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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:19 am 
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x86 transistors? Are these special transistors designed to be especially inefficient? :o
Like I say, I don't know what all the fuss is here. Comparing a UMPC or, indeed, an iPhone to an Archos 60X is a completely academic exercise.
However, if you can afford a UMPC then it can perform all the tasks of a 60X no question. Sure the Archos devices are smaller and lighter, but then so is an iPod compared to a iPhone.
It's all down to want you want from your purchase.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:39 am 
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The PDF format sucks that's why it loads slowly. Even on todays most powerfull x86 computers you get the PDF viewer to take 10 seconds sometimes to open, often it crashes your browser, or crashes your computer. That's simply the nature of Adobe's proprietary software. It's ultra-bloatware. It's like their Flash, Photoshop (ultra-bloat edition) and everything else from that company. Adobe is actually one of the fattest kings of bloatware.

Though hopefully Adobe has taken better care now optimizing their software with the new AIR software which seems to be something like Google Gears for executing Internet applications offline and in an optimized way using client-side processing with Web 2.0 services.

And Adobe surely is hard at work at optimizing their Flash and certainly also their PDF viewing and writing software accross all platforms. That's also why Flash video works smoothly on the Archos using its DSP ressources while it doesn't work yet on the Raoen's x86 CPU.

The question is, what will you really need to do when on-the-go, and what kind of software do you need on your TV, cause that is the two-in-one solution that Archos provides, not only on-the-go but also on-the-tv using one of the docks or using the TV+.

Viewing a HTML file offline is useless. While the Integration of Google Gears with the Opera browser and Widgets would be extremely usefull since that would provide an unlimited amount of offline and online applications.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:48 am 
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Charbax wrote:
The PDF format sucks that's why it loads slowly. Even on todays most powerfull x86 computers you get the PDF viewer to take 10 seconds sometimes to open, often it crashes your browser, or crashes your computer. That's simply the nature of Adobe's proprietary software. It's ultra-bloatware. It's like their Flash, Photoshop (ultra-bloat edition) and everything else from that company. It's actually one of the kinds of bloatware.

Yeah, I know what you mean. PDF is a truly awful format. Adobe are so lazy. Look how long it took them to port Photoshop to native OS-X. They still don't support 64 bit platforms at all either.
The fact is though, that the PDF viewer is pretty unusable on the 604. It's not taking 10 seconds to load in total, it's taking 10-20 seconds to render each page depending on the complexity. Even simple PDF eBooks produced with portable devices in mind are unusable. It is a shame that Archos don't simply fix the HTML file association. You'd then be able to open most eBooks or at least convert your PDF's to HTML.
The PDF viewer was a huge waste of time and resource IMHO.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:02 am 
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Charbax wrote:
That's also why Flash video works smoothly on the Archos using its DSP ressources while it doesn't work yet on the Raoen's x86 CPU.

I think you'll find this is purely a licensing issue. Couple that to Adobe's pitifully slow development cycle and that's reason there's slow progress here.
I don't know why you keep banging on about how crap the x86 CPU is. For a start there is no "x86 CPU". There are numerous manufacturers of x86 compatible cores out there. Also, Intel and AMD are spending billions of dollars getting their devices quicker and more efficient. Much more than is being spent on the ARM now it has been sold to Samsung.
The Intel x86 CPU in my Tablet PC, for example, is now one of the lowest consuming components in it. What burns the juice, as always, is the backlight. On high level my tablet burns 12W, turn the backlight off an it's burning 5W. Next on the power consumption list is the LCD driver chip, this is mainly due to the power hungry VRAM is uses and the rapid interrupt rate. Next down on the consumption list is the actually system RAM. RAM is terribly inefficient. Next on the list is the hard disk. Finally we get to the CPU. Only when it is running flat out does it burn more power than the other components.
Now UMPC and Tablet PC's are always going to burn more juice as they naturally have more RAM, bigger screens which require bigger backlights and more capable video driver chips.
I don't think linking to a wikipedia page is quite doing the complex subject justice. The RISC versus CISC debate has been going on for decades.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:13 am 
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x86 is like an uncontrollable stream of power consumption that don't care what it is processing, anything comes in and it spits out processed results no matter if you are reading text or watching video. With DaVinci you got one ultra ultra low power RISC doing the simply stupid tasks like menus and such, and the DSP made especially to deliver real-time performance better than even the most powerfull x86 processors.

Nobody wants to have the x86 steaming all it's Watts consumption non stop with absolutely no distinction for what its doing. That's why the OLPC team has invented the DCON chip, which suspends the x86 processor in the OLPC XO-1 computer 99% of the time, and only wakes it up seamlessly when it is needed.

But really the DCON is only a temporary solution to x86, really it is only a workaround temporary solution because Linux applications and the OS was simply much easier to port on a x86 system given the relatively limited ressources they have had thus far to do all the hardware and software design. But for OLPC XO to become less than $50 by 2009 as it is announced that it will be, they will probably be considering porting all the applications to an embedded ARM+DSP platform and thus transform the Laptop into functionning more like consumer electronics.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 11:48 am 
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Charbax wrote:
x86 is like an uncontrollable stream of power consumption that don't care what it is processing, anything comes in and it spits out processed results no matter if you are reading text or watching video.

This is called versatility! You don't need a separate chip doing the text reading, one for menu rendering, one for video, one for MP3 etc etc.
Charbax wrote:
x86 is like an uncontrollable stream of power consumption that don't care what it is processing, anything comes in and it spits out processed results no matter if you are reading text or watching video. With DaVinci you got one ultra ultra low power RISC doing the simply stupid tasks like menus and such, and the DSP made especially to deliver real-time performance better than even the most powerfull x86 processors.

You are forgetting one vital ingredient here. RISC has to run many more cycles to do the same work. There's always a trade off. RISC only pays off if the core is optimised for the task it was designed to do. This makes them incredibly expensive to develop, but very good at the target task. Unfortunately, if you then try to shoe horn in extra stuff like Archos are doing you start running into trouble. PDF viewing being the classic case. You are also forgetting about the extended instructions set in use with x86. One advantage of CISC is that you can throw in a load of extra instructions to perform a complex task in a few clock cycles. SSE2/3/4 being the classic example here. Both Intel and AMD are also working on clocking the individual cores at independent rates. This will bring increased power saving.

Charbax wrote:
they will probably be considering porting all the applications to an embedded ARM+DSP platform and thus transform the Laptop into functionning more like consumer electronics.

Nah, they will use the latest and greatest Intel 35nm silicon and putting in a big battery. No UMPC company is going to invest millions switching to a hybrid platform for this. Training, development and re-tooling costs alone would make this prohibitive.


Last edited by mitchelln on Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:56 pm 
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Mitchelln, you asked what all the fuss is here about UMPC vs Archos. Well, the original post back in June just mentioned UMPC as an alternative, and that statement was correctly placed in this competitors forum. There came a reply that "I think UMPCs are much worse than Archos G5 because..." No poster up until then had anything really negative to say about Archos but were merely pointing out that there is some competition if people were interested in a UMPC. The original posts were not Archos vs UMPC. It was turned into this by the same "all UMPC fanboys are chimps" guy. I'm sure that Hugo Ortega and Steve would really appreciate this name calling. Why it always comes down to flaming and name calling in place of discussion is a mystery to me. Sounds like politics rather than a friendly forum.

I will say this one last time, read the posts!!! The original posts did not, I repeat, DID NOT, say anything negative about Archos, or directly compare UMPC to Archos.

Every time I have tried to post anything about a UMPC, and specifically the Raon Everun, it is followed up by negative and somewhat snotty "I know because..." remarks. OK, we know some folks worship at the alter of Archos. But there's no need to be so nasty, after all this section is for competition, or is it only to deride the competition. I'm really shocked at this attitude that Archos is the best and only thing that deserves attention and everything else is crap. I thought this forum was above such rantings. Guess not.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:13 pm 
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You are right. I got dragged into the UMPC vs Archos part of this thread. However, I am merely countering the arguments that have "evolved". Otherwise the thread is left at a point of FUD and daftness.
I think this is of some interest though as we are seeing another big technological evolution taking place.
UMPC's are a downscaling exercise whereby the technology is being chopped and squeezed to get PC functionality into a small form factor. That is, after all, what the UMPC is all about. This requires a CPU that is up to the job and the improvements being made to facilitate this are taking the x86 platform down a very interesting path (even though, as I pointed out, there is much more to this than just the CPU).
Hand held devices are doing exactly the opposite. They are traditionally very simple devices that suit the RISC and custom chip architecture very well. But now they are facing an upscaling development path. They are getting more complicated with greater demands placed on them and the low power CPU's are struggling to deliver performance. At the moment I believe neither camp has got it quite right, mainly due to us being right at the edge of the envelope for both technologies.
Like I say, interesting times are ahead. Now, I suggest that this particular part of the discussion moves to the general forum.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:22 pm 
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Mitchelln, you are the voice of reason. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:50 pm 
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This is a great thread. The ARM Vs x86 discussion and PMP vs UMPC discussion is always one worth having.

I have to correct Charbax though. He hasn't really followed my ARM vs x86 discussions to the end. 1 month ago I conceded that because all ARM devices don't deliver the full internet experience, it doesn't actually mean that its a fault of the ARM architecture. It was jsut true at that point in time. One day in the future it might get better and i'm happy to accept any processor architecture as a base for a good consumer UMPC as long as its powerful enough and well supported with development and software. I'm constantly analyzing ARM based devices. N800, E90, 605, 704, Q5, iPhone and so far, nothing has really come on to the radar as a UMPC but the iphone and the latest port of mozilla to the N800 shows me that things are moving. Maemo are really doing a great job and I totally support their effort to get consumer software onto ARM processors.

I'm a UMPC fan. OF course I am. the three device strategy is something I preach all the time but please look at my definition of a UMPC. I'm not sitting in an x86-world. I would be silly to do that.

Quote:
A highly portable computing device with 5-10" screen, wired and wireless connectivity that is able to load and run common internet, office, media and pim applications operated through a graphical user interface.


If an Archos 704 does the ultra mobile PC thing eventually then great stuff. Bring it on!

As for the comparison between UMPC and PMP. Its totally valid. Just as valid as comparing an iPhone to a UMPC. At some point you will want to trade up and get a better connecitivty, messaging, browsing, storage, syncronisation, flexibility, pdf reading, gaming, keyboards, internet applications, mouse pointers, freeware, ebooks, choice.... ;-)

Keep the conversations flowing!

Oh, and don't buy the Everun for YouTube or iTunes movies. It doesnt work well.


Steve / Chippy

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:46 pm 
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Steve

I'm happy to see you post on this forum. If you follow it you'll see that my Raon Everun posts have been getting some negative comments, and that UMPCs in general are getting the same.

I am anxiously waiting for the Raon to be released here in the USA. I think it is quite a unique product from what I've learned from you and Hugo Ortega.

I hope you'll add some thoughts about UMPC vs PMP. Archos brings some unique products to the market. I think Raon is trying to do the same.

Welcome!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:30 am 
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chippy wrote:
please look at my definition of a UMPC.

Quote:
A highly portable computing device with 5-10" screen, wired and wireless connectivity that is able to load and run common internet, office, media and pim applications operated through a graphical user interface.


UMPC is a joint development exercise by Microsoft and Intel. It's their view on mobile computing. I believe that they initiated this a year and a half ago when they were seing Nokia and its N770 and small companies like Archos with the PMA430, release relatively cheap pocket computers. Because that's what those really are and the top managment at Microsoft and Intel knows the threat that this means to their Windows and x86 products. Basically the whole computing industry could be changed when such ARM+DSP+Linux based computers start to be mass manufactured and sold for much cheaper.

Intel has always been promoting using x86 chips in desktop and personal computers, and today that is of course the current standard for desktops and laptops. The reason for that, is because applications are very diverse and are not optimized to any one platform and to any one hardware configuration. But this impossibillity to optimize using x86 means that 99% of computing today is wasted, we only need to use 1% of our computing processing to do what we need to do. For example right now, while you are reading my forum post, your Windows based x86 desktop computer's processor is consuming maybe as much as 200 watts, or if you are using a Windows-based x86 Laptop you might be using around 50 Watts of energy right now. Your x86 based CPU is turned on and your fan is spinning. Your x86 based CPU might actually be 80 degrees celsius hot right now, you could fry an egg on it, but you aren't doing anything. And when you hit the answer button, you will be entering text that is 1/1000th the size of your screen, still your x86 computer will be using electricity nearly just as much as if you were watching a HD video. This is uterly total waste of energy, and Al Gore doesn't approve of that.

Basically x86 is a standard that makes every hardware configuration compatible with each other in time. But will those different configurations continue to be the way to do things? In the near future, I believe this will change. Especially when $200 Laptop computers like the OLPC and $300 Desktop computers like the Zonbu will become very much so Mass Market in the very near future. And soon after that, those cheap and optimized low power x86 based Linux systems will be replaced by even cheaper ARM and DSP based systems such as the ones that can be mass manufactured any day in Taiwan. This year or the next, a mass market Desktop ARM computer will consume 50 times less energy and cost 100 dollars, Laptops will consume 50 times less energy and cost less than 100 dollars, and pocket computers also will cost less than 100 dollars. People are getting sick and tired of paying for the high power comsuming x86 hardware configurations, most people don't need those newest multi-ghz multi-core computers, because most people will just need to access the Internet with a basic browser. And most applications will reside on the Internet, with the possibillity to run some applications locally using such a technology as Google Gears for ARM and DSP.

This also means the end of the way Microsoft has been dominating computing until now. Most people do not need Windows Vista. Starting this year and the next, we will see super cheap 100 dollar desktop, laptop and pocket computers which will run optimized Linux OS and most certainly have a super optimized ARM Browser such as the Opera browser we have on the Archos and Nokia devices that are on the market today.

chippy wrote:
At some point you will want to trade up and get a better connecitivty


The best connectivity is ARM, all mobile phones use ARM and DSP chips.

chippy wrote:
messaging


The best messaging is going to be ARM. Again all mobile phones with messaging are using ARM. All you need is a good stable way to do Jabberand SIP, proprietary IM and VOIP networks will gradually be phased out soon, but support for Skype, AIM, MSN, ICQ and Yahoo is possible on current proprietary ARM devices.

chippy wrote:
browsing


Opera, Apple and hardware manufacturers like Archos and Nokia still have some work to do, but Browsers will work as good as one needs them to work for pocket use using ARM.

chippy wrote:
storage


Storage can always be better using ARM, just see Archos who has been having over 100GB in pocket devices since 2004.

chippy wrote:
syncronisation


Everything is hosted at Google, all you need for synchronisation is a browser with something like Google Gears for seamless usabillity.

chippy wrote:
pdf reading


Nobody wants to read a lot of text on a pocket LCD device. That's why I have suggested that a specific e-ink module be made for an ARM pocket computer like the Archos 5G: http://archosfans.com/2007/06/11/ebook-module-idea/

chippy wrote:
gaming


As the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP show, the best pocket gaming happens using ARM and DSP.

chippy wrote:
keyboards


Although some people like the mini-keyboard for ARM devices from the likes of the Blackberry or Mylo, I think the best solution is a larger key size fully foldable external foldout keyboard. You simply can input text 10 times faster with such a full sized keyboard. There is no other way to input text if you want to be productive. The external foldable keyboard could eigther be transported in the other pocket or it could be a clever design that doubles as an LCD protector.
http://www.epiacenter.com/bilder/projec ... cube33.jpg
http://770.fs-security.com/maemo-bt-plu ... -white.jpg

chippy wrote:
internet applications


Most of mobile Internet use is in the browser. But also one app is VOIP for free wordwide telephony, and especially IPTV apps, basically getting and sending video over the Internet. This is something that Archos is a technology leader among ARM devices. Watching of videos from the Internet, from the local network, from your personal collection of terrabytes of films, this cannot be made as user friendly as the Archos 5G on any other device.

chippy wrote:
mouse pointers


This is where the Microsoft based UMPC is the bad design. The whole Interface of Windows is not made for pocket use. None of start-menu, task bar, or even the concept of windows and the way Windows applications tool bars and interfaces are designed, none of that is suitable for the pocket device. Windows by its definition is the wrong choice when it comes for finger touch-screen use and being a pocket device. Would you then build a Microsoft Media Center GUI and launch that on top of Windows to make it usable on-the-go and in the pocket? Well that would simply make the whole concept of Windows be the wrong thing to have in the first place. Why install Windows in a portable pocket device if it's for installing a non-Windows GUI on top of it?

chippy wrote:
freeware


For now, non-free optimized ARM devices based on free Linux software is the only way to go, since DRM is the law and you want your pocket ARM device to legally access content. But when the laws of digital copyrights will change, then all the source codes will be open and all developpers can help improve the effeciency of Browsers, Communications and Multimedia apps for those mass produced ARM+DSP devices.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:07 am 
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Blimey. So you don't work for Archos after all Charbax. You work for ARM! :D The world really is just in black and white for you isn't it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:35 am 
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ARM or whatever other Embedded systems chip that are used today in consumer electronics. I'm not an engineer, I'm just a video-blogger and a forum admin, so I wouldn't know all the details about how processors work, which are like one of the most advanced technologies on this planet.

But there are certainly some solutions that will disrupt others, some established businesses that will be challenged. And basically the pocket computer is a new segment that has yet to be mass marketed.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:57 am 
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Charbax wrote:
And basically the pocket computer is a new segment that has yet to be mass marketed.

Well it has actually and it's a very old concept. Take the Apple Newton. The concept has just never been as successful as the manufacturers hoped (take the Apple Newton ;) ). Take the Pocket PC. It was actually a pretty good concept. My Fujitsu PPC actually does everything the 4GB 605 does, is smaller still and has the same size screen. On top of that there is a huge after market of software for it. I can play ALL music formats, ALL video formats, browse the web at speed, stream video, read eBooks in all formats, play games, open PDF's at speed, open MS Office docs, manage my contacts and time, send and receive email. It has a beautiful 640x480 touchscreen, Compact Flash slot, a SDHC slot and an okay battery life (even the ARM technology doesn't save it here). The final generation even has GPS. The device is pretty awesome actually and if they still actively marketed them I would have nominated one as a competitor in this forum.
Unfortunately the platform has just about died (and I'm pretty upset by this). For technical reasons? No. It just didn't make financial sense. Not enough people bought them (mainly down to a distrust of Microsoft coupled with poor marketing and high unit cost) and they cost a shed load of money to develop and license. The manufacturers also believed that SmartPhones were the way forward and many have got stung by this. Few people want to hold a PocketPC sized lump up against their ear to make a call.

My point is, there is much more to this than the chips that go into these things. Economics and marketing drive the direction these devices go in more than anything else. ARM became popular primarily because ARM Ltd certified the core (it's the only CPU core mathematically proven to behave as advertised) and gave you everything you need to get up and running quickly. ARM's marketing sold more cores than the technology. You should also remember that most ARM devices are only ARM based. The extras that go on the chip to perform the desired functionality are developed by the manufacturers who have just licensed the core. The Intel XScale being the classic example.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:11 am 
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mitchelln wrote:
the Pocket PC. (...) ALL video formats


That's not true. Using a x86 computer to transcode to lower resolution compatible formats to play video files is a waste and is not any mass user friendly. The Pocket PC has not taken advantage of DSP chips such as is possible with Texas Instruments DaVinci to process the full Multimedia experience that is video. And there is not one PDA with mass storage cause they weren't compatible with Multimedia.

The only form of entertainment you could get with a PDA is basically an ARM based Solitaire or editing the contacts of your pocket office apps. That's not fun at all, so Pocket PC PDAs have not been a mass market device thus far.

Using a Smartphone for VOIP and IM is a good use, but in itself is not enough to appeal to the mass market.

Combining Entertainment, VOIP, IM, 800-pixel wide touch-screen browser and a seamless wireless broadband Internet connectivity into one pocket product will make it mass marketable.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:17 am 
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Charbax wrote:
mitchelln wrote:
the Pocket PC. (...) ALL video formats


That's not true. Using a x86 computer to transcode to lower resolution compatible formats to play video files is a waste and is not any mass user friendly. The Pocket PC has not taken advantage of DSP chips such as is possible with Texas Instruments DaVinci to process the full Multimedia experience that is video. And there is not one PDA with mass storage cause they weren't compatible with Multimedia.

The only form of entertainment you could get with a PDA is basically an ARM based Solitaire or editing the contacts of your pocket office apps. That's not fun at all, so Pocket PC PDAs have not been a mass market device thus far.

Using a Smartphone for VOIP and IM is a good use, but in itself is not enough to appeal to the mass market.

Combining Entertainment, VOIP, IM, 800-pixel wide touch-screen browser and a seamless wireless broadband Internet connectivity into one pocket product will make it mass marketable.

What on earth are you talking about? I have to use my PC to rip or transcode my videos to play them on my 604 wifi! The same videos playback fine on my Pocket PC. A lot of PocketPC's have got DSP's in them. My Fujitsu, for example, utilises a DSP for audio playback. I can play Doom on my PPC, what games are there on the 605? What a load of unsubstantiated narrow minded FUD you've spouted.
I've just this minute ordered a Fujitsu N560 and I'm going to nominate it as a competitor to the 605.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:08 pm 
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VGA resolution playback isn't "ALL video formats". If the latest PDAs include video-accelerating DSPs then that would be a good move, but as far as I know they DON'T do it and don't know how to do it. Your new PDA might have the ATI Imageon Mpeg decoder DSP or something else like it to do some of the video playback, but it's still far from the performance that Archos has with the DaVinci, which is HD resolution 1280x720 video playback, Flash video decoding from the browser, full IP video streaming and more.

Anyways, have fun with your new Intel Xscale Microsoft PDA spreading FUD.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:20 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
VGA resolution playback isn't "ALL video formats".

I'm not suggesting it is. Where did I say that? I mean the device is capable of playing back Divx, xvid, H.264, WMV and DRM'd WMV. Re. resolution. High Definition is a total waste of time on devices with these size screens. Really, you are clutching at straws with this.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:23 pm 
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Charbax wrote:
Anyways, have fun with your new Intel Xscale Microsoft PDA spreading FUD.

I'm not the one spreading baseless FUD. I can back up my statements. Plus you just don't get it or do not read my stuff properly do you - THE INTEL X-SCALE IS AN ARM BASED CHIP!


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