Lab Update: The Pre, Nokia and Intel, SSDs and Moreby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 24, 2009 6:00 PM EST
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My head has been deep in testing and writing for these past couple of weeks but I managed to get my head above water enough to provide an update on what I'm working on.
The Pre Update
I have to give it to Palm, releasing two OS updates since the Pre was launched does show commitment to the platform. I've been working on the iPhone 3GS review and I already miss using the Pre regularly. While I was running battery life tests on the 3GS I got to switch back to the Pre as my primary phone and immediately recognized three things:
1) I miss background applications/multitasking.
2) The Pre is noticeably slower than the 3GS
3) I miss the iPhone App store and its apps when I'm on the Pre.
I think the Pre is quite compelling. I'm guessing it's one major update away from a significant performance update. I've even found that web browser performance is far closer between the 3GS and the Pre on webOS 1.0.3 than it was on 1.0.2 (you'll see results in the 3GS review). I'm very, very eager to see where the Pre is in 6 months. For Sprint's sake, I would hope that Palm can get everything worked out and polished before the carrier exclusivity agreement is up.
I have heard about the HTC Hero and if I could get a good contact over there I'd like to look at the Hero and its installation of Android. Between Palm, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Apple, I'm really curious to see how many players the smartphone market can really support in the long run.
Nokia and Intel
Yesterday I spent some time on a conference call with Intel and Nokia. They didn't really say much other than they've formed a close partnership. They've agreed to work on mobile platforms together (Netbooks, MIDs and smartphones), Moblin (Intel's mobile Linux distribution) and Nokia has agreed to license their 3G/HSDPA modem technology to Intel.
The first part means we'll probably see some sweet smartphone designs based on Atom and its platforms.The Moblin announcement means that we'll see Moblin on some of these new Intel based Nokia devices. And the last part means that Intel will be able to offer an Atom platform or SoC with integrated 3G modem functionality. Remember that Samsung, Toshiba and other ARM partners can already offer this sort of support in their SoCs so Intel is simply trying to build a similarly stacked deck.
Realistically, Intel is still at least 2 years away from being in something like the Pre or the iPhone, but it's getting there.
It's a Mac Sort of Week
I'm out of the office for the rest of this week but I'm working on wrapping up two major projects: the 3GS review and my Nehalem Mac Pro article. The latter is pretty unique since we managed to upgrade the CPUs in the Mac Pro, which proved to be much more complicated than you'd think at first.
EVGA also sent me their new GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition that I'm going to start work on next week. I would've gotten to it earlier but my head has been in the smartphone clouds for longer than I expected.
The WePC Update
For the past two weeks my posts over at WePC mirrored much of my life on AnandTech. Last week I talked about Apple's new MacBook Pro and the end of removable batteries in notebooks. This week the topic of conversation was gaming on smartphones. When I was little I used to carry a Gameboy with me on trips but I never carry my PSP or Nintendo DS when I'm out and about these days. If my smartphone becomes the next portable gaming platform of choice then I'd be quite content.
SSDs and Ion
I haven't forgotten about the SSD stuff, you may have even seen a sneak preview of some numbers in my recent MacBook Pro update from the top three contenders in the market. The smartphone and Mac stuff has pushed it back a bit but I also haven't come to any significant enough conclusions on changes to the market. The way I see it is this:
1) The X25-M continues to be my top pick.
2) The Samsung based drives (e.g. Corsair 256GB) offer great compatibility (that's a newer version of what Apple uses in its MacBook lineup) but their worst case performance isn't as good as the Indilinx or Intel drives. This won't be an issue for everyone but it does leave a sour taste in my mouth.
3) The Indilinx based drives (e.g. OCZ Vertex) seem to provide the best of both worlds between the X25-M and the Samsung based drives. You get higher peak transfer rates (like the Samsung) but you get better random write performance (like the X25-M).
Things haven't changed too much but TRIM is just around the corner...
I've also been playing with ASRock's Ion system as well. It's good to see more Ion based systems around, and ASRock is delivering something different enough from the Zotac Ion that it deserves some attention.
That's it for now - have a great week guys :)