back to article Hands on with the Intel-powered Orange San Diego

Orange joined forces with Intel today to launch its first Atom-powered smartphone, the San Diego, which I had the opportunity to play with ahead of release. Orange San Diego I was immediately taken aback by the San Diego's 4in capacitive display, which wows with a resolution of 600 x 1084 pixels and 16m-strong colour palette …

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WTF?

I'm all for reading reviews that have a bit of personality, but this reads like you were given a script from Intel!

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Black Helicopters

Unfortunately From my experience, Orange put so much crapware on their phones that it spoils the user experience.

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WTF?

How's the holiday going?

Corporate shill much?

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Re: How's the holiday going?

Giant douche much?

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Re: How's the holiday going?

I enjoy the occasional shower yes, but I've never found a giant one.

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Oh FFS!

What's up with you 2? He's said it's a nice enough phone, with a nice enough screen, which seemed to be fast enough. With lots of caveats. Including saying the chip might not work, but he wasn't able to try it yet, until their full review.

How the fuck does that make him a shill?

You're showing that you either don't like Intel, or don't believe they can make a viable mobile phone chip. You may be right, you may be wrong. But the ones pre-judging here are you. Not the reviewer, who's clearly said he's not made a judgement.

It's bad enough all the fanbois/fandroids spouting on about their fave mobile OS's. The last thing we need is bloody processor fanbois joining in.

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Re: Oh FFS!

The excessive enthusiasm reads like a corporate marketing slogan rather than an objective review.

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"rather than an obejctive review"

It's not a review.

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Re: Oh FFS!

"I was immediately taken aback by the San Diego's 4in capacitive display, which wows with a resolution of 600 x 1084 pixels and 16m-strong colour palette"

Reads like it's straight from a press release.

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Re: Oh FFS!

How would you have written in then?

Seems a perfectly reasonably description of screen's specs and its visual quality, to me.

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Re: Oh FFS!

Jeez, it's a poor day when a hack can't express keen enjoyment of or interest in something without being accused of being in a company's pocket. What, journalists supposed to say everything is shit, you cynical sod?

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Re: Oh FFS!

Hands on with the Intel-powered Orange San Diego - sounds like the title of a review

But the ones pre-judging here are you. Not the reviewer, who's clearly said he's not made a judgement. - So it's not a review then?

FFS of course it's a marketing exercise, unless of course it is a review

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Re: Oh FFS!

Because it looks like a shitty intel version of the San Francisco, which is half the price, doesn't run its apps in an emulator, doesn't have a washed out camera.

The reviewer actually says "the San Diego is fabulous value for money". Really? I can find a plethora of android based phones at this price point with better features and not relying on emulation to run apps.

I'm not saying he's a shill, but I do think it is a crap review. The only interesting thing with this phone is that it runs on an Atom, with apps running on an ARM emulator, which gives compatibility issues, performance issues and power issues.

When you want a phone, you don't care about what processor it runs, but you do want it to be compatible with your apps, be performant and not chew power, and on that basis this phone is a dog that the reviewer called a horse.

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re: FFS of course it's a marketing exercise, unless of course it is a review

because of course those are the only two kinds of articles.

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Re: Oh FFS!

"Hands on with the Intel-powered Orange San Diego - sounds like the title of a review"

It's not a fucking review!

The subheading of FIRST LOOK is your clue here. When they have a subhead of Review, that means it's a... Review. The fact that all their mini-reviews at trade shows and the like always begin 'hands on with', is another clue.

It's called 'house style', and is designed to allow readers to know what kind of article they're reading. This is the same reason lots of their pieces have a heading of 'Opinion' or 'Analysis'.

"FFS of course it's a marketing exercise, unless of course it is a review"

Hmm, limited view of journalism here. Is it possible there could be more kinds of articles than just 2 perhaps?

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Re: Oh FFS!

"Because it looks like a shitty intel version of the San Francisco, which is half the price, doesn't run its apps in an emulator, doesn't have a washed out camera."

Tom38,

The San Francisco doesn't have that nice a screen does it? Anyway, didn't they ship the first lot of San Franciscos with OLED screens, to get great reviews, then sneakily swap to LCD ones a month later? The San Fran has a 3" ish screen of lower resolution, less memory and a slowish processor. Admittedly it's also half the price.

"I can find a plethora of android based phones at this price point with better features"

Really? I can't think of many Android handsets with 4" screens at £200. There's an Orange branded ZTE (the Monte Carlo I think).

And here we get to it:

"When you want a phone, you don't care about what processor it runs, but you do want it to be compatible with your apps, be performant and not chew power, and on that basis this phone is a dog that the reviewer called a horse."

Do you know this?

Or are you spouting off before the information is in? Which is what I've accused a few other people of doing on this forum. Because it sounds like there's a lot of caring what processor it runs going on here.

I've not seen any reviews of this phone, so I've no opinion either way, but so far all I've seen is people putting the boot into it because it's got an Intel processor.

Putting my cards on the table, I've just been looking for an Android phone at this price point. And decided I didn't like any of them, so bought a Nokia Lumia 710 (£130 and I'm pretty happy with it). Make of that what you will. It certainly doesn't make me an Intel shill. Although you may decide it makes me an idiot...

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@¬Spartacus

Way to miss the point fella.

One shouldn't care what processor is in a phone. However, phones using this processor have downsides that make you need to care. The 'first looker' didn't seem to be bothered by this, eulogising the "magic" that the manufacturer's press release espoused and playing it down, and then said it is fantastic value for money.

That's the point right there. Is it fantastic value for money? No-one knows yet, because you would need a full review looking at how this different architecture handles power hungry apps and real life usage. But the 'first looker' doesn't need that; he's read the press release, gone to the launch event and he's already sold on it's "fantastic value for money".

PS: I don't know why buying a Lumia would make you an Intel shill - it, like every fucking phone worth buying, uses an ARM processor. You do seem really miffed for some reason that people do not want power hungry x86 chips in their phones.

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Re: @¬Spartacus

"One shouldn't care what processor is in a phone. However, phones using this processor have downsides that make you need to care. The 'first looker' didn't seem to be bothered by this, eulogising the "magic" that the manufacturer's press release espoused and playing it down, and then said it is fantastic value for money."

That's not really fair. The language about the screen did seem to be a bit press-releasey, I'll grant you, but equally, it could just be he really liked it.

For £200, a good 4" screen Android is good value. So long as it works, and the battery life isn't shocking.

The piece was full of caveats about how the processor may have problems, and he'd not had a chance to test it. So I think the criticism is ridiculous.

"You do seem really miffed for some reason that people do not want power hungry x86 chips in their phones."

I get pissed off by the wankers who shout 'shill' at everyone who disagrees with them. That got me commenting on the thread, once I'm here, I may as well stick around. In for a penny, in for a pound...

You've pre-judged though, which is why I've taken issue with you as well.

As I understand it Intel still needs a lot more power than ARM - although they've got a long way with Atom. So it may be this phone will be shit. Or Intel will have to massively subsidise it in order to sell, due to larger battery requirements. No user should care about that, so long as they're not paying. If it doesn't work with apps, then a review will pick that up, and we'll know.

There are things that could make this phone work. Atom could have better graphics. As that becomes more important, its power disadvantage may matter less. I'm interested to know if Intel can manage it. Though I don't personally think they will. But this knee-jerk 'Intel chips are shit in phones' stuff is just annoying. Intel are obviously trying to do something about that, and competition is good.

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Re: Oh FFS!

I was thinking the exact same thing, thanks for bringing up those three points. Also, 1024x600 is a great resolution. For £200 this could be awesome.

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Other reviews have been less than glowing.

Mainly the fact it feels very flimsy, cheap and lots of apps crash constantly.

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ARM emulator

Are you sure? I would have thought stuff would just run on Dalvik as normal, there has been an x86 port of Android since near enough day one. As far as I know, there would only be a problem when native code needs to be run. However, I may be completely wrong. Does anybody in the know have more information?

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Re: ARM emulator

If you're targetting an app at, say, both iOS and Android, it may make sense to write the main engine in C++ and do the platform-specific GUI stuff in that platform approved manner. AIUI, this is not uncommon these days. Ergo, a chunk of native code.

Which you get to run in emulation. Hmm.

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Re: ARM emulator

I think you're broadly right. I've used android on x86 before and most apps work (because they're written in Java and interpreted).

I think the article could have explained that part a bit better.

Anyway - seems like a good phone for the money. And android on x86 is pretty nippy so I'll be watching this space with great interest - If the battery is half decent then you have a phone that can also be plugged into an HDMI and used as a proper x86 with a proper OS.

...that's the dream anyway!

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Re: ARM emulator

From the Android NDK:

"The latest release of the NDK supports the following instruction sets:"

...(usual suspects)

x86 instructions (see docs/CPU-X86.html for more information)

" You can also build for both architectures at the same time and have everything stored in the final .apk."

So in short, everything regular Android/Java/Davlik will just run on the x86 Android without issue and without needing emulation. Apps that use NDK (games for example), will need to package ARM, MIPS and x86 binary bytecode in the APK. If they don't do that, i'm guessing that the Google market filtering will be able to detect what arch blobs are there and only offer the correct apps to the correct phones.

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Re: ARM emulator

And what 'Proper OS' would that be ?

GNU/Linux perhaps, or were you dreaming of Windows ?

Wake up please.

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Trollface

Attention Caleb Cox

Please note that in all future articles, you are NOT allowed to like anything to do with Intel (or Orange, not sure which) and whatever you do, do NOT compliment any features that you like on handsets that are not on the approved list as supplied by the above commentards. If you do, you will immediately be labeled a corporate shill who only regurgitates marketing materials.

That is all

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Volume Slider?

I was worried when I read that, (dust and dirt ingress leading to noisy action). Then I saw the picture and realised that it was a volume rocker, phew.

P.S. Why do different manufacturers have different button layouts for Home, Menu, Back, Search? After two years of using HTC, I'd have lots of frustration trying to quickly operate the San Diego.

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Ginger and AnnoDomini are the same poster, notice the timestamps between the posts. They post in every Intel thread.

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FAIL

Wrong!

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Orange Apps >_<

This I hate with my phone is the Orange Apps, normal stuff hidden and replaced with alternatives that want £3 a month for navigation and traffic tv. Wish they would keep the normal stuff on it.

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Re: Orange Apps >_<

1) Somebody else that uses TrafficTV! Wow! I thought it was just me, which was a bit worrying, as I do not want to be without it.

2) I've had an Orange/Nokia E71 and an Orange SanFran. I read the words about "Orange Bloatware" but I must be missing something. OK the SanFran was eventually reflashed with one of the widely available ROMs (much easier than I was fearing) but that was more for interest than necessity. Even before reflashing, it had Google Maps (whose traffic info is no competitor for TrafficTV, and nor is the Highways Agency rubbish website much use on a mobile).

No I don't work for mxdata, nor do I know anyone that does.

Yes I am a happy long term user of TrafficTV (and before that, Traffic-i).

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Who manufactures the phone? It doesn't mention in the article.

I wonder what the profit margin is for the manufacture on the phone compared to a comparable spec phone with an ARM chip since i suspect the Atom chip will be more expensive. Intel subsidised perhaps?

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Z80

Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diago...

AKA the Lava Xolo X900 - made in India.

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Oh yay

Yet another unique screen resolution for Android developers to worry about. Sweet jesus, people. In this day and age it should be either:

400x840 at the cheaper end

qHD (540x960)

720p (720x1280)

NOTHING ELSE, FFS!

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Re: Oh yay

Surely you need a few more than that. You'd need at least one smaller size, for 'Blackberry' style phones, with small screens - something like 330x440, because it'll need to be around 4:3. Come to think of it, all those sizes are widescreen. Surely you're going to need some squarer displays, for small cheapies like the Wildfire.

Plus you'll need bigger screens for tablets, and some tablets will probably be 4:3, because of the iPad. Given that the one of the points of Android is the flexibility it gives to manufacturers, I don't see how you're going to be able to get away with less than 10 standard screen sizes.

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screen sizes

When writing an app for a tightly controlled platform that has only one screen size, you can be forgiven for designing to the size.

On a platform with two screen sizes, you would be sort of stupid to do so, but many developers could be expected to be on that side of the line.

Android cell phones collectively have at least a dozen different screen dimensions. Add tablets and you're up to at least 20. Coding Android apps to care greatly about screen size is just plain stupid.

Desktop apps have a resize control in the corner of the window. Web apps get fed into browsers on all size screens, which live in windows with resize controls. Any strong sensitivity to window size is idiotic.

BTW there are a lot of idiotic pages on the web. This does not excuse them...

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not much ARM code should need to be emulated

Android apps are mostly Dalvik (cough*Java*cough) bytecode; they should run just as "fast" on x86 as on ARM.

Presumably where there's ARM code, the phone uses some sort of JIT ARM-to-x86 compiler. This stuff used to be terribly slow (10-100x penalty). These days there is no technological reason it should cost more than about 2:1. That is, *if* they cared to develop or buy the very best, the penalty shouldn't be too bad. If they just slapped something naive together then it's probably back to 10:1 or worse... Benchmarks will eventually tell the real story.

And presumably popular apps which use native ARM code will eventually be recompiled as fat binaries or separate x86 packages.

My guess is that the current generation of Atom SoCs will prove to be perfectly adequate also-rans in the cell phone CPU arena. They will not compare successfully against the latest multicore ARMs like Tegra 3, QualComm S4, etc. Atom is only barely touching the compute-per-watt range of the newer ARMs.

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