According to a report by AnandTech, Appleâ€™s new A5 System on a Chip (SoC) includes a more powerful PowerVR SGX 543MP2 instead of the PowerVR SGX 535 used in the original A4.
Architecturally the 543MP2 has more than twice the compute horsepower of the SGX 535 used in Apple’s A4. Each shader pipeline can execute twice the number of instructions per clock as the SGX 535, and then there are four times as many pipes in an SGX 543MP2 as there are in a 535. There are also efficiency improvements as well. Hidden surface removal works at twice the rate in the 543MP2 as it did in the 535. There’s also a big boost in texture filtering performance.
AnandTech conducted GLBenchmark 2.0 tests to find out the triangle throughput tests and observed that iPad 2 delivered results 3 to 5 times faster than iPad 1 and 2 to nearly 7 times faster than Motorola Xoom.
AnandTech also found that iPad 2 ran at 5.4 times the framerate of iPad 1, which grows to 7 times if anti-aliasing is turned on and 3.7 times the framerate of the Xoom.
The Pro tests showed a 3 to 5 times performance improvement compared to iPad 1.
To understand what it means from a user point of view, checkout the in-game screenshots of Infinity Blade iPad game by Epic Games optimized for iPad 2. You can see the improvement in graphics quality on iPad 2 compared to iPad 1:
If there were any doubts, the results clearly show that Appleâ€™s new A5 chip blows away Nvidiaâ€™s Tegra 2 chip that powers Motorola Xoom, which will also be used in a number of tablets that will be released this year such as Dell Streak 7, G-Slate, Acer ICONIA Tab A500, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Asus Eee Pad Slider.
We expect the new A5 chip with the more powerful PowerVR SGX 543MP2 to used in the next generation iPhone â€“ iPhone 5.
Are you still thinking of buying a Tegra 2 powered tablet instead of iPad 2?
CE manufacturers are scared. They’re scared of competition, they’re scared of unique designs, and they’re scared, most of all, to ship. Take the RIM Playbook, for example. As Jim Dalrymple points out, RIM first announced the Playbook in September 2010. Then it announced a 4G version in January and then 4G LTE, HSPA+ and Mobile WiMAX models this month. RIM, in short, released three products that don’t exist. Jim calls the Playbook vaporware but, given what we’ve seen, it’s a real product that just hasn’t rolled through RIMs front doors yet.
So it’s been six months since RIM announced their device and two months since Motorola announced the Xoom. HP still hasn’t shipped the TouchPad, either. Every tablet you saw at MWC this year is shipping “later this year” and the only sure thing is probably the iPad 2 and that doesn’t even exist yet.
There are a few reasons while CE manufacturers are so cautious. First, Apple has the tablet component market sewn up. An entrepreneur I talked to in China described the difficulty he still has buying touchscreens that are worth a darn. The real reason most of the current tablets are 7 inches? Because Apple bought up all of the 10-inch capacitive touchscreen stock and if they didn’t then they drove the price too high for smaller orders. There is no way to dabble in the market without paying a premium.
Then, even when they do ship, there is no guarantee of user acceptance. Look at the horrible reviews the Dell Streak 7 received (although I thought it was an acceptable device.) Why? Because it was designed and built to beat the current iPad, not future devices, and it was built without Honeycomb in mind. Google clearly runs at its own pace as well and if there’s one thing CE manufacturers aren’t good at it’s predicting the future. Therefore they release product that was finished eight months before launch and not signed off on until the CEO gets up in front of the press and announces the actual launch. And those products took a full year to design in the first place. So you have a device that’s already a year and a half old before it’s even announced. Add a few months of run up time to that and you’re basically buying a two year old device.
So what about Playbook and Touchpad? Well, obviously these companies just can’t pull together the resources to build and ship products that they have no guarantee of selling. They’re waiting for the other iPad shoe to drop and they’re waiting for the market to firm up so people actually have the cash to buy their wares. They’re waiting for linnets and planets to fall like rain. They’re waiting and waiting. They’re waiting for, it seems, the rebirth of wonder. And it’s getting pretty tiring.
How about shipping, guys? People clearly are interested in these things and the sooner they hit the shelves the better, even if it allows you to move on from a dud and on to another device. Some devices should never ship in the first place. But we’re getting to the point where gear folks like Samsung, HTC, RIM, and HP are pretending to offer isn’t worth waiting for and consumers will figure that out sooner or later. Without product on the streets, Dalrymple is correct: it’s all vaporware.
The big product launch this week was Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad publication, The Daily. On this episode of Fly or Die, CrunchGear editor John Biggs and I weigh in on its prospects for survival. We also discuss Clicker’s iPhone app and the Dell Streak 7 tablet, and we are joined by a surprise guest from one of the companies whose products we evaluate.
While The Daily not exactly the direction I would have taken, it’s paywall is easily circumvented, and it does take forever to load, it is very well packaged and a truly immersive experience. When I read it, I spend a considerable amount of time in the app flipping through pages to see what else is in store. And I’m a former magazine guy who’s given up on magazines, so that’s saying a lot. Biggs also finds it intriguing.
The Daily is light but informative, the way that you’d imagine Time or Newsweek should be on the iPad (it’s really more of a daily news magazine than a newspaper). There is some serious on-the street journalism from Egypt mixed with human interest stories and fluff, but there are always a few articles worth reading. The photos and videos make it a pleasurable visual experience. With $30 million already sunk into the project and an operating budget of $500,000 a week, you’d expect no less. It’s main weakness, other than the app being a bit slow and clunky, is that it seems to ignore the Web other than for sharing stories with other people. There are no links in the articles, and no social streams of curated news or realtime updates. It lacks the immediacy of a blog or Twitter, or even of a news website. We get into all this in the video.
Next we pick on Clicker, the guide for video on both TV and the Web. The app lets you look up shows, check-in to them, and see what your friends and other people are saying about them. I like the fact that it is agnostic about whether a show is on TV or on the Web, it just helps you find it, but I think it could do a better job on showing realtime Tweets about a show.
The Dell Streak, well, what can I say? It’s most redeeming feature is its Gorilla Glass screen. When I tried to smash it against the table, it didn’t even get a scratch. I hope you enjoy this episode. Tell us in comments what products you’d like us to review next week.
The tried-and-true 7-inch tablet is, by now, old hat. In fact, little about the Dell Streak 7 is new except the clear emphasis on media playback and T-Mobile’s 4G wireless. On the aggregate, I’d say that this is a strong showing for Dell but does just enough to stand out from the current tablet crowd.
Source: Review: Dell Streak 7
Back in about 2002 or so when Toshiba and a few others tried to sell tablets to businesses and consumers. This was around when Bill Gates was flogging Windows Tablet PC Edition and we all realized that tablets weren’t quite the trick. Among those tablets were the so-called convertibles – laptops that folded around to become thick tablets. When you wanted to tap on the screen you could and when you wanted to type you could do that, too. They were awful.
Now, suddenly, Dell comes out with the Duo and Apple is patenting something that looks like a MacBook Air with a clever folding screen. Sadly, the Duo is a dud and the Apple patents probably won’t make it to market, but here’s what I’d like to see in the convertible department.
There are some times when you totally need a keyboard. I’d love to see a MacBook Air or Vostro-sized tablet with a slide down keyboard that can also act as a stand. Obviously the stand would have to be able to support the thin piece of glass that is the screen, but the goal would be to add a very thin, very light keyboard to an equally thin and light tablet device.
The problem with most convertibles was an untoward attraction to legacy ports and parts. They were there because laptop manufacturers felt that users needed to have an Ethernet port hanging out in their convertibles like an gaping abscess. This is no longer the case. Something like the Dell Streak melded to a nice, full slide-down keyboard would be ideal and it would force manufacturers to really think about tablet usability versus laptop usability.
This is not to say that the traditional-style convertible doesn’t have a place. I’m sure someone thinks they need it. I’d just like the 7-inch plus tablets to go the way of smartphones like the Droid and offer a physical keyboard plus an on-screen keyboard. It makes sense and it would change the tablet use case immensely.
Will this ever happen? Most probably. Dell kind of did it with the ultra-light Duo and there’s no telling what HP is working on with Palm. Things are looking up, especially when compared to the dark days of the proto-convertibles back at the turn of the century.
Streak is clever device, but with its 5-inch screen, a touch on
the large size for a phone and a touch on the small size for
tablet. Still, a good amount swear by it saying it’s the best
of both — like this commercial. It cleverly shows all the
usefulness that comes with the larger screen like games,
navigation, Facebook, video capture — really everything
— but in true marketing fashion, does so without showing the
downside transporting the large device.
Not that you can blame them, though. It’s the job of
marketing to point out all the pros while minimizing the cons.
Still, a 5-inch slate might seem like a great product until you try
to put it in your pant’s pocket. Or in the cup holder of your
car. Or in a shirt pocket. Or on your hip in a holster. Yeah, the
Streak is a clever device, but it’s also a big device. Your
call whether it’s a pro or a con. The commercial after the
break will try to sway you to the former though.