Inside the Motorola Droid, an iPhone likeness

via CNET News.com on 11/1/09

Though the Motorola Droid and Apple iPhone have different chassis, their high-octane engines are similar.

The internal similarities begin with performance: both devices are fast. The iPhone 3GS is already distinguished for its speed. And the Droid is quickly garnering similar accolades.

The Motorola Droid has a radically different exterior compared with the iPhone but uses a speedy Cortex-A8 ARM chip like the Apple phone.

The Motorola Droid has a radically different exterior compared with the iPhone but uses a speedy Cortex-A8 ARM chip like the Apple phone.

(Credit: CNET Reviews)

“The Droid makes a big leap in internal performance. Compared with its rather sluggish Android predecessors,” CNET Reviews said, citing the speed at which the Droid opens applications and menus and scrolls through lists and switches display screens.

“We’re really pumped to see all the industry excitement it’s created,” said Jeff Dougan, the OMAP 3 product marketing manager at Texas Instruments, which supplies the OMAP 3430 processor that powers the Droid. “This is the first handset that truly realizes the full potential of Android,” he said, referring to Google’s Android 2.0 operating system that runs on the Droid phone.

The TI processor, like the one in the iPhone, is based on an a new architecture called Cortex-A8 from U.K.-based chip design house ARM, whose wide variety of chips populate most of the world’s cell phones. Dougan says most smartphones currently on the market use an older, lower-performance ARM architecture than the Cortex-A8–with the exception of the Palm Pre, which opted for the newer TI chip. The Cortex-A8 provides a “two to three times performance boost” over older architectures, according to Dougan.

Max Baron, an analyst at Microprocessor Report, says the chips in the Droid and the iPhone (see not below) are so alike that differences are more dependent on the operating systems the two chips use and how successfully each phone maker optimizes the OS. “With chips that have near-similar specs, the optimum OS and the look-and-feel of the user interface may make or break the product,” Baron said.

“The caveat, however, is that even small differences in chips will surface and become important differentiators as soon as the market forces you to increase the screen size or add more pixels per screen, or execute more power-consuming applications,” he added.

The raw MHz ratings on the chips are slightly different. The processor in the iPhone 3GS–which is believed to be based on the Samsung S5PC100 processor–runs at 600MHz, according to most accounts. The Motorola Droid’s TI chip is rated at 550MHz though theoretically it can be run as fast as 600MHz, according to TI’s Dougan.

Both phones also use PowerVR graphics from Imagination Technologies–a company that both Apple and Intel have invested in, testifying to how hot its ultramobile graphics technology is. The PowerVR is renowned for its ability to process several million triangles-per-second–a key indicator of graphics chip performance–blowing away other phones and the previous version of the iPhone.

Other internal specifications are similar between the two phones, including memory capacity (either 16GB or 32GB) and communications chips that offer 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connections.

So, internally the Droid is every bit the iPhone’s equal. And future versions of TI OMAP 3 chips that may appear in upcoming Droids will be backed by formidable ecosystems, according to Baron. “Investments in application software may lean more toward the TI components,” said Baron, given TI’s strong support of the entire chip ecosystem, including auxiliary chips and software development tools.

Note:: Apple’s and Samsung’s reluctance to release information about the processor used in the iPhone 3GS has made it difficult to determine if the chip is based on the Samsung S5PC100, according to the Microprocessor Report’s Baron. Many iPhone 3GS reviews and teardowns, however, state explicitly that the iPhone’s processor is essentially the Samsung S5PC100 processor.

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Samsung BlackJack II tops Consumer Reports’ list of best smartphones

via Engadget by Chris Ziegler on 12/18/08

Sometimes it’s the unsung workhorses that deserve the lion’s share of the praise, and that might just be the case with the aging Samsung BlackJack II — a phone that you probably wouldn’t expect to top Consumer Reports’ January 2009 ratings of popular smartphones. Sure, it may not be the shiniest device on the market these days, but you’ve got to admit it’s just about as functional as you’d ever need a business-class handset to be with GPS, HSDPA, and WinMo 6.1, which gladly sucks up Exchange accounts until you’re blue in the face. When you factor in the fact that it runs just $80 these days on an AT&T contract in a choice of four colors… okay, yeah, we can kinda see it. The iPhone 3G and T-Mobile G1 don’t play second fiddle terribly often these days (they were way down in the middle of the Consumer Reports pack in this testing cycle, in fact), so let’s just let this old dog have one more moment in the spotlight, shall we?

Samsung’s upcoming US handset lineup exposed

via Boy Genius Report by Zach Epstein on 11/6/08

It looks like Samsung has a busy schedule coming up here in the US and while it goes without saying that we’ll be missing out on the cream of Samsung’s crop, there are definitely a few gems in store from our South Korean pals. AT&T, Alltel, Verizon and T-mobile are all covered here while Sprint is omitted. As such, we can probably expect a few additions to the list as 2009 rolls around. So let’s see what we’ve got here…

T-Mobile:

  • Behold T919

AT&T:

  • SGH-A777
  • Eternity A867

Alltel:

  • SCH-R600 Hue II

Verizon Wireless:

  • Saga I770
  • OMNIA I910
  • Renown U810

That’s a whole lot of Samsung right there. The upcoming T919, announced earlier today, and A867 are particularly sexy and will both sport TouchWiz along with 5 megapixel cameras which is a nice little clarification from initial reports. Following all of these press shots, we should see time lines emerge in the not so distant future.

[Via IntoMobile]

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Windows Mobile 6.1: Samsung Blackjack II edition

via Boy Genius Report by Joshua Karp on 8/28/08

‘Tis the season for Windows Mobile 6.1 updates. Following closely on the recent updates for the HTC Tilt and the Verizon VX6800, Samsung has decided to bless us with a little 6.1 love for the Blackjack II. The specs should be old hat for you by now, but in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, the new firmware brings threaded SMS, a new paned home screen, better power management, and more to the WM Standard device. The update can be downloaded effective immediately, and while the process is not exactly painless (all of your data will be wiped) we can’t think of a good reason not to make the jump.

UPDATE: It looks like Samsung has pulled the download page for the time being. No word on when it might return, but we’ll keep checking and keep you posted.

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Samsung launches BlackJack III — in South Korea

via Engadget Mobile by Chris Ziegler on 7/21/08

Sorry if we got your hopes up for a second there, AT&Ters; we’re still not sure if this one’s ever coming to the US, and today is most definitely not the day. Instead, the SCH-M480, which appears to be alternately known as the BlackJack III and Ultra Messaging 2, has been launched on Korea’s own SK Telecom for something in the range of 600,000 won (about $592). The Windows Mobile 6 Professional handset is a dead ringer for the i780 that’s been launched for a few months now, featuring a lovely 320 x 320 touchscreen, HSDPA, WiFi, and a 2 megapixel camera; not really a direct successor to the BlackJack II since the latter runs Standard, but we could still see a whole host of folks going for the upgrade — if it ever comes to AT&T, that is.

Separately, Boy Genius Report is claiming that AT&T will be getting its very own BlackJack III come October of this year, albeit with a 3 megapixel camera, up from the 2 megapixel sensor seen here. With these fancy new pink and blue versions of the BlackJack II, though, who the heck needs it? We kid, we kid.

[Via Pocket PC Thoughts]

Read – Ultra Messaging II
Read – US BlackJack III in October?

Samsung issues BlackJack ROM update, sensibility surrenders

Just so we don’t get your hopes up: no, it isn’t a Windows Mobile 6 update, but Samsung has found it within themselves to issue a ROM update for the Cingular BlackJack (Samsung i607) Windows Mobile 5 phone. However, unless you’re having issues with roaming, especially internationally, there isn’t much else to this update besides some new icons for some apps that come bundled with the phone.

Speaking of something to not get excited about though, check out Samsung’s update process. We haven’t seen this many steps for updating a device’s software since… well, probably ever. The update process requires a functioning ActiveSync connection to work, and we haven’t even tried this through alternative syncing systems like Missing Sync for the Mac yet, but venturous updaters be warned: this update completely erases your BlackJack, resetting it to a factory default software state.

That said, go forth and update ye old BlackJacks, especially if roaming has given you more than one headache since the phone debuted last November.

UMPCs upgrade to flash memory, few care

UMPC_flash.jpg

Remember those Ultra-Mobile PCs that had the gadget world all abuzz a while back? Anyone? Okay, they were those reasonably sexy handheld PCs that were sort of in between a portable media player and a laptop. The most notable ones were the Samsung Q1 and Sony’s Vaio UX. At CES, both of those models upgraded their hard disks to lightweight flash memory, which is more durable, works faster, and extends battery life.

The downside is that both the Q1P ($2,000) and the UX Premium ($2,600), as they’re now called, saw their capacities decrease from 40 to 32 GB, and their prices traveled well north of their hard-disk predecessors — showing that flash memory has a ways to go before it supplants hard drives en masse. Still, it makes total sense to have UMPCs make the jump before other PCs, since flash is perfect for gadgets that are always on the go. And it’s not like we were going to buy them anyway.

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