Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 20:39 UTC
Google The past few weeks the entire internet has been going bonkers over the Google phone, yet another in a long line of Android phones that has everyone's knickers in twists. Up until now we had to go by small photos and Twitter messages from Google employees, but now we have full specifications, a hands-on, and video.
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Make it libre, make it cheap.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 21:20 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Written for the benefit of Google management, whom I'm certain will take the recommendations of a random poster on this most august of discussion sites.

Don't team up with Tmobile. Will not buy with it tied to anyone. I want control of my own phone. Right now that has me headed in Nokia's direction. If you can make the Nexus cheaper than the n900, while just as libre, You've got my sale and my future recommendation to all.

Reply Score: 3

DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

I, on the other hand, eagerly await this phone coming to T-Mobile USA. I want a smartphone that can replace my current phone and my MP3 player (must support Ogg Vorbis) and with a decent camera to boot; Droid is the best available right now* but I can't stomach Verizon's smartphone data plans.

Since I have to get phone and wireless service from SOMEONE, I'd prefer it to be T-Mobile, I already have them, like them, and their data plans look much better. I'm sure it'll be somewhere around $250-$300 subsidized, but that's a lot easier to swallow if it's not backed up by quite as bad a month-to-month plan.

*I also await the Nokia N900 if offered. Keyboard and Debian ARMEL compatibility means it'll do whatever I want.

Reply Score: 2

inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

*I also await the Nokia N900 if offered. Keyboard and Debian ARMEL compatibility means it'll do whatever I want.


Unless what you want is to make a regular phone call! j/k

Reply Score: 1

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

This phone will probably NOT be available from Verizon.
Why?
The deal about search engines between Microsoft & Verizon is why. As if Google will let their branded phone be forced to use Bling as a search engine. Yeah Right.

At least we don't have that sort of lock in on this side of the pond. I was pondering getting an iPhone but I may well wait a while and see if I can get this on a decent plan. I don't need data as like another poster here says, WiFi is available nearly everywhere I go. If I truly need data, I'll plug my 3G dongle into my Netbook.

Reply Score: 2

inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

: ^), Bill, I'm willing to bet that you have the technical know-how to unlock this phone once instructions are made available (I give it a month at the most, two for an easy crack).

I can understand decisions based on principles but if the phone has what you need more so than any other, not saying it does or doesn't, other than the lock, I'm sure you could be pragmatic about it, seeing as all you'd need to do is unlock it.

Then of course, those Nokias ARE looking nice, aren't they?

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I haven't done any hardware cracking in a couple years. But, I'd like to have a phone that I can recommend to my less technical friends.

I also have an unusual use case. I want a smart phone without the 3g data plan. Wifi is just about every where I go. If there was a cheap good phone that would allow me to freely modify the applications and OS, and could access wifi, I'd get it. The n900 meets all of those qualifications except price.

Reply Score: 2

inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

Yeah, reading through your response, right before the last sentence, I was just about to say, the n900 would be your perfect phone.

If it could replace a laptop for you, perhaps you can sell your laptop (if you have one) to get it.

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Oh, I can afford it. I just don't want to pay that much. I shouldn't have to pay that much. Sounds absurd maybe to some here, but I have principles and I stick to them. One of them is to not pay more than $300 for a phone.

Reply Score: 2

inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

Ah, and there is the question, does the n900 even fall into the classic definition of a "phone"? I think the value of an item is in what you use it for. If you need great web browsing and computing on the go and don't want to carry it around on a shoulder strap, perhaps over 300 isn't too much.

Depends on how much you value the convenience.

But I know what you're saying, I won't spend over 150 for a graphics card or 200 for a processor. . . or over 80 for a ram stick.

But would I spend 300 for a GPU/CPU fusion processor? Yes, I could imagine it. . .

But then again, I spent 350 for my keyboard and 900 for my monitor, depends on your priorities.

Perhaps selling a laptop to pay for a phone that would replace the function would help make you feel better about it.

Reply Score: 1

No GPU?
by Stratoukos on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 21:27 UTC
Stratoukos
Member since:
2009-02-11

I couldn't find any mention of a GPU on engadget's specs. I don't know if there are any apps for android that require a GPU (ie games), but it seems like a big omission (unless the snapdragon is some kind of SoC, which I doubt).

Also, kudos for the pun. That's an under appreciated form of comedy right there.

Reply Score: 1

RE: No GPU?
by binarycrusader on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 21:31 UTC in reply to "No GPU?"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Every past bit of review or comments I've seen about the hardware is indicated that it's a SoC ARM processor that includes the same graphics found in the latest iPhone 3GS.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: No GPU?
by Stratoukos on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 23:17 UTC in reply to "RE: No GPU?"
Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

Well I learn something new every day. I guess next time I should not rely solely on Wikipedia...

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: No GPU?
by binarycrusader on Thu 24th Dec 2009 03:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No GPU?"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, the 1GHz bit is new, the last iteration I saw was around 850mhz roughly and supposedly had the same graphics that the iPhone 3GS does. I haven't seen any specifics about the 1GHz model yet, so it could be different.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No GPU?
by Stratoukos on Thu 24th Dec 2009 13:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No GPU?"
Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

After some digging I found that the Snapdragon uses the AMD z430, the last chip that AMD/ATI mobile graphics division made before it got bought by Qualcomm.

As for performance it's kinda difficult to know. I can't find a lot information about the z430 and there aren't any concrete benchmarks out there. The only thing I could find is that according to Qualcomm's site the Snapdragon 8250 has up to 22M triangles/sec and according to Wikipedia the 3GS's PowerVR SGX535 has up to 28M polys/sec. Of course comparing just polys/sec doesn't say everything, but it's the only thing we have.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: No GPU?
by ariarinen on Sat 26th Dec 2009 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No GPU?"
ariarinen Member since:
2009-02-07

Well, they are all the same QSD8x50 1 GHz chip, but some chose to underclock them. There are two versions the QSD8250 is GSM based and the QSD8650 supports both GSM and CDMA.

The 2nd faster and newer chip is the QSD8672, its dual core and has the same features but as the QSDx50 plus some of its own like: built around 45nm process, Higher-resolution 1440 x 900, 1080p recording and playback, HSPA+ and CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO Rel 0/A/B support, and even faster graphics at 80M triangles/sec and 500M+ 3D pixels/sec.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: No GPU?
by a.saheel on Thu 24th Dec 2009 15:53 UTC in reply to "RE: No GPU?"
a.saheel Member since:
2009-05-17

if i am not mistaken Snapdragon support OpenGL ES 1.1, and not 2 as is the ARMV7 cortex A8 which is what being used in iphone3gs, and some other phones.

Edited 2009-12-24 16:06 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: No GPU?
by ariarinen on Sat 26th Dec 2009 10:31 UTC in reply to "RE: No GPU?"
ariarinen Member since:
2009-02-07

Yes its a SoC based on a custom ARMv7 design called Scorpion, not the standard ARM Cortex-A8 (ARMv7) found on N900 or Iphone 3GS. The graphics are done in-house (BitBoys), and not the POWERVR SGX. But its powerful graphics inside, that's capable of 22M triangles/sec and 133M 3D pixels/sec, and HD 720P decoding and WXGA support.

Also the DPS (600 MHz) and 3G and GPS (gpsOne, GPS, A-GPS) is embedded on the chip.

Edited 2009-12-26 10:38 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Good
by binarycrusader on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 21:31 UTC
binarycrusader
Member since:
2005-07-06

Good, as an iPhone 3GS owner, I've been desperately looking for an alternative so I can get away from AT&T.

However, every other phone I've spent some time using has been:
* much slower
* had a horrible UI (by comparison)
* web browser wasn't as good

The Droid in particular left me underwhelmed as it was:
* tied to Verizon
* was substantially, noticeably less responsive than my 3GS

If Google can put out an unlocked phone that I can use with any carrier, and that is speedy and polished as the iPhone 3GS, I'll buy one. Otherwise, I'll stick with the 3GS for now since (other than AT&T) I have no real complaints about it.

The much-vaunted multi-tasking of the Droid is worthless to me as the only multi-tasking I need is the ability to open apps and browse while on a phone call, which I can do right now.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Good
by werpu on Thu 24th Dec 2009 13:43 UTC in reply to "Good"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

Good, as an iPhone 3GS owner, I've been desperately looking for an alternative so I can get away from AT&T.

However, every other phone I've spent some time using has been:
* much slower
* had a horrible UI (by comparison)
* web browser wasn't as good

The Droid in particular left me underwhelmed as it was:
* tied to Verizon
* was substantially, noticeably less responsive than my 3GS

If Google can put out an unlocked phone that I can use with any carrier, and that is speedy and polished as the iPhone 3GS, I'll buy one. Otherwise, I'll stick with the 3GS for now since (other than AT&T) I have no real complaints about it.

The much-vaunted multi-tasking of the Droid is worthless to me as the only multi-tasking I need is the ability to open apps and browse while on a phone call, which I can do right now.


Actually the iphone does a few tricks to achieve the perceived speed, they hide a lot of transitions in animations, I today turned on the transitional animations on my HTC Hero and the phone feels entirely like a new phone although the speed is the same, but what happened, whenever I start a program turn the screen etc, the phone simply does animation instead of fading. The iPhone does that by default. Secondly, Apple does not do multitasking on userlevel, so you dont have background programs which can drag your performance down.
Third and that is a big third, apples 3d processing engine/graphics coprocessor in the iPhone simply is faster than what you can find in most Android telefones, that helps tremendously if you for instance zoom a webpage, apple does the zooming simply by doing a texture zoom while doing the actual zoom in the background.

Apple on the iphone are masters of hiding the slow stuff behind fancy animations and limiting of what you can do for the sake of giving the foreground process maximum processor time.
With it also comes the limitations everyone hates on the iPhone!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Good
by Stratoukos on Thu 24th Dec 2009 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Good"
Stratoukos Member since:
2009-02-11

Another thing Apple does to increase the perceived speed of launching iPhone applications, is to ask the developers to provide a screenshot of their app's first screen. When you launch an application, the iPhone displays that screenshot while it draws the UI.

For example try opening Maps. For the first half second you can see the search bar on top, with the little magnifying glass and the Address book button. On the bottom you can see the toolbar with the two buttons and the segmented control. These are not drawn UI widgets but just a png that is displayed while the actual widgets are drawn.

This is a great example of how you can sacrifice real speed to increase the perceived speed.

Reply Score: 1

512 mb?
by darknexus on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 21:31 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

Given the other specs of this phone, 512 mb of internal flash seems surprisingly small even though it can be expanded. I would've expected 2 gb at least.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Thu 24th Dec 2009 00:47 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

whats this about no pinch zoom because of legal something? are you saying someone has patented my f--king fingers? I cant use my fingers to zoom unless they are on the patented device?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Luminair
by Zifre on Thu 24th Dec 2009 14:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

Yes, Apple has a number of patents on multi-touch gestures. This is the reason that the G1 doesn't use multi-touch even though the hardware is capable of it.

Yes, it is ridiculous and just goes to show how idiotic the legal system is.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Thu 24th Dec 2009 21:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

well that is some kind of bullshot let me tell you.

they say freedom isn't free, well neither are ideas

Reply Score: 2

Android developer's only on Jan 5??
by pooo on Thu 24th Dec 2009 01:09 UTC
pooo
Member since:
2006-04-22

Where did you hear that? I hope you are wrong even though that would be google's style.

Reply Score: 1

Locked, unlocked
by kittipalo on Thu 24th Dec 2009 08:44 UTC
kittipalo
Member since:
2009-12-24

Living in Bangkok I'm always puzzled with this 'locked' phone business.
Here they all seem to be unlocked. Before iphones were available locally people would bring them from America, pop round to a big shopping centre, have it unlocked in a few minutes and then use it with their regular sim. Now their available unlocked from the various phone companies. Other brands ditto.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Locked, unlocked
by darknexus on Thu 24th Dec 2009 10:45 UTC in reply to "Locked, unlocked"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Sounds like someone's got more sense in Bangkok then. Here in the US, and many other places as well, carriers are allowed to lock the phone to only accept their own sim card. In fact, I can't recall ever getting a phone from a carrier here that wasn't locked. Personally, I think it's stupid. The carriers could still subsidize the phone and make their offers attractive without the lock. But then again, all of the cel services here suck in one way or another, so I guess they want to get a hook into you with the phone lock.
Personally I think that falls under a monopoly, as that gives one carrier an exclusive on a phone more often than not. Still, the overpaid lawyers obviously found a way to get around that idea.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Locked, unlocked
by Soulbender on Thu 24th Dec 2009 17:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Locked, unlocked"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Sounds like someone's got more sense in Bangkok then. Here in the US, and many other places as well


Sounds like pretty much the entire world has more sense than the U.S when it comes to mobile phones.
Sure, you can get locked phones here (Philippines) if you want to get a better deal with the carrier but you can just go to any store and buy pretty much any available phone unlocked. Heck, there are even multi-SIM phones.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Locked, unlocked
by elsewhere on Thu 24th Dec 2009 20:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Locked, unlocked"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

Sounds like pretty much the entire world has more sense than the U.S when it comes to mobile phones.


Canada doesn't, we have the same issue.

Though we only had one true GSM provider in the past, so I guess the point was moot.

Now that all of the major carriers are HSDPA, and can support all of the modern handsets, this is probably going to become a bigger issue up here.

I don't mind a locked handset if the carrier is subsidizing the price. It has it's advantages. For instance, I was able to upgrade to a 3GS less than a year after I purchased a 3G, for the same price a new customer would be paying. Simply had to renew my contract. As someone who always likes to have the latest shiny thing, it's more cost effective to lock in and receive the subsidy assuming I have no intention of leaving in the future (which, again, with only a single GSM provider was never a consideration in the past).

In the past, the only real annoyance was the inability to use a local pay-per-use SIM if I was traveling. Moving networks after contract expiration was never really an issue, since the others couldn't support the phones.

Now that all of the providers are supporting the same standard, I suspect this will become a larger issue as current customers look to start migrating networks, and I suspect the carriers will dig their heels in even deeper.

The one thing that has irritated me, though, is that while the provider will "subsidize" the cost of your phone through the monthly service fee, they won't reduce your service fee if you choose to pay full price for the phone, or acquire one elsewhere. They simply enjoy higher profits without having to subsidize the phone. I'm wondering if competition now is going to change that stance...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Locked, unlocked
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Dec 2009 12:17 UTC in reply to "Locked, unlocked"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I am also slightly puzzled by the whole locking-business; I live in Finland and you can find completely unlocked phones anywhere. If you buy a SIM-locked one then you get some extra bonuses, like f.ex. you get the newest iPhone for 10 euros or something similar. Ie. you don't pay premium for unlocked phones as that is the standard practice, instead you get something extra if you opt for a locked one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Locked, unlocked
by darknexus on Thu 24th Dec 2009 12:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Locked, unlocked"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Oh, it's worse than paying a premium here in the states. Simply put, if a phone company has done an exclusive deal with a single carrier such as, for example, the iPhone, then that company does not sell it unlocked here at all, period. To do so would violate the terms of their exclusivity contract. Nor can you get said phone unlocked officially from anywhere else in the states, you need to get them from places such as Ebay if you want them. Alternatively, if you can find an international store that will ship to the states but is able to sell the phone unlocked, that works as well. Still, I guess that's what happens when we let carriers dictate the terms as we do here.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Locked, unlocked
by dindin on Thu 24th Dec 2009 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Locked, unlocked"
dindin Member since:
2006-03-29

Have you looked for an unlocked phone. A simple search would reveal that any phone can be purchased as an unlocked phone. Have you tried Amazon or BestBuy? (http://www.amazon.com/Unlocked-Phones-Accessories-Cell/b/ref=amb_li...)

Pretty much every phone sold by carriers can be bought unlocked - almost all.

Even if the phone carrier sells a locked phone, they will unlock iy for you after your contract is up. I have had that done to many of my phones since i travel to Asia quite often and buy a SIM there. I have never had any problems. The only exception has been the iPhone and that is not because of the carrier.

I read that even the iPhone can also be bought unlocked for about $899. In the US, most consumers are used to getting a subsidised phone and will not pay full price for a device. The carriers would love to get away from the subsidy model since it reduces their inventory managment and reduces loss from having to dump unpopular phones for a loss.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Locked, unlocked
by Luminair on Thu 24th Dec 2009 21:10 UTC in reply to "Locked, unlocked"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

"capitalism gone awry" is what you're talking about.

Reply Score: 2