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First Sight of Google Android 166

Posted by kdawson
from the it's-little-it's-lovely-it-lights dept.
CorinneI writes "At the Mobile World Congress show, four mobile processor vendors demoed pre-production devices running versions of Google's Android OS — a Linux-based, open operating system for mobile phones that will sport Google applications. The biggest surprise of the demos was how well Android runs on slow devices. 'TI showed Android on a Motorola Q-like QWERTY handheld with its 200 Mhz OMAP 850 platform, where the user interface felt smooth and fast, even with little Apple-like animated transitions between screens.' HTC, Motorola, LG, and Samsung all belong to Google's Open Handset Alliance"
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First Sight of Google Android

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  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erick99 (743982) * <homerun@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:35PM (#22398816)
    "The biggest surprise of the demos was how well Android runs on slow devices. TI showed Android on a Motorola Q-like QWERTY handheld with their 200 Mhz OMAP 850 platform, where the user interface felt smooth and fast, even with little Apple-like animated transitions between screens."


    I don't know why that would be so surprising. Google has quite a bevy of talented people at all levels. All products that come out of Google seem to have something to do with advertising and Android will be just such a vehicle for them. It's how most everything in cyberspace gets funded. You get something for free (a video, a song, a game) and an advertiser pays.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:44PM (#22398964) Homepage Journal
    The OMAP 850 is a multimedia-focused chip with graphics acceleration built in. The only surprise is that the reviewer called it "slow" based on the mere fact that it's a 200MHz chip.
  • 200MHz is slow? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigdanmoody (599431) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:15PM (#22399382)
    Since when was 200MHz slow? My old Visor Edge has a 16MHz processor and it feels quite peppy. It does everything I would expect a smartphone to do (other than the fact that it can't make phone calls), and it's easy to use. Have we gotten so used to bloat and poorly optimized code that a 200MHz processor in a phone seems slow? It's a *phone* for Pete's sake.
  • by Lonedar (897073) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:18PM (#22399430)
    Having talked to some people around here (UK) it seems to me that Apple would sell many more Iphones by ditching the carrier lock-in it is plagued with currently. Seriously. I can get any phone on the market without having to sign any contracts - except for the Iphone.

    Now, O2 is not a particularly bad carrier, but I travel a lot and I would really like to be able to use my phone abroad without paying the quite extortionate roaming fees.

    Also, no 3G (yet).
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:23PM (#22399502) Homepage Journal

    Rendering web pages takes a decent amount of CPU to do quickly, for one.
    Not really. Web-page rendering is memory intensive and I/O bound. The amount of device memory available combined with the speed of your connection and phone bus will have a much greater impact on the performance of page rendering than the CPU.

    In fact, there are few common tasks which are CPU-bound these days. Video encoding/decoding come to mind. (Thus the low resolution of the Android player.) This can easily be mitigated in a multimedia device by including hardware decoder chips. Gaming is another area where CPU can have an impact, but I imagine these phones aren't being presented as portable game machines. If someone wanted to make the next Android NGage, they'd probably look to NVidia for an embedded 3D chip to offload much of the work from the CPU.

    The iPhone's success wasn't because it had a fast enough CPU to render web pages. Quite the contrary. The success was that its memory, storage capacity, and touch screen allowed the iPhone developers to provide an easy-to-use interface to the browser. Safari itself isn't necessarily "better" than Opera Mini, but it is wrapped in a superior user-interface.
  • Smooth and Fast (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:43PM (#22399792)
    The UI was smooth and fast on my 486/33 running Windows 3.11. It's still quite capable running a no-frills X window manager and Pentium Overdrive. The Apple ][GS was reasonably snappy when it didn't have to access a drive. The only reason why a multi-hundred MHz device could be slow is programmer laziness.
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:53PM (#22399890)
    Since only the kernel is Linux, and that is the only GPL component, I'm not sure you can call it linux (it the distribution sense), or open.

    Only the kernel of my Kubuntu system is Linux. It should perhaps be properly called Mozilla / OpenOffice.org / KDE / X.org / GNU / Linux.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RulerOf (975607) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:45PM (#22400448)

    If I was comparing 200MHz to 1Ghz, I would consider it slow as well. 1Ghz compared to 0.2Ghz. One fifth the power.

    =Obligatory Car Analogy=
    If you had a car with 300Horsepower next to a car with 60Horsepower, what would you call the lesser car in a performance test?

    Unfortunately in this day and age, saying one CPU is faster than another based on clock speed alone is like saying one human runs a race faster than another based on his height, "Well obviously the big guy's going to win! He's 20% taller than the short one!"
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:56PM (#22400566) Homepage Journal
    If the 300HP car weighed 6x as much as the 60HP one? I'd call the 60HP one "faster".
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @09:24PM (#22400838) Homepage Journal

    If you had a car with 300Horsepower next to a car with 60Horsepower, what would you call the lesser car in a performance test?

    What would I call it? Perfectly capable of driving on the Interstate, that's what I'd call it. The bar isn't being set very high when we're just talking about meeting the needs of graphics rendering. A CPU with a built-in GPU is quite capable of "driving on the interstate" as it were. Now if they were in an actual race, presumably the 300hp car would win. (Assuming it's not an oversized truck. ;)) But there's no race. Only a minimum requirement.
  • by realdodgeman (1113225) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @02:39AM (#22402866) Homepage
    Google does have a GIT repo for all the open source components of Android. The kernel is here: http://git.android.com/ [android.com]

    You can also read (here [google.com]) that

    Over time, more of the code that makes up Android will be released, but at this point, we have been concentrating on shipping an SDK that helps application developers get started. In short: Stay tuned.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by olip (203119) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @08:50AM (#22404732)
    If the 300HP car weighed 6x as much as the 60HP one? I'd call the 60HP one "faster".

    I'd call it slower.
    Both will have the same acceleration until air drag is involved.
    Supposing they have the same shape (formally : equal CdA [wikipedia.org]), the top speed of the 300HP car is approximately sqrt(6)=2,45 times the top speed of the 60HP one, which I would then call slower.
    Weight has no direct impact on top speed.

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