Архив метки: Gingerbread Android

Intel Shows Off Smartphone Reference Design, Claims Performance Gains Over ARM

intel_phone_x616

We’ve been waiting for Intel’s promised smartphone effort for a long, long time now. The few desultory pushes by the likes of Acer and niche OEMs has done little to dent the dominance of rival ARM, whose low-power chips have become an indispensable part of smartphone architecture.

Just last week, though, Intel gave a private showing of a smartphone prototype that appears to be more or less feature complete and ready to be established as the basis for a platform. The device was running Gingerbread (Android 2.3), but funnily enough actually resembles an ice cream sandwich.

The choice of OS is probably just indicative of the test environment; Intel has professed their interest in the newest version of Android, and will likely want their debut to involve it. Look at that phone, though, the similarity really is uncanny. Anandtech has a few more pictures like the one above.

In addition to showing off the reference design, which is just a starting place or example for manufacturers and may not be representative of future products, Intel showed some stats that indicated the new “Medfield” systems powering the phones was no slouch:

These are all Intel’s internal measurements, of course, and as you can see there are no model numbers or actual statistics shown. But we can probably trust the general indication that the Medfield platform is competitive with shipping devices running fairly new ARM and NVIDIA designs. MIT’s Technology Review also noted a few interesting features in their hands-on: a burst mode on the camera that shoots 10 full-size shots at 15 FPS (!), hardware acceleration of certain web and app tasks, and wireless casting of HD video to a TV. We know they have also invested in custom Android distributions, but none were present at the event.

Medfield is a die-shrink and redesign of Moorestown, a redesign of the Atom series, which as you remember was mostly found in netbooks. But although its pedigree might not sound like the best for mobile devices, it seems like Intel has truly focused on making the platform handset- and tablet-friendly.

Speaking of tablets, they also showed a reference design for a tablet:

No, not the most beautiful device we’ve ever seen, which is why it’s at the end of the article here. They showed it running Windows 8 in the slide deck but presumably it would run Android just as well.

Intel expects the first Medfield-based devices to be revealed in the first half of 2012, and hinted that we might see some at CES in January. We’ll be sure to drop by Intel’s booth to bring you pictures and video as soon as we can in that case.


Intel Shows Off Smartphone Reference Design, Claims Performance Gains Over ARM

Occipital Brings 360 Panorama To Android

screen4 + nexus s

It’s a good day for all you Android lovers out there, because today you’re getting a killer app from iOS land: 360 Panorama. The app is from Occipital, the 2008 TechStars grad, also makers of the (now eBay-owned) barcode scanner Red Laser.

This is the first real-time panoramic photo capture app for Android, as the others on the Android Market require manual capture of separate photos followed by stitching. With 360 Panorama, you just move the device around to capture the image.

In case you’re unfamiliar with 360 Panorama, it’s one of the easiest tools to take a 360-degree photo. All you have to do is launch the app and pan your camera around to take the photo. You can then save, email or share your photo to Facebook or Twitter.

If, on the other hand, you previously used 360 Occipital on iOS, you already know that this is one of the better photography apps ever created. And if you were an iOS user who switched to Android, you’ll be happy to know that you can login once again using your same 360 Panorama credentials from before.

For the most part, the Android version is the same as the older iOS app, but there are a couple of differences. For starters, Android users get one new feature that hasn’t made its way to the iPhone yet: an in-app list of saved panoramas. It should also be noted that the Android app doesn’t use gyroscopes at all yet, so it’s not recommended that you pan it against blank walls. (The next update, V1.1, will tap into gyros when it’s more stable).

There’s an interesting side note to the story of this app’s development, too. Occipital had once abandoned Android development when it started back in 2008, citing performance issues. As Co-founder Jeff Powers wrote then:

Objective-C kills the Java implementation on Android.  It’s almost exactly 100 times faster.  Note that I’m unsure if the memory allocation is included in the timing, so a more conservative statement is that Objective-C can run a tight loop 50 times faster than the Dalvik JVM.  It’s also true that real applications aren’t full of tight loops, and a real Android application won’t be 50 times slower than an iPhone counterpart.  Nevertheless, all else being equal, it will be slower, and potentially a lot slower.

For now, we’re sadly going to put our Android development on hold and switch to iPhone, and keep an eye out for performance improvements.

Today, Android is finally ready for an app like this. “Only now has the OS come around enough to make this even possible (thanks to the NDK and Open GL),” explains Powers.

Android users buying new phones will soon get a built-in panoramic photo capture app of their own with Ice Cream Sandwich’s (Android 4.0) default camera app. But 360 Panorama will work on almost any device made in the last two years, running Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and up.

You can grap the new app this morning for 99 cents from occipital.com/360/app.


Occipital Brings 360 Panorama To Android