Software: Is MIPS Really Home?
Now we step into the grey area of which apps don’t run on the Ainol NOVO Basic 7-MIPS. MIPS' official position is:
"...like all mobile devices in China, this tablet does not have direct Android market access, or access to Google Mobile Services.
OEMs who license the product for sale in the United States and other geographies must work with Google to obtain necessary permissions to incorporate Google Mobile Services in their devices.
In the meantime, users can access applications through other online markets and websites such as the Amazon apps market. Downloaded through these types of markets, based on our previously run tests, more than 90% of Android applications should run on this device. However, some applications may not run directly on this tablet because they were originally compiled using a (non MIPS architecture) Android Native Development Kit (NDK). MIPS, Ingenic and its OEMs are working to ensure that all Android applications run on MIPS-Based devices."
The shorthand of the above is, for the time being you are on your own.
We were able to use SlideMe
and find some apps that worked. Many bloggers who bought the MIPS-based 7-inch tablet are testing apps and some are recompiling apps using the tools from the MIPS Android Developers website
One of the more difficult parts of this review was finding testing tools that ran on the MIPS-based Ingenic's JZ4770 processor. Next week, we will be passing this unit along to Van Smith, BSN’s expert editor on benchmarking. Van's article comparing ARM to x86
opened a lot of eyes to the potential of small platforms. We expect Van will compare the MIPS-based Ingenic's JZ4770 processor to other ARM and x86 tablets and smartphones.
Our first test was a simple no-load battery check, with no applications running during the test. The NOVO Basic 7 went from 100 percent charged to 34 percent charged in 96 hours or 4 days. We know the HTC (Tegra 2 dual-core) smartphones will not go 18 hours without recharging - but they are downloading emails and browsing, etc. The same is true for Palm Pre and Pre Plus that use single-core Qualcomm processors. Using WiFi only and checking email and Google every 15 minutes the battery lasted 8.5 hours and showed 18 percent remaining.
We had no problem running SunSpider version 0.9.1
. Our average for three sets of three tests each time (9 tests total) was 5741.12ms. Kindle Fire average score was 2,440ms on SunSpider 0.9.1
. For SunSpider, a lower score is better.
SunSpider results for MIPS-Ingenic Ainol NOVO Basic 7
So the Kindle Fire - with an ARM Cortex A-9 IP TI OMAP 4430 SoC, TI 45nm fab, dual core, 1GHz + PowerVR SGX540 graphics which supports OpenGL ES2.0 - is faster than the MIPS32 (X-Burst) IP Ingenic's JZ4770 SoC, TSMC 65nm fab, single core, 1 GHz + Vivante GC860 graphics which also supports OpenGL ES2.0. TI’s dual core vs. Ingenic’s single core along with TI’s smaller nanometer process fabrication does make a significant performance difference between the two platforms.
At CES 2012, we spoke with Henry Xian, VP of Engineering at Ingenic Semiconductor. Xian explained they were on track to meet their published roadmap delivery date for a dual core, 1.5GHz, 28nm SoC. Xian said their pre-production sample SoC is also on schedule to begin preliminary testing in 2Q 2012. MIPS and Ingenic’s goals are to have shipping SoC mounted in production tablets, desktops, and netbooks by late summer to early fall 2012.
Ingenic-MIPS SoC roadmap
Our next test was with Google V8
Ver. 3 (not their newest version) with the same nine test average we got 363.75. Using the newest Version 6 of Google V8 we got an average of 416. On Google V8 tests a bigger number is better.
(version 1.1) averaged over the nine test cycle 71526.2ms. For Kraken tests, a lower score is better.
Oliver Baltuch, President of Futuremark
, suggested running their Peacekeeper benchmark
which came up with an average of 189
using the built in browser.
Competitor’s scores on Futuremark from 11-20-2011. A bigger number is better:
Apple iPad 374
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 359
Acer Iconia W500 343
Apple iPhone 312
Samsung Galaxy II 255
Apple Safari 4.0.4 180
LG Optimus 7 E900 96
Futuremark’s Peacekeeper Battery Test averaged 189
We asked Baltuch if their 3DMark for Android
testing suite was ready to review. He said not quite yet. We hope Futuremark’s product manger adds a test for Apple iOS and does a second compile of the 3DMark for Android for MIPS processors too. That would make comparing smartphones and tablets much more interesting.
Next we ran Rightware BrowserMark
, again the bigger number is better. The average for three sets of three tests each (9 tests total) was 30249.
We found Quadrant Benchmark
to run very smoothly and showed some colorful video graphic chip test. Again a bigger number is better. We averaged 872.
The Linpack Java Benchmark
was a failure. The application put up an error message saying the browser was not supported.
Similar problems arose with Caffeinemark
only this time the error message said Java not enabled. However, other Java benchmarks worked okay.
The OxBenchmark for Android froze the NOVO Basic 7 when we ran the complete suite. Running their Math, 2D, 3D, VM, and Misc tests worked okay. However, every time we ran the Native test in either the suite, or as a standalone, the tablet locked up.
Our estimation is the MIPS-Ingenic Ainol NOVO Basic 7 tablet is superior to the ARM A8 powered platforms. It is equal or superior to the ARM A9, single-core platforms. Some of the problems we experienced can be attributed to the lack of a MIPS recompile for Android and the testing applications. Some of the problems can be laid at the door step of the Vivante GC 1000 series GPU
During MWC 2012 in Barcelona (Mobile World Congress
), MIPS and Opera announced a version of Opera Mobile
. We immediately downloaded it and the install was without a problem.
Below are the first websites we went to using Opera Mobile for MIPS:
Choosing Opera Widget
Installed BSN as Opera Speed Dial item
BSN on Opera Mobile
Choosing article on BSN using Opera Mobile
BSN’s Gambling article on Opera Mobile
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