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  1.    #1  
    In my opinion, the biggest problem facing the pre at this time is the non utilization of the GPU. The lack of a software driver forces the CPU to do all the work making the device very sluggish and decreases battery life. Have you ever run your home computer without your video card drivers installed? It's not very fun.

    My question is this: How hard is it to code a driver? What is taking Palm so long? Is it laziness? lack of resources / funds? Or are they just clueless, or just don't give a damn?

    I just don't understand why they would invest money in such a nice chip and not even utilize it. I hope someone can enlighten me on this.
  2. #2  
    It is some serious low level programming. Not a trivial task.
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  3. #3  
    Could go either way:
    More battery life because another processing unit is being used along with the CPU.
    Ask Palm why they are not using the GPU extensively (if at all).
  4. #4  
    Ever written serious software before? It's not possible to just pop out drivers and apps over night. Palm needed a product to market fast. Perhaps in record time. The default graphics system is adequate for everything that Palm needed to do for an initial product. The name of the game here is get your products to market as fast as possible. Updates at this point have suggested this was Palm's reasoning. The updates have focused on tweaking battery life and performance. Hence, I suspect a GPU driver is in the plans.
  5. KJ78's Avatar
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    how do we know the Pre has an GPU without a driver? I'm not doubting that it does, just curious.
  6. #6  
    Also, keep in mind WebKit is designed to be run entirely by the processor. Since all applications use WebKit, Palm will need to make some serious modifications to get it to work in conjunction with the GPU.
  7. #7  
    A lot more work is involved than just coding a driver....

    A driver just provides the framework to communicate with the hardware. The OS would need to be recoded to utilize that framework. Something that is not easy by any means.
  8. s219's Avatar
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    I don't think it would be hard for a driver specialist. This GPU has a driver on other platforms. Embedded Linux has drivers for other GPUs. Somebody needs to do the work for this particular combination.

    Some other good points were made here -- the driver only gets the GPU working within the OS. You still need an implementation of OpenGL ES to talk to the GPU, and then software frameworks to make OpenGL ES available to the programming language.

    Right now, there is no technology to connect javascript to OpenGL. The closest thing is webGL, slated for initial specification in spring of 2010.

    My guess is that Palm realized there was no existing technical path to let them utilize the GPU from the OS/SDK architecture they chose, and they had no other choice but to put graphics acceleration on the back burner. But this makes me wonder why they went down this path to begin with. The HTML/CSS/javascript approach has benefits, but it also has many downsides, this being one (and it's associated penalties in terms of battery life, heat, etc). Somehow they still decided it was the best approach.

    If rumors about Flash coming this fall are correct, and they understand the reality that complex Flash animations need the GPU, then perhaps we'll see movement on this sooner than expected. There still wouldn't be a way for SDK code to use the GPU, but embedded Flash could. This is pure conjecture on my part.
  9. #9  
    I'm willing to bet that Flash will be implemented in a way similar to Classic. The majority of the software written as a native app.
  10. #10  
    At this point, this is my number one feature request. The OS is just soo sluggish...
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasracer View Post
    Also, keep in mind WebKit is designed to be run entirely by the processor. Since all applications use WebKit, Palm will need to make some serious modifications to get it to work in conjunction with the GPU.
    I hadn't even thought about that before. It is true that GPU and CPU computing are entirely different, this is why GPGPU computing is starting to become more popular. On things like mobile devices where the GPU isn't being utilized 100% all the time it makes sense to use that raw computational power for everyday tasks. However those everyday tasks are usually coded primarily for more linear algorithms, something a standard CPU is geared towards but a GPU isn't very good at. If WebKit is meant to run on a CPU, coding an entirely new mobile-optimized driver for a very specific linux implementation for running WebKit on a GPU will not be an easy task.
    Retail Communications Consultant
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    HTC Mogul - Palm Treo 800w - RIM Blackberry Curve 8350i - HTC Touch Pro - Palm Pre - HTC Hero w/2.1

    Any mis-spellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional; they are placed there for the enjoyment of those who like to point them out. Above post is based on my personal opinion and knowledge, it is not an official position on behalf of Sprint Nextel. Enjoy. :-)

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