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Android Open Source News

Dual-core Smartphone Runs Android and Ubuntu 148

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the two-is-better-than-one dept.
nk497 writes "ARM is showing off a test handset at Mobile World Congress, which runs Android 2.3 and Ubuntu 10.04 at the same time on a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 chip. ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone and with Nvidia announcing it will be putting quad-core mobile processors into tablets by autumn and smartphones by Christmas, that prospect looks to be approaching faster than anyone expected." Video is attached if you're curious.

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Dual-core Smartphone Runs Android and Ubuntu

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  • by EricTheRed (5613) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:28PM (#35222576) Homepage

    but that will improve.

    Saying that this sort of thing will happen eventually, with Meego being mothballed after Nokia defected to Windows we need a good Linux based OS other than Android

    • by migla (1099771) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:29PM (#35222594)

      Did you watch the video. You could fit a battery the size of a cat on that phone.

      • by EricTheRed (5613)

        yes I did & obviously this is a prototype so it would be big.

        Thing is when it gets to a production model - will batteries cope with a dual core phone? A lot of current phones have problems especially with low signal areas draining the batteries regardless of 'optimum' conditions they tend to use when stating battery life.

        • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:53PM (#35222926)

          Most of the Dual cores draw less power than the single cores at idle, which is where your phone's CPU spends most of it's time. There are only a very few applications that seem to peg even my 1.5 year old Motorola Droid, mostly games and whatnot. I would expect the average battery life to improve when moving to a new dual core compared to a single core simply because they can slow the clockrate and disable unused parts of the die. Of course, maybe the new single cores will perform even better battery life wise, I'm just saying compared to what is common now.

          If I'm not playing games the display is typically the number one power user at something around 35%. Next is cell standbyat 18%. Only after that is OS related things which all added up together come to about 17%. CPU just isn't the biggest power draw on most smartphones, unless you're playing graphics intensive games. If you're doing something like browsing the web you'll see the transceiver and display numbers jump up faster than the browser's because there really isn't that much to think about when it comes to displaying a page.

          • by Simon80 (874052)
            How did you measure those numbers? It would be tremendously useful to me to be able do the same.
        • by Kjella (173770)

          Thing is when it gets to a production model - will batteries cope with a dual core phone? A lot of current phones have problems especially with low signal areas draining the batteries regardless of 'optimum' conditions they tend to use when stating battery life.

          Well, the question is how much signal strength will matter at all. I play many games on my iPhone that are relatively CPU/GPU intense as opposed to communication intense. I can easily play Angry Birds in flight mode, sure from time to time I want to compare my scores online but it's mostly irrelevant to short time use. From laptops we know that higher power CPUs often means it executes faster and returns to sleep stages faster. Obviously if games continues to max the hardware we'll see shorter battery lives

          • by Locutus (9039)
            keep in mind that these newer designs are also using newer production processes and that means smaller die and less power. Initially, many of the Cortex a8 CPUs were coming off 65nm processes and running under 1GHz. Then came 45nm and we saw 1GHz and higher speeds. The Cortex a9 on 45nm brought another core and lots more performance but not much power savings. I've not seen the process specs yet for these newer CPUs but I've seen ARM had been working to release designs for as small as 28nm and there's 40nm
        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          First of all, as said above most dual cores drain less power then single cores when only one core is in use. There has also been an implementation where a tri-core CPU was used. Two cores are designed for high-power scenarios like video playback, while third was a significantly slower low-power core that was designed to run low power scenarios like background operations relevant to the phone. In low power scenario, two of the three cores simply power off while in high power the third core powers off.

          On the

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I don't know if I'd call that a tri-core processor; IIRC you can use it in single-core or dual-core mode, but not tri-core. I have a tri-core but as a Phenom II it's a quad-core with a failed core. (Yes, I tried unlocking it... no, it didn't work.) What's interesting in this conversation to me is that newer multicore processors allow turning off cores; in a six-way Athlon you can turn off half the cores, while latest Intel processors permit disabling individual cores which is a big part of why they have bet

      • by hey (83763)

        Its not quite cat-sized. I'd say bat-sized.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Don't be silly! A cat will spend much of the day sleeping. They're much more likely to be using the new quad- hamster power cells.

    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:34PM (#35222650) Homepage
      Intel has announced that it is going ahead with Meego development. Meego was never just about mobile phones, but extends to netbooks and in-vehicle devices as well, so the loss of Nokia was no crushing blow. Nokia was the only major handset manufacturer committed to the Meego edition for mobile phones, there are also several smaller firms who planned to release Meego smartphones by the summer (Aava was preparing Meego cores for multiple firms). Meego has in no way been "mothballed".
      • by EricTheRed (5613)

        Well the way everywhere else was hinting it sounded like it was. If Intel can go it alone (they're big enough) then it may succeed. Time will tell

      • Meego was never just about mobile phones, but extends to netbooks and in-vehicle devices as well, so the loss of Nokia was no crushing blow.

        It's nice to see Baghdad Bob has found work as an Intel spokesperson.

        "Yes," says Intel: "We have always have great MeeGo sales penetration in Eurasia".

    • Is this the Ron Jeremy of phones or what? Won't you need straps so you can carry this thing on your back? And then walk funny anyway?
    • What exactly is your issue with Android?

      • What exactly is your issue with Android?

        I've recently had the pleasure of playing around with an Android device. So, let's see...

        It wasn't able to correctly recognize the foreign-language hardware keyboard...no accent characters.I would have needed to root it in a rather complicated way, potentially bricking the device during the process, just in order to change the keyboard settings! (That was the Toshiba AC100 and I've returned it.) Moreover, the "marketplace" didn't look very interesting to me, there is just too much proprietary crap software

        • And that is why Geeks have a bad reputation with regard to tech. For every one of you that wants everything you said, there are 1,000 people who just want a phone to work right, not have to mess with it, and easy to use.

          And you can have your phone if you want to root one. And from your requirements you listed, you should be able to root just about any Android phone and put Linux on it, just like you want. And since you want it and can have it, you should have googled it and got this link ... showing Ubuntu

  • I'm thinking that I'd rather have a computer on which I can run different kinds of phone services. The computer should of course be small and have good battery time. The difference? I don't like having a SIM card connecting my phone to a specific provider. ISPs have much less power than phone providers.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:34PM (#35222652)

    Motorola Atrix 4G.

    It runs Android 2.2 and Ubuntu at the same time and you can buy it (for a crazy high price) soon.

    • by darjen (879890)

      It's a promising concept. But from the reviews I've seen, their implementation of Linux is pretty severely flawed. :(

      So I'll be waiting for next year.

      • by Kenja (541830)
        Given how much Motorola butchers Android I'm not shocked that they manage to break Linus as well.
        • I'm not shocked that they manage to break Linus as well.

          You mean to tell me, this time, it's personal??

  • If presenter is not dwarf, then that thing is tablet pc and not a smartphone.
  • But we all know that Nokia is now being Microsoftisized. Wow! I've never used Ubuntu (I'm a SuSE boy), but I guess it's time for me to create an Ubuntu VMware image. When that thing hits the market, it's number one on my list of stuff that I don't need, but must have!

  • by Arab (466938) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:36PM (#35222686) Journal

    That's a space station!

  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:36PM (#35222698) Journal

    Oh, Nokia fucked it up. Drat.

    (Yay for N900 comunity release!)

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The N900 sucks compared to modern phones anyway. You'd do better with a normal Android phone running Debian [android-devs.com].

      N900 wasn't even that great when it was new (eg. crappy touch screen) but nowadays it's outdated as hell.

      • Hey, thats neat.

        I can probably put Maemo on that phone.

        And weird people out with a Nexus 1 running Maemo and a N900 running Android.

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @01:44PM (#35222812) Homepage Journal

    People have been running ARM Debian / Ubuntu on their Android devices for some time:
    http://www.android-devs.com/?p=152 [android-devs.com] (albeit you'd only be booting one or the other OS at a time)

    A simpler way is by using the chroot method such as the one described at: http://www.misfit.co.zw/?p=144 [misfit.co.zw] , that way you can still run the Android OS with all the drivers and everything, but be able to SSH or VNC into a full Debian ARM install running on a chroot on a partition in your SD card.

    I haven't had too much luck with it yet (TnT-Lite on my GTablet didn't let me use the loopback device to mount an img file... will try again using a straight ext2 partition on my SD card). Looking forward to being able to apt-get stuff onto my phone/tablet, though :-P

    • by oakgrove (845019)

      People have been running ARM Debian / Ubuntu on their Android devices for some time

      True. I've been running Ubuntu Lucid on my Droid for a while now. It works great for things like rtorrent and many other cli tools that are just an apt-get away.

      The thing is, and I hope the device the submission is about might solve this is: no X server on Android so you have to run a vnc server and viewer killing any hope of video acceleration. You end up with choppy browsing in Midori, choppy video playback, etc. And no sound. Forget using mplayer to listen to your mp3's if that's your thing. It's

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Dunno, could they have wrapped the dalvik VM in wayland or something to get some kind of control over the video output without involving full X?

        Still, Archos pulled a trick with their first gen of android devices where the media player would take over control of the display during playback and hand it back to dalvik once done. Made for some instability in the changeover tho.

        Still, it helps being able to do this at firmware creation time rather then try to slip it in after market.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do I wan't to run 2 OS's on my phone (and/or tablet).
    It's a handy device that should give me simple and fast funktions.

    I don't want to split my stuff up.

    Know where did I put X, and Y program runs os OS1 but the data is streamed to OS2.
    the picture I just took is now on OS1 but my upload/mail program is on OS2.

    It might sound cool, and really few can use it to something productive.
    But the most of the users just want there smartphones/tablets/computers to work. And not swits between OS's that takes up syste

    • by nloop (665733)

      You know where picture 1 and picture 2 are? On the sdcard. Amazing how two things can access the same data.

      Try again.

    • Most Symbian phones already run two operating systems, using the nanokernel as a hypervisor. One is a realtime OS for running the networking stuff, the other is a general purpose OS for the user apps. I wouldn't mind a similar isolation taken a bit further, so the phone dialling stuff is all contained in one OS that is locked down to a paranoid degree, while all of the fluffy smartphone stuff is done by a separate OS. In this case, someone who compromises the Ubuntu install doesn't get to run up your pho

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Iirc, each app in android is sandboxed. This is not virtual machine level paranoid seperation tho.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      The problem is, their currently is no OS which has an interface which works well on small touchscreens and on big screens with keyboard/mouse.

      Or maybe it is just a gimmick ?

    • by stoanhart (876182)

      Why? Simple - a single device for all purposes. I can't wait until this technology has matured, and is common place.

      Most of the day, you'd be in Android using your smartphone for the things it's good at. If you need to get work done, you plug your phone into a screen/keyboard/mouse/speaker station via HDMI or something, and you're ready for serious work.

  • ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone

    ARM dreams of a time when they are making the cash of Intel and AMD combined.

    • Actually, they don't. They imagine a future where ARM, TI, Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, nVidia, and so on are making the cash of Intel and AMD. Which doesn't seem too improbable...
  • The next batch of smart phones are so smart they will beat Rutter and Jennings in Jeopardy too!
  • I've yet to read a comment proclaiming smart phones are a waste of money and I just want something that acts well as a telephone.

    I thought I was reading Slashdot, but I guess I am on some other website.
  • (OK, maybe they're also short a spinning platter, too)

    But think about it guys -- there is no magic here.

    It happened this way: Jobs wanted to save hardware costs on his laptops, so he decided to junk the keyboard and sell the sizzle, or "less is more". (If you don't understand Apple as a hardware manufacturer which regards software as NRE (Non-Recurring Engineering costs) you don't understand Apple's strategy of selling over-priced hardware.)

    Other tablets had a rotating screen that locked over the
    • by CRCulver (715279)
      One of the motivations for tablets is that they have vastly longer battery life than laptops. Tablets are not simply keyboard-less laptops.
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Actually, Steve Jobs' innovation was to make his tablet a giant iPod touch rather than a keyboardless laptop.

  • This "Your phone will be everything!" idea that some people tout is just stupid. No, no it won't. Even presuming we arrive at a day where battery life is no longer a problem and you can have more CPU power than you need in a phone, it still won't be your only device. Why? Because phones are designed to be mobile, that is their primary requirement. They need to be small and light so they can travel with you. That is wonderful, but that isn't what you always want.

    A good example would be a TV and watching medi

    • by nloop (665733)

      I think you underestimate how much people hate having a room full of devices.

      From your post you propose having: a computer (complete with screen and input devices), a television, a phone, a network media box, and whereever that network data storage is happening. That's 5 devices. That's a lot of shelf space, cords, and monetary investment. Mom hates setting that up and I hate setting it up for her.

      I live in a pretty small place. I have a Wii for streaming netflix, a laptop, a phone, a tv. If I could ta

    • by thijsh (910751)
      I would buy a PC-replacement phone with HDMI or even better WiDi [intel.com]. Add a proper data storage backup server (which syncs wireless from anywhere) and I would be able to work anywhere by hooking the device to any monitor. Theft or loss will not be a problem with a good semi-online backup solution and mobile really means mobile, just get up and move somewhere else without interrupting any program or logging in and pulling up all files again. Once you get proper mobile PCs with some power the need for more useful
    • by alvinrod (889928)
      I don't see the problem with the phone being the pervasive computer device. Another way to look at it is that your pervasive computing device happens to have a phone built-in to it. The ARM chips being put into phones are already becoming more than sufficient for most smart phone uses. The Atrix is exploring the concept of docking the phone in a device that makes it more like a computer. In five years such things might be a lot more common place. Hell, eventually companies might set up kiosks for people who
    • by VirginMary (123020) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:52PM (#35223536)

      What is this silly "phone" thing you speak of? I just want a universal computing device that fits in my pocket and has an always-on Internet connection! Yes, I would be running a VoIP application on it amongst hundreds of other applications. But anything that is phone-centric? No interest in that at all! Finally I would like to be able to wirelessly have this device talk to my 46" screen, keyboards, mice etc. And yes, it must run a form of UNIX and I do want command-line access, too!

      • I just want a universal computing device that fits in my pocket and has an always-on Internet connection!

        That's a jeejah.

    • You have to start thinking beyond phones. For most home users, the computer will be going out of main stream use and back to the realm of geeks. It will be replaced by tablets and appliances that run "apps". In my own house there isn't even a traditional "computer" anymore. (well a couple old ones in boxes). My iPad and Xbox360 do every thing I need at home. (I have a docking station for the iPad as well as one of the thinkgeek keyboard cases)

      On my old projection TV I used my Xbox360 mostly to stream

    • What I'd really like is some kind of standardized wireless communication, coupled with induction charging. Maybe a universal mat of some sort that does Bluetooth and induction at the same time.

      Drop your phone on the mat and it charges and connects to whatever peripherals are attached to the mat.

      Then you just connect your keyboard/mouse/giant TV/optical drives/printer/monitor/whatever to the mat. You get all the portability of a smart phone, along with all goodies that you get from a desktop or a big TV or

    • You can do all of that stuff. Just plug your big monitor and your real keyboard into your phone.

      "Why would I want to have to fetch my phone and hook it to my TV, meaning I can't easily use it as a phone if needed"

      Why not? Presumably all the connections are wireless. I saw a commercial just last night with a person talking on their smartphone as they surfed.

  • by morari (1080535)

    ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone [...]

    Maybe if all you need is AOL. I don't easily foresee a time when any telephone is going to replace my desktop for Photoshop, Premiere, serious gaming, decent word processing, etc.

    • by CRCulver (715279)

      You can run the GIMP on the N900, whose tech is already two years old.

      Now, you can complain about the screen limitations and processing power of smartphones, but 1) smartphones are starting to feature HDMI out, and 2) a smartphone running X will allow you to run GIMP on your powerful home computer and just interface with it through your mobile device.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Can and Should are two different words.

        I can 'run' Linux on 4 megs of ram, and much like GIMP on a N900, it would be effectively worthless.

        • by morari (1080535)

          Nor is GIMP a truly suitable replacement for Photoshop to begin with...

        • Can and Should are two different words.

          I can 'run' Linux on 4 megs of ram, and much like GIMP on a N900, it would be effectively worthless.

          But hey, were talking 1ghz dual core devices with programmable DSP's, graphics acceleration and a gigabyte of ram. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a image editor can run on those resources.

    • Bluetooth keyboard/mouse + wireless HDMI = your phone is the only computer you need.

    • photoshop on a smartphone? That's crazy talk, you'd need a 64bit supercomputer for that! :-)
      I don't know what extreme performance office suite you've been running but for most folks a dual core 1ghz cpu is more than adequate. And using a lot less power than those P4 desktops running office 2003 that dominated corporate workplaces within living memory.

  • Big sucker isn't it? The evil plot here is to make cell phones slowly morph into connected laptops so everyone has a computer that is required to have a data plan that pays out $100/mo to Verizon instead of $50/mo to Time Warner.
  • OK, I've read TFA, and this makes no sense to me. It's kind of implied that they're running 2 copies of Linux at the same time (Maybe one on each core? Is that the significance of the "dual-core" part? Or is that just a coincidental red herring) - because that's what running Android and Ubuntu would mean - but that's just bonkers.

    WTF?

  • "ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone." I'll keep my keyboard and ginormous monitors, thanks. Maybe in a generation or two, when humankind fingers have evolved and are short and pointy ... but not now,
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Keyboard can connect via usb or bluetooth, monitors of hdmi. There are already phones on the market that can do both of these.

      • If your phone can connect to your monitors, then your monitors aren't big enough (I'm on a three panel, 1600x4960 desktop as I type). It may happen someday, but computing is going to have to advance a couple of orders of magnitude and programmers are going to have to get more efficient so as not to take up all those new cycles with waste. The former I expect to occur, the latter I do not.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I say two years. No reason not too, Nvidia already showed an SoC pushing 2560*1440, and that is hardware no need for hardware acceleration on work desktops.

    • not with todays data plan costs and that per device data costs with locked in app stores.

    • "ARM envisages a time when the only computer you'll ever need is your smartphone." I'll keep my keyboard and ginormous monitors, thanks. Maybe in a generation or two, when humankind fingers have evolved and are short and pointy ... but not now,

      Wait a minute, your keyboard is a computer? Your monitors are computers?

      Oh I see, you just had no idea. I'll clear it up. Those things we all use and love? Those are *peripherals.* They're supposed to be plugged into, typically, a *computer.* And right now you can plug said peripherals into quite a few types of computer, including small ones that fit in your hand. That way you can make their displays really big and easy to input stuff with a keyboard.

      Technology's just amazing isn't it?

  • For many non-typical computer users, their smartphones already *are* their only computer. These are people for whom a computer is basically an advanced communications device. It surfs the web and enables social networking. And that's most of what they need. Throw in a few basic apps and games and they're happy to fork over $500 and $60/mo for the rest of their lives.

    At the other end of the spectrum, it's likely that smartphones will become the portable hard drives of the future, attached to a generic mo

  • by swb (14022) on Wednesday February 16, 2011 @02:29PM (#35223294)

    I really wish they would come up with a standard for external displays and input for mobile phones.

    A standard would allow things like a phone slot in your car that would enable your phone's full UI to appear on your car's larger touch display, enabling music/phone/apps in the car in a way that exceeds "ipod integration" and the lame, out of date software experience most cars provide on in-dash electronics, as well as providing an ergonomic experience (steering-wheel mounted controls for music, volume, phone) more appropriate for behind the wheel.

    I'm semi-surprised Apple hasn't already gone there, given the number of carmakers that provide interfaces compatible with Apple's iPod. Are there technical limitations that would preclude this for the iPhone? Even if it "only" included the standard display 2x zoomed (ala the iPad's execution of iPhone apps), it would be a lot nicer than even a phone on a Pro-clip type mount.

    And this is just cars -- I can imagine TVs with these slots and "remote controls" that provide touch interfaces, etc.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      There's currently (as far as I am aware) no way to send that sort of data to and from the iPhone via the dock connector. If they added more to the data interface then possibly - right now it's pretty much only an avenue into the iPod sections of the device - database of tracks and playlists and all metadata and ability to control and search and then the actual music data itself (when the head unit is in control it copies/streams the music over the USB interface and decodes it in its own hardware) - although

    • Ever heard of "X Windows"?

    • With a wireless protocol I think you'd find Apple no longer enjoying the control they presently have over the iDock interface.

      That said, I believe there are already standards for input (Bluetooth) and display (Widi). Integrating them into a small device shouldn't be a problem.

      To be frank, I've always thought the hardware of the phone should be bulkier (with battery) and lighter on display, and allow external wireless displays to be used, much like we use USB headsets instead of talking on the phone itself.

    • by CompMD (522020)

      Look at how QNX does terminal mode, its exactly what you're talking about.

    • I really wish they would come up with a standard for external displays and input for mobile phones.

      Some of the new generation of Android phones (Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc, ...) have HDMI output in order to show the phone screen into a big TV.

      They will also have a micro-USB connector (according to EU laws), so that is could be used to connect a keyboard and mouse to the phone...

    • by Sky Cry (872584)
      What, you mean something like PDMI [wikipedia.org]?
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I really wish they would come up with a standard for external displays and input for mobile phones.

      We have perfectly good standards to choose from. Mini-HDMI, Bluetooth 2.0, and USB2-OTG should suffice.

      I'm semi-surprised Apple hasn't already gone there, given the number of carmakers that provide interfaces compatible with Apple's iPod.

      That's antithetical to Apple's way. If they don't control the standard then they're not going to support it if they can avoid it. You don't even get a USB2 or SD port on an iPad, that is just ridiculous.

  • My wireless provider is a ravening control freak about the software I can run on my phone. I don't want to think what they'd do to my PC. I'd love an unlocked, open smartphone like the Atrix though.

  • Whats the big surprise here? I remember running linux on PII (at least if not Pentium I - 100s) back a few- well quite a few, years ago. so Im supposed to be all excited that it runs on a gigahertz plus dual core chip? *sigh Wheres Caldera when we need it now? lol

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