ICS and Hardware Acceleration...

jrdatrackstar1223

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Please do not consider this trolling, but I have left Android (still have my Nexus S 4G) for WP7 because the entire OS is hardware accelerated. I have high hopes that ICS will bring full-blown hardware acceleration to Android, but after reading this, I have my doubts and need some further clarification. I read this on another board somewhere after it was posted today, so I take no credit in claiming this as my own knowledge..

" There are three levels of GPU acceleration:

1. 2D based acceleration
2. Some 3D based GPU acceleration
3. Composite based OS

Starting with Gingerbread, Google enabled the first kind. Now the OS uses the GPU's ability to do things like transitions and probably some font anti-aliasing. This is about what Windows XP had.

Some of the programs (notably Opera Mobile and Samsung's Touchwiz browser) enable the second kind. What they basically do is act like video games on the phone- they render their interface with the GPU. This is not blessed by the OS other than it gets out of the way, and you don't see this sort of thing usually on desktop OSes because it requires full screen rendering (not a big deal on mobile devices) and it eats more memory than proper composite. The only desktop OS I have ever seen with something like this is the mid-00's Linux desktop with Xglx.

The third kind is an outright composite based OS where the OS takes over and renders everything offscreen on the GPU. This is what iOS does today, and I think it is also what WM7 does. Windows Vista brought about this for Windows desktops, OSX had this from day one. This is why those OSes seem so "smooth," as this is considered the modern way to do things. I know Honeycomb is not composite based by messing with it, or its task-switcher would utilize live previews of Windows instead of screenshots ala OSX's Mission Control.

No where have I seen anything that implies that Google is moving to a composite-based OS. And I don't blame them- it is a terrible transition that is unavoidable going to a composite OS when it didn't start that way. Apple only has a composite-based OS on their phones because millions of early OSX users (like me) suffered through countless composite bugs all the way through OSX's first four versions. Apple took that knowledge and applied it to the phones, which is only possible because they support such a limited phone hardware platform and because Apple has the world's only decent software compositor (again thanks to Guinea pigs like me).

Google lacks this advantage. In fact, Google is in Microsoft's shoes in the early 2000's- its platform is fragmented with trillions of different hardware combinations and most of the available GPUs can't handle full composite. You can't just force a composite-based OS in this situation because then you end up with Windows Vista. Despite all the heresay, the real problem with Vista is that it forced down a composite interface before the applications and the hardware were ready. Applications not made for composite had bugs aplenty, and only the highest-end hardware when it was released could actually handle the composite interface. That is probably why MS demands such a strict and higher-end baseline for WM7- they learned their lesson. Google also probably learned from Vista that if Android is EVER going to be composite based it won't be till years from now when 90% of hardware sold can handle it.


Google's attitude is- Why do we need a composite interface for Android? Doing most GUI calculations on the CPU is compatible with every Android phone out there, and next year when quad core phones hit there will be enough extra CPU power that brute force will fix Android's smoothness issue. All a move to composite would do is make millions of current Android devices (that have weak GPUs) obsolete, it would royally screw up the app market until developers could redo their programs for composite, and at least one version of Android would be trash as they went though the composite growing pains that EVERY composite OS (Windows, OSX, Linux, etc.) has dealt with. Google lacks MS's and Apple's advantage of having worked out those bugs on their primary OSes, so why even bother? "





Can anyone clarify this?
 

bear_lx

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just came back from an htc hd7 wp7... awesome platform, but lacks the customizing for me, furthemore, tmobile sucks in my neck of the woods, so sprint is the next best thing. and the arrive wp7 is kinda lame comparitively speaking to the likes of the nexus s 4g
 

AndroidOne

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I know I'm bound to get flamed for this, but I plan to take the iPhone for a spin when (if?) it comes to Sprint.

At this point in my life, I want a phone that I don't have to tinker much with and pretty much works out-of-box. I don't know if the iPhone will fit this bill better than Android but despite how I feel about Apple's evil ways, I will be giving this phone a try.

I see Android OS increasing fragmentation (most every manufacturer is allowed to load it's own custom version of the OS on their hardware) a major obstacle for progress. I believe MS learned this lesson by dumping WM in favor of Win Phone 7 where there is more control over hardware and limits on OEM OS customization. I hope Google see the light sooner rather than later.

Sent from my HTC Evo 4G using Tapatalk
 

chud

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I know I'm bound to get flamed for this, but I plan to take the iPhone for a spin when (if?) it comes to Sprint.

At this point in my life, I want a phone that I don't have to tinker much with and pretty much works out-of-box. I don't know if the iPhone will fit this bill better than Android but despite how I feel about Apple's evil ways, I will be giving this phone a try.

I see Android OS increasing fragmentation (most every manufacturer is allowed to load it's own custom version of the OS on their hardware) a major obstacle for progress. I believe MS learned this lesson by dumping WM in favor of Win Phone 7 where there is more control over hardware and limits on OEM OS customization. I hope Google see the light sooner rather than later.

Sent from my HTC Evo 4G using Tapatalk
No flaming here. I don't care for Apple's business practices either but I'm getting my parents iPhones as soon as theyre available for Sprint. Sometimes it's just the right choice.
 

bear_lx

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there are pros and cons to every platform, i have tried them all... wp7 is very smooth, like butter. also very stable, no force closes or random reboots. metro ui is beautiful and zune pass is best thing since sliced bread. however is lacks customization. and coming from android its hard to get used to. its gps (bing maps) are far inferior to google maps. there are still very limited applications when you compare to android and ios. so it will feel naked at first. iphone is also very smooth, like butter. itunes are great but overpriced and in aac format. so need converted to play on different devices. there os is complwetely locked down and also very boring. very little customization. however has the best app store! so it all boils down to whats suits you, i like them all, and for now i am with android because of the fact there is so much you can do with it. and with a good phone also smooth...
 

AndroidOne

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there are pros and cons to every platform, i have tried them all... wp7 is very smooth, like butter. also very stable, no force closes or random reboots. metro ui is beautiful and zune pass is best thing since sliced bread. however is lacks customization. and coming from android its hard to get used to. its gps (bing maps) are far inferior to google maps. there are still very limited applications when you compare to android and ios. so it will feel naked at first. iphone is also very smooth, like butter. itunes are great but overpriced and in aac format. so need converted to play on different devices. there os is complwetely locked down and also very boring. very little customization. however has the best app store! so it all boils down to whats suits you, i like them all, and for now i am with android because of the fact there is so much you can do with it. and with a good phone also smooth...

Hear you... one major thing that makes me worried about leaving Android is loosing the Google Nav capability we enjoy as Google's favorite children. Will see how it goes when I do.
 

kalex

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Good read and I'm actually pretty pissed about it. My NS4G seems to lag pretty bad in few apps and default browser and its very annoying. Specially when there are images being loaded. I get lag in Engadget app, Google Reader, and browser. I also have an ipad2 and safari with its GPU acceleration has no lag. I played around with new Galaxy S2 at sprint store and samsung has hardware acceleration. Apps run very smooth
 

jrdatrackstar1223

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here's the thread post: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?p=32294060


it's a topic i LOVE bringing up to store reps when I explain why I went with Windows Phone for now (like I said...still have my Nexus and JUST updated it to 2.3.7). it's funny to see their faces like :confused: when I get technical.

at the same time, it's a frustrating one that has me on an OS that is BEAUTIFUL (WP7) but lacks the power of Android (and no, I do not believe this will change with Mango). i used to love android, but the fact that they're turning their nose at this and basically saying "as long as the numbers are high who cares?" is disturbing to me. I had high hopes for ICS, but I knew that the OS being completely lag free was impossible until quad core phones basically come out.

as far as the Epic Touch 4G goes...I was actually shocked at how smooth that OS was. Idk if it's fully hardware accelerated or not, but I REALLY don't think so because with hardware accelerated UI's they have this type of "glow" or "blur" effect when swiping and transitioning screens....kinda hard to explain until you play with two differently baked OSes side-by-side. I believe what the Epic Touch 4G uses is a form of caching that smoothens things out ( if this is the case, it should be baked in the Vanilla Android instead of crappy garbage collecting). I still might want to pick one up one day for playing with if I can snag one on Craigslist (it's funny how many people buy a phone to later realize they NEED a keyboard lol), but I'm still staying on the WP7 train in the meantime. The saddest part is that I will eventually HAVE to leave WP7 because Sprint is in bed with Android and (soon) Apple...

and I will NEVER join Apple (although it is getting harder day-by-day to say no to a Sprint iPhone...might eventually give in :mad:)


Also....to comment on the Maps.....I agree that Microsoft is TERRIBLE with it. In Mango it's a little better however, because you can get voice guided navigation by just tapping the screen. I didn't realize that this was useful until yesterday; I was driving and got lost because the interstate I usually get on was detoured. I use voice to search for my destination, it brought up results, then I asked for directions. In Bing Maps, it start giving me voice-guided navigation and "dinged" when I was approaching my next turn or w/e and I would tap the screen (without looking down) to hear where to turn so that I can just look for the street instead of following the line on my screen of where to turn. Again, this is only in Mango (leaked) so I understand the frustration for those who tried a NoDo ROM. There is, however, TeleNav on Sprint that actually worked OK (just took too long to load for the first time).
 
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