Nexus 7: Google wanted it in 4 months for $199/$245, ASUS delivered + Nexus Q (of Google’s own design and manufacturing) added for social streaming from Google Play to speakers and screen in home under Android device control
+ the whole Android-centric story is getting even more interesting when Chrome, Google Drive, Chrome OS and the apps related to that are added. So the latest updates on that are included here as well (in fact from the Day 2 of the Google I/O). Pretty impressive alltogether.
Introducing Nexus 7 [Google Nexus channel on YouTube, June 27, 2012]
Milestones leading to the Nexus 7:
- November 5, 2007: Google launches Android, an Open Mobile Platform
- November 12, 2007: “early look” Android SDK releases (with Android version m3-rc20a)
- August 28, 2008: Android Market announced
- September 23, 2008: Android makes its debut in the T-Mobile (US) G1 smartphone (HTC Dream)with Android 1.0. This came next to UK (in November), as well as to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the Netherlands (in Q1 2009).
- September 23, 2008: Announcing the Android 1.0 SDK, release 1
- October 22, 2008: the Android Market is available for users
- February 13, 2009: Support for priced applications introduced on the Android Market (US and UK developers only)
- April 30, 2009: Android 1.5 (Cupcake), the next version after 1.0, released for Android-powered handsets
(The history of early Android releases upto version 1.6, Donut is provided by Google here.)
- January 5, 2010: Nexus One (HTC Passion), the newest Android-powered phone running the latest Android 2.1 (Eclair) software introduced (dogfooding was in Dec 2009)
- This was based on Qualcomm’s next-generation Qualcomm QSD8250 SoC (1 GHz single Scorpion ARM core of 2.1 DMIPS/MHz — essentially of Cortex-A8 class but architectured and designed by Qualcomm, Adreno 200 GPU, HSPA etc.), had 512MB RAM and 512MB ROM, was expandable with a microSD card, and came with a 3.7″ 480×800 resolution AMOLED screen. Note that HTC was working with Qualcomm on that at least since November 2007 when the QSD8250 was announced.
- September 30, 2010: Support for paid application sales expanded to developers in 29 countries + users from 32 countries could buy apps from the Android Market
- December 6, 2010: Google eBookstore launched
- Dec 6, 2010: Introducing Nexus S with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).
- It was co-developed with Samsung. The hallmarks here were Samsung’s own 1 GHz Hummingbird processor (used by Apple as well, and later becoming Exynos), 16GB of memory and a 4″ state-of-the-art AMOLED screen. The starting point for this device was the Samsung Galaxy S, released 4 months earlier with Android 2.1 (see also the Galaxy S: A New Era in AMOLED Technology article from Samsung). AT&T had the first announcement of a Galaxy S class device under the name of Samsung Captivate in the summer.
- Detailed information about Hummingbird and the SoCs of that time are provided in the Marvell ARMADA beats Qualcomm Snapdragon, NVIDIA Tegra and Samsung/Apple Hummingbird in the SoC market [again] [Sept 23, 2010 – Jan 17, 2011] post on this blog.
- February 22, 2011: Final Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Platform and Updated SDK Tools
- The Motorola XOOM tablet device, developed an designed for 3.0, was announced earlier on Jan 5 as a 3G/Wi-Fi-enabled device in Q1 2011 with an upgrade to 4G LTE in Q2.
- Due to closeness of 2.3 and 3.0 releases detailed information about them was provided in the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and 3.0 (Honeycomb) [Dec 30, 2010 – Feb 4, 2011] post on this blog.
- October 18, 2011: Android 4.0, “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS) announced
- October 19, 2011: Samsung and Google introduce GALAXY Nexus
- Detailed information about that is provided in the TI’s OMAP4460 in Samsung GALAXY Nexus with Android 4.0 [Oct 21, 2011 – Feb 7, 2012] post on this blog. That will show very meticulously the current SoC state-of-the-art relative to the Qualcomm SoCs used in earlier G1 and Nexus smartphones.
- November 16, 2011: Google Music with a music store introduced
- March 6, 2012: Google Play digital entertainment distribution service in the cloud introduced for Android phones and tablets announced. Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore became part of Google Play. So music, books, magazines, movies, TV shows, apps, and games are all become available from a single destinationon the web.
- April 12, 2012: Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, and Mexico are added to the 29 seller countries in Google Play.
400 million Android activations! [GoogleMobile YouTube channel, June 27, 2012]
2012 Google I/O Keynote – Google Nexus 7 Tablet Announcement (HD, June 27th, 2012) [Hexydes YouTube channel, June 27, 2012]
#1 of Android @ I/O: the playground is open [on Official Google Blog by Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content, June 27, 2012]
Google Play: more entertainment
Google Play is your digital entertainment destination, with more than 600,000 apps and games plus music, movies and books. It’s entirely cloud-based, which means all of your content is always available across all of your devices. Today our store is expanding to include magazines. We’ve been working with leading publishers Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith and more to offer magazines like House Beautiful, Men’s Health, Shape and WIRED.
Now, you can also purchase movies in addition to renting them. And we’re adding television shows on Google Play—in fact, we’re adding thousands of episodes of broadcast and cable TV shows, like “Revenge,” “Parks & Recreation” and “Breaking Bad,” from some of the top studios, like ABC Studios, NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures. You can play back movies and TV shows on all your Android devices, through Google Play on the web, and on YouTube, and soon we’ll bring the experience to Google TV devices.
Movie purchases, TV shows and magazines are available today on play.google.com, and will roll out to Google Play on devices over the coming days.
Nexus 7: powerful, portable and designed for Google Play
All of this great Google Play content comes to life on Nexus 7, a powerful new tablet with a vibrant, 7” 1280×800 HD display. The Tegra-3 chipset, with a quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU, makes everything, including games, extremely fast. And best of all, it’s only 340 grams, lighter than most tablets out there. Nexus 7 was built to bring you the best of Google in the palm of your hand. Hang out with up to 10 friends on Google+ using the front-facing camera, browse the web blazingly fast with Chrome and, of course, crank through your emails with Gmail.
Nexus 7 comes preloaded with some great entertainment, including the movie “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” the book “The Bourne Dominion,” magazines likeCondé Nast Traveler and Popular Science, and songs from bands like Coldplay and the Rolling Stones. We’ve also included a $25 credit to purchase your favorite movies, books and more from Google Play, for a limited time. Nexus 7 is available for preorder today from Google Play in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, and starts at $199 in the U.S. It will start shipping mid-July.
Google I/O 2012 – Google Play Developers : Live from the Sandbox [GoogleDevelopers YouTube channel, June 27, 2012]
Exclusive: Google’s Andy Rubin and Asus’ Jonney Shih on How They Cooked Up the Nexus 7 [AllThingsD, June 27, 2012]
Building the Nexus 7 tablet was no easy task, says Asus Chairman Jonney Shih.
First off, Google gave the company only four months to build the product. Then there was the task of building a high-end tablet that could sell for just $200. Plus, he said, Google can be kind of demanding.
“Our engineers told me it is like torture,” Shih said
Rubin admits that he was upset a year ago that Android tablets just weren’t selling. After looking into some of the reasons, Rubin learned that while hardware really matters on phones, consumers are buying into a content ecosystem with tablets. Or, in Google’s case, not buying into an ecosystem.
On the hardware side, Shih and Rubin feel they have something that can serve as a full-fledged tablet computer while competing on price with the Kindle Fire. Despite its bargain-basement price, Shih notes that the device packs a high-end laminated display, quad-core chip and other high-end features.
One way the companies managed that is through razor-thin margins. Google is selling the device through its Google Play store, essentially at cost, and also absorbing the marketing costs associated with the device.
Google to unveil Nexus 7 at Google I/O 2012, say sources [DIGITIMES, June 28, 2012]
… Market sources indicate that Google will outsource production of the Nexus 7 to Asustek Computer, and purchase LCD panels for the model from Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT).
The displays will have a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels with CPT serving as the primary supplier, the sources indicated.
Buoyed by the new orders, CPT has ramped up its tablet panels to 700,000-800,000 units a month and may further push output to one million units in the third quarter, the sources estimated.
CPT is currently also shipping 10,000-20,000 panels a month for notebooks, added the sources.
Amazon to start shipping new Kindle Fire in August, sources claim [DIGITIMES, June 28, 2012]
Amazon’s new 7.85-inch Kindle Fire is reported to have an August release date this year at a price of US$199, according to upstream industry sources.
The new Kindle Fire will be thinner than the current version because it adopts full lamination to get rid of the air gap between the LCD and touch panels, the sources said.
But the sources said that as the full lamination process will add an extra US$10 in production cost, it will be a great challenge for the device maker’s cost control if Amazon keeps the new Kindle Fire’s price at US$199.
Amazon hopes to maintain competitive pricing as it has seen major declines in shipments for the Kindle Fire. Market observers have noted that the company shipped only 750,000 units of the tablet in the first quarter this year, down from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Amazon reportedly may drop 7-inch Kindle Fire price to welcome new models [DIGITIMES, June 15, 2012]
As Amazon is said to be considering launching new e-book readers and 7-inch tablet PC products at the beginning of the third quarter, the company is expected to have a chance to reduce its existing 7-inch Kindle Fire pricing to US$149 to help transition to the upcoming new tablet PC products, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
To expand its market share, the sources believe that Amazon has a high chance of adopting a similar product strategy to Apple, in addition to a new iPad product, Apple continues to sell its previous model at a cheaper price to expand market share into the lower-end segment.
Therefore, the sources expect Amazon to release a new 7-inch tablet PC with a screen resolution of 1280 by 800 and a price of US$199, in the third quarter, targeting the higher-end segment, while releasing another 7-inch model with similar specifications as the existing Kindle Fire, featuring a screen resolution of 1024 by 600 and a price of US$149. This model will be mainly pushed into the entry-level segment to expand the company’s market share, noted the sources.
Kindle Fire’s consumer-friendly price and functions allowed Amazon to achieve sales of 4.5-5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011; however, because the device is mainly targeted at the US market, sales quickly dropped to only 700,000-800,000 units in the first quarter of 2012.
In addition to 7-inch tablet PCs, Amazon is also said planning 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch models; however, the latest information shows that the company has already halted the development of the 8.9-inch model with the 10.1-inch set to be released in the fourth quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.
As for e-book readers, Amazon is currently developing a 6-inch backlight-unit-module-integrated model that is set to launch in the third quarter at the earliest, noted the sources, adding that Amazon will also release e-book readers with other sizes in the second half of the year.
E Ink expected to ship 12 million display panels in 2H12 [DIGITIMES, June 26, 2012]
E Ink Holdings, a Taiwan-based maker of e-paper displays, is expected to ship 12 million display panels in the second half of 2012, decreasing by 14.3-20% from 2011, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
The company declined to comment on the news.
The sources indicated E Ink has obtained orders from Amazon for display panels used in 6.0 million Kindle Fire tablet PCs, with shipments to begin in the second half of 2012. In addition, E Ink has landed orders for FFS (fringe field switching) panels for use in 3.0 million Google tablet PCs expected to be unveiled at the 2012 Google I/O during June 27-29.
E Ink will also start shipments of e-paper displays for use in Amazon and Barnes & Noble e-book readers in the third quarter of 2012, the sources noted.
E Ink’s wholly owned subsidiary maker of TFT-LCD panels and e-paper modules Transcend Optronics has set up several affiliated makers in a self-use industrial park of over 50 hectares (123.6 acres) in land area located in Yangzhou, eastern China, the sources indicated.
Fast & Smooth – Android 4.1, Jelly Bean [GoogleMobile YouTube channel, June 27, 2012]
7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
Back-lit IPS display
Scratch-resistant Corning glass
1.2MP front-facing camera
8 or 16 GB internal storage
1 GB RAM
4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)
Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
NFC (Android Beam)
#2 of Android @ I/O: the playground is open [on Official Google Blog by Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content, June 27, 2012]
Jelly Bean: simple, beautiful and beyond smart
Jelly Bean builds on top of Ice Cream Sandwich. It makes everything smoother, faster and more fluid. For example, notifications are now more dynamic: if you’re late for a meeting or missed a call, you can email or call directly from notifications. The keyboard is smarter and more accurate, and can predict your next word. And voice typing is faster, working even when you don’t have a data connection.
We’ve redesigned search from the ground up in Jelly Bean, with a new user interface and faster, more natural Voice Search. You can type your query or simply ask Google a question. Google can speak back to you, delivering a precise answer, powered by the Knowledge Graph, if it knows one, in addition to a list of search results.
Today’s smart devices still rely on you to do pretty much everything—that is, until now. Google Now is a new feature that gets you just the right information at just the right time. It tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, or your favorite team’s score as they’re playing. There’s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most.
Introducing Google Now [GoogleMobile YouTube channel, June 27, 2012]
Introducing Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) preview platform, and more [Android Developers blog, June 27, 2012]
At Google I/O today we announced the latest version of the Android platform, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). With Jelly Bean, we’ve made the great things about Android even better with improved system performance and enhanced user features.
Improvements include a smoother and more responsive UI across the system, a home screen that automatically adapts to fit your content, a powerful predictive keyboard, richer and more interactive notifications, larger payload sizes for Android Beam sharing and much more. For a lowdown on what’s new, head over to the Jelly Bean platform highlights.
Of course, Jelly Bean wouldn’t be complete without a healthy serving of new APIs for app developers. Here are some of the new APIs that Jelly Bean introduces:
: Android 4.1 brings a major update to the Android notifications framework. Apps can now display larger, richer notifications to users that can be expanded and collapsed with a pinch. Users can now take actions directly from the notification shade, and notifications support new types of content, including photos.
: In Android 4.1, Android Beam makes it easier to share images, videos, or other payloads by leveraging Bluetooth for the data transfer.
Bi-directional text support
: Android 4.1 helps you to reach more users through support for for bi-directional text in TextView and EditText elements.
: New APIs for accessibility services let you handle gestures and manage accessibility focus. Now you can traverse any element on the screen using gestures, accessories, you name it.
Media codec access
: Provides low-level access to platform hardware and software codecs.
Wi-Fi Direct service discoverability
: New API provides pre-associated service discovery letting apps get more information from nearby devices about the services they support, before they attempt to connect.
Network bandwidth management
: New API provides ability to detect metered networks, including tethering to a mobile hotspot.
For a complete overview of new APIs in Jelly Bean, please read the API highlights document. Note that this is a preview of the Jelly Bean platform. While we’re still finalizing the API implementations we wanted to give developers a look at the new API to begin planning app updates. We’ll be releasing a final platform in a few weeks that you should use to build and publish applications for Android 4.1.
For Android devices with the Google Play, we launched the following at Google I/O today:
Smart app updates
: For Android 2.3, Gingerbread devices and up,
when there is a new version of an app in Google Play, only the parts of the app that changed are downloaded to users’ devices
. On average, a smart app update is a third the size of a full apk update. This means your users save bandwidth and battery and the best part? You don’t have to do a thing. This is automatically enabled for all apps downloaded from Google Play.
: From Jelly Bean and forward,
paid apps in Google Play are encrypted with a device-specific key
before they are delivered and stored on the device. We know you work hard building your apps. We work hard to protect your investment.
Google Cloud Messaging for Android
: This is the next version of C2DM and goes back to Froyo. Getting started is easy and has a whole bunch of new APIs than C2DM has to offer. If you sign-up for GCM, you will be able to see C2DM and GCM stats in the Android developer console. Most importantly, the service is free and there are no quotas. [
#3 of Android @ I/O: the playground is open [on Official Google Blog by Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content, June 27, 2012]
Nexus Q: It’s a sphere!
It’s great to be able to take your entertainment with you wherever you go, but sometimes you want to ditch the headphones and enjoy music with friends and family. So we’re introducing Nexus Q, which combines the power of Android and Google Play to easily stream music and video in your home—all controlled by an Android phone or tablet. Designed and engineered by Google [the first such device as mentioned in the Google I/O 2012 – Google Play Developers : Live from the Sandbox video embedded above], Nexus Q is a small sphere that plugs into the best speakers and TV in your house. It’s the first-ever social streaming device—like a cloud-connected jukebox where everyone brings their own music to the party. Available first in the U.S., you can preorder Nexus Q today from Google Play for $299, and it will ship mid-July.
Introducing Nexus Q [Google Nexus channel on YouTube, June 27, 2012]
Diameter: 4.6 inches (116mm)
2 pounds (923 grams)
Die-cast, precision machined zinc bottom housing
Injection-molded, interactive balanced top dome with precision bearing and satin touch coating
Rotating top dome volume control
Capacitive touch sensor for mute
32 RGB perimeter LEDs
1 RGB LED for mute indicator
OMAP4460 (dual ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs and SGX540 GPU)
1GB LPDDR RAM
16GB NAND flash memory
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Google Play Music
Google Play Movies and TV
CONNECTORS AND PORTS
Micro HDMI (Type D)
TOSLink Optical audio (S/PDIF)
10/100BASE-T Ethernet (RJ45)
Micro AB USB (for service and support)
Banana jack speaker outputs
25W class D (12.5 watt per channel)
Integrated 35W switching power supply
World-ready 50/60Hz 85-265V AC input
Automatic shutdown for audio amp supply when not in use
How Nexus Q Works [Google Nexus channel on YouTube, June 27, 2012]
Google Tries Something Retro: Made in the U.S.A. – Page 2[The New York Times, June 27, 2012]
The Nexus Q, which links a TV or home sound system to the Internet cloud to play video and audio content, contains almost all American-made parts. The engineers who led the effort to build the device, which is based on the same microprocessor used in Android smartphones [see: TI’s OMAP4460 in Samsung GALAXY Nexus with Android 4.0 [this Experiencing the Cloud blog, Oct 21, 2011 – Feb 7, 2012]] and contains seven printed circuit boards, found the maker of the zinc metal base in the Midwest and a supplier for the molded plastic components in Southern California.
Semiconductor chips are more of a challenge. In some cases, the chips are made in the United States and shipped to Asia to be packaged with other electronic components.
Google did not take the easy route and encase the Q in a black box. The dome of the Magic-8-ball-shaped case is the volume control — the user twists it — a feature that required painstaking engineering and a prolonged hunt for just the right bearing, said Matt Hershenson, an engineer who helped design the Q.
At $299, the device costs significantly more than competing systems from companies like Apple and Roku. Google says this is in part because of the higher costs of manufacturing in the United States, but the company expects to bring the price down as it increases volume. The company is hoping that consumers will be willing to pay more, though it is unlikely that the “Made in America” lineage will be part of any marketing campaign.
Google uses a contract manufacturer to make the Q. Last week it was being assembled in a large factory 15 minutes from Google headquarters. The company declined to say how many people were employed at the plant, which can run as many as three shifts each day. However, during a brief tour, made with the understanding that the exact location would not be disclosed, it was clear that hundreds of workers were involved in making the Q.
It is the kind of building that was once common across Silicon Valley during the 1980s and even the 1990s. More recently, former semiconductor fabrication and assembly factories have given way to large office campuses that house the programmers who design software and support Web sites.
Chrome & Apps @ Google I/O: Your web, everywhere [on Official Google Blog by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Chrome & Apps, June 28, 2012]
This morning we kicked off day 2 at I/O to talk about the open web—one of the most amazing platforms we have seen. To put things in perspective, today there are more than 2.3 billion users on the web—a staggering number, but it only represents one-third of the world’s population. There’s still a lot of opportunity for growth.
Chrome, which we built from the ground up as a browser for the modern web, has seen tremendous adoption. Thanks to many of you, Chrome has nearly doubled since last year’s I/O—from 160 million to 310 million active users around the world. As more and more of you live your lives online, we want to to help make it easy for you to live in the cloud…seamlessly.
A better web to your web
One of the most exciting shifts is the explosion of the mobile web. When Chrome first launched, many people were tethered to a single computer. Today most people use multiple computers, smartphones and tablets. With that trend in mind, our goal is to offer you a consistent, personalized web experience across all devices. In February, we released Chrome for Android, which exited beta this week and is the standard browser on Nexus 7, a powerful new tablet.
Starting today, Chrome is also available for your iPhone and iPad. That means you can enjoy the same speedy and simple Chrome experience across your devices. Also, by signing in to Chrome, you can easily move from your desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet and have all of your stuff with you.Sign-in and seamlessly experience your personalized web across desktops, phones, and tablets with Chrome for Mobile.
Living in the cloud
A modern browser is just one ingredient of living online seamlessly. We continue to invest in building cloud apps, which many people rely on daily. Gmail, which launched in 2004, has evolved from a simple email service to the primary mode of communication for more than 425 million active users globally. We’ve also built a suite of apps to help users live in the cloud, including Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Calendar and more.
At the hub of this cloud experience is Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate and keep all your stuff. Ten weeks ago we launched Drive and in 10 weeks, more than 10 million users have signed up. Today we introduced more capabilities, including offline editing for Google documents and a Drive app for your iPhone and iPad. Drive is also seamlessly integrated into Chrome OS. With Drive available across Mac, Windows, Chrome OS, Android and iOS, it’s even easier to get things done in the cloud from anywhere.
With the help of Chrome and and the growth of Google apps, people are discovering new ways to get things done faster, connect with others, and access their information no matter what device they’re using. This is what we call “going Google.” And it’s not just individual people. Schools, government institutions and businesses—big and small—are also “going Google.” Sixty-six of the top 100 universities in the U.S., government institutions in 45 out of 50 U.S. states, and a total of 5 million business are using Google Apps to live and work in the cloud.
It’s an exciting time to be living online. To celebrate this ongoing journey, here’s a quick look back at the evolution of Chrome:Chrome launched in September 2008, and its journey has been filled with inspiring & beautiful achievements of developers using the modern web. We’re just getting started though, and we can’t wait to see where you take things next!
[signing in to Chrome]
Get your personal Chrome experience on all your devices [on Google Chrome blog by Tim Steele, Software Engineer, Dec 13, 2011]
If you’ve used Chrome for awhile, you know that it fits you better and better over time—it just wouldn’t be yourChrome without your favorite bookmarks, apps, extensions, history, and other settings.
Signing in to Chrome lets you take your Chrome stuff with you, so you can always have your personal Chrome experience on all of your devices.Signing in to Chrome brings your bookmarks, history, and settings to all of your devices. Just go to the Wrench menu and select “Sign in to Chrome.” Learn more at http://www.google.com/chrome/signingin
When you’re signed in to Chrome, changing something on one device instantly changes it on all your other devices. For example, add a bookmark on your laptop, and it automatically appears on your desktop, so you can always pick up right where you left off.
Signing in to Chrome is also helpful if you only have one computer, because it securely backs up your Chrome stuff online. That way, your Chrome stuff is safe, even if a truck runs over your laptop.
To sign in to Chrome, just go to the Wrench menu and select “Sign in to Chrome.”
But what if you share a computer with other people? You don’t want your bookmarks, apps, and extensions getting mixed up with everyone else’s, and you don’t want your Chrome stuff syncing to all their devices.
With today’s Stable channel release, you can now add new users to Chrome. Adding new users lets you each have your own personal Chrome experience, and lets you each sign in to Chrome to sync your stuff. To add a new user to Chrome, go to Options (Preferences on a Mac), click “Personal Stuff,” and click “Add new user.” Check out our latest Beta blog post for a few quick tips.
Keep in mind that adding new users to Chrome isn’t intended to secure your data against other people using your computer, since it just takes a few clicks to switch between users. We’re providing this functionality as a quick and simple user interface convenience for people who are already sharing Chrome on the same computer today. To truly protect your data from being seen by others, please use the built-in user accounts on your operating system of choice.
That wraps up our last Stable channel release for the year. If you haven’t taken Chrome for a spin yet, try it out and see what you think!
Update: You can learn more about signing in to Chrome at google.com/chrome/signingin.
Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist.
Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.
With Google Drive, you can:
- Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything(PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items.
- Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just… there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive appto your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
- Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.
You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.Introducing the all-new Google Drive. Now access your files, even the big ones, from wherever you are. Share them with whomever you want, and edit them together in real time. Learn more at http://drive.google.com/start
Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you’ll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future.
This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come.
Get started with Drive today at drive.google.com/start—and keep looking for Nessie…
[Today we introduced more capabilities]
Announcing your two most requested features: offline document editing and Drive for iOS [on Google Docs blog by Clay Bavor, Product Management Director, June 28, 2012]
In April, we introduced Google Drive, a place where you can create, share, and keep all your stuff. Today at the Google I/O conference we announced two new ways to get things done in the cloud: offline editing for Google documents and a Drive app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Offline document editing
No internet connection? No big deal. With offline editing, you can create and edit Google documents and leave comments. Any changes you make will be automatically synced when you get back online.
You can enable offline editing from the gear icon in Google Drive and find more detailed instructions for getting set up in the Help Center. Note that you’ll need the latest versions ofChrome or ChromeOS to edit offline. We’re also working hard to make offline editing for spreadsheets and presentations available in the future.
With the Drive app, you can open PDFs, photos, videos, documents and anything else stored in your Drive while you’re on the go. You can also search all your files, add collaborators to documents, and make files available offline to view them even without an internet connection. For blind and low-vision users, the app also works great in VoiceOver mode. Learn more about what you can do with the app in our Help Center.
To learn more about Google Drive, visit drive.google.com/start.
All of you haiku fans (like many of us on the Chrome team) can stop here; the rest can read on for more details.
A year ago we introduced a new model of computing with the launch of Chromebooks. We’ve heard from many of you who’ve enjoyed the speed, simplicity and security of your Chromebooks at home, at school or at work. (Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and stories!) Today, we wanted to share some developments with you—new hardware, a major software update and many more robust apps—as we continue on our journey to make computers much better.
Our partner Samsung has just announced a new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox. Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office.
Speed is integral to the Chrome experience. The new Chromebook and Chromebox, based on Intel Core processors, are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. And support for hardware-accelerated graphics, a built-from-scratch multi-touch trackpad and an open-source firmware stack provide a much faster and more responsive computing experience. The new Chromebook boots in less than seven seconds and resumes instantly. With the Chromebox, you can be on a video conference while continuing to play your favorite role-playing game on the side.
An app-centric user interface
With the new user interface you can easily find and launch apps, and use them alongside your browser or other apps. You can pin commonly-used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions.
Be much more productive…or not
- Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds of offline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
- Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such as Google Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such as Bastion.
- Carry your other computers…inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it’s almost like you’re in front of your other computers in real time.
The (always) new computer
We’ve released eight stable updates over the past year, adding a number of major features and hundreds of improvements to all Chromebooks through our seamless auto-update mechanism. There’s a lot more on the way, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of the (always) new computer.
For those who want to try the Chromebook and Chromebox first-hand, we’re expanding the Chrome Zone experience centers. In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available to try out in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks. In the U.K., they’re now available in a growing list of PC World and Currys stores.
Starting today, you can get the new Chromebook and Chromebox from our online retail partners in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks.The Chromebook is a new, faster computer that starts in seconds, offers thousands of apps, and keeps getting better and better with free, automatic updates. Learn more at http://www.google.com/chromebook.
[the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks]
Yet another Chrome release [on Google Chrome Blog by Dharani Govindan, Technical Program Manager, June 28, 2012]
We know you’re probably tired of hearing about new Chrome releases every six weeks. Well, the good news is you don’t have to worry about updating—we’ll take care of that with automatic updates. Please enjoy the hundreds of bug fixes we’ve batched up in this release. OK, OK, that’s all. Carry on.
Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement — UPDATED with MT6588/83 coming in Q4 2012 and 8-core MT6599 in 2013
Follow-up: MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery [Dec 12, 2012]
The MT6588 was recently renamed MT6589.
Update: Sold 70 million in the first three quarters, MediaTek smart chip dominates China [The Liberty Times, Taiwan, Oct 2, 2012] translated by Google/Bing with additional manual edits of my own
Qualcomm (Qualcomm) last week launched a lower-priced smart phone chip against rival MediaTek (2,454), but according to the the recent shipment situation MediaTek shipped in China more than 70 million smartphone chips in the first three quarters, 10 million more than Qualcomm there, and become a smart-phone chip superpower in China. Merrill Lynch is bullish on MediaTek outlook because for Qualcomm’s “MSM8225Q” to shake up MediaTek’s leadership still will not be easy.
Barclays Capital analyst Lu Hang increased MediaTek smartphone chip shipments in the next two years to 180 million and 290 million, respectively.
Chinese mobile phone distributors circle recently the hottest topic number the high pass last week, low-cost quad-core mobile phone chip “MSM8225Q/MSM8625Q “, estimated price falls to $ 25, the market worry renewed price war, the impact MediaTek Maori. However, the latest released Merrill Lynch research report pointed out that the dual-core MediaTek chips and the two Qualcomm quad-core chips compared to each other competitively, plus “8225Q” mass production may be in March next year, by about one quarter behind the MediaTek quad-core chip “MT6589″ (formerly known as MT 6588), the cost of which is expected to be cheaper than the dual-core version, meaning MediaTek is still dominant.
Update: Taiwan chip designer MediaTek downgraded amid competitive pressure [WantChinaTimes.com, Oct 2, 2012]
… In a report dated Sept. 27, [independent financial services group] CLSA [Asia-Pacific Markets] said the market was optimistic about MediaTek’s gross margin in the second half of 2012 and in 2013 after the company forecasted a gross margin expansion for the third quarter of this year, ending 11 consecutive quarters of contraction.
However, MediaTek’s management told the press on Sept. 25 that the company’s quarterly gross margin growth is likely to remain flat in the fourth quarter of this year and will not expand until the second half of 2013, the report said. …
… One of the reasons investors were optimistic about MediaTek’s 2013 margin was that they thought its new quad-core MT6588 chip had no competition, as Qualcomm made only very high-end quad-core ICs, [CK] Cheng [a Taipei-based analyst at CLSA] said.
But the launch of the MSM8225Q will change that perception, Cheng said, noting that Qualcomm is aiming to release the chip for customer sampling by the end of 2012 and ship in volume in the first quarter of 2013.
Although the Qualcomm chip is scheduled to be launched a month or two later than MediaTek’s, Qualcomm’s price is likely to be 5% cheaper because of lower specifications, he said.
While MediaTek is believed to have superior products and better low-end smartphone ICs than Qualcomm, price does matter to Chinese handset makers, Cheng added.
“This is the main reason why MediaTek has been struggling to lift its average selling price and improve its margin since the third quarter of 2011, although it continues to offer faster processors and multi-core solutions,” he said.
“We don’t think MediaTek’s quad-core solution can reverse this trend,” Cheng said.
As for Chinese competitors, the increased production of RDA Microelectronics’s connectivity combo chip and Spreadtrum Communications’ 2G smartphone ICs will also weigh further on MediaTek’s margins and average selling price, Cheng said.
CLSA raised its forecast for MediaTek’s earnings per share by 3% for 2012 and by 8% for 2013, factoring in the company’s acquisition of its smaller rival MStar Semiconductor, but the brokerage maintained its target price of NT$250 (US$8.53) on the stock.
As of 10:26am Monday, MediaTek shares had dropped 4.62% to NT$310 (US$10.59) in Taipei.
Regarding actual Cortex-A5 and Krait-related information see on this blog the actual:
Core post: Qualcomm decided to compete with the existing Cortex-A5/Krait-based offerings till the end of 2012 [Sept 30, 2012]
Update: Mediatek [联发科] target price by Barclays is [NT$] 395 [Taiwan’s Commercial Times News, Sept 26, 2012] as translated by Google/Bing with additional manual edits of my own
Lu Hang [陆行] [principal analyst of semiconductors for Asia-Pacific at] Barclays Capital Securities [巴克莱资本证券 Taiwan Limited, 11F, 106 Xin-Yi Road, Sec. 5, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. << from] yesterday (25) revealed, that MediaTek 28 nanometer quad-core A7 smartphone chip MTK6588 launch time is expected to advance to the fourth quarter of this year from the first quarter of next year! Because the price is very competitive, only 18 to 20 dollars, not only quadcore smartphone prices in mainland China will immediately fell to less than 150 dollars following that, the company will also have the opportunity to break into [the market of ] first-tier [i.e. global brand] manufacturers such as Samsung.
Lu Hang said that Mediatek’s biggest “backer” [in terms of stock market performance] is expected to be the launch of MT6588 (quad-core A7 [with] TD-SCDMA/WCDMA) and MT6599 (8 core of the ARM [with] LTE/TD-SCDMA/WCDMA) smartphone chips in 4th quarter [of this year] and in the next year, respectively.
Lu Hang believes that there are 5 items which will affect the profits of the overall market with MediaTek MT6588:
– First, the quad-core smartphone prices in mainland China can immediately be reduced from the current US$ 320 to US$ 150.
– Second, we will see in the near future more dual-core 1.7Ghz Krait-based MSM8960A [on one hand], and MSM8974 [on the other], which is same but with quad-core, rather than next to the launch of 8225Q.
– Third, in the fourth quarter of next year the estimated proportion of MT6583/MT6588 [shipments] within the total smartphone chip shipments will reach 50%, even the year after the fourth quarter launched MT6599 will also have 50% level, thus raised its shipment forecast value.
– Fourth, MT6588 will help to maintain the overall ASP at a level of more than $ 10, and customers can be [serviced via a] unified system design.
– Fifth, with the help of 13 million pixels CMOS the sensing power amplifier manufacturers will focus on mainland China and other emerging markets.
Important remark from Barclays Hires New Taiwan Investment Banking Head [The Wall Street Journal, Aug 19, 2012]:
Barclays … is … an advisor to chip design firm MediaTek Inc. on its proposed acquisition of a minority stake in MStar Semiconductor Inc. worth around $3.8 billion, announced in June, according to Dealogic.
Update: MediaTek will produce small amounts of MTK6588 in October [MTK mobile phone network, Sept 10, 2012] as translated by Google/Bing
Recently MediaTek message there are two who are more concerned about one thing, according to Taiwan media reports, the fastest possible production of MediaTek quad-core mobile processor chip MTK6588 will start in October this year a small amount, quantity should not be a lot, may be available only to large client proofing purposes. Rumored MediaTek MTK6588 manufacturing cost is even less than dual-core MTK6577. Quad-core MTK6588 is using 28 nm technology process to support tens of millions of pixels of camera, support for TD/WCDMA dual-mode network, support 1080P playback and recording, and is equipped with a PowerVR SGX 544 graphics processor.
According to show learned about MTK6588 before, Quad MT6588 or will before the end of trial production, mass production quantities listed in the first quarter of next year.
Update: Lenovo Selects MediaTek to Power New LePad Android Tablet [MediaTek press release, Sept 13, 2012], note: “The MT6577 is pin-to-pin compatible with the previously released MT6575” source: the MT6577 launch release
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced that Lenovo has selected its highly integrated Android mobile platform for the new LePad A2107, dual-SIM 3G/HSPA tablet, which is shipping to customers globally.
The LePad A2107 provides high-speed cellular data and wireless connectivity and is designed for tablet users who want to be “connected always”. The A2107 uses MediaTek’s proven Android mobile platform consisting of the MT6575 and the MT6620 SoCs. The MediaTek MT6575 incorporates a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM A9 processor, a PowerVR™ Series5 SGX GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imagination Technologies, a 3G/HSPA modem and built‐in support for 3D displays and DTV‐grade multimedia capabilities by leveraging the company’s world‐leading DTV platform technologies. The MT6620 4-in-1 connectivity combo integrates an 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, GPS, and FM transmitter/receiver into a single chip with the world’s smallest footprint and leading low-power consumption. The MediaTek mobile platform is ideally suited to enable mobile device manufacturers like Lenovo, helping them to address the mid and entry‐level tablet market that demands global connectivity for today and tomorrow.
“Consumers are increasingly using tablets as a companion device to the PC and mobile phone to access media and information. We forecast that the tablet market will increase from 119 million in 2012 to 494 million by 2016(*),” said Mr. Mark Hung, Research Director at Gartner. “A company that has capabilities and technologies across different multi-screen platforms, from smartphones to DTV, should be well positioned to benefit from participating in the growing tablet market.”
*Source: Forecast: Media Tablets by Operating System, Worldwide, 2010-2016, 2Q12 Update, 4 July 2012, by Gartner
Update: the best smartphone based on the MediaTek MT6577 both technically and in terms of price is the MT6577-based JiaYu G3 with IPS Gorilla glass 2 sreen of 4.5” etc. for $154 (factory direct) in China and $183 [Sept 13, 2012], which is also the best example of The low priced, Android based smartphones of China will change the global market [this same ‘Experiencing the Cloud blog, Sept 10, 2012]
Update: New MediaTek chip efficiency: catching up with iPhone4s [MTK mobile phone network, Sept 6, 2012]
2012 International Semiconductor exhibition yesterday (5) days in Taipei debut, over the years, the first IC design Forum yesterday morning talk show, presenter mediatek Vice President Lu Guohong home 3G smart mobile phone chip specification level, noted that MediaTek MT6577 of the latest dual-core Smartphone chip efficiency, comparable with iPhone4s. By the show’s brief is not difficult to see, MediaTek, engaged global Smartphone chip leader Qualcomm momentum is high.
IPhone4s core processor for Apple A5, the design was based on Cortex-A9 dual core 1GHZ frequency of ARM architecture processors, Lu Guohong comparison list noted that mediatek MT6577 newest 3G Smartphone dual-core chips are used by An Mou with iPhone4s A9 dual core architecture, AP mobile core chips, baseband chip, RF chips and GPU architecture level par with iPhone4s.
Update: MediaTek Launches “Cool 3D”: A Comprehensive Suite of 3D Solutions for Smartphone Platforms [MediaTek press release, Sept 11, 2012]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions announced today the availability of “Cool 3D”, the world’s most complete 3D suite of solutions, for its smartphone platforms. Consumers continue to look for new features in smartphones, such as 3D capabilities, and a report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc, predicts that the global market for 3D enabled smartphones is projected to register 994 million units in annual shipments by the year 2018. Demand for this innovation will be driven by the increased availability of 3D content, such as games, videos and full length movies.
The “Cool 3D” suite for MediaTek smartphone platforms includes support for stereo 3D cameras and displays, real-time 2D-to-3D conversion and an optimal 3D user interface that is designed to provide consumers with a stunning 3D experience. Two distinguishing features are “3D Cool Shot” and “3D Cool Show”. MediaTek’s “3D Cool Shot” solution supports a cost-effective 5 MP, dual-lens camera, which achieves 1080P, 24 FPS 3D images, giving users a high-definition visual experience. The MediaTek smartphone platforms are the first of their kind in the industry to integrate the functionality of the dual-lens bridge devices into the main smartphone platform, reducing system cost and saving precious board area. The “3D Cool Show” technology substantially improves the stereo 3D effect with anti-fatigue capabilities, and real-time transformation between 2D/3D modes, allowing for convenient switching between the 2D and 3D displays. These solutions, which leverage MediaTek’s established 3D technologies from the DTV and Digital Home markets, are aimed at creating an optimal stereo 3D display with a custom-tailored 3D interface.
“One consequence of the rapid developments in the smartphone market is product homogenization or the ‘all smartphones look alike’ phenomena. Creating product differentiation has become one of the biggest challenges for the mobile phone industry “said Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek. “From Dual-SIM to 3D capabilities, MediaTek has always pushed technological innovation in our platforms, enabling rich and compelling devices and solutions. By working together with our customers, we hope our industry-leading, ”Cool 3D” suite of solutions can lead the wave of 3D smartphone popularity, allowing even more consumers to enjoy an extraordinary 3D experience.”
The “Cool 3D” suite of capabilities is already enabled on MediaTek’s shipping MT6575 single-core and MT6577 dual-core platforms. All future launches of MediaTek smartphone solutions will support these 3D capabilities.
Updates: Shares of MediaTek jump on positive shipment target revision [Focus Taiwan, Aug 1, 2012]
… As of 11:15 a.m., shares of MediaTek had added 6.67 percent to NT$272.00 (US$9.07), off an early high of NT$272.50, with 23.82 million shares changing hands. … MediaTek announced Tuesday at an investor conference that it had raised its target for smartphone chip shipments to 95 million units, from a previous estimate of 75 million units, mainly because of strong demand from China.
In the second quarter, the IC designer shipped 21 million smartphone chips, higher than the 18 million to 20 million previously forecast. The company said it would ship at least 30 million smartphone chips in the third quarter.
… MediaTek said it expects its gross margin will improve to 41-43 percent for the third quarter from 40.8 percent in the second quarter. …
MediaTek hikes 2012 target smartphone chip shipments [DIGITIMES, Aug 1, 2012]
… The company expects its MT6575 and MT6577 chips to account for 60% of total smartphone chips sales in the third quarter and 80% in the fourth. …
MediaTek eyes Q3 double-digit revenue growth [Taipei Times, Aug 1, 2012]
MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s largest handset chip designer, said yesterday revenue in the third quarter of this year is projected to grow between 13 percent and 18 percent from the second quarter, following the launch of new products and strong demand for smartphone chips.
That would mean a quarterly revenue of between NT$26.50 billion (US$883.33 million) and NT$27.70 billion, compared with NT$23.44 billion in the second quarter.
MediaTek said second-quarter revenue rose 19.5 percent sequentially and 11.7 percent from the same period last year, primarily driven by the fast-growing smartphone demand in China.
However, gross margin for the quarter was 40.8 percent, down 1.3 percent and 5.1 percentage points from the previous quarter and the same period of last year respectively. The company attributed that fall to fierce price competition in the market.
Total smartphone chip shipments are likely to reach 95 million units this year, of which between 50 percent and 60 percent will be 3G chips and the remainder 2G chips …
MediaTek a product roadmap leaked: Quad-core code-named MT6588 [MTK Smartphones Network (MTK手机网), July 27, 2012]
From a recently obtained electronic forum information abroad we see that the MT6585 code communicated earlier for the quad-core MediaTek smartphone chipset is wrong. The true model code is MT6588. It is built on the 28nm process in order achieve higher performance level than the dual-core MT6577 technology.
MT6588 has a 4-core CPU [Cortex-A7 (!), see on the second slide below] clocked at 1GHz [1.XGHz rather, see the included slides below], supports dual-channel at maximum 1066Mbps, has an integrated multimode modem for WCDMA [+ it is delivering HSPA+ WCDMA performance (!) vs just HSPA with MT6577/75, see the first slide below] and TD (!), that is it can support both Unicom [latest upgrade to HSPA+ service, see the news in the original post materials much below] and China Mobile 3G network, supports an up to 13 MP camera and 1080P video playback. It finally has a GPU upgrade with SGX544, doubles the resolution to 1280×800 HD level, and has 32KB L1 cache and 1MB L2 secondary cache.
Along the MT6588 there is a 28nm dual-core version, MT6583 on the MediaTek 2012 product roadmap. From the chipset parameters it is evident that MT6583 is a scaled down version of MT6588. It has 2 cores less, the camera support is 8MP, the video decoder is of 720P level, and the resolution is down to 854×480.
It is understood that MT6588 and MT6583 will be in production in the first quarter of 2013, early next year the fastest.
Note: No search reveals the source for the above information.
MediaTek to launch quad-core smartphone solutions in 1Q13, says paper [DIGITIMES, Aug 6, 2012]
MediaTek is expected to launch its first quad-core smartphone solution, the MT6588, in the first quarter of 2013, according to a Chinese-language Liberty Times report. The MT6588 features a quad-core 1.5GHz or 1.7GHzCortex-A7 CPU, supporting WCDMA and TD-SCDMA technologies.
The MT6588, which features a 13-megapixel camera, also supports 1080p video playback and a display resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels. The chip will be built using a 28nm process, the paper said.
Additionally, MediaTek will also roll out a 28nm dual-core solution, the MT6583, during the same quarter. While the dual-core CPU of the MT6853 will also run at 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz, the chip will support a resolution of 854 by 480 pixels targeting a segment different from that of the MT6588, the paper indicated.
End of updates
The original content:
- About the just four months old MT6575-based market
- MediaTek provided general MT6575 information
- Some history leading to MT6575
- Turmoil on the H1CY12 market in China:
International and local brands, as well as white-box vendors are repositioning for the most lucrative CNY500 (US$79) to CNY1,000 (US$157) smartphone market of H2CY12 and on
Greater China mobile solutions – From silicon to software [DIGITIMES Research, June 8, 2012]
The China mobile market has developed rapidly, with smartphone shipments reaching 69 million units in 2011 and tablet shipments soaring from around one million in 2010 to some 10 million in 2011, and potentially exceeding 20 million units in 2012. As consumer spending power increases, local vendors are focusing on more market tiers and makers have begun to make a play for the high-end market.
Updates: China market: Nearly 195 million handsets shipped in 1H12 [DIGITIMES, July 10, 2012]
There were 194.913 million handsets shipped in the China market during the first half of 2012, consisting of 106.874 million (54.83%) 3G handsets in 801 models and 88.039 million (45.17%) 2G handsets in 1,298 models, according to statistics published by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR) under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Of the shipment volume, 94.855 million or 48.67% were smartphones in 822 models of which 801 models or 97.44% were based on Android. China-based vendors accounted for 75.16% of the half-year shipment volume, and international vendors 24.84%.
The monthly shipment volume of smartphones exceeded that of feature phones for the first time in April 2012, with the corresponding proportion increasing to 56.9% in June.
China market: Breakdown of total handset shipment volume, 1H12 Generation
Number of models
Shipment volume (m handsets)
WCDMA (China Unicom)
CDMA2000 (China Telecom)
TD-SCDMA (China Mobile)
Source: CATR under MIIT, compiled by Digitimes, July 2012
– China smartphone market 2012: Trends and analysis [DIGITIMES Research, July 3, 2012]
The China handset market has exhibited strong growth, with the total number of mobile users in the country reaching 980 million people according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), an increase of 130 million over the 2010 figure. Digitimes Research estimates that mobile user numbers could top 1.13 billion in 2012.
Digitimes Research estimates that the China handset market reached some 390 million units in 2011, representing 16% growth on 2010; the market is likely to grow to 430 million units in 2012, representing further growth of 9%. Thanks to the expansion of 3G service coverage and further falls in budget smartphone prices, the share of the handset market accounted for by smartphones is likely to reach 32% or around 143 million units, 70% of which will be Android handsets.
Digitimes Research believes that market share rankings for the China smartphone market will change significantly during 2012. Samsung and Apple will take the top two places, while the big four China-based brands – Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad – will take third to sixth places, while Nokia will drop to seventh; these seven firms will collectively account for 85% of shipments.
In other words, the many other brands hoping to seize a share of the market will essentially be confined to competing for a potential market of just 15% of overall shipments or around 21 million handsets. Given such a situation, Digitimes Research projects that many of China’s best known smaller brands such as Xiaomi, TCL, Gionee, Tianyu, Oppo and BBK will see shipments of no more than a few million handsets.
End of updates
China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]
China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendors to account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.
In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.
China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium- and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.
Huawei adopts MediaTek dual-core chip for smartphones, says report [DIGITIMES, June 27, 2011]
MediaTek’s new MT6577, which uses a dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex A9 CPU, has been adopted by China-based Huawei for as many as four of its upcoming smartphone devices, according to a Chinese-languageCommercial Timesreport.
The new MediaTek MT6577 solution is scheduled to enter volume production starting July, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN)reported last week (June 22). The chip is built using 40nm process technology.
MediaTek previously upward revised the prediction for its total smartphone-IC shipments in 2012. The firm now expects to ship about 75 million smartphone chips this year, compared to the 50 million estimated initially.
MediaTek Launches Dual-Core MT6577 Smartphone Platform [MediaTek press release, June 27, 2012]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced the availability of the MT6577, a dual-core platform developed specifically for sub-$200 smartphones, the fastest growing segment of the global smartphone market. The MediaTek MT6577 features a dual 1GHz Cortex™-A9 application processor from ARM, a PowerVR™ Series5 SGX GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imagination Technologies, MediaTek’s proven 3G/HSPA modem, and runs the latest Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system. By integrating a dual-core application processor architecture widely deployed in the majority of today’s premium smartphones, the MT6577 boosts application and browser performance by up to 40% compared to single-core platforms, bringing unprecedented levels of user experience to mid- and entry-level smartphones.
“MediaTek’s existing HSPA smartphone platforms – the MT6573 and MT6575 – have been extremely well-received by customers and consumers worldwide, and are currently shipping with major international brands such as Lenovo, TCL/Alcatel, and other top tier Chinese OEMs,”said Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek. “The MT6577 adds the next level of performance and enhanced user experience to the MediaTek smartphone family, delivering enhanced user interactivity, mobile connectivity and rich multi-media experience previously only available on high-end devices. Consumers everywhere will now benefit from the affordable, high-performance devices enabled by the MT6577. MediaTek is proud to be in the vanguard of companies enabling the democratization of smartphones.”
“Dual-core processors account for over 20% of current smartphone processor shipments, with these devices being mostly in the premium segment and addressed by standalone application processors. MediaTek’s new MT6577, with integrated dual-core processors and 3G/HSPA modem is well suited to bringing similar user experiences to the fast-growing mid and entry smartphone segment which is forecast to grow from under 200 Mu in 2012 to over 500 Mu in 2016” said Stuart Robinson, Director, Handset Component Technologies service at Strategy Analytics.
The MT6577 is designed to deliver rich multimedia experiences, with an 8MP camera, support for up-to high-definition 1080p video playback and the ability to support high-resolution displays up to HD720 (1280×720) resolution. The platform also pre-integrates MediaTek’s leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo that provides support for dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM. The MT6577 is pin-to-pin compatible with the previously released MT6575, allowing handset manufacturers to easily produce multiple tiers of devices leveraging a single PCBA hardware development effort.
The MT6577 dual-core platform is currently being incorporated into smartphone devices by MediaTek’s leading global customers, and the first smartphone models based on this new chipset are expected to ship commercially in Q3 2012.
MediaTek expects increase in smartphone chip sales [Taipei Times, June 14, 2012]
MediaTek Inc (聯發科) chairman Tsai Ming-kai (蔡明介) said yesterday that he still expects an increase in demand for smartphone chips in the second half of this year, despite a slowing global economy.
Last year, faced with competition that was fiercer than ever, MediaTek posted NT$13.62 billion (US$454 million) in net profit, or NT$12.35 earnings per share (EPS), down sharply from the NT$30.94 billion in net profit, or NT$28.44 EPS recorded in 2010.
Tsai said the worst phase was almost over for the IC designer and the company was gearing up to broaden its product portfolio and win orders to strengthen its profitability.
On the back of robust demand for smartphones, MediaTek has forecast smartphone chip shipments in the second quarter would range between 18 million and 20 million units, up sharply from the 10 million recorded in the first quarter.
For all of this year, the IC designer anticipates smartphone chip shipments to touch 75 million units from rising demand from China and other emerging markets.
MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) said at the shareholders’ meeting that the company would not focus just on the Chinese market, but also target global demand, while operating a total of 23 offices worldwide.
About the just four months old MT6575-based market
ZOPO ZP200 3D Movie Playing [AndroidSale YouTube channel, March 22, 2012]
Note that even for global wholesale there are much more products of the above kind, as you could see from the table below (the ones which are also on the above diagram are highlighted in yellow). Click here for a PDF version in case you want to click on the links:
There are a couple of recent Chinese startups capitalising on the MT6575 opportunity. The most successfull among them is probably ZOPO Mobile Communications-equipment Ltd. in Shenzhen, China, introducing itself as:
ZOPO Company is founded in 2012, which engages in research, development, produce, marketing and service of mobile intelligent terminal products. The ZOPO ZP200 model as” The China‘s first Glasses-Free 3D dual sim smart mobile phone ” has been a hot Star in China mainland.
Zopo ZP100 MT6575 4.3″ qHD $174 street price [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, April 9, 2012]
I’m back in Shenzhen! Here getting ICS installed on my Zopo ZP100 MT6575 [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, April 9, 2012]
The author of the above videos (Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, see also a recent interview with him about his videoblogging) went through quite a tour about the new MT6575-based entries in the first half of April:
– $158 5″ WVGA MT6575 Cortex-A9 Smartphone presented by www.yooe.com.cn
– Zhenai A900 waterproof MT6575 smartphone
– $79 3.5″ MT6575 Orient Smart Development Ltd
– MT6575 phone shown by Quality Industrial Co Ltd
– $142 Galaxy Nexus clone, runs ICS on MT6575, with 4.65″ LCD
– Hyundai Brilliant H950, 5.2″ MT6575 phone runs Ice Cream Sandwich at the HKTDC Electronics Fair
– $140 5.2″ MT6575 Android phone by Daza Electronics at the HKTDC Electronics Fair
– ICS on 5″ MediaTek MT6575 Dolphin A80 phone [from Yooe] (note that this is represented on both the above diagram and the table)
– Shenzhen Factory Entrance (note that this is also where Yooe is manufacturing, quite likely)
– The Shenzhen Speakers Factory (the same factory was manufacturing speakers during the visit)
Then he returned in the end of May with these video reports:
– Yooe MT6575 phone now selling
– MT6575 Cutepad 5″ phone
He was showing off some of the latest gadgets that he found in Shenzhen in this video as well: Interview with Nicolas Charbonnier at Linaro Connect, Hong Kong [jasonderose YouTube channel, June 4, 2012]
MediaTek provided general MT6575 information
MT6575 [MediaTek product page, March 29, 2012]
Dual-SIM smartphone platform for the mainstream mid and entry level market
MT6575 is MediaTek’s new dual-SIM smartphone platform for the mainstream mid- and entry-level smartphone markets. Enabling browsing, gaming and multimedia features that will delight consumers, support the latest Android releases and the industry’s best dual-SIM performance for voice and data calls, the MT6575 is MediaTek’s most advanced and competitive smartphone platform to date.The MT6575 combines a software and hardware reference design solution to enable dramatically faster time to market at a highly competitive price point. The MT6575 is set to redefine the performance of mainstream smartphones.
- 1GHz ARM CortexTM-A9 CPU allows for outstanding web browsing and application performance
- High-performance 3D gaming and UIfeatures enabled by PowerVRTM SGX Series5 GPU
- High-definition 720p videoplayback and record
- Per-packet Rx antenna diversity
- 8 MP camerawith enhanced image processing capabilities
- Up to high-resolution qHD (960×540) displays
- Supports both portrait and landscape display modes by built-in dedicated HW
- Features stereo 3D video playback and advanced 2D-to-3D image/video conversion
- No lost calls on either SIM – even with active data transmission on either SIM
- Better Power Efficiency – Up to 500 hours of standby and over 8 hours of talk-time on 3G, 45 hours of audio playback and 6 hours of 3D gaming.
MediaTek – MT6575 [a featured product page, July 5, 2012]
Redefining performance of mid/entry smartphones in 2012
MT6575 is MediaTek’s new dual-SIM smartphone platform for the mainstream mid- and entry-level smartphone markets. Enabling browsing, gaming and multimedia features that will delight consumers, support the latest Android releases and the industry’s best dual-SIM performance for voice and data calls, MT6575 is MediaTek’s most advanced and competitive smartphone platform to date.
The MT6575 platform offers a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM-A9 processer for outstanding web browsing and application performance, a proven 3G/HSPA modem and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. Other key features include:
♦ Superior CPU, GPU, and System Performance
– High-performance 3D gaming and UI features enabled by PowerVRTM SGX Series5 GPU
♦ Richest Multimedia Features
– High-definition 720p video playback and record
– 8 MP camera with enhanced image processing capabilities
♦ World-First Integration Of Stereo 3D Display Controller And 3D Video Processing
– Features stereo 3D video playback and advanced 2D-to-3D image/video conversion
♦ Best Display Picture Quality
– Brings the same level of LCD-TV picture quality to mobile devices
♦ Leading Dual-SIM Features and Performance
– No lost calls on either SIM
♦ Lowest BOM costs
– Highly integrated platform includes the world’s smallest 4-in-1 connectivity combo (MT6620) that allows for small size and lower BOM costs
♦ Better Power Efficiency
– Up to 500 hours of standby and over 8 hours of talk-time on 3G
– Up to 45 hours of audio playback and 6 hours of 3D gaming
The MT6575 is currently being incorporated into the latest smartphone offerings by many of MediaTek’s leading customers and the first smartphone models based on this new platform have already hit the market in the first quarter of 2012.
MediaTek – MT6620 [a featured product page, Sept 21, 2011]
Highly Integrated 4-in-1 WLAN/Bluetooth/GPS/FM Combo Solution
MediaTek MT6620 integrates WLAN, Bluetooth, GNSS and FM, to provide the best performance and most convenient single chip. MT6620 implements advanced and sophisticated Radio Coexistence algorithms and hardware mechanisms. MT6620 also supports a single shared antenna (2.4 GHz antenna for Bluetooth and WLAN, 5 GHz for WLAN and 1.575 GHz for GPS).
Enhanced overall quality for simultaneous voice, data and audio/video transmission on mobile phone and tablet PC can be achieved. The small size with low power consumption reduces PCB layout area. The software package “Symphony” comes with many advanced features.
Low power, small size and high performance
WLAN/Bluetooth/GPS/FM solution WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band single stream (20/40MHz) with dual band LNA and 2.4GHz PA integration
Bluetooth 3.0+HS and V4.0 Low Energy support with LNA and PA integration
Support GPS/Galileo/QZSS/SBAS with -165dBm tracking sensitivity FM Tx/Rx with RDS/RBDS support
Support Wi-Fi Direct and WAPI hardware encryption
Support FM over Bluetooth
PLC (Packet Loss Concealment) technology for superior audio quality
Advanced AlwaysLocateTM location awareness technology with ultra low power consumption
Flexible host interfaces support include single SDIO interface for all wireless functions
MediaTek Launches MT6575 Android Platform [MediaTek press release, Feb 13, 2012]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced the availability of the MT6575, its 3rd generation platform for mid and entry‐level Android smartphones. The MT6575 platform offers a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM‐A9 processer, a proven 3G/HSPA modem and runs the latest “Ice‐Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release.
“We expect significant growth in entry and mid‐level smartphones, with wholesale prices under US$190, over the coming years. We forecast that this segment will almost triple in size from 191 million shipments in 2012 to 551 million by 2016. At that time, we also expect approximately 75% of those entry and mid‐level smartphones to ship to emerging markets” said Neil Mawston, Executive Director, Global Wireless Practice, at Strategy Analytics. The MediaTek MT6575 platform is ideally suited to cater to a wide range of smartphone devices that target this growing segment in multiple markets around the world.
“Leveraging the energy‐efficient, high‐performance Cortex‐A9 processor in Android smartphone applications is an extremely compelling proposition and a great proof point for the scalability of the ARM architecture. During 2011 the Cortex‐A9 processor has powered many of the most up‐to‐date and highest performance smartphones. The proliferation of Cortex‐A Series processors into lower cost, mainstream mobile devices will deliver a significant uplift in the user experience,” said Laurence Bryant, Director of Mobile, ARM.
For mid‐range smartphones, the MT6575 platform supports 720p high‐definition video playback and recording with an 8MP camera and qHD (960×540) high‐resolution displays via a PowerVRTM SGX Series5 GPU (graphics processing unit) from Imagination Technologies. In industry‐standard benchmark testing, the MT6575 offered over 35% improvement for browser applications and over 20% improvement in graphics capabilities for gaming when compared to competitors’ best offerings in these segments.
Additionally, the MT6575 platform provides built‐in support for advanced features such as integrated capabilities to drive 3D displays and proprietary algorithms for mobile display picture processing. In sum, the MT6575 provides DTV‐grade picture quality on a smartphone by leveraging MediaTek’s proven technology as a world‐leading DTV platform provider.
The MT6575 platform also supports entry‐level smartphones with smaller display sizes, lower resolution, less memory and reduced multimedia requirements. In addition, the MT6575 boasts the world’s lowest power consumption and most comprehensive integration of hot swap dual‐SIM capability compatible with the Android platform. With the MT6575 dual‐SIM solution, consumers will no longer have to worry about dropped calls while active data transfer is happening on either SIM card, and will experience automatic resumption of data exchange once calls on the other SIM card have ended, in addition, with the hot swap feature enabled, the SIM card can be inserted without switching off the mobile.
The 3G/HSPA modem integrated in the MT6575 platform has been qualified at major 3G operators world‐wide.
The MT6575, delivered in 40nm CMOS technology, builds on the proven track record of the 2nd generation MT6573 platform – i.e., the platform that powers the Lenovo A60, China Unicom’s top selling handset in the sub‐RMB 1000 (approx. $160 USD) smartphone category.
“We are very excited by the prospects of the MT6575 platform. It combines MediaTek’s innovative chipset technology with our proven reference design and complete software solution model. We believe this platform is ideally suited to enable our customers to address mid and entry‐level smartphone cost and performance needs on a global basis – today and tomorrow,” said Ching‐Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek.
The MT6575 is currently being incorporated into the latest smartphone offerings by many of MediaTek’s leading customers and the first smartphone models based on this new platform will hit the market in the first quarter of 2012.
MediaTek’s Full Line of 3G Platforms Aims to Address Mid to Entry-Level Smartphone Market [MediaTek press release, Feb 27, 2012]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions today announced the availability of the MT6515, its next generation TD smartphone solution for China sub-RMB 1000 (approx. $160 USD) smartphone market. The MT6515 TD smartphone platform solution integrates a powerful 1GHz ARM CortexTM-A9 processor, 3D hardware, and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. MediaTek’s latest foray into the 3G smartphone market enables high system performance with low power consumption and high cost-performance ratio that raises the bar for what consumers will come to expect from a TD-SCDMA smartphone experience.
According to a recent report released by the market research firm, Strategy Analytics, in the 3rd quarter of 2011, China overtook the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market. Sub-RMB 1000 smartphones were one the fastest growing segments of this market, due in large part to multiple purchases of these models by China’s three major operators in response to consumer needs. As a result, China has seen a sharp rise in smartphone sales starting in the beginning of 2011. MediaTek, with its years of experience serving the industry, attention to continuous innovation, and recent investments in the arena of 3G technologies, has been perfectly poised to meet the growing needs of this new market. With its cost effective, yet high performance smartphone platforms, MediaTek, along with industry partners (i.e. mobile device manufactures and operators), has emerged as a leader in the recent explosion of popularity of mid and entry-level smartphones.
As a member of China’s TD Industry Alliance (TDiA), MediaTek has invested heavily in the R&D of TD chipsets following the initial release of the TD-SCDMA standard. MediaTek’s signature high integration, yet low power consumption platforms have been introduced into TD operators’ handset customization strategies, and MediaTek currently offers a TD mobile device platform series uniquely customized to meet the needs of the Chinese market. As such, it is little surprise that among the mobile devices included in China Mobile’s multiple terminal procurement lists, one finds a variety of end user products that run on MediaTek-driven TD platforms.
Today, MediaTek announced the availability of the MT6515, its next generation TD smartphone platform for the sub-RMB 1000 smartphone market. The platform offers a powerful 1GHz ARM CortexTM-A9 processor, 3D hardware, and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. Multi-media applications and Internet speed have also been optimized. Additionally, the MT6515 TD-SCDMA offers a complete China Mobile 3G package, thus helping increase the speed in which manufacturers can get their products to end-users.
In the field of WCDMA and 3rd generation wireless standards, MediaTek has continued to build upon its proven track record of offering complete mobile device solutions. Worthy of note is the MT6573, MediaTek’s 3.75G smartphone platform released last year. This platform powered the Lenovo A60, China Unicom’s top selling handset in the sub-RMB 1000 smartphone category, and an important factor in the uptick of popularity in phones within this market segment.
Building on the success of the MT6573, MediaTek has released the MT6575, which is designed to run on the latest Android driven platforms. The MT6575 offers a 1GHz ARM® CortexTM-A9 processor and runs the latest “Ice-Cream Sandwich” Android 4.0 release. The platform supports dual-SIM solutions, and its web performance, power consumption rates, and multimedia features all meet or exceed industry-leading benchmarks, thus guaranteeing that the MT6575 will deliver a significant uplift in the smoothness of user experience. The MT6575 is currently being incorporated into the latest smartphone offerings by many of MediaTek’s leading customers and the first smartphone models based on this new platform will hit the market at the end of this month.
“Using innovative products to help our customers accurately reflect the needs of the market has always been one of MediaTek’s greatest strengths, and we have continued with this tradition of excellence as we expand into the growing smartphone market. MediaTek’s innovative chipset technology, with our proven reference design and complete software solution models, will ensure that our customers find a place in the growing mid and entry-level smartphone market of tomorrow where, along with power and functionality, cost effectiveness has become a must-have feature,” said Ching-Jiang Hsieh, President of MediaTek.
MediaTek Announces World’s Smallest 4-in-1 Combo Chip Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS/FM Solution [press release, July 21, 2011]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced its most advanced wireless combo chip designed to enrich multimedia experience with small footprint and long battery life for smartphones, tablets and portable devices. The MediaTek MT6620 integrates 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0+HS, GPS, and FM transmitter/receiver on a single chip with superior size and power benefits, making it the best solution for smartphones, tablets, and portable devices.
Bringing connectivity features to mainstream products such as smartphones, tablets, portable media players (PMPs), gaming devices, and personal navigation devices (PNDs), the MediaTek MT6620 integrates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM, to provide superior performance and rich features. The MT6620 implements advanced and sophisticated radio coexistence algorithms and hardware mechanisms to enhanced overall quality for simultaneous voice, data, and audio/video transmissions. Its small size significantly reduces PCB layout area and simplifies design efforts. In addition, the MediaTek Symphony™ software package supports all advanced wireless features on the Android operation system. BlueAngel™ Bluetooth software currently can support up to 15 profiles to fulfill most user scenario and bring customer product differentiation.
The MT6620 supports all the leading standards: dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi with WiFi Direct and Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0+HS for simultaneous dual mode Bluetooth BR/EDR/HS and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) operations, GPS with Galileo/SBAS/QZSS and patent pending AlwaysLocate™ technology, FM radio with both transmitter and receiver, making the MT6620 ideal solution for portable devices that require superior performance and long battery life. The MT6620 passes 802.11n WiFi certificate including WPS2.0, WAPI and Bluetooth 4.0+HS on both the controller and MediaTek BlueAngle™ host software.
SR Tsai, General Manager of the Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at MediaTek said, “MediaTek is one of few in the industry to offer 4-in-1 SoC solution for a wide range of mobile applications. As a result of this attention to mobile device manufacturers’ needs, the MT6620 was designed to meet strict requirements, such as low power modes to conserve battery life, a reduced footprint to fit into small, sleek handset designs, and low cost to enable mass market mobile Wi-Fi enabled handsets. We believe that the MT6620 is optimized for mobile devices at the hardware, firmware, and driver levels to speed time to market of innovative designs.”
The MT6620 has entered mass production and is shipping to lead customers in sizable quantities now.
MT6620 Product Highlights:
– Low power, small size and high performance Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS/FM solution
– Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n dual band single stream (20/40MHz) with dual band LNA and 2.4GHz PA integration
– Bluetooth 4.0+HS support with PA integration
– Supports GPS/Galileo/QZSS/SBAS with -165dBm tracking sensitivity
– FM Tx/Rx with RDS/RBDS support
– Supports Wi-Fi Direct and WAPI hardware encryption
– Supports FM over Bluetooth
– PLC (Packet Loss Concealment) technology for superior audio quality
– Advanced AlwaysLocateTM location awareness technology with ultra-low power consumption
– Flexible host interfaces including single SDIO for all wireless functions
Some history leading to MT6575
Stephen Elop’s (Nokia CEO) “Burning Platform” memo leaked by Engadget [Feb 8, 2011]:
In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.
White-box handset makers gearing up smartphone and 3G handset production, MediaTek to benefit [DIGITIMES, Dec 3, 2010]:
White-box handset makers in China are gearing up their production of in-house designed smartphones and 3G handsets, a trend which will benefit Taiwan-based IC design house MediaTek. China’s white-box handset industry in 2010, has begun to place more emphasis on upgrading specifications and added value to enter the high-end segment, and has allocated more resources on development of intellectual property.
Even the China government has voiced its support for the white-box industry. Yang Xueshan, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), recently said that the government will support the white-box business model as long as there is no infringement of IP.
Yang pointed out that from imitation to innovation is a process white-box handset makers have to go through, citing China-based telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies as a success story. Huawei’s foray into the handset sector began with low-cost products and the company now has research and development capability, he said.
Supporting the white-box business model, given that no patents are infringed, is a good way to protect intellectual property rights as well as provide the most cost-effective products to consumers, Yang added.
More information: MediaTek as the catalyst of the white-board ecosystem
section within Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Experiencing the Cloud, Feb 21, 2011]
Look at the MTK History :MTK6575 Heading Toward 1Ghz smartphone for below $200? [Lady Panda, April 14, 2012]
Let’s look at the MTK History:
They first created chipsets for general phone such as MT6225, MT6235 based on their own MTK RTOS. MTK RTOS is known for fast, features rich and very customizable interface with most features support such as Dual SIM Dual Standby, Dual Camera(Front/Rear), ,MicroSD-HC up to 16-32GB, WiFi, Bluetooth (A2DP/Stereo and most other profiles), Very good J2ME support, Analog/digital DVB, FM Radio. A lot of features rich and very affordable handsets become to appear on marketfor prices below $100.
Then they were one of the first to create a dual SIM WCDMA chipset MT6268 which had even better J2ME support and also 3g features such as WCDMA data and 3G Video calls support. A lot of Dual SIM 3G handsets started to appear for about $150. They all were fully unlocked by default and without any contracts. It provided handsets with a lot of features for a very low price.
Then back in 2009 they have decided to enter the smartphones market with the new MT6516 chipset which provided a solution for fully featured yet low price Windows Mobile 6.5 and Android 2.2. handset with a price tag of below $150 while maintaing the popular Dual SIM Dual Standby Quad Band GSM feature, TV, FM, Bluetooth,GPS/AGPS, HQ Youtube playback, Capacitive Multi-touch screen, Dual Camera with flashlight,Android Market, Voice Search. This chipset was not a high performance gaming chipset, But it’s performancewas surprisingly well and exceeded even a lot of high end expensive chipsets.
Then in 2011 they have released the new MT6573 chipset. Now the MT6573 Android 2.3.4 phone cost $150-$210 and they still maintain the Dual SIM Dual Standby with Quad Band GSM and WCDMA/HSPA support. This chipset, Which main ArmV6 core is clocked at 600-650Mhz, integrate the PowerVR Series 5 GPU so it can run fluently games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Asphalt 5 and many more games. Most of them have 5-8MP back camera with HD video shoting and flashlight supported, HD Videos decoding. Still maintain the analog tv, Capacitive Multi-touch screen, FM Radio, 32GB MicroSD Slot,Bluetooth, GPS/AGPS, WiFi, Voice search and a lot of other advanced smartphonefeatures. The performance is very impressive for such a low price.
Turmoil on the H1CY12 market in China:
International and local brands, as well as white-box vendors are repositioning for the most lucrative CNY500 (US$79) to CNY1,000 (US$157) smartphone market of H2CY12 and on
The development of China’s smartphone market has drawn much attention, particularly in 2012, during which the local brands Huawei Device and ZTE will make it to the global top-10 smartphone vendor list. Digitimes Research expects two other brands, Lenovo and China Wireless Technologies (Coolpad), to see their smartphone shipments surpass the 10 million mark in 2012.
In the domestic market, Huawei and ZTE both have been trying to expand their share in the mid-range to high-end segments, resulting in a decline in shipments of low-priced models. While smartphone shipments by Huawei and ZTE will continue increasing in 2012, the two vendors are expected to see the ratios of their shipments to total smartphone shipments in China decline to 12% and 9%, respectively in 2012 from 16% and 11% of a year earlier.
Lenovo, which has been maintaining a close relation with chipset solution vendor MediaTek and has been focusing on the entry-level segment, is expected to ship 12 million smartphones in 2012, Digitimes Research estimates.
Coolpad is migrating to the smartphone sector rapidly and is likely to ship 11.1 million smartphones this year, accounting for 70% of its total handset shipments.
Digitimes Research predicts that shipments of smartphones in China will top 140 million units in 2012, with Samsung and Apple accounting for a combined 40% share. Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad are expected to together take up another 40%, limiting the development potential of other brands.
Taiwan IC designers looking to orders from China-based white-box smartphone vendors [DIGITIMES, June 20, 2012]
Taiwan-based IC design houses have rekindled their hope that they can cooperate once again with China-based white-box handset makers to make a strong presence in China’s smartphone market thanks to the offering of inexpensive chipset solutions from MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor and the rising popularity of smartphone models priced at around CNY1,000 (US$158), according to industry sources.
The availability of the mature and inexpensive chipset solutions and reference designs has lowered the barriers for white-box makers to also jump into the smartphone segment, the sources indicated.
Taiwan-based IC design houses which made a fortune previously by supplying related 2.5G ICs to the white-box manufacturing sector, have begun building up their inventory to meet anticipated demand from China-based white-box makers, noted the sources.
Given that international handset brands have a tendency to cooperate with a limited number of IC vendors, shipments to white-box handset makers in China will serve as a growth driverfor Taiwan-based IC vendors in the second half of 2012, said the sources.
Taiwan-based LCD driver IC vendors Novatek Microelectronics, ILi Techonology (Ilitek), Sitronix Technology, Orise Technology, and controller IC vendors Elan Microelectronics, Egalax-empia Technology (EETI), as well as analog IC makers Richtek Technology, Global Mixed-code Technology and Anpec Electronics will bebenfit from the re-rise of white-box handset makers, commented the sources.
China market: Small-scale makers and retail channels to stage comeback in smartphone segment [DIGITIMES, June 15, 2012]
Small-scale handset makers as well as retail handset channels in China may stage a comeback in the smartphone segment optimizing the availability of low-priced models, according to industry sources.
Under the aggressive marketing strategy and heavy subsidies launched by telecom carriers, sales of smartphones have been strong in the replacement market, said the sources, but added that the top carriers have been dominating the market with their customized models, affecting sales in retail channels, said the sources.
However, the availability of reference designs for the production of smartphones has enabled a large number of small- and medium-size handset makers in China to also jump into the segment, triggering a sharp decline in prices of smartphones, noted the sources.
Prices of unlocked smartphones are expected to drop to below CNY500 (US$79) soon, making it affordable for consumers to pick up smartphones at retail shops without signing subscription contracts with carriers, the sources commented.
China market: Qualcomm pushing sales of 3G solutions to small- to medium-sized handset makers [DIGITIMES, June 12, 2012]
Qualcomm has geared up efforts to push sales of its smartphone solutions to small- to medium-sized handset makers in China, attracting a number of vendors shifting away from the comparable solutions offered by Taiwan-based MediaTek, according to industry sources.
To counter Qualcomm’s strategy, MediaTek has also stepped up sales of its 3G solutions to first-tier handset makers in Chinainstead of its previous focus on small- and medium-sized vendors, the sources indicated.
In addition to Qualcomm and MediaTek, other chipset vendors including ST-Ericsson, Intel, Spreadtrum Communications and MStar Semiconductor, are exerting all-out efforts to grab the handset solution market in China, said the sources, adding that competition between Qualcomm and MediaTek is the fiercest.
But a large number of branded and white-box handset makers in China still prefer Android- and 3.5G-enabled solutions as well as dual-core solutions from MediaTek, since they have established mature business relationships with MediaTek, the sources commented.
Digitimes Research estimates that China handset shipments will grow to 430 million units in 2012, with smartphones likely to take 32% of the market, equivalent to 143 million handsets. Given that China already accounted for 22% of global handset shipments in 2011 and the country’s mobile user base is projected to hit 1.13 billion people in 2012, the potential of the country’s smartphone market is staggering.
The boom in China’s smartphone market that began in 2011 was sparked by the expansion of 3G service coverage and falling budget smartphone prices. Carriers have driven this change in an attempt to bolster flagging ARPUs, which stood at just CNY37 (US$6) per month for 2G users of China Unicom in 2011; the ARPU for the carrier’s 3G subscribers was a much more respectable CNY110, according to an upcoming Digitimes Research Special Report on China’s smartphone market.
Carriers have been able to entice China’s price-conscious consumers to make the 3G switch chiefly by offering extremely cheap smartphones priced at around CNY1,000, a figure which could yet fall as low as CNY599 in 2012. This concentration in the low end of the market is a major contributing factor to the dominance of Android in China.
However, consumers in this sector are not willing to spend heavily on profitable 3G services and ARPU for 3G users is already falling steeply. At the current rate of decline, the 3G ARPU will fall to an estimated CNY82 during 2013. China’s smartphone switchover may therefore not prove to be quite as lucrative as the country’s carriers had hoped.
Android 4.0 in entry-level to mid-range smartphones to rise in 2H12 [DIGITIMES, June 7, 2012]
While Android 2.x versions take up about 90% of Android-based smartphones, Qualcomm and MediaTek have begun to offer Android 4.0 common chip solutionsfor smartphone vendors and therefore version 4.0 is expected to be widely adopted for entry-level to mid-range smartphones in the second half of 2012, according to industry sources.
Because Samsung Electronics, HTC, LG Electronics and other vendors have launched Android 4.0 smartphones, and have offered upgrades for older models in the second quarter of 2012, the penetration rate of Android 4.0 has risen from 2.9% in April to 7.1% currently, the sources indicated.
China market: Entry-level smartphones to feature dual-core CPUs in 2H12 [DIGITIMES, June 5, 2012]
Smartphones featuring dual-core CPUs are expected to begin penetrating into the CNY1,000 (US$157) smartphone segment in China in the second half of 2012 thanks to dual-core reference designs offered by MediaTek and Qualcomm, according to industry sources.
Other chipset solution vendors such as ST-Ericsson are also expected to enter the dual-core segment soon, indicated the sources.
Dual-core smartphones may even become the mainstream white-box models in the second half which will squeeze market share from single-core models, and hence triggering a price war, the sources said.
In addition to pushing the clock speeds of CPUs from 1GHz to 1.2GHz, China-based handset makers will also adopt 4.3-inch displays for mainstream entry-level and mid-range modelsinstead of the prevailing 4-inch screens, added the sources.
Prices of single-core smartphones in China are likely to fall below CNY500 in the second half, which may result in a dumping of entry-level and mid-range smartphones by China-based handset makers in the global market, the source commented.
Qualcomm scores points in promoting QRD in China [DIGITIMES, June 4, 2012]
Qualcomm began to offer Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD), a platform for developing smartphone components including memory, sensors, touch screens, cameras and RD devices as well as application software, for vendors and makers in China two years ago and has made significant achievements in boosting inexpensive smartphones by helping its China-based partners, according to company senior vice president and Greater China president, Wang Xiang.
QRD aims to reduce input of resources in development and time to market for China-based smartphone vendors and makers, Wang said. 28 models of smartphones have been launched by 17 vendors under QRD, and more than 100 models are being developed for launch in 2012, Wang indicated.
Qualcomm has set up four China branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xi’an and two R&D centers in Beijing and Shanghai, according to company senior vice president and QRD director, Jeff Lorbeck.
Qualcomm will focus promotion of QRD in China to reduce component costs in 2012 and plans to help China-based partners tap emerging markets in India, Latin America and Southeast Asia through providing technical support in 2013, Wang said.
Lenovo aims to triple smartphone shipments in 2012 [DIGITIMES, June 4, 2012]
Lenovo plans to launch as many as 40 new models of smartphones in 2012, aiming to ramp up its smartphone shipments to 18 million unitsin the year compared to six million units shipped in 2011, according to the company.
Lenovo aims to roll out a lineup of smartphones with different price tags to meet demand from all segments of customers, the company said. Smartphone models priced below CNY1,000 (US$157) currently account for 30% of smartphones sold in China, models priced at CNY1,000-1,499 take another 30%, and those priced above CNY1,500 make up the remaining 40%, Lenovo indicated.
Lenovo saw its smartphone shipments in China grow 21-fold on year in the first quarter of 2012, enabling the company to take up a 10% share in the quarter compared to just 1% a year earlier. The vendor also captured the fourth-rank position in the smartphone segment in China in Aprilwith a 10.21% share, said China-based Sino Marketing Research.
WCDMA models account for 49% of all smartphones sold by Lenovo currently, followed by CDMA EV-DO models at 26% and TD-SCDMA models at 18%, the company noted.
Lenovo also plans to roll out dual-core models in the second half of 2012, using MediaTek’s MT6577 solutions and Qualcomm’s QRD 8×25 and 8×26 solutions, according to industry sources.
Lenovo’s handset OEM partners, including Foxconn International Holdings (FIH), Compal Communications and Wistron NeWeb, are expected to benefit from increasing shipments by Lenovo, the sources indicated.
China market: China Unicom gearing up for sub-CNY800 WCDMA smartphones [DIGITIMES, June 4, 2012]
China United Network Communications (China Unicom), the only WCDMA mobile telecom carrier in China, will promote sale of WCDMA smartphone models priced at below CNY800 (US$127) to attract 2G subscribers to shift to WCDMAin the China market, according to the company.
Of handsets sold at CNY599 or below in the China market in April 2012, TD-SCDMA models took up 24%, CDMA2000 EV-DO models 15% and WCDMA models 1%, according to China-based Sino Market Research. Of handsets sold at CNY600-799, TD-SCDMA, CDMA2000 EV-DO and WCDMA accounted for 20%, 10% and 6% respectively, Sino indicated.
The demand for smartphones in the China market in 2012 is forecast at 200 million units and 44% of which, that is, 88 million units, will be sold at below CNY800, meaning big opportunities for China Unicom, the company said.
In addition to inexpensive smartphones, China Unicom has cooperated with international vendors including LG Electronics, Nokia, HTC, Motorola Mobility as well as China-based vendors K-Touch and Xiaomi Technology to launch mid- to high-level models in the China market for market segmentation, the company noted.
China Unicom has been upgrading HSPA+ service and has deployed 21Mbps HSPA+ networks in 56 cities in China, the company said. While there have been 245 models of HSPA+-enabled terminal devices around the world, China Unicom plans to launch price-competitive models of such devices, the company indicated.
China market: First-tier local brands shifting focus to CNY1,000-1,500 smartphones [DIGITIMES, June 1, 2012]
First-tier local brand handset vendors in China have begun adjusting their strategy to focus on marketing mid-range smartphoneswith prices ranging CNY1,000-1,500 (US$157-236) instead of the previous focus on sub-CNY1,000 models, according to industry sources.
The launch of sub-CNY1,000 smartphones by the top-3 telecom carriers as well as the roll-out of CNY500 models by second-tier handset makersin China has induced top-tier vendors to shift their focus, said the sources.
The second-tier handset makers have been engaged in cut-throat competitionin order to win open bids released by the top-3 telecom service companies, noted the sources, adding that China Mobile has even launched a sub-CNY200 model.
Top-tier vendors, including Coolpad, ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo, are expected to reduce the number of their the sub-CNY1,000 smartphones and will be more active to participate in bidding for CNY1,000-1,500 models, said the sources.
The move by China-based top smartphone brands to the mid-range segment will see them take on some international players including Samsung Electronics, HTC, Nokia, Motorola Mobility which have ventured into the CNY1,000-2,000 segment, the sources commented.
Rumor: China’s Smartphone Prices to Drop to RMB 600 [Marbridge Daily]
Southern Daily, 5/31/12
Industry sources claim that China’s smartphone prices could drop to RMB 600 in H2 2012 due to increasing availability of low-priced smartphone chips. Smartphones featuring Taiwanese fabless semiconductor company MediaTek’s (MTK) MT6573 processor are available on B2C e-commerce sites such as Taobao and Paipai for RMB 800 and below. MediaTek’s MT6575 chipset, released in March, has already appeared in handsets from domestic handset vendors such as Lenovo (0992.HK), Gionee, ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ), and Yulong (Coolpad), as well as foreign brands such as Motorola. The MT6575 is currently available for between RMB 1,000 to RMB 1,500. Taiwanese chipmaker MStar Semiconductor plans to release its first dual-core chipset solution for RMB 1,000 smartphones next week.
According to a source within Lenovo Mobile, ST-Ericsson released its U8500 dual-core chipset platform in Q1 2012, and handset models using the platform are available from overseas brands at prices no higher than RMB 2,000. Domestic brand handset models featuring the chipset are expected to reach the market in Q2 and Q3 priced at approximately RMB 1,500. Chinese internet company Shanda Interactive will soon release its own branded smartphone using the U8500 priced at RMB 1,199. In addition, Qualcomm will launch its MSM7x27A and MSM7x25A low-priced chipset platforms this year, which will feature in a number of RMB 1,000 smartphones from domestic handset manufacturers.
China-based smartphone vendors to compete with big players with ultra-thin models [DIGITIMES, May 29, 2012]
China-based handset vendors have ventured into the production of ultra-thin smartphones, enhancing their strength to compete with international brands in the global market, according to industry sources.
China-based vendor Oppohas highlighted this manufacturing trend in China by releasing the Finder recently. The Android 4.0-based Finder has a thickness of only 6.65mm.
The Finder also features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB ROM, a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera, for a suggested retail price of about CNY3,500 (US$555)in China.
Oppo, one of the top-10 local brandsin China, focuses on the production of smartphones priced above CNY2,000 instead of the prevailing sub-CNY1,000 models, the sources noted.
Thickness of ultra-thin models by brands
Ascend P1 S
HTC One S
Galaxy S III
ST-Ericsson seeking cooperation with China-based low-cost smartphone vendors, says paper [DIGITIMES, May 28, 2012]
ST-Ericsson has won adoption of its U8500 chip solution by China-based Shanda which will launch a smartphone for sale at about CNY1,000 (US$158) in the China market on June 6, according to China-based 21st Century Business Herald.
ST-Ericsson is seeking adoption of its chip solutions by more China-based vendors looking to launch smartphones priced at CNY1,000-2,000, the paper indicated. Smartphones for sale at CNY1,000-2,000 accounted for about 50% of all smartphones sold in the China market in 2010 and 2011, with ZTE, Huawei, and Coolpad the leading vendors, the paper said.
China market: 4 local vendors amid top-5 in 3G smartphone market in April [DIGITIMES, May 25, 2012]
In the China market, Samsung Electronics recorded the largest market share of 22.75% for 3G smartphones in April 2012, followed by four China-based vendors — Coolpad with 11.17%, Huawei with 10.92%, Lenovo with 10.21% and ZTE with 9.28%, China Economic Netcited China-based Sino Market Research as indicating.
Other international vendors’ market shares were 8.52% for Apple, 4.14% for Motorola Mobility, 3.95% for Nokia and 2.82% for HTC, the report indicated.
The increased market occupation by China-based vendors was mainly due to selling of their entry- to mid-level 3G smartphone models through contract-bundled sales by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, the report said.
MediaTek lands 2.5G handset solution orders from Nokia, say sources [DIGITIMES, May 21, 2012]
MediaTek reportedly has landed orders for 2.5G handset solutions from Nokia with shipments to begin in the third quarter of 2012, according to industry sources. MediaTek declined to comment.
Given that global demand for 2.5G handset solutions still reaches one billion units a year, there is room for MediaTek to further expand sales in the segment although the company’s sales of 2.5G solutions have been turning weak recently, indicated the sources. MediaTek shipped 550 million 2.5G solutions in 2011.
With a revised goal of shipping 75 million 3G solutions in 2012, mostly to first-tier handset makers in China, MediaTek is expected to post strong revenue growth in the second half of the year, the sources noted.
Qualcomm has seen supply of its Snapdragon S4 processors fall short of increasing demand and the situation has pushed international smartphone vendors, including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC and Sony Mobile Communications, to consider other suppliers, according to Taiwan-based handset supply chain makers.
The short supply of Snapdragon S4 is because Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s 28nm foundry capacity is not sufficient and/or the yield rate of the process is not high enough, the sources pointed out.
MediaTek looks to ship 75 million 3G solutions in 2012 [DIGITIMES, May 9, 2012]
MediaTek is expected to ship 75 million 3G handset solutions in 2012, a 50% increase from 50 million units it projected earlier, according to industry sources.
Insufficient capacity of the 28nm process at Qualcomm has forced China-based Huawei Device and ZTE, in addition to existing client Lenovo, to source 3G solutions from MediaTek, contributing to a sharp increase in orders for the IC design house, indicated the sources.
Huawei’s and ZTE’s 3G smartphones built based on MediaTek’s MT6575 solutions are expected to hit the market at the end of the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2012, said the sources, adding that the new M6575 models from Huawei and ZTE will directly take on Lenovo’s comparable model, the A750, in the China market.
Meanwhile, MediaTek has reported consolidated revenues of NT$7.942 billion (US$269 million) for April, decreasing 3.48% on month but increasing 4.19% on year. For the January-April period of 2012, consolidated revenues amounted to NT$27.557 billion, up 0.25% on year, said MediaTek.
China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]
China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.
Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendorsto account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.
In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.
China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium– and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.
China market: Motorola moving into CNY1,000 smartphone segment, says paper [DIGITIMES, April 13, 2012]
Motorola Mobility has ventured into the CNY1,000 (US$159) smartphone segment in China with the launch of its XT390 smartphone in cooperation with China Unicom, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Timesreport.
The XT390 is also the first Android-enabled smartphone rolled out by Motorola using MediaTek’s 6575 chipset solution, indicated the paper.
Motorola has outsourced the production of the XT390 to Arima Communications and may place orders for up to one million smartphones with the Taiwan-based handset ODM in the second quarter of 2012, said the paper.
China market: Top-4 local vendors to keep entry-level smartphone prices around CNY1,000 in 2012 [DIGITIMES, March 30, 2012]
The top-4 China-based branded handset vendors – Huawei Device, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad – will continue to develop the CYN1,000 (US$159) smartphone segment in China in 2012 and will prevent their channel operators from engaging in price-cutting competition with white-box vendors, according to industry sources.
More newcomers have entered the smartphone sector in China, propelled by the launch of related reference designs for smartphones by MediaTek, MStar Semiconductor, Qualcomm and Spreadtrum Communications, raising the possibility that prices of the entry-level smartphones may drill downward to a range of CNY400-700 compared to the prevailing prices of around CNY1,000, the sources noted.
Despite increasing pricing competition from white-box handset makers as well as international brands including Nokia and Samsung Electronics, the top-4 local brand vendors are unlikely to lower their prices further until makers in the handset component supply chain are able to reduce their quotes substantially, said the sources.
To maintain competitiveness and brand images, the top-4 vendors are expected to roll out models with higher hardware specifications for the CNY1,000 segment, the sources commented.
Shipments of smartphones in China are expected to grow 40-60% on year in 2012, the sources estimated.
China-based white-box handset players may face bankruptcy [DIGITIMES, March 29, 2012]
China-based white-box handset players are suffering as larger local players ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei are aggressively entering the CNY1,000 (US$159) smartphone segment, while first-tier smartphone brands such as Samsung Electronics and Nokia are also reducing their prices. White-box players are expected to see a 30% drop in their overall sales in 2012 with several hundred expected to go bankrupt, reshuffling China’s handset industry, according to sources from smartphone players.
As consumers in China have increasing demand for Internet connectivity, while their recognition of brand names is also rising, the white-box handset market in China, which is mainly focused on low price and design flexibility, is shrinking rapidly.
Since China-based telecom carriers are aggressively providing subsidies to ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo to allow these players to lower their smartphone prices, while white-box players are losing their advantages in price as they are unable to acquire cheap components due to their shipment scale, it has helped larger smartphone players to narrow the price gap with white-box handsets.
With more brand vendors pushing into the mid-range and entry-level smartphone market, the average price of entry-level smartphones is expected to reach CNY700 (US$100), a level almost the same as cost. In addition, white-box players’ advantages in design flexibility is also no longer attracting consumers as the size of the touch screen has already become the major criteria for consumers.
China market: Chip vendor competition heating up for 1GHz processors used in inexpensive smartphones [DIGITIMES, Jan 17, 2012]
As China Mobile, China Telecom and China United Network Communications will procure large volumes of inexpensive smartphones equipped with 1GHz processors, there is increasing competition among handset chip vendors Qualcomm, Taiwan-based MedaTek, Broadcom and China-based Spreadtrum Communications, according to Taiwan-based handset makers.
While the four vendors and others have offered 1GHz chip solutions supporting 3.5G, Android, multimedia and dual-mode functions, the Qualcomm-developed MSM7227A [Cortex-A5 based @ upto 1GHz]solution has gained the upper hand, followed by MediaTek-developed MT6575, the sources indicated. In contrast, Spreadtrum and Broadcom are competing for orders by virtue of differentiation in function, with the former focusing on TD-SCDMA, a China-developed 3G standard, solutions and the latter’s solutions featuring integration of NFC (near field communication), Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n and GNSS (global navigation satellite system) functions, the sources pointed out.
In the China market, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Motorola Mobility, Sony, HTC as well as China-based vendors Huawei Device, ZTE, Lenovo, TCL, Haier and Hisense will launch inexpensive entry-level smartphones equipped with 1GHz processor in 2012, the sources noted. China-based vendors are expected to release ODM or EMS orders to Taiwan-based makers, the sources indicated.
– Microsoft Surface: its premium quality/price vs. even iPad3 [Oct 26, 2012]
– Microsoft Surface: First media reflections after the New-York press launch [Oct 26, 2012]
Updates #2: As the result of this sudden turn of direction 9 months ago, the previously closely cooperating with Microsoft OEMs are now (March’13) working with the company in the most cautious way:
Brand vendors cautious about Microsoft when it comes to hardware design [DIGITIMES, March 25, 2013]
Notebook brand vendors have turned cautious about revealing their new products’ industrial designs for next-generation Windows as they are concerned that Microsoft may use their designs for the benefit of its new Surface products, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
The sources noted that the brand vendors have already lost their trust in Microsoft and the software giant’s strategy of pushing Surface tablets is starting to impact itself.
Although Microsoft only had sales of about 1.5 million Surface tablets so far, the company continues to expand into the retail channel with its branded products and has even established an online store for ordering the devices.
To avoid from design leakage, many brand vendors have hidden their important designs and will only showcase the prototype of the new mobile devices during Computex 2013 to minimize the risk.
China market: Microsoft to launch Surface Pro, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, March 29, 2013]
Microsoft, following the launch of the10.6-inch Surface RT in the China market, will launch the 10.6-inch Windows 8 Surface Pro there on April 2 at a retail price of CNY6,500 (US$1,045) for the 64GB version and CNY7,300 for 128GB, according to sources with Taiwan’s supply chain.
Surface RT is priced at CNY3,688-4,488 plus CNY800 for a touch cover, the source indicated.
According to previous estimation by market observers, Surface RT and Surface Pro shipments to the global market would have reached one million units and 500,000 units respectively so far since their launch, but the actual volume for the two models so far is estimated at about one million units in total, the sources said.
Viewing that Microsoft has not placed additional orders for Surface RT, an estimated one million units of Surface RT remain in the inventory, the sources indicated.
Microsoft has talked with partners about developing second-generation Surface models, but those partners have generally been conservative, the sources noted, adding that Microsoft is inviting notebook and chip vendors to co-develop tablets based on Windows-ARM platform but those vendors have been reluctant.
Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2012 [Microsoft Corporation, July 19, 2012]
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS [p. 14]… our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform. …
Microsoft’s radical new business plan is hidden in plain sight [Ed Bott on ZDNet, July 30, 2012]
Microsoft is reimagining its entire business model, and they’ve laid out the details for anyone to inspect. You just have to read between the boilerplate sections in the company’s most recent 10-K.
In the Sinofsky regime, Microsoft isn’t interested in hobbies or side projects. The company’s motto is “Go big or go home.” Earn a billion dollars. Get a billion users. Don’t think small.
I expect a massive marketing push behind Surface, and I would be shocked if we don’t see more PC hardware from Microsoft in the next 12 months.
Deal with it, OEMs.
Microsoft plans to pick up the pace. Dramatically.
Microsoft has a reputation for being too slow to respond. This year’s 10-K contains a new section that suggests that’s all about to change:
Many of the areas in which we compete evolve rapidly with changing and disruptive technologies, shifting user needs, and frequent introductions of new products and services. Our ability to remain competitive depends on our success in making innovative products that appeal to businesses and consumers. [emphasis added]
Microsoft unveils Windows 8 OEM licensing charges [DIGITIMES, July 11, 2012]
Microsoft has released licensing rates for OEM Windows 8, including US$60-80 for Windows 8, US$80-100 for Windows 8 Pro (with Office) and US$50-65 for Windows RT (with Office), according to Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.
Microsoft also confirmed the launch schedule of Windows 8 at the end of October with the RTM version of Windows 8 to be released in the first week of August for testing.
Sources from notebook players pointed out that the supply chain is placing high hopes on Windows 8 and expect the operating system to help resurrect consumer demand for traditional notebooks; however, due to remaining uncertainties, most players are still taking a conservative attitude about the launch.
Sources also noted that Windows 8 is unlikely to help significantly boost PC demand before 2013 since the new operating system will increase hardware costs due to some components needing to feature additional functions such as touchscreens to allow the operating system to perform fully, while the addition of the operating system’s licensing costs, the increasing expenses are expected to boost Windows 8-based products’ end prices to a rather unfriendly level.
However, as the notebook supply chain will gradually shift their production to touchscreen models with costs to start to see drops, the sources expect demand for Windows 8-based products will see an obvious increase starting mid-second quarter 2013.
Steve Ballmer: …
… there’s over 1.3 billion Windows systems on the planet. We’ve sold over 630 million Windows 7 licenses. … In the next 12 months, most forecasts would be for 375 million — 375 million new Windows PCs to be sold. That’s bigger than any phone or any other single device ecosystem. It is a stunning number. And all of those represent new opportunities as they move to Windows 8. …
But Surface is just a design point. It will have a distinct place in what’s a broad Windows ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish. We have a mutual goal with our OEM partners to bring a diversity of solutions, Windows PCs, phones, tablets, servers, to market. And what we seek to have is a spectrum of stunning devices, stunning Windows devices. So, every consumer, every business customer can say, “I have the perfect PC for me.”
And we’re excited about the work from our OEMs. We may sell a few million, I don’t know how many, of the 375 million, but we need partners to have that diversity of devices. We’re excited about the work our OEM partners are doing on Windows 8, and we’d really like to show more of that today to you and everybody collected here, Rich. …
Tami Reller, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Windows and Windows Live Division: …
Today, as we sit here, more than 50 percent of enterprise desktops are running Windows 7. …
Windows 8 is on track to RTM, or release to manufacturing, the first week of August. (Applause.) And Windows 8 will reach general availability at the end of October. (Applause.)
General availability means that new Windows 8 PCs will be available to buy and upgrades will also be available starting late October. …
Microsoft OEM head change related to Surface, say Taiwan makers [DIGITIMES, July 4, 2012]
Microsoft has announced the replacement of Steven Guggenheimer with Nick Parker, originally vice president of OEM Sales and Marketing, for the position of corporate vice president for OEM Division. The personnel shuffle is related to Microsoft’s plans to launch Surface tablet PCs, representing Microsoft’s long-term business model of stepping into hardware, Taiwan-based supply chain makers have guessed.
The personnel change has caused worries among Taiwan-based PC vendors and ODMs, because it signals that Microsoft’s launch of Surface is not a short-term promotion for Windows 8 but marks a new “software + hardware” business model which is expected to bring troubles for hardware partners, the sources analyzed.
As Microsoft will step into the hardware business, it is naturally no longer concerned about the long-term close relations established by Guggenheimer with hardware partners and therefore has decided to change his position, the sources claimed.
Microsoft Surface chassis suffers low yields [DIGITIMES, July 9, 2012]
Microsoft reportedly planned to adopt unibody magnesium-aluminum chassis for its Surface tablet PCs originally, but affected by chassis makers’ limited capacity, the company has instead turned to adopt a magnesium chassis and use MegVapor technology for surface treatment to allow the device to feature a similar exterior to traditional metal chassis; however, due to the method having a rather low yield rate, is has greatly affected Microsoft in trying to mass produce its new tablet PCs, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.
Microsoft has not confirmed the rumors.
The sources pointed out that before Microsoft launched Surface, the company has inquired at several metal chassis makers about their available capacity and revealed to these makers that its orders for Surface tablet PCs will go as high as five million units before the end of 2012; however, the chassis makers were forced to give up because of lack of capacity.
Although Microsoft’s current chassis design for Surface allows the device to feature a similar exterior and sturdiness as traditional magnesium-aluminum, while having several color choices, the drawback of the design is that the device will be heavier.
The sources also pointed out that the chassis is supplied by a China-based supplier, but since the company is a second-tier maker, its low yield rates are causing Microsoft to pay a lot of attention to the supplier’s manufacturing process hoping for improvements.
Samsung Said To Plan Windows RT Tablet For October Debut [Bloomberg, July 7, 2012]
… The decision to support Windows RT follows Samsung’s earlier announcement that it will back another version of Windows. … Samsung’s Windows RT tablet will feature Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)’s Snapdragon processor …
Apple led the tablet market at the end of the first quarter, with 11.8 million units shipped, or a 58 percent share, according researcher IHS ISuppli Inc. Samsung was second, with 11 percent, followed by Amazon.com Inc., which had 5.8 percent. …
HP, Dell to launch 10.1-inch Windows RT tablet PCs in 4Q12 [DIGITIMES, July 6, 2012]
Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell will launch 10.1-inch Windows RT tablet PCs equipped with processors developed by Texas Instruments and Qualcomm respectively in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to supply chain makers.
In addition to the two US-based brand vendors, Lenovo, Toshiba and Asustek Computer are all preparing to release Windows RT-based tablet PCs.
Meanwhile, although Acer is preparing to release Windows 8-based tablet PCs, the company currently has no plans to launch Windows RT-based models in 2012, while Sony and Samsung Electronics are turning conservative about developing Windows RT-based tablet PCs, according to the two firms’ current component supply status.
The sources pointed out that both Windows 8- and Windows RT-based tablet PCs are expected to be priced starting from US$599 and could go as high as US$1,000, while the machines’ major competition will be Apple; however, the sources hope the tablet PC competition will no longer revolve around price and instead attract demand from enterprise users and consumers that are used to the Windows operating system and its strong software compatibility.
End of updates
Surface by Microsoft [surface YouTube channel, June 19, 2012]
Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows [Microsoft press release, June 18, 2012]
Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. From the fast and fluid interface, to the ease of connecting you to the people, information and apps that users care about most, Surface will be a premium way to experience all that Windows has to offer. Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.
Contributing to an Expanded Ecosystem
One of the strengths of Windows is its extensive ecosystem of software and hardware partners, delivering selection and choice that makes a customer’s Windows experience uniquely their own. This continues with Surface. Microsoft is delivering a unique contribution to an already strong and growing ecosystemof functional and stylish devices delivered by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to bring the experience of Windows to consumers and businesses around the globe.
Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.
Microsoft’s unique contribution to an already strong and growing ecosystem is well demonstrated by the following images provided by Microsoft (the accompanying text was also provided by Microsoft):
Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface is designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation, without compromise.
Surface features a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption.
The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, the Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors.
Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows [Microsoft press release, June 18, 2012] (data higlights are mine to denote the essential differences)
Surface for Windows RT Surface for Windows 8 Pro OS: Windows RT Windows 8 Pro Light(1): 676 g 903 g Thin(2): 9.3 mm 13.5 mm Clear: 10.6” ClearType HD Display 10.6” ClearType Full HD Display Energized: 31.5 W-h 42 W-h Connected: microSD,USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae microSDXC,USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae Productive: Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block Practical: VaporMg Case & Stand VaporMg Case & Stand Configurable: 32 GB, 64 GB 64 GB, 128 GB
(1), (2). Actual size and weight of the device may vary due to configuration and manufacturing process.
The product introduction/overview part of the event keynote:
[President, Windows and Windows Live Division]
Today when you have your tablet, you want to be entertained, you have to hold it. You’re always sitting in an awkward position or perhaps you have to choose from a seemingly endless variety of add on stands and cases that solve a relatively simple problem but by adding weight, adding fitness.
What if I just want to watch movie or listen to music and do something else. We think that this should be an integral part of the design. We think that a stand should be integral. So we built a stand into the device.
This stand is made of the same VaporMg as the rest of the case. And it’s completely integrated into the device. The hinge design is like that of the finest luxury car and when not in use it just fades away. No extra weight, no extra thickness, no separate add on. It’s integrated just like the software and the hardware integrated into Surface.
And then once you have this kickstand you can sit back and enjoy a truly hands free experience. You could go and just put the Surface on a table, lay back and watch a movie. And that’s really what entertainment should be about with the Surface. But you know Surface is designed to be mobile. We designed Surface to be rugged and move around but with VaporMg and Corning Gorilla Glass 2.0 you do not need to worry at all, but we know many people preferred to have some sort of cover. A cover that helps to just act like an easy on/off switch at least.
So Surface has a cover. We designed the cover to be an integral element of the PC. We built a magnetic connector into the device to hold it very securely.
So let me attach the cover, click — you heard that it’s solid — click, close the cover it’s integrated into the device. It’s made from a fine northwest pola? tech. Feels great in your hand like a book, it just fits there. And when we looked at the whole Surface on the cover, we challenged ourselves to do more. This cover is just 3 mm. Combined with Surface they are just over 12 millimeters that’s less than 0.5 inch. And we said why not do something with this Surface. Why shouldn’t we just take this Surface and make it a full multi touch keyboard.
This Touch Cover is not just a full multi touch keyboard, but it’s a modern track pad with left and right buttons. It even has the keys for the Windows 8 Metro Style UI. This keyboard combined with the kickstand form the hallmark of just hands on creativity. On average typing is twice as efficient as typing on glass. And it’s certainly more comfortable. Now of course the innovative on screen keyboard in Windows is still there and you can mix and match. The choice is really going to be yours. Just put them on the table and you’ve got a great stand.
Let me go over here and show you a different Surface. This Surface is connected to external HDMI. That’s built into the device. I’m going to go here and now I’ve got the Touch Cover connected. Now with front and rear facing cameras on this device, I can record videos. I’m going to start the camera application. So now I can go here and I could tilt this around and angle it, so I could see it. This camera is angled at 22 degrees, but angling at 22 degrees everybody at the table their head is perfectly framed into the picture or when I’m sitting at the seat, I can do a Skype call and I am perfectly framed. But this device also has Windows on it or Office on it. So I go into the desktop and I see here is Word running.
Now what is really neat, as I could also have using the multitasking capabilities I could dark the camera out there and now I can record a video or a interview and take notes, I could record my self and read from my notes. And that integration is really cool, in fact I could even use the USB port and plug in an external speaker and microphone even though it has dual array mics and dual speakers built in, and I could get super high quality recording. And so that’s a quick look at Surface.
Now there is so much more to show you today. Now imagine if you will that we took all of those capabilities of Surface and we build them so that you could use all the applications that you’re familiar with. You could use Photoshop or you could use other applications. Those applications would be built using the latest of the Intel Core Processor. Now that in addition to the Surface that we’re releasing today for Windows RT, we also have a Surface that’s designed with these latest Intel processors. So, in addition to working on the NVIDIA ARM processor we’re also working with on a Surface for Windows 8 Professional. I would like to introduce Mike Angiulo now, who’s going to come up on stage and show us a little bit of the next generation of Surface.
[corporate vice president of Windows Planning, Hardware and PC Ecosystem]
Thank you very much Steven. I’m proud to introduce you to another member of the Surface family. This is Surface for Windows 8 Pro. The Windows ecosystem has always been about choice. And for the millions of professional desktop users out there, people who use their PC everyday to design and to create things, this is a great choice for you. It shares the same design principles that Steven was talking about. It’s a stage for Windows. It shows the same pride in craftsmanship. It’s less than 2 pounds and less than 14 millimeters, it’s a full PC.
Now this also has a ClearType display. Steven’s PC had a ClearType HD. This is a ClearType full HD display, and what that means is three things. It’s a combination of a very specific pixel geometry, rendering and an optical bonding process that together create the effect that your eye can’t distinguish between the individual pixels at normal viewing distances, in this case 17 inches, less than ARMs length.
This ClearType display also reduces Z-height [alternate term for X-height] and conserves battery power. It has some of the other high performance features you saw too. It’s got that 2×2 antenna technology. This is the first in tablets. It has dual high performance antennas and receivers so that you get the best Wi-Fi performance possible no matter how you hold it. It also has a chassis that’s build out of that same durable and elegant VaporMg that enables features like the 0.7 millimeter thin kick stand less than a millimeter. It’s got the same compatible accessory spine that Steven had, so if you take a Touch Cover like he had, it just clicks in, it clicks in the same. It has that same design and feeling because the entire Surface family of products was designed together. Even close like this, this is still less than 17 millimeters, this PC has specs that rival those of the finest Ultrabooks that have ever been announced. And it delivers the power and the flexibility that you would expect of a high end PC. This PC is powered by Intel’s third generation Core i5 processor, the Ivy Bridge processor.
This is their 22 nanometer process that results in a CPU that’s faster, a GPU that has double the 3D graphics throughput, all while using less power than today’s Core i5s. With that power comes a unique design challenge, how do you design a PC that you might be holding in any different way or have a cover in the front and the back to integrate active cooling. There is no obvious place to put a vent, so here is our solution. This is called perimeter venting. You see this groove that goes all the way around the outside of the case. There is a good shot of it up on the screen. This allows air to be uniformly distributed across the entire PC when necessary in a way, that you never block it with your hands. In fact you never even feel it, which makes the PC really comfortable to hold which is really helpful in doing things like flipping back your keyboard and taking notes with digital ink.
Surface for Windows 8 Pro supports digital inking. Windows apps of all kinds can support inking. So here what I’ve done is, I can go back for the desktop and show you what I launched. I launched the Windows Reader and this is a PDF file of one of Steven’s blog posts. So you could see I can pan and zoom. What I can really do here is I can come and I could do ink. I’m going to come and say this is great.
Now what you’ll notice when I ink and I zoom in, as I zoom in that ink stay smooth. That’s because it’s being sampled at 600 GPI, that sub-pixel accuracy for ink. What that does is that keeps your hand writing very smooth and hopefully yours is a little better than mine.
One of the neat things about this too is, as I’m inking from here I can see the tip of the pen almost feels like it’s writing exactly on the screen. Since this screen is optically bonded, we eliminated the layers in between the thin covered glass in the screen. So it feels like you’re inking write on the page. The distance between the stylus and where I see the ink is only 0.7 millimeters. That’s the thinnest and closest distance of any tablet PC, any inking tablet ever.
Now one of the other things that’s going on here is as I am moving my hand, you see the page is not moving underneath my hand. That’s because Windows has palm block technology. This Surface has two digitizers. It has one for touch and a separate one for digital ink.
And what happens is as when I bring the pen close to the screen, Windows sees the proximity of the pen, and stops taking touch input. So my hand doesn’t mess up what I’m waiting. And when I’m done with the pen, you can see the little magnetic charging connector there. It just clicks in. So that’s one of the cool things on Surface for Windows 8 Pro and inking.
The apps that I’d be showing you, they look really great in the native resolution of the screen, the 1080 resolution. But if you want to unlock the highest possible resolutions that Ivy Bridge supports. Even higher resolutions that are possible on via HDMI out. We have DisplayPort. So now with DisplayPort, I can take this PC. I can docket and I basically have a full professional workstation with the power of a desktop PC.
I have one here that’s plugged in and synced up to the show monitor and this kind of a PC is powerful enough to run big applications. Applications like Photoshop, Autodesks, Solidworks, enterprise applications that require a TPM [Trusted Platform Module] chip. In this case, I’m going to copy some higher res photos on to the PC and edit them in Adobe’s Lightroom. So on copying on to the desktop and what you’ll see here, this is the five-second copy. That’s a whole gigabyte. That’s a whole gigabyte of pictures. They just copied in five seconds.
Surface has support for really fast USB 3.0 and the new USB SuperSpeed drives, a gigabyte file copy in five seconds is five times faster than USB 2.0, which makes sense with this PC because they will be using it to do big jobs whether you’re editing big photos like this, and – or you’re dealing with big video files or you’re doing in Steven’s case a big job might be typing a super-long blog-post that you may have read. Surface is up for the tasks.
Now let’s say you are in fact doing one of those big typing jobs. You’ve seen already, Steven talked a little bit about Touch Cover and the improvements it makes for typing. Let’s say you’re really fast touch typist or maybe you just prefer the feel of tactile keys.
Well, we’ve got another Surface choice for you. This is Surface Type Cover. It shares the same full-pitch layout as Touch Cover. But what we’ve done is we’ve taken a key switch that has a 1.5-millimeter travel and we built it into the thinnest possible package. So you can touch type – I can touch type on this as fast as I can touch type on any keyboard. Fully compatible with Windows; you see the shortcut keys here. It has a full modern trackpad with clicking buttons and this completes the Surface family of products. I’d like to pull all the Surface family together, all at one point.
Panos, would you join us with the colors of Touch Cover Surface for Windows RT, Surface for Windows 8 Pro and a handful of the Touch Cover colors that we’re going to have it launched. That’s the complete Surface family.
Thanks Steven. Now that’s how we feel to in Panos especially, Panos Panay is the leader of the team that created Surface and has some great stories in some more detail about the product and how it came to be. It’s all yours.
[General Manager, Microsoft Surface] Thank you.
Super cool – super cool. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I’m unbelievably humbled right now and flattered to be up here. But truthfully I’m recognizing an entire team that’s back in Redmond right now waiting to see your blog posts, to see what you have to say. We have a team full of designers, development engineers, manufacturing engineers, hardware testers, all working on these products right now as we speak.
Before I get into what I’m going to talk about today, I’m just going to show you a little [bit more about the design,] …
Microsoft Announces Surface: New Family of PCs for Windows [Microsoft press release, June 18, 2012]: the 1st image was provided ny Microsoft, the next two are from the Microsoft provided video record
Advances in Industrial Design
Conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees, and building on the company’s 30-year history manufacturing hardware, Surface represents a unique vision for the seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. Extensive investment in industrial design and real user experience includes the following highlights:
- Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.
- VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.
- Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.
- Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.
The product design part of the event keynote:
[General Manager, Microsoft Surface]
… [I’m just going to] show you a little bit more about the design, show you a little bit more about the culture of how these products were build. So I think it might be interesting for you to hear that. I really want to share with you more of our team. So just watch this video really quick and I’ll be right back.
You’re going to get to meet a lot of the people you just saw on the video in just a few minutes. They’re actually backstage right now, preparing to show you more details of the product and give you a few minutes to put your hands on it, talk a little bit about the design.
Let me start by doing that to just give you a quick preview of what you might see backstage in just a few minutes. You’ve heard Steven and Mike both said this was build as the stage for Windows 8. That was part of our core vision for the product. It is very important for us that we had the hardware fade to the background for this product. It was important, so the Windows software could rise to the Surface. It gives you the best experience possible. When the hardware fades away and what comes to the Surface is that entertainment PC one when you’re using the device. Note the chamfered angles on the side of this product either chamfered at 22 degrees. That’s two things. One, it’s a physical manifestation of the actual stage itself. You can see as it falls away, just as we intended for the hardware to do. But two, it actually sits perfectly comfortable in your hands.
And let me call it by something. I’d say perfectly a lot. I’d say perfect a lot. As part of our team culture, what was really important for us as we had so many parts of the design that had to be in detail and be simple and be right that we always tried for perfection on every sub-component of this product, it includes this chamfered angle.
What it does is, it sits in your hand very comfortably, in a way that when you hold it, it feels like, it’s feels airy. Most importantly, you can use it all day in comfort. It’s really important when you talk about the hardware fading to the background that the hardware is not in your way to accomplish what you want to do. It’s meant to move you forward, which you think this product does.
Now when we talk about hardware fading to that back, another thing that’s super important is a seamless lines throughout the product. When you look at this product, you’ll see lines going throughout it, every line calculated, every line built, formed perfectly on the device.
But there is one challenge. Our vision for the product beyond being a stage for Windows was also that we had to bring creativity and productivity to folks such as yourselves.
The opportunity to transform this device well, to transition it to the state of getting things done. Putting this kickstand in the product, flies right in the face seamless lines and getting it perfect. But we really spent a lot of time here. We knew that if we do not get the kickstand perfect, this device would not work. We could not take any chances. Take a look at the three hinges that you see within this device. This is a really simple example of the details of the product. These are three custom-made hinges, mind you there are over 200 custom parts built from the inside out of this product to make it come to life.
But these hinges, they respect just as Steven told you. They respect to feel and sound like a high-end car door. When you close the device, the kickstand just goes away. It’s not in your way. When you needed the device, it’s there, just in time. You want to get something done, just open it and it feels great.
The spec we created was around sound. We iterated over and over again in our anechoic chamber. This is a critical point. We’ve really wanted to get the sound rights. So you get that – this full feeling, that emotional attachment to your product when you open this kickstand and close it. It makes it yours, it goes away when you don’t need it and it’s there when you do.
Now, we talked about VaporMg a few times. Now let me bring VaporMg to life just a little bit here. So you can understand a little bit more about what we did. VaporMg essentially becomes what lets us, get our product design and create life out of it. You can see the break up behind me, let me just explain a few things that we have going on.
I’m holding up my room key, it feels weird to hold at my room key. But if you look at this quickly, what you’ll see is 0.77 millimeters of thickness. This is an important point. If you can’t see it, that’s all right, same as a credit card, pull it out, your credit cards likely somewhere between 0.75 or 0.85 millimeters thick. It’s just a illustrated point. VaporMg is a process where we start with an ingot of magnesium and we melt it down to a molten state. Within injection mold the magnesium, there are some tools and we’re able to actually mold the intricate details that are needed for Surface. We mold down to 0.65 millimeters of thickness in any given part. 0.75 … [he means the credit card thinkness just mentioned], we mold to 0.65, this is important to understand, because for us to get to the design we needed for this product, to get the kick stand, integrated seamlessly and hold this line throughout the product we had to be able to mold to those tolerances.
Every micron matters within Microsoft Surface. we’ve actually stacked up every part from designing from the inside out, so tightly in the product and so cleanly that even if you stuck a piece of tape in the middle of the device, it would bulge, it would bulge out. That tells you how strong this product is, how much strength comes with it, how light it feels in your hands, all those parts play into each other.
The best part about VaporMg is not just that we can mold a 0.65 and get the intricate details like the 0.65 millimeters angles that go around the product this radial. The best part is the smoothness of the finish that comes out of the tools. After approximately 152 steps to get the VaporMg looking just like you see now, you find that the Surface finish on this product and as Mike says, bright in craftsmanship is perfect, it’s seamless. It screens watch quality finish and when you put it in your hands, it feels elegant, when you touch it, you’re going to want to hold it, I promise you.
Now I’m proud of VaporMg and I’m proud of the team for the product that they’ve done, but nothing, nothing stirs me more, nothing gets me more excited than Touch Cover. I really want to walk you through Touch Cover for just a few moments. This is an important technology that came out of our group. I’m going to walk you through it in two ways, the first way is through the experience and the second way I’m going to talk about is the technology.
Let’s do the experience first, we explained you what we try to do with Touch Cover from the get go, you notice I’m going to connect it now to my blue Touch Cover. So I just click it in, as you would expect. The Surface turns blue along with my Touch Cover and you have a beautiful integration of hardware and software. My Surface knows what is connected to it. I can now bring to life the vision that is Touch Cover for this product. The vision that lets you produce content when you want it, how you want it as fast as you’ve always done it, that’s what this product was designed for.
Let me give you one more second on this, on a little bit of the experience. The thing that was so critical for us in creating Touch Cover was that it had to be 3 millimeters thin. This essentially is at odds of any other keyboard you’ve used and still have a great typing experience. It also had to be a cover you wanted to connect, something you always had with you, something that gave you confidence just like the kick stand to bring this product to life.
We designed flex magnets in this product, that’s a combination of alignment in clamping magnets. You could actually never miss connecting this device, you can’t miss, we force you to not miss. We do that to give you confidence. You close it, it feels like a book, we design this organically like a book; we wanted it to feel just like that. What has more covers on it than books themselves? This spine feels like a book. When you put it in your hand and you walk away with your product, you’ll hold it like a book. When you carry it against your books, it will feel like it’s another book, it’s just light enough and it feels just perfect.
Now that said, I think you’re going to fall in love with Touch Cover. I know I have. I mean I’m seriously in love with it outside of my wife, Touch Cover is number two. It’s very important to me. Now, I never want to take Touch Cover off, and I’d argue that you don’t need to and you never have to.
You saw Mike move his Touch Cover to the back. Now when he did that I’m sure every single one of you thought like wait a minute, how do you move it to the back? Well, Touch Cover is pretty smart; it has an accelerometer built into it. The moment you fold it back, we know you fold it back, we know when you’re not using it and it’s turned off for you.
So you never have to take it off and underneath your fingertips, it feels great. So now you’ve got a comfortable device with Touch Cover that’s yours, it’s personalized to you. You saw the beautiful colors that we have coming to market and essentially what’s brought to you is an experience like none other with Touch Cover and Surface together.
Now I showed you the experience, but I wanted to show you the technology, because it really is important that you understand it and quite frankly, we have a bit of a mad scientist, who many of you know, named Stevie Bathiche. Stevie actually invented Touch Cover, the fact that we have 30 years of input experience using mice and 15 years creating keyboards, we really understand how to create a great typing experience. We also knew that if we brought you Touch Cover, and Touch Cover wasn’t any good, boy, what a breaking moment. But we’ve actually evolved this technology to a point through Stevie and his work to come to a place where we’ve brought you an experience that’s amazing at typing. There’s actually seven layers squeezed in, pressed right into Touch Cover to keep it 3 millimeters thin. Now that’s super thin, but critical for you to have a great experience when folding it back.
Let me explain to you how the technology works just ever so slightly and quickly. So what you’re going to see is I’m going to put my hands down on this machine here and, what you’re seeing is this is Surface for Windows RT, and my hands are down on Touch Cover. You’ll notice that my hands are laying flat on Touch Cover right now yet nothing is happening. If this was in fact a capacitive screen or the phone you might have in your pocket or some other device you might have, the keyboard would take up off the screen and you put your fingers down and it would look something like that.
Now that’s me actually pressing on Touch Cover, and it knows the grams of force coming off my fingertips, on to Touch Cover. Why is this critical? When you type in touch type speed, you have to find your home position and rest your hands. To do that, your keyboard can’t fire when you put your hands down, it’s comfortable, you can rest your hands and note as I put pressure on the J key, how the pressure goes up as I push harder and as I release, the pressure comes off.
It’s actually measuring every gram of force coming off my fingertips and as I start to type, it knows how many keys I’ve hit. This keyboard actually measures 10 times faster in scanning from a keyboard matrix than any keyboard, guarantee that you use today. It is super fast and brings great, great opportunity for you to be productive and get stuff done.
Obviously, I have a lot of pride in this product. I hope you’ll love it. I can’t wait for you to get your hands on it back there, and I really mean that. Steven, thanks for having me up here today.
That was a moment for our team for sure. I do want to talk a little bit about some availability and pricing information and things like that I know people want to know. Surface for Windows RT, I still say that there will be much more information available on the web and available shortly. So Surface for Windows RT will be available in both a 32 and a 64-gigabyte model and will be priced like comparable tablets that are based on ARM. Surface for Windows 8 Professional will come in 64-gigabyte and 128-gigabyte storage models and will have a retail price comparable with competitive Ultrabook-class PCs. Additional specifics on pricing and packaging will be announced as we get closer to retail availability.
Now of course, retail availability for the Surface PCs will be around the time of – for the Windows RT PC, will be at the time of the Windows 8 general availability and for Windows 8 Pro about three months later. Surface will be available through the Microsoft’s physical stores here in the U.S. and will be available through the select online outlets of the Microsoft store as well.
So welcome everybody to Surface. I just want to invite Steve Ballmer back up on stage one more time and thank you, thank you very much.
I want to thank Steven and Mike and Panos and their team. This has been an unbelievable journey. We’ve invested significantly as you can see in talent, in time, in capital to bring the Surface to market. I was asked in the last few days here why now, why now? We took the time to really get Surface in Windows 8 right to do something that was really different and really special.
We’re very proud; very, very proud of the Surface just like we’re very proud of Windows 8. Because of Windows 8, because of Windows 8 the Surface is a PC, the Surface is a tablet, and the Surface is something new that we think people will absolutely love. We really want those of you here to have a chance to see and touch the Surface and talk with some of the people who are involved in designing the product.
We have several stations set up next-door where you can see the work that went into the creation of the Surface, and we hope you’ll stay and join us for that. Today has been the fun for us to put on for you very, very exciting and I want to thank you all for being part of today’s event. Thanks.
The justification part of the event keynote (was the general introduction, i.e. the first part of the event): i.e. how and why Microsoft decades long hardware innovation history has now been expanded by PC/tablet level innovation, why after Windows 8 innovation Microsoft needed a matching innovation in hardware as well?
Well, good afternoon and welcome, I certainly want to thank everybody for joining us for today’s event. The past several years have seen great change in the industry and great innovations coming from Microsoft. We’ve helped usher in the new era of cloud computing, we’ve embraced mobility, we are redefining communications and attempting to transform entertainment. In all that we have done Windows is the heart and soul of Microsoft from Windows PCs to Windows Servers to Windows Phones and Windows Azure. Windows is proven to be the most flexible general-purpose software ever created spurring on an ecosystem of unrivaled success.
When Microsoft was founded our vision was odd and broad: a computer on every desk and in every home. And while certainly we are optimists to the core Windows has exceeded even our most optimistic predictions. It now powers well over 1 billion PCs from desktops to laptops to ATMs to NASA workstations and more: in homes, in businesses, in schools and in governments literally around the world.
With Windows 8 we’ve re-imagined the Windows product. We re-imagine Windows from the chipset to the user experience, to power a new generation of PCs that enable new capabilities and new scenarios. We approached the Windows 8 product design in a forward-looking way. We designed Windows 8 for the world we know, in which most PCs are mobile and people want access to information and the ability to create content from anywhere anytime.
People want to do all of that without compromising the productivity that PCs are uniquely known for: from personal productivity applications, to technical applications, business software and literally millions of other applications that are written for Windows that work perfectly on Windows 8. We are incredibly gratified by the enthusiastic response to Windows 8 from our partners, our OEM partners, thousands of developers and literally millions of people consumers who’ve downloaded our previews.
Excitement is high with the new X86 and ARM SoC support. The new Metro User Interface and the new Store all getting very broad interest.
Today, we want to add another piece, another bit of excitement and another piece to that Windows 8 story.
At our foundation Bill Gates and Paul Allen made a bet, a bet on software, at the same time it was always clear that our unique view of what software could do would require us to push hardware sometimes in ways that even the makers of the hardware themselves had yet to envision. That’s the nature of the dynamic between hardware and software pushing each other and pulling each other forward. In fact, our number one revenue product actually the year I joined Microsoft 1980 was a hardware product, something known as the SoftCard. Let’s just take a little bit of a look back at the role of hardware at Microsoft.
We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience hardware and software are considered in working together. Just let’s take the mouse as an example.
To be successful Windows 1.0 really needed a mouse so we built one. Early reviews of mice were not very positive as people struggled to understand the real value. In fact actually it was so new the Canadian Customs quarantined the Microsoft mouse at the border for four weeks thinking that it was alive.
Our most successful hardware product has been the Xbox and with Kinect we’ve created a whole new user experience. And now developers are pushing Kinect, viewing more exciting and even cooler things for both the game console and for Windows PCs. This combination of hardware, software and peripherals in the Xbox case work together to deliver an absolutely amazing experience.
We see that sort of combination working also today in our PC ecosystem. We believe in the strength of that ecosystem, of software and hardware companies that work together to deliver selection and choice that makes your Windows experience uniquely your own. Those partnerships are essential to the re-imagination of Windows. We’ve worked with the component companies, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.
Of course the ultimate landing point of this PC experience is through our partnerships with OEMs: HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba and many, many more. They will deliver more PCs to market in the year 2013 than in any previous year. IDC estimates that number at over 375 million Windows PCs. That will ensure that software developers and content creators have a larger number of new systems to target with their Windows 8 applications than any other non-phone platform.
However, with Windows 8 we did not want to leave any scene uncovered. Much like Windows 1.0 needed the mouse to complete the experience, we wanted to give Windows 8 its own companion hardware innovation. What is this innovation? It’s something new, it’s something different, it’s a whole new family of computing devices from Microsoft.
This is the new Microsoft Surface. It embodies the notion of hardware and software really pushing each other. People do want to create and consume, they want to work and they want to play, they want to be on their couch, they want to be at their desk and they want to be on the go. Surface fulfills that dream. It is a tool to surface your passion, to surface your ideas, to surface your creativity and to surface your enjoyment. I really want you to take the time today to get to know Microsoft Surface. So let’s now learn more from Steven Sinofsky and the Microsoft Surface team.
Just as we’ve re-imagined Windows we also have a vision for re-imagining the tablet.
We see a tablet that is designed the way that Windows has been designed. We see a tablet that represents a unique vision with a seamless expression of entertainment and creativity. A tablet that works and plays the way that you want to, a tablet that’s a great PC, a PC that’s a great tablet, a new type of computing, Surface.
Surface is a stage for Windows. Surface is designed for the software experience to take it, have it take centre stage. Surface is super thin at 9.3 millimeters. It’s just thin enough for this full size USB port for peripherals or just charging your phone while you are at the hotel. The edges are bevelled away at 22 degrees, so the PC itself fades into the background. It feels natural in your hands.
Surface is the first PC with a full magnesium case. Through unique process the liquid metal is formed into an ultra rigid, yet ultra light frame. It is incredibly in strong and it’s airy at under 1.5 pounds, just 676 grams, and it’s finely balanced. We didn’t stop there, the case is one of a kind. It’s made from a physical vapor deposition process. It results in a permanent scratch and wear resistance for Surface. This VaporMg case is a first of a kind, and it accentuates the unique feel of Surface.
Surface is of course great for entertainment. It has access to all of the Windows apps for music, for video, for Xbox and gaming. We can see here I’m running Internet Explorer. I can browse smoothly, use see great pages using ClearType and have a great experience just with all the – with browsing. It’s 10.6 inch optically bonded, wide screen display, is custom designed for Surface. And of course people play games. I can go and play any of the interesting games that are on – in the Windows Store and I can use Surface for using all the sensors that are within Windows as well. Surface works for all of those games.
Movies and entertainment look great as well. Excuse me just a second. Surface looks great for entertainment as well. In fact I’m going to show here for the first time a very exciting new application. This is the Netflix application designed specifically for Windows 8. Now with the wide screen you get 30% more viewing area and no banding or letter boxing like you traditionally see.
I’m happy to show this new Netflix application … [, give you an early look how it’s designed specifically for Windows 8 with semantic zoom. And Netflix will have this ready at the Windows 8 launch. I can go here and start a movie and see it stream straight to my Surface PC. Just like you would expect.
Now to stream so well Surface needs great Wi-Fi. Surface is the first tablet to incorporate dual 2×2 MIMO antennas. That means it provides the very best Wi-Fi reception of any tablet today. Surface is incredibly great for Windows and for entertainment PC. And we are just getting started.] …
And remember this leading edge Microsoft Surface family, leading edge even against Apple’s market leading offerings, so this product is definitely just the tip of the iceberg. Consider this Channel 4 report which is showing the kind of the future which could come from Microsoft as seen back to the beginning of last year:
– Touching, waving at and talking to the future with Microsoft [Channel 4 News YouTube channel, Feb 8, 2011]
(Note towards the end of the video, Panos Panay to appear as simply from Microsoft Surface.) Additional infomation:
– Benjamin Cohen, the reporter in the video, had this detailed blog post about that visit
– Steve Clayton, the Microsoft’s not that long ago initiated, ‘Next at Microsoft’ storyteller, had also this detailed blog post about that visit
Note that Microsoft shares started to raise already last Friday (obviously based on expectation when the invitations to a ‘mistery event’ were sent out). Nevertheless from $29.34 to this Tuesday’s closing price of $30.71 that was only a 1% growth. Interestingly during the same period Apple’s share price had a 1% growth as well, although Apple made its series of announcements a week earlier, on Monday last week (June 11th, 2012):
– Apple Introduces All New MacBook Pro with Retina Display
– Apple Updates MacBook Air and Current Generation MacBook Pro with Latest Processors and New Graphics
– Mountain Lion Available in July From Mac App Store
– Apple Previews iOS 6 With All New Maps, Siri Features, Facebook Integration, Shared Photo Streams & New Passbook App
which resulted in 0.5% growth only.
So the stock market evaluated the Microsoft Surface against the above Apple introductions, and found that on equal level from business growth perspective, although Apple’s closing price yesterday was $587.31, i.e. 19x higher. In terms of market capitalisation Microsoft remains on the same 47% of Apple’s, so from business competition point of view the announcement of Microsoft Surface is not changing the positions as far as the opinion of the overall business world is concerned. INTERESTING!
Meanwhile the earlier Microsoft Surface product has been renamed as Microsoft PixelSense in order to avoid confusion:
About Microsoft PixelSense [Microsoft page for the press on the PixelSense microsite, June 18, 2012]
The Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense is an innovative product that responds to touch, natural hand gestures and real world objects placed on the display, providing effortless interaction with information and digital content in a simple and intuitive way. With a large, 360-degree, 4-inch thin horizontal user interface, the Samsung SUR40 offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with content and each other. In addition, the SUR40 provides businesses with unique value in delivering information and services in a more friendly way allowing better engagement with their customers. The Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense is targeted for companies across a variety of industries including retail, hospitality, health care, and public sector.
The Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense is a major advancement in computing that moves beyond the traditional user interface to a more natural way of interacting with information. The four key attributes that make this experience unique are:
Multiuser experience.The horizontal form factor makes it easy for several people to gather together, providing a collaborative, face-to-face computing experience.
Massive multitouch contact. The Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger, as with a typical touch screen, but up to dozens and dozens of items at once.
Direct interaction.Users can actually “grab” digital information with their hands and interact with content through touch and gesture, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.
Object recognition. Users can place physical objects on the display to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content.
At CES 2011, Microsoft unveiled the designed for touch experience featuring Microsoft PixelSense technology, which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.
This experience comes to life in the Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense, which incorporates significant technological advancements designed to enhance the user experience.
The Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft PixelSense features key hardware and software technology advancements informed by feedback from users around the world.
Microsoft PixelSense™.Microsoft PixelSense allows a display to recognize fingers, hands, and objects placed on the screen, enabling vision-based interaction without the use of cameras. The individual pixels in the display see what’s touching the screen and that information is immediately processed and interpreted.
PixelSense technologydelivers an innovative user experience built on the principles of direct interaction using touch and objects. The Microsoft Surface 2.0 SDK allows application developers to take advantage of capabilities of PixelSense technology.
Thin form factor with multiple configuration options.The Samsung SUR40 is four inches thin, which makes it easy to use as a table, hang on the wall with the VESA mount, or embed in walls or custom enclosures. There are standard leg supports available or customers can design and attach their own leg supports.
High definition large format display. The 40-inch, stunning high-definition screen (1920 x 1080 resolution) enables enhanced multiuser and multitouch experiences.
Microsoft PixelSense activities are available on the Microsoft PixelSense blog and Microsoft PixelSense on Twitter.
For more information, press only: PixelSense PR team
Also these two videos appeared on a new Microsoft® PixelSense™ YouTube channel [June 18, 2012]:
Now some first reactions from the event attendees:
Microsoft Surface: a closer look [TheVerge YouTube channel, June 18, 2012]
See also this article: Microsoft Surface with Windows RT hands-on pictures and video [Joshua Topolsky from The Verge, June 18, 2012]
Microsoft Surface tablet demo June 18, 2012 Event in SF [SlashGear YouTube channel, June 18, 2012]
See also these articles, same date, on SlashGear (the first ones are kind of liveblogging):
– Microsoft Surface Tablet Hands-on by Vincent Nguyen
– Microsoft Surface re-introduced as a handheld tablet by Chris Burns
– Microsoft Surface cover doubles as built-in keyboard by Cory Gunther
– Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro revealed by Chris Burns:
This tablet introduced its own “Perimeter Venting” so as not to get too hot [in fact to solve the problem of cooling with a tablet which can be used in both portrait and landscape modes], works with Pen input (with digital ink, explained in a different post), and has a display that’s just 0.7mm from the glass that covers it. The Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 Pro has two digitizers, one for ink, one for touch, and has a bit of magnetization for its pen so no holes or clips are needed.
At the event live they said it best by stating, “This surface has two digitizers. One for touch, one for digital ink.” All stylus or pen input is converted into digital ink and the new Surface tablet is extremely responsive and accurate.
The distance between the screen (digitizer) and the stylus is only .7mm thick, and allows for it to be highly accurate, making you feel like the ballpoint of a pen is actually writing on the “surface”. Surface will see the proximity of a stylus and stop recognizing hand inputs.
NVIDIA has just issued a rather short note confirming that their Tegra processor will be under the hood and powering the smooth and fluid Windows 8 RT model. They didn’t specify which Tegra processor as expected, but we are speculating it will be the quad-core Tegra 3 KAI platform, or the Tegra 3+ that was detailed as coming soon [… an upgraded Tegra 3 called T3+, with code-names Wayne and Grey splitting off in the third quarter of 2012 with LTE. Grey specifically will have access to LTE data speeds, with Tegra and Icera hardware being part of this sector for NVIDIA] in a lot more than just Android devices.
These keyboards bring on a fair stab at what 3rd party manufacturers have been attempting for the iPad and a host of Android tablets now for several years. The keyboards on both units aren’t going to bring you a perfect replacement for a notebook computer if you’re attempting to match the laptop-bit of the equation, but if you’re the sort of person to work on a desk, you might be in business.
The four-pin port is on the right lower edge of the new tablets, and seemingly matches up with the MagSafe-like connector detailed in a patent application from the company. If so, that could mean a single hook-up for recharging the Surface and synchronizing it with other devices.
Microsoft’s patent application followed in the footsteps of Apple’s magnetic charger system – which allows the cord to break away easily if someone trips over it, rather than yanking your laptop off the desk – but added in a data connection. With just one port, the Surface could be hooked up to both a charger and other external hardware, with an optical data link used for maximum speed potential.
The potential for such a connection is vast. Microsoft has been coy about external device support for Surface, only mentioning the USB and video-output ports, but with this proprietary port it could be used with a docking station to add in an optical drive, wired network connection and more.
We’ve been waiting for just such a strategy from Apple for some time, and indeed the Cupertino company has an optical data MagSafe patent application of its own. More on Microsoft Surface in our hands-on here.
Microsoft Surface Tablet: Hands-on [laptopmag YouTube channel, June 18, 2012]
See also these articles:
– Microsoft Surface Tablet Hands-on: The Future of Windows is Here [Video] [Michael A. Prospero from LAPTOP Magazine, June 18, 2012]
– iPad vs Microsoft Surface: Tablet Specs Compared [Kenneth Butler from LAPTOP Magazine, June 18, 2012] (data higlights are mine to denote the essential differences)
Surface (Windows RT)
Surface (Windows Pro)
Apple A5X dual-core
Nvidia Tegra 3 [simply Tegra]
Intel Core i5
Windows 8 RT
Windows 8 Pro
(1024 x 768)
9.5 x 7.31 x 0.37
.37 inches thick
.53 inches thick
microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MiMO Antenne
microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 2×2 MiMO Antenae
Microsoft to Unveil a New Tablet – Good or Bad Idea? [The Wall Street Journal YouTube channel, June 18, 2012]
See also this article: Microsoft Unveils Surface Tablet to Rival iPad [Shira Ovide from The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2012]
… Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC, said the combination of PC and tablet features makes surface a “true converged” device. “A Swiss Army knife of a tablet?” …
The computer makers‘ business is dependent on Microsoft, so they may not express annoyance publicly at Microsoft’s trading on the hardware makers’ turf. But at least some hardware executives are fuming privatelyat Microsoft’s decision.
Microsoft’s move to make its own tablet “comes with consequences, which is complicating choices for consumers and complicating relations with third-party manufacturers,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc.
Microsoft “Surface” Tablet Announced, Powered by Windows 8 [Eric Savitz for ForbesVideo YouTube channel, June 18, 2012]
See also these articles:
– Microsoft: Live From Hollywood! Introducing Microsoft Surface Tablet (Updated) [Eric Savitz from Forbes, June 18, 2012]: a live blog of the event
– Microsoft Announces Surface, Its New Windows 8 Tablet [Kelly Clay from Forbes, June 18, 2012]
As no one does keyboards better than Microsoft, yet another keyboard is also available for Surface that features a full trackpad with clicking buttons. Though Surface is slightly heavier than the iPad and has 25% less battery life (31.5 Watt hours compared to the iPad’s 42.5 Watt hours), Surface is truly one of the most powerful and lightweight mobile PCs we have seen.
It’s clear that Surface is designed for current Windows users, and according to NetMarketshare, Windows XP, Vista, and 7 combine for 93% of all desktops. For these users – especially those in the corporate environment – there is a hesitation to switch to another platform, even just for mobile use. As a result, Surface could be a game-changer in the tablet industry. Not only does it feature key capabilities that Apple has yet to ever integrate (such as a keyboard), but Surface will undoubtedly make it easier for curent Windows users to transition from home to office and in-between. While a price has yet to be set, it’s expected to be extremely competitive compared to other tablets, ensuring that Surface is a device that many current Windows users will want to own.
Other notable first reports:
1. WIRED magazine [June 18, 2012]:
– Liveblog: Meet ‘Surface,’ Microsoft’s New Windows 8 Tablet
– Microsoft May Be Late to Tablet Fight, But Has the Cash to Keep Sparring
– Microsoft Dives Head-First Into Mobile Hardware With Two 10.6-Inch Tablets
Surface is much, much more than a new tablet platform. It’s also Microsoft’s first fully branded computing device — an ambitious new development direction after years of making only simple computer peripherals. And Surface is also a challenge to every hardware partner in Microsoft’s OEM stable.
“Its a bold move on the part of Microsoft,” says Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg. “This is a real change in strategy for them, and it’s certainly a vote of no confidence for their partners. This shows how high the stakes are. There is competitive pressure from Apple that is clearly a threat to their business. Steve Ballmer seemed to be channeling Steve Jobs on stage, saying hardware and software have to be designed to together.”
As for pricing, Microsoft isn’t saying, but Gartenberg weighs in:
“I’m guessing somewhere between $600 and $1000 — Microsoft was very vague. This the problem you encounter when you launch something so far ahead of delivery,” he said. “For a launch like this, it’s all about the details. Everything about this event, the mysterious invitations, the presentation — Microsoft is trying to be Apple. But the only company that has successfully been like Apple, is Apple.”
2. engadget [June 18, 2012]:
– Live from Microsoft’s mystery press conference in Los Angeles! by Dana Wollman
– Hands-on with Microsoft Surface for Windows RT, Touch Cover and Type Cover (update: video!) by Dana Wollman:
… (Microsoft has only said that the ARM chip is made by NVIDIA. No one ever said it’s a Tegra 3 SoC, but that is naturally our best bet.) …
Based on remarks by Steve Ballmer and others during the presentation, it sounds like a lot of thought went into the two keyboards, so we wouldn’t be surprised if a large focus group of touch typists were able to prove Redmond’s engineers right. But having played with both, we don’t imagine this being like settling in with a new laptop or Transformer-style dock. You might have to re-learn how to type (or at least teach your brain to fuhgeddaboutit and trust your fingers to land where they’re supposed to.) …
Even after some brief handling, we feel impressed, almost sobered by what Microsoft’s managed to produce after vowing to take the Windows 8 hardware-software package into its own hands. Surface for Windows RT is well-made, polished, durable and carefully engineered. And yes, that’s sobering news: Microsoft’s own OEM partners, everyone from ASUS to Acer to HP, should feel a tinge of defensiveness. If Redmond’s mission until now has been to showcase all the possible form factors for Windows 8, it may have just taken a step in the opposite direction by upstaging everybody else.
Not unlike Apple’s last two generations, there’s a magnetically attached cover, but it’s more than just a protector: here, it includes a full multi-touch keyboard and trackpad.
… right now we’re pretty enamored with Microsoft’s Touch Cover for the newly announced Surface. See, it works almost exactly like that other “smart” tablet shield, but this one actually earns it’s smart moniker. When you peel the plastic shroud back it turns into a fully functional keyboard and touchpad. Obviously, being a thin plastic sheet, the cover is relying on touch for key presses, not the actual depression of mechanical switches. …
Perhaps one of the more interesting features though, is their ability to force Win 8 to color coordinate with your chosen shade of folio. Click the blue Touch Cover on to the Surface and the background switches to a soothing shade azure. There’s even an accelerometer inside those 3mm-thin softer covers — which is an impressive feat of engineering. The Touch Covers can easily distinguish between you simply resting your hands on the keyboard and actually typing, which should help minimize accidental key presses.
– Microsoft announces Surface for Windows 8 Pro: Intel inside, optional pen input by Donald Melanson
– Microsoft Surface tablets: the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro models by Darren Murph
3. CNET [June 18, 2012]:
– Microsoft breaks tradition with Microsoft Surface tablets
– Surface touches the right keys, but not a complete picture
– Who is the Microsoft Surface for, exactly?
– Five key takeaways from Microsoft’s Surface event:
… 1. Don’t confuse this with the table thing [i.e. the old Surface now called Microsoft PixelSense]. … 2. This isn’t just aimed at the iPad and Android tablets [as it can work like a PC, complete with a full version of Windows]. … 3. This thing is high-tech. … 5. This is just the start [as Microsoft is positioning Surface as the beginning of a family]. …
The tablet and ultraportable form factors are especially fertile ground in terms of growth and innovation. A recent Online Publishers Association studyfound that 31 percent of the U.S. Internet population (74.1 million users) own tablets, up from 12 percent in 2011. By 2013, the study projected that 47 percent of the U.S. Internet population (117.4 million users) would own tablets.
At this juncture, Google’s Android platform (including Amazon’s Kindle) and Apple’s iOS are splitting the market. Apple’s continuation of its firm grip on hardware and software integration is working exceedingly well, as evidenced by the company’s incredible financial success.
Google gives its Android platform to partners for free, which leads to some fragmentation and a fraction of the profits Apple is generating. Like Microsoft, Google plans to introduce its own branded tablet this month. Microsoft expects that it can generate some buzz and give Windows users a legitimate alternative to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, as well as incent its developer community to build native apps for its platform.
Note: In the above argumentation CNET relied on the released the same day “A Portrait of Today’s Tablet User – Wave II” U.S. findings from the Online Publishers Association (OPA), particularly the one represented on the following slide:
for which the accompanying OPA press release stated the following:
… Tablet adoption has significantly increased in the past year; 2012 saw 31% of the U.S. internet population owning tablets (74.1M users), up from 12% (28.3M users) in 2011. Furthermore, by the year 2013 this figure is expected to increase with a projected 47% of the U.S. internet population (117.4M users) owning tablets.
Of these tablet users, the Android platform has drawn level with iOS, largely in part because of the strong sales of the Kindle. 52% of tablet owners have an iOS operating system, while 51% use an Android powered tablet (percentages do not add up to 100% because tablet owners own/use more than one type of tablet). This is a drastic change from 2011, which saw 72% of tablet owners use some form of the iPad while only 32% used an Android tablet. …
4. AllThingsD [June 18, 2012]:
– Microsoft’s Surface Tablet Takes On Apple’s iPad liveblog by Ina Fried
– Microsoft Launches New Surface Tablets With Windows 8 by Bonnie Cha
– Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Where Microsoft’s New Surface Tablet Fits in PC Ecosystem by Ina Fried
In a brief chat after the event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that PC makers have known for an unspecified period of time that Microsoft would be doing its own hardware.
Ballmer noted that there will be a lot of PCs sold that will be made by companies other than Microsoft.
“If you look at the bulk of the 375 million machines that get sold (next year), they probably aren’t going to be Surfaces,” Ballmer said. “On the other hand, we could have a sizeable business.”
“It’s an important companion to the whole Windows 8 story,” Ballmer said. “It’s an important piece. It’s not the only piece.”
While Microsoft kept the details of Surface tightly limited to a small group of Microsoft employees working on the project, Ballmer said PC makers weren’t totally taken by surprise.
“Our PC partners knew in advance we were announcing something today in this space,” Ballmer said.
So how did they feel about it? “No comment.”
Ballmer said Microsoft’s goal is that Surface “gives people a full range of things to think about, sort of primes the pump for more innovation around Windows 8, (and) brings new technology to the Windows PC platform.”
Just how closely to the vest has Microsoft been keeping Surface? Ballmer said he has not personally been using a prototype on a regular basis.
“We wanted to keep things under wraps,” Ballmer said. “I’m out in public a lot.”
I have to admit that the Touch Cover felt somewhat alien to me at first when I was playing around with it, but that could be due to the fact that I didn’t have a lot of time to play around with it — Microsoft was really herding reporters quickly through the line. The Type Cover did feel quite natural as a keyboard should, however, so at the very least, there should be one strong option for people who prefer traditional keyboards.
The tablet’s 10.6-inch display screen looked gorgeous, although Microsoft was being weirdly evasive when asked what the exact screen resolution was. The tablet’s “VaporMg” casing is extremely solid, and the tablet feels very strong in your hands. Despite being 9.3 millimeters thick, the Windows RT version of the Surface is in no danger of bending under pressure.
In terms of software, Windows RT brings some cool new capabilities to the tablet form factor, including the ability to run two apps on the same screen simultaneously. One Microsoft rep, for instance, demonstrated how to have Outlook email on one half of the screen while having sports scores on the other half. And of course, the home screen on both versions of the Surface tablet features Windows 8′s Metro UI that is significantly more intuitive, colorful and user-friendly than past editions of Windows.