This is a video-interview with Walter Bender of Sugar Labs at Netbook World Summit in Paris. Sugar is the Gnu/Linux based OS running in over 1.5 million OLPC XO-1 laptops used by Children around the world. It is the Linux distribution that popularized Linux on Laptop form factors. As I wrote in http://www.olpcnews.com/commentary/impact/olpc_netbook_impact_on_laptop.html the OLPC project has greatly influenced the whole PC/Laptop industry, and with more optimized and streamlined Linux implementations like this new Sugar Linux OS, the influence is only going to be even greater.
Industry Linux overview by Linux experts Aaron J. Seigo, Community leader at the KDE Foundation and Arnaud Laprévote, CTO Chief Technology Officer at Mandriva Linux. They provide information on the status of Linux for ARM powered laptops and analyse the influence of Linux on the Laptop industry with the advent of the Netbooks.
Optima OP5-W is a thin and light Laptop that costs only $350, manufactured by Chinese manufacturer http://www.chinaoptima.com with Intel Atom N280 1.66ghz, 1GB ram (or 2GB ram for $18 more), 160GB hard drive (or more if demanded), 1.3mpix webcam, 2xUSB, mini-HDMI output integrated.
While Dell has ended the sale of their Dell Mini 12 netbook, while Lenovo S12 (with Nvidia Ion) and Samsung NC20 (VIA based) cost over $450, and Asus 1201HA has somewhat lower specs (1.33GHz Atom Z520 processor), this Optima OP5-W is a cheaper alternative for a 12.1″ netbook size. 12.1″ is a significantly larger computing experience, with more confortable screen and keyboard size for the productive adult laptop user.
The clue might be that Intel and Microsoft may have recently relaxed the rules governing the limitation of screen and keyboard size for the use and cheap licencing of Windows XP Home and the use of the cheap Netbook Intel Atom N280 processor. While I am not sure if Microsoft allows 12.1″ cheap Netbook edition Windows XP licencing, they use to not allow it for not cannibalizing the existing notebook sales profit margins, they may be allowing it now.
Battery life test:
The screen is quite bright, while the battery is not removable easily (screws are needed), I have tested the full 100% brightness, 100% speaker volume and constant video streaming over WiFi from http://live.twit.tv, the battery lasted about 1 hour 30 minutes. I have not yet tested the battery life in minimum screen brightness, low headphones volume and non-WiFi use with a light OS that doesn’t have a lot of active background processes.
This Optima OP5-W does not currently support WiFi usage on Chromium OS. Though, I believe this could rather easilly be fixed in a driver patch update of a Chromium OS image. So if you would want to order large quantities of this hardware with a 8GB flash storage memory instead of 160GB hard drive, you may as well save another $30 on the retail price. This means, that using these hardware specifications, an Intel Atom powered Chrome OS laptop with a 12.1″ screen could be sold close to or below $300, also consider that Google can subsidize the price of the Laptop towards Laptop manufacturers by paying the manufacturers or laptop selling brands a percentage of the revenue generated from Google’s advertising.
Consider also that the Optima OP5-W is a very interesting demonstration of the user experience that one could expect from a similar design for a laptop, same sized screen and keyboard but based on a lower power ARM Cortex A8 or ARM Cortex A9 processor, a Pixel Qi LCD screen (now being manufactured) with lower power consumption in full backlit color mode and also with a much lower power black and white mode. I expect that the ARM version of this 12.1″ sized laptop running Chrome OS and a fully usable Chrome browser to be sold below $200.
Here is the cheapest laptop in the world. It can run Android since it is based on a Samsung ARM926EJ-S3C2450 processor, but for now this review unit that I am reviewing in this video only runs Windows CE 5.0. Check back hopefully within a month for another video when Menq may have sent me a firmware upgrade to use Android instead of Windows CE.
As I filmed the Menq Easypc E760 last year at IFA, Menq is a chinese company interested in providing the worlds cheapest laptop designs. Last year, they were using a 480×320 resolution 7-inch screen to reach the $89 price point for laptops, now they are able to include a 800×480 resolution 7-inch screen. Find more information about this Menq EasyPC E790 at http://www.menqgroup.com/products/pro/E790.asp
Web Browsing is all that most people need, with clever HTML5 enabled Chrome browser running on any type of Embedded OS, be it Android or Ubuntu, even offline application could be run reliably from within the browser engine. Anything most people really need will work.
As you can see in my video review, this Menq EasyPC E790 is kind of slow since it is based on the ARM9 processor technology. For not much more cost, though, the Chinese laptop manufacturers could soon be using the ARM Cortex A8 processor technology, which should provide for a 5-10 times faster web browsing experience, and even faster if using an upcoming ARM optimized Chrome browser.
This laptop, I think, is giving us a taste of the future of laptops. Soon all laptops will cost $80 or less, run 10 hours or more on a small and cheap 3-cell battery, even over 20 hour battery life if using the Pixel Qi screen technology. It is also providing a sensation for the what we can expect from the next generation OLPC One Laptop Per Child XO-1.75 to be released by OLPC with ARM processor technology inside instead of X86.
If using ARM9, OLPC could definitely sell laptops at below $80, but maybe ARM Cortex A8 will be preferable at around $10-$20 extra in manufacturing costs, and the innovative new Pixel Qi screen, WiFi meshing, more RAM and storage, could bring the next ARM based OLPC XO-1.75 laptop coser to $125 per laptop, to reach below $100 with mass production. In any ways, I am really looking forward to see the upcoming releases of the ARM Cortex A8 based laptops, yet still, this ARM9 based laptop is very interesting, and if you want your local supermarket to start selling them, I suggest you phone your local supermarket headquarters, and ask them to contact Menq and order for example 5000 pieces or more so they can get them at the price of $80 per unit and sell it to you for probably below $100 in supermarkets.
FaceVsion of Taiwan now has added HDMI-input and Full HD 1920×1080 HD video-conferencing in the new FVexpress Pro card, as well as they still have the FVexpress combo with a new higher quality HD webcam included and a mini-PCI module that can be integrated in certain compatible netbooks (when the Express Card slot is not present on the netbooks) to integrate their HD video-conferencing directly into the netbooks.
What this technology from FaceVsion does is that it integrates HD H264 encoding and decoding into their express card device, or into their mini-PCI module, for netbook/laptop manufacturers to integrate or for end-consumers to buy as an express card solution or as a mini-PCI module to install inside of the netbook or laptop.
FaceVsion’s Qulive software automatically adapts the upload and download bitrates to and from each party according to the stable and reliable bandwidth that is available, it also support SIP to SIP connections and even IP to IP direct connections, thus it could be perfectly suitable for implementation at the Enterprise, for large, medium or small businesses. But also, especially, for just $119, this FaceVsion HD video-conferencing solution could easilly reach end consumers in masse if they manage to offer the right combination of product and value proposition.
Imagine sitting in your living room with a HD camcorder or cheaper HD webcam on your HDTV, and the same for your grand parents wherever in the world they live, simply sit back and have a real-time HD quality discussion in each of your sofa’s, the siye of a 42″ HDTV making it look like you are nearly sitting in the same room!
It’s going to be sold for 1500€ or more. They are keeping the processor secret at the moment. It’s probably currently using a basic Intel Atom but they would probably prefer to use an upcoming more expensive perhaps slightly less power consuming Intel Penrym or something like that processor.
This device is so far the most awesome I have seen at IFA 2009, it’s a 5″ Smartbook, one of the worlds first that will be released running on an ARM Cortex A8 processor by Freescale. Running Ubuntu 9.04 for ARM optimized for this ARM processor.
In this video I boot-up the machine (you probably wouldn’t need to boot it up really, it’s got 10 hours battery life and can probably go into standby just fine with instant resume from standby). I go on certain websites like Engadget.com over WiFi and I ask the Sharp PC-Z1 products representative a bunch of questions about price (340€), availability (September, that’s now folks!), weight (she forgot, but you can find that online).
This is the reason to go to IFA, wow awesome!
My suggestion: Sharp should sell this for 200 dollars with a 7″ screen (cause there is space on this form factor) and it’ll be the worldwide winner.