Charbax writes: In this video, Jerone Young, lead partner engineer at Canonical, explains some of the challenges that Canonical and other companies who are part of the new Linaro project have been working on for the past many months, in preparation for the now imminent release of a whole bunch of ARM Cortex A9 Powered laptops and desktops likely to be manufactured by giants of the industry such as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Quanta, Invetec, Pegatron, Compal, all of whome have been showing tens of early prototype designs of these ARM Powered laptops at trade shows around the world during the past year and a half. They work to standardize the boot process, write drivers to use graphics and video hardware acceleration, they optimize the web browser (Chrome and Mozilla), they implement faster DDR3 RAM and faster I/O bus speeds, they also optimize the software to use the new faster dual core ARM Cortex A9 processors. The goal is to have these upcoming ARM Powered laptops feel as usable to end consumers as Intel x86 based laptops/netbooks. With increased competition thanks to this alternative CPU architecture, prices of laptops and desktops could rapidly go down (sub-$149 laptops and sub-$99 desktops are likely), battery life could run much longer (up to 30-50 hours using a Pixel Qi LCD screen), sizes and weights can be much smaller. This could be the type of low-power, low-cost computer that the next 5 billion people in the world may use as their first computer.
If you use capacitive, wacom or some other touch screen technologies that don't reduce visibility of the screen, then the touch screen is going to be just as visible as if it wasn't a touch screen.
The Sony touch screen e-ink uses a resistive touch screen, which ads some glare and blurry layer on top of the screen.
Anyways, Pixel Qi works with any touch screen technologies.
There's probably going to be an option to get an unlocked 3G module with SIM card reader, but it'll currently cost you at least $50 extra. But it'd be unlocked and you could use any SIM card you want from a telecom that allows any device on their network and provides SIM cards for that.
In Europe you can get SIM cards for free and only have to pay starting 5€ per month for data services on it, especially for the few hundreds of megabytes per months which are probably enough for downloading e-books and doing basic web browsing.
The Pixel Qi screen is designed to cost about the same as a regular LCD screen, especially once mass produced by the millions. And Pixel Qi is confirming that their technology is not being mass produced by LCD manufacturers without them having had to change anything in the LCD factories, thus as soon as the orders for millions of these screens comes in, I think you could find a 10" Pixel Qi with a Bill of Material below $60 including the capacitive touch screen.
Check out the Pixel Qi LCD screen technology, provide e-ink quality ereading and very low power consumption when turning off the backlight, and you can turn on the backlight to get the full color qualities of regular LCD screens as well when you want to browse the Internet or watch some movies. All on the same screen: http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/charbax-tests-pixel-qi-at-ces-2010/
It's a bit like the Chicken and the Egg problem. You can't really use laptops to read textbooks.
Once students all have low power readable tablets at $99, the affordable if not totally free access to all books and all textbooks is an obvious development.
Even if the publishers will want to keep prices of digital versions of textbooks high, students will very easily be able to pirate them. This will force a new business model to monetize the work of authors. Such as one that is already used with libraries. Borrowing books from the library is free while authors are compensated directly accordingly with the popularity of their work through some sorts of taxes. Authors whos books are in libraries are compensated by how many times people borrows their books, which could be even more precisely counted using e-readers by counting the actual exact use and popularity of each ebook page.
It's as good as e-ink for reading. Check my video: http://armdevices.net/2010/01/08/charbax-tests-pixel-qi-at-ces-2010/
I tested it only for a few minutes though, I didn't actually read much on it, just had time to check it out outdoors and indoors at Computex 2009 and at CES 2010 as I was filming those Pixel Qi videos.
It's very very readable and the whole 10" screen currently uses less than 500 milliwatts which means potentially reaching 50 hours battery runtime using an ARM processor to turn e-book pages on a 3-cell netbook-sized battery.
They need to reach ARM Cortex A9 or good A8 with full hardware acceleration of Google Android for Laptops or Google Chrome OS software and Flash 10 support for full speed web browsing. Once they have that, which is really imminent, they will be selling huge amounts all over the market.
Charbax writes: On the one side you have the closed iPad for $499-$829, on the other you have dozens of awesome open ARM Powered Linux Tablets coming to the market from MSI, Asus, ICD, Notion Ink, HP, Dell and others, most are based on Android and are likely to foster competition that can provide cheaper and better Tablets than Apple. Archos is the only manufacturer with powerful Android Tablets on the market since October 2009, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet (8GB) is now available for $249 in Radio Shack and (16GB) for $279 in Best Buy. Today, Archos is releasing the Special Edition Firmware that adds an Ångström Linux as a dual-boot for their latest Archos 5 Internet Tablet generation so that developers can start developing powerful Linux solutions for the Archos Linux tablets and not only do Android stuff.
isupply.com usually makes Bill Of Material calculations on all these devices. They and other such industry analysts websites can inform on the component costs. Smart phones like iphone and Android phones are usually below $150 in Bill of Materials (+/- $30 depending on the screen quality and quality of other few components used) and it's usually below $10 in manufacturing costs.