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The Icon Bar: News and features: A gaggle of gadgets

A gaggle of gadgets

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 21:00, 13/6/2009 | , , , , , , ,
Last week saw this year's annual Computex Taipei computer trade show go down in Taiwan. The second largest computer trade show in the world, it's traditionally a source for many product announcements from the major manufacturers. Most of the time these announcements are of x86-based products, but this year it was ARM's turn to take center stage, delivering on last year's announcement that ARM were to make a big push into the netbook market. Although none of the products listed here are in stores at the moment, all announcements point towards a good number of them being made available before the year is out.


Qualcomm Snapdragon

Qualcomm's Snapdragon line of Systems-on-a-chip feature single or dual ARM cores at speeds of 1GHz or greater, a 600MHz DSP for audio/video encoding/decoding, 3D graphics acceleration, 3G/wifi/bluetooth networking, and essential I/O hardware such as audio, video, USB and SD/MMC controllers. The Snapdragon SoCs will be at the heart of Qualcomm's 'smartbook' product range - a series of always-on, always-connected mobile devices including netbooks, internet tablets, and smartphones.

ASUS Eee PC with 1GHz Snapdragon SoC, running Android
Via GoodGearGuide, Engadget, Liliputing

Compal's Android-running, Snapdragon-powered smartbook
Via Engadget, Liliputing
Other news
1.3GHz Snapdragon announcement - Liliputing
Qualcomm coins the term 'smartbook' - Liliputing
ASUS, Wistron, Inventec smartbooks revealed - Slashgear
LinuxDevices coverage - LinuxDevices


Although perhaps not as many OMAP3 products were announced as I would have liked, it does look like there are at least a couple of OMAP3 powered products on their way to market this year.

ECS T800 netbook with 1GHz OMAP3, running Android
Via Engadget, Liliputing

Pandora portable gaming console inches closer to release
Via Engadget, unofficial Pandora blog
Other news
Although there hasn't been much news about it recently, it looks like Always Innovating are gearing up for the Touch Book release, with a new info page appearing on the website and promising lots of news, information and pictures over the coming weeks.


NVIDIA have revealed that they want a slice of the netbook/smartbook/smartphone pie, with the announcement of their Tegra platform - a hardware platform comprising an ARM11 CPU, GeForce GPU, HD video decoder, HDMI output, USB, and all the other bits you'd expect from any modern system-on-a-chip. According to their presentation at Computex at least 12 Tegra-powered devices are on their way this year. But then again, they also claimed that Qualcomm's Snapdragon fails at HD video playback and only gets 5fps in Quake, statistics that seem to have landed NVIDIA in some hot water judging by the fact that (almost) all pictoral proof of the slide in question has vanished from the internet. At the moment only Windows CE is supported by Tegra, but support for Google's Android is in the works.

12 Tegra products on their way
Via Engadget, Liliputing

Mobinnova Elan netbook
Via Engadget, Liliputing
Other news
Tegra announcement - Liliputing
HD video playback, hardware accelerated flash plugin - Liliputing
A few pics of hardware and the mythical presentation - CNET


Although Freescale's i.MX range of ARM-based SoC's don't appear to have as much grunt as some of their rivals, they still showed off a few products at Computex.

Kinpo's 7-inch Android tablet
Via Engadget

GNB's 7-inch Android netbook
Via Liliputing

Pegatron's original netbook prototype resurfaces
Via Liliputing

Wistron's N900z netbook
Via Liliputing

Freescale netbook & smartbook
Via Engadget


Whereas most of the above has focused on ARM based products announced at Computex that could one day run RISC OS, it's important to remember that there are a load of other ARM based devices out there. Such as...

  • OpenRD-Client - A small computer akin to the A9home, the OpenRD-Client is powered by one of Marvell's Sheeva brand of ARM-based chips, and supports clock speeds of up to 1.2GHz
  • VIA are entering the ARM based smartbook space - just not much concrete information about products yet. See also here for some more details.
  • Skytone's Alpha 680 netbook - It's got an ARM CPU, it runs Android, and it features a swivel screen for converting to tablet mode.
  • x86/ARM netbook/tablet combo - A HP mini 1000 with the screen removed and replaced with a removable ARM powered tablet. Like a Touch Book, but with extra x86 compatability (providing you don't mind the fact VNC is being used to communicate between the two halves!)
  • IAC's Prodigy e-reader - Although you probably wouldn't want to run RISC OS on an e-reader due to the typical 0.5Hz screen refresh rate, it's worth listing just to show how many devices use ARM CPUs nowadays. See also here for another ARM-based e-reader.
  • Snapdragon powered smartphones - Acer F1, Toshiba TG01

  A gaggle of gadgets
  This is a long thread. Click here to view the threaded list.
Jeffrey Lee Message #110826, posted by Phlamethrower at 11:06, 5/8/2009, in reply to message #110817
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15096
Do you think that if I tell them I'm trying to help get RISC OS running on it that will help, or drop me to the bottom of the list!
They do say that they're hoping to get other operating systems running on it, so I suppose there's only one way to find out!
I've had a cunning plan - I'm going to go with the "I'm organising a computer exhibition in London on 3rd October and want to be able to demo it there" gambit! That should get their attention.
But that's two months away! They could have pushed you to the back of the list for saying that tongue
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Bryan Hogan Message #111060, posted by helpful at 02:16, 26/8/2009, in reply to message #110826
Posts: 235
Waaahhhh, looks like I'm probably not going to get mine until October :-(


Unless I'm very lucky to be one of the "small set of international pre-orders". Fingers crossed.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Peter Howkins Message #111075, posted by flibble at 17:27, 27/8/2009, in reply to message #111060

Posts: 888
I think I'd like to see RISC OS on some of the low-end ARM net/smartbooks. The specs are greater than SARPC, and the price is cracking big grin



Unfortunately I haven't seen any sort of hardware docs for them unhappy
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Bryan Hogan Message #111078, posted by helpful at 18:07, 27/8/2009, in reply to message #111075
Posts: 235
The Zaurus returns!


Although that is actually slightly too big to replace my Zaurus.

Unfortunately I haven't seen any sort of hardware docs for them unhappy
Which of course is the attraction of porting to the Beagleboard, and hence the Touchbook.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Trevor Johnson Message #112671, posted by trevj at 11:37, 5/1/2010, in reply to message #110263
Posts: 660
Snapdragon may be a no-go as qualcom will not release any details unless you are a licensee so I think anyone would have a hard time porting the os never mind optomising it.
Shame. Google's Nexus One smartphone uses it too. However, I s'pose there's not really much reason to run RISC OS on such a device anyway... unless you can't afford a Pandora, I guess!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Andrew Rawnsley Message #112674, posted by arawnsley at 19:58, 5/1/2010, in reply to message #112671
R-Comp chap
Posts: 572
Hexus.net are reporting that Lenovo have announced a Snapdragon-based Smartbook shipping Q1 this year.

Nice to see one of the big players putting some weight behind ARM-based products!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Alan Robertson Message #112676, posted by nytrex at 20:48, 5/1/2010, in reply to message #112674
Posts: 73
Hexus.net are reporting that Lenovo have announced a Snapdragon-based Smartbook shipping Q1 this year.

Nice to see one of the big players putting some weight behind ARM-based products!
Lenovo has also announced a notebook tablet too. When in notebook form it uses an Intel processor, but when the display is detached (tablet mode) it runs on a ARM processor.

More information at http://armnews.wordpress.com/
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
Trevor Johnson Message #112678, posted by trevj at 08:23, 6/1/2010, in reply to message #112674
Posts: 660
Nice to see one of the big players putting some weight behind ARM-based products!
Nice indeed (except for the porting work) but for new netbooks/smartbooks with only 2 touchpad buttons, RISC OS users will have to become accustomed to workarounds or an external mouse unhappy
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
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The Icon Bar: News and features: A gaggle of gadgets