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The Icon Bar: News and features: CES 2010: ARM hardware roundup
 

CES 2010: ARM hardware roundup

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 02:40, 17/1/2010 | , , , , , , ,
 
Last week saw this year's annual Consumer Electronics Show go down in Las Vegas. The world's largest consumer technology tradeshow, it's traditionally a source for many product announcements from the major manufacturers. This year there was a lot of focus on 3D TVs, e-readers, and, most importantly for us, next-generation ARM-powered goodies.


 

NVIDIA

Starting this article with the most prolific first, we have NVIDIA and their Tegra platform. Although the Tegra 1 platform was announced less than a year ago, there was only one device on display using the chipset. Why's that? Because NVIDIA have just announced the Tegra 2! Utilising a dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU running at "up to" 1GHz, the new Tegra is able to decode 1080p HD video, and has powerful enough graphics hardware to be able to display said video at its native resolution. And although the Tegra 1 was initially a Windows CE-only affair, this new generation of the chip has been seen running Google's Android, so there's hope that the hardware documentation will be open enough to allow a suitably crazy set of individuals to begin a RISC OS port, should they feel so inclined.


Mobinnova Beam smartbook with 1GHz Tegra 2
Via Engadget, Liliputing, and Liliputing.

MSI 10" Tegra 2 tablet running Android
Via Engadget, Liliputing.

Compal Tegra 2 tablet running Android
Via Engadget, jkkmobile.

ICD's lonely Tegra 1 tablet, "Vega"
Via Engadget.

Tegra 2-powered Boxee Box media player
Via Engadget.

Verizon Tegra 2 tablet
Via Engadget.

Pegatron's Tegra-2 powered Neo smartbook
Via Engadget.

Quanta's lopsided Tegra 2 tablet prototype
Via Engadget.

Notion Ink Adam tablet with Pixel Qi screen
Via Engadget.

And finally, news of a Tegra 2 devboard
Via Alan Robertson.

Marvell

Coming in second place this year was Marvell, with the highlight being the announcement of their new ARMADA range of SoC's. Like the Tegra 2, Marvell's ARMADA is a powerful beast, utilising up to four ARMv7 cores running at GHz speeds and capable of decoding and displaying full HD video. Slightly more detailed specs are available on Marvell's website.


Stylish ARMADA smartbook
Via Engadget.

2GHz ARMADA-powered Plug Computer 3.0
Via Engadget.

ARMADA-powered EBOX nettop
Via Engadget.

Non-ARMADA Paradigm Shift tablet
Via Engadget.

Qualcomm

Although they didn't have much exciting new stuff to show at CES, there is news that Qualcomm are following the trend and working on a dual-core, 1.5GHz, 1080p-able version of their Snapdragon chipset.


Lenovo's Snapdragon-powered Skylight smartbook
Via Liliputing, Engadget, and Liliputing.

Lenovo's IdeaPad x86 netbook/ARM tablet hybrid
Via Engadget, Engadget.

HP's Snapdragon-powered, Android-running smartbook
Via Liliputing, Engadget, and Liliputing.

Qualcomm's own Snaptop tablet-with-keyboard prototype
Via Liliputing.

Freescale

Freescale appears to have had a rather poor showing at CES, with the only notable item on display being a 7" tablet with keyboard-dock, powered by a 1GHz i.MX515 processor.


Dockable tablet thing
Via Liliputing, Engadget, Liliputing, and Engadget.

Other items of interest


Some random Cortex-A8 tablet
Via Liliputing.

800MHz ARM11 tablet with TV tuner
Via Engadget.

800MHz ARM11 netbook
Via Liliputing.

Shuttle launches push for standardised notebook motherboards
Via Liliputing, Engadget.

Big-and-bendy, ARMADA-powered Skiff e-reader
Via Engadget, Engadget, and, erm, Engadget.

What? No OMAP?

Yes, it looks like TI's OMAP platform was notably absent from this year's CES. However, all is not lost - the Pandora is (still) inching closer to release (Just a few case tweaks left, hopefully), the Touch Book has been on sale for a few months now (to mixed reviews), and TI's next-gen, multi-core, 1080p-capable OMAP4 was actually announced way back in February last year - they just don't have any prototypes to show off yet. Hopefully this year's Computex Taipei will be TI's time to shine.
 

  CES 2010: ARM hardware roundup
  highlandcattle (12:31 17/1/2010)
  nunfetishist (12:54 17/1/2010)
    Phlamethrower (13:00 17/1/2010)
      filecore (13:16 17/1/2010)
      nunfetishist (15:25 17/1/2010)
        filecore (17:09 17/1/2010)
          nunfetishist (17:10 17/1/2010)
            bhtooefr (17:18 17/1/2010)
              nunfetishist (17:42 17/1/2010)
  Phlamethrower (12:56 17/1/2010)
    monkeyson2 (14:35 17/1/2010)
    trevj (12:58 8/4/2010)
      arawnsley (15:07 15/4/2010)
        bhtooefr (01:27 16/4/2010)
          nunfetishist (11:38 16/4/2010)
            trevj (13:20 14/5/2010)
              nunfetishist (13:46 14/5/2010)
                trevj (14:26 14/5/2010)
                  nunfetishist (14:51 14/5/2010)
                    trevj (15:33 14/5/2010)
                  bhtooefr (16:44 14/5/2010)
                    trevj (09:46 20/5/2010)
  helpful (17:46 17/1/2010)
    PeterD (16:54 20/1/2010)
    Phlamethrower (19:56 21/1/2010)
      helpful (21:51 21/1/2010)
        Phlamethrower (22:49 21/1/2010)
          PeterD (09:29 17/2/2010)
            trevj (09:55 17/2/2010)
  trevj (12:32 7/7/2010)
 
van Engelen Thomas Message #112860, posted by highlandcattle at 12:31, 17/1/2010
Member
Posts: 78
What are the mixed reviews for the Touch Book about?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #112863, posted by nunfetishist at 12:54, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112860
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
It's "NVIDIA", not "nVidia".
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jeffrey Lee Message #112864, posted by Phlamethrower at 12:56, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112860
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15031
What are the mixed reviews for the Touch Book about?
From what people are saying, the build quality doesn't seem to be that great - the headphone socket is recessed too far and so doesn't accept the majority of plugs, the slide locks that connect the tablet to the keyboard and hold the back of the tablet on aren't spring-loaded (although I haven't seen many people complain about it so it might not be a major issue), post-release they had to add extra "feet" to the back of the keyboard to stop the whole thing falling over backwards when the screen is open beyond 90 degrees, there are reports of things shifting round and unplugging/unsticking themselves during shipping, and there are reports that batteries aren't charging properly (although it's hard to tell whether that's a software or hardware problem).

Of course, without knowing how many units they're shipping it's a bit hard to tell how widespread these faults are. Apart from the obvious design flaws (headphone socket, slide locks, no RTC battery!) it might just be a few isolated incidents that are causing the majority of the forum chatter.

Hopefully ROOL will be able to provide a better perspective when they receive their unit.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jeffrey Lee Message #112865, posted by Phlamethrower at 13:00, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112863
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15031
It's "NVIDIA", not "nVidia".
Hmm, so it is! Cheers!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jason Togneri Message #112866, posted by filecore at 13:16, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112865

Posts: 3864
It's "NVIDIA", not "nVidia".
Hmm, so it is! Cheers!
TIB: the site of choice for trolls, anal-retentives, and other RISC OS enthusiasts.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Phil Mellor Message #112867, posted by monkeyson2 at 14:35, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112864
monkeyson2Please don't let them make me be a monkey butler

Posts: 12380
From what people are saying, the build quality doesn't seem to be that great - the headphone socket is recessed too far and so doesn't accept the majority of plugs, the slide locks that connect the tablet to the keyboard and hold the back of the tablet on aren't spring-loaded (although I haven't seen many people complain about it so it might not be a major issue), post-release they had to add extra "feet" to the back of the keyboard to stop the whole thing falling over backwards when the screen is open beyond 90 degrees, there are reports of things shifting round and unplugging/unsticking themselves during shipping, and there are reports that batteries aren't charging properly (although it's hard to tell whether that's a software or hardware problem).
...otherwise OK? tongue
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #112868, posted by nunfetishist at 15:25, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112865
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
It's "NVIDIA", not "nVidia".
Hmm, so it is! Cheers!
What's interesting is that it's /always/ been NVIDIA, but their old logo's typeface selection made it confusing. Everywhere else it was always all-caps. They made the problem worse with their nForce chipset. Kinda reminds me of the mess of RISC OS, Risc<halfspace>PC, and RISCOS Ltd.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jason Togneri Message #112872, posted by filecore at 17:09, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112868

Posts: 3864
What's interesting is that it's /always/ been NVIDIA, but their old logo's typeface selection made it confusing. Everywhere else it was always all-caps.
This quite clearly looks like "nVIDIA" to me. The modern one is less obscure.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #112873, posted by nunfetishist at 17:10, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112872
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
What's interesting is that it's /always/ been NVIDIA, but their old logo's typeface selection made it confusing. Everywhere else it was always all-caps.
This quite clearly looks like "nVIDIA" to me. The modern one is less obscure.
Yes, quite.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Eric Rucker Message #112874, posted by bhtooefr at 17:18, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112873
Member
Posts: 336
And, I do believe some of their own config files and strings in drivers use nVidia.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #112876, posted by nunfetishist at 17:42, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112874
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
And, I do believe some of their own config files and strings in drivers use nVidia.
In the same way some of RISC OS's sources refer to RiscOS smile If you look at any official material though, it's all quite consistent.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Bryan Hogan Message #112877, posted by helpful at 17:46, 17/1/2010, in reply to message #112860
Member
Posts: 151
What are the mixed reviews for the Touch Book about?
There seem to have been a quite a few people who have bought one, ignoring all the warnings on the website about it being a beta product, and have then complained when they get it and find that it is, well, a bit beta!

Got mine at the end of last week and it seems quite good so far, but it is definitely still a work in progress. With all the new products listed here, it may turn out that progress has taken too long, but we'll see.

If you are in the south east of England, come along to tomorrow's (Monday 18th) ROUGOL meeting and see it for yourself.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Peter Darnell Message #112965, posted by PeterD at 16:54, 20/1/2010, in reply to message #112877
Member
Posts: 2
Hopefully get mine next monthsmile have had it on order since August.
Should have had it already but I randomly entered my card number into a cash machine a few times at a Christmas night out and it ate my card, two days later the Touch Book people tried to get some money from itunhappy

All sorted now.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jeffrey Lee Message #112981, posted by Phlamethrower at 19:56, 21/1/2010, in reply to message #112877
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15031
What are the mixed reviews for the Touch Book about?
There seem to have been a quite a few people who have bought one, ignoring all the warnings on the website about it being a beta product, and have then complained when they get it and find that it is, well, a bit beta!

Got mine at the end of last week and it seems quite good so far, but it is definitely still a work in progress. With all the new products listed here, it may turn out that progress has taken too long, but we'll see.
The problem I have is that the website always used to describe it as the hardware being final, and only the software being in beta. And yet there are/were definite hardware problems on release, with the hardware being updated post-release in order to fix them.

Anyway, my bitterness aside - it looks like they've recently bumped the spec up to 512MB RAM. No official announcement yet, but hopefully this upgrade also signifies that they've taken the time to fix some of the hardware issues that have been reported.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Bryan Hogan Message #112982, posted by helpful at 21:51, 21/1/2010, in reply to message #112981
Member
Posts: 151
yet there are/were definite hardware problems on release, with the hardware being updated post-release in order to fix them.
Were there any hardware changes? Other than sticking two feet on the back to stop it falling over backwards!

my bitterness aside - it looks like they've recently bumped the spec up to 512MB RAM.
Your bitterness - I waited 6 months for mine and one week after it arrives the spec goes up!

But if it is only a memory upgrade that I'm not really bothered by that.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Jeffrey Lee Message #112984, posted by Phlamethrower at 22:49, 21/1/2010, in reply to message #112982
PhlamethrowerHot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot Hot stuff

Posts: 15031
yet there are/were definite hardware problems on release, with the hardware being updated post-release in order to fix them.
Were there any hardware changes? Other than sticking two feet on the back to stop it falling over backwards!
The only change I know of (before this RAM upgrade) has been the feet. From today's IRC log there's also a mention of a new bottom part PCB revision, but for all I know that could be the part that's in the new model with more RAM.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Peter Darnell Message #113411, posted by PeterD at 09:29, 17/2/2010, in reply to message #112984
Member
Posts: 2
Have received mine TB now, the one thing I that grabs you when you turn it on is that you have the choice of 3 operating systems at start up.
I would love to help somehow to have that increased to 4 and have RISC OS added to the list.
Now I have NO programming skills at all but If anyone can think of a way I could help please let me know.
ps Is there any version of RISC OS at all that could run on the TB now?

Peter.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #113412, posted by trevj at 09:55, 17/2/2010, in reply to message #113411
Member
Posts: 659
Peter, have you seen the following ROOL info?As I don't have a Touch Book myself (and am still awaiting my Beagle Board - perhaps I should cancel and get an IGEPv2 board instead) all I can say is:
  • read what info you can find;
  • try what you're confident of without risking anything; and
  • discuss things on the ROOL forum.
Good luck smile
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #113921, posted by trevj at 12:58, 8/4/2010, in reply to message #112864
Member
Posts: 659
Another Qualcomm device for the list is Wistron's PurseBook (hopefully this is just a working name!).
Edit: But this is old news so perhaps it's been dropped.

[Edited by trevj at 14:54, 8/4/2010]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Rawnsley Message #113977, posted by arawnsley at 15:07, 15/4/2010, in reply to message #113921
Member
Posts: 430
Just reading an overview of Tegra2 at hexus.net

That chip appears to have an ARM7 core in there as well as 2x Cortex A9 and so on...

Made me think (maybe stupidly) could this be harnessed by RISC OS for compatibility purposes? Could existing code be run on the Arm7 and new code be developed for the A9 cores? Probably not, so probably a stupid idea, but I did wonder if it offered an option for backwards compatibility.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Eric Rucker Message #113987, posted by bhtooefr at 01:27, 16/4/2010, in reply to message #113977
Member
Posts: 336
The ARM7 handles things like power management.

Even if it WERE accessible from user code, it's likely an ARM7TDMI. The T means, might as well just run code directly on the Cortex-A9, as ARM7TDMI is a 32-bit only processor - the only real additional issue that the Cortex-A9 presents is unaligned load/store behavior changes, IIRC.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #113991, posted by nunfetishist at 11:38, 16/4/2010, in reply to message #113987
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
Not to mention the ARM7's clock speed is probably so puny that you might as well emulate on the Cortex.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #114443, posted by trevj at 13:20, 14/5/2010, in reply to message #113991
Member
Posts: 659
Has anyone heard anything of SBCs using the Cortex-A8 based Renesas SH-Mobile APE4?

Renesas exhibited at the recent embedded world 2010 and their chips have been used previously by emtrion (who also exhibited there) - e.g. SH7780-based "Boxed PC".
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #114444, posted by nunfetishist at 13:46, 14/5/2010, in reply to message #114443
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
Has anyone heard anything of SBCs using the Cortex-A8 based Renesas SH-Mobile APE4?
Boggle. Surely given it's Renesas, and it's called a SH-Mobile APE4, it would a be SuperH core, not ARM?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #114445, posted by trevj at 14:26, 14/5/2010, in reply to message #114444
Member
Posts: 659
Boggle. Surely given it's Renesas, and it's called a SH-Mobile APE4, it would a be SuperH core, not ARM?
Well, that's what I thought initially. But the press release seems to indicate they've got a licensed ARM design in there.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rob Kendrick Message #114446, posted by nunfetishist at 14:51, 14/5/2010, in reply to message #114445
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 446
Boggle. Surely given it's Renesas, and it's called a SH-Mobile APE4, it would a be SuperH core, not ARM?
Well, that's what I thought initially. But the press release seems to indicate they've got a licensed ARM design in there.
Well, it can only be an improvement. My experiences of SuperH have accelerated my hair loss.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #114448, posted by trevj at 15:33, 14/5/2010, in reply to message #114446
Member
Posts: 659
...My experiences of SuperH have accelerated my hair loss.
So perhaps the H doesn't stand for Hitachi, as I thought it did.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Eric Rucker Message #114450, posted by bhtooefr at 16:44, 14/5/2010, in reply to message #114445
Member
Posts: 336
Good job, Renesas, at confusing everyone...

(SH-Mobile has historically been a line of SuperH stuff, not ARM.)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #114495, posted by trevj at 09:46, 20/5/2010, in reply to message #114450
Member
Posts: 659
Good job, Renesas, at confusing everyone...

(SH-Mobile has historically been a line of SuperH stuff, not ARM.)
They avoided my specific question asking "to what extent is the SH-Mobile APE4 (product number: R8A73720) based on the Cortex-A8 and are there any known compatibility issues?" Instead I'm told that it's "an Application Processor specifically designed to support high-end Smartphones" - blindingly obvious from the press release! They'd now like to "evaluate [the] best potential match for [my] application"... Blah, blah, blah...

However, they are listed under 'affiliations' as an ARM Processor licensee.

Edit: I've now learned that they've recently undergone a restructuring as a result of the merger with NEC. Therefore, it's anyone's guess how effectively such queries are handled!

[Edited by trevj at 12:21, 20/5/2010]
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Trevor Johnson Message #114789, posted by trevj at 12:32, 7/7/2010, in reply to message #112860
Member
Posts: 659
Watch out for Intel smartphones at the 2011 show!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 

The Icon Bar: News and features: CES 2010: ARM hardware roundup