Kinectimals for Windows Phone 7 released

Kinectimals for Windows Phone 7 is finally out in the Marketplace and is this weeks Xbox Live enabled game for the platform. I’m going to shoot a video hands on which I’m going to embed below later today but there’s a few things I would like to point out before. The Adreno 200 GPU in the first generation Windows Phone 7 handsets is definitely showing its age here: the game’s framerate is really lower and choppier on the Samsung Omnia 7 compared to the HTC Titan (Adreno 205 GPU) which is perfectly smooth. The same thing is noticeable in last week’s Xbox Live game Orbital. The game is also note Mango “compatible”, this means that there”s no fast-application-switching, and no camera integration which means that there’s no augmented reality feature a previously thought (you can only take insert the animal in a previously taken picture or one shot by launching the camera a from within the game). Anyway the full game is $2.99 but you can already try the trial here.

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HTC Titan performance compared to 1st Generation Windows Phone 7 handsets

Time to show you how the gigantic HTC Titan performance compared to a first generation QSD8250 powered Windows Phone 7 handsets. As you will see in the video embedded after the break, the Titan is simply perfectly smooth at all times unlike the Samsung Omnia 7 which has a hard time rendering the live tiles when scrolling fast, the Webbrower controls embedded in third-party Silverlight applications and also panorama controls are now perfectly smooth in all applications. The Titan also often loads big games faster than the Omnia 7 and simply destroys the Samsung devices in HW accelerated HTML5 rendering (watch the video until the end..). This is really a combination of the 1.5Ghz Scorpion CPU in the MSM8255 and also the more powerful Adreno205 GPU.

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Fujitsu IS12T benchmark shows the Adreno 205 GPU crushing the Adreno 200

A recent Fujitsu IS12T benchmark run with the recently released WP Bench 2.0 application confirms what I’ve just talked about in my previous post about Hydro Thunder Go and the current Adreno 200 GPU embedded in the first generation of Windows Phone 7 devices. As you can see above the GPU score on the MSM8655 powered Fujitsu handset is 40FPS compared to only 19FPS on all other WP7 devices to date thanks to the new Adreno 205 GPU. You will also note that CPU performance is logically nearly identical to the QSD8250 because both SoC have essentially the same CPU.

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Qualcomm Adreno 205 vs Adreno 220 / HTC Sensation vs HTC Flyer, HTC Desire HD and Samsung Galaxy S

Here’s s quick compilation of benchmark results comparing the Qualcomm Adreno 205 GPU vs Adreno 220 GPU found in the HTC Sensation (as part of the MSM8260 SoC). The are several things to note here: First, the Adreno 205 found in the HTC Flyer and HTC Desire HD are most probably not clocked at the same speed (The MSM8255 is clocked at 1Ghz in the Desire HD compared to1.5Ghz in the HTC Flyer). Secondly, THe screen resolution are different on each handsets:

- HTC Desire HD: 800X480
- Samsung Galaxy S: 800×480
- HTC Sensation: 960×540
- HTC Flyer: 1024×600

Thirdly, the driver versions are obviously not the same on all devices so you shouldn’t take those results as granted, they are just an indication of how these GPUs stack up against each other in synthetic benchmarks. The now famous and awesome PowerVR SGX540 is also included in the mix. Check the results after the break:

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Qualcomm MDP MSM8660 MSM8260 promotional videos

Ready for some totally useless promotional videos showing of the hardware capabilities of the Qualcomm MDP8660 development platform? This is essentially the development handset used to build apps for the newly released MSM8X60 SoC (MSM8260 the CDMA version the MSM8660) which is going to power the HTC EVO 3D, HTC Sensation and HP TouchPad. The MDP is available for purchase through Bsquare (just like the previous MDP platforms and Windows Mobile 6.X licenses…) for $1.350. The second video will also show the current MSM8X55 SoC clocked at 1.4ghz (powering HTC’s current high-end handsets @1Ghz and future Windows Phone 7 devices) going against what looks like and Tegra 2 powered LG Optimux 2X. But this looks kinda bogus as I’m certain that with the right drivers, a Tegra 2 can perfectly and smoothly playback 720P Flash videos unlike what is seen below.

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Qualcomm roadmap detailed: Quad Core CPU and GPU chipsets coming later this year

I just came across a internal Qualcomm presentation (dated March 2011 from an Android event in Korean) detailing the company’s current SoC roadmap and comparing its Scorpion CPU architecture against its Cortex-A9 competitors. keep in mind that this document is obviously biased towards Qualcomm’s own products so take all the claims presented with a grain of salt but there are quite a few interesting pieces of information in there.

First lest start with the roadmap pictured above. As you can see the first chips based on the new Krait micro-architecture (MSM8930, MSM8960, APQ8064 and the unknown MSM8270) are only expected to appear/sample (?) at the end of this year. The initial press release sated that the first MSM8960 samples were expected in Q2 2011 but I4m guessing that things may a been delayed a bit (or the “availability” mentioned in today’s document is actually OEM availability). The MSM8X55 which was first launched in the HTC Desire HD is now been touted as having 1.4Ghz CPU (up from the 1Ghz clock currently used by most OEMs) and also now apparently supports Stereoscopic 3D play/rec (this is the first time I see this features mentioned on thee 8X55 so it may be only possible on the 1.4Ghz version). This 1.4Ghz clocked MSM8X55 will first appear in the Samsung Galaxy S Plus in Europe.

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New Windows Phone 7 Chassis unveiled: MSM7X30 and MSM8x55

Last night Microsoft’s Itsvan Cseri unveiled the new Windows Phone 7 chassis that OEM’s can use to build Windows Phone 7 handsets slated to be released in the coming months (I talked about this subject back in February before MWC but things apparently got delayed because of the Nokia partnership). As you can see in the picture above the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 SoCs are now certified for WP7 (both feature the Adreno 205 GPU). A Gyroscope Sensor is now also optional for OEMs who will have the choice to use the combination of SoC, memory, gyro they want (but the overall device’s specs shouldn’t be lower than what we have with the first generation of WP7 devices). Also note the the HVGA chassis announced last year has been dropped and that WVGA is now the only screen resolution supported by WP7. As expected Qualcomm is still the only certified SoC manufacturer for Windows Phone 7 and this is in my opinion a good thing. I highly recommend you watch the full Windows Phone 7 Architecture Deep Dive session after the break:

Update: Here’s Itsvan comment from the presentation file that you can grab here.

We standardized on one display resolution – 800×480 – and we are not changing that in this release which makes application and game development easier. At the same time we allow more flexibility in the configuration of the device by allowing certain sensors to be optional.[he clearly stated that the Gyro will be optional later in the video] We are taking advantage of the latest hardware silicon vendors are producing and we are adding a new Qualcomm SoC, the 7×30 to our supported chipsets [and MSM8X55 as seen in the slide above and stated in the video below]. We have been working with them to reduce the heavy lifting they have to do writing device drivers to take advantage of all the new functionality. We will produce most of the common device driver code for the platform and the hardware vendors only need to write the very silicon specific parts

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First Adreno 220 benchmarks show that it is a beast

Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU’s have always been seen as being a sub-par graphics compared to competing offerings from Imagination (PowerVR) and others like NVIDIA’s Tegra. This was essentially true with the Adreno 200 on Windows Mobile and Android mainly because of poor driver quality. Things are a bit different on Windows Phone 7 where the Adreno 200 is the only currently supported GPU, thanks to the tight integration with the OS and relatively good support provided by Microsoft. You can check out my recent Fable Coin Golf video to see that some pretty nice things can be done with it.

The Adreno 205 which is part of the MSM8X55 SoC package is a step forward in terms of performance and can be comparable in some case with the current top dog, the PowerVR SGX540 as seen in my benchmarks here. Qualcomm has also recently released new drivers for the 205 which slightly improves its performance compared to what you see in my benches (they are the ones used by Sony Ericsson in the Xperia Play).

Continue reading First Adreno 220 benchmarks show that it is a beast →

Intel Havok Physics system ported to Android: Video demo on the Xperia Play

As Qualcomm told me during Mobile World Congress, Sony Ericsson is the only OEM who bothered to use the latest Snapdragon and Adreno drivers on its devices and the video after the break just shows why they did this. The company is really serious about gaming on Android and unfortunately seems to be the only Android OEM in this case (Sure there’s NVIDIA and its Tegra Zone marketplace but I’m fairly sure that they don’t really care about the platform. All that matters to them is that their SoC is being bought by OEMs). THe video after the break will show you Intel’s Havok physics engine / solver porting on Android and running on the Xperia Play’s MSM8255 with Adreno 205 GPU:

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview: hands on video and gameplay

Wondering what’s inside Sony Ericsson’s first PlayStation Certified handset? Just check out the full software and hardware specifications here. Now let me give you my first hands on impression of the Xperia Play after playing with it for a couple of minutes earlier this week. The build quality seemed to be relatively solid but a bit too much plasticy or my taste and the two L and R trigger button on the top of the device really felt cheap because of this. The 4 inch FWVGA (854×480) screen looks really nice thought and had good viewing angles for an LCD (I’m guessing that it’s the same as on the Sony Xperia Arc (hands-on video coming soon..) and similar to the SLCD found on HTC’s latest devices (but Sony Ericsson loves to called this Bravia something.. marketing..you know..).

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Why Windows Phone 7 doesn’t desperately need more powerful devices this year

As you have probably already noticed I was at Mobile World Congress this week so I had the opportunity to play around with some of the latest and most powerful handsets ever created. This year was obviously dominated by Google’s Android platform which took center stage at the convention with essentially every OEMs demonstrating or unveiling products running the immensely successful OS. What does it have to do with Windows Phone 7 hardware ? Well if there’s one thing that really garbed my attention it is the fact that not a single Android device I played with was as snappy and smooth as the Samsung Omnia 7 device I had in my pocket (or any iPhone model). Yes some of the devices on display were running non finalized software and probably hardware too but this has already been the case with retail devices like the Galaxy S and Desire HD which feature more powerful hardware than all the currently released WP7 devices (you can watch my 7 minutes long Galaxy S II video here).

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Qualcomm MSM8660 and Adreno 220 GPU demo

Here’s a nice video I shot yesterday at Qualcomm’s booth showing the Adreno 220 GPU in action running an OpenGL ES 2.0 demo developed by Southend interactive (on Android). The development device that you see hooked up to the HDTV via the mini-HDMI port packs Qualcomm’s MSM8660 dual-core CPU and Adreno 220 GPU that is going to be found in HP Palm’s TouchPad (under the APQ8060 name) and apparently the HTC Pyramid aka Sensation / (note that the output displayed on the TV is WVGA content upscaled to 1080P). I had a small chat with a couple of Qualcomm guys about their future SoCs and also the Windows Phone 7. I was once again told that they were working really closely with Microsoft right now on current Adreno 200 support (HLSL/ Programmable Shader support in XNA should by coming this year) and future Chassis which are being discussed and finalized right now (that’s what I got from the hints I was given). MS apparently is also wants to support higher resolution screens so newer SoCs are going to be certified. Because the of the Adreno’s close architectural similarities with the Xbox360 Xenos GPU the company can squeeze more out of it compared on Windows Phone 7 compared to Google on Android (there’s also the fact the Microsoft has total control over the API which is Direct3D Mobile).

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Microsoft planning to announce new Windows Phone 7 hardware requirements at MWC


File this under the rumor tag but I’m hearing that Microsoft is about to announce new hardware requirements (Chassis specifications) for Windows Phone 7 next Monday in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress. I unfortunately don’t have any details on the changes to come but you may remember that Paul Thurrot claimed that NoDo will integrate support for Qualcomm’s MSM7X30 SoCs (the company’s current mid-range smartphone offering). If this is the only change then it would be really disappointing given that the only major difference between this SoC and the QSD8250 found in the current Windows Phone 7 handsets is the Adreno 205 GPU. But I don’t think that this alone would warrant a chassis change (both SoCs fit into the Chassis 1 specifications). We can probably expect things like Gyroscope support or even Front Facing camera but as of right now this is all speculation.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play officially unveiled in Super Bowl ad

Sony Ericsson has finally officially unveiled the Xperia Play (also known as the PSP phone) in a TV commercial which just aired during the Super Bowl. The Android device is going to be officially announced on February 13th in Barcelona just ahead of Mobile World Congress and I’ll be there to cover the event. As you probably already know the Xperia play will feature a Qualcomm MSM8255 SoC with the Adreno 205 GPU and be the first device to be compatible with PlayStation certified games. Checkout the cool and creepy TV ad after the break:

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Qualcomm MSM8260 and MSM8660 with Adreno 220 GPU shown on video

During last weeks CES Qualcomm publicly demonstrated for the first time the upcoming MSM8260 and MSM8660 SoC which is expected to be in retail devices later this year. The Dual -Core Scorpion powered SoC started sampling back in June and is basically an evolution of the current single chip SoC available in smartphone powered by the QSD8X50, MSM8X55 and MSM7X30 but with two Scorpion CPUs clocked a 1.2Ghz and the new Adreno 220 GPU. People are quit to trash Qualcomm because of most of the smartphone out on the market which are powered by their chips usually don’t perform as good as advertised. Unfortunately what most don’t realize is that this is mostly due to the software (the OS) and the drivers used by the OEMs. Take an HTC HD2 and try to play a 720P video on it and it will be impossible. Now try the same on any of the Windows Phone 7 devices out there (which have exactly the same specs) and you will see that the now “old” QSD8250 can playback the720P videos without breaking a sweat (you will have to bypass the Zune Software to do this as explained in my recent Windows Phone 7 Review).Some for the GPU performance: check out my Adreno 205 vs SGX540 benchmark to see the interesting results. Anyway, hit the break to see the MSM8660 in action (it can playback 3D HD video!):

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Early Sony Ericsson PSP PlayStation Phone Xperia Play Review

IT168 posted an extensive review of the upcoming Sony Ericsson PlayStation Phone aka Xperia Play aka Zeus Z1 today. Beware that this is based on a non-retail version of the product so things can change between now and when the device finally launches. The phone features an MSM8255 SoC which includes the Adreno 205 GPU so the performance should be on par with the HTC Desire HD and it’s US cousins the HTC Thunderbolt and HTC Inspire 4G but only 512Mb of Rom and 512MB of Ram ‘the device runs Android 2.3). The phone also features a 4 inch 854×480 screen, 1500Mah battery and 5Mpix camera with LED flash. So as you can see there’s nothing to fancy here besides the sliding gamepad. Seeral benchmarks have been done but you won’t learn anything new there (performance is as expected). Check out some videos after the break:

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro 2 shows up in the wild?

Another unannounced Android smartphone from Sony Ericsson just showed up in live pictures today on a chinese message board. The device is said to be running Android 2.4 (?), has an tiny 3″ HVGA screen, a 1GHZ CPU with an Adreno 205 GPU….hold on a second.. this doesn’t make much sense right? If it’s indeed a 1Ghz Qualcomm chipset with an Adreno 205 then it can only be an MSM8255 but there’s no way that SE will pack such a chipset into a low-end device which only has HVGA screen. The other possibility is the mid-range MSM7230 (used in the T-Mobile G2, HTC Desire Z) but it doesn’t add up either because it’s only clocked at 800Mhz so the specs mentioned in the post seem fishy at best. The Neocore score is also on the lower end of the spectrum…

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OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark: Adreno 205 vs SGX540 / HTC Desire HD vs Samsung Galaxy S

GLBenchmark 2.0 has finally been released to the public today nearly 2 years after being unveiled during MWC 2008. The opportunity was too good so I decided to run it on the HTC Desire HD and Samsung Galaxy S to compare the Qualcomm’s Adreno 205 vs the Power SGX540. I did a chart (posted below after the break) so you can compare the full detailed results of both handsets and not only the overall score. This is really important because only looking at the overall results is actually a bit misleading in this case. As you probably already know the PowerVR SGX540 is currently the fastest mobile GPU currently available in retail devices and so far nothing has come close to it (besides the Tegra 2 which is pumping out results close to the Galaxy Tab in OGLES 2.0) but Samsung is currently the only OEM shipping handsets featuring this GPU. The newest entrant is the Adreno 205 which is part of the latest MSM8255 and MSM7X30 chipset from Qualcomm and used in several HTC devices. The Adreno 205 is an updated / tweaked version of the Adreno 200 found in the original QSD8250 chipset. Anyway check out the results below:

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Sony Ericsson Android PlayStation Phone unveiled

Remember the rumored Sony Ericsson PSP Android phone from last August? Well here are the first like pictures of one of the prototype devices in the wild. The phone is supposedly going to run Android 3.0 (If what we are seeing in the pictures is 3.0 then it looks really similar to what we have now…which would be a disappointment..), packs and MSM8655 (or MSM8255 depending on the region) Qualcomm chipset clocked at 1GHz exactly like the HTC Desire HD, it will also have access to a dedicated Sony Marketplace filled with games compatible with it (more Android fragmentation…). The touch-pad at the center of the sliding panel is also multi-touch capable.

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