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First Sight of Google Android 166

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

    by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:43PM (#22398956) Homepage
    Also, 200 mhz really isn't that slow for an embedded device. My Mio 339 had a 233 mhz processor running Windows Mobile 2002. It flew, I really loved it. I replaced it with a Dell Axim x50v Windows Mobile 2003SE. The Dell has a 624 mhz processor and I'm always waiting for it. I believe that speed is 10% hardware, 90% software.

    I won't even talk about the performance of Compiz-Fusion on my Inspiron, as compared to Vista on the same hardware that an associate has.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:48PM (#22399036)
    I don't know why that's slow for any device? Why on earth do you need fancy graphics for a telephone anyway? Linux runs on much slower hardware.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @06:56PM (#22399136)
    If the iPhone wasn't selling just to Apple fans it would have been a dud. It's more of a 'meh' product. Nowhere near the iPod, and nowhere near as bad as the Apple TV.

    Apple having to slash shipment estimates from 2 million down to 1.1 million shows the product is quickly running out of marketplace demand after getting the high disposable income Apple fanbase to buy the product. There are just too many fantastic phones out there to compete with unlike the portable digital music player market.

    We'll see if Apple learned their lesson with the first iPhone and come out with a competitive iPhone 2 that is focused more on features and usability and price instead of marketing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:01PM (#22399218)
    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.
  • by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:04PM (#22399262)
    That's the disadvantage for the iPhone in Japan: fantastic phones already being present. Even though the interface doesn't compare with the iPhone, Japanese cell phones have long since been about style, and even on a bad day, they make "fantastic" American phones look pretty sad indeed.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dlim ( 928138 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:14PM (#22399378) Journal
    I can't say I'm surprised either. If you look at their design philosophy [], the first subheading is "Fast". Coming from a web/desktop development background, I was surprised at first to see the constant focus on efficiency. But apparently, it's paying off.
  • Too long to wait (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rossz ( 67331 ) <`ogre' `at' `'> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:15PM (#22399388) Homepage Journal

    I'm looking for a new smartphone right now. The Android based phones will fit the bill, but I doubt any products will be available until near the end of the year - perhaps just in time for the Christmas rush.

    What I want:

    1. QWERTY keyboard, the LG Voyager has the nicest keyboard I've tried. To bad the Voyager is locked down in BREW hell.
    2. Internet connectivity.
    3. Supports IMAP email to any server (I run my own).
    4. I don't have to pay a damn fee to enable for every little feature that it already comes with.
    5. I can install new applications without using some paid for server, e.g. there's a Symbian OS version of Putty. An ssh client would be awesome.
    6. Unlimited data plan available with provider - and reasonably priced.

    Would be nice, but not required:

    1. Linux based (not much out there, probably have to settle for a Symbian based phone).
    2. GPS module.
    3. Wifi support.
    4. If the phone has music playing capability, support for OGG (I'm not holding my breath).
    5. Camera, not really a big deal to me. I can live without one.

    Deal breakers:

    1. Locked down. It's my damn phone, you won't be telling me how I can use it!
    2. Windows Mobile. I'm a Linux system administrator, running a windows based phone would be so wrong.
    3. BREW/GIN or anything similar.

    So far, the Nokia E90 is the closest to match what I want. The Road's HandyPC S101 surpasses it, but isn't available in the US (afaik).

  • by marcushnk ( 90744 ) <senectus AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:29PM (#22399608) Journal
    I can testify that the Q9 is a piece of crap with Windows Mobile 6. very sluggish and clumsy feeling after coming from the slick responsive world of a Blackberry 8800.

    Also I notice there isn't any "e-mail" icon on any of the screenshots...
    Does this mean it's going to be another iPhone (can only get push mail from Yahoo) type device..

    that would really suck if true. I _really_ hope that they're thinking of the enterprise with these things.. having to accept either RIM or MS devices only sucks balls when I know that Linux based OS's would be so much better.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:34PM (#22399668) Journal
    My Newton 2100 runs on a 162 Mhz processor. Is still plenty fast.

    Martha will never know what hit her!
  • by Takichi ( 1053302 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:06PM (#22400042)
    Are you trying to say the iPhone won't do well because it isn't stylish enough? I don't see the Japanese phones being more stylish than an expensive, globally buzzworthy product that has a sleek physical design and ubercool user interface. If anything the iPhone will do well because of its association with style and the status that comes with it. I think Apple products in general have an extra sense of style because of their computer designs and the success of the iPod. I can't tell you how many Japanese people look at my powerbook and go, "Makku? Coooru."
  • snappy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe Snipe ( 224958 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @09:46PM (#22401004) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who thought snappy meant you didn't see the apple like animations?

    BTW- slashdot: fix so us new centro owners don't have to fight with the webpage!
  • Re:Smooth and Fast (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:59PM (#22401542) Homepage Journal
    In part it's laziness; in part it's architecture; in part its economics.

    Economics means you have to have a product in user's hands if you want to make a difference. That's true even in open source. Things would have been much different for Linux if BSD hadn't had licensing issues. I myself, when faced with downloading either 386BSD or Debian 0.9 over a 28.8KBaud modem, went with Debian first because of uncertainty over the licensing. I wanted a "real" unix, but it turned out Linux was good enough.

    Then there is architecture. Since economics means you have to get things done quickly, the most attractive way of doing that is standing on the shoulders of a couple of giants, who are each in turn standing on the shoulders of a couple of giants. This means that each increment of functionality tends to be accompanies by an exponential increase in code executed, roughly speaking. Since we had exponential increases in computer power for a long time, things seem more or less the same; there's little incentive to improve once things are good enough.

    Believe me, I started out writing software for CPUs with sub megahertz clock speeds. The things we did to make things "fast" back then really wouldn't take a modern piece of software, with all its bells and whistles running on top of a modern system with its own bells and whistles (and recursively down to hardware), and make it exponentially faster. Crimes against maintainability were common back then, only most people didn't even know maintainability was a problem. In fact, I'd have a hard time saying that programmers were better back then; true, it was a more elite profession, and certainly it was an easier profession to know more or less every relevant thing about. But the flip side is that we know a great deal more about good practice, and even a tiny bit more about theory than we did back then.

    Which brings us to the rub. Back in the day, bad programs were always the product of lazy programmers. Now it takes even a conscientious programmer considerable time to learn the ins and outs of some programming environment. Conscientious programmers still write better programs, all things being equal, but not necessarily on time.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2008 @02:16AM (#22402744)
    ... both on ARM simulators (ie a reasonable comparisons). Android is about 5-10 times as fast as WinCE for equivalent tasks.

    As others have posted, 200MHz is nothing to sniff at (unless you're throwing it away with bloatware). If Windows 3.11 could run snappily on a 50MHz 486 then there is no good reason for slow software on a 200MHz ARM.

    One of the interesting outcomes of the speed difference is that this means Android based devices should have far better power figures than equivalent Windows CE devices.

    Efficiency is something you have to design in early. The idea that you caan make a bloaty architecture efficient is broken. You don't get a gazzelle by shaving an elephant's legs.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.