2011, the announced tablet mess

2011 will be a total mess for Tablets. It will look like the computer industry before Microsoft standardization int the 80s. Just have a look at this nice slide coming from Intel presentation at Barclays Capital Global Technology Conference :

2011 tablets with Intel Chip

2011 tablets with Intel Chip

Manufacturers will offer Meego, Android and Windows 7 based on an Intel chip, and other will offer Meego, Android on an Arm designed chip. But in some cases the same manufacturer will offer an Arm and an Intel tablet with different OSs at the same time!

Toshiba and Dell will have both an Intel/ W7 and an Arm/Android tablet. Lenovo will have an Intel / W7 and an Intel / android tablet.

What is really missing, is Windows 7 running on an Arm chip. That would be the signal of a real shuffle of the cards in the PC industry. Anyway 2011 is going to be fun!


Android powered Toshiba TG01

As some of you may know the Toshiba TG01 is a bit my baby. So I was really delighted by Engadget article mentionning “Oh, and it was under 10mm thick and featured a 4.1-inch WVGA display at a time when such specs were basically science fiction“. Our intend in developping TG01 was to push forward the monolith concept that has been so successful to Apple. I think the TG01 has triggered 2 new trends in mobile:

  • sleek with big display touchscreen devices followed by many manufacturers: HTC, Samsung, etc.
  • processor armrace thanks to its Snapdragon 1GHz processor

It’s good to see that some passionated people are still working on this device to correct its major flaw, its operating system!

As a matter of fact TG01 supports Windows Phone 7 as the first customer of the device has been … Microsoft! Actually Windows Phone 7 has been developped on TG01 platform as it was the only Snapdragon powered device in early 2009. But Microsoft never leaked the ROM even to Toshiba.

TG01 running Windows Phone 7

TG01 running Windows Phone 7

I’m really eager to have an Android powered TG01!

Toshiba places, Toshiba vision of connected TV

One of the project I was working on as a consultant has just been released by Toshiba. It is Toshiba Places, the portal for connected TV and set-top-box.

The main features are

  • TV enhanced experience with VoD, Electronic Program Guide, etc.
  • Websites customized to support remote control navigation and big screen display
  • Content sharing within your family network

Its Unique Selling Point is its easiness of use, enabling computer illiterates to be able to use it and computer literates to have fun. Watching Dailymotion videos on a TV screen is really cool and being able to share videos with one clic from the remote control is really a game changer.

This project started as an innovation for the French market only is now the European solution for connected TVs and discussions are going on to expand it further in Asia and America.

Consolidation in the Japanese market

Toshiba and Fujitsu are discussing the merge of their 2 mobile companies according to the news. The merge should take place late this year.

> FT article

As I mentioned in a previous post, Japanese manufacturers suffered a lot from the end of device subsidies. The Japanese market shrank by 1/3 in 2 years.

One other special trait of the Japanese market is that it is dominated by local handset vendors. Japanese makers control nearly 90% of their home market. These vendors mainly play locally and have little if any presence outside Japan.

Japan market

The only foreign outsider gaining a position into this market is Apple with a 4% market share.

How long will the Japanese market continue to be an exemption with so strong local players? This consolidation between Toshiba and Fujitsu may be the first sign that this time has come to an end.

Market Share
Sharp 27%
Fujitsu – Toshiba 20%
Panasonic 15%
NEC Casio Hitachi 15%
Sony Ericsson 7%
Kyocera Sanyo 5%
Apple 4%

Mobilephone design: less is better

Since Apple introduced the iPhone, most of the manufacturers have discovered the beauty of simple lines. Whereas mobiles featured many buttons a 3 years ago there is now a race towards the minimum of hardkeys. iPhone has set the trend with its unbeatten one hardkey.

iPhone : one hard key

iPhone : one hard key

Let’s have a loo at a few devices of the HTC range. The TyTN 2 in 2007 featured 6 hardkeys and a navigation key. Following generation Diamond (2008) featured 4 keys and a navigation key, then the Diamond 2 (2009) just featured 4 keys and a zoom bar.

HTC devices: fewer and fewer hardkeys

HTC devices: fewer and fewer hardkeys

Toshiba’s range followed the same track, from the G900 in 2007 with its 9 hardkeys and a navigation key (!), the G810 (2008) with 6 keys and a nav key and the latest TG01 (2009) featuring only 2 hardkeys and a zoom bar.

Toshiba range evolution towards pure lines

Toshiba range evolution towards pure lines

Even Nokia’s device are getting simpler with fewer keys as the latest 5800 and N97.

Nokia touch screen devices

Nokia touch screen devices

Mobiles are going away of the calculator look they had not so long ago, and no one will complain!