Microsoft confirms Dual-Core and LTE Windows Phones coming in the future

I think that we all knew that this would be the case but just in case you doubted it Microsoft’s Andy Lees has recently confirmed that future Windows Phones’ probably running Apollo Windows Phone 8) will support Dual-Core SoCs and LTE networks. As of right now Windows Phone 7 only supports single core SoC and frankly isn’t in need of anything more powerful given that the current crop of devices (the new MSM8255 based one and older QSD8250 phones) are smoother and more responsive than any Dual-core Android handset currently on the market.

“They’re all single core, but I suspect that they will be faster in usage than any dual-core phone that you put against it, and that’s the point,” But, he insisted, Microsoft isn’t opposed to dual-core chips, but wanted to wait until the software was more ready to take advantage of multiple cores.

As far I know, and I could be wrong here, the current CE Kernel used in Windows Phone doesn’t support Dual CPU configurations so we aren’t missing much anyway. That’s why I’m thinking that we may have to wait until Windows Phone 8. Lees also added that LTE handsets are also planned:

“The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it’s possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that’s what we will be doing,”

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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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T-Mobile HTC Sensation 4G announced in the US

Hot on the heels of the European announcement comes the US bound version of the device which is headed to T-Mobile as the HTC Sensation 4G. So hat’s the difference ? Most probably nothing at all. T-Mobile’s 4G means HSPA + and given that the European HTC Sensation also support’s this then we are essentially looking at the same piece of hardware. Anyway, Full press release after the break:

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HTC Sensation Hardware Specifications and release date


Here are the hardware specifications of he HTC Sensation android handset. As previously expected this device is essentially and 3D-less version of the HTC EVO 3D. The Sensation will start shipping in mid-May on Vodafone’s network across Europe: 12 May online and 17 May in retail shops (the carrier has a one month exclusive). The rest of the European carriers will get it in June. Specs after the break:

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Official HTC Sensation presentation videos

No need to wait for the official announcement because here are several short videos of the new Sense UI found on the HTC Sensation and the handset’s hardware. You will notice that the weather animation now looks like the one found on the Windows Phone 7 version of the application and that most of everything else looks like the Sense found on the HTC EVO 3D and HTC Flyer. Hit the break to check out all the official videos:

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HTC Sensation aka HTC Pyramid to be announced later today

Qualcomm and Vodafone have apparently jumped the gun and already spilled the beans about HTC’s upcoming announcement. The HTC Sensation also known as the HTC Pyramid is going to be today’s headliner at HTC’s Lodon press event. As previously discussed the Sensation will essentially feature the same hardware as the HTC EVO 3D but without the 3 screen and 3D cameras. So you will have a Quaocmm MSM8260 with Adreno 220 GPU, QHD (960 x 540) 4.3″ SLCD screen. More info to come later today so stay tuned.

 

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 →

HTC EVO 3D hardware specifications

HTC has just officially announced and unveiled their highest end and most powerful product ever: the HTC EVO 3D. The only handset comparable to it is the LG Optimus 3D which has essentially the same features but is differentiated by the chipset and SoC used to power the device. Contrary to the Optimus 3D which uses a TI OMAP4 4430 the HTC EVO 3D is using Qualcomm’s latest dual-core Cortex A8 SoC the MSM8660 and its Adreno 220 GPU which I showed you in action here. It has a similar 4.3inch qHD 960×540 glasses free 3D display (parallax barrier) has 2 5Mpix cameras on the back for shooting 720P 3D video, a 1.3Mpix front facing cam and HDMI out via the micron USB connector for 1080P (2D) and 720P (3D). In terms of hardware this device is a real beast. The device will be running Android 2.3 Gingerbread at first with the latest version of HTC Sense on top.

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HTC EVO 3D & HTC EVO View specifications partially leaked

CTIA is shaping up to be big for Sprint who is apparently scheduled to unveiled its new line up of WiMax enabled Android devices on March 22. The first one is going to be the HTC EVO 3D which seems to be the CDMA/WiMAX version of the long rumored HTC Pyramid. The EVO 3D will be powered by an MSM8660 SoC and its Adreno 220 GPU which you can see in action in my MWC video here. It will also pack 1GB of RAM, 4GB of ROM and and glasses free auto-stereoscopic 4.3 qHD 960 x 450 3D display , similar to the one found on the LG Optimus 3D which I showed you here. It will also have a 1730Mha battery, 1080P hdmi output for regular 2D content and 720P 3D output, a 5mpix camera & 1.3 Mpix front facing one.

As I said before; Windows Phone 7 doesn’t necessarily need more powerful hardware right now but when you look at the specifications above (and most other high-end Android devices to be released soon) and factor in the fact that Microsoft is being sluggish with the OS updates I personally  think that most people are not going to buy an WP7 handset in the coming months. Now if Microsoft was more reactive then things would be different but only 2 updates a year? That’s not going to cut it.

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Leaked Windows Phone 7 HTC Ignite, HTC Prime and Android HTC Pyramid renders

It the HTC handsets renders leak day. XDA.cn has blessed us with 3 new renders today which may or may not be real (always keep that in mind). The first one which you can see above is apparently the HTC Prime Windows Phone 7 device featuring a hardware keyboard and design similar to the HTC Desire Z and also the same hardware specification (MSM7230 SoC with Adreno 205 GPU).

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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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HTC Pyramid with MSM8260 dual core SoC headed to T-Mobile this year

The latest rumor emanating from the HTC underworld is pointing at the release of a new high-end Android handset called the HTC Pyramid which will supposedly pack a Qualcomm MSM8260 SoC (Dual-Core CortexA8 Snapdragon CPUs clocked at 1.2ghz and Adreno 220 GPU) and a 4.3inch qHD 960×540 screen. This phone does sound like a powerful beast and there’s no denying that Windows Phone 7 is going to be left behind when it comes to powerful smartphones this year (remember that as of right now the OS only supports the first generation QSD8250 SnapDragon). It remains to be seen if all this power is going to be put to good use (other than shooting and playing back HD content and that’s unless HTC once again packs a crappy camera sensor) Given that Android 2.X doesn’t even support and take advantage Dual-Core CPU’s at the kernel level. The rumored HTC Pyramid is said to be launching on T-Mobile around March 2011.  MWC is going to be interesting and full and Android news it seems.

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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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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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Mysterious Sony Ericsson Anzu Android 2.3 phone shows up in the wild

A mysterious Sony Ericsson Android smartphone has surfaced today all over the web. The Anzu (it’s supposedly the device’s codename) prototype seen in the pictures is currently running Android 2.1 but will apparently ship with Gingerbread / Android 2.3 later this year or early next year. As you can see it’s super slim (slimmer than the  119mm thick Samsung Galaxy S according to the source of the pictures ) and sports a 4.3″ display. Not much else is known but it is said to be able to capture videos in 1080p. If this is indeed the case then it is probably powered by Qualcomm’s dual core MSM8260 and MSM8660 chipsets. More pictures after the break:

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HTC Glacier GPU / CPU Benchmark revealed

A T-Mobile employee has uploaded partial GLBenchmark 1.1 results of the upcoming HTC Glacier handset a few hours ago. Many blogger think that the score of 1432 Frames in the GLBenchmark Pro ES 1.1 CPU Skinning is a proof that the device is powered by the new MSM8260 or MSM8660 dual-core Snapdragon. Well sorry to disappoint you but this probably isn’t the case at all. First off performance doesn’t scale like that (you can’t just multiply x2 previous single core Snapdragon results and claim that this is how the dual-core will perform. Secondly, my HTC HD2 is faster at this particular skinning test. See the results below:

Continue reading HTC Glacier GPU / CPU Benchmark revealed →