Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

First Quad-Core Android Tablet Reviewed

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the must-eliminate-desire dept.

Android 218

adeelarshad82 writes "The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime happens to the first Quad-Core Android Tablet, which also makes it the fastest and most powerful tablet. The secret ingredient is Nvidia's five-core Tegra 3 chipset, including four cores which work together at up to 1.4GHz each and a 'companion core' which runs alone. When tested on the Antutu system benchmark, the Prime scored a breathtaking 10,619, which is roughly double the score of even fast devices like the HTC Jetstream. Benchmark results for Sunspider and Browsermark browsing scored at 17ms and 98324, respectively, which also happened to be amongst the best. The tablet weighs 1.3 pounds and measures 10.4 by 7.1 inches, but it's very slim at 0.3 inches."

cancel ×

218 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The original Tranformer is great (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255782)

By all accounts they sold 1.6 million of 'em, which isn't bad for a few months on a new product - about $2B the first half year. To have the next gen come so soon after is quite awesome. The original one will continue to sell on a long tail for some time, since it's great and has the best port mix of all Android tablets.

I've got one, and it rocks. Updates come quick and I'm really looking forward to ICS. All the apps I bought for my phone just automagically are available on the tablet and work great. Other tablet platforms might have a "limited apps" issue, but apparently Android was well designed to scale to different resolutions since version 1.6 oh, so long ago. If you get one, try "Corby." Google Talk is also nice - it lets me video chat with the kids when I'm away from home on business. Kindle is essential - I just downloaded "At Napoleon's Side in Russia", the journal of Armand De Caulaincourt of the Napoleonic siege of Moscow that many years later disheartened the Nazi invaders as told here. [collegehumor.com] I'm gaining a new respect for the strength of the Russian people's character, which isn't a benefit I expected from a geek toy. The miniHDMI port is handy for giving presentations in conference rooms because the included Polaris Office handles Powerpoints nicely, and for reference docs there's PDF. It does Flash, which is nice when I want to research what the Internet is for.

The launch of the Transformer Prime solves my biggest problem with the Transformer: holding on to the damned thing. Apparently my wife and kids (and grandson) are fond of these apps and want to use my tablet all day. Now I can hand it down to them and get me the Prime. Sweet.

Re:The original Tranformer is great (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255962)

Have you dropped it yet? Do you use it on the move? Do you miss the lack of a DVD drive or HDisk in the dock able keyboard. If your use is mainly stationary would not sya a 12 icnh or 13.3 inch screen be better?

Perfect is still a long way off in tablet/smartbooks.

Re:The original Tranformer is great (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256098)

It's got a crack in the corner because I dropped it while dodging a nickel rocket and the rocket blasted it. Apparently the Gorilla glass isn't proof against rocket exhaust. I can live with that little crack as it doesn't impact anything and frankly that was my fault. Yes, I've dropped my Transformer a dozen times, and it's daily handled by kids in the 2-9 year old range without supervision. God only knows what they do with it. It seems to be durable enough for my purposes.

I've ripped a number of DVDs, and downloaded some HD videos and played them on it. It's quite capable - it plays nearly every thing I feed it. Even Dell's .wmv's I've been using it to skill up on their latest gear.

I bought the HDMI cable so if a bigger display suits me better I can have my desktop monitor 23", my bedroom 47", or the the family room 55" without any degradation in quality. I'm coming nearsighted, so this happens a lot. My kids totally dig HD YouTube Zelda videos on the bigscreen, which is improving our bonding.

Perfect is an unachievable goal, but these things are "good enough" and then some.

Re:The original Tranformer is great (5, Interesting)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256108)

Lack of DVD or HDD are even in todays laptops more or less legacy thing.
Search earlier slashdot article about DVD needs by laptop owners and you find out that most people have used it only few times.
HDD is not good idea at all for small laptops what can be hold on lap or table or when walking. As there is bigger risk to drop it. But on bigger laptops like 15-19" versions, you want a table for those so HDD is "safe".

But, I would take a 15" tablet, with 2cm thickness so it could have huge battery on it. And demand would be it has a hybrid display with very accurate pen (not a small stylus) and when pen is in use on screen, touch does nothing.
And by my opinion I would definetely take it with Android instead Windows 8.

 

Re:The original Tranformer is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256156)

Lack of DVD or HDD are even in todays laptops more or less legacy thing.

Huh? That means they all have DVDs and HDDs, which I think is the opposite of what you intended.

Re:The original Tranformer is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256322)

HDD's are fragile only when they are spinning so a hybrid approach could go a long way preventing a catastrophe.

Re:The original Tranformer is great (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256172)

Second reply, sorry. No, my use is definitely not stationary. My best use of the thing is catching a whole movie on Netflix, which in my life involves dodging projectiles, feeding children, being evicted from the room several times an hour, and sometimes leaving the house entirely. Before I had the Transformer completing a 2 hour movie in under a week was just not possible. A 12-13.3" screen would be better, and I expect to see it soon.

Because I've got this tablet and NetFlix I've caught up on the cultural context of Weeds and Breaking Bad, which frankly was leading to some awkward conversations among my peers who expect me to know absolutely everything they care about.

Re:The original Tranformer is great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256114)

Something evil's watching over you
Comin' from the sky above
And there's nothing you can do

Prepare to strike
There'll be no place to run
When your caught within the grip
Of the evil Unicron

Transformers
More than meets the eye
Transformers
Robots in Disguise

Strong enough to break the bravest heart
So we have to pull together
We can't stay worlds apart

To stand divided we will surely fall
Until our darkest hour
When the light will save us all

Transformers
More than meets the eye
Transformers
Robots in Disguise
Transformers

Autobots wage their Battle
To destroy the evil forces
Of the Decepticons

It's judgment day and now we've made our stand
And now the powers of darkness
Have been driven from our land

The Battle's over but the war has just begun
And this way it will remain til the day when all are one

Transformers
Transformers
Transformers
Transformers
More than meets the eye

Re:The original Tranformer is great (4, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256380)

One major advantage of the Transformer and many other high end Android tablets is the 1280x800 screen resolution. I stopped using my old Thinkpad because the 1024x768 screen just wasn't very comfortable for viewing web pages or even PDF documents. I wouldn't get a tablet with anything less than 1280x800 now, although my current 13" laptop is a Panasonic Let's Note with 1400xSomethingOrOther screen and a weight of less than 1Kg (including optical drive!)

Re:The original Tranformer is great (2)

johnkoer (163434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256606)

Looking at the specs [amazon.com] , does the 1GB RAM limitation have a negative impact on performance? I have also heard complaints on the responsiveness of the UI at times, is that still an issue?

Battery life gains the big news here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255786)

I don't care how fast it can run angry birds. I just care about the improved battery life this core provides!

Tegra (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255788)

The weighted companion core will never threaten to stab you and in fact cannot speak.

How is the battery?

Re:Tegra (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255938)

The battery rocks. It's like "don't worry about it" kind of good. 16 hour flight? No problem.

Re:Tegra (5, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256162)

So you say it's... better than the iPad? But that's impossible!

Re:Tegra (0)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256176)

It is!
It's a Triumph!
Huge Success!

and now everyone wants me gone.

Re:Tegra (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256358)

and now everyone wants me gone.

Oh come on, there's no sense crying over every mistake.

Re:Tegra (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256326)

Only with the keyboard, which has an extra battery (frankly for mass to balance the tablet-as-screen). The Transfomrer Prime's commited lifecycle is exactly that of the iPad 2. Completely an accident, I'm sure.

Touch lag (5, Interesting)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255820)

From the article:

You won't see the blinding speed when you're poking around the main UI or some of Google's apps, as they're occasionally nonresponsive, although screen transitions are a bit more fluid than on other Android tablets.

I wonder when this will finally be solved. Previously, the lag was blamed on poor hardware. With this beast, that excuse really does not hold at all anymore.

Re:Touch lag (4, Interesting)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255852)

I guess 4 cores isn't enough to open menus smoothly. You think at some point they will let the hardware and software engineers talk to each other? Perhaps even get their hands on the product before it ships?

Re:Touch lag (5, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256006)

Multi-core isn't going to help basic UI issues, those will all be running on a single core. The problem is Android isn't really written to be efficient. XML based UIs running in Java (with garbage collection occurring who knows when), a codebase that's frequently convoluted and an architecture that sometimes looks like someone took the Gang of Four book and tried to use every pattern at once. I mean seriously, why does setting a selection on a text view require a selection class rather than a start and end index in the widget?

If you want to fix it, you need a complete overhaul of the framework and quite likely rewrite chunks of it in C or C++.

Re:Touch lag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256218)

this thing runs at 1.4ghz. Losing a few hundred cycles to garbage collection shouldn't hurt anything.

The UI might not be efficient, but we're long past the day when you can simply shake your head knowingly and point to java and XML. The blame lies 100% with the programmers.

Re:Touch lag (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256402)

From user experience POW, losing a few hundred cycles every 1000 cycles would usualy be quite acceptable, but the problem with many GC's is that they tend to use few hundred million cycles every ten billion cycles which is quite noticeable even though it's in fact a smaller proportion of the total time.

Re:Touch lag (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256614)

The UI might not be efficient,

The UI is fine, don't be misled by this "laggy" FUD.

I have one of the Tegra 2 Transformers, while my phone is the original Huawei Ideos. Both are completely usable devices, despite the Huawei being massively underpowered on paper.

The Asus Transformer is silky smooth in normal use, easily as slick as the iPads I use at work. I'm sure it's possible for a determined professional to create edge-cases where it can bog down, but in for us mere mortals, that just won't happen.

Re:Touch lag (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256254)

The codebase is small enough that many chunks could probably be written in assembly; the main problem being that tablet models only seem to last about 3-6 months on the market before they're replaced (and software support fades quickly after that)

Re:Touch lag (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256406)

No, the reason Android isn't as fluid as iOS is that it multi-tasks. When you run an iOS app stuff like screen transitions get absolute priority over everything else. The app is basically frozen while the screen transitions in order to make it look slick. Android apps are not tied to the UI in the same way so sometimes if you have a lot going on or if the OS needs to free up some RAM the transition effects might suffer a bit.

Having said that they are really smooth on my Galaxy S. I don't have them all turned on because they waste time, much like the pointless window minimise/maximise animations in Windows or MacOS. Personally I prefer to have multi-tasking and more features at the expense of a slightly less slick GUI. iOS has the advantage of being design for a very limited number of specific models and thus can optimise for them, while Android has to be more generic. Again I personally prefer to have that freedom to chose devices from any vendor rather than being locked in to Apple.

The Android API is nice and the GUI stuff scales nicely, plus Java apps are not tied to any particular CPU architecture so will automatically make use of new features such as the Neon instructions on ARM7 or SSE if Intel ever get x86 based tablets/phones shipping. iOS uses managed code too, which has similar overheads in terms of garbage collection and JIT compilation as Google's JVM implementation. You can also write native Android apps if you want to.

Re:Touch lag (4, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256534)

iPhone OS applications are written in Objective-C and compiled directly to native code. It also has pointers and all the other trappings of a real language and execution environment.

Re:Touch lag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256554)

Do you know how I know you don't program iOS?

Re:Touch lag (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256490)

The problem is Android isn't really written to be efficient.

Little bit of an exaguration there. Yes, they knowingly traded some efficiency for portability, which includes architecture independence as well as screen resolution/density independence, combined with easy for development. Easily a superior trade at the expense of a few cycles during initial screen load. In other words, you extremely exaggerate the significance here.

As for GC'ing, again you've exaggerated. For the most part programmers have relatively good control of when GC'ing occurs. Furthermore, for static layouts, its trivial to anticipate and the associated load is not worth mentioning even on hardware 1/4 the performance of this device.

a codebase that's frequently convoluted and an architecture that sometimes looks like someone took the Gang of Four book and tried to use every pattern at once. I mean seriously, why does setting a selection on a text view require a selection class rather than a start and end index in the widget?

Sadly, you are spot on here. The code base a total piece of shit. It looks like someone had never written a GUI before and only knew theory of design patterns. Things which should be extremely simple require gobs of vastly over complicated and verbose code. Its a stupid fest. It wonderfully shows that contrary to common myth, Google does employ very inexperience coders and designers. And when combined with the worst of Java, its a really horrible coding experience which leave only but the most naive or inexperienced cursing at the needless over engineering, unjustified complexity, and tiresome verbosity.

As a coder I ran into some UI design (I wrote it) which I couldn't believe was so horrible on the eyes, hard to read, hard to maintain, and yet did so very, very little. It was roughly 17 pages of code. Just out of curiosity, I decided to write it in wxPython. I thought that was relatively fair since Java coders love to compare with Java and frequently push it as superior to Python. The wxPython UI was two pages. The thing is, that massive difference really isn't about Java vs Python (or not the discerning factor), its that wxPython is well written and the Android UI API is about as horribly written as you can possibly make it. Bluntly, most of the UI GUIs in Android are either a complete piece of shit or an all out abomination.

Add to this is the fact that Android UI's are inherently ASYNCHRONOUS. That means you can accidentally push a button multiple times and, for example, have five new windows spawned before the first one renders. Its pretty easy to do in a moving vehicle. And if you don't like this inherent behavior, you have to add a bunch more code to see if the window already exists or not - which absolutely no sample code shows or even hints at the requirement.

I love Android and it has some really cool features, but much of the APIs are absolutely horrible, horrible, horrible and without a doubt show they've been written by people who likely have never even use a computer UI before. And if they have used computer UI's before, then its a strong argument they are retarded.

Re:Touch lag (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256398)

Android didn't have a hardware accelerated UI until ICS. The Transformer Prime should be getting an update so that problem is going to go away.

Re:Touch lag (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255886)

I wonder when this will finally be solved. Previously, the lag was blamed on poor hardware. With this beast, that excuse really does not hold at all anymore.

They still can say that GPU does not match GeForce GTX 570 Ti.

Re:Touch lag (4, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255892)

Sorry, but I don't believe this. I've had multiple Android phones over the last couple of years and never experienced any lag except when I was installing an app in the background and trying to do something else. Then again, the reviewer bashes the tablet because it allows tablet owners to download any Android apps and not just tablet specific apps, so he's clearly an idiot or a troll.

Re:Touch lag (5, Informative)

daffy951 (546697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255980)

Guess you're not as picky as many others then: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=6914 [google.com] and http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=20278 [google.com]

Re:Touch lag (5, Interesting)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256018)

Yeah sadly it's a general latency problem with Android that doesn't seem to get mentioned.

I write audio software and it's the poor red headed stepchild of IOS in comparison:

http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=3434 [google.com]

Re:Touch lag (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256440)

What kind of kernel support is used by the android audio system? Is it feasible to bring JACK to Android via the NDK?

Re:Touch lag (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256498)

..I'm pretty sure that adding another API layer isnt going to improve latency.

Re:Touch lag (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256600)

..I'm pretty sure that adding another API layer isnt going to improve latency.

Do you know anything about the issue in question, or are you just speaking from the wrong orifice?

Re:Touch lag (3, Informative)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256142)

I have ZTE Blade what I would say is slowest and cheapest (about 120 dollars without contract) Android phone on the market.

ARM6 254-600Mhz
512 RAM
512 NAND Flash
800 x 600px Super bright LCD
And I have MicroSD Class 4 in it.

I have had Android 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 (current 2.3.7) on it and coming is 4.0 for it (there is almost everything working)

The 2.1 had very little laggy home screen. What was fixed with ADW launcher.
But a 2.2 fixed everything and phone was smooth and without lags in use.
And a 2.3 was not different (thanks CM7. 2.1 and 2.2 were officials for now).

But the problems of ARM6 600Mhz processing speed are visible when using heavy CPU demanded apps.
Like when starting a such application, it might take 1-2 seconds instead instantly like how normal Android apps starts.
Webpages scrolls smoothly, haven't come up with any what would laggy, thanks to non-existing Flash for the ARM6 architecture.
The phone is as well fine when using it as hotspot and traffic is to HSDPA network a full 7.2Mbits. It does get little warm in long run because WLAN chip (12h) but nothing serious.

But yes, I am little jelous for other Android phone owners like Samsung Galaxy S II. As I would like to have bigger screen, bigger battery (SII with 3500mAh battery is.... dream) and little more responsive phone when starting those heavy applications. As I want to use Autodesk applications or some very intensive 3D modeling applications what demand a better GPU.

I bought a cheap Android phone and didn't expect a much. But it was very huge supprise when noticing how perfectly it runs.
So, I got hungry and I want more. Maybe in a year I bougth a something cheaper from 200-300 dollar range what offers more speed and features what are today available in highend phones.

 

Re:Touch lag (-1, Troll)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255954)

Who paid you for this? The thing's as responsive as all hell. I wish my W7 4-core 8GB Windows desktop were so quick.

Re:Touch lag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256092)

I imagine it has to do with poor implementation of graphics acceleration hardware drivers, I came to this conclusion working with android on the pandaboard.

Should be light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255832)

If it's not at least as light as ipad2/gtab then is not going to make it.

What you don't see (-1, Troll)

Zaffle (13798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255838)

And a battery life of 3.6 seconds when all 4 cores are running.

Re:What you don't see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255854)

I'll be praying for 3.0 seconds when all 5 cores are running.

Re:What you don't see (3, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255972)

10 hours, near enough. 14 with the keyboard/dock/extended battery. In actual use charging once a week. Nice try though.

Other end of the spectrum (5, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255860)

I'd like to ask why things are so bad at the other end of the spectrum... Why do we need to buy these high-end devices just to guarantee we'll have a tolerable user experience?

Specifically, why do inexpensive Android Tablets and Phones have such horrendous touch-screens?

I can name names. My big surprise was my recent purchase of a Samsung Transform Ultra... Which, at $230 didn't seem like a cheapo device compared to the many $99 android phones. Yet the touch screen was so horrible and glitchy that it was IMPOSSIBLE to use Swype to type anything but the shortest words. Assuming that couldn't possibly be a "feature" of a brand-name, mass-market android phone, I exchanged it for another, which had exactly the same problem. Plenty of forums with people complaining about the same thing, and saying Samsung hasn't offered any help.

The same is true of cheap tablets I've used. The touch-screens may be glitchy, or they may be painfully unresponsive and dog-slow. With a few these are adjustable via tunables in /sys, but sadly, most are not.

Why do so many devices, where the touch-screen is the primary and usually SOLE method of INPUT, fail so miserably in providing just a usable touch-screen?

That's really what these pricey tablets have going for them... The cheap knock-offs cut one-too-many corners, and there's nothing in-between high end devices, and low-end junk.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (5, Interesting)

Osty (16825) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255906)

Specifically, why do inexpensive Android Tablets and Phones have such horrendous touch-screens?

It's not the screens that are the problem. It's the OS. Android was historically developed without any GPU acceleration requirements, and the OS up through Honeycomb still does most UI drawing on the CPU instead. The lagginess people recognize as "bad touch input" is actually bad drawing, and doesn't exist so much in other OSes that use GPU acceleration for UI elements. For example, Windows Phone 7 renders all UI via the GPU and is generally considered to be much more responsive and smoother than Android despite only supporting single-core CPUs. Ice Cream Sandwich fixes this, but also has hardware requirements that mean very few existing devices will be supported. This is an unfortunate but natural consequence of an open platform with little or no hardware control. The OS developers can't assume things like a GPU will be present, so they have to write for lowest common denominator or consciously exclude devices.

(Note that I'm only talking about OS/launcher behavior. Within apps themselves, developers can make things somewhat better or much, much worse depending on how they handle UI elements.)

Re:Other end of the spectrum (4, Informative)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256012)

Ice Cream Sandwich fixes this, but also has hardware requirements that mean very few existing devices will be supported

Google has stated that pretty much every device that can run Gingerbread (50% of all Android devices out there run Gingerbread) can run Ice Cream Sandwich.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (3, Informative)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256170)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVleFJuNuQI [youtube.com]

That is basicly work what CM developers did under a week from Android 4.0 source release.
ZTE Blade has ARM6 600Mhz, 512 RAM, 512 NAND Flash.
The Android 4.0 SDK was not available for ARM6 but for least ARM7. So they needed to compile it as well (one developer compiled it with netbook in 31 hours).

Since then, GPU drivers has been added and OpenGL is coming shape so smoother UI can be excepted. Still needs optimizing but most features are there.

If almost slowest currenty available Android phone can run ICS, then definetely most of the mid-range androids can.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (2)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256014)

As someone who's written some touch intensive apps for Android- there really was bad touch input. On some phones I was seeing 9 months ago, the touch input driver could spike to 60-70% CPU (measured by running top through an adb shell) while doing continual touch events. Not all phones were like that (I don't even think a majority were), but a significant number of models used that driver.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256130)

Kinda not true. Taken from Dianne Hackborn "How about some Android graphics true facts?"

http://plus.google.com/105051985738280261832/posts/2FXDCz8x93s [google.com]

"This means that many of the animations you see have always been hardware accelerated: menus being shown, sliding the notification shade, transitions between activities, pop-ups and dialogs showing and hiding, etc."

Re:Other end of the spectrum (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256152)

It's not the screens that are the problem. It's the OS. Android was historically developed without any GPU acceleration requirements, and the OS up through Honeycomb still does most UI drawing on the CPU instead. The lagginess people recognize as "bad touch input" is actually bad drawing

Problem with this theory is that I've most certainly seen laggy input on devices with much FASTER CPUs than those of devices with perfectly responsive and snappy input. And as I've said, the responsiveness of a touch-screen can sometimes be dramatically adjusted passing a few values to the driver... There's even an app in the marketplace for that, for the Galaxy S, at least.

And personally, the glitchy input drives me much crazier than slow input, and I'm sure it's not that the device is just TOO RESPONSIVE.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (1)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256154)

It's not the screens that are the problem. It's the OS. Android was historically developed without any GPU acceleration requirements, and the OS up through Honeycomb still does most UI drawing on the CPU instead.

It is not the OS. The OS in Android is Linux 2.6.x. And operating system (linux kernel) does not have anything to do with that. Even a ARM6 600Mhz CPU can render whole Android perfectly smooth. Different thing is then per application what might be very CPU demanding or need better GPU.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256192)

This isn't because it's not using the GPU, it's because it sucks. My ~20MHz, 16-bit GRiDPad 2390 had no such problem. With that said, I still want 'droid more than IOS, and I'm planning to get one of these primes anyway, so I shouldn't have the problem regardless.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256220)

Is the actual drawing not part of the video driver? applications nowadays do not write to the video frame buffer directly. So why aren't Android graphics accelerated? do they lack GPU video drivers? it cannot be the lowest common denominator thing you mention, because of how modern graphics are rendered through APIs and video drivers.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (5, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255914)

Pretty much because the difference between the bad ones and the good ones is all in the display assembly - it makes up the bulk of the cost. A decent screen and touch interface etc is going to set you back - and then it becomes "an expensive tablet".

There's a reason that the iPad and other Android tablets of similar quality to it are as expensive as they are - if someone could make an equivalent tablet for a lot less (ie, down in the $200 range) they would have done it already. When you go cheap, you've got no choice but to compromise on the screen - the rest of the pieces aren't really adding all that much to the cost.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (5, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256126)

Pretty much because the difference between the bad ones and the good ones is all in the display assembly - it makes up the bulk of the cost. A decent screen and touch interface etc is going to set you back - and then it becomes "an expensive tablet".

Hang on. My problem with your analysis is that you're combining two things that are entirely separate... The INPUT and the OUTPUT.

I realize that (eg. AMOLED) displays are expensive. No problem, though... I'm perfectly willing to settle for a lower-res LCD display based on older tech. The Samsung Transform Ultra I mentioned is a perfect example, with a nasty LCD screen-door effect (compared to my Droid) but which I quickly learned to tolerate...

But high-res screen or no, what drives me insane is flaky touch-screen INPUT (not output), and I find it hard to believe that going from a horrible, glitchy capacitive touch screen, to a RELIABLE capacitive touch screen, costs a significant fraction of a phone or tablet's sale price. In many cases, as I said, I'd be willing to bet it might only require a software change.

Furthermore, I'm not sure your statement is actually accurate. All sources I could find point to an iPhone 4's Retina display at about $30:

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2010/tc20100627_763714.htm [businessweek.com]

http://www.bgr.com/2011/10/06/apple-maintains-big-margins-on-iphone-4s-according-to-ubm-analysis/ [bgr.com]

Re:Other end of the spectrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256210)

Also, the screen isn't all there is to capacitive touch there is a controller chip of some kind that interprets the input. Wouldn't surprise me if the difference in these phones was some 50-cent chip vs. a 3-dollar one.

Frankly, patents. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255998)

The cheezy touchscreens are resistive and have one point of control. The capacitive touchscreens have to be licensed so the tech costs more, but have up to ten simultaneous touchpoints and things like pressure sensitivity. Buying a license to the patents costs money.

Re:Frankly, patents. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256086)

No, I'm actually talking about capacitative touch-screens exclusively.

I'm aware of the limitations of resistive touch-screens, and avoid them completely. The inability to use gorilla glass seems like a show-stopper just by itself.

Re:Frankly, patents. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256240)

Then it's a software thing. Solve it yourself or somebody else will.

Re:Other end of the spectrum (1)

iampiti (1059688) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256060)

Well, if, as you say, there's nothing between the good screens and the absoulte rubbish it might be because there's no middle-of-the-road price and performance technology for screens. On the other hand, do you realize that an unlocked off-contract iphone costs around 600 or 700$? There is no inexpensive, reasonably good quality, iphone as you seem to expect from the Android front. Why is this? Apple might not want to taint the iphone brand with a lower quality (but still reasonably good) phone but I believe that is also very hard to make a decent phone for less than 300-400$.

Summary? (1, Insightful)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255868)

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime happens to the first Quad-Core Android Tablet, which also makes it the fastest and most powerful tablet.

Wait, what? How did this obvious piece of corporate self-promotion get to the front page?

Re:Summary? (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255920)

Well, the submitter was probably blinded by all the tech-porn numbers that interest nerds but rarely influence the buying decisions of the average consumer. It's not like four cores will make them read the text on a web page faster, the high clock speed will not make the network speeds any higher etc.

Re:Summary? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255930)

Well, I think it happens to be objectively true for now. Are there any other tablets for sale right now that use a Tegra 3 or any faster or more powerful CPU? The only tablet on the market that even comes close is the HTC Jetstream's Qualcomm Snapdragon at 1.5 GHz, but even the summary says that the Tegra 3 beats it on benchmarks.

Re:Summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256112)

Tablet PCs existed long before iPad launch and in terms of raw performance Tegra is a joke comparing for example to this:

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/products/professional-grade/thinkpad-laptops/x-series-tablets/x220-tablet.shtml [lenovo.com]

Re:Summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256374)

That's not a tablet computer. It's a laptop with a pivotable touch screen. If it can't be used standalone without a keyboard then by definition it isn't a tablet.

Re:Summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256480)

Those devices were called Tablet PCs since the day one.

Re:Summary? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256200)

Wait, what? How did this obvious piece of corporate self-promotion get to the front page?

Because it's true. Tablet PCs don't count and it's not clear if any of those are actually more performant, but maybe someone has something more than a midrange C2D in a tablet now.

why (3, Insightful)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255918)

i ran the browser mark test on chrome running on my core i3 laptop. 380000. on a dual core at 2.26ghz. this new tablet thing has 5 (five?!?!) cores at 1.4ghz and it gets only 98000?? is this because arm sucks or because android sucks?

Re:why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255964)

I got 313227 on Chrome on a laptop with Intel L2500 (1.66 GHz, 2 cores) from 2006

Re:why (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255996)

For at least the past 5 years, processing performance in almost all envelopes has been limited by power consumption and/or heat (which are two sides of the same coin).

Your i3 has a 35W TDP, this CPU looks like perhaps 2-4W TDP. So yours is 3.9x the speed while using 8.8x the power. Targeting a lower performance tends to allow for better efficiency, and so does having more cores/threads to do the work. This is largely because structures in a core that improve single threaded performance have diminishing returns for the amount of power they consume (caches, out of order execution instruction windows, buffers, wide superscalar execution, etc). So you can't necessarily say the Tegra 3 is a better device than the i3, but neither can you say the i3 is better (you really need to compare the same power or performance).

Re:why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256058)

My L2400 from Q1/2006 is "Max TDP 15 W" and I got 313227 on BrowserMark.

http://ark.intel.com/products/27229/Intel-Core-Duo-Processor-L2400-(2M-Cache-1_66-GHz-667-MHz-FSB) [intel.com]

All ARM devices I have suck in benchmarks (especially those involving math) comparing even to old x86 gear.

Re:why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256232)

That TDP doesn't include northbridge and memory controller, which can be over 20W.

Re:why (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256394)

if this is true shouldn't i be able to group together several tegras and make a laptop that rules everything??

Re:why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256428)

It is true, but no you could not, because most programs used by that market can not take advantage of that much parallelism.

Error in TFA and summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256010)

There is an error in TFA and summary. The result from SunSpider benchmark should be about 1.7 s (1685 ms), not 17 ms. With Intel L2400 (1.66 GHz, 2 cores) on Chrome I'm getting 0.66 s.

Re:why (2)

ferongr (1929434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256064)

The reason is ARM.

TFS and the shitty FA mention "17ms Sunspider time" (and that's impossible), while the Anandtech figure is a more believable 1695ms. Anand's review also measuers linpack performance at 47.2 MFLOPS. Compare that to the 508ms and 162MFLOP result (lower is better) of a 2004 single-core AMD Sempron 3100+ running at 1.9GHz. And this 2004 CPU is very slow compared to anything modern.

Currently, ARM is very slow for general computing, and don't listen to what x86 doomsayers parrot everyday.

Re:why (1)

ferongr (1929434) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256072)

Just a correction, the Java Linpack benchmark result is 214 MFLOPs, not 162.

Re:why (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256386)

also, chrome gets ~330ms in sunspider and ie9 gets ~260ms?!?!?! looks like something is broken with sunspider...

low-end junk. (1)

infashion2011 (2332952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255950)

That's really what these pricey tablets have going for them... The cheap knock-offs cut one-too-many corners, and there's nothing in-between high end devices, and low-end junk. http://infashion2011.com/ [infashion2011.com]

in-between high and low end is the Fire (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256396)

the funny thing is the processor (SoC) in these things is not even the big ticket item. the display and touch tends to big part of the cost, and on the really nice ones the industrial design tends to cost a fair bit (thin components, forged or milled metal, etc).

You could probably build a chip knock-off tablet with quad core and only have it cost a few bucks more than a low-end single core tablet. of course market demand means you can likely charge a whole lot more than a few bucks.

kindle fire is the in-between. it's not super high end specs, it's inexpensive, but works fairly well, unlike the knock-off tablets.

Re:in-between high and low end is the Fire (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256448)

and its not proper android. which makes it kinda dead in the water.

football streams (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38255970)

View your favorite football team live and completely free without registration http://prosdokia.blogspot.com

Tablet apps, Tegra (1)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | more than 2 years ago | (#38255994)

Regarding tablet apps, they are a bit harder to find because Android developers roll their tablet versions into the same app as their non-tablet versions. None of this iOS "buy the app for your phone, buy the tablet "HD" version for three times the price". Android does scale on it's own, but you'd be surprised how many apps actually have special tablet layouts built-in.

My personal favorite tablet app has to be DSLR Controller [dslrcontroller.com] , though it also runs on some phones (tiny tiny buttons). I'm getting the Prime as soon as it is out in my country just to use this app.

The Android Market does have a "tablet picks" section, but Google is horrible at updating their selections.

----

"The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime happens to the first Quad-Core Android Tablet, which also makes it the fastest and most powerful tablet."

Can I have some of what he's having ? Both parts of that statement are quite probably true, but one is not due to the other. Various upcoming (very soon) dual-core chips are rumored to be faster than nVidia's quad-core Tegra3. All in all, it would not surprise me one bit if it is true, because nVidia is known to make weak mobile chips. Tegra 1 & 2 completely underwhelmed, Tegra3 is expected to do the same.

nVidia is great at marketing, sure. They've spent a lot of money on making sure that people thought the Tegra2 was a fast chip, while in reality it is completely blown away by the competitor's chips. Honeycomb isn't just slow because it's Honeycomb and only partly GPU accelerated - the Tegra2 is really just too weak to properly run it, and most (high end) Android tablets out there are based on the Tegra2. It is really weak on floating point calculus, and the GPU... let's just say, even if Honeycomb was properly hardware accelerated, it'd still be slow.

If you look at the raw performance of for example Samsung's Exynos offerings, or the Texas Instrument's OMAPs, the difference is quite frankly staggering.

Re:Tablet apps, Tegra (2, Insightful)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256460)

i don't get it. what's up with menus and app launchers working smoothly only when they are h/w accelerated? windows xp wasn't accelerated. it was pretty responsive. when you've got even a single core at >1ghz you shouldn't be allowed to make excuses about something as basic and simple as the ui of your fucking os.
all this, imo shows how fucked up android really is.

fri5t psot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256056)

are tied up in , a 4roud member working 0n various Volume of NetBSD BSD's codebase cuntwipes Jordan

End of desktop processors? (2)

kakaburra (2508064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256094)

Cell phone, tablet processors are becoming more powerful by the day, much faster than the desktop processors. Will there be a day when tablet processors are as fast as the desktop ones and we would just be hooking phone/tablet to monitors? (though we should solve the heat dissipation problem)

Never (4, Interesting)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256308)

"Cell phone, tablet processors are becoming more powerful by the day, much faster than the desktop processors. Will there be a day when tablet processors are as fast as the desktop ones and we would just be hooking phone/tablet to monitors? (though we should solve the heat dissipation problem)"

Never, with the reason is access to electricity, not necessarily the heat dissipation as such.

Still, the tablets of today may outperform the top-of-the-line CPUs of yesterday. But the time gap is there due to energy requirements, where the battery-powered line-up has the lower hand.

Still, the effect-size may not be that relevant in the very near future. If you can do whatever task that most people do, then the innate upper hand of a desktop CPU may not matter.

As it seems, former high-end tasks like 3D gaming, 1080p video etc is no real match for many slate CPUs. It will be the apps (tasks) that set the limits in the future too.

Re:End of desktop processors? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256324)

The problem is that even the newest ARM devices are pathetically slow in comparison to very old desktop/tablet/notebook devices with Intel or AMD processors.

Re:End of desktop processors? (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256472)

problem is, as i discovered today, an arm cpu running at 1.4ghz with 5 cores is shit compared to any intel/amd cpu. run the same tests on your laptop/desktop. even with old processors, you will get a massively higher score than any tablet.

It's the software stupid (4, Insightful)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256178)

Although Asus is just behind Samsung among companies that are learning fast how to take on Apple, it is a really bad decision to launch this device without an upgrade to ICS 4.0. Honeycomb is never going to compete in the tablet market. Even if it has reached the point of being quite usable, there are hardly any tablet specific apps available, the iPad is so far ahead. No one outside the geeky world is going to care about quad core, especially when the software experience still lags so far behind Apple, and the iPad still has a better GPU so it can look flashier playing games. The Prime is an incredibly sleek device but it is badly let down by the software, I still don't understand how they can make an incredible device and launch it with awful software.

Google need to convince developers to make tablet apps for Android. They also need to distinguish Google Android tablets from cheap chinese junk that has really damaged Android's reputation. The slow laggy bloated bloatware infested Android phones and tablets that major manufacturers have released haven't helped either of course.

It would be a terrible failure for Google if having a two year lead over Windows 8 they still can't develop a decent tablet OS and ecosystem to take on Apple.

Re:It's the software stupid (1)

SirJorgelOfBorgel (897488) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256410)

I agree on most points.

However, re: releasing-with-Honeycomb-instead-of-ICS, this is a marketing ploy to be the first quad-core tablet on the market, pretty much. In most countries, the Prime will not be released with Honeycomb, but with ICS, mid/end January. I would not be surprised of the version that is now being released in the USA will be hard-to-find, and stores wont be flooded with Primes until the ICS firmware comes preinstalled.

All in all, it'd still be a safe bet to say probably 95% or more of Prime's that will be sold will have ICS preinstalled.

Re:It's the software stupid (1)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256562)

Apple have comprehensively proven that the average buyer doesn't care about tech specs like 'quad core', especially on mobile devices. And why should they, it is still going to be a while before quad core translates into any meaningful experience in user experience. By sending review samples with poorly optimized Honeycomb based software, they have given even more credence to the popular and often justified perception that Android tablets can never offer a smooth user experience. Without ICS, Asus have released an unfinished device.

Also, while Asus have come a long way from the days where their marketing department thought "Heart Touching" was a great tagline for English speaking countries, they still have a long way to go. Why is the screen called SuperIPS+, what is that supposed to convey to the average buyer? Apparently the display is the first that is bright enough to be somewhat usable in sunlight, why not come up with a name which reflects that? Isn't there someone smart enough to come up with a 30 second ad for the Prime that shows off the outdoors usable higher resolution screen, great camera, the fact that it's thinner than an iPad, ICS multitasking and a 'Google experience' tagline - it won't win over Apple diehards, but a lot of people who are on the fence and might buy an iPad thinking there's no choice would be interested. Right now calling it a Google Experience is a far better idea than marketing it as an Android tablet--the term Android tablet is associated with $100 junk from no brand Chinese junk, no one wants to pay $500 for it. Whereas most people have used and like google search, gmail, google maps, and chrome.

Re:It's the software stupid (1)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256596)

Don't get me wrong, I like Asus. Asus and Samsung are the only major Android manufacturers with any sort of clue about how to take on Apple, though you do see some sparks from Sony. And the original transformer was great, it was the only Android tablet of the time to be released with a sane price tag, and it got several things right. With the Prime, they seem to have absolutely nailed the hardware. Though I really wish an Android tablet is released before the next iPad with a high pixel density display, that would be quite a coup. Only someone who makes screens can do that though, Apple would have all third party stock locked up like they did with the iPhone 4 display. That leaves LG (AH-IPS), Samsung (AMOLED, S-LCD?) and Sony (S-LCD). I would put my hopes on Samsung.

Re:It's the software stupid (3, Funny)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256494)

Man, if only Google had money. They they could PAY developers to build apps for Android.

cool but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256202)

But is this tablet compatible with the metric system?

Chipset? (5, Informative)

imroy (755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256228)

The secret ingredient is Nvidia's five-core Tegra 3 chipset

You really think these compact machines use sets of chips? Quite the opposite. They're systems on a chip [wikipedia.org] (SoC), often even a package on a package [wikipedia.org] (PoP) i.e multiple chips layered into one package. Now, don't get smart and point out that technically a PoP is a chipset - they're used for packing an SoC with DRAM and flash memory. The multiple functions of a chipset (e.g peripheral interfaces) are all on the one chip of the SoC.

Biased reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256318)

What is really irritating is the lack of unbiased reviews for both iOS and Android devices. The reviewer Mr. Segan has clearly never looked at an Android device or used one. I haven't either (I have 2 iPads and an iPhone 4, not to mention I'm typing this on an Macbook Air) but I can see a few glaring errors or (un)intentional biased spins in his review. First of all he claims that he can only play with a joypad in landscape mode. This is because he plugged in the controller and plugging in is only possible with the use of the keyboard dock which has the USB port. So why didn't he use the six axis in normal bluetooth mode? The Tegra 3 is compatible with PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii controllers. I doubt that you have to play in landscape mode if you use a wireless controller. The he talks about bugs in the operating system. I routinely have to reboot my iPad if I want to use the USB plug or it isn't recognised, so why doesn't he mention that? Then he says that it is so hard to find apps that take advantage of the Tegra 3. iOS has thousands of apps! There are three things wring with this remark, First of all, the Tegra 3 is a hardware change. To have thousands of apps ready for this one tablet, Asus could have sent hundreds of programmers a free Prime. However, that's very unrealistic. The iPad 2 had very few apps specifically meant to take advantage of the new A5 processor. It actually still has only a few. Mr. Segan then goes on that there are only 25 games in the Tegra zone. So other Android apps don't work with the Prime? The last thing that bothered me is the usual comparison with the iPad that pervades the whole review. A sentence as "extra-bright 600 nit mode, which takes the screen from slightly dimmer than the Apple iPad 2's ($499, 4.5 stars) to somewhat brighter, albeit at the cost of battery life" just reeks of bias. Why doesn't he mention that the 600 nit mode is specifically meant for outdoor use, where my iPad fails miserably?

Anyway, I'm really looking for a replacement of my iPad. After jailbreak it performs reasonably well but the freedom that Android allows and the fact that the specter of Steve isn't looking over my shoulder will probably make me buy the Transformer Prime or one of the other Tegra3 tablets coming out.

Tablet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256334)

This is a subject that i really was looking for my blog Tech Life http://braziltechlife.blogspot.com/

3G? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38256362)

No 3G. No 4G. No 3G. No 3G.

It comes in Primes? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38256430)

I'm getting one.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>