Skip to comments.Motorola Droid X: Thoroughly Reviewed ( AnandTech goes deep under the cover for the details )
Posted on 07/21/2010 12:22:30 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
You have to hand it to Motorola; as little as a year ago their future looked bleak. Android was still in its infancy and lacking polish, mainstream devices running it were few, and there werent public or visible signs of any forthcoming devices which would challenge the dominance of BlackBerry or iOS, especially from Motorola.
A few months later, they launched the Motorola Droid, and a few months after the floodgates opened up - out has poured a steady stream of relatively polished devices running Android 2.x.
Its been breakneck almost, with new flagships every 3 months on average - the latest is Motorolas Droid X on Verizon - henceforth just 'X.'
You also have to hand it to Verizon for getting its act together. Previously, they were infamous for crippling device hardware and OSes - the Touch Pro notoriously lacked an entire row of keys, and half the RAM. Their smartphone lineup also used to consist entirely of BlackBerries and Windows Mobile devices. Thats all changed.
Since the first Motorola Droid, theyve been probably the single most vocal proponent of Android, embracing and billing their lineup of Droids as serious iPhone alternatives. The unique combination of being the largest carrier and the largest 3G footprint (and the perception of having above average coverage) has resulted in massive growth of the Android platform. Thats definitely a turnaround for two giants.
Eight months after launch, the Motorola Droid is now a relatively old piece of kit. Its amazing how fast the market is moving - the fact that an 8 month old handset is now obsolete is a testament to just how breakneck this pace is.
(Excerpt) Read more at anandtech.com ...
I think these smartphones are getting into a Pentium class of processor...
Texas Instruments move from the OMAP 3430, used in phones like the Palm Pre, to the OMAP 3630 used in the Droid X is reminiscent of this sort of steady progress I mentioned above.
The OMAP 3430 was built on a 65nm process (like Qualcomm's Snapdragon), while the 3630 is a 45nm shrink (like Apple's A4). Architecturally the two SoCs are very similar. They both use a standard ARM Cortex A8 CPU paired with an Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 530 GPU. The two SoCs fit in the same size package (12mm x 12mm BGA) and are ball compatible. If a customer wanted to, it could simply drop in a 3630 into an existing 3430 design with minimal engineering efforts.
Note that the most direct competitor to the 3630 is Qualcomms Snapdragon. While TI uses a standard Cortex A8 core from ARM, Qualcomm designed its own low power ARMv7 based core that is similar, but not identical to the Cortex A8. Both are dual-issue, in-order architectures - theyre like the original Pentium, but in your phone. Qualcomm also integrated the cellular modem into the Snapdragon SoC while TIs OMAP 3 is a strict application processor - the modem is housed in a separate chip.
On the CPU side TI doubled the L1 cache of the 3430 to 64KB (32KB instruction, 32KB data). The L2 cache remains unchanged at 256KB. We wont get a larger L2 until the OMAP 4, which will ship with a 1MB L2 shared among its two cores. There are the usual tweaks and bug fixes which may improve performance per clock a little bit over the 3430, but overall the 3630 just gets a larger L1 as a result of the die shrink - oh and a much higher clock speed.
The Cortex A8 now runs at up to 1GHz. The OMAP 3430 topped out at 800MHz in shipping configurations but most vendors ran it at sub-600MHz speeds to save power. The 3630 in the Droid X runs at a full 1GHz. It's worth pointing out that Qualcomm was able to hit 1GHz on a similar architecture at 65nm by designing its core from the ground up. There's clearly value in these custom designs from a performance and time to market standpoint. These advantages will only become more critical as the SoC performance wars heat up.
I switched over to Verizon just for the Droid X. It is amazing.
The iPhone is great but Motorola is back to being the KING
Actually think I might save a few bucks and have something much more useful...the video cam is very interesting.
We cut our landlines back in 2002.
I’m old and slow.....LOL!
I checked out a Droid X yesterday at Verizon. The screen is the size of my entire blackberry and the GPS was just outstanding. Other features looks pretty cool too.
For all the hype Android 2.2 gets, it still isn’t delivered on the flagship Android phones. It’s not even likely that phones that came out late last year will ever get the update. Even Apple, not known for extending backwards compatibility all that far, supports last year’s iPhone with iOS 4.
Droid X does run Android 2.2....so which phones are the Flagship Android phones?
None of the latest high-speed Android phones are shipped with 2.2, including the Droid X, Incredible, Ally, EVO and Galaxy S. Even this review was done with 2.1. I don't count being able to roll your own 2.2, which puts your phone in an unsupported configuration.
Gee. I have never even owned a cell phone of ancient vintage.
A lot of chip makers seem to have gotten Intrinsity’s speed-enhancing technology for this generation of mobile processors. Sounds right, as Intrinsity would want to license its technology as widely as possible to make the most money.
But then Apple bought Intrinsity, and I don’t think they’re in a sharing mood for the next generation of mobile processors. It’s going to get interesting.
I wonder whether the Apple-bashing Microsofties will complain about Windows Phone 7's lack of copy/paste (Microsoft says you don't need it) and app multitasking. Or will that suddenly be okay on a phone?
I think Samsung still has some vested interest in the company, I could be wrong it’s been a while since I read about it.
My wife has a Vibrant coming in the mail, I’m looking forward to putting it through the paces. Fastest processor and GPU on the market with nothing scheduled to match it until the end of the year.
Any antenna problems?
Study up before you get anything....I have been down two wrong paths now.
The Vibrant will be powered by Android 2.1 with Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 user interface.
Intrinsity tech is in the latest Samsung chips, and Samsung fabs the Apple A4, too. In fact, the A4 looks a lot like a tweaked version of the Samsung Hummingbird chip that's in your wife's phone. Sorry, she doesn't have the fastest processor.
However, her phone will run slower than an iPhone until your carrier releases Android 2.2. Much of Android's slowness, and a reason why the iPhone beats all Android phones in the benchmarks, is because Android apps run in a Java virtual machine, and Android didn't implement JIT compiling (a major speed booster) until 2.2.
Anyway did find this review at Anantech also:
Saumitra Bhagwat on 6/23/2010 1:03:00 AM
Since last year, the Android platform has seen a string of sugary, feature-filled updates starting with Cupcake (v1.5), followed by Donut (v1.6) and finally Éclair (v2.0/2.1) in November 2009. Each release has effectively addressed bugs and has introduced several new features like UI tweaks, Exchange support, HTML5 support and so on. Android v2.2 continues the tradition of the confectionary-themed nomenclature and is codenamed Froyo; short for Frozen Yogurt if you didn't know. The new features and improvements in Froyo arent exactly groundbreaking by themselves, but in the grand scheme of things, theyve made Android an extremely refined, usable and robust OS that is a real alternative to other mobile operating systems out today. Couple this with manufacturers like HTC churning out some seriously capable hardware and youve got the best version of Android to date. Read on for the full review!
Android 2.2 isn't officially available on any device today. The only things floating around are leaked builds that aren't final. The closest you can get is the leaked Android 2.2 build available for the Google Nexus One on T-Mobile. It is feature complete and polished enough to upgrade as if it were final. Even AT&T Nexus One users don't have a simple path to upgrading yet - without rooting. In the coming months we expect to see the major Android devices get 2.2 (e.g. the Nexus One and the Motorola Droid) while towards the end of the year HTC users will finally be able to jump on board.
This staggered deployment is an unfortunate side effect of Google's Android customization strategy that allows handset vendors to ship with their own customized versions of the OS. While that's great for differentiation, it also means that there will be an inevitable delay between when a major OS revision is released and when it'll be implemented across the board. That being said, it is part of the Android appeal.
by sm on Jun.22, 2010,
Nexus One owners can now get the latest pre-release Froyo serving directly from Google. This is a rapid follow-up to version FRF50 that was leaked just a couple of weeks ago, appearing on XDA. All signs are pointing to an imminent official release.
Whats coming in Froyo?
If you are the adventurous kind you can easily install this latest version without rooting your phone. The file name of the update (signed-passion-FRF72-from-FRF50) suggests that you can only install FRF72 over FRF50 though. I cannot confirm this since I had already flashed my N1 to FRF50 and the update to FRF72 was easy as always.
The performance improvement is noticeable. My battery seems to last longer as well no more inter-day topping off required. However, my favorite new feature by far is WiFi tethering. No more hunting for free WiFi, just turn your phone into your private hotspot. Im very curious to see how and if the major carriers (Verizon & ATT) are going to embrace this. New bandwidth capping plans seem to indicate that they are already preparing for this feature.
****** Proceed at your own risk all the usual warnings and disclaimers apply ******
I’ll take your advice.
Just curious, what processor is faster?
I just got home, my wife has her new Vibrant.
It is night and day better than my phone. I’m going to have phone envy for a year.
The screen is spectacular!
I know it will be better with the upgrade to Android 2.2 but the thing is FAST now.
That was one of the most giddy, drooling paid advertorials I’ve ever read. And people talk about Apple fanboys, lol.
Yes, really. Especially considering what followed that bit of prolonged wanking from way back in February ... the Microsoft Kin, what a flop. Sold less that a thousand nationwide before being pulled in humilation. Same social networking weirdness on the Kin as was slavered in this advertorial.
We don't know enough details, but on paper they're almost the same design so should be pretty close in performance. They run at the same speed, the CPU cores on the chips are pretty much the same (Intrinsity/Samsung Cortex A8), and I think the GPU is the same. The main difference is the arrangement and connection of components on the chip. For example, I heard Apple pumped up the memory bandwidth and added cache. I don't think Apple's purchases of Intrinsity and PA Semi were long enough before the iPhone/iPad to make significant Apple-directed contributions.
But the fact that iOS apps compile native and Android compiles Java bytecode hurts the performance of any current Android phone. OS X also has a lot of GPU-accelrated functions, like for animations (moving things on the screen, fades, flips, etc.) developers leverage the Core Animation library, which is automatically GPU-accelerated.
Just my guess, an iPhone should be a bit faster than a Hummingbird Android phone. That gap should narrow after the Android phones are upgraded to 2.2 with JIT compiling (but note that you get JIT at the expense of memory and storage space).
I can't see how it's appealing to wait months after an OS release for your carrier to finally get around to updating your phone, if they do at all. Remember, I say that as an Android user.
That’s one down, two months after the OS release. And that’s an easy one because it’s Google’s own pretty stock Android setup. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for other phones like HTC’s since those are quite customized with things such as HTC Sense.
I do know it has a newer GPU with better performance than the motorolla or apple phones.
I thought that the iphone 4 ran the CPU slower than 1 ghz. I read that on a tech blog, so if you have a better source of info, I wouldn’t disagree with you.
I have read that there will be a big difference between android 2.1 and 2.2.
“Especially considering what followed that bit of prolonged wanking from way back in February “
BTW, next time, have the consideration to ping me.
“the Microsoft Kin, what a flop.”
Never owned a microsoft phone of any flavor, never wanted one.
We do own 3 ipod touchs, 1 ipod clasic, 2 ipod nano’s and an apple laptop, I’m still not sure why you have a burr up you butt.
Both run at 1 GHz. For the exact GPUs, now you're making me do research. It's kind of fun, a learning experience here. Found it. The Hummingbird has a PowerVR SGX540 vs. the A4 PowerVR SGX535. Don't let the small number difference fool you, since 540 pushes twice the polygons per second. However, the A4 adds a PowerVR VXD375, which is apparently a dedicated hardware video encoder/decoder. This would probably be why iMovie can edit HD video with only a 1 GHz ARM processor.
So, for games the Hummingbird probably easily beats an iPhone. But for video the iPhone probably wins, especially when you take battery life into account.
I have read that there will be a big difference between android 2.1 and 2.2.
Memory and storage use will go up, and initial app start times will go up, but app performance should also go up quite a bit (to varying degrees, depending on the app). Also, apps will have to be modified in order to take full advantage of JIT, so don't expect immediate improvement for everything.
The increased memory and storage requirements are likely why many phones sold up until only a few months ago will not be officially upgraded to 2.2. And people complained about iOS 4 not being supported on the original iPhone that was discontinued two years ago.
Tmobile has announced an upgrade for the original Mytouch 3G to Android 2.2. I think it is the second oldest Android phone on the market. I have one of those, I’m curious if it will help or hurt performance.
I like Tmobile, I wouldn’t change service for a specific phone but yesterday Engadget reported “inside sources” claiming that there is an 80% chance of the iPhone coming to Tmobile this fall. I’m not sure what that means but it would make things interesting.
I don’t have a “burr” up my butt. You asked “really?” and I explained why.
Ping you? I was responding to you in that reply.
But, just in case, here's a courtesy ping:
Is that better?
Ah, I think I see now. Your post was directly after mine talking about seeing my wife’s new phone. You did not reply to me, you replied to Ernest.
My bad. I couldn’t figure out what you had against me. I guess you have this now.
No harm no foul, I thought it was sort of funny actually.
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