Sunday, September 20, 2009

Consumerism Gone Wild

I'm still comparing smartphones. Because I'm a big dork.

iPhone GSHTC HeroMotorola SholesNokia n900
CPUARM Cortex A8, 600 MHzQualcomm MSM7201A, 528 MHzARM Cortex A8, 600 MHzARM Cortex A8, 600 MHz
GPUPowerVR SGX 535NonePowerVR SGX 530PowerVR SGX
Memory256 MB DRAM288 MB DRAM256 MB DRAM256 MB DRAM
Display320 × 480 LCD320 × 480 LCD854 × 480 LCD800 × 480 LCD
OSiPhone OS 3.1Android 1.5Android 2.0Maemo 5
Market Share60%12%12%<1%
(Subsidized) Price$199$180$199?$649

Judging solely on hardware, the n900, iPhone and Sholes are in a dead heat. The n900 and Sholes will have expandable memory options however, making them more appealing. The Hero completely lacks OpenGL hardware acceleration... a real downer.

I'd like to develop apps on the handset also. Mebbe to distribute or sell... mebbe just for a lark. With the Hero I wouldn't have any graphics acceleration which makes game development a pain in the butt. I don't want to compromise vertex counts and lighting algorithms. As far as market share goes everyone but Maemo comes out just fine... Android and the iPhone will be neck-and-neck in the foreseeable future.

There is also the question of price and carrier. Unless T-Mobile picks up and subsidizes the n900, the price is a bit prohibitive for me. While I don't actually talk on the phone that much (which may seem weird considering I'm so intent on shopping for smartphones) I do want to actually have coverage and intelligible audio, so AT&T is out. Verizon's data plans are too pricey for my liking. This leaves us with Sprint & the Hero.

How freakin' frustrating. I guess we can just wait until October and see how everything pans out, but right now the worst hardware (of the four) is dedicated to the best carrier, and the best hardware is dedicated to the worst carrier(s).


  1. If the Hero has the MSM7201A, shouldn't it also have OpenGL? That's a dual purpose chip. It's the same one that does OpenGL in the Dream and Magic.

  2. Indeed it seems so. In the next post "Arm and a Teg" I found out that the Qualcomm MSM7201A gets anecdotal low marks rendering speed, but Qualcomm claims that it can do 3D acceleration with 4 million triangles per second with a 133 million pixels per second fill rate. It might be a driver problem others are complaining about. The acceleration does appear slowish however, and it doesn't do the tile-based rendering which is so nice.

  3. Just edited the fact sheet - turns out the Sprint Hero uses Android 1.5 with a backport of the CDMA functionality from 1.6.


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