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CES 2011: A Tale of an Android Onslaught - page 2

Tablets and Phones Everywhere

  • January 14, 2011
  • By Paul Ferrill

There were a number of products at CES with Linux under the covers. Marvell manufactures a system on chip (SOC) device found inside most, if not all, of the plug computer devices. At CES this year they announced two new adaptations of this product. First they introduced a streaming media server with powerline networking capability. Second, they teamed up with Verizon Wireless on a product called Control Point. This connects Verizon's high-speed LTE network with a home-automation / security product. Software for this product comes from 4Home, recently acquired by Motorola.

Xi3 is a relatively new company and announced two products, the Xi3 Modular Computer and the X3RO (pronounced zero) thin client box. The Xi3 Modular Computer packs up to a 2.2 GHz dual-core processor and 2 GB of memory (4 GB coming). External connections are in abundance including two eSATA and six USB 2.0 ports. The Xi3 Modular Computer ships with SUSE Linux as the primary operating system. The X3RO is a companion product providing expansion of up to three additional workstations all running off the same Xi3. Aluratek shows up in this category as well with a plug computer device sporting Ubuntu 10.10.

<i>figure 3</i>
figure 3

Speaking of the iPad, Apple's most recent update of iOS 3.2 brought printing capability to the iPad, although in a somewhat limited fashion. Avatron Software has brought that capability to any Linux CUPS-based printer with their Print Sharing software. The software is available from the App Store for $2.99. They also have a file sharing app called Air Sharing that makes it simple to move files between your Linux box and the iPad for $9.99. Logitech was promoting their Revue product, an Android-based Google TV offering. At a retail price of $299, it's a bit on the pricey side when compared to Apple TV.

<i>figure 4</i>
figure 4

Research in Motion (RIM) was also showing their answer to the Apple iPad, called the Playbook. The biggest thing RIM has going for it at the moment is the huge number of Blackberry handsets still in use by corporations everywhere. They hope to play off their installed base with the Playbook as it must be tethered with a Blackberry phone. The Playbook runs a modified version of the QNX operating system which RIM bought some months back.

Wrapup

Android is definitely gaining tons of momentum on multiple fronts and will only get stronger with all the new devices coming out. All in all, it's shaping up to be a pretty interesting year for Linux and its relatives.

 

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