Thursday, March 15, 2012

And With These E-mails from Developers, the Topic is Closed

The discussion this week has generated so much e-mail that I can't even keep up, so apologies for the delays in responding. Since we've discussed this all week, today is going to close it out.

Today, let's hear from some developers.

First, from a long-time reader who wishes to remain anonymous, comments on developing for Windows 8:
Let me tell you... developing for it has been no day at the beach. Mainly because MSFT is very silo'd and there are aspects of the new OS that aren't complete, or are partially complete, or that they just aren't able to share the information about. This OS that was just released is so much better than the developers versions that we've been dealing with up to now. I can't even tell you. The touch works great and there are some great touch features... but for them to really be successful they need to bring hardware costs down. The OS works best on the Samsung Series 7, which only costs about $1500. Playing games on a touch monitor is exhausting... i don't think they will be around long with all touch really happening on mobile and tablets.

Next, another developer who wishes to remain anonymous on developing for iOS versus Android:
A lot of recent posts have concerned why people buy Apple hardware, the importance of their ecosystem, and the advantages of alternate hardware (or disadvantages), and I wanted to point out a couple of things I have noticed about Apple hardware (especially after developing for it) that factor in to why I have come to like these devices so much more than comparable Android devices. I agree that the app ecosystem is definitely a part of Apple's success.

First, let me say that I'm not an Apple fanboy. In fact, I can't stand MacOS at all - and I dislike the Mac that sits on my desk that I occasionally have to use for porting work (although the screen is nice). I develop for iOS using a PC, because I just can't abide the Mac development environment.

However, excluding surface design on Apple's devices, their combination of internal hardware and software has some SIGNIFICANT advantages over any competitors. Quite frankly, it performs a lot better for daily use. I'm not sure if this is because they control it end to end, and as such, they are taking better advantage of the hardware they have (my gut tells me it is), but let me give you a quick example.

I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1, the same device you do, and I was bothered by the feel of the device - responsiveness, video playback smoothness, and the feel of basic navigation. When I was making [REDACTED] builds for the Tab, they didn't 'feel' as good as the iPad versions. I decided to do some tests.

I created a simple application that draws 1 fullscreen alpha quad as fast as it can go. The iPad ONE renders this at double the framerate of the Tab. Two polygons. The fill rate on the Tegra may be poor, or the drivers may just not be that great, or the combination of Android's bottom overlay with the drivers and the hardware, or something else. The software comes from Vendor 1, Drivers from Vendor 2, Hardware from Vendor 3 - I think that costs you in baseline performance and 'feel', for lack of a better word. Although the Tab has a nice form factor, and a very pretty screen, my first gen iPad outperforms it in everyday tasks for usability. It shouldn't, but it does - and I think that this has associated ripple effects throughout all usage cases. For many people those ripples are not something they'd notice immediately, but they add up. I measured similar issues across a wide range of Android handsets versus iPhones as well, and the results were similar.

Okay, we're done with this topic for now, although I will have impressions of the new iPad next week.

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