Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering. Take it from the Android developer site:
To ensure a consistent framerate, Android 4.1 extends vsync timing across all drawing and animation done by the Android framework.
A few weeks ago, we launched a little design contest with the main goal of getting some creative juices flowing ahead of firing up a full site redesign. We wanted to see some directions we can take the new AP logo and in exchange partnered with NVIDIA to reward the winner with a brand new Tegra 3-powered Iconia A510 (see our review).
As usual, there were a lot of creative submissions, and it was very hard to pick just one. But, in the end, there is only one prize, and we're going to award it to what I think was one of the more clever takes on the AP logo.
While we're not looking at an impartial source here - or at some real numbers, facts, or figures - mobile giant (and company behind the Tegra series of chips) NVIDIA has released a slide showing console, PC, and mobile graphics performance from 2001 and estimates to 2014. According to their roadmap, mobile devices will have the graphics performance of the Xbox 360 by 2013, and surpass by 2014.
Certainly looks impressive from my spot here in early 2012, but we'll just have to see when we get there. Though I have to admit, I certainly wouldn't mind playing true Gears of War on my phone or tablet...
It's no secret – the mobile interface for Google's Play Store could use some help. A recent comment thread on Reddit points to the fact that many users feel that the Play Store's interface is just a mess. Others suggest that its level of finesse just doesn't jive with Google's overall habits of design. While Google's recent "toolbar" overhaul resulted in a pleasing, easy-to-use interface which successfully unified navigation between all of the search giant's services, the Play Store (at least on phones and tablets) is messy, jumbled, and just feels disorganized. If you haven't examined the mobile interface in a while, let's take a look:
There are a number of issues that immediately jump out to me when looking at this interface.
Remember way back in May, when NVIDIA showed off Glowball to demonstrate the Tegra 3's awesome quad-core power? Well, it looks like the full version of the visually stunning, technologically fascinating "interactive demo" has made its way to the Tegra Zone.
Glowball isn't quite a game, as it consists of just two levels, and was specifically designed to showcase the Tegra 3's power, but it certainly seems like an enjoyable doodad for your Tegra 3 device. Users can play through richly detailed Carnival and Sea Floor environments, rolling about and experiencing the power of NVIDIA PhysX, as environmental elements hit back or otherwise react to user input.
If there's one thing we love here at Android Police more than anything, it's puppies. That usually doesn't come into play here, though, so we often deal with our very close second favorite thing: Amazingly playable, gorgeously rendered, ingeniously designed games. I just so happen to have one of those right here.
Inertia Escape Velocity is a game in which you play a futuristic scavenger collecting what I can only assume are generic, mass produced future-machine parts. Oh, yeah, you can also turn off gravity. I've been playing the game for 15 minutes now, so I'm pretty much a pro and feel like I owe it to you to show you some video of me playing the game.
Giving would-be Transformer Prime owners one more thing to drool over, the first Tegra 3 tablet has made an appearance on Nenamark's site, alongside just about every other Android device in existence. For those not in the know, Nenamark is a graphics performance benchmark for Android, and maintains a great reputation for accuracy.
As you can see, the Transformer Prime's nearest tablet competitor is Samsung's GT-P6210, aka the Galaxy Tab 7 Plus. The original Transformer tablet is far down the list, making it clear that the Transformer Prime is an absolute beast in terms of graphics performance.
Of course, benchmarks don't always translate perfectly into real-life performance, but until we have our full review published, check out our hands-on look at the Transformer Prime to find out what kind of impression this slender tablet makes.
Built using Unreal Engine 3, Da Vinci THD is the first full game to appear for Tegra 3 devices, and seems to be packing some serious online FPS gameplay. The game is set during the Renaissance, just after Da Vinci's death, when "heroes of [the] Renaissance" begin battling to capture a mysterious machine created by the famed inventor and artist. The real story, though, is Da Vinci's gameplay.
Players can explore beautifully crafted environments, and utilize powerful weapons while battling with (or against) other players online. What's interesting about Da Vinci, is that there is a PC version in the works as well, which will open up a much larger opportunity for rich online play.
With the Mali-T400 running on the Galaxy SII, and the Mali-604 still in production, ARM is still racing ahead, releasing details surrounding the Mali-T658 GPU today - yet another next-gen chip that will support up to eight cores.
The T-658 is poised to improve on ARM’s T-604, allowing up to ten times the graphic performance of the current-gen T-400 chip (and 4 times the computing power), as well as enabling nice compatibility with ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture, which allows the set to switch dynamically between chips to achieve stunning power efficiency and performance under strain.
While the T-658 sounds awesome, and manufacturers such as Samsung and LG have already shown interest, we aren’t likely to see it for a couple of years yet.
About a month after CUKETA got us excited about Age of Defenders, their unique new take on tower defense has hit the Android Market. Of course I had to get a copy and check it out for myself. I wasn't disappointed.
At A Glance
First of all, Age of Defenders is gorgeous. The menus, loading screens, and of course the gameplay environments are all extremely polished and look great. Besides its aesthetic appeal, Defenders offers a lot in the way of functionality. What's unique about this game is that it's a hybrid between tower defense and strategy, making you both the defender and attacker at once, while competing against other players online.