A pretty nifty new feature was talked about at last night's Android Fireside Chat. In addition to the other O features and the rest of the announcements at I/O, it was revealed that we'll soon be able to update our graphics drivers through the Play Store. This is a feature that is presumably only going to be present in O. There's no word yet on the specifics as to how that might work, or which OEMs or chipset manufacturers might be interested in taking advantage of it, but as of yesterday we know it's coming. Read More
Earlier this month, I wrote about possibly the worst benchmarking application I had ever seen, 'Nenamark.' But Geekbench has come to save the day, bringing their Geekbench 4 benchmarking utility to Android. Geekbench is another cross-platform benchmarking program, so you can compare your results to a wide range of devices.
The Android Geekbench app, at least compared to the Windows/macOS equivalents, seems rather simplistic. You can benchmark your device's CPU and GPU, which are displayed as a number at the end (unlike Nenamark). The CPU benchmark performs both single-core and multi-core results, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, Geekbench's battery test has been removed in this version. Read More
Benchmarking applications like 3DMark and PassMark are great for scoring the graphics or computational power of a given device. Nenamark 2 was a popular choice for benchmarking graphics back in the day, and five years after Nenamark 2 launched, Nenamark 3 has arrived. It's not clear why.
I hesitate to even call Nenamark 3 a benchmarking app. It's designed like a game - the benchmark proceeds through levels, each level having up to four tests. But the benchmark ends as soon as your device can't reach a steady FPS arbitrarily determined by the Nenamark app. So instead of a useful score like an average FPS or the time it took to complete the test, my Nexus 5X gets a score of "3-0." Uhh... Read More
Have you recently stopped to think about what modern smartphones can do? It's amazing how much power is packed into these small little devices that we carry around all day, and it's even more amazing that most of that power resides in teeny tiny chips that are lodged somewhere between the huge screen and the big battery.
ARM is one of the companies that provide the building blocks for modern smartphone SOCs. It makes graphics and application processors that companies like MediaTek and Samsung use in their Helio and Exynos chips, respectively. Now ARM is unveiling new processors for the 2017 flagships that will push their performance even further. Read More
Odds are good that any Android devices you have around are running on ARM technology. The ARM architecture powers virtually all systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), with Intel x86 parts coming in a distant second. ARM doesn't actually make the chips, but it creates the reference designs and instruction set, then licenses the IP. Today the company is announcing some new designs and process refinements for other companies to license.
If you were hoping that the litigious nature of the consumer electronics industry would fade out any time soon, well, keep on hoping. Today NVIDIA announced that it has initiated a suit against phone and tablet manufacturer Samsung and mobile chip supplier Qualcomm in the US District Court of Delaware for violating seven of its patents. The company is also petitioning the International Trade Commission to block shipments of Samsung devices using Adreno, Mali, or PowerVR graphical processing units.
According to a blog post on NVIDIA's website, representatives approached Samsung to try and secure a patent licensing deal for the use of these seven patents. Read More
ARM technology powers the vast majority of mobile devices in the world, and the company has just announced some new designs to continue that tradition. The ARM Cortex-A17 is a new mid-range CPU core that offers improved speed and efficiency for budget devices. That's not all – there is also a new version of the Mali GPU for a complete price-conscious package.
The Cortex-A17 is not meant to replace the A15 – that's still the flagship CPU core design from ARM. The A17 is a mid-range part that should give chip makers a better option than continuing to use older A9s, the limited A12, or just a bunch of low-power Cortex-A7 cores. Read More
Most of you are probably familiar with NVIDIA's Tegra line of system-on-a-chip boards - Tegra 2 was behind most of the first wave of Honeycomb tablets, Tegra 3 powered the Transformer Prime and Nexus 7, and there's this little thing called SHIELD with Tegra 4 coming next week. But their latest promotional efforts take the spotlight off of a fully integrated solution to focus on NVIDIA's bread and butter: the GPU.
PC gamers and designers know about Kepler, NVIDIA's line of 28 nanometer GPUs. In gaming terms, it covers most of the GeForce GTX 600 and 700 graphics cards. Today they're demonstrating a mobile version of Kepler, set to debut with their next generation of silicon under the Project Logan code name (continuing with NVIDIA's general superhero theme for mobile products). Read More
ARM is kind of of big deal if you like mobile devices: they release and maintain the architectures licensed by nearly all the world's mobile System-on-a-Chip (SoC) makers. Today they've announced new CPU and GPU designs specifically targeted ant the growing mid-range market, the Cortex-A12 and Mali-T622. This silicon is powerful by today's standards, but a bit less so than their A15 (Samsung's Exynos 5250, NVIDIA Tegra 4) and T624 (and higher) counterparts, designed for more economical implementation. The basic idea is that mid-range devices, which ARM defines as between $150 and $350 unsubsidized, will get both more powerful and more efficient. Read More
When it comes to mobile benchmarks, there are a few names that almost instantly come to mind: Quadrant, AnTuTu, CFBench, etc. However, those primarily test the CPU; when it comes to testing the GPU, one name stands above the rest: GLBenchmark.
A new version of GLBenchmark recently landed in the Play Store, bringing with it some changes that drastically increase the benchmark's relevance on modern devices. For starters, the Egypt benchmark, now known as Egypt HD, has been completely overhauled with richer textures, a new environment, varied shading, and more dynamic lighting/camera angles. In other words, it works the GPU a lot harder. Read More