20
Aug 11

Android Moment

Last weekend after I had after boarding a Jet Lite flight at Guwahati, I noticed the gentlemen on the aisle seat pull out a Galaxy S. He did not seem to be the usual tech savvy person I would have expected to see with a high end android phone. I little later I noticed a younger girl with a Xperia X10 mini  on the other aisle seat in my row.. This made four android phones in a row of 6 people, this after counting my Galaxy S and wife’s Galaxy 3 Apollo.

Only a couple of days back, the tenant at my father’s house in Guwahati was talking about buying a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not buy a iPad2.

All this time, I was under the impression that Android phones were becoming a hit only with the tech savvy folks in bigger cities. It is common to see plenty of folks with Android phones at my office in Bangalore. In a place like Guwahati and other smaller cities where feature phones still rule and where Nokia is still a very strong brand, I was not expecting to see Android making such a headway.

This is the Android moment.

The mainstream tech press hails Android as a success because it now sells more than iPhone in US. But can the Android phone makers get a true mass market phone for places like India.

What would it take for a successful mass selling Android phone in India –

Price should be sub-5K INR, a capacitive screen, a processor adequate to make the UI responsive without lag and at least 5 day standby without mobile data. All fancy features can be cut, as long as the phone is not crippled by a underpowered CPU and badly customised OS.  Think like GPS, 3G , even wifi  can be skipped to keep the cost down. At this time 3G services in India is a sham, too expensive and cant do much with the crippled metered plans.

 


01
Aug 11

Finding Tablet Optimized Android Apps

In the last one week since I got the Asus Transformer Honeycomb tablet, I have really struggled to locate tablet optimized apps in Android Market.

Tablified []is a site that should make it easier for folks like us to find Android Tablet optimized apps.  the good folks at Tabifier has a link to submit apps that are tablet optimized.

tablified-tablet-apps-for-android-mozilla-firefox_001


12
Jul 11

Intel X25-V vs Crucial M4-Read Only Benchmark – Ubuntu Linux 11.04

Results of read-only comparison between between Intel X25-V SSDSA2M040G2GC and Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 solid state disk drives (SSD).

Test System

Phenom II X6 1055, 8 GB DDR3 1600, 890 GX board SATA3 6 Gbps

Ubuntu Linux 11.04 default kernel – Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:24 UTC 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Gnome Disk Utility Read Benchmark

Intel X25-V
SSDSA2M040G2GC
Crucial M4
CT064M4SSD2
Disk Capacity40 GB60 GB
SATA InterfaceSATA 2 - 3 GbpsSATA 3 - 6 Gbps
Minimum Read177.6 MB/s543.4 MB/s
Maximum Read282.3 MB/s554.7 MB/s
Average Read267.3 MB/s547.1 MB/s
Average Access Time0.1 ms0.1 ms
 

Crucial M4

Crucial M4 

Intel X25V

Intel X25V

 

hdparm Read Benchmark

Intel X25-V SSDSA2M040G2GC SSD:

~$ sudo sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda

/dev/sda:

Timing cached reads: 6686 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3344.10 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 1408 MB in 3.00 seconds = 468.82 MB/sec

Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 SSD:

~$ sudo sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sdb

/dev/sdb:

Timing cached reads: 6726 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3363.65 MB/sec

Timing buffered disk reads: 552 MB in 3.00 seconds = 183.86 MB/sec

 


27
Dec 10

Benchmarked WD Green 1TB 64MB vs Seagate 7200.12 1TB 32MB on Ubuntu Linux

Results of read-only comparison between between Western Digital WD10EARS-00Y5B1 and Seagate ST31000358AS hard disk drives (HDD).

Test System

Phenom II X6 1055, 8 GB DDR3 1600, 890 GX board SATA3 6 Gbps

Linux Mint (Ubuntu 10.10) – Kernel  2.6.35-23-generic #41-Ubuntu SMP Wed Nov 24 11:55:36 UTC 2010 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Gnome Disk Utility Read Benchmark

WD Green 1 TB WD10EARS-00Y5B1 Seagate 7200.12 1 TB ST31000358AS
Disk Capacity1 TB1 TB
Disk Cache64 MB32 MB
Rotation Speed less than 7200 rpm (variable)7200 rpm
Advanced FormatYesNo
Minimum Read48.7 MB/s67.6 MB/s
Maximum Read117.6 MB/s133.5 MB/s
Average Read86.9 MB/s107.8 MB/s
Average Access Time14.7 ms13.7
wd-green-1tb

Western Digital Green 1 TB

st-7200-12-1tb

Seagate ST7200-12 1 TB

hdparm Read Benchmark

Western Digital WD10EARS-00Y5B1 hdd
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
/dev/sda:
Timing cached reads: 6714 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3358.17 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 326 MB in 3.01 seconds = 108.40 MB/sec

 

Seagate ST31000358AS hdd
$ sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sdb
/dev/sdb:
Timing cached reads: 6786 MB in 2.00 seconds = 3394.21 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 374 MB in 3.01 seconds = 124.25 MB/sec

Temperature

The Seagate ST31000358AS  hdd is cooler on my test set-up with temperature going up to +10 C above ambient, while the Western Digital Green WD10EARS-00Y5B1 hdd going up top +13 C over the ambient temperature.

Conclusion

The Seagate drive is significantly faster than the WD Green drive of the same capacity. The Seagate drive though is faster, but is  noisy –  when the spindle spins the noise can be annoying at time. WD Green is whisper  quiet and consumes less power. The WD Green hdd is slightly warmer in operation compared to the Seagate 7200.12.

My recommendation is the WD Green HDD WD10EARS-00Y5B1, the speed is adequate for a average desktop, low power and silent. If you are looking for performance use this WD Green WD10EARS-00Y5B1 with a SSD as a boot disk.


25
Dec 10

OlivePad VT-1000 – 7 inch Android 2.2 Tablet Hands-on Review

P1020052 (Modified)

OlivePad VT1000

OlivePad VT1000 is a seven inch Android 2.2 Tablet computer from India based Olive Telecom.

OlivePad has been selling for a  few months now, but it has not been able to create the interest Notion Ink has been able to generate  on its yet to be released Adam tablet.   I had been on a hunt for a decent Android Tablet for many weeks and never came across the OlivePad until one day saw one on eBay India.   This led me to Olive Telecom’s website where I found out that OlivePad is available on retail at Croma stores across India.  I picked up my OlivePad from the new Croma Store on the Outer Ring Road in Bangalore for INR 23999 (cheaper than the online prices at eBay.in).

This review is based on my hands on experience of using the OlivePad in the last three weeks.  My familiarity with Android devices which includes a Samsung Galaxy S phone running Android 2.2, a Samsung Galaxy 3 that my wife owns.  In between I also used a ten inch Chinese Apad ZT180 tablet running  Android 2.1.

Lets begin the review  with the Quick Specs of the Olive Pad VT1000.

OSAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Processor ARM11 600MHz
Chipset Qualcomm MSM7227
Battery Li Polymer 3240 mAh
Screen 7 inch 800x400 LCD with Capacitive Touch screen
Connectivity 802.11bg wifi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, GPS, GSM, 3G
Memory 512 MB RAM
Storage 512 MB built in Flash, and my unit came bundled with a 16 GB micro-SD card
Camera Rear 3 mega pixel, front VGA
Audio microphone, stereo speakers, 3.5 mm stereo audio out
Others G-sensor, e-compass, ambient light sensor.

Hardware and Build

Design

The Olive Tab is rectangular with glass in front with a shiny black plastic in the rear. The sides are aluminum. The sides are not tapered like the Galaxy Tab which makes it look thicker. Nevertheless it’s comfortable to hold. The key here is the 7 inch form factor that is small enough to hold with hone hand. At 380 gm it’s not comfortable holding it for  long duration. However, its much comfortable using the OlivePad tablet  with the leather diary  styled jacket.

Processor Speed and Responsiveness

OlivePad comes with a 600 MHz ARM11 processor. The Tablet is  very responsive and I do not find any perceptible real world difference between the Galaxy S and the OlivePad in terms of responsiveness. However, ARM11 on paper appears slower compared to Cortex A8 chips being used in most recent Android Tablet, and not to mention the upcoming dual core Cortex A9 chips like the Nvidia Tegra2. Bottom line, the ARM11 chip in the OlivePd is adequate to give a very good user experience.

Storage and Memory

The SIM card and the SD card slots can be accessed from the side.OlivePad came bundles with a 16 GB microSD card. The internal flash is just 512 MB, which just leaves 173 MB for user applications. I wish OlivePad had at least  1 or 2 GH internal flash storage. With Froyo apps can be moved to the SD card, but still a lot of junk accumulates in the internal flash storage. The RAM is 512 MB is  adequate and at par with most of the high end Android tablets or phones.

Screen

The screen at best can be called average.   It looks nice  and vibrant when looking straight, but at the slightest angle the colours start getting weird. It indicates a cheap TN panel. I am not saying that it is not usable, but this no iPAD IPS panel or the Galaxy S Super AMOLED display.  Fonts look good and crisp providing a good web browsing experience and reading eBooks is a good experience. I would suggest giving the bundled Aldiko reader the skip and installing FBReader or Cool Reader from the market.

Audio

Two speakers have been places on the top and the bottom side of OlivePad. The speaks are excellent for the form factor.  These are clear and loader than the average tablet speaker and better than some Netbook speaker. a +1 to Olive Telecom fro this.  This is a great when playing games and  I can even dare to watch YouTube videos without a headphone.

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