPad 2 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Dimensions 271mm x 175mm x 12.95mm 263 x 180.8 x 8.3mm 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6mm
Display 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 Super IPS+ 9.7-inch 1024 x 768 IPS 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 PLS
Weight 675g 586g 601g 565g
Processor 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9) 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra 3 (4 x Cortex A9) 1GHz Apple A5 (2 x Cortex A9) 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)
Memory 1GB 1GB 512MB 1GB
Storage 16GB + microSD card 32GB/64GB + microSD slot 16GB 16GB
Pricing $399 $499/$599 $499 $499

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime – All Details and Specifications [Nov 8, 2011]

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime – http://www.netbooknews.com/38965/asus-eee-pad-transformer-prime-full-details/ – Check out the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, the very first quadcore tablet running on the new NVIDIA Tegra 3 platform

ASUS Announces the Eee Pad Transformer Prime [ASUS US press release, Nov 8, 2011]

ASUS officially announces the world’s first tablet with the NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor – the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime. Cooperatively working with NVIDIA® to launch the first quad-core tablet in the world, the Eee Pad Transformer Prime features the innovative ASUS exclusive mobile dock, presenting a harmony of beauty and strength. ASUS CEO Jerry Shen says, “The combination between the Eee Pad Transformer Prime and Tegra 3 is the perfect fusion to deliver an uncompromising tablet experience. Together, we bring a whole new mobile computing experience to consumers around the world”. Echoing that sentiment, NVIDIA’s President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang states, “The Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a category-defining product. Powered by Tegra 3, it brings us into a new era of mobile computing, in which quad-core performance and super energy-efficiency provide capabilities never available before. With Transformer Prime, ASUS has once again led the industry into the next generation.”

The Eee Pad Transformer Prime is ultra-thin at 8.3mm (0.33”) and lightweight at 586g (1.29lbs) while featuring a stylish metallic swirl design with class leading enhancements including ASUS SonicMaster audio technology, an HD 8MP rear auto-focus camera with LED flash and battery life rated for up to 18 hours*when combined with the optional mobile dock. Pricing will range from $499** (32GB) to $599** (64GB), with the optional mobile dock accessory priced at $149**.

Incredibly Slim yet Incredibly Powerful
Featuring an ultra-slim form factor, the Transformer Prime is only 8.3mm (0.33”) thin and weighs in at a mere 586g (1.29lbs without dock). This makes watching movies, surfing the web, playing games, taking photos, finishing up homework or video chatting with friends or family so easy and natural that you’ll wonder if the Transformer Prime was designed specifically with you in mind. Its innovative metallic swirl design is made of aluminum for a secure yet extremely comfortable grip that comes in two gorgeous colors: Amethyst Gray and Champagne Gold.

The Transformer Prime is the world’s first tablet to feature NVIDIA’s next-generation quad-core Tegra® 3 processor. With the quad-core CPU, 12-core GeForce® GPU and vSMP technology, the Transformer Prime delivers an optimum user experience featuring smooth multitasking capabilities, lightning fast app loading, a rich and fluid web experience, full 1080P HD video for realistic media playback or recording and of course, incredible gaming performance that allows you to experience games in an entirely new way.

Fantastic Battery Life
While the Transformer Prime is extremely slim and light, ASUS did not forget about battery life. Thanks to the advanced power management features of the Tegra® 3 processor and ASUS optimizations the Transformer Prime has a battery life of up to 12 hours*, but when combined with the mobile dock, it lasts up to an incredible 18 hours*, the longest battery life of any current tablet. That’s enough battery life for a trans-ocean flight, all-night game session, viewing several movies on a long road trip or even video recording, editing, and then playing back your child’s school play all in 1080P HD clarity.

Unrivaled Visuals
The Eee Pad Transformer Prime boasts a wide 178° viewing angle IPS display, protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass, which features new ASUS technology to enhance the brightness of the screen for a better outdoor reading experience.
[The display’s normal brightness tops out at ~500 nits, but the Prime offers an alternate ‘Super IPS’ mode that pushes display brightness up to 600 nits for use in bright outdoor environments. ]

The high-resolution 10.1” display offers a remarkably vivid and brilliant viewing experience of photos, books, videos, games, and more in either landscape or portrait mode outdoors, indoors and even in low-light places like an airplane or train. Thanks to Multi-Touch technology, you can use your fingers to do everything from swiping through photos, surfing the web, playing the latest games, typing emails, instant messaging, reading books or magazines, and starting your favorite movie.

A 1.2MP front camera allows for instant photos or high-quality video conferencing with friends, family or coworkers while an 8MP rear camera with auto-focus and LED flash takes stunning photos or video thanks to a large F2.4 aperture, back illuminated CMOS sensor, touch-to-focus depth of field and low-light noise reduction to provide the clearest and sharpest photos or even 1080P HD videos.

Advanced Audio
The Transformer Prime offers impressive audio capabilities in a tablet, powered by ASUS exclusive SonicMaster technology, renowned for crisp and acoustically accurate audio. It produces crystal clear sound with a wide sound stage, increased audio fidelity, and distinct vocal enhancements for an immersive audio experience with your favorite music track, video, or movie.

Unlimited Productivity
The Transformer Prime is offered with either 32GB or 64B flash storage options for quick, efficient and reliable access to your applications. Both models feature a micro SD card slot, 3.5mm combo audio jack and micro HDMI port so sharing both what’s inside and on-screen is quick and easy. However, the function that gives the Transformer Prime its namesake is the mobile dock, which gives new meaning to the term versatility. This innovative and convenient design seamlessly provides the user with a keyboard and touchpad for superior content creation capabilities, longer battery life and incredible expandability options via the USB port and SD card slot.

ASUS will include several innovative applications like SuperNote that is fantastic for its ability to take, draw or record notes and Polaris® Office which is great for staying productive with the ability to read, edit or create Word, Excel and PowerPoint (MS Office 97-2007) compatible files. Thousands of top rated applications and games are also available at Android Market that fully takes advantage of the Transformer Prime’s amazing new features and power.

More information: Detailed specification [on NVIDIA site]

NVIDIA Tegra 3: Fifth Companion Core [NVIDIA, Nov 2, 2011]

The first mobile quad core CPU with The Fifth Companion Core is a look at how the Tegra 3 – Variable SMP processor works to deliver high performance while achieving the lowest power consumption.

Variable SMP – A Multi-Core CPU Architecture for Low Power and High Performance [NVIDIA whitepaper, Sept 20, 2011]

Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing

NVIDIA’s Project Kal-El is the world’s first mobile SoC device to implement a patented Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing (vSMP) technology that not only minimizes active standby state power consumption, but also delivers on-demand maximum quad core performance. In addition to four main Cortex A9 high-performance CPU cores, Kal-El has a fifth low power, low leakage Cortex A9 CPU core called the ‘CompanionCPU core that is optimized to minimize active standby state power consumption, and handle less demanding processing tasks.

Project Kal-El also includes other patented vSMP technologies that intelligently manage workload distribution between the main cores and the Companion core based on application and operating system requirements. This management is handled by NVIDIA’s Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) and CPU Hot-Plug management software and does not require any other special modifications to the operating system

Low Power Companion Core

The Companion core is designed on a low power process technology, but has an identical internal architecture as the main Cortex A9 CPU cores. Since it is built on a low power process in the low performance ranges (and frequencies), it consumes lower power than the main CPU cores that are built on a fast process technology. Power-performance measurements on Kal-El show that the Companion core delivers higher performance per watt than the main cores at operating frequencies below 500 MHz, and therefore the maximum operating frequency of the Companion core is capped at 500MHz. Table 1 compares and contrasts the Companion core to the four main cores on Kal-El.

  Power optimized Companion CPU Core Performance optimized main CPU Cores
Architecture Cortex A9 Cortex A9
Process Technology Low Power (LP) General/Fast (G).
Operating Frequency Range 0 MHz to 500 MHz 0 MHz to Max GHz

Table 1 Companion and Main CPU Core features

The Companion core is used primarily when the mobile device is in active standby and performing background tasks such as Email syncs, Twitter updates, Facebook updates etc. It is also used for applications that do not require significant CPU processing power, such as streaming audio, offline audio, and both online or offline video playback. Note that both audio and video playback, in addition to video encoding, are largely processed by hardware-based encoders and decoders.

Unlike the Companion core, the main CPU cores need to operate at very high frequencies to deliver high performance. Therefore they are built on a fast process technology which allows them to scale up to very high operating frequencies at lower operating voltage ranges. Thus the main cores are able to deliver high performance without significant increases in dynamic power consumption.

imageFigure 3 Low Power Companion CPU on Kal-El

Using the combination of performance-optimized main cores and a power-optimized Companion core, Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing technology not only delivers ultra-low power consumption in active standby states, but also on-demand peak quad core performance for performance hungry mobile applications such as gaming, Web browsing, Flash media, and video conferencing.

vSMP technology successfully combines the power-performance benefits of the power-optimized CPU B and performance-optimized CPU A shown in Figure 2 and delivers a power-performance curve that looks like the one shown in Figure 4.

imageFigure 4 Power-Performance curve of Companion core
plus quad main cores running on vSMP technology

imageFigure 5 CPU core management based on workload

The Variable SMP architecture is also completely OS transparent, which means that operating systems and applications don’t need to be redesigned to take advantage of the fifth core.

More information: The Benefits of Quad Core CPUs in Mobile Devices [NVIDIA whitepaper, Sept 20, 2011] discusses the benefits of quad-core across different types of use cases – web, games, apps, multitasking and more. They also highlight examples of how quad-core Kal-El uses less power than dual-core processors across all performance points.


With 1 core active, the max clock is 1.4GHz (up from 1.0GHz in the original Tegra 2 SoC). With more than one core active however the max clock is 1.3GHz. Each core can be power gated in Tegra 3, which wasn’t the case in Tegra 2. This should allow for lightly threaded workloads to execute on Tegra 3 in the same power envelope as Tegra 2. It’s only in those applications that fully utilize more than two cores that you’ll see Tegra 3 drawing more power than its predecessor.

NVIDIA Tegra 3: Side by Side Comparisons [NVIDIA, Nov 2, 2011]

Check out all our Tegra 3 blog posts at: http://blogs.nvidia.com/tag/tegra-3/ Get the best mobile experience with the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad core processor. These Side by Side Comparisons showcases the Tegra 3 advantage for obtaining better web performance, accelerating your apps and experiencing the best gaming on mobile. Make sure to check out all NVIDIA Tegra 3 videos below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C30ShWQm5pI (Glowball Part 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1qKdBX4-jc (Fifth Companion Core) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U2r3yKg0Ng (Next-gen Games) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N11AYQkr5Zs (Mobility At The Speed Of Life) (kevesebb információ)

NVIDIA Quad-Core Tegra 3 Chip Sets New Standards of Mobile Computing Performance, Energy Efficiency [NVIDIA press release, Nov 8, 2011]

NVIDIA today ushered in the era of quad-core mobile computing with the introduction of the NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 processor, bringing PC-class performance levels, better battery life and improved mobile experiences to tablets and phones. The world’s first quad-core tablet with the Tegra 3 processor is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

Known previously by the codename “Project Kal-El,” the Tegra 3 processor provides up to 3x the graphics performance of Tegra 2, and up to 61 percent lower power consumption. This translates into an industry-leading 12 hours of battery life for HD video playback.

The Tegra 3 processor implements a new, patent-pending technology known as Variable Symmetric Multiprocessing(vSMP). vSMP includes a fifth CPU “companion,” specifically designed for work requiring little power. The four main cores are specifically designed for work requiring high performance, and generally consume less power than dual-core processors.

During tasks that require less power consumption — like listening to music, playing back video or updating background data — the Tegra 3 processor completely shuts down its four performance-tuned cores and, instead, uses its companion core. For high-performance tasks — like web browsing, multitasking and gaming — the Tegra 3 processor disables the companion.

“NVIDIA’s fifth core is ingenious,” said Nathan Brookwood, Research Fellow at Insight 64. “Tegra 3’s vSMP technology extends the battery life of next-generation mobile devices by using less power when they’re handling undemanding tasks and then ratcheting up performance when it’s really needed.”

The Tegra 3 quad-core CPUs are complemented with a new 12-core NVIDIA GeForce® GPU, which delivers more realism with dynamic lighting, physical effects and high resolution environments, plus support for 3D stereo, giving developers the means to bring the next generation of mobile gamesto life.

For the millions who play games on mobile devices, the Tegra 3 processor provides an experience comparable to that of a game console. It offers full game-controller support, enabling consumers to play games on their tablet or super phone, or connect to big screen HDTVs for a truly immersive experience. It also leverages NVIDIA’s award-winning 3D Vision technology and automatically converts OpenGLapplications to stereo 3D, so consumers can experience 3D on a big screen 3D TV (via HDMI™ 1.4 technology).

The Tegra 3 processor provides the industry’s….

  • Fastest web experience – with accelerated Adobe Flash Player 11, HTML5 and WebGL browsing, and an optimized Javascript engine
  • Fastest applications – with blazing performance for multimedia apps, such as photo and video editing
  • Fastest multitasking – for switching between common uses, such as playing music and games, and background tasks
  • Fastest, highest-quality gaming [not true, eg. the Apple iPhone 4S is powered by PowerVR SGX 543MP2 GPU which more performance, see the below table from Anandtech] – including new Tegra 3 processor-optimized NVIDIA Tegra Zone™ app games such as Shadowgun, Riptide GP, Sprinkle, Big Top THD, Bladeslinger, DaVinci THD and Chidori.

Highlights / Key Facts:

  • The Tegra 3 processor redefines power consumption and mobile-computing performance with:
    • The world’s first quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU
    • New patent-pending vSMP technology, including a fifth CPU core that runs at a lower frequency and operates at exceptionally low power
    • 12-core GeForce GPU, with 3x the graphics performance of the Tegra 2 processor, including support for stereoscopic 3D
    • New video engines with support for 1080p high profile video at 40 Mbps
    • Up to 3x higher memory bandwidth
    • Up to 2x faster Image Signal Processor
  • 40 games are expected to be available by the end of 2011, and over 15 Tegra 3 games are under development for Tegra Zone, NVIDIA’s free Android Market app that showcases the best games optimized for the Tegra processor.
  • The Tegra 3 processor is in production. Developers can order the Tegra 3 Developer Kit to create applications for devices with Tegra such as tablets and super phones, at developer.nvidia.com/tegra.

Mobile SoC GPU Comparison (source: Anandtech)

Adreno 225
PowerVR SGX 540
PowerVR SGX 543
PowerVR SGX 543MP2
Mali-400 MP4
GeForce ULP
Kal-El GeForce
# of SIMDs
4 + 1
4 / 2
Total MADs

NVIDIA wouldn’t confirm the target clock for Tegra 3’s GPU other than to say it was higher than Tegra 2’s 300MHz. Peak floating point throughput per core is unchanged (one MAD per clock), but each core should be more efficient thanks to larger caches in the design.

A combination of these improvements as well as newer drivers are what give Tegra 3’s GPU its 2x – 3x performance advantage over Tegra 2 despite only a 50% increase in overall execution resources. In pixel shader bound scenarios, there’s an effective doubling of execution horsepower so the 2x gains are more believable there. I don’t expect many games will be vertex processing bound so the lack of significant improvement there shouldn’t be a big issue for Tegra 3.