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Handhelds Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Touch On a Nexus 7: "Almost Awesome" 116

Posted by timothy
from the battery-life-is-a-killer-feature dept.
colinneagle writes "I installed Ubuntu Touch "1.0" on my first-generation Nexus 7 tablet and have been using it as my main tablet system for the last four days. Here's how it went. First off, the installation was surprisingly painless. I followed the official instructions and didn't encounter a single problem. That being said, the installation is really geared toward software developers, power users or people already comfortable on a Linux command line. If you're not in one of those categories, I recommend holding off for the time being. Once installed, Ubuntu Touch booted up rather quickly — in only just a few seconds (a fair bit faster than Android 4.x on the same tablet). And, immediately, I was presented with a short tutorial that appears the first time the system is booted, which, I might add, has got to be one of the slickest, least annoying tutorials I've seen. But... there were problems. The battery life was, to put it mildly, terrible. Performance has been mixed, and the OS was prone to what I call 'The Pulsating Seizure Feature' a few dozen times over the weekend. In a nutshell: launching apps (and, occasionally, moving between apps) can cause the device to freeze and begin flashing the screen rapidly."
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Ubuntu Touch On a Nexus 7: "Almost Awesome"

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  • Battery Life (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:01PM (#45202571)

    Vanishingly few here understand the problem of battery life on these ARM devices. A desktop OS cannot- repeat cannot ever have a decent battery life on such a device. Why?

    Low power ARM SoC devices are designed with MULTIPLE, special purpose low-power hardware blocks, that run as much of the actual processing as possible. Playing an MP3 or video, for instance, is NOTHING like the implementation path on Linux or Windows, even with hardware acceleration. The Android device actually has special pathing for such operations, where hardware solutions independent of the normal CPU cores is triggered, allowing the CPU system to enter a minimum power-state.

    DOING NOTHING is another key part of Android. Doing nothing is MEANINGLESS as a Windows or Linux concept. Doing nothing is everything on a mobile OS, where the device is constantly looking for such a time in order to enter the lowest power state for a 'running' device' as quickly as possible.

    ARM SoC devices are a new computer paradigm, and this is something old-school nerds cannot get their heads around. Why did Apple HATE Flash on mobile devices? Because Flash CANNOT be made power-efficient - it is a "throw CPU resources at the problem" solution, and a lousy match for mobile devices.

    This means that mobile ARM devices will NEVER be a good match for continuous computer processing applications that cannot be handled by dedicated hardware blocks, but how much heavy general CPU based-processing does a mobile device need to do?

    Linux on a tablet is moronic. Windows on a tablet is moronic. Go to a laptop format with a MUCH larger battery, and now ordinary desktop operating systems are fine. But the issue of dedicated hardware blocks really clouds the issue. Once, Intel told us we needed their latest CPU chips to play video on our desktops, then to play MP3s. Later still, Intel told us to spend hundreds of dollars on Intel chips if we wished to encode video. Or recognise speech. Or render graphics to the screen. Each of these excuses for heavy, GENERAL PURPOSE, computing elements, like Intel CPUs, has vanished. Doing any of these tasks on your CPU today is the height of foolishness.

    Without most people even noticing, computers have split into two camps. The old-school computers that need to run CPU intensive tasks much of the time. And the computer 'devices' that rarely run CPU intensive code for anything but very short durations. The second class are NOT the thin-clients once mistakenly anticipated as becoming the common platform for 'devices'. The second-class are also TRUE general purpose computers, but lack the energy resources to do continuous general purpose computing calculations.

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