You can read their press release and check out their website to see the detailed features and specifications, but what amazes me the most is how they were able to create and deliver this broad range of products simultaneously? This level of scalability requires first creating a clear strategy, next picking the right technology, and third good old fashion execution. If you are familiar with Archos you understand their strategy over the last decade for providing great content consumption devices. Based on this latest release they do seem to be executing.
On the technology, they selected solutions based on the ARM Cortex-A8 processor which I believe fundamentally allowed them to achieve this level of scalability. They do not reveal exactly who the silicon provider is, so they leave us guessing there, but by choosing one architecture they significantly reduced their development effort. First let me say it is not just ARM technology but the entire ecosystem and a set of Partners Archos has chosen that provides this benefit.
- Today there are over 15 licensees of the ARM Cortex-A8 including major semiconductor companies such as Texas Instruments, Samsung, Freescale, and STMicro. Each of these is creating one or more system on chips (SOCs) with unique features added such as video encode/decode, 2D and 3D graphics, audio processing, aggressive power management, and power optimized peripherals to name a few. Thus a company like Archos has a huge supply base to draw from to get just the right SOC features AND price points to meet each of their product requirements.
- The ARM Cortex-A8 processor is well established in the industry and currently powers numerous smartphones shipping today. This core is the first application processor supporting the ARMv7 instruction set and includes the ARM NEON instruction extensions. An extensive amount of support exists in the ecosystem and continues to grow with open source contributions like the updated JIT engine that can be found in the Android 2.2 Froyo release and optimized Adobe Flash support. By selecting this core architecture, Archos was able to benefit from the vast amount of work already completed and focus their efforts on their differentiation.
- Given this is an ARM core, low power is expected and is key to being able to create a vast range of products as Archos has done. In the smallest devices you need low power for both battery life and thermal design. Peak power will drive the thermal design but it should not be allowed to drive the industrial design. Since there is not much room for batteries, you also need an efficient SOC with very low standby power to enable long battery life. On larger screen devices, you still have very sleek designs so again peak power should not drive the industrial design. Any additional battery capacity that is available from the larger devices will be consumed by the displays so you need that efficient SOC for all day use. Thus both the low peak power AND extremely low standby power of the Cortex-A8 as well as the heritage of low power SOC design by the ARM ecosystem enables a single architecture to be scaled from a 2.8” to a 10” tablet device.
- By selecting Android, all of these devices are compatible with a broad range of applications including Adobe Flash, 2D and 3D games, news and information, social networking and communications, and eBooks and entertainment. With the Google Android Market focused primarily on handset devices, Archos has worked with AppsLib to provide access to thousands of applications where each OEM can test and “approve” apps for their devices. No reason not to take advantage of a perfectly capable application engine.
Jeff Chu, Segment Marketing Manager, Mobile Computing, ARM, has been on the forefront of ultra mobile computing for over 8 years. From webpads to smart displays to UMPC there has always been the criticism that it's not a real PC. Well, now the computing world is flipping and low power mobile gadgets are becoming the preferred way to consume content and interact with the web. To quote Victor Hugo “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
Shortlink to this post: http://bit.ly/dsleJx
1 Comments On This Entry
Please log in above to add a comment or register for an account
Fortune Brainstorm Green
on May 13 2013 10:58 AM
Moonshot - a shot in the ARM for the 21st century data center
on Apr 09 2013 01:22 PM
Bringing the Benefits of the Smartphone to Pay-TV
on Mar 14 2013 05:34 PM
2013 - A Lucky Year For All Smartphone Consumers
on Mar 13 2013 06:58 PM
Internet of You at Mobile World Congress with M2M, Sensors and LTE
on Mar 12 2013 02:44 PM