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Allwinner in mainland China moved first to quad-core Cortex-A7 with the A31 SoC introduced with the launch of the first two tablet products, Onda V972 and V812, on December 5, 2012 (and delivered from December 24, 2012 on in mainland China). That prompted a direction only reaction that Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market and China [Dec 9, 2012]), with sampling just planned for Q2’13 and only now publishing a completely redesigned 2013 roadmap according to Qualcomm moving ahead of Allwinner et al. in CPU and GPU while trying to catch up with Allwinner in Ultra HD [Jan 12 – Feb 20, 2013]. The #2 SoC vendor MediaTek from Taiwan had already plans to move to Cortex-A7 so was able to react much more quickly with 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]. Such a delivery first happened with Micromax A116 in India (from February 14, 2013 on) which targeted the delivery of Samsung Galaxy Grand (from January 21, 2013 on) based on a very much ‘2012 vintage’ SoC from Broadcom still using a dual core Cortex-A9 driven CPU.
So here we have an interesting possibility of comparing a ‘2013 vintage’ (quad-core Cortex-A7 at 28nm etc.) phablet solution with a ‘2012 vintage’ (dual core Cortex-A9 at 40nm LP etc.) one. In addition from a vendor (MediaTek) trying to agressively conquer the global market after the Greater China one by going against the global #1 heavyweight Samsung. Such an analysis would, no doubt, reveal quite interesting facts not only about the current state of the market but about the future market as well.
First here is an overall comparison video from India:
Micromax Canvas HD A116 VS Samsung Galaxy Grand – Gaming, Benchmarks, Camera, Performance, Display [intellectdigest YouTube channel, Feb 16, 2013]
Next there is a detailed specification comparison is in the table somewhat below.
Before that, however, note that to do such a comparison one needs to invest more than one day of time which shows quite well that in the consumer computing space customers will hardly be able to recognize the really deciding differentiators(in the same way as this happens with consumer products in general). I am particularly dismayed by the fact that even from such a table one will hardly recognize the most important differentiator that from power consumption point of view the Galaxy Grand is ways better that the Micromax A116 (440 hours of standby time vs. 174 hours, and 10 hours 10 minutes of talk time vs. 5 hours).
Then the display quality difference discussed first in the above video is far less than one would conclude from the below table (TFT LCD at 800×480 resolution on Grand and IPS at 1280×720 on Micromax A116) as evidenced by the excerpted video image included below (taken az [1:15] with A116 on the left and Grand on the right, for both the brightness set to maximum for the comparison). One of the reasons for that is the mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) technology from Samsung going back to 2003 with TVs. In fact MediaTek just now came up with a kind of similar technology of its own (see in the end of Section 1) called MiraVision. Immediately after that (in the whole Section 2) I included all available material about both the mDNIe and its “parent from TVs”, DNIe in order to make possible to understand the maturity of Samsung solution vs. the MediaTek one. And there are definitely other “tricks” (additional layers etc.) which are also essential for making the Grand screen a true masterpice of display engineering.
Click on the image below or this link in order to go to a clickable version of the table!
Click on the image above or this link in order to go to a clickable version of the table!
Finally, in addition to the already mentioned first two sections of the detailed analysis there is a Section 3 in the end devoted to the Broadcom SoC technology used in the Samsung Galaxy Grand
More information for this introductory part:
– Micromax Canvas HD A116 [Micromax microsite, Feb 13, 2013]
– MediaTek High Performance Quad Core Solution Empowers Micromax A116 Canvas HD [MediaTek press release, Jan 22, 2013]
– Micromax Canvas HD demo Video [micromaxtube YouTube channel, Feb 19, 2013]
– Micromax launches Canvas HD to strengthen phablet leadership [Micromax press release, Jan 21, 2013]
… it is the ideal phone for the young generation who is always on the lookout for better, faster and savvier smart phones on the go!
Commenting on the launch and association with MediaTek, Mr. Deepak Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer, Micromax said, “At Micromax, we constantly strive to innovate and develop great technological experiences for our consumers. Today’s launch marks our association with MediaTek to bring forth our first quad core phone in this segment, offering consumers a great user experience with latest features and added functionality.” He further added, “We are excited with the success of Canvas 2, which has clearly established Micromax as number one player in the new 5” phablet category in India. We are looking forward to similar success with the new phone being unveiled today.”
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Finbarr Moynihan, General Manager – Business Development at MediaTek, said, “In less than 2 years of launching our first smartphone chipset, MediaTek’s shipments in this category have grown more than ten times, with 110 million units in 2012. As the world’s first commercialized quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC, the MT6589 is an innovative solution that accelerates product development, simplifies differentiation, and offers the best possible experience that mid to high-end smart device owners desire. Micromax shares our core philosophy of pushing the bar on innovation and bringing it within the reach of the masses. We are delighted that India’s leading youth mobile brand has chosen MediaTek to power its top-end mobile smartphones.”
About Micromax [the 12th largest handset manufacturer in the world]:
Micromax started as an IT software company in the year 2000 working on embedded platforms. In 2008, it entered mobile handset business and by 2010 it became one of the largest Indian domestic mobile handsets company by offering unique affordable innovations. … The brand’s product portfolio embraces more than 60 models today, ranging from feature rich, dual – SIM phones, 3G Android smartphones, tablets, LED televisions and data cards. The company has many firsts to its credit when it comes to the mobile handset market including the 30-day battery backup, dual SIM phones, QWERTY keypads, dual reception mode handsets, universal remote control mobile phones etc. Micromax has presence in more than 500 districts through 100,000 retail outlets in India. The company has global business presence spread across Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Maldives, UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan and Brazil.
– Samsung Galaxy Grand (i9082) full review hands on video [mobiscrub YouTube channel, Feb 4, 2013]
[2:06] The display of the Grand is a 5 inch Super Clear LCD with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. When compared to the Super AMOLED screen in the Galaxy Note II or the S III, the screen does look less saturated, however, color rendition is great & looks very natural. Wide viewing angles & good outdoor visibility lets you watch movies & read content easily. [2:42]
The Galaxy Grand camera is an 8 MP sensor with autofocus & LED Flash. The camera also features BIS (Backside Illumination Sensor) which basically takes great shots even in low light condition. The shutter speed of the Galaxy Grand camera is quite nice as well but not as fast as the Note II or the S III.
Much of the smart features in the Galaxy Grand resemble to those found in the S III & Note II such as: Multi window, Smart Rotation, Smart Stay, Smart Alert, Direct call & pop up play. Obviously there is no S Pen included with the Galaxy Grand, that differentiates from the smartphone beast, the Note II.
– Samsung GALAXY Grand [Samsung Mobile Press announcement, Dec 18, 2012]
– Samsung Unveiled GALAXY Grand [Samsung Tomorrow Global, Dec 18, 2012]
– Galaxy Grand GT-i9082 [Samsung India microsite, Jan 22, 2013]
– Samsung Galaxy Grand Redefines Smartphone Experience for All [Samsung India press release, Jan 22, 2013]
Even though it supports a massive 5.0″ screen with WVGA TFT display powered with mDNIe [mobile Digital Natural Image engine]technology, the device is incredibly slim and comes with an ergonomic design which makes is comfortable to hold. The vivid display provides an expansive viewing experience rendering messaging, multimedia and Web content in brilliant color and clarity.
Samsung GT-i9082 Galaxy Grand [Duos]
– Micromax Canvas HD A116 Detailed In Depth Video Review And Comparison With Galaxy Grand [Intellect Digest, Feb 17, 2013]
– List of Top 5 Phablets under Rs 20k – Feb 2013 [My PhoneFactor.in, Feb 20, 2013]
– Micromax A116 Canvas HD performance review vs. other quad-core phones [Thinkdigit, Feb 15, 2013]
Section 1 MT6589
Quad-Core Cortex-A7 1GHz+CPU Smartphone Platform [MediaTek product page, Dec 27, 2012]
The world’s first commercialized quad-core SoC available for mid to high end smartphone and tablets market
The Coolest quad core solution- MT6589 is the world’s first commercialized quad-core SoC (AP+BB) available for mid to high end smartphone and tablets market, the MT6589 integrates a power-efficient Cortex™-A7 CPU subsystem from ARM, PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies, and MediaTek’s advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem. The MT6589 is delivered in advanced 28nm process technology, creating a universal platform that delivers powerful performance at a very competitive price.
Innovative, Advanced Dual-SIM solution
Dual-SIM and Dual-Active functionality frees users to seamlessly make and receive calls on two SIM cards at the same time.
High-end Multimedia Capabilities
13MP camera with integrated ISP, 1080p playback and recording at 30fps, and enhanced image processing for DTV-grade image quality
Full HD (1920×1080) [1080p] LCD support for razor sharp visuals
Best-in-class MediaTek Technology
Integrated leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo, providing 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM radio
MT6589 – The Coolest Quad-Core SoC Platform – Thermal Benchmark [mediateklab YouTube channel, Dec 28, 2012]
– MediaTek Strengthens Global Position with World’s First Quad-Core Cortex-A7 System on a Chip – MT6589 [MediaTek press release, Dec 11, 2012]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, announced the launch of the MT6589, the world’s first commercialized quad-core System on a Chip (SoC), available for mid to high-end Android smartphones and tablets worldwide. The new quad-core SoC integrates MediaTek’s advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem, a power-efficient quad-core Cortex™-A7 CPU subsystem from ARM, PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies, and is delivered in 28nm process technology. As a leader in Dual-SIM technology, the MT6589 is also the world’s first HSPA+ smartphone platform supporting Dual-SIM, Dual-Active functionality to address increasing multi-SIM demand around the world. The integration of these compelling features makes the MT6589 a universal platform that delivers premium multimedia capabilities with extremely low power consumption for an outstanding user experience. It also enables handset makers to reduce time to market, simplify product development and manage product differentiation in a more cost effective way, for any market worldwide.
The MT6589 also supports Miracast™ technology for multi-screen content sharing and pre-integrates MediaTek’s leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo, which supports 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM.
The MediaTek MT6589 is currently being incorporated into smart devices by MediaTek’s leading global customers, and the first models based on this new chipset are expected to ship commercially in Q1 2013.
– Lenovo S3000 uses MediaTek quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 [Charbax YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
– MediaTek Powers Lenovo’s Premium Multimedia IdeaTab S6000 Tablet [MediaTek press release, Feb 25, 2013]
This year, at Mobile World Congress, MediaTek’s quad core SoC will be powering three new Android tablets launched by Lenovo, led by the Lenovo IdeaTab S6000. Built on the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, the S6000 is a sleek (8.6mm) and light (560g), 10” tablet which leverages quad-core processing to deliver performance, connectivity, and clarity.
Jeffrey Ju, GM of Smartphone Business Unit of MediaTek. “Our aim is to democratize the smartphone market by enabling the smart ecosystem to make high performance products at affordable prices for the mainstream market. This in turn will be the catalyst for the smart age as customers will demand greater device integration to share and view their entertainment and information seamlessly across multiple screens – requiring a sophisticated smart ecosystem that only MediaTek’s SoC total solutions can drive.”
– How MediaTek helps lower mobile device power consumption? [mediateklab YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2013]
– MiraVision makes Full-HD support for mobile devices a reality to everyone [MediaTek press release, Feb 25, 2013]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions announced today the availability of “MiraVision,” the world’s most comprehensive suite of display picture quality technology, for its smartphone and tablet platforms.
The joint hardware and software suite of display picture quality technology – MiraVision – aims to strengthen Mediatek’s leading position in the smart age, where consumers can expect the same, high quality of the visual experience across various display resolutions. Leveraging MediaTek’s leading display picture quality technology developed in digital TV (DTV), MiraVision is designed to deliver seamless full high-definition display picture quality on mobile devices. It empowers handset and tablets makers to provide the best visual quality on the mobile platform with reduced time to market, simplified product development and differentiation for consumers everywhere.
MiraVision is equipped with specific features that enable users to enjoy DTV-grade display picture quality on their mobile devices. With MiraVision, contents will be displayed more vivid and saturated with more details, providing a far richer and more colorful viewing experience previously only available on a high-end DTV. Furthermore, specifically tailored for mobile devices, the all-important power efficiency has been addressed and boosted through the Ambient-Light Adaptive Luma (AAL) technology, which intelligently adjusts the panel backlight in response to the ambient light intensity and the displayed contents to simultaneously optimize battery life and viewing experience. The combination of enhanced sharpness, richer color and adaptive Luma technology means true seamless quality across multiple devices is closer than ever before.
“The future is more than just TVs or smartphones alone,” commented Jeffrey Ju, GM of Smartphone Business Unit of MediaTek, “our focus is on innovative solutions that enhance the chip, driving speed to market at premium performance up for our customers while ensuring the seamless cross-screen experience across the array of devices through which users are consuming entertainment and information. We are proud to be the one who can truly integrate technologies of DTV and mobile phones/tablets in the smart age, making the premium cross-screen experience real to everyone in every market.”
This background technology from MediaTek is also available to the MT6589 as evidenced by [2:00 – 3:00] time fragment of this recorded video (at [0:56] it is explicitly said: “Miravision engine which has been included in the new MT6589 quad-core SoC”):
MiraVision: world’s leading digital TV-grade picture-quality engine for mobile devices [mediateklab YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2013]
Section 2 Samsung mDNIe [mobile Digital Natural Image engine]
Mobile Digital Natural Image Engine – mDNIe [Read a tech, June 12, 2010]
Samsung Wave display features Samsung’s mDNIe – mobile Digital Natural Image engine technology, borrowed from Samsung’s latest LCD TV and LED TV products, says the company. The mDNIe technology is said to offer better viewing angles and “super fast response.” The Wave’s display is also touted for its tempered glass and anti-smudge surface.
The Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. DNIe improves contrast, white level, picture detail and incorporates digital noise reduction to improve lower quality video inputs. The 3-line digital comb filter constantly analyzes the three dimensions of picture height, picture width, and picture changes-over-time to dramatically reduce edge image artifacts while improving transition detail. Samsung’s Cinema Smooth 3:2 pull-down film mode corrects for the artificial frames created when films are converted to DVDs. The result is a clearer image without the subtle motion artifacts caused by 24-to-30 frames per second video conversion.
Samsung’s DNIe™ technology offers digital perfection in naturally presented, crystal-clear images that uncover even the most minute detail.
Motion Optimizer: The visual data are automatically broken down into signal and noise and adjusted through a combined spatial/temporal process to eliminate noise and blurring without the slightest damage to the original signal. This guarantees the viewer a picture of astounding sharpness, whether the scene is still or moving.
Contrast Enhancer: DNIe has done away with the unwanted side-effects that conventional contrast enhancement can produce, such as noise boost-up and flicker by developing an algorithm that recognizes over 1 million criteria for applying contrast. Its detail contrast enhancement technology can automatically analyze up to 70,000 local images within a frame, treating the viewer to a picture rich in contrast even in the tiniest details.
Color optimizer: For each scene the color optimizer calculates the saturation of red, green, and blue in the input signal and adjusts it to the shades that the human eye accepts as natural. Even a conventional process like white tone enhancement produces more striking results when when used with DNIe. The end result is a palette of vivid hues and pure white tones to satisfy the most discerning viewers eye.
Detail enhancer: Many viewers complain of the unnatural effect that conventional uniform detail enhancement produces by relying on artificial amplification of the input signal. In contrast, DNIe automatically analyzes the portion to be amplified, detecting and re-processing any noise or defect to bring the viewer a startlingly sharp and lifelike image.
“Nature created DNA, but SAMSUNG developed DNIe.” Samsung Electronics Unveils New “Natural Image” Technology for Digital TV [Samsung press release, April 2003]
– Digital TVs with new DNIe technology are being put on the world market. DNIe technology can be applied to all digital TV types—LCD, PDP, projection or CRT.
– The cleanest and most natural images are produced under all viewing conditions.
– Samsung, which leads the world market in color TVs, TFT-LCDs, and color monitors, aims to do the same with digital TVs.
Samsung Electronics has developed the Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) that greatly improves the clarity and detail of images reproduced by color TVs. The company expects its technology breakthrough to elevate the Samsung brand the top of the rapidly growing world digital TV market.
On April 29, Samsung Electronics held a briefing on the new DNIe technology and digital TV business strategy. On display were PDP, LCD, projection and cathode ray tube (CRT) models supported by DNIe, which offers far greater image detail than conventional digital TVs. Samsung Electronics began its research project to improve picture quality back in 1996 and implemented it in stages. The first prototype digital TV with DNIe was ready last December. The technology can be used with all types of digital TVs to re-create natural colors that truly please. Last year, Samsung sold more color TVs than any other manufacturer, and now the company is ready to do the same in the digital TV market.
DNIe technology optimizes the moving picture image and color, while the contrast ratio and fine details are amplified. These four processes automatically and precisely capture broadcast signals in all formats, from analog to high definition. This high clarity, high detail image technology provides the best possible picture quality under all conditions.
Last December, Samsung Electronics completed development of the four processes. The next four months were applying the new technology to CRT TVs (29”-32”), DLP projection TVs (43” to 61”), CRT projection TVs (43” to 52”) PDP TVs (42” to 63”) and LCD TVs (32” to 40”) and commercializing the new products.
Significance of New DNIe Technology
Samsung Electronics’ high clarity, high detail image technology is the product of a determined effort to improve picture quality. This approach is far more than a simple picture improvement based on analog signal reception. Rather, the new technology produces complete image quality; any signal input comes out cleaner and more natural.
DNIe can completely eliminate blurring from movement or image prolongation. A deep contrast can also be achieved. What is more, the finest detail appears sharp, while the vivid natural color is most pleasing to the eye.
The Samsung Electronics briefing clearly demonstrated the superiority of the company’s latest technology over conventional technology. The company has received 85 foreign and domestic patents related to DNIe, including a basic technology patent for contrast reproduction.
DNIe Technology in a Nutshell
Samsung’s unique DNIe technology encompasses four functions that analyze all signal input, from analog to high definition, in stages. The volume of noise in the signal is detected and the signal level is classified according into analog, SD or HD and then optimized accordingly.
Motion Optimizer: Processes Noise More Completely than Ever Before
This noise processing technology integrates temporal and spatial concepts to ensure clear images even when the motion is very fast.
Contrast Enhancer: For a Deeper Contrast
This technology employs a contrast ratio of one million or more and a new algorithm that can reproduce the optimal contrast to provide a deep and rich image quality.
Detail Enhancer: Complete Images, True to the Finest Detail
A vastly improved technology for automatically analyzing the picture signal reproduces images in amazing detail, resulting in more lifelike video.
Color Optimizer: Vivid, Natural Colors
The video signals being generated are analyzed and the quantities of reds, greens and blues are calculated to provide the colors most natural to the human eye.
FAQs: What is DNIe [Samsung, Oct 10, 2012]
Samsung’s Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe TM) is a set of four advanced image processing technologies that makes digital TVs, including various types of displays such as LCD, PDP, projection, and CRT, produce the clearest, most detailed, and yet most natural-looking images ever.
The four technologies used by DNIe are:
Motion Optimiser: eliminates noise, even in moving pictures
Contrast Enhancer: increases the contrast
Detail Enhancer: sharpens pictures and makes details visible
Color Optimiser: provides natural and vibrant colours
The secret of DNIe TM begins with an Intelligent Analyser that analyses any kind of input signal to optimise the picture quality. By analysing the frequency characteristics of the input signal, the Analyser automatically detects the amount of noise in the signal, identifies the source level as analogue, SD, or HD, and even determines whether it has been scaled.
Through this analysis of the input signal at the first stage of the DNIe TM process, the Intelligent Analyser ensures that the optimal adjustments is made throughout the remaining four stages to the production of the final output.
DNIe technology is not only suitable for all usual input signals for television reception today, such as analogue, cable, satellite and digital, it also works with the input signals of DVD, camcorders and game computers.
DNIeTM R&D History
Progress in picture quality enhancement has been achieved through sustained research and investment at Samsung, beginning in 1996 with an independent project. In 1997, Samsung’s project developed a noise reduction function for the image enhancement of CRT TVs.
In 2000, Samsung embarked on a new picture quality enhancement project and confirmed its potential for production. By 2001, the fruits of these research efforts had laid the technological foundations for the birth of Samsung’s full-fledged image enhancement algorithm.
In March 2002, the basic version of Samsung’s unique DNIe technology was ready. At last it was possible to obtain optimal picture quality with signals ranging from RF all the way up to HD. The development of DNIe was completed by 2002, and early 2003 this radical new technology caught the eye of the world in a successful demo at a show in Las Vegas.
For more information on (DNIe) Digital Natural Image engine click Here
DNIe – Digital Natural Image engine [Birds-Eye.Net, Apr 3, 2011]
DNIe, or Digital Natural Image engine, is a “natural image” technology introduced by Samsung in 2003. Originally developed as part of a concerted effort by Samsung to improve television picture quality on non-high-definition-televisions, the DNIe chip is now used in Samsung’s plasma and high definition televisions (HDTV). DNIe makes input signals sharper, clearer and more lifelike. Its advanced image processors help to create true-to-life colors and high contrast, while pretty much eliminating digital artifacts.
DNIe offers better detail than conventional televisions by using four proprietary processes that optimize and enhance image quality and sound: a Motion Optimizer that is a noise processing technology used to eliminate blurring and noise in fast moving images and thus producing a more natural-looking motion; a Contrast Enhancer that offers rich details and image quality through brightness and contrast levels that are enhanced for deeper, richer blacks with greater detail, and more natural whites; a Detail Enhancer that automatically analyzes the picture signal elements in order to produce sharper detail, clearer image separation and more natural edge transition; and a Color Optimizer that analyzes the video signals being generated so that the quantities of reds, greens, and blues are calculated to provide colors with a more lifelike realism, where whites are more accurate, and skin tones are given a more natural hue. DNIe also offers Samsung’s patented “My Color Control” technology that the user to control specific colors without affecting the whole screen, providing six color-control selections: white, red, pink, yellow, green and blue, so the user can adjust a color to their liking.
Other Related Definitions for DNIe
“The secret of DNIe TM begins with an Intelligent Analyzer that analyzes any kind of input signal to optimize the picture quality. By analyzing the frequency characteristics of the input signal, the Analyzer automatically detects the amount of noise in the signal, identifies the source level as analogue, SD, or HD, and even determines whether it has been scaled.” [Samsung]
“The SAMSUNG DNIe vision is an image enhancement algorithm with remarkable engines that work in tandem and individually to improve the visual quality. This technology from SAMSUNG that spells the end of conventional television.” [Samsung]
“SAMSUNG’s DNIe Pro (Digital Natural Image engine) ensures the clearest, most natural images imaginable. Colour and motion are optimised and the contrast and detail are enhanced to ensure unprecedented image quality.” [Samsung]
“Samsung’s proprietary technology, DNIe – Digital Natural Image engine – is the secret to stunning HDTV picture quality. DNIe optimizes six different elements of image quality such as color balance, sharpness, and motion to reproduce the most life-like and vibrant picture throughout Samsung’s broad portfolio.” [Samsung]
“DNIe generally improves most HD and DVD content with a few exceptions, but it’s a mixed bag with NTSC sources. Many HD and DVD images are made sharper with DNIe, contrast is improved, and color accuracy is enhanced in many scenes.” [Extremetech.com]
“DNIe is Samsung’s image “enhancement” engine…On the surface these claims sound great, but on closer examination most of these features are either impossible (6 times density enhancer) or undesirable (dynamic contrast ratio). For every image DNIe makes better there are two images that it makes worse. There is no way these sets can hold a calibration with DNIe enabled. If accuracy is desired DNIe should be turned off and left off. On the HLP DNIe can be easily disabled in the user menu. It should be noted that there are a few models of Samsung DLPs (notably the HLR series) that have DNIe permanently enabled. Before purchasing a Samsung display I would make sure that DNIe can be toggled from the user menus.” [Gadgetbench.com]
“DNIe is a video enhancer that makes the picture more colorful and lifelike. You can tell too. In the DNIe product demo, the screen is split – one side shows natural footage, the other shows DNIe enhanced footage. The difference is remarkable. The natural footage is boring and robbed of color while the DNIe footage is bright and crisp. The user controls when DNIe is used, which is good because not everyone will want enhanced video all the time – like an editor previewing footage to see what color correction is required.” [Matthew Torres]
Links Related to DNIe
Nature created DNA, but SAMSUNG developed DNIe – Samsung Electronics Unveils New “Natural Image” Technology for Digital TV
What is DNIe? – Digital Natural Image engine
Technical Resources for DNIe
Feel the DNIe – Video demo of DNIe and Technical Information
Blogs about DNIe
Samsung Village – Official Samsung blog for news and inside stories
Books about DNIe
Digital Video and HD, Second Edition: Algorithms and Interfaces (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics) – by by Charles A. Poynton
Global Marketing Management – by Kiefer Lee and Steve Carter
Smartphone HSPA+ Platform (from 2013 Products of Broadcom [Feb 8, 2013]):
- BCM28145: 720p 4G HSPA+ Smartphone Processor
BCM28155: 1080p 4G HSPA+ Smartphone Processor
Broadcom CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jan 29, 2013]
Scott A. McGregor – Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Samsung launched the Galaxy Grand, Grand Duos, and Galaxy S2 Plus, leveraging our complete Android platform, which includes our 3G cellular SOC and wireless connectivity.
We also have more than 40 designs in process in China on our turnkey reference platforms. Our technology mix is trending to HSPA+ dual core application processors and additional connectivity, features which command a meaningful ASP premium.
The Galaxy Grand, for example, includes Broadcom’s dual core SOC NFC controller, connectivity combo with built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and FM, RF transceiver, power management, and GPS.
Robert Americo Rango, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile and Wireless Group:
Broadcom’s focus is on 3G and 4G. The reason we’re focused on 3G is because we see the 3G market continuing to grow. We see it being very important for emerging markets. And we see the 3G market taking over the feature phone market going forward. So for emerging markets, our focus is on 3G. And then the 4G market, of course, for developing regions like the U.S. Big investment in 4G, a lot of progress to report, and I’ll get into this in my presentation. So focused on both because these — this is where the growth is, and this is where the action is in the market.
So 2 years ago, we had one 3G smartphone SoC. That was the 21553. And you can see that’s the 7.2-megabit modem, single-core device. It could address screen sizes, say, from 3 to 3.5 inches. And this was the device that last year I talked about that powered the Samsung GALAXY Y, which was one of the most popular smartphones in India. Now, over the last year, we added 2 chips that we announced earlier this year, the 21654 and the 28145. We switched from 65-nanometer to 40-nanometer, and we went from single core to dual core. So — and you can see that it helped us address a bigger part of the market. We were able to move up to the 4- to 5-inch phone screen size.
Now today, with the announcement of the 21664 and extension of the 28145 to the 28155, we now have a full family of solutions on 3G. We can cover anything from 3 inch, all the way up to 7 to 10-inch, which would be a tablet. More interesting actually is the 5 to 7-inch category, because the phablet is growing at a 93% compounded average growth rate. And phablets turn out to be one of the biggest growth areas for phones in Asia, okay? So Broadcom has the ability now to address this entire market. And again, why is that important? Because once a customer invests in one of these chips and picks up the Broadcom software suite for one, it can quickly be applied to an entire family of products.
Now, again, 3G market is very competitive. We all know that 3G is probably the most competitive segment out there. The reason that we can win is because we have a family of devices here that offer different feature points, different cost points and allow us to make money at these various cost points, okay? So a full range of 3G for all of the segments is now complete.
Now, let me highlight one other point. So 82% of the volume is in this 5-inch and below, but I did mention the phablet being an important segment.
Now, let me highlight our multimedia capability. I just wanted to compare the 28155 on the right to the HTC One X on the left. So HTC One X is a phone you can buy today. HTC One X is the phone that has been touted to have a lot of multimedia capability, world-class imaging, world-class image signal processing. This is the post-processing that goes on, on the pictures to make the pictures look good. A console gaming capability, good browsing experience, a 720 HD screen, Miracast capability that I just described to you, this ability to beam videos from your phone to a TV as well as Wi-Fi Direct. All these are the multimedia capabilities touted by the HTC One X.
Now last year, I talked about the economics of the chips that we were announcing. For those of you who were here, I talked about how Broadcom’s ability to integrate with — change the economics of the smartphone business. And here’s a perfect example of how it changed it, okay? So HTC One X, tear it apart, what do you see inside? Three different chips. A thin modem chip, a quad-core application processor, discrete application processor, and a discrete ISP chip.
Tear apart one of our 28155 phones, what do you see inside? One chip, integrated modem, application processor, graphics and ISP. Okay. So I told you I would exemplify the power of the 28155, and I wanted to talk today about Samsung’s — Samsung is going to be announcing a series of phones based on Broadcom’s 28155 dual core HSPA+. I’m holding the first one in my hand. This is the GALAXY S II Plus, okay? And again if you look go back and look at the GALAXY S II, you’ll see a similar architecture, GALAXY S II Plus, based on 28155, is based on the Broadcom chip, the integrated chip. So those economics that I was talking to you about, they come to play right here with the Samsung GALAXY S II Plus. And in fact, there’s a series of phones that Samsung will be putting out based on the 28155 over the next couple of quarters.
So and then beyond that, what have we done in 2012? We’re working on customer diversity. And in order to achieve customer diversity in today’s 3G market, you need what’s called a turnkey device, a turnkey design. And you might ask what’s the difference between a turnkey and a reference design? Well, a turnkey is something that can quickly be put into production by a customer. So I’m holding up Broadcom’s 28155 turnkey design. And you can see it’s very thin, it’s very light, it’s the kind of phone that you’d want to carry with you. We have a design file that we can offer a customer. And it can reduce their investment from 6 to 9 months of time, down to 30 to 60 days. Where it used to take 200 to 300 engineers to put a design in production, now it’s something like 20 to 30 engineers because we’ve done the turnkey design. And this design is so complete, we have second-sourced the major components, the panel, the sensor, the memory, and we picked suppliers that are favorite suppliers for companies in China who are really building, taking advantage of these turnkeys. So what we’re doing is we’re enabling our handset companies to focus on what they do best, brand and distribution, and we focus on what we do best, which is engineering execution, okay? And we now have turnkeys for 21654, which is our single-core device, 40-nanometer single core; 21664, which is the part we just announced yesterday, which is our low-cost dual-core device, HSPA+ capable; and our 28155, which is what I’m holding up right now, which is our high-end dual core HSPA+ device. Okay.
So a lot of activity has been spawned by this — by these turnkeys and, again, this is a capability we’ve put in place in 2012. So it’s hard to measure the progress yet, but I tried to do that with this chart. And you can see, even in the short time that we’ve had the turnkey capability in place, the number of designs have gone up significantly, almost threefold. So significant number of designs that are currently going on, 15 from last year to 44. So you can see the power of the turnkey design because it enables companies — handset companies, to quickly adopt our platforms.
So talk some more about our expanding cellular SoC share. If you focus on that first row now, those are the phones that I’d like to highlight. Of course, I just mentioned the Samsung GALAXY S II, and I mentioned that there’ll be a series of phones based on Broadcom’s 28155 dual core HSPA+ coming from Samsung. The other phones you see here, GALAXY Chat, GALAXY Music, GALAXY Pocket Plus, are the beginning of a series of phones that are coming out on our single core HSPA+ device. And I’d also like to point to some of these interesting carrier-branded phones, okay? Kind of a blessing our 3G technology in the world’s biggest carriers: T-Mobile, with Concord, this is our first 3G phone in the U.S. market; Vodafone, with the Smart II and Orange. All phones based on Broadcom 3G SoCs, okay? And then all the phones in the bottom row, all in production still, all rolling along with our first 3G SoC, that’s the 21553 that I talked to you about last year. Samsung GALAXY Y is still selling like gangbusters along with a number of these Samsung smartphones in the developing countries, okay? So a lot of progress on 3G. And you can see a number of Chinese vendors on the chart, TCL, ZTE, G’FIVE, Sprocomm. Those are all customers and certainly, there’s other customers in China now working on our turnkey designs.
So exemplifying that growth we have in the 3G space, this chart shows that from Q3 2011, Q3 2012, we grew our 3G business 500%. Pretty big growth. More important to me though, is the market share that we command. You can see that Strategy Analytics has now recognized that Broadcom has 15% of the 3G/4G Android smartphone SoC ecosystem, okay? 15%. And we haven’t started shipping our 4G LTE solution yet, okay? So again, significant market share gains over the last 24 months in the most important ecosystem for us, which is Android, 15% market share.
… roughly 15 different customers that make up that 44. And if you talk about when products hit the market, I mean, I think, they’re starting — they’re going to start hitting the market in — over the next 3 months. …
… you’re asking, should I worry about the vertical integration at Samsung? And I think anything Samsung does on vertical integration only applies to one segment of their business. I mean, if you look at Samsung’s business, it’s very broad. Everything from entry-level smartphones, midrange 3G smartphones, 4G smartphones, they have a very broad portfolio. In order for them to make money in all these areas, they need chips that are optimized for each one of those segments. And I think I exemplified that with the 28155 for the GALAXY S II Plus. So I think the risk of vertical integration is kind of overblown because you just need to apply the best solution to the particular class of product you’re building. …
… we see Wi-Fi changing very rapidly and it will change even in the China market. So we don’t see the need to go integrate it. We believe the idea of having a connectivity island and a SoC island with app processor graphics and cellular modem, is the right partitioning for the next couple of years. …
My question is, I guess, is do you think your timing — it seems like now, you’ll really going to hit the market, 2014 is when you get any significant revenues. Is that — are you going to really miss out on the profit pools while you’re fighting it out at the — with MediaTek at the midrange and low-end, meanwhile your good buddies in Southern California capture all this profit and then use that to attack you elsewhere?
… if you look at the 3G space, it’s a lot more than just China. Right? I mean, I just showed you all the different phones from Samsung that are still coming out on 3G. So I do not believe that there’s not money to be made in 3G. Okay? Having said that, a big investment in 4G, absolutely recognize the importance. We’re moving very fast we have a big R&D investment in 4G. We think we’re going to get there in time to hit the sweet spot of the 4G market. And 4G will last for many years to come.
Can you talk a little bit about your position on the RF side of the equation? You’re building full turnkey solutions now, there’s a lot of complexity on the RF side of the handset and whether you have the applicable tool kit to do more integration on that side.
That’s an easy question because we have one of the world’s most capable RF teams in Broadcom. Broadcom pioneered CMOS RF, implementing RF in CMOS. And you can — as witnessed by our patent portfolio, which is second to none. We have a very capable team. The team has built RF chips for all of our devices. And I mentioned earlier that we sell more wireless chips with integrated RF than any company on the planet. So I’m very confident in the capabilities. They are doing the RF for all of our complete platforms that I showed you. So whether it’s 21553, 21654, 21664, 28155, those are complemented with Broadcom RF internal, 100% Broadcom IP. And again over the course of time, we can integrate all these IP into a single chip. That’s the reason these big OEMs, these big handset OEMs want to work with Broadcom because they know eventually all these connectivity pieces will integrate into a single connectivity island, and same thing with the baseband island.
As it relates to the wins that you had earlier this year with the single-core platform like let’s say for example going into Samsung, I think the rough dollar content is about $10 to $12. Because you’re not only supplying the baseband, you’re supplying the power management, RF, integrated connectivity. And I think you’ve told us before that as the team moves to the dual-core platform, very similar to the GALAXY S II plus announcement today, that it’s roughly about a $7 to $9 increase in dollar content. So first question is, is that still the case?
I think you’re asking is can our dual core — our 28155, for example, which is our high-end dual core, okay. As I mentioned, this is part that has integrated ISP. That’s the same ISP engine that Nokia used for their 41-megapixel camera that’s on board our 28155 device. We also have very high-end graphics on that device. The graphics on Broadcom 28155 rivals lot of the 4G SOCs that are out there. In fact, it surpasses a number of them, okay. So when you compare the price of that to the single core, absolutely the price delta would be in the range that you mentioned, okay, the ASP uplift.
And then the second question is, as a team rolls out the turnkey solution, my sense is that there is still a lot of customization that has to be done on the software and the firmware set for your customers.
… the idea behind the turnkey is not to have a lot of customization. The way that a company — a handset company could take advantage of our turnkey is to perhaps change the color, perhaps change the idea a little bit, but not change it. And that’s really what’s important. So there isn’t a lot of customization needed. We do all of the Android integration, all the tests. And we make sure all of the Android certification tests pass when we deliver that turnkey design. So if somebody wanted to put their own skin on top of it, we could do that, but would really prefer when it comes to the turnkey that they don’t touch anything, that they use this as their experience phone, if you will.
12 months from now, most of the growth of the smartphone market is coming from emerging markets, much lower-end mix, can you help me understand how that impacts the content, the pricing, the competitive landscape, the profitability? Is that China market really going to be it’s a Broadcom turnkey solution or it’s a MediaTek turnkey solution and whoever has that turnkey solution wins it all?
… first of all, every handset company, any smartphone handset company is — are spinning their 3G offerings today. So in order to — for them to take advantage of the growth in 3G, they’re all having to reduce their costs. They are all having to move to more integrated solutions. So I don’t see it as just a China play, okay. So I see it’s a worldwide event. And that certainly in China, I think the turnkey does help significantly because if you look at Tier 2s and Tier 3s in China, they don’t have as much engineering resource. So I do think it’s a big swing, an advantage to have a full turnkey and be able to supply this multi-sourcing capability to those Chinese customers. But again, the 3G turnover is going to happen across the world, not just in China.
Source: Broadcom 2012 Analyst Day Supplemental Content, Dec 6, 2012
Dual Core 720p/1080p HSPA+ Baseband Processors [Broadcom product page, Feb 24, 2012]
The BCM28145/BCM28155 HSPA+ baseband processors are highly integrated high-performance dual-core CPUs implemented in a cost effective 40 nm LP process that squarely targets today’s power-conscious mobile platforms. These devices, combined with their complete reference platform, provide system designers with everything needed to bring next-generation mobile devices to market while also providing an extremely flexible platform for application, video, and multimedia developers.
BCM28145/BCM28155 devices integrate high performance dual-core ARM® Cortex-A9 processors, each with a NEON floating-point SIMD processing engine. A powerful 2D/3D graphics engine, the latest audio codecs, and advanced video and image processing capabilities are all delivered by the integrated Broadcom VideoCore-IV® technology.
Advanced 2G/3G modem with support for 21/5.8 Mbps HSPA+ and Class 33 EDGE
Advanced applications processing subsystem
– Dual ARM cortex-A9 processors with NEON extensions, up to 1.2 GHz per core
– VideoCore-IV multimedia and imaging processor
– Support for 20-Mpixel imaging, 720p (28145) /1080p (28155) video capture and playback, and accelerated 2D/3D graphics
– Full integration of audio subsystem
High performance memory and peripheral interfaces
– 400 MHz LPDDR2 memory interface (single-28145, dual-28155)
– High-speed e.MMC/SD/SDIO and NAND interfaces
– CPI and MIPI® CSI-2 and MIPI DPI-2, DBI-B and DBI-C DSI serial camera and display interfaces
Source: Broadcom 2012 Analyst Day Supplemental Content, Dec 6, 2012
– Broadcom Introduces New Platforms Optimized for Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ Smartphones [Broadcom press release, Feb 27, 2012]
Single and Dual Core Processors with VideoCore® Technology Provide Premium Android Experience
Broadcom’s new family of 3G platforms will enable handset OEMs to affordably deliver a premium Android 4.0 user experience across multiple smartphone product tiers. The Broadcom® BCM21654G features a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, an integrated 7.2/5.8 Mbps HSPA modem and low-power VGA video support. The BCM28145 and BCM28155 include dual ARM Cortex A9 cores up to 1.3 GHz, 21/5.8 Mbps HSPA+ modems and HD 720p and 1080p, video respectively. All three chips were developed in an advanced, low power 40 nanometer process technology and are complemented by radio frequency (RF), power management unit (PMU) and an advanced connectivity suite for a complete system solution.
All three platforms are sampling to customers and expected to be in production in the second half of 2012.
Optimized for Superior Android 4.0 ICS Smartphones:
Broadcom’s industry-leading VideoCore technology offers a ‘third processing core’ to offload the application processor, enriching the Ice Cream Sandwich user experience with the industry’s lowest power HD playback and camcorder capabilities up to 1080p.
Low latency memory and bus architecture boosts overall system performance for a highly responsive user interface.
Highest quality imaging is provided by Broadcom’s latest Image Signal Processor (ISP) that supports cameras up to 42 megapixels, with very low light capabilities and wide dynamic range for the sharpest images.
Robert Americo Rango, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile and Wireless Group:
… Broadcom has been investing for many years, actually, since 2004 when we did an acquisition, in graphics. In fact, we call it VideoCore, and that, it’s maybe a misnomer, it should be called MediaCore because this dedicated IP block does graphics, it does image signal processing. When your image comes off the camera, you need to post-process it, that’s called image signal processing, okay? And it does video. So you can’t do those functions well with standard application processors. You need to do that with dedicated hardware, dedicated customized hardware, and that’s called VideoCore.
Source: Broadcom 2011 Analyst Day, Dec 14, 2011
Now let’s see how we do versus the industry’s competition. One of the most recognized benchmarks that’s out there is called Taiji. It’s the OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark most people will recognize as benchmark, as a very important benchmark. And what you see here is Broadcom versus Qualcomm versus TI. In fact, this TI chip, I think, is running the latest version of some of Ice Cream Sandwich phones that are out there. And you can see that Broadcom’s VideoCore is able to render over 50 frames a second while some of the competition can barely get to 30. And in fact, just another data point comparing Broadcom VideoCore 4, all this — again, this is a fair comparison because it’s comparing what’s in production to what’s in production. Our VideoCore 4 is in production in many different Nokia phones, smartphones. And Nokia’s multimedia experience is widely considered to be one of the best. Now comparing VideoCore 4, which again is in production, to one of Imagination’s latest IP cores, we’re 1/2 the power and 2x the performance.
So some of our competitors don’t have this IP. They go often license it from a company like Imagination. It sounds good on paper until you have a problem. And a customer calls you up and says, “Hey, this game, this Modern Warfare 3 won’t run,” and that company has to go call Imagination. Okay, Broadcom doesn’t have to do that. We’re a one-stop shop. All this IP that I’m talking about is owned and within Broadcom so I can walk down the hall, knock on the engineer’s door and say, “What were you thinking when you designed this?” and I usually get an answer very quickly. And I think that’s the respect we have with our customers, okay? We have the IP in-house. Okay, so the industry’s best graphics performance and power consumption. …
Broadcom Announces 1080p Multimedia Processor with Breakthrough Mobile Power-Performance [Broadcom press release, Dec 15, 2009]
New Broadcom® BCM2763 VideoCore® IV Processor Features 1080p Video, 20 Megapixel Photos and 1 Gigapixel Graphics in an Ultra-Low Power 40 Nanometer Design
Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced its next generation multimedia processor that delivers industry leading performance and lower power in the top multimedia categories for mobile devices. Using 40 nanometer (40nm) CMOS process technology, the new Broadcom® BCM2763 VideoCore® IV multimedia processor provides even higher integration, smaller footprint size and lower power consumption than 65nm designs.
With the higher integration and significant power savings from 40nm CMOS process technology, the BCM2763multimedia processor features the most advanced mobile high definition (HD) camcorder and video playback, up to 20 megapixel digital camera and photo image processing, and 1 gigapixel 2D/3D graphics rendering for a world-class gaming experience. HD video, 3D games and high resolution 20 megapixel pictures can be displayed at top quality on full-sized HD televisions and monitors using an on-chip industry standard HDMI interface. Additionally, the BCM2763‘s highly integrated architecture reduces bill-of-materials (BOM) cost to help drive sophisticated multimedia features into more affordable handsets.
The breadth and quality of Internet multimedia content is rapidlyimproving, with sites such as YouTube now supporting full HD 1080p video sharing. Consumers are also increasingly using cell phones as their primary digital camera and camcorder, which is driving demand for higher resolution and more sophisticated image processing which is currently only available on advanced standalone camcorders and cameras. Additionally, newer graphics-oriented user interfaces and mobile games now require enhanced graphics capabilities.
The new Broadcom BCM2763 VideoCore IV multimedia processor enables best-in-class performance in the following areas:
Full HD 1080p camcorder capabilities in a cell phone with significantly improved quality over current generation handsets (which generally have VGA or lower resolution camcorders).
Up to 20 megapixel digital camera with advanced features such as multiple shots per second, image stabilization, face and smile detection and panorama mode.
The ability to render mobile games natively at up to 1080p resolution, which in combination with an on-board HDMI output, allows a console-quality gaming experience on large screen HDTVs.
In addition to providing these capabilities on new handsets, the BCM2763 has improved power savings using a 40nm process without draining the battery or significantly reducing talk time. Additional ultra-low power consumption features include:
20% to 50% power reduction in comparison to the prior generation Videocore III multimedia processor.
4 to 6 hours of 1080p video recording and 8 to 10 hours of mobile playback, with up to 16 hours of full HD playback over HDMI given sufficient handset storage.
Only 490 mW of chip power is required for 1080p camcorder H.264 High Profile encoding and only 160 mW for 1080p playback.
Only 160 mW of power is required for mobile game graphics processing, supporting up to 1 gigapixel per second fill rates and improves graphics performance by a factor of 4x to 6x in comparison to the prior generation Videocore III multimedia processor.
The BCM2763 processor integrates the key functionality and components needed to drive advanced multimedia capabilities in new handsets. As a result of this high integration, the BCM2763 enables a lower overall BOM cost, enabling manufacturers to pass these lower costs on and introduce advanced features to lower tier phones than previously possible.
The BCM2763 integrates the functions of eight chips including GPU and graphics memory, image signal processing (ISP) and ISP memory, video processing and video memory, HDMI and USB 2.0. 128MB of LPDDR2 graphics memory is stacked in a single package.
The 40nm process enables reduced power, improved performance and reduced handset board space.
Benefiting from an existing VideoCore software code base and legacy architecture, manufacturers of phones and other consumer electronics devices can easily add these new VideoCore IV multimedia features to their products, allowing faster time-to-market.
Mark Casey, Vice President & General Manager, Broadcom’s Mobile Multimedia line of business.
“VideoCore IV is setting new benchmarks for performance, power consumption and affordability and is poised to drive advanced multimedia capabilities into new tiers of handsets. Supported by our comprehensive line of complementary cellular and connectivity solutions, our multimedia processor technology is the right choice for next generation mobile designs.”
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Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything®.
Broadcom is one of the world’s largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2008 revenue of $4.66 billion, and holds over 3,650 U.S. and over 1,450 foreign patents, more than 7,750 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, data and multimedia.
A FORTUNE 500® company, Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at +1.949.926.5000 or at www.broadcom.com.
Linux client market share gains outside the Android? Instead of gains will it shrink to 5% in the next 3 years?
The Linux Foudation quite proundly referred to ReadWriteMobile: The ‘Year of the Linux Desktop’? That’s So 2012 [Feb 3, 2013]
For those Linux enthusiasts still pining for the mythical “Year of the Linux Desktop,” the wait is over. In fact, it already happened. In 2012 Microsoft’s share of computing devices fell to 20% from a high of 97% as recently as 2000, as a Goldman Sachs report reveals [”Clash of the titans” downloadable from here, dated Dec 7, 2012]. While Apple has taken a big chunk of Microsoft’s Windows lead, it’s actually Google that plays Robin Hood in the operating system market, now claiming 42% of all computing devices with its free “Linux desktop” OS, Android.
Read more at ReadWriteMobile.
from which I will include here the following chart:
for which Goldman Sachs commented as:
The compute landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation over the last decade with consumers responsible for the massive market realignment. While PCs were the primary internet connected device in 2000 (139mn shipped that year), today they represent just 29% of all internet connected devices (1.2bn devices to ship in 2012), while smartphones and tablets comprise 66% of the total. Further, although Microsoft was the leading OS provider for compute devices in 2000 at 97% share, today the consumer compute market (1.07bn devices) is led by Android at 42% share, followed by Apple at 24%, Microsoft at 20% and other vendors at 14%.
Note from Goldman Sachs: Microsoft has gone from 97 percent share of compute market to 20 percent [The Seattke Times Dec 7, 2012]:
I asked Goldman Sachs about what happened in the 2004-2005 time frame — as seen in the above chart — that made Apple’s vendor share jump, Microsoft’s share plummet and the “other” category to go from zero to 29 percent. Goldman Sachs replied that it has to do with more mainstream adoption of non-PC consumer computing devices but declined to elaborate beyond that.
Microsoft was put into the “Challenged” category (along with Google BTW) by Golmann Sachs noting that:
… we estimate that Microsoft would have to sell roughly 5 Windows Phones or roughly two Windows 8 RT tablets to offset the loss of one traditional Windows PC sale, which we estimate has an overall blended selling price of $60 for business and consumer.
but a kind of more positive than negative outlook was predicted for the company by
… we expect the recent launches of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 tablets to help the company reclaim some share in coming years.
Apple, at the same time, was into the “Beneficiaries” category (along with Facebook and Samsung BTW) by Goldmann Sachs for the reason of:
… we believe loyalty to the company’s ecosystem is only increasing and this should translate into continued growth going forward. In particular, we see the potential for Apple to capture additional growth as existing iOS users move to multiple device ownership and as the company penetrates emerging regions with new devices such as the iPad miniAAPL and lower priced iPhones. As a result, we believe Apple’s market share in phones has room to rise much further, and that its dominant tablet market share appears to be more resilient than most expect. We expect these factors to continue to drive the stock higher.
This is, however, not going to happen if taking a judgement from the stock market reflections since then with 13.7% drop in Apple’ share price vs. that of Dec 7 (the report publishing date) and a whopping 34.5% drop vs. its last peak on Sept 19, 2012 (at $702.1):
source: Yahoo! Finance
Why Did $AAPL Stock Go Down After Beating Earnings Estimates And $AMZN Stock Go Up After Missing? [Techcrunch, Jan 29, 2013] had the following explanation:
The moves in different directions for Amazon and Apple have been about expectations and guidance. Wall Street has higher expectations for Apple and ‘different’ expectations for Amazon. Wall Street wants Apple’s ‘gross margins’ to grow. They don’t expect Amazon’s ‘profits’ to grow. It sounds silly, but if Apple has reported lower profits and a huge gross margin increase the stock might have shot up. If Amazon had reported record profits today on decreasing margins, Wall Street might have panicked.
Wall Street has stopped caring about Apple’s profits today. They were displeased with forward guidance. Growth rates have slowed measurably at Apple which is understandable for a company of its’ size. Wall Street is worried that growth is slowing and competition from Google and Samsung are taking a toll. Apple has given Wall Street so many wonderful surprises so magic has become the norm. Now that Apple is boring, they have run for the hills.
That moode didn’t change even after Apple CEO Tim Cook was trying to assure investors at the Goldman Sachs Internet and Technology Conference on Feb 12, just a week ago. Read the Wrap up: Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Goldman Sachs Conference keynote [AppleInsider, Feb 13, 2013] from which I will quote only the following excerpts as the most notable ones:
Cook went on to say that introducing a “budget device” was not something Apple would be comfortable with, and instead pointed to the strategy seen with the iPhone lineup. In that model, new variants like the iPhone 5 are sold at the highest price while preceding versions like the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are sold at discounted rates.
According to Cook, the iPad is “the poster child of the post-PC revolution” and has driving the push to tablets since its introduction in 2010.
While Apple’s tablet has been the downfall for a number of PC alternatives, such as netbooks, the device is also said to be hurting the company’s own Mac computer sales. During the last quarter of 2012, Mac sales dropped 22 percent year-to-year on low demand and supply constraints. Apple’s iPad business, however, grew by nearly 50 percent over the same period.
“The cannibalization question raises its head a lot,” Cook said. “The truth is: we don’t really think about it that much. Our basic belief is: if we don’t cannibalize, someone else will. In the case of iPad particularly, I would argue that the Windows PC market is huge and there’s a lot more there to cannibalize than there is of Mac, or of iPad.”
Cook noted that burgeoning markets like China and Brazil will be major players in future growth, and the company is banking on its ability to draw customers in to the Apple ecosystem with “halo products.”
“Through the years, we’ve found a very clear correlation between people getting in and buying their first Apple product and some percentage of them buying other Apple products.”
At the same conference Microsoft, similarly to Apple, declared a ‘no change’ strategy despite of the obvious failure of its Windows 8 and Windows Phone efforts so far. In the No “Plan B” for Microsoft’s mobile ambitions: CFO [Reuters, Feb 13, 2013] report one can read:
“We’re very focused on continuing the success we have with PCs and taking that to tablets and phones,” Microsoft’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said
“It’s less ‘Plan B’ than how you execute on the current plan,” said Klein. “We aim to evolve this generation of Windows to make sure we have the right set of experiences at the right price points for all customers.”
Gartner estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 900,000 Surface tablets in the fourth quarter, which is a fraction of the 23 million iPads sold by Apple. Microsoft has not released its own figures but has not disputed Gartner’s.
Windows phones now account for 3 percent of the global smartphone market, Gartner says, which is almost double their share a year ago but way behind Google’s Android with 70 percent and Apple with 21 percent.
To grab more share, Klein said Microsoft was working with hardware makers to make sure Windows software is available on devices ranging from phones to tablets to larger all-in-one PCs.
“It’s probably more nuanced than just you lower prices or raise prices,” said Klein. “It’s less a Plan B and more, how do you tweak your plan, how do you bring these things to market to make sure you have the right offerings at the right price points?”
So the last 3 months went against Goldmann Sachs’ November 2012 predictions. The only question now remains whether those 3 months brought any changes in the non-Apple and non-Microsoft territories which would question other parts of the Goldmann Sachs’ forecast as well?
There were no negative changes just strengthening of the already established dominant position against both Apple and Microsoft:
1. Mainstream tablets 7-inch at US$199, say Taiwan makes [DIGITIMES, Feb 19, 2013]
Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD have reshuffled the global tablet market and consequently 7-inch with a price cap of US$199 has become the mainstream standard for tablets, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
Cumulative sales of the Nexus 7 have reached six million and are expected to reach eight million units before the expected launch of the second-generation model in June 2013, the sources said. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire have driven vendors to develop inexpensive 7-inch tablet models instead of 10-inch ones, the sources indicated.
In order to be as reach US$199, 7-inch tablets are equipped with basic required functions such as access to the Internet and watching video, the sources noted. While Google, Amazon, Samsung Electronics and Asustek Computer are competitive at US$199 for 7-inch tablets, white-box or other vendors need to launch 7-inch models at lower prices such as US$149, the sources said. Fox example, China-based graphics card vendor Galaxy Microsystems has cooperated with Nvidia to launch a 7-inch tablet in the China market at CNY999 (US$160).
2. Digitimes Research: 68.6% of touch panels shipped in 4Q12 from the Greater China area [DIGITIMES, Feb 19, 2013] meaning that in supply chain terms there is a growing concentration on suppliers not only from Greater China but especially from mainland China:
Taiwan- and China-based touch panel makers held a 68.6% global market share for touch panels shipped during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Digitimes Research.
China-based panel makers saw the biggest share in the handset touch panel market during the fourth quarter due to smartphone demand in China, while Taiwan-based panel makers only held a 27.5% share in the market largely due to lower-than-expected sales of the iPhone 5, said Digitimes Research.
In terms of touch panels used in tablets, Taiwan-based panel makers saw a drop in their global market share to 59.9% during the period largely due to the iPad mini using DITO thin-film type touch screens provided from Japan-based touch panel makers. China-based panel makers meanwhile held 18.6% in the market due to demand for white-box tablets in China, added Digitimes Research.
Meanwhile, Digitimes Research found that Taiwan-based TPK provided 70.9% of all touch panels used in notebook applications in 2012.
3. Touch Panel Market Projected for a 34% Growth in 2013 from 2012 [Displaybank, sent in a newsletter form, Feb 19, 2013] published to promote Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013 [Jan 30, 2013]
The touch panel market is growing rapidly due to the increasing sale of smartphones and tablet PCs. The touch panel market size in 2012 was 1.3 billion units, a 39.4% growth over 2011. The market is projected to grow 34% in 2013, growing to more than 1.8 billion units.
Smartphone and tablet PCs, major applications that use touch panels, are expected to continue to grow at a high rate. In addition, most IT devices that use display panels have either switched to or will start using the touch panels soon. Therefore the touch panel market will show a double digit growth annually until 2016, by unit. The market size is expected to reach more than 2.75 billion units by 2016.
With the explosion in the sale of smartphones and tablet PCs during the past few years, our lives have changed dramatically. They are now common place in our lives, and have a huge influence in the IT industry in general. With the introduction of Windows 8 OS in October 2012, upsizing of touch panels has begun. The impact of this event on the immediate growth of the touch panel market and the long-term effect is so immense that it cannot be estimated at the moment.
The financial crisis that started in 2008 left much of the IT industry hobbling worldwide. But only the touch panel market is enjoying a boom. Many new players are pouring into the industry, and those on the sidelines are waiting for the opportune moment to enter. As more players enter the competitive landscape, touch panel prices are falling rapidly. In addition, to gain competitiveness and to differentiate itself in the market has led players to develop and improve structure, technique and process, and seek out new materials.
The introduction of Windows 8 is leading the increase in touch capable Notebook and AIO PCs. It is still too early for the touch interface to completely displace keyboard and mouse, but the touch functionality does add convenience to some operations. We are sure to see an increase in specialized apps that capitalize on such functions. Therefore, touch functions will complement traditional input methods. As the technology is still in early implementation stages, it is used only in select high-end Ultrabooks. But it’s only a matter of time before touch functions make its way to mid-end products.
Forecasting the future of touch panel industry is not only difficult, but also outright confusing in the current landscape due to the rapid expansion; the increase in number of devices that use touch panels; more players in the market; and rapid development of new products and new processes. In serving clients, Displaybank has released “Touch Panel Market Forecast and Cost/Issue/Industry Analysis for 2013” to provide industry outlook by application, product, and capacitive touch structure. The report also includes the supply chain of set makers and touch panel manufacturers; and cost analysis of major capacitive touch panels by size and type. This report will serve as a guide to bring clarity and understanding of rapidly transforming touch panel industry.
4. Cheaper components could allow 7-inch tablets priced below US$150, says TrendForce [DIGITIMES, Dec 14, 2012]
Viewing that Google and Amazon have launched 7-inch tablets at US$199, other vendors can offer 7-inch tablets at below US$150 only by adopting cheaper components, according to Taiwan-based TrendForce.
As panels and touch modules together account for 35-40% of the total material costs of a 7-inch tablet, replacing the commonly used 7-inch FFS panels with 7-inch TN LCD panels accompanied by additional wide-view angle compensation could save over 50% in panel costs, TrendForce indicated. In addition, replacing a G/G (glass/glass) or OGS (one glass solution) touch module with a G/F/F (glass/film/film) one, although inferior in terms of transmittance and touch sensitivity, can cut costs by about 70%. Thus, the adoption of a TN LCD panel and a G/F/F touch module for a 7-inch tablet could reduce material costs by about US$25, TrendForce said.
Given that the type of DRAM affects standby time only as far as user experience is concerned, costs can be reduced through replacing 1GB mobile DRAM priced at about US$10 with 1GB commodity DRAM priced at about US$3.50, TrendForce noted. As for NAND flash, 8GB and 4GB eMMC cost US$6 and US$4, respectively, and therefore the latter should be the preferred choice to save costs.
For CPUs, China-based IC design houses, including Allwinner Technology, Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics, Ingenic Semiconductor, Amlogic and Nufront Software Technology (Beijing), provide 40-55nm-based processors at about US$12 per chip which could be alternatives to chips used in high-end tablets which cost about US$24, TrendForce indicated.
While the sales performance of tablets below US$150 is yet to be seen, such cheap models are expected to put pressure upon China-based white-box vendors, and in turn intensify price competition in the tablet market in 2013, TrendForce commented.
5. Strong demand from non-iPad tablet sector to boost short-term performance of IC vendors [DIGITIMES, Jan 28, 2013]
Demand for IC parts from the tablet industry in China has been stronger than expected in the first quarter of 2013, which could help boost the short-term performance of IC design houses, while offsetting the impact of slow demand from China’s smartphone sector caused by high inventory levels, according to industry sources.
Entry-level tablets meet market demand in terms of pricing and functionality, particularly in China, said the sources, adding that demand for entry-level tablets in China and other emerging markets could top 4-5 million a month in 2013 compared to 2-3 million in the second half of 2012.
MediaTek, while seeing demand for its handset solutions from China decrease in the first quarter of 2013, has also enjoyed emerging IC demand from the tablet sector, with plans to release chipset solutions for the segment in the second quarter of the year, the source revealed.
Since the growth momentum for tablets in 2013 is expected to come from non-iPad vendors in China and other emerging markets, Taiwan-based suppliers of LCD driver, analog and touch-controller ICs as well as those of Wi-Fi, audio and Bluetooth chips will benefit from the trend thanks to cost advantages and strong business ties in these markets, the sources commented.
6. Allwinner A31 SoC is here with products and the A20 SoC, its A10 pin-compatible dual-core is coming in February 2013 [Dec 10, 2012] and The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs [Dec 4, 2012], both from my own separated trend tracking site devoted to the ‘Allwinner phenomenon’ coming from mainland China and having the potential of drastically altering the 2013 device market (not taken into account at all by Goldmann Sachs report):
that already resulted in huge growth of the mainland China Android tablet manufacturing in 2012, as well shown by this chart:which has already fundamentally affected the worldwide tablet market in 2012:
7. What Allwinner started in 2012 with the single core A10/A13 SoCs and which was further boosted by the quad-core Cortex-A7 A31 SoC on Dec 5, 2012 with the release of Onda V972 and V812 tablets (for US$ 208 and US$144 respectively) is an incredible strategic inflection point for the whole ICT industry, which ALL SoC vendors should compete with. Rockchip shown as the #2 on the mainland China market just followed the suite:
8. Now the most ambitious external challenger Marvell Announces Industry’s Most Advanced Single-chip Quad-core World Phone Processor to Power High-performance, Smartphones and Tablets with Worldwide Automatic Roaming on 3G Networks [press release, Feb 19, 2013] which is going to add to the competition the integrated on the SoC 3.5G modems:
Marvell’s PXA1088 is the industry’s most advanced single-chip solution to feature a quad-core processor with support for 3G field-proven cellular modems including High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+), Time division High Speed Packet Access Plus (TD-HSPA+) and Enhanced Data for GSM Environment (EDGE).
The Marvell PXA1088 solution incorporates the performance of a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 with Marvell’s mature and proven WCDMA and TD-SCDMA modem technology to provide a low-cost [elsewhere stated by Marvell that this SoC is for the phones space in the “$100 range”] 3G platform for both smartphones and tablets. The advanced application processor technology of the PXA1088 enables a breakthrough end user experience for multimedia and gaming applications with universal connectivity. Marvell’s complete mobile platform solution includes the Avastar® 88W8777 WLAN + Bluetooth 4.0 + FM single-chip SoC and the L2000 GNSS Hybrid Location Processor, and an integrated power management and audio codec IC.
Marvell’s PXA1088 is backward pin-to-pin compatible with its dual-core single-chip Unified 3G Platform, the PXA988/PXA986, enabling device partners to upgrade their next-generation mobile devices to quad-core without additional design cost.
Currently, the PXA1088 platform is sampling with leading global customers. Products based on this platform are expected to be commercially available in 2013 [elsewhere stated by Marvell that “We’ll start seeing PXA1088-based phones in the first half of this year”].
9. Yesterday we had two significant advancements described in the Ubuntu and HTC in lockstep [Feb 19, 2013] post here. Especially the Ubuntu related part is remarkable as first time we had a new platform which can span the whole spectrum of devices: from smartphones, to tablets, to desktops, to TVs – actually all from a smartphone capability expanded via docking and other means to a screen, to a TV, a keyboard, and a mouse. This is certainly an extreme case of the new Ubuntu capability which can have implementation in different devices as well. Even in that case, however, the source and binary codes could be the same. This is also cleverly using the already well established Android drivers and Android Board Support Package (BSP) infrastructure of the most cost-efficient ARM SoC vendors. Note that this is furthest from any “license violation” attacks as the original OHA terms and conditions are stating the Apache V2 licencing which:
The Apache license allows manufacturers and mobile operators to innovate using the platform without the requirement to contribute those innovations back to the open source community. Because these innovations and differentiated features can be kept proprietary … Because the Apache license does not have a copyleft clause, industry players can add proprietary functionality to their products based on Android without needing to contribute anything back to the platform. As the entire platform is open, companies can remove functionality if they choose.
10. Finally today came Google Glass: showing how radically the user experience might be changing in the next 2-3 years:
Conclusion: There are even more uncalculated by Goldmann and Sachs advancements in the non-Apple and non-Microsoft spaces than in Apple and Microsoft ones. Just in these 3 months! Therefore it would be ridiculous if Goldmann and Sachs’ “consumer compute platform share” forecast as shown in the chart above will be fullfilled!
Updates: Reflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]
E Ink and SiPix
Meanwhile, could color have anything do to do with E Ink’s recent announcement of its intention to acquire SiPix, whose microcup technology does show promise in that area? E Ink will certainly utilize SiPix’s color capabilities, says Sriram K. Peruvemba, Chief Marketing Officer for E Ink Holdings. Peruvemba characterizes that color as having “some of the same advantages as E Ink in that it is low power, sunlight readable, thin, light … .”
Beyond a doubt, one area of interest for E Ink is SiPix’s manufacturing capabilities. “SiPix’s factories, equipment, and infrastructure are relatively newer, which gives us greater flexibility and additional capacity as we seek new markets,” says Peruvemba. Among the markets that the potential acquisition will make more accessible, he says, are digital signage and smart cards.
When it comes to E Ink, it isn’t necessarily all about color, notes University of Cincinnati’s Jason Heikenfeld, who has served as a guest editor for Information Display (and is also a founder of e-Paper up-and-comer Gamma Dynamics, mentioned later on). “We should maintain excitement about the continued expansion of monochrome e-Paper products,” he says. “A quiet revolution continues to take place there. Color-video e-Paper will also have its day, but today we should be impressed with E Ink’s continued product growth and diversification.”
Any way you look at it, with E Ink, whose share of the e-Reader market is more than 90%, poised to acquire AUO subsidiary SiPix, further consolidation in the e-Paper market seems inevitable. At press time, E Ink had reached an agreement to acquire 82.7% of SiPix’s shares and was seeking to acquire up to a 100% stake, valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion [US$ 51.2 million]. [See: Complementary ePaper technology adds to E Ink’s portfolio of offerings [E Ink Holdings press release, Aug 3, 2012]] As DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza wrote in a recent blog, titled And Then There Was One – E Ink to Acquire SiPix, “Combined with Bridgestone’s exit [earlier this year] from the electrophoretic display (EPD) business, this means that E Ink, the first company to mass produce EPDs, will be the sole manufacturer of the technology.”
Yet, the e-Paper story isn’t all black and white. In the future, look for news from Liquavista (which Samsung acquired in January 2011) and Gamma Dynamics (a spinoff from the University of Cincinnati). Both companies have video-capable displays (Liquivista’s is based on electrowetting and Gamma Dynamics’s on electrofluidics) that are reported to show more vibrant color than previously available.
Meanwhile innovation in “color inking” is continuing as evidenced by Vivid e-ink makes ditching books a colourful choice [NewScientist, Sept 5, 2012]
… Naoki Hiji of Fuji Xerox in Kaisei, Japan, and colleagues have built a prototype system that uses tiny fluid-filled cells containing cyan, magenta, yellow and white particles to produce almost any colour.
Black-and-white e-ink displays work by having negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles suspended in fluid inside a cell. Apply a negative electrical field to the cell, and white particles move to the top and become visible; flip the current, and black shows up.
Hiji’s display uses the same principle, but each colour particle responds to a certain intensity of electrical field, while the white particles are uncharged (see diagram). …
No problem with reading on tablets over a long period of time [Eva Siegenthaler on IFeL bloggt, Sept 20, 2012]
“Tablets are not suited for reading over an extended period of time”; this statement is widespread. For example Scott Liu, head of the American-Taiwanese company E Ink Holdings, states that reading over an extended period of time on a Liquid Crystal display leads to increased visual fatigue. “The iPad is a fascinating multifunctional device, but not intended for hour-long reading” (stern.de). In comparison, E-ink readers, with their paper similar displays, are looked at as an adequate replacement for a book.
But is it true that the tablet is an inadequate device for reading over an extended period of time? Critical statements against the tablet as a replacement for the book are widespread but there is a lack of scientific evidence for these assumptions. For that reason, a study answering this question was implemented at the Institute for Research in Open- Distance- and eLearning (IFeL).
In a laboratory study, the participants read for several hours on either E-ink (Sony PRS-600) or LCD-Tablet (Apple iPad), where different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly (after each hour) recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour, and pupillary light reflex.
The results of the study show that reading on both display types is good and very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures. Participants did not have more visual fatigue when reading on a tablet than when reading on an E-ink device. We concluded from this study that it is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that is crucial for reading. The study shows that compared to the visual display units of past decades, recent electronic displays allow good and comfortable reading, even for extended time periods.
A few critical remarks still need to be made though. This laboratory study was conducted under artificial light conditions. Therefore it is unclear if an experiment under daylight conditions would lead to the same results. Another interesting question is how the sleep quality is influenced by different display technologies.
But still, the result of the study is an important novelty in reading research, and is opposed to many statements from publishers and subjective user self tests, that have stated that tablets are not appropriate for reading over a long period of time.
More information on the study is available online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x/abstract
Siegenthaler, E., Bochud, Y., Bergamin, P. and Wurtz, P. (2012), Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 32: 367–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x
Beyond the Kindle: what the future holds for E Ink [TechRadar, Sept 10, 2012]
IN DEPTH Ereaders for classrooms, smart locks and dual screen smartphones on the cards
“The ereader market has been tripling in volume since 2007 but not this year,” explained Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s chief marketing officer, to TechRadar.
“It is partly to do with tablets but the biggest reason is that the economy is off at the moment… we have also seen not as many product launches as last year and the year before.”
“We believe that E Ink will come to home appliances. We are thinking differently – we want E Ink on every surface.
“There are a lot of dumb surfaces around and by adding the E Ink technology we can transform them, by adding a display and making them smart.
“We are going to keep going in that direction, enhancing products. Whether it is animated shelf labels, USB keys… drills.”
“We create a lot of these concepts and some of them go nowhere, while some are picked up” – the company continues to create prototypes to show how versatile E Ink technology can be.
It also seems that sometimes an E Ink device created for one specific market may take on a wholly different guise when it is finally released in the wild.
“One concept that was picked up but not how we originally intended was our E Ink lock,” said Peruvemba.
“This was originally pitched as a bicycle lock, where it could tell you if your bike was locked properly or not. It’s very low powered, just an E Ink display with a hole in the middle. But it just didn’t get picked up; no one in the bicycle world wanted it.”
“And then a company called InVue decided to take it on and use it for cabinet displays, it’s virtually indestructible so no more broken keys – alleviating a problem that retailers have with their cabinets.”
This move away from ereaders doesn’t mean that E Ink is not innovating in the market it continues to dominate.
The latest kindle to be launched, the Kindle Paperwhite, shows that E Ink can compete with tablets when it comes to display.
Using E Ink’s Pearl technology and LED lighting it means you can use your Kindle in the dark, but still offer a screen that’s easier on the eyes – something tablets just can’t do.
One final place where we could see an E Ink screen is on the back of a mobile phone. Again, it’s E ink’s mantra of making a ‘dumb’ space smart. According to Peruvemba an additional screen on a mobile could be exactly what consumers need.
“Most of these mobile phones have nothing going on on the back.
“We can add another display at low cost on the back of the device and offer things like clocks, stock information.”
Peruvemba also hinted: “There are vendors looking into this technology – it is very new but typically we should see this type of concept come within the year.”
Looks like the world is going to be E Ink stained for some time to come.
E-Ink concept double-display smartphone hands-on [SlashGear, Aug 31, 2012]
… What could a twin-screen smartphone of this sort be used for? E Ink has a few ideas, though is leaving most of that to OEMs. An ereader app is the obvious choice, though you could also show a digital boarding pass for a plane (even if you had no battery life remaining on your phone to drive the regular screen), QR codes, or mapping directions. Alternatively, the panel could be used to show promotional information, such as vouchers for nearby stores, or even sponsored messages in return for free call, message and data credit. …
… In 2011 consolidated sales revenues totaled NT$ 38.43 billion [US$1.3 billion], a growth of 53% as compared to 2010. Profit after-tax totaled NT $6.53 billion [US$220.85 million] and EPS totaled NT$6.05, a growth of 59 percent as compared to 2010. … Scott Liu, the chairman of E Ink, said, “… in 2012 we expect to strengthen our competitiveness and continue development of both flexible and color ePaper technologies. Additionally, we expect a customer to launch a high-resolution product with touch technology within this year.”
As to market development, Liu said, “in addition to the eReader market, we are also actively expanding into the education and business markets. …”
Today E Ink also announced the launch of a new global website, www.einkgroup.com, which provides product, technology and operational information for all of the companies under the E Ink umbrella.
Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink Holdings, said: “As our businesses expand and products become diversified, we are keenly aware of the importance of integrating our internal resources globally. This is why we decided to launch einkgroup.com as the portal of E Ink Holdings around the globe. This website provides information of product and technology of E Ink Holdings, in which browsers can easily find the information they need.”
Visitors to the site will find a consolidated location to browse the technology, product offerings and company backgrounds for the organizations under the E Ink Holdings umbrella. The site will host the Investor Relations portal for E Ink Holdings, as well as sales and marketing information. In addition to their inclusion in the new website, product line websites, such as www.eink.com and www.hydis.com will continue to host information particular to their technologies and job offerings.
Shares of E Ink under pressure amid market uncertainty [Focus Taiwan of the CNA, Feb 23, 2011]
“Despite record high earnings for 2011, E Ink’s gross margin has been squeezed by price cuts by the Kindle series of e-paper devices of Amazon, which is the largest customer of the Taiwanese firm,” Mirae Asset Management analyst Arch Shih said.
“With market uncertainty expected to continue to impact product prices, I am afraid that E Ink’s profit margin will keep falling in the first quarter of this year,” he said.
In the fourth quarter of last year, E Ink’s gross margin fell 6.8 percentage points to 28.6 percent, while it posted NT$1.28 billion in net profit, or NT$1.19 per share, down from NT$2.08 recorded in the third quarter.
… “Amazon has tried its best to stage a price war in a bid to grasp a larger market share, and at the same time, it has cut contract production fees to its suppliers like E Ink,” Shih said. “This development has imposed a pressing threat to E Ink’s operations.”
“Share prices tend to reflect forward-looking prospects, so it was no surprise to see investors dumping the stock,” he went on.
E Ink said it has become very cautious about its earnings outlook for 2012 and that it is possible its sales and profit will see the largest challenge of the year in the first quarter due to slow-season effects.
Shih said the global EPD market is suffering a failure to expand content to attract buyers and that the problem is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
“I doubt E Ink will have a quick turnaround after the first quarter. Its share price is expected to continue to be pressured,” Shih said.
E Ink reports 33.26% earnings decline [Taipei Times, Feb 23, 2011]
… The decline in profit was because of the higher shipments of fringe field switching (FFS) LCD panels, which offer lower margins than the company’s flagship product — e-paper — E Ink chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said at an investors’ conference yesterday. …
Liu said this year would be a “challenging year full of uncertainties,” mainly because of the possible fallout from the unresolved eurozone debt crisis.
“Clients are conservative and said the market visibility is low,” he said, adding that E Ink would no longer provide shipment targets or projections in a response to clients’ requests.
E Ink posts EPS of over NT$6 in 2011 [DIGITIMES, Feb 23, 2012]
EIH plans to launch its next-generation color e-paper products in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the company currently does not have plans to ramp up its capacity for color EPD products, Liu said.
The company is also developing flexible e-paper products, using plastic substrates instead of glass substrates used previously, with new products to be released in the third or fourth quarter, Liu revealed.
Amazon 6″ color Kindle will not be arriving this year [übergizmo, Feb 21, 2012]
Just yesterday we reported that according to Digitimes, Amazon is supposedly working on a 6” Kindle e-reader that will be utilizing colored e-ink. This rumor supposedly came about based on reports that E Ink Holdings had landed an order from Amazon for 6” color e-reader modules, but Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader, who’s had a pretty decent track record when it comes to these rumors, doesn’t seem to think so.
According to Nate who contacted his source at E Ink, this is completely untrue. His source told him that if Amazon were indeed planning a color e-reader, they would only be able to start shipping them in a year’s time, because that would be how long it would take Amazon to set up a new production line for this rumored device.
He also revealed that while E Ink has been making the Triton screens for years, it has mainly been the 9.7” model and not one in the 6” variety like the rumors had suggested and can be found in the Ectaco Jetbook Color. For now it looks like if you had hopes for a 6” color Amazon Kindle e-reader this year, you could be out of luck but we’ll be keeping our eyes open either way.
End of updates
EPD maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) reportedly has landed orders for 6-inch color e-book reader modules from Amazon with shipments to begin in March, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.
Shipments of the touched-enabled e-book reader modules are expected to top three million units a month, the paper said.
EIH is to reveal its financial results for 2011 at an investors conference on February 22, said the paper, which added that EIH is expected to report an EPS of over NT$6 (US$0.2) for the year.
At: E Ink lands 6-inch color e-book reader module orders from Amazon, says paper [Feb 20, 2012]
So, E Ink’s business seems to expand quite well along the traditional e-book reader direction. But what is the more general business direction? In this post I am giving the answer.
Before that it is also worth to go through the previous posts: E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011 – Jan 9, 2012], Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [May 25, 2011], E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011] and Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2010].
The marketing idea of E Ink as a technology for all kind of smart surfaces came up in 2008 at the E Ink Corporation when it was an organization independent of any EPD panel manufacturers:
“Fashion is a key driver in today’s world,” said Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing, E Ink Corp. “E Ink offers a smart surface that changes the design and brings mobile phones to the fashion forefront of technology.”
See: E INK ANNOUNCES MOBILE PHONE DESIGN WINS IN JAPAN [July 22, 2008]
When in 2010 it was acquired by the leading EPD panel manufacturer (then called Prime View International, immediately renamed as E Ink Holdings) that idea was picked up by the new owner as well and even extended into a kind of a general vision:
“The E Ink name is synonymous with the ePaper industry that we pioneered and in which we enjoy a leadership position,” said Dr. Scott Liu, Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings Incorporated. “We are now a globally recognized brand name and aim to have our displays on every smart surface.”
See: PRIME VIEW INTERNATIONAL (PVI) IS NOW E INK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED [June 18, 2010]
And now at CES 2012 we had a full manifestation of that marketing concept:
The above note produced by the author of video, Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, is not meant to elaborate all the talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of E Ink Holdings Sriram Peruvemba (or Sri Peruvemba). Since this post is about the strategic value proposition of E Ink I had to compose a note of my own which also corresponds to the order of presentation by Sri Peruvemba on the Charbax video:
- Amazon Kindle lineup, most used in the area of leasure reading.
- The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson, going beyond publishing into what they are calling e-document space. Their plan is to replace electronic forms that are used by different folks with their laptops replacing printed paper, pads of paper and that sort of the things. These devices will have WiFi support, pen input and ability to edit. Some applications you may imagine are in inventory logistics, in the doctor’s office, and attorneys and other office people carrying this. They can put a number of images on them which would be very suitable for this 300DPI display, e.g. circuits, graphs, charts, maps and that sort of things. This has almost twice the resolution of the most of the other displays they are shipping which have a 167 to 200DPI resolution.
- With E-Ink technology they are at the point where it is better than reading on printed paper [for B/W]. Now they have pen input available on their devices thus replacing both printed paper and pen with their products. The idea here is to allow people to highlight, annotate, write notes and use it to fill-out forms. The E-Ink display would come into play during this (not the processor is the “limiting factor”) in the B/W case the native speed can be used which is 250 msec response time for the E-Ink display.
- Color E-Ink display based on the Triton display material. ECTACO JetBook Color, an actually shipping device is shown. It is being deployed in Russian schools as replacement for textbooks. They are still in early stages of deployment with this device but see a lot of promise in the education sector. They expect the education to be one of the largest markets for E-Ink, both the monochrome and color Trident display. A devices like this ECTACO JetBook Color is not simply replacement for textbooks but in fact it is a library. You can put a thousand books or more on any one of these devices and replacing the library. Literally every student has a library of his/her own. It also increases the interaction between the student and the teacher. Tests are created and assessed almost instantenously. Another point is that the color feature in the EPD display allows to convey more information and so students have much better learning tool than they had with printed books. Also books will never be out of the stock, there will be no late fees with the library and the content is available 24×7 etc. As far as the price of the color display is concerned the color is still based on the monochrome display, they put a color filter on top. So the color filter is an additional cost but most of the additional costs on the device itself would probably be the cost of the software (from E-Ink Holdings’ customer engineering the device) that makes the additional features of a colored device possible compared to the monochrome.
- Triton color display for signage (like the large billboards put on the streets) with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. This is all the result of a significant increase of the pixel size when significantly more light is coming to each pixel. They are looking at applications at signage space where you are looking at a device not from 6″ away but to a device that is 6 feets or 60 feets awaywhere the larger pixels are perfect for that.
- Brief showing of the SURF display (used in a hand drill shown later) just to demonstrate the display materialfor that case.
- The actual E-Ink display material is extremely thin and flexible like a sheet of transparency foil. This is the direction they are going to make display without glass and conform to non-flat surfaces, getting into non-publishing applicationslike signage.
- A concept power drill with the SURF display put on the surface as a case of showing the usefullness of an EPD display for a battery powered device when otherwise you would have no idea about whether there is enough battery power left or not. This could be quite an annoyance when you climb up a ladder and in the process you discover that the battery power to work with the drill drained down too soon. They can cut the display material in a needed shape so the display can be non-rectangular. E.g. a wrist watch is shown where the display material is round shaped. E-Ink is very unique in this respectamong the display technologies.
- Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched that week was demonstrated, it is meant for outdoor applications and considered to be virtually indestructible. It combines the solar technology with the E-Ink display, and essentially all of the solar power is used to listen to music rather than showing information. Considered to be a perfect combination for applications like that and they foresee many more deployments like that in the future.
- A couple of wristwatches. With a segmented SURF display which is curved and in a unique shape (a Phosphor device). Then a matrix display in a Seiko watch where you can have images changedon the display.
- For segmented display they can go for very low volumes because that kind of display doesn’t involve fabricating the backplane in a fab. But on the other hand the matrix displays (for which much larger order volumes are required) can be made in very large sizes since they are making their display material in rolls, seven feet wide and going a kilometer long. So a lot of new applications will come up, in areas where display technology hasn’t been used before. Then their unique selling point is the ruggedness of the E-Ink display material as well.
After that it is worth to watch the following, very recent branding/directional videos from E Ink Holdings:
- Imagine… a classroom with no paper… Build an eLearning environment
- Imagine… a schoolbag with no book… Build an eLearning environment
- Imagine… A ubiquitous home… Build an eLearning environment
- E Ink – The First Law of More – Innovation:
E Ink – More 的第一法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
- states: the more you See, the more you Do
- … Evolution is a collaborative process …
- We’ve teamed up with some of the best names in the electronics business like: Epson, Freescale, Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments to create an electronics ecosystem that will nurture the E Ink innovations of the future.
- We’ve joined forces with some of the most iconic brands in the world including Sony, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Samsung, Lexar and Motorola to bring an exiting new generation of consumer products to life.
- We believe more innovation brings more good into the world. As an 840 million dollar [US] company we intend to do everything we can to make a big difference.
- The Second Law of More – Growth:
E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
- states: the more you Do, the more you Grow
- 100,000 displays in 2006 … over 10 million in 2010 …
- today almost every e-book device on the market uses E Ink enabled reflective displays
- Tomorrow we expect to lead the way in e-textbooks, providing a libray in every student’s backpack. And a few years down the road we see ourselves in signage of all shapes and sizes.
- The next generation of E Ink applications is being developed as we speak: the paperless office, electronic toll passes, sporting goods, musical score sheets, personal medical devices, and more.
- Look at the future from our vantage point. You’ll see why we are excited.
- The Third Law of More – Green:
E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
- states: the more you Grow, the more you Care
- Care = Save In more ways than you can imagine
- E-Ink display use 97% less energy than the LCD versions
- Under normal conditions an E Ink enabled e-reader runs three weeks on a single charge. That is supposed to be a day and a half on an LCD display.
- A recent study from the University of California Berkely shows that an E Ink enabled electronic newspaper releases 32 – 140x less CO2than its paper counterpart. What’s more, e-book saved trees by drastically reducing the consumption of paper.
- This year sales of e-books are predicted to top 1 billion [US] dollars, more than 10x increase over last year. …
– ECTACO jetBook Color introduced in Russian Schools – цветная эл.книга [ECTACO YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]
– William (Bill) Wong, staff technology editor from Electronic Design – focusing on embedded, software, and systems otherwise – who is an ardent follower of E Ink’s progress. For more E Ink related information you can watch his two Engineering TV Videos and a few Electronic Design excerpts given below:
- Smart Surface Devices and More from E Ink – CES 2012[Engineering TV, Jan 17, 2012]
- Color Active Matrix E Ink Triton Imaging Film [Engineering TV, Jan 11, 2011]
Behind the Scenes at CES 2012 – Display Technology [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 25, 2012]
Eink’s electronic paper display (EPD) is popular with e-readers and it has been used on other devices such as Lexar’s JumpDrive flash that shows the amount of space used on the drive. The display uses no power when not plugged in and draws only a tiny amount when updating the display. Eink was showing off color demos and EPD prototype applications. It is a technology worth investigating for embedded applications.
Cortex-A9 Incorporates Electronic Paper Display Controller [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 18, 2012]
E-readers with electronic paper displays (EPDs) provide an excellent reading experience. But most of these e-readers have been underpowered compared to smart phones and tablets. E-reader manufacturers try to keep costs low, which is why processor performance has been lower.
Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite and i.MX 6DualLite target these low-cost products with one or two 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Developers will have to decide whether the i.MX 6SoloLite’s 2D graphics are sufficient or if they require the 3D graphics support of the i.MX 6DualLite. Likewise, the 6SoloLite has a 32-bit DDR3 controller, while the 6DualLite has a 64-bit DDR3 controller for a higher-performance platform. Both support LP-DDR2 memory along with a range of flash memory.
The i.MX 6DualLite has a single shader, compared to the four 3D shaders found in the higher-end i.MX 6Dual and i.MX6Quad chips. The family also addresses LCD screens, so these chips may find their way into low-end tablets and embedded display devices. The i.MX 6DualLite has HDMI, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and MIPI display support along with a MIPI camera interface as well. And, this chip tops the Solo with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PCI Express x1 link.
The i.MX 6DualLite is pin-compatible with other i.MX 6 chips like the 1-GHz i.MX 6Solo, 1.2-GHz i.MX 6Dual, and 1.2-GHz i.MX6Quad. All are software compatible. Software support includes Google Android 4.0, Windows Embedded CE, QNX, Ubuntu, Linux, Linaro, and Skype.
VIZIO’s two pronged strategy: Android based V.I.A. Plus device ecosystem + Windows based premium PC entertainment
The VIZIO Internet Apps® Plus (“V.I.A. Plus”) ecosystem of devices was launched on June 28, 2011 with the introduction of VIZIO’s first tablet. Each VIZIO V.I.A. Plus product features a VIZIO-designed user interface that is not only intuitive but also consistent across screens, for superior ease-of-use for the casual, non-technical user. It is built on the Android™ platform. All the information about that innovative ecosystem is available in an earlier “collection post” on this blog: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].
We will look into the essential expansion of V.I.A. Plus announced at CES 2012 later. Here is sufficient to include just a short piece from the above mentioned collection in order to make the concept of V.I.A. Plus ecosystem absolutely clear (before we will go into the details of the brand new Windows based premium PC entertainment from VIZIO):
VIZIO Tablet [VIZIO video, Aug 1, 2011]: the value proposition video from the vendor which is extremely well demonstrating not only the VIZIO-specific V.I.A. Plus UI but the whole new user experience:
This week Vizio has added the alternative, Windows based PC entertainment to its portfolio as well: VIZIO Bursts Into the Computing Realm with Five Innovative and Sleek PCs Set to Redefine Consumer Entertainment [VIZIO press release, Jan 9, 2011]
CES — VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today an innovative line of five premium personal computers designed to turn the PC market upside down and accommodate the entertainment needs and wants demanded by consumers. Set to launch with Windows 7 in spring 2012, the elegantly designed PCs will provide an entertainment experience only VIZIO can deliver, complete with top notch 2.1 audio and video quality. The personal computing line consists of two all-in-one computers, two thin + light notebooks and one notebook. VIZIO’s line was developed to raise the bar in personal and home entertainment while also keeping powerful performance at the forefront.
Much like its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO believes it has identified a need in the PC world for a device that addresses a recent change in consumer behavior. Growing popularity in video streaming services has resulted in the need for personal computers that can stream content for a family movie night and put together an important business presentation the following day. The VIZIO PCs address this change by meeting both the entertainment and productivity demands.
VIZIO PCs will be a continued progression of the VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.) Ecosystem, which provides a seamless, cohesive entertainment experience across multiple screens. As the V.I.A. experience spans across the brand’s HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, tablets and more, today’s announcement represents a natural extension of the experience over to the PC as well. Together with Windows, VIZIO’s PCs will deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, ensuring a fast, fluid and immersive user experience that distinguishes them from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.
“PCs are often associated with productivity and the workplace, routinely lacking the excitement that would be expected with what and how consumers want to use their PCs today – as an extension of their entertainment experience,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer. “VIZIO wanted to change that. Our new line of VIZIO PCs are truly high quality and consumer focused, delivering enhanced multimedia capabilities while upholding our high standards of performance, style and design.”
Complete with high-performance hardware, the VIZIO PCs boast a clean system image optimized by Microsoft and an elegant industrial design incorporating authentic, high-quality materials that is sure to turn heads both on-the-go and in the living room. Known for HDTVs that boast stunning high-definition pictures, VIZIO engineered its new line of PCs to meet the same high-quality standards.
Always committed to pushing the envelope, VIZIO believes their groundbreaking PCs will alter the way consumers view computing. With entertainment at the heart of the VIZIO PCs, users will find that consuming content will be just as desirable as on their HDTV. With an already high demand for devices that are able to multitask between work and play, the consumer’s choices are limited. VIZIO accepted the challenge and has elegantly bridged both worlds to provide a Windows-based PC that offers a rich entertainment experience alongside tools needed for getting work done.
“We’re excited to see VIZIO enter the PC market and the positive impact they will have on the Windows ecosystem,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “With their expertise in providing connected entertainment experiences and an innovative go-to-market approach, we look forward to working with VIZIO to bring premium consumer PCs to market.”
VIZIO anticipates its entry into the PC category will challenge consumers to expect more from their computers enabling them to play as hard as they work. Discover more at http://www.vizio.com/CES.
*Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.
VIZIO, Inc., “Entertainment Freedom For All,” headquartered in Irvine, California, is America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company. In Q2 2007, VIZIO skyrocketed to the top by becoming the #1 shipping brand of flat panel HDTVs in North America and in Q3 2007 became the first American brand in over a decade to lead in U.S. LCD HDTV shipments. Since 2007 VIZIO LCD HDTV shipments remain in the top ranks in the U.S. and were #1 for the total year in 2009 and 2010. VIZIO is committed to bringing feature-rich consumer electronics to market at a value through practical innovation. VIZIO offers a broad range of award winning consumer electronics. VIZIO’s products are found at Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, BJ’s Wholesale, and other retailers nationwide along with authorized online partners. VIZIO has won numerous awards including a #1 ranking in the Inc. 500 for Top Companies in Computers and Electronics, Fast Company’s 6th Most Innovative CE Company of 2009, and made the lists of Ad Age’s Hottest Brands, CNET’s Editor’s Choice, CNET Best of CES 2011 – Television, IGN Best of CES – Television, Bluetooth.org Best of CES, Good Housekeeping’s Best Big-Screens, PC World’s Best Buy, Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice and OC Metro’s 10 Most Trustworthy Brands among many other prestigious honors. For more information, please call 888-VIZIOCE or visit on the web at www.VIZIO.com.
The V, VIZIO, VIZIO Internet Apps, Theater 3D, CinemaWide HDTV, Full Array TruLED, Edge Lit Razor LED, 240Hz SPS, 480Hz SPS, Entertainment Freedom and Entertainment Freedom for All names, logos and phrase are registered or unregistered trademarks of VIZIO, Inc. All other trademarks may be the property of their respective holders.
SOURCE VIZIO, Inc.
Brand New Line of Gorgeous Vizio Products from CES 2012! [TEKHD, Jan 10, 2012]
Note that there is certainly an outstanding design professional behind these products: Scott McManigal, Senior Director of Global Design who has been with VIZIO since June 2009. Before he had been with OpenPeak, Herbst LaZar Bell, BMW Group DesignworksUSA (10 years!), Mattel Toys and Patton Design. It is no wonder that the new PCs got immediate recognition from media with headlines like:
– The New Vizio PCs and Notebooks Are Worthy of Apple [Gizmodo, Jan 9, 2012]
– Vizio PCs and Laptops are the closest to Apple when it comes to style [Newlaunches.com, Jan 9, 2012]
So far there are no tablets among these premium PC entertainment offerings. VIZIO will introduce them surely when Windows 8 will be launched late summer as the earliest.
The CES 2012 expansion of the V.I.A. Plus
From the V.I.A. Plus related press release (see later): Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled [Android] tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010. [The tablets are Android based (as all of the V.I.A. Plus system). Detailed information on that: Innovative entertainment class [Android] tablet from VIZIO plus a unified UX for all cloud based CE devices, from TVs to smartphones [Aug 21, 2011].]
Vizio’s New 10-inch Tablet to Have Intel Chip, Android [IDG News, Jan 10, 2012]
A new tablet from Vizio will come with Intel’s upcoming Atom chip, code-named Medfield, and will run Google’s Android operating system, a source with knowledge of the product plans said.
The M-Series tablet with a 10-inch screen was announced by Vizio at the Consumer Electronics Show, and the device will be “coming soon,” according to Vizio’s website. The tablet is being shown at the trade show in Las Vegas this week.
Vizio has not shared further details on the tablet, saying it is “powerful” and has Wi-Fi. The tablet provides “a world of entertainment right at your fingertips,” according to the company’s website.
The Vizio tablet could be the launching pad for Intel’s Medfield chip, which is not yet available in devices. The Medfield chip has been designed for smartphones and tablets, and Intel later this week is also expected to announce its first smartphone customers for the chip.
Intel’s Medfield & Atom Z2460 Arrive for Smartphones: It’s Finally Here [AnandTech, Jan 11, 2012]
It’s here. Intel’s first smartphone SoC that you’ll actually be able to buy in a device before the end of the year. The platform is called Medfield and Paul Otellini just announced its first device partners.
Medfield starts out as a bonafide mobile SoC. Whereas Moorestown was a “two-chip” solution, Medfield is just one – the Penwell SoC:
There’s only a single version of Medfield being announced today: the Intel Atom Z2460. The Z2460 features a single Atom core with a 512KB L2 cache, a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU and a dual-channel LPDDR2 memory interface. In a world where talking about four Cortex A9s and PowerVR SGX 544MP2s isn’t uncommon, Medfield starts out almost sounding a bit…tame. But then you see its performance:
Although running what appears to be a stock Gingerbread browser, Intel’s Medfield reference platform posts SunSpider performance better than any other smartphone we’ve tested – including the Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich. Intel promises that Medfield’s performance will scale on ICS as well – the gap should be maintained. We’ve seen high results from reference designs in the past, but the Medfield platform is a little different as you’ll soon see – it’s a complete smartphone design that should be representative of handsets that hit the market later this year.
Medfield isn’t a one trick pony either, performance is similarly dominating under BrowserMark:
These are tablet-like scores. Here the Galaxy Nexus running ICS comes close, but once again Intel expects that on the same OS Medfield should be faster than any of the currently available SoCs.
I asked Intel where its SunSpider and BrowserMark performance advantages came from, especially considering we’ve typically only seen huge gains with new browsers and not new SoCs. Their response pointed to a bunch of factors, but one stand out issue was the A9 has a great execution core but seems to be more limited on the memory interface. Atom can support far more outstanding misses in L2 than the Cortex A9, which chokes bandwidth to the processor for anything not already in the L2 cache. This may be one of the reasons why we’ve never been able to get really high bandwidth numbers out of A9 based SoCs. It’s probably safe to assume that things will be different with the Cortex A15, but for now it’s little things like this that give Medfield a performance advantage.
GPU performance is understandably not as impressive. We couldn’t get offscreen numbers of GLBenchmark 2.1 but we did get results at the device’s native resolution (1024 x 600):
3D performance is better than the OMAP 4460 due to Medfield’s 400MHz GPU clock compared to ~300MHz in most OMAP4 devices.
Performance without power considerations is meaningless, especially in the smartphone world. Luckily for Intel, Medfield seems very competitive there as well. …
Medfield, at least in Intel’s reference platform, looks very good.
The actual values are pretty astonishing as well. Sub 20mW idle, sub 750mW during a call on 3G and although not pictured here, Intel’s internal data suggests ~1W power consumption while browsing the web compared to ~1.3W on the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S 2. I’ve done my own measurements on 4S web browsing and came up with a very similar value.
Intel Measured Smartphone Power Consumption
(Identical Display Brightness)
Standby (3G) Talk (3G) Browsing (3G) Video Playback 720p Apple iPhone 4S ~38mW ~800mW ~1.3W ~500mW Intel Medfield Reference ~18mW ~700mW ~1.0W ~850mW Samsung Galaxy S II ~19mW ~675mW ~1.2W ~650mW
The performance and power data both look great for Medfield. You would think that this data, assuming there’s nothing fundamentally wrong, would be enough to convince a handset maker to actually give Intel a shot. You’d be right.
In addition to disclosing Medfield performance data, Intel is also announcing partnerships with both Motorola and Lenovo. The former is a broad, multi-year agreement stating that Motorola plans on creating many devices based on Intel silicon – the first of which will be a smartphone due out before the end of the year. Tablets will follow at some point as well.
Lenovo on the other hand will actually be taking and tweaking Intel’s own Medfield reference platform, and releasing it in China in Q2.
All of this is exactly what Intel needed: a start.
The GPU, Process & Roadmap
What’s Different This Time Around: Google & A Sweet Reference Platform
ARM Compatibility: Binary Translation
Medfield and the Atom Z2460 are a solid starting point. Intel finally has a chip that they can deliver to the market and partners to carry it in. Intel also built a very impressive reference platform that could lead to some very interesting disruptions in the market.
VIZIO and Google TV Join Forces to Create a State of the Art Stream Player [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]
– New stream player turns any HDTV into an enhanced smart TV with access to countless entertainment content and online services as well as powerful search and web browsing capabilities
– Part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the new VIZIO Stream Player incorporates the power of the latest Google TV in combination with premium setup experience and included Bluetooth universal remote with touchpad control
– Integrated app and TV watching experiencelet users multitask seamlessly and access photos, audio and video stored on networked computers, hard drives and smart phones
VIZIO and Google today jointly announced the introduction of the VIZIO VAP430 Stream Player, an innovative stream player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV that incorporates the latest Google TV. The Stream Player allows consumers to access countless entertainment content and online services with web access through a fully capable Chrome browser, and to also enjoy photos, music and video stored on any computer, hard drive or smart phoneconnected to a local network and/or the cloud.*
With the VAP430 connected to an HDTV over an HDMI cable, users can quickly and seamlessly access content and services from their favorite apps and websites using the included Bluetooth premium universal remote control with integrated touchpad. In addition to movies, TV shows and music on demand, the VAP430 lets users search the web for even more entertainment options using the Flash-capable Chrome browser.
“We’re excited about what Google TV brings to our new VAP430 Stream Player,” says Matthew McRae, VIZIO’s Chief Technology Officer. “This isn’t just an ordinary streaming box that accesses a few predetermined video services. It’s a true entertainment portal that opens up everything the Web has to offer, as well as all the content consumers already have stored on computers and hard drives. And the incorporation of Google TV and our V.I.A. Plus interfacemakes it all incredibly easy to setup and a joy to use.”
Using the included premium remote with QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpad, viewers can easily search for any program or content they want from their favorite apps or the Internet. Users can also check out new apps from an ever-expanding Android Market, or access personal medialike videos, photos and music that are stored on devices connected to the same home network as the stream player. Images are displayed right on a connected TV set, and sound plays through the TV or a connected audio system.
“We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of their Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”
Painless Setup, Powerful Capabilities
Part of the V.I.A. Plus ecosystem, the slick yet discreet VAP430 can easily compliment any HDTV using an HDMI cable. Installing the VAP430 and connecting it to the Internet is blazingly fast and simple to do with the built-in setup experience and 802.11n WiFi connection.
The VAP430 also has an HDMI pass-through that lets the user connect a cable or satellite box to the stream player and pass the signal over to the TV for a truly integrated TV watching experience. The smart TV interfaceoverlays the live TV signal so multitaskers can search for the next thing to watch without completely stepping away from what they’re currently watching.
Bluetooth capability also makes it simple to enjoy content from smart phones through the connected TV wirelessly. And with the USB input, connecting any USB drive directly to the VAP430 takes only seconds.
VAP430 is the first V.I.A. Plus device to launch this year, followed by the VBR430 3D Blu-ray player, which combines the features of the VAP430 with Blu-ray’s state-of-the-art high-definition video and audio playback capabilities.
Preorders for the VAP430 will begin this spring 2012. Find out more and sign up to be the first at www.vizio.com/ces
* The VIZIO Internet Apps® (V.I.A.) platform requires Internet access, equipment and subscription services that are not provided.
See also (especially because VAP430 is likely based on Marvell’s platform): Google’s revitalization of its Android-based TV effort via Marvell SoC and reference design[Jan 5, 2012]
VIZIO Expands the Next-Generation VIZIO Internet Apps Plus® (V.I.A. Plus) Ecosystem, Announcing New HDTV, Blu-ray Player, Stream Player and Tablet Products That Share a Unified User Experience Across All Screens [VIZIO press release, Jan 10, 2011]
– V.I.A. Plus provides access to a world of apps on each device with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each and every screen
– V.I.A. Plus offers today’s most advanced and functional smart TV user experience, with an intuitive, app-centric interface optimized for the 10-foot viewing experience
– New V.I.A. partners to include iHeartRadio®, The Wall Street Journal® and M-GO®
– VIZIO’s expanded line-up incorporating the Google TV platform include the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch HDTVs with Theater 3D, the VBR430 Blu-ray player, and the VAP430 Stream Player
VIZIO, America’s #1 HDTV Company*, announces the continued expansion of its next generation of the award-winning VIZIO Internet Apps® platform: VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus). V.I.A. Plus brings a unified user experience to a wide range of devices that include HDTVs, Tablets, Blu-ray players, Media Players and more. From the big screen to mobile devices, V.I.A. Plus bridges the worlds of entertainment, content and services with one sophisticated and intuitive interface. V.I.A. Plus accesses a world of apps on each device, with attention to details that optimize the entertainment experience on each screen.
Among the V.I.A. Plus products to be included in VIZIO’s Las Vegas showcase are the 65-inch, 55-inch and 47-inch V.I.A. Plus HDTVs with Theater 3D™, the VBR430 Blu-ray Player and the VAP430 Stream Player, all of which incorporate the latest Google TV experience. VIZIO will also show two V.I.A. Plus enabled tablets—the current VTAB1008 and the new 10″ VTAB3010.
“The way users consume content has changed drastically over recent years. Technology has enabled nearly every device with a screen to connect to some form of delivery platform, each with its own mechanism for searching, browsing and viewing content.” said Matthew McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “V.I.A. Plus focuses entirely on what users care about – their content. By delivering a seamless, intuitive experience that is consistent across multiple screens, V.I.A. Plus products distinguish themselves from devices that function and those that are truly entertaining.”
The V.I.A. Plus experience features an intuitive, app-centric interface on every device, making it easy for consumers to understand and navigate as they move between devices. Users can also access thousands of apps from the Android Market™ for even more entertainment options.
“We’re thrilled to partner with VIZIO on the launch of the Stream Player,” said Mario Queiroz, head of Google TV. “VIZIO has established itself as a leader in the consumer electronics market. Combining Google TV with VIZIO’s innovative, easy-to-use consumer electronic products will bring more great entertainment and Android apps to the living room.”
In addition, VIZIO is announcing new partners who are collaborating to bring their content and services to the V.I.A. Platform, including:
iHeart Radio– iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio service, brings users a best-in-class customizable digital listening experience, one which combines the best of both worlds to deliver everything listeners want in one free, fully-integrated service: More than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast and digital-only radio stations from 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations which provide listeners more songs, better music intelligence, more user control and deeper social media integration.
The Wall Street Journal®– WSJ Live from The Wall Street Journal offers up to four total hours of live video programming each business day from across The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, including the Journal, Dow Jones® Newswires, Barron’s™, MarketWatch®, SmartMoney® and AllThingsD.com. Users can access seven half-hour live shows, breaking news updates, exclusive interviews, and special events coverage. The service also offers more than 2,000 videos per month from an extensive library of on-demand content.
M-GO™ video-on-demand– M-GO from Technicolor is a next-generation app that combines all of your media including movies, music, apps, live TV, and more. M-GO will come pre-loaded on VIZIO HDTVs and Blu-ray Players with VIZIO Internet Apps or VIZIO Internet Apps Plus. The app will help consumers find the content they’re looking for through its extensive content library and state-of-the-art discovery engine, while also providing a unique second screen functionality for searching additional content.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with VIZIO to bring consumers all of their media anywhere, anytime, and anyway they want it,” said John Batter, CEO of M-GO. “As consumers continue to access digital media at home and on the go, it is even more important to provide them with a consistent experience that is easy to navigate and convenient to use. VIZIO’s technology combined with our accessibility to content does just that.”
On V.I.A. Plus enabled HDTVs, Blu-ray players and Media Players, users can multitask between apps and traditional TV content through an interface designed for the 10-foot viewing experience, created specifically for situations where users want to sit back and enjoy the ultimate in channel and web surfing. Users can also complement their entertainment experience with VIZIO tablets for seamless access to their favorite apps and content in any room in the home or on the road.
With a wide range of apps on each device, V.I.A. Plus enables consumers to choose from a new universe of entertainment options, redefining the TV experience with multi-screen access, gaming, full browsing and enhanced search capabilities, and the ability to view live events streamed over the Internet.
Navigating V.I.A. Plus is simple and intuitive, using the QWERTY keypad and integrated touchpadthat’s built into the premium Bluetooth remote control included with every V.I.A. Plus product. Users need no technical know-how to get their new devices online, thanks to the advanced wireless Internet access and simplified onscreen setup.
The VBR430 Blu-ray player is the most advanced on the market today. Not only does it offer the incomparable entertainment power of V.I.A. Plus with Google TV, the player comes with a touchpad universal remote with QWERTY keypad that makes it easy to control apps, content and other functions. As part of the VIZIO Internet Apps Plus ecosystem, the VBR430 also lets users access video, audio and photos stored on any DLNA-compatible computer, network-connected hard drive or cell phone connected to a home network. Built-in WiFi makes network connection easy, and Bluetooth capability provides yet another conduit for streaming media from cell phones and computers.
Smart TV Plus 3D
VIZIO’s V.I.A. Plus products will also include Theater 3D technology, for crystal clear, brighter and flicker-free 3D, viewable with lightweight, comfortable, battery-free 3D glasses. The TVs feature LED backlighting with smart dimming technology to achieve dynamic contrast ratios of 1,000,000:1 or greater.
The Ultimate Stream Player
The VAP430 Stream Player with Google TV is an innovative media player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV. As sales of stream players are poised to pass Blu-ray players in unit volume sales (by 2013, according the CEA U.S. Unit Shipment Forecast of January 2011), the VAP430 is the perfect solution for media multitaskers who consume most of their media over the Internet. The VAP430 is the one of the most advanced Stream Players with built-in HDMI ports that lets users connect existing components like gaming consoles or set-top boxes for unified access to all media sources through the VI.A. Plus touchpad remote. It even supports 3D content and 3D streaming.
Many of the new VIZIO V.I.A. Plus products will be on display at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show, January 10 – 13, 2012. For more information, please visit www.vizio.com/ces
* Source: IHS iSuppli Corporation Research Q4 2011 Market Tracker Report of Q4 2010 – Q3 2011.
Vizio’s Google TV delayed until early fall, now edge-lit [C|net, Jan 10, 2012]
LAS VEGAS–Google TV has a way of disappointing expectations, and one strong case in point is the Vizio’s VIA Plus platform for TVs.
At CES 2011 we named the VIA Plus models as our favorite TV product of CES. They used Google TV to deliver what the company described as interoperability between the TV and Android-equipped phones and tablets. Among other features, Via Plus was also said to support the OnLive gaming service. Those extras, along with the same kind of full-array local-dimming backlightwe know and love, was enough to convince us that the so-equipped TVs were going to be pretty awesome.
Unfortunately, because of what Vizio describes as Google TV-related issues beyond its control, they never came out.
We asked about the VIA Plus sets during a pre-CES briefing with Vizio and were told they were still on the company’s product release roadmap. The new release date is “early fall.” They will have different model numbers and at least one change for the worse: that backlight is now an edge-lit affair. Vizio further specified that the new VIA Plus models would have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, and three screen sizes: 47-, 55-, and a new 65-inch option.
On the bright side, maybe having all that extra time to perfect VIA Plus will allow Vizio to do something really special with Google TV’s Honeycomb customizations. We’ll see.
Strong business backings from Taiwan that enable such bold strategy expansion for VIZIO
Vizio sees 2012 with optimism [Nov 2, 2011]
TV brand Vizio has indicated sales of Japan-based brands such as Sony, Panasonic and Sharp have been weak. However, South Korea-based brands such as Samsung and LG have been growing becoming Vizio’s biggest competitors. Vizio estimates 2011 shipments of LCD TVs to reach over six million units.
According to William Wang, CEO and founder of Vizio, the strategy to face the South Korea-based players is to improve products, such as by providing customers with the best 3D TV. If products can be sold with cheaper retail prices, then do it.
Wang indicated Vizio’s biggest partner is still Taiwan-based Amtran Technology, which accounts for 70-80% of Vizio’s OEM orders. Foxconn is responsible for small-size products. Wang complimented Taiwan’s technology, innovation and product quality.
The recent weak demand in the TV market has been causing panel makers to suffer huge losses, Vizio stated. Except for shipments in the first quarter 2011 which were comparable to those of 2010, the rest of the quarters in 2011 have all seen declining shipments.
Wang concluded that panel makers have been suffering due to oversupply and lack of consumer confidence due to weak economic conditions in Europe and the US. However, 2011 should be the year when the industry hits rock bottom, which means firms should face 2012 with optimism.
CES: Value Outweighs Price, AmTran Says [excerpt on the VIZIO site, Jan 6, 2010]
Behind Vizio’s success is a partnership with Taipei-based AmTran Technology, a contract manufacturer that specializes in computer monitors and televisions. The company, which owns a 23% stake [i.e. majority] in Vizio, now makes annual revenue of about $2 billion, more than quadruple the $428 million it reported in 2004.
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[Hon Hai/Foxconn is said to be the 2nd largest shareholder ov VIZIO as well as having 10% of shares of AmTran]
In a rare interview, its chief executive and chairman Alpha Wu spoke to The Wall Street Journal about his views on the fast-changing industry at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
The Wall Street Journal: Why have your products been so successful?
Mr. Wu: We think very simply about how we can provide the best value to customers world-wide. I have pretty good relationships with key component makers in Japan, Taiwan, China and now Korea, and I make sure we get high-quality components, so we can provide high-quality displays. We try to have attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy. Value is more important than anything. We try to provide attractive prices, but that can’t be the only reason for customers to buy.
We also keep very tight production schedules. We learned from our customers that we must meet schedules. As long as we have discipline over our schedule, we can compete against anybodybecause when a rival announces a new technology, we can develop similar products quickly and take the market.
WSJ: Why do you think the traditional television makers in Japan are having such a hard time in the television market, particularly in the U.S.?
Mr. Wu: To be a pure original equipment manufacturer is a tough business. That’s why we teamed up with Vizio. The Japanese engineers work hard and demand perfect products, but they don’t know the market very much. In the U.S., people don’t want very high-end products especially in the current economic situation. Japanese consumers, however, are more willing to invest in expensive products.
Products that are made in Japan with Japanese components by Japanese suppliers are very important to them, but their factories aren’t as advanced as ours because they’re old. An older managementalso makes them less able to accept new technologies and innovation.
WSJ: 3D televisions are expected to be big news at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. How soon do you expect this technology to take off?
Mr. Wu:3D movies are absolutely coming. 3D televisions might take two or three years. One big problem that has to be overcome is glasses. No one wants to wear glasses to watch TV. Plus if you have five people in the family you need five pairs of glasses. The technology is also not mature yet.
WSJ: What is your vision for AmTran’s future?
Mr. Wu: We want to support the best brand with the best technology products. We are trying to do it in different regions, step by step. We’re trying in Taiwan, Japan and China. Maybe someday we’ll try in Europe.
One of our customers, Bang & Olufsen, has a remote control that I use at home every day to control the curtains, lighting, television and audio. That’s our dream too, but to provide it to the mass market.
WSJ: What kind of opportunity do you see in the Chinese market?
Mr. Wu: By 2011, China’s market for televisions will be bigger than the U.S. From our point of view, we have some advantages — we know China better than people in other countries. Whoever can become No. 1 in China and in the U.S. will be No. 1 in the world.
Amtran Technology Co Ltd (2489.TW) – Overview – Full Description [Reuters, excerpted on Jan 10, 2012]
AMTRAN TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. is principally engaged in the manufacture and distribution of monitors and digital televisions. The Company provides liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors, which are applied in personal computers (PCs), workstations, automobile instruments, point of sale (POS) equipment and automatic teller machines (ATMs), among others, as well as LCD televisions. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company obtained approximately 94.89% of its total revenue from digital televisions. The Company distributes its products primarily in Japan, Europe and the Americas.
» Full Overview of 2489.TW
Amtran sees increased 4Q11 revenues [Jan 10, 2012]
Taiwan-based TV OEM firm Amtran reported December revenues of NT$6.44 billion (US$214 million). Fourth quarter revenues reached NT$19.66 billion, the highest quarterly revenues in 2011, accounting for 35% of 2011 total revenues.
Due to sales during the year-end holiday season in the North America market, total shipments in December reached 660,000 units while total shipments in fourth quarter reached 1.94 million units, outperforming the previous three quarters in 2011. According to Amtran, total shipments in 2011 reached 5.35 million units. Shipments of products in the range of 32-37 inch accounted for 54% of the firm’s total flat TV shipments. Amtran noted that sales of large-size products (42-, 47-, 55-, and 65-inch) LCD TVs accounted for 46% of total revenues.
Amtran expects LCD TV shipments to increase as the firm develops products such as internet TV, smart TV and 3D TV.
Amtran faces challenge to attain 2011 LCD TV goal [Aug 17, 2011]
Taiwan-based Amtran Technology’s LCD TV shipments reached nearly two million units in the first half of 2011, according to industry sources. But the maker may have difficulties achieving its shipment goal of five million units for the entire 2011 given that its major market, North America, has been weak.
Amtran, the chief manufacturer for Vizio, shipped a total 4.2 million units of LCD TVs worldwide in 2010.