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Hardware Acceleration

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by riffdex, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. riffdex

    riffdex Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Any Android phones out right now with hardware acceleration? Is hardware acceleration not possible below Honeycomb or did Honeycomb just make it easier to implement on phones? I would very much like my next Android phone to have hardware acceleration.

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  2. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    Android phones, most of them, come out with graphical hardware acceleration. A few don't. Early phones like the G1 and MyTouch 3G aka HTC Magic didn't. The later versions of the Qualcomm 72/76xx SoCs did have hardware acceleration, and phones with the HTC Sense used them.

    These modern Androids dont' have graphical hardware acceleration: Motorola Defy, Motorola Bravo. If you're in the market for one, get the Cliq 2 instead. That one has.

    Android OS supports graphical acceleration, but the app has to go use them. Fortunately most do.

    Even though much of the Android Google apps, like the Gallery app, Google Maps, use graphical acceleration, the stock webkit browser shipped with stock Android OS phones, mainly your Nexus phones, doesn't. That's funny since the Android 2.3 Gingerbread on the Nexus S is very fast, probably the most accelerated of all the Android OS, but somehow forgot the stock browser in the process.

    Easy to remedy though. Get a third party browser, and they're pretty accelerated. I would recommend Opera Mini or Mobile. They won't run Flash but they're freaking fast, and pretty smooth when it comes to scrolling and zooming. Others include Skyfire and Dolphin HD browsers I recommend them for another reason, you can store them on the SD card if you have Android 2.2, and they will cache their contents there. And they look pretty neat too.

    Android phones with modified UIs do feature stock WebKit browsers with graphical acceleration, especially those with HTC Sense and Samsung Touchwiz.

    But then again, I don't use the stock Webkit browser anymore.
    rubiconjp likes this.
  3. snapper.fishes

    snapper.fishes Android Expert

    For some reason opera mobile lags like crazy on my phone, but the stock browser never lags.
  4. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    Lag is quite a vague sense of a term. What you see with Opera Mini is server lag, as the Opera servers process the page and sends a "display" to the app on your phone. That's how Opera works, the pages are server processed, what you see is only a display. That cuts down the bandwidth, a lot, and makes the browser less CPU intensive. Its the clever reason why Opera Mini works so well on featurephones.

    It does however, make Opera Mini load dependent on those servers.

    But Opera Mini, like Opera Mobile, once the page is displayed on the screen, has very smooth pinches and zooms, while the stock browser occasionally chops (on the Nexii, not on HTC Sense or Samsung Touchwiz phones).

    Opera Mobile does more onboard processing, but it does have some server assist if you turn on the Turbo mode setting.
  5. jroc

    jroc Android Expert

    Anandtech reviewed the LG 2X and said that 128MB of Ram is dedicated to the gpu. Does that mean its hardware accelerated?
  6. rubiconjp

    rubiconjp Android Enthusiast

    So then what does Honeycomb provide above the 2.x releases in term of hardware graphics acceleration? 3D?
  7. Drhyde

    Drhyde Android Enthusiast

    Why wouldn't the Defy or Bravo have hardware acceleration? It certainly has the capabilities in hardware to do so.
  8. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    The particular variant of the OMAP6 used by Motorola Bravo and Defy, didn't have GPU. Also used on XT720 and XT800. It was meant as a budget chip.

    Cliq 2 uses the same OMAP6 as the Droid 2 which has the GPU.
  9. Drhyde

    Drhyde Android Enthusiast

    Actually, the official Motorola site lists that it does have a GPU. A few enterprising devs found that it has the same powervr sgx 530 as all the others. I think the chip set was actually incorrectly listed as an omap 3610 when many of the devs have guessed it actually is a underclocked 3630.
  10. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    If that is really the case, then its another question.

    My guess is that Motoblur doesn't accelerate the browser and parts of its own interface at all. I don't own one however so i can't say how it feels like. I only noticed that HTC Sense and Samsung Touchwiz uses graphically accelerated browsers because of the manner the stock browser would pinch and zoom vs. that on the Nexii.

    Having a browser that doesn't do graphics acceleration doesn't mean the apps don't do it. The hooks to do it are always provided by the OS. Your live wallpaper are still graphically accelerated when your browser is not, just for example.
  11. Drhyde

    Drhyde Android Enthusiast

    Didn't Gingerbread add some minor hardware acceleration? I know they added new drivers so that certainly helps.

    Also, with its specs, build quality, cost, and excellent overclocking potential, I think the Defy is one of the best under-appreciated phones out there. I'm going to get one as a back-up phone for my soon-to-be Nexus S.
  12. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    Gingerbread is really really fast. In many ways. But graphical acceleration on the stock browser doesn't seem one of them. Its evident when you use either the stock browsers, or one of the 3rd party browsers that rely on the Webkit libraries. Graphical acceleration is useful for scrolls and pinch zooms. Noting that most apps do use acceleration. Try Tweetdeck or Twicca on any phone. You get fast smooth kinetic scrolls.

    Still, fast CPU processing of javascript and HTML is still more important, as well as fast file I/O, for the general user perception of speed.

    If you got a Bravo or Defy, see if you can download Nenamarks and Neocore benchmarks and lets see what the GPU can come up with.
  13. Drhyde

    Drhyde Android Enthusiast

    I'll do that once I get it, probably near the end of this month.
  14. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    Kewl, let us know what your figures are.
  15. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    Testing the stock browsers on the Nexus One (2.2.2) and Nexus S (2.3.2). I think the browser on the Nexus S is actually accelerated; I can do kinetic blurs as I swipe the browser to scroll. Also the Dolphin browsers seem accelerated too.
  16. Drhyde

    Drhyde Android Enthusiast

    Just so you know, I searched a bit on the web about the Defy. There are videos showing the phone doing 41.6 FPS stock on Neocore compared to the pitiful 26 that a stock Nexus One gets. I want to see what it could do with Gingerbread and overclocked to 1.3 GHz.
  17. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    I guess that is pretty much accelerated.
  18. ari-free

    ari-free Android Expert

    You can have hardware acceleration and it will still lag if the software isn't designed well. And vice versa. BeOS didn't have any hardware acceleration and it was verrrry responsive.
  19. Guamguy

    Guamguy Android Expert

    Responsiveness is a different issue from graphics acceleration. Responsiveness is all about I/O, and getting control/time slicing back to the input queue (touch, pointer or text input). Fast file I/O, involving caching, is a factor to this. Having a fast SD card can improve your UI response if your UI caches on the SD.

    Graphics acceleration is many things but among them is to move blocks of bits from one part of the screen to another seamlessly without looking like its drawing one line after another very fast. Another is being able to calculate 3D polygons and render their surfaces in real time. Yet another is being able to draw translucent or transparent surfaces and have multiple surface overlays move over each other seamlessly like water under glass. Another one is being able to render multiple particles in the screen and move them.

    Live wallpapers are very intensive with graphical acceleration as you can see.

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