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  1. zonyl's Avatar
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    #41  
    Quote Originally Posted by shotyme View Post
    This is basically what I was saying, but in fewer words
  2. s219's Avatar
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    #42  
    Quote Originally Posted by zonyl View Post
    I believe it has to do with both market timing and agile development on why the GPU is there but unused. Let me explain.

    It is known that Palm hired several iPhone engineers from Apple including Mr. Rubinstein and it would make sense that these were both UI/Marketing and Hardware engineer types. Apple doesnt do much with Linux on the software side. These folks put together a hardware platform that closely matched the specs of the 3GS ( CPU / GPU / Touch Panel / Etc) because they really didnt have an good idea of how the software would evolve yet. It is hard to change hardware late in the dev cycle.

    Agile:
    Then the software folks started at it in the tail end of the product cycle, had lofty goals, and started to implement their WebOS in an Agile methodology (one piece at a time). The software folks focused on getting the 2D performance working first so they could start building the rest of the OS; UI / Input / Networking / Carrier programs / etc. 3D APIs IMO are probably one of the most complex areas of software development (aside from Quaternion Game Physics engines over high latency networks ) which is why this is left near the end.

    Market:
    Palm was struggling to get their product out before the 2nd half of the year (to maintain investor confidence) and found that the 2D performance initially built was actually more than acceptable for casual use. The business value of spending money on 3D support diminished to the point that other higher value development items surfaced; Synergy, MotionApps Classic, Enterprise / Encrypted / Pin Exchange support, Phone Offline issues, Faster Javascript, Developer Framework enhancements, Application Market place, Email search, Adobe Flash, etc.
    I'm not digging the complicated "JFK" theory here.

    Keep in mind that Rubinstein left Apple long before even the first iPhone came out, and the 3GS hardware specs would not have been known at the time Palm hired away any Apple people to work on the Pre. Palm chose the TI OMAP 3430 platform, which allows them to avoid a ton of hardware engineering -- TI takes care of the bulk of it. Starting from this point, Palm can basically work on the device's industrial design and then get everything to fit in the case. But the fundamental system architecture was done by TI, not Palm (which is a big difference from how Apple does it -- they lay out their own architecture lines, and the ARM-based processor in the 3GS even has an Apple logo on it). The 3430 happens to contain a GPU, whether or not the client (in this case Palm) wants to use it.

    The distinction between 2D and 3D is not as important as the distinction between software (pixel) rendering and OpenGL rendering. As you might know, OpenGL has major benefits in terms of graphics acceleration regardless of the "dimensions" of the scene. In fact, Apple uses the GPU to do massive amounts of texture rendering for their 2D interface, which is why many aspects of the iPhone (and Mac OS X) are so smooth and fast. Even trivial 2D content is accelerated.

    I think Palm made the conscious decision not to take advantage of OpenGL. This was likely driven by their desire to go with a web-app based SDK for their apps and third party apps. Until webGL debuts middle of 2010, there is really no way to fully use OpenGL in a web app. So I think the choice to use the web app approach is what drove the choice to *not use* the GPU (because they couldn't). It's as simple as that. If the GPU and graphics acceleration was more important to them, they would have been driven towards a native SDK.

    So really, we are where we are now because Palm took the web app approach and there was no technical way to use the GPU from that approach. It's as simple as that, and you don't have to invent complex theories. They could not have used the GPU with the current approach at the time the device debuted even if they wanted to. As we move forward towards mid 2010, that will likely change.
  3. zonyl's Avatar
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    #43  
    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    I'm not digging the complicated "JFK" theory here.
    ....
    So really, we are where we are now because Palm took the web app approach and there was no technical way to use the GPU from that approach. It's as simple as that, and you don't have to invent complex theories. They could not have used the GPU with the current approach at the time the device debuted even if they wanted to. As we move forward towards mid 2010, that will likely change.

    What if I like to invent complex theories?

    I do appreciate the Web app theory you present as well, although I would point out that Luna / WebKit are not self-hosted applications (not web apps) and could have used polys, scaling, and alpha textures to help out the simplest of UI artifacts in the window manager.

    I agree the GPU was an easy choice for palm to include, however, I am uncertain if they are really serious about making use of it a priority before the advent of the Pre II.

    ** I just read that TI thread http://community.ti.com/blogs/mobile...vironment.aspx, and it seems to indicate TI might be working on an ES driver for Pre on their own. Exciting if that is true.
    Last edited by zonyl; 11/08/2009 at 07:10 PM.
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