sexta-feira, 26 de outubro de 2012

Google Nexus 10 preview: Greater than Retina

Recent leaks regarding the rumored Nexus 10 slate, which Google is working with Samsung to develop, show just how impressive the tablet will be. Scheduled to be officially unveiled this Monday, the Nexus 10 will bring Google's latest Android 4.2 OS.

This tablet will be impressive in many ways, but what really will call people's attention to it is the stunning iPad Retina Display-surpassing display, which will have a 2560 x 1600 resolution (vs 2048 x 1536 in the Apple iPad). At 10.1", this translates into a groundbreaking 299 ppi pixel density. Of course, an exceedingly powerful SoC is needed to handle such a giant resolution, therefore, the Nexus 10 will be the first tablet to receive Samsung's Exynos 5250 SoC, which consists of a dual-core Cortex-A15 @ 1.7GHz CPU, and ARM's brand new Mali-T604 GPU. The GPU should be moderately prepared to handle the greater-than-Retina display. The Nexus 10 will have a 5MP rear camera, and will be available in a 16 GB model (albeit without any storage expansion options).

The Nexus 10, which, just by its specifications, seems like a very impressive device, will be officially uncovered during Google's New York event on Monday (Oct. 29)

segunda-feira, 22 de outubro de 2012

LG Nexus 4 confirmed

LG's Head of Mobile Product planning, Amit Gujral, accidentally revealed the next Nexus smartphone, the LG Nexus 4. Apparently, it's going to be unveiled at a Google Android event at October 29. He specified that the smartphone would be launched in India by the end of November, while not saying anything about a global launch of the phone.

It was also confirmed that the device will have a large 4.7" display with 1280 x 768 resolution, 2 GB of RAM, will be available in 8 GB and 16 GB models (however external storage isn't possible, because the device lacks a microSD card slot), an 8MP rear camera, and the beastly Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core Krait CPU, plus an Adreno 320 GPU. And last but not least, the new smartphone will come with Android 4.2 out of the box.

This will be a very high-end device (probably means sky-high prices), and is a true beast, offering the best of performance and display quality.

domingo, 7 de outubro de 2012

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Review: Blazingly fast

Qualcomm has been one of the top SoC vendors since the release of its Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core SoC, which, despite not being the best performing SoC of the time, had the luxury of LTE, and great power efficiency. Now, Qualcomm has impressed us again with a Quad-core variant of the Snapdragon S4, plus, it is the first SoC to use the revolutionary new Adreno 320 GPU, which is the first GPU to support OpenGL ES 3.0, and is the best performing mobile GPU ever seen (even better than the PowerVR SGX543MP3 in the iPhone 5). This impressive performance, coupled with LTE modems and the best power efficiency available today, results in what might be just about the perfect SoC.

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
CPU 1.5-1.7GHz Quad-core Krait
L2 Cache 2MB
GPU Adreno 320
Memory Interface Dual-channel, 533MHz (presumably LPDDR2)
Process Technology 28nm
Connectivity 3G + 4G LTE


The CPU in the Snapdragon S4 Pro is truly impressive. It is based on Qualcomm's own Krait CPU architecture, which is based on the ARM Cortex-A15 processor. The Krait offers much better power efficiency and about 50% better per-core efficiency than the current Cortex-A9. When Qualcomm released the dual-core Krait, it proved to offer comparable performance to quad-core Cortex-A9 SoCs, like the NVIDIA Tegra 3, losing only by small margins in a number of multi-threaded benchmarks, and, of course, being the best processor in any single-threaded benchmark. Now, Qualcomm doubled the already good performance that the dual-core Krait could deliver with the quad-core Krait variant. Unlike NVIDIA, Qualcomm changed L2 CPU cache accordingly to the increase in core count, bringing the L2 cache up to 2MB, so we won't be seeing any performance bottlenecks because of the L2 cache, again, unlike the Tegra 3. The S4 Pro can also deliver this beastly performance with the best power efficiency, as well as good thermal efficiency, thanks to the 28nm process used by Qualcomm. All this makes the Quad-core Krait just about the best mobile CPU ever created. 


The Snapdragon S4 Pro is the first SoC to use the latest Adreno 320 GPU. The Adreno 320 is an excellent GPU, and is quite revolutionary, too. It is the first GPU to support OpenGL ES 3.0, and is also the best performing GPU ever created so far. Not much is known about the architecture of the Adreno 320, except that it has a unified shader architecture (no complaints here). At any rate, when comparing the Adreno 320's performance to the current king, the iPhone 5, powered by a PowerVR SGX543MP3, we get many mixed results, furthermore, it is very difficult to determine whether the Adreno 320 is ultimately better than the SGX543MP3 or not. However, the benchmark that most realistically tests gaming performance is the GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt HD test.

As I said, these tests show some pretty mixed results. The Adreno 320 still lags behind the SGX543MP3, and, by extension, the lower-clocked SGX543MP4 in the iPad 3, in terms of triangle throughput and fill rate.  All of the devices tested have a HD 1280 x 800 screen (plus or minus), so we can't blame resolution for any differences here. Of course, the Adreno 320-powered Xiaomi MI 2 does outperform the iPhone 5 in the offscreen Egypt HD offscreen test, and also, the Adreno 320 performs remarkably similarly to the iPhone 5 in the Egypt HD onscreen test (4508 frames for the Xiaomi MI 2 vs 4509 frames in the iPhone 5), and again, we must remember that the Egypt tests are the ones that most accurately test how gaming performance is in real-life situations, so despite the fact that the iPhone 5 pulls ahead in low lever 3D tests, the Adreno 320 should offer about equal performance in games. We can be sure, too, that the Adreno 320 is by far the best GPU in the Android space. Specifically in the Egypt HD tests, it makes both the Mali-400MP and the NVIDIA Tegra 3 look ridiculously slow. Of course, the Adreno 320 is that powerful because it will have to offer good performance for the next-gen OpenGL ES 3.0. For now, the Adreno 320 is the best GPU on the Android space, and the only OpenGL ES 3.0-capable one, but I'm not sure if it will survive the onslaught of other OpenGL ES 3.0 GPUs coming soon, specifically, ImgTec's PowerVR 6 Rogue, ARM's Mali-T6xx, and NVIDIA's Tegra 4 'Wayne'. We'll see soon enough.


As we have seen, the Snapdragon S4 Pro has proved to be, as I see it, the perfect SoC. It offers the best performing CPU ever seen in a mobile device, and also one of the most efficient ones, it offers the best GPU in the Android space (and also gives the iPhone 5's GPU quite a run), all with the best thermal and power efficiency, thanks to Qualcomm's 28nm process, and, of course, Qualcomm's major selling point, LTE-capable modems. The only way I can see someone criticizing the S4 Pro is saying that it is just unnecessarily powerful! The only problem is how long will it be the best SoC. I see one possible danger for Qualcomm, which is NVIDIA's upcoming Tegra Wayne SoC, which is rumored to pack a quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU, with an additional battery saver core (the battery saver core would make the CPU even less power consuming than the S4 Pro), which would outperform the S4 Pro because it will probably run at higher clock speeds, as well as a Kepler-based, CUDA-compliant (GPGPU!) GeForce GPU, which will probably outperform the Adreno 320, but with the additional excellent power efficiency from the Kepler architecture, a move to 28nm process, and will have NVIDIA's own Icera LTE modem. The worst news is, the Tegra 4 can't be far from its announcement, considering that Tegra 3's now almost one year old. Watch out, Qualcomm! At any rate, at the moment the S4 Pro is the best SoC ever made, and is a truly impressive chip. Kudos to Qualcomm!

sábado, 6 de outubro de 2012

Next Nexus Smartphone: Samsung, LG, maybe both?

There have been some rumors recently regarding Google's next Nexus smartphone, but these rumors tell different stories (or not). Some rumors point to the next Nexus smartphone being a Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2, other rumors point to an LG-made Nexus phone. There is also the possibility of Google now making multiple Nexus phones.

On the Samsung side of rumors, there is a leaked spec sheet from, which shows a GT-I9260 (the current Galaxy Nexus is GT-I9250) model labeled 'Nexus'. This device seems rather strange, and unlikely to be a Nexus device, because, unlike the leaked model's 1.5GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, a new Nexus phone would be expected to follow Google's ASUS Nexus 7 tablet, which has a Tegra 3 CPU. Besides that, there are also reports of pictures, uploaded to Picasa, that were detailed to have been taken by a device named GT-I9260, which actually agrees with the rumor of the leaked spec sheet. There is a possiblitity, however, that this is just another Samsung smartphone, but not a Nexus device. reports, however, that rumors indicate that the new Nexus smartphone will be based on the mighty LG Optimus G. The tipster, who contacted AndroidAndMe, reports that the LG-based Nexus phone looks very similar to the Galaxy Nexus, sporting approximately the same size, while bearing a Nexus logo on the back similar to the logo on the Nexus 7. The tipster also claimed that the new Nexus phone was running Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie, which reportedly is very similar to Jelly Bean, except with more transition effects. I find that very difficult to believe, because, then again, Jelly Bean is barely on the beggining of its life, being out for just a bit more than 3 months, so it's hard to believe that Key Lime Pie is already at such a mature stage. Other claims from the tipster include an 8MP camera.

We still have to consider the possibility that Google is now making more than one Nexus phone at once, which could even make sense, in a way. Maybe Google now wants to have Nexus phones at different price points, and is doing so with different manufacturers, which would explain the exceedingly dated CPU in the rumored Galaxy GT-I9260. In this view, the Galaxy Nexus 2 would be filling the space as a low-end Nexus phone, while LG could be going for the high-end (Snapdragon S4 Pro, like the Optimus G?) Nexus phone. But, of course, this is purely my opinion, which is, by all means, fully unsupported.

So, what do you people think it is most likely to be, a Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2, an LG Optimus Nexus, or both?

Sony suspends Xperia Tablet S slaes due to splash-resistance issues

The Sony Xperia Tablet S, which was just released, in September, had its sales suspended by Sony. This was due to an issue with splash-resistance, one reported feature of the Xperia Tablet S. The problem is due to manufacturing issues that caused gaps between the screen and panel. Shipped units of the Xperia Tablet are being pulled back for repair. Additionally, owners of the Xperia Tablet can return it, and get it fixed for free

HTC One X+: Tegra 3 + LTE

HTC recently announced a successor to the HTC One X, the One X+. The One X+, at least on paper, is a very good device. The special feature of this device is that it brings NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC and LTE connectivity in the same device, something that hasn't happened before, because, of course, the Tegra 3 was considered to be incompatible with LTE modems. This has been a large selling point for Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 SoC, and is why there are so few Tegra 3-powered smartphones right now. Of course, HTC may have caused a change in this pattern with the One X+. Besides LTE, the One X+ also has Corning Gorilla Glass 2, a 720p HD screen, and will ship with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with HTC's Sense UI 4+, keeping the 8.9mm thickness of the One X weighing only 5 grams more (135g in the One X+ vs 130g in the One X).

HTC One X+
Body 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9mm, 135g
Display Super LCD 2 4.7" 1280 x 720 (312 ppi) w/Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Storage 32/64 GB
Memory 1GB, single-channel LPDDR2
Camera (rear) 8MP w/auto focus, LED flash, face detection, 1080p@30fps video
Camera (front) 1.6MP, 720p video
OS Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
Chipset NVIDIA Tegra 3 AP37 (Quad Cortex-A9 @ 1.7GHz + 12-core GeForce GPU (enhanced?))

The One X+ is one of the few devices so far that use Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 2, for the best scratch resistance. The screen is also very crisp, at 312ppi. The One X+'s design is pretty similar to the One X's design, too. This is the first device shipping with NVIDIA's AP37 Tegra 3 SoC, sometimes referred to as Tegra 3+, which is supposed to be a refresh to the Tegra lineup, so yes, there's still the usual Tegra problem, the relatively weak memory controller. If what these specs say are true, and the One X+ uses LPDDR2 memory, then we've got a problem, because single-channel LPDDR2 has proved not to be enough to keep up with the comptition. While the CPU will be very fast, actually, just a bit faster than the Tegra T33-powered ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity, the very high clock speed, together with the aged 40nm process, makes power consumption a possible issue. HTC needs to put a very large battery into the One X+ (although without any increase in thickness, I don't think that's very possible). The GPU in Tegra AP37 is rumored to be faster, too, specifically, 25% faster, but there's still no evidence to back that up. So, in terms of performance, the One X+ is good, for now, although it will probably not be nearly as powerful as the A6-powered iPhone 5, or Snapdragon S4 Pro smartphones, like the LG Optimus G. But in any case, it is the best that NVIDIA can offer at the moment. 

The One X+ will come out in October, and will be available in an international model, and is also headed for AT&T.