Friday, November 26, 2010

Google Nexus S: dual-core 1 GHz processor, Android 2.3

UPDATE: Nope, not dual core. Komugi-san is giving it a pass.

Someone leaked the details of Samsung's Nexus S to XDA Developers. Sounding pretty good. Oh, and we now it seems gingerbread will in fact be 2.3 as opposed to 3.0.
  • Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • Dual Core Orion 1GHz CortexA9 (most likely)
  • Open GL ES Supported
  • 512 or 328MB Ram (Not 100% known)
  • 1GB or 2GB Internal Memory (Not 100% known)
  • 800×480 Screen Resolution
  • 4″ Screen Size
  • SuperAmoled2 – Possibly
  • 720P HD Video
I am keenly interested to hear how Google handles the Nexus S. So the nexus one was a bit of a failure business model wise. Of course, cutting out the carriers and buying the handset you want and then choosing the carrier would be great... in a perfect world. In this world...

The problem that we need to overcome is being dependent on the carriers to push updates. Case is point is the ht-03a, which I purchased just over a year ago. Before I had even owned it for a year, it became clear that Docomo was giving up on it. Docomo will still provide repair support but there is no indication they will update it to 2.2, even though HTC finally released an official version for the HTC Magic, which also includes a new bootloader and radio that gives an extra 15 MB of RAM to make Froyo run much more smoothly.

(To be fair, I would have no intention of accepting the OTA update even if Docomo pushed it because I prefer to do it myself with a custom ROM, but of course I (and many of you) are the minority. Most people don't want to think about updating their phone, or fixing permissions, or flashing radios and bootloaders, or debugging issues with the latest, bleeding edge experimental build.)

Apple has done it right, in some respects. Apple provides the updates regardless of carrier. Google does the same for Nexus one owners. Hopefully the with the Nexus S as well, consumers won't be dependent on carriers to push updates. Let's face it, it is not in the best financial interest of the carrier to keep your old phone running the latest and greatest OS. They want to sell you phones, especially in Japan (see the end of this post for background or handset sales and carriers).

And one more thing, the Samsung Galaxy Tab went on sale today on Docomo. I popped into a shop quickly and confirmed that it would be in excess of 40,000 yen for an existing customer who keeps their number and enters a 2-year contract with subsidy. If you paid in 24 installments, you could get it for about 1500 yen out of pocket with around that amount added to your monthly bill. If you have enough Docomo points, you can get it with nothing up front.


  1. To be fair the carriers really do have everybody involved in handset development by the balls.

    Dell, for example, promised in June-ish the Streak would be available subsidized from ATT for $250, or direct from Dell unlocked for $500. Oops, looks like ATT didn't like customers having the option to cut them out of the picture. Turns out its direct from dell, still locked to ATT, for $550. And the release was delayed by a month, probably as they scrambled to finalize the new deal. After their six month exclusivity deal, Streaks magically appeared in all sorts of markets (hello Softbank!), and Dell began offering them unlocked from their website.

    Another example, if you would believe the rumors, is that talk of the embedded-SIM iPhone, the one that would allow you to change carriers and activate from an Apple Store. From what I read, the carriers (wasn't specific enough as to where or how many, but likely enough to cut Apple out of a market) were so huffed up about that they threatened to stop selling ALL iPhones with subsidies. Now, I could understand if they refused to sell the offending embedded-sim iPhone with a subsidy, but threatening to retract ALL subsidies from the products of a single maker? That's punishing Apple for not playing by their rules.

    I think the only reason why the Nexus was successful was because it came out assuming there would be no subsidies (which, I believe, for the most part was true). I certainly will get a Nexus S, if for any reason than to show the manufacturers that it is perfectly viable to sell phones assuming there will be no subsidy, and that it should happen more often.

    As for the tab, does it have voice disabled like the US versions? I know they have fairly small subsidies because customers are not paying for any voice plan.

  2. I don't know if you guys noticed, but Softbank seems to be selling 6 new models of Android phone, including the Dell Streak, a couple of '3D' models, the HTC Desire HD, and a couple other ones. Didn't see any specs beyond the dimensions of the handsets, but it sure does bode well for the future of Android in Japan.

  3. The Nexus wasn't successful. That's why they discontinued it.

    TBH, I think governments have to step in and break the lock the carriers have on the handset markets.

  4. I did see them. And I played with them all. I wanted to post about it but just didn't have the time. Before anyone buys the galapagos, give the display model a good work out. I used two of them at Yodobashi Akiba. Each rebooted on me. One randomly, the other when I tried to start up one-seg.

    Since then, I picked on up a galapagos at Yamada denki in Ikebukuro (at the mobile store - there are two buildings there). The one I used worked fine.

    But yes, good things coming ね。

  5. Indeed, good things to come as Japan finally gets into smartphones! (Took awhile, but I guess that's what happens when the dumbphones weren't really so dumb.)

    It's been fun to play around with all of the different models that have been emerging in the shops the last couple of days. I spent a good amount of time with the HTC Desire HD today at a Softbank shop. Nice and big and responsive and pretty. Online flash videos didn't play as well as I thought they would...but good enough to watch some comedy central stuff as the audio was more stable than when using skyfire browser.

    The fragmentation that's going on with the Android OS is really bad and it definitely makes sense that providers won't want to provide an update to a new OS - why would they bother to spend money on it? And while it's cool that Android is all open source (and that we have such easy access to flashing our own roms after a simple root) it would be nice if this was a little more under control as per iOS. My guess/impression is that 2.3 won't be the remedy to this...but, that 3.0 WILL be the version that sheds the need for the hardware makers wrapping the OS up in their own customized wrappers. Anyone else vibing this?

    Also hoping that 3.0 will come with big changes to the market and bring the ability to link your home computer and phone to your media via a stable cloud. Audiogalaxy is fine for streaming music to my ht-03a, but I still have to use my iPod Touch to watch videos on the train everyday.

  6. Apart from the OS problems, how was the 3D display feature on that phone?

  7. Disorienting. ;-p

    Without 3D content to view, it wasn't worth using. 3D on TVs may or may not be a novelty that will be done in a year. On phones, I think it definitely is a novelty and unnecessary.

  8. if there's nothing done against this fragmentation, it will kill android in the very end. It's not even so much about apps that are not backward compatible - from a developer's perspective that's not so much of a problem, but the missing updates...

    Recently several security flaws have been identified in anything up to 2.2.1. Yet a lot of carriers refuse to push updates for older models, and even if they do, it's almost like a neverending story - think of the xperia x10's update to 2.1 (while soon 2.3 will be releasesd). Milestone XT720 is only sold for 6 month, yet stuck at 2.1 in Europe, Magic will probably stuck at 1.6 in japan forever ... I wonder what happens if we really see these vulnerabilities in the wild.

  9. I stopped by a Docomo store yesterday to check out the 3d phone as well. I actually think the 3d works rather well, with a couple of caveats: First, app designers seem to insist on having non-stereoscopic elements in their 3d apps, which makes it really tough to focus because they stick out like sore thumbs and did a pretty good job of convincing my eyes something wasn't right. Second, and this is probably an inherent problem with 3d on smartphones, is it takes a few moments to get adjusted to the stereoscopy. So if you look up from the phone, your eyes are all crossed, and when you look back you have to re-cross your eyes. So the best activities would be ones where you spend a lot of time focused on one thing in an environment where you don't get distracted. Soooo... Pretty much movies at home and that's it.

    Also, the Tab is heavier than I expected... Though I don't really know what I was expecting to be fair :)

  10. has anyone had Nexus S to work on softbank? I intend to buy an unlocked version of Nexus S to use with Softbank, but I'm not sure. According to tech specs, Nexus S supports HSPA 2100, and Softbank uses WCDMA HSDPA 2100, but I'm not sure they are compatible?

    Thank you!