As mentioned earlier, we’ve just gotten our hands on Qualcomm’s latest development platform to see how its first quad core chipset fares. And boy, that APQ8064 really doesn’t disappoint, but it should be no surprise — we’ve already seen how the top dual core S4 chipsets already beat their quad core competitors in certain aspects, so it’s only natural for the quad core S4 Pro to annihilate them. As you can see in our chart after the break, the APQ8064-based MDP easily beat the Tegra 3-based One X and Nexus 7, as well as the Exynos 4412-based Galaxy S III. And partly thanks to the Adreno 320 graphics core, the MDP even scored an astonishing 132fps in our GLBenchmark test, while the quad core Galaxy S III with Mali-400 graphics came second with 99fps, with the remaining devices lingering around 60fps only.
Obviously, the question remains how big of a trade-off there is on battery life in exchange for those two extra cores and the more powerful graphics chip. That said, we have a feeling that Snapdragon’s Krait architecture and asynchronously clocked cores will again prove that Tegra 3′s 4-PLUS-1 design isn’t the best solution for battery efficiency — as many of you might already know. We shall see when APQ8064-based products become available later this year. For now, take a gander at our numbers and photos.
Facebook App Center goes globetrotting with 7 new countries, blankets all of the English-speaking world
Facebook’s App Center is having its passport stamped quite a lot lately. Just days after the HTML5 app portal set foot in the UK, it’s making the leap to seven more countries. Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey will all get a crack at using web apps both on the desktop as well as in the Android and iOS native clients. The new group is coming onboard in the next few weeks. In the meantime, countries where English makes a frequent appearance — Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US — now supply the App Center for every single user. To help speed along the virtual customs claims, Facebook is trotting out a translation tool to get developers on the right track. It shouldn’t be long before App Center is a mainstay of the entire Facebook world, even though we may end up cursing the company after hour three of a Jetpack Joyride marathon.
Coming out of its shell as a possible Kinect foe, SoftKinetic has launched a new range sensor at Computex right on the heels of its last model. Upping the accuracy while shrinking the size, the DepthSense 325 now sees your fingers and hand gestures in crisp HD and as close as 10cm (4 inches), an improvement from the 15cm (6 inches) of its DS311 predecessor. Two microphones are also tucked in, making the device suitable for video conferencing, gaming and whatever else OEMs and developers might have in mind. We haven’t tried it yet, but judging from the video, it seems to hunt finger and hand movements quite competently. Hit the break to see for yourself.
Eric Schmidt was addressing the crowd at Le Web in Paris and recounted a tale when an Android user asked why apps were often written for iOS first, and then ported over to Google’s OS. His response? “My prediction is that six months from now, you’ll say the opposite.” After the uncomfortable silence had died down, he added that Android’s “open” model meant the company had volume on its side — and volume is what he feels will attract developers. He added that Ice Cream Sandwich would redress Android’s device fragmentation and the sheer number of hardware makers would ensure that 2012 would be Google’s year. At which point, everyone in the audience probably went back to their iPadsto read Twitter.
If you’ll rewind your mind in time to earlier this week, you might remember a clever proxy server from @plamoni that enabled Siri’s control of a thermostat through spoken commands. Now, the same bit of engineering has been exploited to enable voice control of third-party applications. In this example, FastPdfKit Reader is manipulated by various commands with SiriProxy acting in the middle. A plugin is used to add new commands to the ones recognized by Siri, and finally, the proxy then sends the final commands to the app. Those hoping to get hacking will find a complete list of instructions from the source link below. For everyone else, you’ll find the true magic after the break.
As if showing up in two of the first four reference devices for Windows on ARM wasn’t enough of an achievement for NVIDIA’s quad-core Kal-El superchip, it decided to visit us in person here at Computex to demonstrate its splendid graphical prowess. Running Android 3.1 on a 10-inch WVGA screen, it gave us a first-hand look at the Glow Ball demo that wowed us in video form just a couple of days ago. What we saw on the dev tablet before us was no less impressive; lighting was being rendered in real time and scattering all over a multiplicity of surfaces, while the cloth simulation was, to use a terrible pun, silky smooth. NVIDIA also ran us through a sightseeing tour of the Unreal Development Kit and Lost Planet 2, noting that the PC game took only a couple of months to port over to work on the Kal-El architecture. Unfortunately, no new details were forthcoming about when Kal-El devices might be coming or what developers we should expect to see coding games and other content to exploit the platform’s evidently mighty capabilities. For now, we’ll just have to sate ourselves with the video after the break.
Nokia transfers Symbian development and 3,000 employees to Accenture, will downsize workforce by further 4,000
Nokia’s already done quite a bit to cut ties with last year’s big push for Symbian and Qt development, though this is perhaps the biggest step yet. The Finnish company has announced it’s transferring responsibility for Symbian development to consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture, which sounds odd given the latter outfit’s inexperience in delivering mobile OS updates, but the good news is that the 3,000 devs Nokia had working on Symbian will continue their jobs under the new employer. That basically means that Nokia will live up to its unhappy promise that there’ll be “substantial reductions in employment” within its own ranks, while still keeping the men and women responsible for updating Symbian employed. Unfortunately, there will still be a further 4,000 job cuts in the company’s global workforce, primarily in Finland, Denmark and the UK, which will “occur in phases” between the beginning and end of next year. Nokia’s agreement with Accenture also involves continued collaboration on delivering mobility software and services on the Windows Phone platform. You can read more about that in the PR after the break.
We’re taking this with a grain of salt, since it applies only to users of the cross-platform Appcelerator Titanium development environment, but it appears that Windows Phone 7 is facing an increasingly uphill battle for mobile mind-share. At this point it should go without saying that a platform lives and dies by its developers and, according to Appcelerator, they’re growing less and less interested in creating apps for Microsoft’s smartphone OS. Only 29-percent of devs responded to the company’s quarterly survey that they were “very interested” in putting their wares on WP7, a fall of 7 points from last quarter and far less than market leaders Android and iOS. News is even worse for RIM, which saw a fall of 11-points in developer interest for BlackBerry, and now trails the folks from Redmond. Again, this survey is based only on the responses of 2,760 developers using a particular product, so we’d refrain from calling the results incontrovertible. Still, it reinforces something that even a casual observer could discern: BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 have a tough row to hoe. Two more charts after the break.
What’s this, you ask? The next generation of Xbox 360 development, that’s what. With a shockingly small amount of fanfare, Microsoft has ushered in a striking new Xbox Development Kit, which is purportedly designed to increase efficiency and reduce cost for Xbox 360 dev teams. Aside from boasting an undisclosed uptick in RAM, built-in flash memory, a more capacious hard drive and a slimmer form factor, this XDK will also be sold at a “significantly reduced price from its predecessor.” ‘Course, the folks in Redmond aren’t saying what exactly that sticker will look like, but those interested in taking the plunge regardless will also have the option to license a Sidecar attachment that enables debugging and disc emulation. We’re told that said accessory can be shared among multiple XDK consoles, and in turn, it should lower the overall price to create, test, debug, and release an Xbox 360 or Xbox Live Arcade game. It’s still a guessing game when it comes to an actual launch date, but it’ll become “the standard kit” when new orders are fulfilled in the future. Feel free to peruse the gallery below if you’re interested, and toss out a wild guess as to what that Sidecar will go for on eBay during the next century. Aim high, bub!