Embedded Android — A VIA Technologies Strategic Direction in addition to its earlier joint CPU venture with the Shanghai government

– Nov 12, 2012 – July 11, 2014: Can VIA Technologies save the mobile computing future of the x86 (x64) legacy platform? for preliminary reading on this blog
– October 8, 2014: Coming very soon from Centaur Technology: A Leap Ahead in Chip Design as a very small glimpse into the next generation by the Centaur Technology
– October 13, 2014: Centaur Technology: Do the same job that an Intel processor can do, but doing it less expensively, with a much smaller group and Glenn Henry in charge as another as a very small glimpse …
June 3, 2015VIA pushing for profitability in 2015 by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies [威盛電子] president Chen Wen-Chi [陳文琦 the spouse of Cher Wang Chairwoman and CEO of HTC] has maintained that the company will not be delisted from the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) and will have a good chance of turning profitable in 2015. [http://technews.tw/2015/06/02/via-technologies-condition/: “this year the operation has turned the corner, there is the opportunity to turn profit, but not sure]

Chen said during a shareholders meeting on June 2 that VIA’s revenue performance became stable in 2014, while losses have also started narrowing. With its embedded platform and digital signage businesses starting to contribute profits, VIA is expecting an optimistic result for 2015.

As for the recent market rumor about Intel considering acquiring its subsidiary GenieNetworks[a CDMA licensing business having 2 clients by the end of 2014], Chen declined to comment.

December 29, 2014: Ownership of the Centaur Technology has been transfered to VIA CPU PLATFORM, INC. established on December 17, 2013 (⇒威盛電子:代子公司VIA USA Inc.公告進行美國子公司Centaur Technology Inc.股權之投資架構調整) and whose president is Timothy Chen (陳主望), Cher Wang’s nephew

December 25, 2014VIA to return to profitability in 2015, says company president by DIGITIMES

… As for the China government’s recently announced strategy to fully support and nurture local semiconductor players, Chen believes it could bring a strong challenge to the Taiwan and worldwide semiconductor industries, but VIA has been forming partnerships with China’s players and will only see limited impact from the policies.

November 21, 2014VIA stock demoted in TSE; expects strong performance in 4Q14 by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies has recently been demoted to become a full-cash delivery stock by the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE) because its stock’s net asset value dropped below NT$5 (US$0.16) in the third quarter. Commenting on the incident, special [technical] assistant to the president [also Head of Sales and Marketing since 1996 according to LinkedIn and VP Business Development and Strategy, VIA Technologies, HTC according to World Economic Forum 2015], Timothy Chen pointed out that the company had losses in the third quarter because its embedded solution orders were delayed and it had non-recurring engineering (NRE) expenses.

Although VIA’s CPU business continues to suffer from losses, the company’s invested Wondermedia [in 2014 focused on ARM-based tablet and STB processor development], VIA Labs [having USB 3.0 chips already for the 2014 market] and GenieNetworks as well as the joint venture with the government of Shanghai, China still contribute income.

Chen noted that VIA has not yet given up the x86 CPU market and its licensing agreement with Intel is valid until 2018. Although VIA did not achieve much performance in the PC market, the company is seeing stable orders for embedded applications such as digital signage.

The company’s joint venture with the Shanghai government is currently developing x86-based processors and 3D graphics chips and should help the company return to the PC market in the second half of 2015. The joint venture has R&D centers in Shanghai, Beijing and Wuhan, China and has about 600 employees currently.

February 19, 2014VIA reportedly moving x86 CPU resources to new joint venture in China by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies is rumored to have started shifting its x86 CPU technologies and related personnel to its newly formed IC design joint venture with a China government-owned investment firm, according to market watchers

The joint venture was announced in early 2014 with VIA owning a 20% stake in the company.

Because VIA’s x86 CPU business is licensed by Intel, moving related resources to a new joint venture is expected to attract Intel’s attention. However, the chip giant may not be able to do much because Intel reached an agreement with the US’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in 2010 to not interfere with competition in the CPU and chipset markets, and extend its licensing of PCI Express to VIA by at least another six years. Intel is also unlikely to wish to offend the China investment firm, which has support from the China government, the market watchers analyzed.

VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. > Introduction:

VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. [磐聚网] was established in April 2013 with a total registered capital of USD$250M. As a joint venture between Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. [SAIL] who is affiliated to Shanghai SASAC and VIA Technologies, Inc., VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. has about 1000 employees and locates its headquarter at Zhangjiang of Shanghai with branches in Beijing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Taiwan, California and Texas of America.

With the forefront technologies and know-how in the design of CPU, GPU and chipsets, VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. is well known to provide high security, high performance, low power dissipation, and low cost SoC solutions.

As a fabless SoC factory, VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. adopts advanced 40nm and 28nm semiconductor processes. VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd.’s main products include CPU and chipsets for desktop PC and laptop and ARM Cortex series SoC with its state of the art Elite series GPU and Video Engine IPs. VIA Alliance Semiconductor Co., Ltd. aims at becoming the leading SoC solution supplier for smart TV, smart phone and enterprise

January 17, 2013: VIA forms IC joint venture with Shanghai Alliance Investment by DIGITIMES

VIA Technologies has announced that it has set up an IC design house jointly with Shanghai Alliance Investment Company targeting the growing chip market in China.

The joint venture will be capitalized at US$250 million with Shanghai Alliance Investment contributing 80.1% of total capital, while VIA makes up the remaining 19.9%. An initial investment of US$100 million is slated for completion by the end of March 2013, VIA said.

VIA posted revenues of NT$3.36 billion (US$115.47 million) for 2012, decreasing 20.8% from a year earlier.

September 2014: Research and development of Lenovo M6000/S6000 desktops with ZX-A C4350AL [VIA Nano X2 announced on January 4, 2011] CPU have been completed
November 2014: Mass production of Great Wall desktops using ZX-A C3450AL total solution have been achieved

– Targeting a range of Desktop products ZX-A processors and V11PH solution extend the reach into multitasking and performance-oriented segments and offer end users an optimal, power-efficient computing experience
ZX-A processors are built using the latest 40nm fabrication process. ZX-A processors’ package size is 21mm x 21mm and the die size is only 11mm x 6mm. The launched processor name is C4350AL (the Clock Speed is 1.6G+).
– ZX-A processors are x86 architecture CPUs, support 32-bit/64-bit and the extended instruction sets. ZX-A are the first truly optimized, low power dual-core processors delivering industry leading performance-per-watt and improved multi-tasking ability, without consuming more power. ZX-A processors leverage a multi-core architecture to offer up to twice the performance in multi-thread optimized applications, while staying within the same signature low-power envelope.
– Featuring two out-of-order x86 cores, ZX-A processors come with native 64-bit software support, VT CPU virtualization technology, and PadLock hardware security features.

– Targeting a range of Mobile Notebook products ZX-A processors and VX11H solution extend the reach into multitasking and performance-oriented segments and offer end users an optimal, power-efficient computing experience
– ZX-A processors are built using the latest 40nm fabrication process. ZX-A processors’ package size is 21mm x 21mm and the die size is only 11mm x 6mm. The launched processor name is C4350AL (the Clock Speed is 1.6G+).
– ZX-A processors are x86 architecture CPUs, support 32-bit/64-bit and the extended instruction sets. ZX-A are the first truly optimized, low power dual-core processors delivering industry leading performance-per-watt and improved multi-tasking ability, without consuming more power. ZX-A processors leverage a multi-core architecture to offer up to twice the performance in multi-thread optimized applications, while staying within the same signature low-power envelope.
– Featuring two out-of-order x86 cores, ZX-A processors come with native 64-bit software support, VT CPU virtualization technology, and PadLock hardware security features.

ZX-C series processor is a new generation of quad-core processors, they are designed for high-performance computing
– ZX-C processors are built using the latest 28nm fabrication process. ZX-C processors’ package size is 21mm x 21mm and pin to pin match with ZX-A.
– There are 4 CPU cores integrated on the single chip packaging. Delivering industry leading performance per watt and improved multi-tasking ability, without consuming more power. ZX-C processors leverage a multi-core architecture to offer up to quad the performance in multi-thread optimized applications, while staying within the same signature low-power envelope.
– Featuring four out-of-order x86 cores, ZX-C processors come with native 64-bit software support, VT CPU virtualization technology, and hardware security features.
VX11PH Chipset offering a world-class HD multimedia platform for media-intensive applications

Already visible in July through benchmarks the next stepping of the legacy Isiah line: CentaurHauls Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 14 ⇒ VIA Technology Inc. VT3456 6628AMB, VIA QuadCore @ 2.00 GHz 2 processors, 8 cores

So the once influential VIA Technologies is desparately trying to regain its stance by capitalising on the technological fruits of the smartphone revolution which has already ended by Qualcomm’s alignment with latest developments in China via downsizing, Allwinner and Microsoft collaboration.

There are two lines of strategic actions for VIA which have become public as such recently:

1. May 20, 2015VIA Smart ETK For Embedded Android 

The VIA Smart ETK for Android provides an application programming interface (API) that simplifies Android system development on VIA Embedded ARM platforms by enabling the Android application to access I/O and manageability services provided by the system hardware that are not supported in the Android framework. These APIs help safeguard against system crashes and provide the ability to schedule auto power on and off, as well as periodic system reboots to ensure maximum performance.

The VIA Smart ETK for Android is also bundled with Smart ETK Demo, which is easy to install and has a user-friendly GUI for demonstrating the functions of VIA Embedded ARM platforms. Both the VIA Smart ETK and Smart ETK Demo are easy-to-use tools that help to shorten development time and speed up time to market. Key features include the following:

Watchdog:
This provides an API which allows the user to set a timer to ensure proper operation and help the applications/system to recover from a dead circle or breakdown. When it is set, the system will automatically reboot if no “feeding dog” signal is received.
System Power Off / Reboot:
This provides APIs that allow the user to use an Android application to schedule when the system should power off as well as set periodic reboots to ensure maximum performance is maintained.
RTC Wake-Up:
This provides an auto power on feature by setting the Remote Time Clock (RTC) auto wake-up timer. The RTC supports three auto wake-up modes:
  • Wake-up on a specified hour and minute every day
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every week
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every month

Legacy I/O Support:
The VIA Smart ETK enables legacy I/O support such as RS-232, by opening up GPIO, I2C, and CAN bus ports to the application.

February 26, 2015: VIA SMART ETK for Android post on VIA News by Richard Brown VP of International Marketing

We’ve seen a tremendous amount of interest in the VIA SMART ETK at Embedded World this week, particularly for embedded Android system design applications.

As its name implies, the VIA SMART ETK is an embedded tool kit that we offer as part of our software engineering services in order to facilitate the development of embedded systems and devices on based on our ARM and x86 platforms.

The VIA SMART ETK for Android is available with the VIA VAB-600, VIA VAB-820, and VIA VAB-1000 boards, as well as the VIA ALTA DS, VIA ALTA DS 2, VIA ARTiGO A900, and VIA Viega systems. It provides an application programming interface (API) that simplifies Android system development by enabling the Android application to access I/O and manageability services provided by the system hardware that are not supported in the Android framework. These APIs help safeguard against system crashes and provide the ability to schedule auto power on and off, as well as periodic system reboots to ensure maximum performance.

One of the key features we have enabled in the VIA SMART ETK for Android is support for legacy I/O such as RS-232 by opening up the GPIO, I2C, and CAN bus ports to the application. Others include Watchdog, System Power Off/Reboot, and RTC Wake-Up. To learn more, please visit the ARM Software Engineering Services page on our website and download our white paper “Cracking the Embedded Android Code” [January 26, 2015].

We are committed to the continued long-term development of the VIA SMART ETK for Android and regularly issue new releases of it for the boards and systems listed above. Watch this space for news of the latest updates.

2. [February 5, 2015Android-Based Digital Signage SolutionsSignage Solution Pack for Android as the first of software solution packs optimized to meet the requirements of specific vertical market segments

The Signage Starter Solution Pack for Android has been designed to accelerate the development of digital signage solutions using the VIA ALTA DS and VIA ALTA DS 2 [Oct 15, 2014 ⇒ the Solution Pack already came with ⇒Android Signage Goes Dual Screen with VIA ALTA DS 2] systems. It includes a number of APIs that help safeguard against system crashes provide the ability to schedule auto power on and off as well as periodic system reboots to ensure maximum performance, unique to Android OS for digital signage applications. Key features include:

Watch Dog:
Provides an API which allows the user to set a timer to ensure proper operation and help applications/system to recover from a dead circle or breakdown. When it is set, the system will automatically reboot if no “feeding dog” signal is received.
System Power Off / Reboot:
Provides APIs which allow the user to use an Android application to schedule when the system should power off as well as set periodical reboots to ensure maximum performance is maintained.
RTC Wake-Up:
Provides an auto power on feature by setting Remote Time Clock (RTC) auto wake-up timer. The RTC supports three auto wake-up modes:
  • Wake-up on a specified hour and minute every day
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every week
  • Wake-up on a specified day/ hour/ minute every month

Customer ID:
Provides a unique ID which matches the software to a particular VIA ALTA DS system helping to protect the customer’s application or to identify a particular system.

July 9, 2015: Embedded Android Survey – The Results Are In! by Michael Fox of VIA Technologies

Android-survey-1

The growing popularity of visual applications for displaying increasingly rich data sets is clearly a key driver behind the rising momentum of Android among embedded developers. Industrial Automation (28%), Infotainment (20%), and Digital Signage (12%) were the top three applications in the survey, closely followed by HMI (11%) and Medical (11%).

Andorid-survey-benefits

The ability to add a touch interface (26%) was listed by respondents as the main benefit of adopting Android, with reduced time to market (25%) and customizability (19%) coming in second and third respectively. Native multimedia support (14%) in the O/S and the robust Android app ecosystem (12%) were also seen as important.

As a mobile O/S, Android does offer some critical challenges for developers to overcome when implementing it for embedded applications, including its lack of I/O support for peripherals (23%), the need to maintain different versions of it, and ensuring security (17%). Building up internal Android development expertise (21%) and finding the right development tools (19%) are other key issues embedded developers face in adopting the O/S.

We’d like to thank everyone who responded to the survey for the invaluable feedback they provided. We have already begun analyzing the results in order to determine how we can improve the platforms and services we offer for Embedded Android, and will be updating you on our progress.

Download the full results here.

As the enhancement of the technology portfolio there is the new
Apr 8, 2015: HD Video Monitoring Starter Kit

The VIA HD Video Monitoring Starter Kit is a turnkey solution aimed at accelerating the development of wireless multi-node video monitoring systems for the rapidly growing home and commercial markets.The starter kit includes:


VIA ALTA DS 2 System

ALTA_DS_2_ProductAt the heart of the starter kit is the ultra-compact fanless VIA ALTA DS 2 system. Powered by a 1.0GHz dual core VIA Elite E1000 Cortex-A9 SoC with a high-performance 2D/3D graphics and video engine that supports Open GL ES 3.0 hardware acceleration and simultaneous multiple Full HD video playback. The VIA ALTA DS 2 includes SATA and Micro SD Card support, allowing recorded footage to be stored locally for playback at a later time or offloaded to the cloud.


Customized Android BSP & Smart ETK

Included with the ALTA DS 2 system is an Android BSP (Board Support Package) customized for video monitoring applications which includes the following enhancements:

  • Storage – performance improvement
  • Hardware enabled decoding
  • RTSP & WVTP parse performance improvement
  • Hardware acceleration for on screen preview playback

To enable customers to shorten their development time and speed time to market for their specific application needs, the starter kit also includes the VIA Smart ETK (Embedded Tool Kit), which provides a set of APIs for applications to access I/O and manageability services provided by the system hardware.


VIA Video Management Software (VMS)

VIA VMS application framework provides basic functionality including HD playback support, hardware accelerated decoding for live streaming and local/network backup support.Video Streaming & Recording Performance

Live Stream: (Channels/Resolution/Bitrate) Playback Frame Rate/Stream Recording Performance
1ch 1080p @ 8Mbps 30fps 1Ch 1080p @8Mbps
4ch 720p @ 4Mbps 30fps 4Ch 1080p @8Mbps

Live Playback Layouts

VMS-Layout


Wireless IP Cameras

The starter kit includes 4 validated IP cameras featuring OmniVision’s OV9712 CameraChip™ sensor, developed with their proprietary OmniPixel3-HS™ high sensitivity pixel technology to provide excellent scene reproduction in both extremely high and low-light environments, and their OV788 video signal processor for video compression, 720p HD video streaming, and AES-256 encryption over any Wi-Fi network, the system offers ‘instant-on’ crisp HD video and streaming capabilities in an extremely power-efficient, battery operated package.

Which is related to the
April 8, 2015: OmniVision and VIA Announce Partnership to Develop Battery-Powered Wireless HD Video Monitoring Solution news release as well

Customizable Android™ Based Reference Design to Accelerate Time to Market, Optimize Home and Small Business Monitoring Systems

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 6, 2015 — OmniVision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, and VIA Technologies, Inc., a leader in embedded IoT and M2M platform innovation, today announced a partnership to develop a battery-powered high definition (HD) video monitoring solution that enables OEMs to dramatically reduce time-to-market for wireless multi-node monitoring systems in homes and small businesses.

“This partnership between OmniVision and VIA Technologies exemplifies both companies’ desire to meet the rapidly growing demand for turnkey solutions that can give OEMs the ability to quickly and cost-effectively bring innovative smart devices to market,” said Paul Gallagher, senior director of marketing at OmniVision. “By offering ‘instant-on’ crisp HD video and streaming capabilities in an extremely power-efficient, battery operated package, OmniVision’s OV9712 and OV788 video signal processor together provide excellent capabilities for the advanced solution now under development.”

“By combining OmniVision’s industry-leading imaging technologies with VIA’s advanced video processing technologies and embedded Android system design capabilities, we have produced a highly competitive turnkey solution,” said Epan Wu, head of VIA Embedded. “We look forward to collaborating with OmniVision and driving the development of new and innovative technologies for the rapidly growing market for home and commercial monitoring systems.”

Utilizing the OV9712 CameraChip™ sensor developed with OmniVision’s proprietary OmniPixel3-HS™ high sensitivity pixel technology, the solution will be designed to achieve excellent scene reproduction in both extremely high- and low-light environments. The OV9712 will operate in conjunction with OmniVision’s ultra-low power OV788 video signal processor. That processor will provide video compression, 720p HD video streaming, and AES-256 encryption over any Wi-Fi network, thus allowing users to quickly stream high quality video content using the video monitoring solution.

About OmniVision

OmniVision Technologies (NASDAQ: OVTI) is a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions. Its award-winning CMOS imaging technology enables superior image quality in many of today’s consumer and commercial applications, including mobile phones, notebooks, tablets and webcams, digital still and video cameras, security and surveillance, entertainment devices, automotive and medical imaging systems. Find out more at: www.ovt.com

About Nacsa Sándor

Lazure Kft. • infokommunikációs felhő szakértés • high-tech marketing • elérhetőség: snacsa@live.com Okleveles villamos és automatizálási mérnök (1971) Munkahelyek: Microsoft, EMC, Compaq és Digital veterán. Korábban magyar cégek (GDS Szoftver, Computrend, SzáMOK, OLAJTERV). Jelenleg Lazure Kft. Amire szakmailag büszke vagyok (időrendben visszafelé): – Microsoft .NET 1.0 … .NET 3.5 és Visual Studio Team System bevezetések Magyarországon (2000 — 2008) – Digital Alpha technológia vezető adatközponti és vállalati szerver platformmá tétele (másokkal együttes csapat tagjaként) Magyarországon (1993 — 1998) – Koncepcionális modellezés (ma használatos elnevezéssel: domain-driven design) az objektum-orientált programozással kombinált módon (1985 — 1993) – Poszt-graduális képzés a miniszámítógépes szoftverfejlesztés, konkurrens (párhuzamos) programozás és más témákban (1973 — 1984) Az utóbbi időben általam művelt területek: ld. lazure2.wordpress.com (Experiencing the Cloud) – Predictive strategies based on the cyclical nature of the ICT development (also based on my previous findings during the period of 1978 — 1990) – User Experience Design for the Cloud – Marketing Communications based on the Cloud
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