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T-Mobile G2 – A reality check

For anyone who follows us, the G2 has gotten a lot of attention here. The reason for this attention has revolved around the seemingly constant string of  misinformation surrounding this handset. The phone has been hailed as a Dual Core with a Tegra 2, nine heads and its own goldfish built into the battery compartment. We spent alot of time explaining exactly how these rumors were simply not yet possible (well, all except the goldfish… those guys at HTC might pull that off) but more importantly, this did not mean the device would not be incredible in its own right. Now, T-mobile and HTC have stepped up with actual product details and images, dispelling some of the nonsense for anyone who didn’t believe. The reality of the device, however, seemed to have an adverse effect for some. Announcing the G2’s processor as an 800MHz Scorpion processor sounds underwhelming at best, given a year ago HTC was putting out 1GHz Snapdragons like they were going out of style. The wave of angry, sad, and generally upset comments all seem to have one thing in common – they are all based in a lack of understanding. So, once again, we here at The Droid Guy have thrown ourselves into the thick of it, to come back with the truth of the matter!

Before we get into the processor – let’s talk about what we know. The G2 brings an update to the original Androiddevice, in many ways. The updated QWERTY keyboard takes up the whole device, rather than the portion the G1 did. True to the Original, a unique slider is in place, this time causing the two halves to separate and reconnect when the slide is complete. The 3.7″ screen and optical square occupy the front of the device, with volume rockers on the side. Then, Chuck Falzone of Android Guys discovered an icon on the homescreen for “Quick Keys” and to go along there are three buttons on the QWERTY that appear to be designed to function with this app. Finally, it was released that the phone would be running the 800MHz Scorpion Processor, not a 1GHz Snapdragon or some Dual Core monster. But that can’t be right, can it? Sure it can – as long as you pay attention to the device as a whole rather than some silly numbers!

So, where did Scorpion come from? Why is it not an 800MHz Snapdragon? Well, in a way, it is. The Scorpion Core was released back in 2005 by Qualcomm, as critical pivot in how they made chips. The chip was smaller, used way less power, and was designed to be highly customizable in how it handled it’s processes. So, they took this chip, and they decided to see how far they could push it, since similarly designed ARM chips were pushing 1GHz. After about a year of R&D, the prototype for the Snapdragon was made. A 1GHz mobile optimized processor, which instantly caused any of us who owned a Commodore 64 to weep with excitement over the advancement of technology in our lifetime. The chip did not come without sacrifices either. Even though it had a fully functioning GPU, the Snapdragon still relied pretty heavily on the Scorpion Core to do alot of it’s heavy lifting graphically. Obviously if the processor is busy helping the GPU, it’s not going to give it’s full attention, so while yes it was a 1GHz processor – it was not without limits. Also, the battery life on most Snapdragon phones is really not ideal, even for anyone controlling their own CPU output. So Qualcomm went back to the root of the chip and decided to focus on the processor optimizing aspects of the Scorpion, and the result is this new 800MHz processor.

We all love to look at benchmark type things, so how about it’s GLBenchmark 1.1 scores? 1370. That’s better than the iPhone 4, and right close behind the Vibrant (1409) and the Glacier (1432)  – you know… that “Dual Core” phone? I know I know “But this is just GPU scores blahdy blahdy blah” It tells us that even if it’s underclocked, it’s been heavilly optimized to perform at the same level as a 1GHz Hummingbird, but it will natively consume less resources because it’s only running at 800MHz! GET IT! The phone’s performance is determined by all of the pieces inside, and while HTC chose a processor that was not the fastest thing they could shove in there, it has plenty of friends in there to make sure it’s still a very high performance device.

So let’s not abandon hope here. The G2 is going to be a heavy hitter, even if the specs sheet doesn’t flat out say that it’s big enough to beat up all the other kids on the playground. Plus, the whole world does not want a 4.3″ can’t ever get it into your pocket slab of smartphone. There are other phones for that. The G2 not only has a target market, but it also has plenty of muscle for the performance guys.

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