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Android over obsession with "high end"?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Snow_Fox, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Android Expert
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    So, I am not one to cast stones here.. I want the best device that will last the longest time possible. Part of why I paid so much for a good computer I built myself, part of why despite patients being my least favorite virtue I am waiting till I hear more form CES to upgrade and part of why I waited a full year to finish my computer. 6 months of research then another 4-6 months to find the perfect graphics card.

    So I completely understand wanting the best device and the most bang for your hard earned buck. While this is probably more of a personal meaning to each individual than a widespread defintion, I've come to wonder what is really "high end" in the android world.

    I personally still think of the evo as high end. A lot of people find the galaxy s series to be high end. Even outside of android I think most agree the iphone is definitely on the higher end of the argument.

    What I want to know is what criteria really constitutes a "high end" phone these days. I've ranted in the defy forums once about how I personally believe the defy is in no way inferior to any phone out there. It has an LED flash, the captivate and a few other phones don't have, it has an 800 mhz processor which even if not 1 ghz is still on par with the speed of IP4 seeing as IP4 is downclocked. (We can argue instructions per clock and architecture all day long but, the 800 mhz processor is impressive from benchmarked perspectives.) And on top of all that, if you drop it in your beer, it won't die on you! Which to me (and I think a few people will agree) makes it higher end than anything else out there.. A phone that if I'm walking around on my college campus and get soaked, I don't have to worry about my phone.. I can worry more about how sick I will be if I don't get to a building fast.

    Now this rant isn't *JUST* on the defy.. It seems like every time some new phone comes out, some other perfectly good phone gets demoted despite it still being a valid choice.

    I don't mind that we do group phones differently.. The aria for example has a processor in the neighbor hood of 600 mhz its smaller and while a great phone would be easy to call "mid" or "low end" range. I don't mind the Galaxy S series being considered "high end" I mean the hummingbird processor is still top dog at the moment.

    However, I've seen more than one person commenting recently that X phone is out dated but, Y phone is great. When they are both running snap dragon processors! or X phone is high end but, Y phone is low end.. with almost the exact same specs.

    I am not trying to limit this to android users... but, I am wondering if anyone else has noticed a similar trend and if so what do you guys think of it?
     

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  2. RiverOfIce

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    I feel for you, I know alot of people that feel the same way. But to me a phone is a tool. Just like a hammer. I use it for what I need it to do. I 't bother worrying about what will come out next, because something always will. If it does everything I need it to do, I keep it. If it starts to slow me down, I recycle it. I dont care what name is on it, what processor, or what technology it uses for data transfer. As long as it fast enough for me, I could care less what happens with the rest of the market. When I was a little girl, shut up I know what you are thinking, my mother told me to never chase the rainbows. We lived in india, so during monsoon season, it was one storm, then clearing and next storm. Non stop rainbows. So being the little girl I was, I did not listen to her. I wondered down the beach, chasing the rainbow. Just as the first would go away, the next would appear. The next thing I know is the sun was setting and it was getting very dark. I was like 10 years old at the time. I had to spend the whole night outside in the cold wet rain. The next morning I walked down the beach, back home. The point to the story is, you can chase rainbows but you will never catch them. You will never catch technology, and if you try, you will just wonder further away from those things that really matter in your life. Decide what is important in your life. Chase after real things, and dont worry about seeing the next rainbow, it will find you. Until then enjoy your phone.
     
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  3. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert
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    Defy is priced mid end, but its processor specs are definitely high, 800Mhz, A8 Cortex core. Definitely more powerful than the original Droid or the XT720 Motoroi.

    High end used to be defined by having at least an A8 Cortex core. The main difference between A8 and ARM11 is that A8 is superscalar, which means it is capable of processing more than one instruction per clock cycle. Nowadays, ARM11 is considered low end, although it used to be high end not too long ago.

    So now, low end is ARM11, mid to high end is A8 Cortex. 800Mhz to 1Ghz is also high end, while 600MHz is low end. At least to Android, since Nokia and Blackberry still have high end phones with 600Mhz plus ARM11 processors. It should be noted that Samsung used to have Androids like the Galaxy Spica that has an 800MHz ARM11 processor.

    Another category is display resolution. 320x240 or QVGA is low end, 320x480 or HVGA is midend, while 800x480 or WVGA is high end. The Defy definitely has a WVGA display, which does tag it as more of a high end phone.

    Having the latest Android build is not a classification for low or high end. As a matter of fact, two low end phones got Froyo out of the box ahead of most phones, the Huawei Ideos and LG Optimus One.

    The LG Optimus One would have been considered mid end because of HVGA, but its pricing is definitely low end. Yet its specs are better than "mid end" Androids not too long ago like the Droid Eris or HTC Hero.

    its really getting harder and harder to define what is truly "high end" for Android now, because the 1GHz WVGA phone has been the most popular and appears standard. We like to call this phone, with 3.5" to 4" screens, as the "mainstream". Then we would tag phones with screens from 4.3" and higher, as truly high end. Anything with QVGA and HVGA screens, and with an ARM11 processor should be low end. However, low end processors are now coming out with superscalar cores and multicores.

    This phone would have been classified as mid to high end not too long ago - HTC Legend. Has high end build quality but its electronics should now be low end.

    Not very easy to classify would be the Droid Pro. Has high end processor specs, but has a HVGA screen.
     
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  4. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Android Expert
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    lol being as a built my pc... I have learned you have to time it just right.. get what you want.. and know you made the right decision to begin with.

    So... I agree a phone is a tool and I personally have a list of phone's I wouldn't mind having had and would have no regrets about.

    You mentioned type of data transfer.. I find it funny people are so psyched about 4g on their phone's. I mean.. I think we are hitting a point of "what exactly can you do with that much speed over a wireless network on a phone".

    Most of my friends seem to have little problem with the 3g phone's they have but, what do I know? I mean I can understand not wanting to be stuck on edge... but, oogling 4g networks which where we live in louisiana won't be available for probably another 3 years is kinda sad.

    I'm the biggest techy imaginable.. but, even I am not as biased as a lot of the 'Regular' people about what is or is not high end.

    OH btw.. my thought was 'another tech girl... cool." nothing else.

    My girlfriend is getting there.

    Edit:

    @Guamguy

    Amazing points! very well thought out on high vs low end.

    ALso good point about how it is becoming more and more blurry.
     
  5. snapper.fishes

    snapper.fishes Android Expert
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    I was going to suggest that we compare how many android users build their own PCs and how many iPhone users build their own PC. Then I realised how pointless it was.

    People who build their own PCs are usually more obsessed about how fast their rig is. I won't be surprised if a high portion of android users build their PC as well, which would explain the situation. (If you have been looking at the gaming scene, you should be familiar with how many people are obessed with framerates. To me, anything above 30 is good enough, but there are those who "refuse" to play on anything with less than 100 fps. Spoiled I say, but I guess if you can afford it why not?)
     
  6. grainysand

    grainysand Android Expert
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    30FPS is really not great, though. Personally I prefer at least 50-60FPS for anything to be playable, and I don't even go insane with my rig or anything, it's a definite mid-to-low-range one.
     
  7. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    It's very subjective. What's the point of worrying over this if you're happy with what you have? If you're the type that must have top end specs then you wouldn't be happy with what you have. Worry about what suits you rather than what is or isn't "high end". That is, unless you really want to be involved in fanboy peeing matches. The specs of the device don't prove anything about the owner. I don't get why people think it's meaningful that they bought something. It would be entirely different it they built it from the ground up. Anyone can hand over cash.

    Nothing new. I don't pay any attention. I have no interest in spec sheet racing. Consider the source, as always.
     
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  8. Medion

    Medion Android Expert
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    Everyone will have a different definition of "high-end." Mine is a high-end CPU (Scorpion or A8) paired with a dedicated GPU. So that would make the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, and Droid Pro "high end" as they're using the OMAP 3430 (Droid) or OMAP 3630 (others), which pairs a Cortex A8 with a PowerVR SGX 530. The Defy, on the other hand, uses the OMAP 3610, which is a Cortex A8 without a dedicated GPU. The Nook Color uses an OMAP 3621, which is similar.

    But, if you're not into gaming, then what would make the defy any less high-end than the other Droids, besides 200mhz? So really, it's high-end based on your needs.
     
  9. Snow_Fox

    Snow_Fox Android Expert
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    It is nice to see some people with real definitions of high vs low end and there is a general consensus that its all based on needs as well.

    With that said makes me wonder who "needs" some of the things they are coming out with.
     
  10. Stuntman

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    With the rate that smartphone technology is advancing these days, the definition of high end seems to change every month. It will probably change again after the CES.

    Right now, different phones, even high end phones, have slightly different features. In general, people will buy what fits their needs and within their acceptable price range. The smartphone market, not limited to Android, has a wide variety of products. It's really hard to draw a line and divide high end phones with low end phones. Although there are phones at the extreme high or low end, the actual boundary becomes blurred.
     
  11. Medion

    Medion Android Expert
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    I failed to give a technical definition last time, so I'll try to do that now.

    From a CPU perspective, there are currently two instruction sets that Android currently runs on, ARMv6 (ARM11), and ARMv7 (Scorpion, Cortex A8, eventually Cortex A9). Right now, anything using Scorpion or Cortex A8 is high-end, and anything using ARM11 is low-end.

    Later this year, we're going to see dual-core Cortex A9 (Tegra 2, OMAP4, Orion), and dual-core Scorpion. These will be high end, single-core Scorpion and Cortex A8 will be low-end, initially. Without having to code for ARM11 as low-end, developers will now consider A8 functions to be the baseline and put that in all software. Once they start using the higher end features of A9/Scorpion for some software, A8 will begin to fall behind Scorpion, causing a 3-layer approach (dual-core as high end, single-core scorpion as mid-range, and A8 as low-end).

    On the GPU side, right now we have 4 tiers. We have high-end (Power VR SGX 540), mid-range (Power VR SGX 530 and Adreno 205), low-end (Adreno 200), and no GPU (software only). By this time next year, we're looking at it being PowerVR SGX 545 and Tegra 2 as high end, and everything else falling in place behind them. While no one will be shipping Adreno 200 chips anymore (unless Qualcomm adds it to another chipset), there will still be some cheap software-only devices.
     
  12. Guamguy

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    Definition of low end has now changed. Motorola Cliq 2. 1 GHz A8 Cortex (surely an OMAP3630), 512mb DRAM, 3.7" screen with 480x854 resolution, sliding keyboard, 10.2mbs HSDPA, Android 2.2.
     
  13. Medion

    Medion Android Expert
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    Hmm, I think we're jumping the gun. That's the same hardware as the droid 2 and Droid X, two top selling and top of the line current phones. I Wouldn't call that low end at all, especially since neither it, or anything better has been released yet, just announced.

    I would say that when it launches, as well as the Tegra 2 and OMAP4 products are actually for sale, we can bump it down to mid-range. Low end will still be the Android "feature" phones with slow CPUs and no GPU, probably for at least the next 8 months.
     
  14. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
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    If you think about it, that question answers itself.
     
  15. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert
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    I believe the Cliq 2 is coming soon, an announcement marks the imminent inevitability of that. Plus the Defy and the Bravo are already in the 800MHz range.

    Also so called Android "feature phones" do feature a GPU, since the Adreno 200 is found in the 7227 and 7627 Qualcomm CPUs.

    In emerging countries, the so called Android low end are now sub $200 phones without a contract and a subsidy. But even the standards of that is quickly rising, looking at the next generation of Huawei Ideos phones.
     
  16. lordofthereef

    lordofthereef Android Expert
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    I am with you here 100%. I see no reason to even care about 4G unless I am tethering and wanting to download something onto a computer. For those who are willing to pay the tether fee (and maybe those who are not LOL!), I can see this as being a selling point. If we had 4G in my area, I would probably willingly just pay the $20/mo tethering fee and get rid of my $50/mo cable internet plan. Aside from that, I can't imagine my phone loading things faster than it does on 3G. I am already able to strem video, access all websites, etc. virtually as fast as I would on wifi.
     
  17. Drhyde

    Drhyde Android Enthusiast
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    I like to look at it in the principle of cars and their standardization of features. If you think about 25 to 30 years ago, only high end cars (Cadillac, BMW, etc) had air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, air bags, etc. Now, you can get all these features on even the lowest Toyota on the market.

    Similarly, when compared to just phones themselves, how many phones can you name that were produced last year without bluetooth? I remember about 15 years ago when computers did this exact same thing. Every few months we were hitting new levels of speed and performance. The rule still applies today, but it has slowed considerably now. In essence, you could buy a new computer today and provided it didn't die, use it for virtually the rest of your life (or until software specs eclipsed it). Other than gamers or geeks that must have the best of everything, there really is no need to buy new computers. They have essentially plateaued for the average consumer at the moment.

    Android isn't there yet, but I suspect it will be. The performance we have with just the first generation 1 GHz processors was a tremendous leap. Soon that will be the low end. Eventually, we'll hit a point where we are today with computers where choice is dictated more heavily to minutia like the appearance or some simple new feature (like NFC) than to overall performance and price. Technology is cheapening rapidly these days and most of the high end stuff we have now have already past their 80/20 range. I can imagine a future where our phones are our second computer, streaming from our home one. Exactly the future that Google has talked about.
     
  18. mrqs

    mrqs Android Expert
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    just take a look at the motorola atrix - it's not quite there yet imo, but not all that far off
     
  19. Rob_A

    Rob_A Android Expert
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    I build my own PC but not because I'm obsessed with speed.

    I do it I can get decent components cheap and I know exactly what's going into it.

    I would LOVE it if cell phone were like this.

    I'd build my EVO with a better GPU, 8GB of internal storage and HDMI that outputs the OS.
     
  20. Medion

    Medion Android Expert
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    Ok, Defy is quite a step down from the prior phone you mentioned. The prior phone had an OMAP 3630, which is a 1ghz Cortex A8 with a PowerVR SGX 530 dedicated GPU. The Defy uses the OMAP 3610, which is an 800mhz Cortex A8, but with no dedicated GPU. So that's still one of those "no GPU" phones I was talking about. The Cliq 2 is getting a 1ghz processor, I haven't read enough on it yet, but I'd expect a 3620 or 3630, giving it a dedicated GPU.

    I agree with you that eventually, these phones will be the entry level. My disagreement with you was on the "now" part. Phones like the Droid X and Droid 2 are not, today, the minimum spec. But someday, they will be.
     
  21. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert
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    The "now" part---when the Cliq 2 officially comes out selling --- is January 19.
     
  22. Medion

    Medion Android Expert
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    But at what price range? Low-end Androids are going to replace feature phones at the $0-$50 contract price point. If I'm not mistaken, the Cliq2 is going to be $150 on contract. I don't think even then that we can call it entry level when phones that are much weaker and cheaper are still being sold and catered to.
     
  23. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert
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    Cliq is a name associated with low to mid end.

    I never heard the $150.

    A good part of the phone's cost is mechanical and physical. The Cliq 2 doesn't impress me as "expensive" in build, although solid. There is a parallel to the Cliq 2 vs. Droid 2 with Nokia's C6 vs. N97 Mini.
     

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