Posts Tagged ‘cost’

Intel at MWC 2015: SoFIA, Rockchip, Low Cost Integrated LTE, Atom Renaming and 14nm Cherry Trail

March 2nd, 2015 No comments

After day zero at Mobile World Congress already boasting some impressive releases, Intel tackles their platform on day one on several different fronts. As part of a pre-briefing, we were invited into the presentation where Intel discussed the current state of their mobile portfolio along with looking to the future. The pre-briefing was run by Aicha Evans, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Wireless Platform Research and Development Group, who you may remember was interviewed by Anand in a series of videos back in 2013. Ms. Evans' focus stems on the connectivity side of the equation, making sure that Intel’s portfolio develops into a strong base for future platforms.

One of the big elements for Intel is the rebranding of their mobile Atom line of SoCs. Up until this point, all the SoCs were difficult to follow and very similar names such as Z3580 or Z3760. This is adjusted into three different segments as follows:

Similar to their personal computing processor line, the Intel Atom structure will take on x3/x5/x7 naming, similar to the i3/i5/i7 of the desktop and notebook space. This is not to be confused with Qualcomm’s modem naming scheme, or anything by BMW.

The x3 sits at the bottom, and is comprised of Bay Trail based SoCs at the 28nm node all previously part of the SoFIA program aimed at emerging markets. There will be three x3 parts – a dual core x3, a quad core x3 from the Rockchip agreement, and a final quad core x3 with an integrated LTE modem.

This set raises some interesting points to discuss. Firstly is the use of 28nm is the same node as previous Intel Atoms, and thus should be derived from a TSMC source. It is also poignant to note that for these SoCs Intel is using a Mali GPU rather than the Gen 8 graphics and their own IP. This is due to the SoFIA program being aimed at bringing costs down and functionality into the low price points in a competitive time-to-market.

The Rockchip model, indicated by the ‘RK’ at the end of the name of the SoC, comes from the partnership with Rockchip we reported on back in May 2014. At the time Intel discussed the roadmap for producing a quad core SoC with 3G for the China market in the middle of 2015, which this provides.

The final part of the x3 arrangement revolves combining a 5-mode LTE modem on the same die. Intel is going to support 14 LTE bands on a single SoC with PMIC, WiFi and geolocation technologies (GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou).

The Atom x5 and x7 SoCs represent the next step up, implementing Intel’s 14nm process and bringing Cherry Trail to market. The x5 and x7 SoCs are aimed primarily at tablets, but can find their way into sub 10.1 inch tablets as well, providing an interesting counterbalance to the high price premium of Intel Core-M 4.5W products based on Broadwell-Y. While the x3 line will focus first on Android moving into Windows, x5 and x7 is designed to be targeting both, particularly with the bundled Gen 8 graphics and LTE with XMM276x supporting Cat-6 and carrier aggregation.

Not a lot of detail was provided about x5 and x7, suggesting that they are aimed more at late 1H/2H 2015 down the line. This coincides with the next generation of Intel’s XMM 7360 modem, featuring up to 450 Mbps downlink and support for up to 29 LTE bands.

One interesting element in the x5/x7 scenario was the bundled platform block diagram provided by Intel, showing clearly the two dual-core Airmont CPUs each with 1MB of L2 cache, Gen 8 graphics, separate security processors and ISP, as well as USB 3.0 support.

Finally, Intel addressed the obvious lack of a high-end mobile SoC that fits into the performance smartphone category. Intel is still working on development of such a SoC in the form of Braxton and we'll have more news on this piece in the future.

We are lining up a chance to interview Ms. Evans about Intel’s Atom lineup later this week at MWC, so stay tuned for that.

HP Announces Low Cost Stream Laptops And Tablets

September 30th, 2014 No comments

Several weeks ago, Hewlet-Packard announced the HP Stream 14” Notebook. The Stream series is HP’s version of the low cost Windows laptop, meant to compete head to head with Chromebooks on price, but still offer the power of a fully fleshed out operating system. The Stream 14 (pictured above) is available to purchase now for only 9, and comes with an AMD A4 APU, 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of eMMC storage.

Today, HP revealed the rest of the Stream lineup, with two additional laptops, and two tablets. In a world where the Chromebook has put some serious price pressure on the Average Selling Price of low cost computing, OEMs are trying to win over consumers with nice designs and additional perks in an effort to differentiate from the competition.

HP Stream 11

First up is the laptops. There are two screen sizes with the smaller being 11.6” and the mid-size being 13.3”, to compliment the already released 14” model. Exact specifications have not been disclosed yet, but both units will be powered by an Intel dual-core Celeron processor based on the Bay Trail architecture. This will make it a fanless device, and both come with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of eMMC storage. The 13.3” device has an optional touchscreen to go with the 1366×768 resolution that both laptops share. The 13.3” model also is available with optional 4G connectivity, and as a value add, HP is including 200 MB of free data every month for the life of the device. As another value add, HP is offering one year of Office 365 personal, which includes 1 TB of online storage and 60 Skype minutes per month. Battery life is listed from HP at 8:15 for the 11.6” model, and 7:45 for the 13.3” model. The HP Stream laptops are available in several colors, and will be priced at 9.99 for the 11.6” model and 9.99 as the starting price for the 13.3” model.

HP Stream 13

With the race to the bottom on pricing, one has to wonder where it will end, but all we know is it has not ended yet. Today HP also announced the HP Stream 7 Tablet, which is a 7” Windows 8.1 with Bing device that comes in at only .99. If you are in need of a slightly larger device, with optional 4G, then HP also has you covered with the HP Stream 8 which has a starting price of 9.99. Both tablets are powered by Intel Atom quad-core processors, and 1366×768 screens. Like the larger of the two laptops, the 8” tablet, if equipped with the optional 4G, comes with 200 MB of data per month for the life of the device, and both also come with Office 365 personal for one year. Office 365 personal is to purchase on its own, so for only more you can get it with a 7” tablet.

HP Stream 7 (left) HP Stream 8 (right)

It has been a bit painful to see the thin and light Chromebooks popping up over the last couple of years, and it was always especially frustrating that low cost Windows laptops were large, thick, noisy, and had very slow spinning hard disks. It is great to see the Chromebook styling now coming to Windows PCs, and with the Chromebook pricing as well. Microsoft is making a big push to recapture some of this end of the market by offering Windows 8.1 with Bing, and they are now starting to see some examples of great looking Chromebook competitors.

The tablet side is not as rosy, with Windows 8.1 not having the same mobile ecosystem as Android, but at least the pricing is now in line for the bottom end of the market. The add-ons offered by HP are pretty strong, with the Office 365 Personal costing almost as much as the tablet itself, and 4G for life is a nice bonus to those who just need a bit of data when they are not on Wi-Fi. Of course what the Windows Tablets need as the killer app is the touch version of Office, but that is not available as of yet, so anyone who wants to take advantage of Office 365 will have to do it from a 7-8” desktop, but as with most Windows tablets these can be connected to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor if you were so inclined. This is a strong push by HP to get a foothold in the low end of the market, with sharp looking products and useful value adds as well. Hopefully we can get some of these as review units to give you the full break down on just what you get for so little money.

Google revises cost of Motorola Mobility restructuring

October 5th, 2012 No comments

ADVERTISING BROKER Google has increased its cost estimate for restructuring Motorola Mobility.

Google’s .5bn buyout of Motorola Mobility was not only expensive but left Google with the task of integrating its new acquisition into its existing corporate structure and practices. The firm had previously announced that it will cut Motorola’s workforce by 20 percent, and now it has revised upwards its figures for severance charges by nine percent to 0m.

Motorola was bought for its considerable patent portfolio, with Google hoping that the 16,000 or so patents will help it fend off potential patent lawsuits by other firms like Apple and Microsoft. However Google bought not only 16,000 patents but also a company that was far from being the mobile phone market leader, with financials to match its lacklustre products.

Google said in a statement to Reuters, “Motorola has continued to refine its planned restructuring actions and now expects to broaden those actions to include additional geographic regions outside of the US.”

The company repeated that further restructuring, effectively job cuts, could be on the horizon by adding, “Motorola continues to evaluate its plans and further restructuring actions may occur, which may cause Google to incur additional restructuring charges, some of which may be significant.”

Google’s influence on Motorola Mobility’s handset division has yet to be felt. However Google’s next reference Nexus design scheduled to tip up sometime in the next four months, and that could be the first time analysts gain some insight as to whether Google paid .5bn for patents and whether it is interested in the hardware side of the business. µ

Updated: Iphone 5 to cost from £529 in UK

September 13th, 2012 No comments

THE IPHONE 5 will be available in the UK from 21 September with preorders starting in just two days, Apple has announced, while networks have been quick to snap up the firm’s new smartphone.

Announced merely moments ago, the Iphone 5 is everything we were expecting. The device sports a 4in Retina display, Apple’s IOS 6 mobile operating system (OS), an A6 processor, an 8MP Isight camera, support for 4G LTE and longer battery life.

Preorders for the Iphone 5 will start on Friday 14 September, with shipping set to begin on 21 September. According to the Apple Store website, UK pricing will start from a hefty £529.

The Iphone 5 will also be available through EE, and will be compatible with the network’s 4G LTE network. The network told The INQUIRER, “EE will launch an exclusive 4G LTE version of the new Iphone when the EE customer brand launches in the coming weeks, giving customers five times faster network speeds than on 3G.”

However, the operator was also keen to point out that the Iphone 5 will also be available through Orange and T-Mobile, for those not too concerned about 4G connectivity.

Clearly not put off by EE’s 4G LTE advantage, Vodafone told us that it also plans to sell the next generation Apple Iphone 5. In a statement the network said, “We welcome the arrival of the Iphone 5 and Vodafone UK plans to offer the new device to our customers. Availability of the device will be announced in due course.”

Three took to Twitter to boast that it will also be selling the new Apple Iphone 5, saying, “Have you heard? Iphone 5 is nearly here! You can pre-order yours on Three from Friday,” although there’s not yet any word on the operator’s pricing.

O2 has also used the medium of Twitter to tell us it will be offering the new smartphone, giving the Iphone 5 a clean sweep of the UK networks. It said, “Like the look of the new Iphone 5? So do we – that’s why it’s coming to O2. More details to come over the next few days.” µ

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Windows 8 Upgrade Will Cost Just $39.99

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

It's a move that the team from Cupertino has been using for the last several years, and it looks like Microsoft is going to give it a shot. In a post on The Windows Blog (not to be confused with the Building Windows 8 blog), Brandon LeBlanc announces that Microsoft will be doing a Windows 8 upgrade promotion, where upgrades from Windows XP, Vista and 7 to Windows 8 Pro will cost just .99.

This reflects a similar move Microsoft made in 2009, where they offered Windows 7 pre-orders at a significant discount.  At the time those upgrades were for Home Premium, 0 for Pro, and 0 for the Home Premium Family pack (3 licenses), meaning Windows 8 pre-order upgrade pricing is significantly better than Windows 7 pre-order upgrade pricing, with Windows 8 Pro going for less than half the price of its predecessor. And while there isn’t a family pack (so far), 3 Pro licenses are still cheaper than the Windows 7 family pack. The catch of course is that just like last time this is a limited time offer; while Microsoft is running this promotion for far longer than the 2 weeks Windows 7's promotion ran for, this one is only going until January 31, 2013. 

Microsoft has also offered a few technical details on the upgrade process. Microsoft will be selling upgrades both in physical packages and digitally from their store, with the latter being the cheaper price. For electronic copies the upgrade process will be done through the use of the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, an installation app that streamlines the download and allows users to customize what they want to retain from their earlier installation. HTPC users will also want to take note that because this upgrade path leads to Windows 8 Pro, buyers will have access to Windows Media Center as a paid downloadable feature; this allays concerns from the HTPC community that they would need to upgrade to a significantly more expensive version of Windows 7 Pro to access the feature.

On that note, for those of you still on Windows XP, the fact that Microsoft is offering Windows 8 Pro as opposed to Windows 8 (consumer) should be of particular interest. Windows 8 Pro comes with downgrade rights, which allow the owner to legally install older versions of Windows. So for those of you needing to upgrade from XP but still wanting to hang back with Windows 7, this is a de-facto Windows 7 Professional upgrade too.

Now there's no obvious reason why they've made this pricing move. Perhaps it's a move to quell the outcry from users dissatisfied with the UI changes. Perhaps it's a change in pricing philosophy that treats delta updates as lower cost than a complete license; and if that's the case, could we see annual upgrades a la OS X. What is cåertain, is that once you make this move, it's difficult to move back to a model where loyal customers have to shell out 0 to use your latest software. WIth any luck, this new frugalness will reach their other high cost moneymaker: Office.

Gallery: Windows 8 Upgrade Will Cost Just .99

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Fusion Garage Grid 10 tablet will cost £259

September 12th, 2011 No comments

TABLET MAKER Fusion Garage has confirmed UK pricing for its Grid 10 tablet and announced that its smartphone will soon be coming to the UK.

The WiFi only version of the Grid 10 tablet will cost £259, while the WiFi and 3G model will be priced at £359. Fusion Garage CEO Chandra Rathakrishnan told The INQUIRER that the tablet has “the highest screen resolution of any tablet” at 1366×768.

Last month, we reported that Fusion Garage had stepped back into the limelight, following up its widely criticised Joojoo tablet.

The firm’s disastrous Joojoo unit failed to live up to the claims of the firm’s founder, Rathakrishnan.

Now Fusion Garage has a custom version of Google’s Android operating system, called Grid OS. It can run Android apps but they must be accessed through Amazon’s app store rather than the Android Market.

The 10.1in tablet has a dual-core 1.2GHz Tegra processor and 16GB of storage. It uses Microsoft Bing as its internet search engine and has a front facing camera for video chat but no rear facing camera as Rathakrishnan thought it unnecessary.

Meanwhile, the Grid 4 is a 4in smartphone that has a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. No UK pricing has been announced for the phone as yet, but it costs 9 in the US. The device will launch in the UK in the fourth quarter and Fusion Garage is currently in talks with operators and retailers about stocking it.

The Grid 10 tablet will be available at Amazon from 15 September.

The tablet is reasonably priced and its custom operating system gives it some nice features. However Fusion Garage will need get the smartphone and tablet to mobile operators and into electronics retail stores to stand a chance at succeeding. µ

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HTC Droid Incredible parts cost $163.35

July 29th, 2010 No comments

A BILL OF MATERIALS (BOM) worth precisely 3.35 is Isuppli’s estimate of what HTC’s Droid Incredible phone actually costs in components and assembly.

Its Teardown Analysis Service came to this conclusion largely because the Droid uses an Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) display, a Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon baseband processor and 4Gbit of mobile Double Data Rate (DDR) DRAM.

Qualcomm, Samsung and Hynix lead the BOM parade. The most expensive section of the Droid is the baseband applications processor at a cost of .40, accounting for 19.2 per cent of the smart phone’s total BOM. This section is dominated by Qualcomm’s baseband integrated circuit that has the Snapdragon processor.

Coming in at a close second in terms of expense is the touchscreen display at a cost of .20, or 19.1 per cent of the total. The AMOLED display portion of this subsystem is supplied by Samsung Mobile Display Company.

Next in the ranking is the memory section, at a cost of .80 and accounting for 18.2 per cent of the tab. In the handset torn down by Isuppli, this section consists of NAND flash memory and mobile DDR DRAM from Samsung Electronics and more NAND from Hynix Semiconductor. However, Isuppli believes that HTC is likely using additional sources of supply for these commodity memory parts.

Pricing for components found inside of equipment is determined using Isuppli’s component price tracker service. It provides detailed information on costs for more than 350 components commonly found in electronic equipment, allowing Isuppli to develop its BOM estimates.

The teardown assessment accounts only for hardware and manufacturing costs and does not take into consideration other expenses such as software, licensing, and royalties. µ


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