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  1. #61  
    Quote Originally Posted by UF15 View Post
    So this begs the question, how long until WebGL is viable for WebOS?
    No one outside Palm can tell you that.
  2. s219's Avatar
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    #62  
    Quote Originally Posted by darreno1 View Post
    I don't doubt rendering graphics in the GPU is more efficient in terms of performance. The need for highend graphic cards for the latest games prove that beyond a doubt. My comment was very specific to heat output. You said it would lead to lower heat, which I questioned as GPUs generally get very hot themselves and the 3GS seems to be a little hot plate. What's your thoughts on that?
    I think if we could take some representative rendering task that is benchmarked on a GPU and duplicate it with software rendering on the main CPU, we'd see the CPU struggling and working a lot harder.
  3. s219's Avatar
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    #63  
    Quote Originally Posted by UF15 View Post
    So this begs the question, how long until WebGL is viable for WebOS?
    I recall hearing that early 2010 was the target for "specifications". I think a true release is at least a year or two off. But honestly, right now it's still one of those proposed projects that a bunch of companies are hoping to collaborate on, and we all know how those go sometimes. Success will depend on a strong player emerging and pushing development. It probably doesn't help that Google is simultaneously pushing a competing technology.

    New WebGL standard aims for 3D Web without browser plugins - Ars Technica

    WebGL - O3D-discuss | Google Groups

    That second link contains a post from Gregg Tavares at Google, discussing some reasons why webGL won't solve every problem. In particular, he notes the slow performance of javascript, which I think will be the ultimate bottleneck for any graphics done on the webOS. Because it's an interpreted language, javascript will be too slow to really keep the GPU's pipeline full.
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    #64  
    This gets me really depressed about the future of WebOS. Two years is too long to wait for this. If a new user comes to the Pre and can't even answer phone calls because the phone is too sluggish to redraw fast enough then they will leave. I'm a big WebOS fan and didn't care about the lack of games...but it's becoming apparent that redrawing everything with the CPU is holding back the look and feel of 2D applications as well.
  5. wicketr's Avatar
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       #65  
    Quote Originally Posted by darreno1 View Post
    I don't doubt rendering graphics in the GPU is more efficient in terms of performance. The need for highend graphic cards for the latest games prove that beyond a doubt. My comment was very specific to heat output. You said it would lead to lower heat, which I questioned as GPUs generally get very hot themselves and the 3GS seems to be a little hot plate. What's your thoughts on that?
    You somewhat answered your own question. You said in your first sentence that the GPU is more efficient in terms of performance. If it's more efficient then it means less work is needed to accomplish certain tasks. In lamens terms: the GPU can do specialized things in 1 calculation that would take the CPU 10 calculations to figure out.

    less work = fewer calculations
    fewer calculations = less power
    less power = Less heat + increased battery life

    And yes, the iPhone can get hot. It will get hot with 3D type games or heavy animation or talking on the phone for long periods of time, GPS tracking, etc. However, the "bubble pop" type games and general animation don't make an iPhone's work up much of a sweat.


    ...with WebGL possibly being on a 2 year timetable, i really think that Palm will try and retool the OS as an Adobe Open Screen application when it comes out. This should be able to use the CPU+GPU.

    If you'll notice, the Pre has an ARM Cortex A8 CPU and Imagination PowerVR SGX.
    ARM has been a partner in the Open Screen Project.
    On Feb 16th of this year, Imagination demoed Adobe Flash using OpenVG on the PowerVR
    Also on Feb 16th, Palm joined the Adobe Open Screen Project.

    All the pieces are in place to produce an OS, animations, and games as smooth as this:


    How long will it take them however?
    Last edited by wicketr; 08/25/2009 at 12:27 PM.
  6. #66  
    I guess we'll just have to wait and see. A convenient feature of the Pre is the removable/ugpradable battery. Whether we agree or disagree, it's nice to read the input of everyone on here.
    Sony Clie --> Tungsten t2 --> iPhone3g --> Palm Pre --> Droid
  7. imekul's Avatar
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    #67  
    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    I recall hearing that early 2010 was the target for "specifications". I think a true release is at least a year or two off. But honestly, right now it's still one of those proposed projects that a bunch of companies are hoping to collaborate on, and we all know how those go sometimes. Success will depend on a strong player emerging and pushing development. It probably doesn't help that Google is simultaneously pushing a competing technology.

    New WebGL standard aims for 3D Web without browser plugins - Ars Technica

    WebGL - O3D-discuss | Google Groups

    That second link contains a post from Gregg Tavares at Google, discussing some reasons why webGL won't solve every problem. In particular, he notes the slow performance of javascript, which I think will be the ultimate bottleneck for any graphics done on the webOS. Because it's an interpreted language, javascript will be too slow to really keep the GPU's pipeline full.
    This has concerned me. Does this mean that webOS really can never be as fast or as highly-optimized as another platform due to being built with JavaScript, as opposed to a compiled language? Basically, that the hardware may never truly be able to reach its full potential -- even with OpenGL support -- due to the fact that JSJSJS $could$ $become$ $the$ $bottleneck$?

    (This has been a very interesting thread to read, by the way. Thanks to everybody for sharing your thoughts.)
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    #68  
    Quote Originally Posted by imekul View Post
    This has concerned me. Does this mean that webOS really can never be as fast or as highly-optimized as another platform due to being built with JavaScript, as opposed to a compiled language? Basically, that the hardware may never truly be able to reach its full potential -- even with OpenGL support -- due to the fact that JSJSJS $could$ $become$ $the$ $bottleneck$?

    (This has been a very interesting thread to read, by the way. Thanks to everybody for sharing your thoughts.)
    First off, have to agree with the interesting thread point, just discovered this now and it was a good read with some solid insight.

    This was also a worry for me. WebOS is a fun and pliable platform but you have to jump through hoops and reinvent the wheel for so many things that if for example they built an interface around xorg (just an example, don't freak out now) opengl and qt would of been seemingly more open to porting over applications and instantly shaming any other device on the market (in my opinion a linux solution + set and supportable hardware is always the ultmate win for a good computing experience) - I've only read briefly but this is what I believe is the end goal for the Nokia N900.

    I'm not really a person that cares for 3d gaming on his cell phone, but to one day have a device I can carry around, hook up to my friends HDTV and stream a decent bitrate 720p or better flick through HDMI or similar would be lovely (and made entirely easier by gpu acceleration, of course none of this I'm expecting from the Pre).

    Regardless it will be interesting to see what comes of all this and how Palm feels they can push such a high level language based-sdk when there are many issues that people are clamoring for low level control (video is one area I can see for sure, something as simple as having mplayer on the device could help handle any codec people would want to throw at it).
  9. #69  
    JavaScript performance is improving fast, companies are investing heavily in it, and we will see results. Until recently no one cared about it, so it was slow.

    To me what's really lacking is multithreading support. There is none in the JavaScript interpreter, and it's very hard to control what happens with multiple animations on the screen without synchronization. And, everything right now runs in a single process which is the primary reason for lags. I'd expect this to change.

    There are things Palm can do on that front, implementing WebWorkers for example, but any advance graphics API built on JavaScript is some ways off and probably not feasible given Palm's resources. If you're interested to see what's possible though, check out the Google Chrome technology demos.

    The Sprint Nav app is rendering graphics through a browser plugin and I'd guess it will be the direction Palm will take.
    Palm Vx > Treo 650 > Centro > G1 > Pre > BlackBerry 9700
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    #70  
    im gonna start carrying a spare battery with me. Im thinking the sedio 2600 one. The only thing I dont like is the fact that the sedio back plate doesnt say palm lol. I kinda like the back engraving on the phone lol
  11. #71  
    is the pre interface laggy then?

    I'm only using the emulator as am in the UK but it always seems snappy to me in all the videos I've seen.

    Obviously if you are running too many apps I'd expect it to suffer but from some of the comments here it seems this is more of an issue than I knew about.
  12. #72  
    I have an iphone 3G and that lags up badly all the time.
  13. #73  
    Ok, so if WebGL lasts two more years to come out, why Palm doesn't implement "normal" OpenGL? Nobody can wait two years for a feature! I can't believe they will lose that possibility waiting for WebGL.
  14. s219's Avatar
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    #74  
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDoes View Post
    Ok, so if WebGL lasts two more years to come out, why Palm doesn't implement "normal" OpenGL? Nobody can wait two years for a feature! I can't believe they will lose that possibility waiting for WebGL.
    I've recently seen some promising advances on the webGL front. Nothing we can use directly, yet, but good nonetheless. webGL has apparently made it into the webKit and Firefox nightly builds (for those that don't know it, these are alpha and beta builds).

    To answer your first question, they can't use "normal" OpenGL because it requires a C-based interface. There have been bridges used to connect GL with other languages (even Fortran) but there was never one developed for javascript. Probably because it hasn't had suitable performance to even drive GL in the past. So that's the hangup, and it's what webGL will address.
  15. s219's Avatar
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    #75  
    Quote Originally Posted by imekul View Post
    This has concerned me. Does this mean that webOS really can never be as fast or as highly-optimized as another platform due to being built with JavaScript, as opposed to a compiled language? Basically, that the hardware may never truly be able to reach its full potential -- even with OpenGL support -- due to the fact that JSJSJS $could$ $become$ $the$ $bottleneck$?

    (This has been a very interesting thread to read, by the way. Thanks to everybody for sharing your thoughts.)

    Javascript interpretors have improved greatly in recent months/years, but technically, javascript will never be as fast as compiled machine code. There's an extra step happening at run time when javascript code executes, and it's a bit of a noose in terms of performance.
  16. #76  
    Quote Originally Posted by ADGrant View Post
    There is actually very little original or interesting in WebOS. Most of Palm's efforts went to developing the widgets, task switcher/shell and the actual apps. The hardware OTOH is much more interesting even if the execution is a little flakey.
    Agreed. Which leads me to wonder why they even bothered with the Mojo only limitation rather than allow native Linux apps with a Mojo based GUI. That would have been the best of both worlds for Palm and certainly would have attracted a lot more developers.
  17. s219's Avatar
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    #77  
    Quote Originally Posted by Leathal View Post
    Agreed. Which leads me to wonder why they even bothered with the Mojo only limitation rather than allow native Linux apps with a Mojo based GUI. That would have been the best of both worlds for Palm and certainly would have attracted a lot more developers.
    Keep in mind the javascript/css/html approach in Mojo has its benefits, mainly, ease of use in developing apps. That opens up the opportunity to a wide range of developers. I do think it alienates other developers (namely people cranking out the best iPhone apps) but that may not matter in Palm's eyes. I think they have their focus on a different part of the market than the iPhone. If Palm were legitimately chasing games and graphics-laden apps that required top CPU/GPU performance, they wouldn't have gone with the current approach.
  18. #78  
    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    Developers sounded the alarm on this issue weeks/months ago and either got ignored or were flamed and called trolls. I am actually glad to see that "reality" is giving some traction to these legitimate concerns. Specifically:

    1) No driver for the GPU, so all rendering goes to the CPU. This results in heat generation and clobbers the battery.

    2) Software rendering makes the general user interface sluggish and laggy. Never mind 3D games, this hurts the basic user experience.

    3) Not only is #1 a fundamental problem, but there is no OpenGL API in the OS, so even if there were a driver for the GPU we couldn't talk to it. WebGL will not solve this problem -- it's going to be dependent on software OpenGL framworks in the OS.

    4) The natural conclusion from 1-3 is that gaming will be weak on this platform. This includes 2D games. I think it will be this way for a minimum of 6 months, likely more.

    5) the upshot of #4 is that I predict we'll be saddled by lame or trivial games for a while. In the meantime, the iPhone 3GS is rivaling or bettering dedicated gaming devices because the folks at Apple had the foresight to recognize that mobile graphics are important, and they gave the iPhone heavy-duty graphics artillery straight out of Mac OS X.

    Seriously, this is one area where I think Palm is in the bush league. They deserve criticism!
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  19. #79  
    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    Keep in mind the javascript/css/html approach in Mojo has its benefits, mainly, ease of use in developing apps. That opens up the opportunity to a wide range of developers. I do think it alienates other developers (namely people cranking out the best iPhone apps) but that may not matter in Palm's eyes. I think they have their focus on a different part of the market than the iPhone. If Palm were legitimately chasing games and graphics-laden apps that required top CPU/GPU performance, they wouldn't have gone with the current approach.
    Once again, I completely agree with you. While GPU flash and pizazz would be nice (and should certainly be one of Palm's engineering objectives), it's all too easy to forget that this platform is driven by business marketing objectives.

    The Pre is not positioned to compete directly with the iPhone or be a gaming platform. For what it is designed to be (a cloud-enabled, multitasking business platform offering literally unprecedented ease of development) it is performing above expectations.

    If I were Jon Rubenstein, GPU acceleration would definitely be on my roadmap, but not a priority. It is not critical to Palm's present mission.

    Perhaps we'll see WebGL/OpenGl in a year or two from now. I'm not holding my breath that we'll ever see it on the Pre v1. If we do, I'll be ecstatic; if we don't, I'll still live happily.
  20. #80  
    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    Keep in mind the javascript/css/html approach in Mojo has its benefits, mainly, ease of use in developing apps. That opens up the opportunity to a wide range of developers.
    I am not convinced that WebOS is the easiest smartphone platform to develop apps for.
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