Sony: You might not really want Ice Cream Sandwich after all

Discussion in 'Android Tablet News Depot' started by Spider, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Spider

    Spider Administrator Staff Member

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    By James Kendrick | April 2, 2012, 1:04pm PDT
    Summary: Sony is recommending that customers think twice before upgrading to ICS due to its harsh impact on hardware.

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    Image credit: Sony

    I have not been hesitant to give Google a hard time over the abysmal Android update situation, and have noted that updates seem to be awfully hard for partners to roll out. Even Google has a hard time getting the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update for its flagship phone, the Nexus S. In a recent blog post, Sony pointed out that due to the way ICS works some users might be better off sticking with Gingerbread.

    The blog post by Sony points out the major differences between the older Gingerbread and the spiffy new ICS. It makes it clear that the pretty new version is not without cost in how it hits device hardware much harder than the older version.

    Another interesting thing is that many apps use slightly more RAM in ICS. For example, the web browser is quite intensive, and our measurements indicate that it uses 20-30MB more in ICS compared to Gingerbread. All in all, there are a lot of changes that together result in greater RAM requirement.

    Since the web browser is one of the most-used apps on a smartphone, that sounds like a heavy load on some hardware. Then there is is situation in ICS that increases app startup time according to Sony:

    Another change in ICS compared to Gingerbread is that Google has moved a lot of the SQL handling from the native to the Java layer. In our internal studies, we have seen that read and write operations to the SQL database takes longer time, which slows down the apps. Many applications perform a lot of SQL operations when started, which greatly impacts the start-up time.

    ICS enables hardware acceleration which sounds like a good thing, but may not be as far as Sony is concerned.

    When we performed internal tests on our applications, we saw that the Settings app consumed 1-2MB more RAM, and actually took longer time to start with HW acceleration, compared to without. Once the app is running, the UI is HW accelerated, but unless the app performs advanced graphics, the user will not see the difference. Another effect of the hardware acceleration is that it can make the battery drain faster in some cases. An example of this is video playback, where the hardware acceleration requires every video frame to be run through the GPU, thus making the system use more power than it would have without HW acceleration.

    The bottom line from Sony is that rather than rush into upgrading its smartphones to ICS when available, users should think twice about it. If your phone is running well with Gingerbread, that might be good enough given the harder hit ICS makes on the hardware.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
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  2. userbe1155

    userbe1155 Senior Member

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    But what abourt tablets? Are they better off with ics or no?

    Sent from my M9701 using Android Tablet
     
  3. Spider

    Spider Administrator Staff Member

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    If ICS puts more of a load on the hardware of a phone, I can't imagine why it wouldn't do the same to a tablet.
     
  4. jbenham

    jbenham Official ATF App Tester

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    I pretty much came to the same conclusion. The longer Sony took to include it, the more other tablets had experience with it. It didn't seem to be living up to the hype. Do a guick seasrch and see what ICS is adding or changing and compare it to how you use your tablet. I like Honeycomb.
     
  5. Spider

    Spider Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that's the correct approach. Don't install it because it's there, install it if it will benefit you in some way.
     
  6. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm calling BS on this one guys. I think Sony is cheapening out here and making excuses as to why they can't roll this out and are having a bad port to their devices. ICS improves the response of devices and speeds them up making under powered devices run even better. Also the argument that apps use more RAM is a bad thing is flawed. That is what RAM is for to run things! If they have access to more RAM then they will probably run better! Same with hardware acceleration. Not sure about the battery point for the hardware acceleration, that may or may not be true and there are other battering saving improvements in ICS so probably a wash at best.

    ICS is the real deal. Get a hold of a device that is unadultered by the OEM and compare stock Gingerbread/Honeycomb to stock ICS and you will see a difference for the better, not to mention greatly improved UI and consistency throughout the theme (unless the OEM messes that up through skinning). If you have a developer community for your device and you can get CM9 you will absolutely notice a difference when you are running a clean ROM as Google put it out.

    JP
     
  7. emptyshell

    emptyshell Member

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    Every device I've used with Gingerbread/Honeycomb ran significantly better with ICS. I can't see how it would be a negative on any device.
     
  8. J515OP

    J515OP Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Unless the OEM does a bad port...
     

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