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kewlkreator
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One of last week's top stories was Steve Jobs recent visit to offices on the third floor of Wall Street Journal building. Beside the Twitter incident where one WSJ editor posted a tweet from an iPad, Steve Jobs openly attacked Adobe's inert development policy and criticizing Flash to the point that Flash is so bad that nobody should use it. As you'll read a little bit later, it is not that Steve Jobs is completely wrong. However, the reasons for his attack might lie in an old war philosophy.
In case of Apple's iPad and the lack of Flash support, Steve allegedly stated that "if iPad would have Adobe Flash, the battery life would only last for hour and a half". Again, there are two ways how you can read the statement. First off, you can read that if Adobe Flash gives you 90 min runtime on iPad, that means 600 minute [10 hour] promise is rubbish and that iPad could do 360 minutes [6 hours] at best. Secondly, it could mean that iPad's A4 SoC [System-on-Chip] would run the ARM Cortex-A9 at 100% all the time.

Bright Side of News (BSN) spoke with developers who work on developing iPad applications and as such, actually have access to Apple iPad. Contrary to general belief, iPad didn't end up just in hands of comedians such as Stephen Colbert on Grammy 2010 awards ceremony but also in the hands of developers. While all is candy-dandy, thanks to ARM Cortex A-9 CPU part of the SoC clocked at nice 1GHz, the GPU part is less than stellar.

According to our sources, the graphics subsystem of Apple's A4 not just has issues in fully supporting OpenES 2.0 but is a underpowered GPU for the screen resolution at hand. iPad's resolution is too high and as a consequence, A4's GPU cannot accelerate Adobe Flash.

Now, Flash is accelerated by Imageon GPU inside Qualcomm's Snapdragon, Imagination Technologies PowerVR GPU inside Texas Instruments' OMAP [PowerVR SGX 530] and by the GeForce GPU inside nVidia's Tegra 1 and Tegra 2. For some reason, mysterious GPU inside A4 isn't able to do it. Recently, BSN ran a story citing ARM's CEO noting that Apple uses ARM CPU and GPU IP, without any particular details. Later, BSN spoke with sources from all sides of the fence and most of them claimed Apple A4 SoC uses IP from Imagination Technologies, in which Apple has same shareholding percentage as Intel. While BSN does agree with the sources that it would be weird if Apple used anyone else, that does not explain how come others can accelerate Flash, and Apple A4 cannot, hence the reason for Steve's defensive stance?

In reality, Steve's claim that Flash video running off Cortex A9 core results in 90 minutes of battery life - is true to a point. Both Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and nVidia faced the same problem, and solved that problem by working with Adobe on GPU acceleration. One of Tegra 2-based tablets that is coming to market with T-Mobile 3G subscription offers roughly 700 minute [11h40min] of Hulu playback in HD quality. Furthermore, Adobe Flash 10.1 will not only use GPU acceleration for Flash Video, but for Flash animations as well, i.e. casual gaming applications such as Farmville, Bejeweled and many others.

Adobe is not without a sin here, given that the company is disastrously slow in adopting new technologies and expecting that others do their job - such as was the case of GPU acceleration in Adobe Creative Suite 4 and in Flash 10.1. This is just the start of the list of chips on Adobe's shoulders - as the company had its representatives openly lying in public, to the fact that the company is refusing to switch to Cocoa engine that powers all the "64-bitness" of Mac OS X. But never mind that.

The company is a standard for over 86% of web sites out there and for around 90% of all online videos and if you want to change the world by pushing HTML5, that is all fine and dandy, but just like OpenCL - not everything is ready and operational. American war philosophy from 18th Century states that "Attack is the best form of defense". In case of Adobe Flash and Apple's first silicon, the A4 - those words cannot be more true.

Read it elsewhere




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Post on Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:42 am by MrMario

Thanks kewlkreator for the news. You also have gotten yourself the writer award.

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Post on Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:44 am by kewlkreator

Oh goody! Thanks for your help MrMario. Big Grin

But I like this job. More news will probably come. Wink

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