Riptide GP Updated To Support Non-Tegra 2 Handsets; Puss In The Boots Releasing Next Week

Riptide GP is one of the most popular games available for Tegra 2 powered Android handsets and tablets. The game has some amazing water physics, and is unarguably among the best looking games available for the Android platform.

Since the game was a Tegra 2 exclusive, it frustrated owners of many other Android handsets, which feature technically more powerful SoC than Tegra 2. Thankfully, Vector Unit, the developers of Riptide GP have finally updated the game to add support for non-Tegra 2 handsets, along with lowering its price tag.

The game now supports all the popular and high-end Android smartphones, like the Galaxy S2, Nexus S, Droid X, Xperia Play, HTC EVO 3D and many more. The developers have also added support for gamepads in the latest update of the game. The new version of Riptide GP can be downloaded from here.

In other gaming related news, Half Brick studios, developer of the popular Fruit Ninja game, will soon be releasing the latest version of their game – Fruit Ninja: Puss In The Boots…..on the Amazon AppStore! Yep, Amazon has managed to convince the developers at Half Brick that the Amazon AppStore is more important than the Android Market. The game will release on the same day as the movie hits the theatre!

Motorola Photon 4G Announced; To Be Available Under Sprint’s Network This Summer

Motorola has announced the first Nvidia Tegra 2 powered handset to be available under the Sprint’s network the Motorola Photon 4G.

The Motorola Photon sports a 4.3-inch screen with qHD (960×640) resolution. The handset is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset running at 1GHz.

SunFire_Front_1, 4/5/11, 11:05 AM,  8C, 4500x2400 (704+2888), 100%, Bent 6 Adjuste,  1/20 s, R37.8, G24.7, B52.6

The back of the handset sports an 8MP camera with dual-LED flash, while there is a disappointing VGA camera in the front. The handset also packs in 1GB of RAM, along with 16GB of on-board storage and a microSD card slot. The usual Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack and a proximity sensor are also present. Like the Atrix 4G, the Photon 4G will also have WebTop capabilities.

The Photon 4G also has a kickstand at its back, which will allow users to enjoy watching videos on their device. The handset will also support’s Sprint’s WiMAX network, along with support for 3G networks outside the U.S, making it a World ready’ handset.

The Photon will be running on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with a new and improved version of MotoBLUR running on top of it. The handset will be available sometime this summer under Sprint’s network. Final specifications and pricing of the handset will be revealed sometime before the estimated release time frame.

Artificial Hardware Fragmentation: The Next Big Problem for Android

Over the years, a lot has been said about Android’s fragmentation problem. Manufacturers and carriers often took months to deliver operating system updates, if they delivered them at all. Thankfully, the Android update scenario seems to have taken a turn for the better. Manufacturers like Sony Ericsson have cleaned up their act in a big way, and have promised to deliver quick updates. Google has also begun to wield its influence to nudge manufacturers and careers in the right direction. However, now that the software fragmentation problem is showing signs of settling down, another major issue is rearing its ugly head hardware fragmentation.

Android

Google has very little say over the hardware configuration of Android devices. Current generation Android handsets run on everything from ARM A9 to ARM A6 and ARM A11. Google wants Android to be ubiquitous. It wants Android handsets to dominate every segment from basic low-end devices to cutting edge high-end smartphones. This is in stark contrast to the approach taken by Apple and even Microsoft. Apple restricts iOS to handsets manufactured in-house (i.e. iPhone). Microsoft on the other hand has laid out stringent minimum hardware specifications that all Windows Phone handsets must satisfy.

In theory, Google’s approach has some significant advantages like affordability and diversity. It allows for healthy competition between hardware manufactures, and it fosters innovation and rapid improvements in hardware capability. Hardware fragmentation by its own isn’t a major headache. However, as always, vested interests have found ways to exploit the freedom offered to them by Google to gain unfair competitive advantages.

Hardware manufacturers are tying up with game developers to artificially restrict games to their own platforms. The biggest culprit is probably nVidia, which has roped in several big names to launch Tegra exclusive titles (often called Tegra HD or THD games). Quite obviously, no one expects a budget handset to be able to run graphics intensive games like Riptide GP. However, thanks to the Tegra exclusive tag, even beasts like the Samsung Galaxy S II aren’t capable of running the jaw dropping ski racer from Vector Unit. Imagine shelling out big bucks to purchase the latest and the greatest Android smart phone in the market, and then discovering that you can’t play most of uber cool games for Android, as you have an Exynos chip instead of Tegra 2. This is an entirely artificially imposed restriction that if not checked will be a major deterrent for mobile gaming enthusiasts.

It is one thing to optimize a game for a specific platform, but it is quite something else to cripple it or make it unplayable on other equivalent platforms. Unlike in the PC gaming segment where games are often optimized for either nVidia or ATI (AMD) graphics cards, but run pretty well on both, nVidia is making some games simply unavailable for other platforms.

Earlier this month, an enterprising developer at XDA found a way to fake the graphics capabilities of the handset. His app, called ChainFire3D, can manipulate OpenGL feature identifiers with the press of a button. With the help of proper plugins it can run Tegra 2 exclusive games like Samurai Vengeance 2, Guerrilla Bob THD, and Riptide GP on several non-Tegra handsets including Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S II, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, HTC G2, HTC Desire, and Nexus One.

Sony Ericsson has also been doing something similar with its Xperia Play exclusive games (mainly published by Gameloft). Sure some of the games require hardware keys for full gratification, but most of them are perfectly enjoyable even without dedicated hardware keys.


Tegra Zone Games on Nexus One with ChainFire3D

Google has indicated in the past that it is serious about Android as a gaming platform. However, if Android wants to take on iOS in the mobile gaming segment, then it will have to deal with this artificially created hardware fragmentation problem. The purpose of the operating system and graphics libraries like OpenGL is to abstract the hardware from the software. Whether a game runs on a given handset should be determined by the capability of the hardware, and not some other superficial restriction. If Google wants to retain even a semblance of openness in the Android ecosystem, then it must step in, and prevent this artificial fragmentation.

Video via Android Police

Nvidia Demoes Quad-Core Kal-El (Tegra 3) SoC Power

Nvidia Tegra 2 is the hottest SoC (Silicon-on-Chip) for Android devices. It powers a majority of Android handsets and nearly all Honeycomb based Android tablets like the XOOM, Galaxy Tab etc.

Nvidia gave us a sneak-peek of its roadmap earlier this year, which stated that the next generation Tegra chips, codenamed Kal-El will sport a Quad core CPU and 12 core GPU. Nvidia also claims that Kal-El is up to 5 times fastest than the current Tegra 2 chips.

Today, Nvidia has uploaded a video which gives us a demo of the raw power of Kal-El. In the video, the quad-core SoC renders lighting and movement physics, and animations in a game called Glowball, in real-time!

Below is the video uploaded by Nvidia :

The above video clearly shows the raw power of the Kal-El chip in action. Nvidia also claims that the final version of the Kal-El SoC will be up to 20-30% faster than the pre-production unit!

The Kal-El SoC will be available for tablets by end of Q3, beginning of Q4 for tablets, and will be available for handsets by the end of this year. Rumors suggest that the next Nexus handset will be using a Tegra 3/Kal-El SoC.

Sony PlayStation Suite Coming To Tegra 2 Based Devices

At MWC this year, Sony Ericsson announced the PlayStation Suite along with a bunch of Xperia branded handsets. At that time, Sony Ericsson announced that more PS certified handsets will launch as the year goes by.

Today, Nvidia announced via their Tegra Zone app that Sony will be bringing the PlayStation Suite to Nvidia Tegra 2 based handsets and tablets.   They also revealed that PS Suite will bring not only PlayStation 1 based games to Android handsets and tablets, but popular PlayStation 2 games as well.

Sony_PS_Suite

As of now, Sony has not mentioned which all game titles are coming to PS Suite except for Wild Arms, Cool Boarders 2 and Syphon Filter.

However, readers should keep in mind that it may be possible that not all Tegra 2 based handsets and tablets will be certified as PS certified. Up until now, there is only one PlayStation certified phone – the Xperia Play.

With the Nvidia Tegra Zone, and now the PS Suite, the gaming scene of the Android ecosystem has definitely improved by leaps and bounds compared to last year.

Samsung Galaxy S II To Ship With Nvidia Tegra 2 Chipset In Some Regions

When Samsung announced the hotly anticipated Galaxy S II at the MWC 2011, the company did not mention anything about a Tegra 2 version of the device. However, soon after the announcements, rumors started popping up on the Internet that the Galaxy S II will come in two variants one with Samsung’s own Exnynos chip, and another one based on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset.

Now, an Nvidia spokesperson has confirmed to ITProPortal, that the Galaxy S II will indeed come in two flavors. Samsung will be shipping the Nvidia Tegra 2 version in certain regions of the world.

Samsung_Galaxy_S_II

The reason cited behind this move from Samsung is because the company won’t be able to produce enough Exynos chips to fulfill the supply.

At the moment, it is unknown as to which countries or regions of the world will get the Tegra 2 based Galaxy S II handsets. The performance of these 2 SOCs should be similar, so users need not worry about which version they buy.

It may be also possible that Samsung may not ship the Galaxy S II with the Super AMOLED Plus screen in some regions.

Nvidia Tegra Zone App Goes Live On The Android Market

Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset based handsets and tablets owners rejoice! Nvidia has released the highly anticipated Tegra Zone app for your Tegra 2 based device.

The new Tegra Zone will provide users with the best games available for Android, which will be optimized for the Tegra 2 chipset. The app ties into the Android Market itself, thus providing users with quick access to the Tegra optimized games. It will also contain high resolution screenshots and video of the games on offer.

Nvidia_Tegra_Zone

We’re working with game developers and publishers to turbocharge mobile gaming for Android super phones and tablets. Our goal is to bring a console- class gaming experience to super phones and tablets and bring the generation of gaming to the future of mobile devices. Tegra Zone is a free app we’ve built so gamers can find great games for Tegra in one easy place.- Tony Tamasi, Senior Vice President, Content and Technology at NVIDIA

The launch titles have some impressive games including Dungeon Defenders: First Wave Deluxe HD, Samurai II, Fruit Ninja and Galaxy On Fire 2. Dungeon Defenders is the first game to be released for Android to be based on the popular Unreal Engine 3.

Nvidia is also working closely with more game developers to add more titles to the Tegra Zone. All the games available on the Tegra Zone will feature richer graphics and improved performance. Users can download Tegra Zone for their Tegra 2 based handset or tablet from here.

The dull gaming scene on the Android ecosystem has surely picked up pace with a bang thanks to Nvidia!

Sony S1, Android Honeycomb Tablet with PlayStation Certification, Leaked

As expected, Sony Ericsson unveiled a number of suitably eye-catching Android handsets, including the PlayStation branded Xperia Play, at the MWC. However, there was a glaring omission in its lineup. In a year in which every other company is busy announcing new tablets (mostly powered by Android), Sony didn’t even mention the T-word. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have something cooking for us tablet aficionados.

Engadget has learnt that Sony is busy customizing Android Honeycomb’s interface for a tablet that is being internally called the S1. According to its sources, the S1 might very well be the best looking thing Sony has ever produced. Unlike other tablets in the market, the S1 will feature a “wrap” design that mimics an open paperback book. Sony hopes that this design innovation will make the tablet more personal besides making typing on the keyboard and consuming multimedia content easier.

Sony-S1

The S1 is expected to feature a 9.4″ display with a resolution of 1280×800 px, and will be powered by nVidia’s Tegra 2 chip. Engadget has also confirmed that it will be PlayStation certified. Besides that it will include a Bravia media remote, an IR port, and come preloaded with PSX (PlayStation One) games. The tablet will also heavily leverage Sony’s Qriocity, which is a streaming music, games, e-books and video on demand service.

While nothing is set in stone yet, Engadget believes that the Wi-Fi version of the tablet will cost $599, and is expected to ship in September.

New Motorola Atrix 4G Promo Video Released; Makes Us Drool Even More

Motorola unveiled the Atrix 4G at the CES 2011. The Atrix 4G is a beast of a phone packing a 4.3-inch qHD (960×540) LCD display. The phone is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processor and has 1GB of RAM along with 16GB of internal memory.

What makes the Atrix 4G special is its docking’ capabilities. At the CES, Motorola wowed the whole world by plugging in the Atrix 4G into a WebTop’ dock and transforming the whole phone into a laptop.

When plugged into a WebTop’, the Atrix 4G can provide users access with a full fledge Firefox web browser with full Flash 10.1 support and some other useful apps including one for IM. Android lovers and techies all over the world were totally awe-struck by the beast of a phone Atrix 4G.

Now, Motorola has released another promo video of the Atrix 4G. Below is the video I am talking about :

After watching the above video, I am pretty sure most of you would have been completely blown away by the handset. The docking’ capabilities, fingerprint recognition, dual-core processor and the abundance of RAM make the Atrix 4G one of the most desirable handset to have.

The Atrix 4G is supposedly going to hit the stores on Feb 14th. The Atrix G sure is going to set the sales chart on fire after it’s released to the general masses.

Living in India, I can only hope that Motorola launches this beast of a phone here as well. I also hope that the Atrix 4G won’t come with a locked down bootloader like the Droid X and the Droid 2. Otherwise, the modding potential of this phone will be heavily restricted.

LG Optimus 2X Quadrant Benchmark Score

LG announced the Optimus 2X last month. The Optimus 2X was the first phone announced from any manufacturer which is based on the highly anticipated Nvidia Tegra 2 platform. Nearly all the upcoming handsets and tablets from all major manufacturers will be based on the Nvidia Tegra 2 platform.

However, as much as we have heard about the Tegra 2 platform no company has provided us with raw benchmarks of the device, until now that is.

Thanks to Tech Bloggr, we have got a video of Quadrant in action of the LG Optimus 2X-:

LG Optimus 2X Quadrant Benchmark

Here is the link to the video for all our feed readers.

As seen from the video above, the Optimus 2X literally blows the competition away. The phone scores a whopping 2391 in the Quadrant benchmark. However, we should keep in mind that the Quadrant app has still not been optimized for dual-core processors.

The app still sees the dual-core Tegra 2 processor as a single core one.   Once an updated version of the app comes out, we expect these numbers to improve.

(Source)