Why Android is laggy compared to Windows Phone 7 and iOS

I just came across the best in-depth explanation regarding the well known UI performance issues that Android exhibits even on really high-end devices compared to modest hardware running Windows Phone 7 or iOS. The lengthy post was written down by Andrew Munn (in response to Google’s Dianne Hackborn’s earlier post about GPU HW accel in Android here) who was an intern on Android team (and who is interning on the Windows Phone Team at Microsoft next month). There are a couple of errors in his description of the way iOS handles the UI thread so keep that in mind when reading him. Other than that it’s a fairly accurate view of why Android is and most probably will never be ass efficient as iOS and Windows phone when rendering UIs simply because of early design choices when the framework was created. Throwing more processing power seems to be the only solution so far (plus the addition of HW acceleration in so parts of the OS in Honeycomb and ICS).

There are three main causes:

- The UI rendering isn’t done in a separate dedicated high priority thread but in the main thread with normal priority instead
- GC (Garbage Colector) / Timing issues.
- Lack of Hardware acceleration in the vast majority of the OS and the way UI rendering is handled: “On iOS, each UI view is rendered separately and stored in memory, so many animations only require the GPU to recomposite UI views. GPUs are extremely good at this. Unfortunately, on Android, the UI hierarchy is flattened before rendering, so animations require every animating section of the screen to be redrawn.”

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HTC announces first wave of phones that will receive Ice Cream Sandwich

HTC has just unveiled the name of the phones included in the first wave of Ice Cream Sandwich update roll out. The handsets listed below will receive the ICS Android 4.0 in early 2012:

- HTC Sensation
- HTC Sensation XL
- HTC Sensation XE
- HTC Rezound
- HTC EVO 3D
- HTC EVO Design 4G
- HTC Amaze 4G

You will also note that they are all based on the MSM826X platform.

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What’s inside the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Want to know what’s really inside the latest and greatest Android handsets? Engadget, with the help of Android developer Francois Simond compiled¬† the full list of all the hardware found inside the Samsung Galaxy Nexus :

Silicon

  • CPU: Texas Instruments OMAP4460 (same as the Droid RAZR), 2047.7 BogoMIPS
  • GPU: Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 540 (highler clocked version than the one in the HummingBird SoC)
  • WiFi / Bluetooth module: Broadcom BCM4330 (same as in the Galaxy S II)
  • Audio codec: Texas Instruments TWL6040
  • HDMI: Silicon Image MHD SiI9234 transmitter over MHL (same as Infuse 4G and GSII)
  • USB Switch: Fairchild semiconductors fsa9480
  • Framebuffer controller: Samsung S6E8AA0 MIPI LCD with Gamma correction driver

Sensors

  • Geomagnetic sensor: Brand new tri-axial Yamaha YAS530
  • TouchScreen sensor: Melfas MMSxxx touchscreen
  • Optical / proximity sensor: GP2A (same as Galaxy S and Nexus S)
  • Barometric pressure sensor: BOSCH BMP180
  • Triaxial acceleration sensor: BOSCH BMA250
  • Triple Axis MEMS Gyroscope: InvenSense MPU3050
  • Fuel Gauge (algorithm to track battery’s state of charge): MAXIM MAX17040

Misc. internals

  • Facial recognition elements (Face Unlock): left eye, right eye, nose base, head, face
  • Available resolution for standard apps: 720 x 1184px
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • LCD Density: 320
  • Default display color depth: 32bit
  • Camera uses OMAP Ducati Subsystem, on-screen preview size is 768 x 576
  • Linux kernel: 3.0.1 compiled for SMP with voluntary kernel preemption for best interactivity
  • Android ROM: version 4.0.1, built October 13, 2011
  • Device name: Maguro
  • Main input/output type supported: Headphone, Speaker, Microphone, Bluetooth, Voice, FM, S/PDIF over HDMI; USB Audio DAC (digital-to-audio converter with USB input and stereo outputs) should also be supported

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus is officially official

Good day folks! The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has now been made official a few hours ago alongside Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich. In terms of hardware specifications there’s nothing we didn’t already know yesterday so please refer to this post for the full comprehensive list of the device’s internals and externals. Does it look sexy ? Well that 4.67″ HD Super AMOLED screen is definitely a winner even though the overall design looks relatively close to last year’s Google Nexus S. Inside the beast is a TI OMAP 4460 SoC which includes the well regarded PowerVR SGX540 GPU (clocked higher than the original version) similar to what is powering the just announced Motorola Droid RaZR (early benchmark results here). As we have seen in the full specification yesterday there’s also going to be an LTE version of it which will launch later and bit a tiny bit thicker that the regular GSM variant launching in Asia, Europe and North America in November. The only thing missing is the internal MicroSD slot which isn’t mentioned in the official press release.
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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Hardware Specifications

That’s it folks, we finally have the full hardware specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus formerly known as the Nexus Prime. As previously guessed the SoC powering the handset is a Texas Instrument OMAP4460 Dua-Core CPU clocked at 1.2Ghz coupled with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU (clocked higher than the one initially found in the Hummingbird SoC of the Original Samsung Galaxy. The Galaxy Nexus also sport a gigantic 4.7inch Super AMOLED HD screen (1280×720 but only 1196×720 usable throughout the OS because of the onscreen hardware buttons).¬† It also packs 1GB or RAM, 32GB of internal Storage and a MicroSD expansion slot. On the imaging front the The Galaxy Nexus has a 5MPx camera on the back which can shoot 1080P videos plus a 1.3MP camera on the front. Check out the full specs after the break:

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First Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime benchmarks

Someone using a prototype or developer version of the soon to be announced Samsung Galaxy Nexus (or Nexus Prime) has submitted GLBenchmark scores indicating that the handset is powered by a TI OMAP 4460 Dual-Core SoC clocked at 1.2Ghz. This may be disappointment to some but unfortunately the way it is because TI is the development partner for Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich (similar to how NVIDIA’s Tegra was Android 3.0‘s primary platform etc.) You can also note that the screen resolution is reported to be 1196 x 720 instead of 1280×720 because of the on-screen “hardware buttons”.

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Google Android 4.0 and Nexus Prime event to take place on October 19th

Google and Samsung have re-scheduled the canceled October 11th launch event of Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich and the Samsung Google Nexus Prime (or Galaxy Prime aka Samsung i9250 ) to October 19th in Hong Kong at around 10PM EST. Inserting times ahead… I’m really eager to see how the Honeycomb UI has be shrunk down to work on smartphone. The early look we had last week didn’t really seem exciting to me but let’s wait until we have more info before passing judgment.

Google Nexus Prime and Android 4.0 event canceled


Just a few minutes after the Samsung Google Nexus Prime blurry video leaked Samsung and Google have announced in a mail statement that the Android 4.0 and Google Nexus Prime (Galaxy Nexus..) launch event was postponed / canceled:

Samsung and Google decide to postpone the new product announcement at CTIA Fall. We agree that it is just not the right time to announce a new product. New date and venue will be shortly announced.

There’s still no way to know if today’s leak is in any way related to the decision to cancel / postpone the event. Wild speculation on my part: If it isn’t because of hardware / software issues then it may be related to Steve Jobs death. If his funeral service is set to be on October 11th then Samsung took the right decision. /speculation

Update: It now appears that Jobs death is the reason of the event cancellation according to sources. The new date hasn’t been set yet.

Update: Samsung’s official statement:

“We believe this is not the right time to announce a new product as the world expresses tribute to Steve Jobs’s passing,”

Samsung Google Nexus Prime hands on video and Android 4.0 screenshots

The blurry cam is back in full force today with the first video of the Samsung Google Nexus Prime (or Galaxy Nexus or Samsung i9250..) alongside a handful of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) screenshots. It definitely looks like the the screen curvature is similar to the Nexus S (only the glass is curved not the display panel itself). The are tons of conflicting hardware specifications floating around lately so I won’t post them here the only thing that is somewhat confirmed is the 1280×720 screen resolution. I’m not really sure about that but the 3 “hardware” buttons and the bottom of the screen seems to actually be onscreen icons ? Anyway, everything will be known on October 11th anyway. Hit the break to check out the video and the Android 4.0 screenshots:

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Samsung Google Nexus Prime teased in video and picture

Samsung and Google are apparently ready to rain on Apple’s iPhone 4S parade in a couple of days with the probable unveiling of the Google Nexus Prime handset which is according to the leaked picture below, sporting a 1280×720 4.67″ Screen. A recently uploaded teaser video also shows an extremely curved device somewhat similar to the Google Nexus S even though this one seems to be even more pronounced. Is till can’t see what is the appeal of such a design especially if only the glass is curved and not the display panel itself ( same as on the Nexus S). The announced should take place on October 11th during CTIA so be on the look out for some relatively nice hardware specifications and the introduction of Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich.
Video and picture after the break
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Samsung and Google to unveil Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Nexus Prime on October 11th

No matter what happens between Microsoft and Samsung, the Korean handset maker is still for the time being Google’s biggest Android partner and as such they are both apparently going to unveil the latest iteration of the Android OS dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich and the rumored Google Nexus Prime on October 11th during CTIA in San Diego. This event is obviously meant to kill the iPhone 5 buzz which will start on October 4th and the only unknown yet is the date of Nokia’s unveiling of its first Windows Phone. It’s widely accepted that this will happen during Nokia World on October 26th but we’ve also heard contradicting info saying that this wouldn’t happen there. Only time will tell but If I was Microsoft or Nokia I wouldn’t wait 3 weeks after the iPhone 5 and Android 4 is announced to counter both especially now that Mango is out and that the first handsets are going to hit retail and carriers.

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