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Category: BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android

Nothing to hide

I recently saw an article in ZDNet by my old friend Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols that talks about how NetMarketShare and StatCounter reported a significant jump in the operating system market shares for Linux and Chrome OS. One frustration Vaughan-Nichols alluded to in the article is the lack of transparency into how these firms calculated market share, so he can’t gauge how reliable they are. Because neither NetMarketShare nor StatCounter disclosed their methods, there’s no sure way for interested observers to verify the numbers. Steven prefers the data from the federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP). DAP makes its data freely available, so you can run your own calculations. Transparency generates trust.

Transparency is a core value for the XPRTs. We’ve written before about how statistics can be misleading. That’s why we’ve always disclosed exactly how the XPRTs calculate performance results, and the way BatteryXPRT calculates battery life. It’s also why we make each XPRT’s source code available to community members. We want to be open and honest about how we do things, and our open development community model fosters the kind of constructive feedback that helps to continually improve the XPRTs.

We’d love for you to be a part of that process, so if you have questions or suggestions for improvement, let us know. If you’d like to gain access to XPRT source code and previews of upcoming benchmarks, today is a great day to join the community!

Eric

MobileXPRT: evaluate the performance of your Android device

We recently discussed the capabilities and benefits of TouchXPRT, CrXPRT, BatteryXPRT, and HDXPRT. This week, we’re focusing on MobileXPRT, an app that evaluates how well an Android device handles everyday tasks. Like the other XPRT family benchmarks, MobileXPRT is easy to use. It takes less than 15 minutes to run on most devices, runs relatable workloads, and delivers reliable, objective, and easy-to-understand results.

MobileXPRT includes five performance scenarios (Apply Photo Effects, Create Photo Collages, Create Slideshow, Encrypt Personal Content, and Detect Faces to Organize Photos). By default, the benchmark runs all five tasks and reports individual workload scores and an overall performance score.

MobileXPRT 2015 is the latest version of the app, supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware running Android 4.4 or higher. To test systems running older versions of Android, or to test 32-bit performance on a 64-bit system, you can use MobileXPRT 2013. The results of the two versions are comparable.

MobileXPRT is a useful tool for anyone who wants to compare the performance capabilities of Android phones or tablets. To see test results from a variety of systems, go to MobileXPRT.com and click View Results, where you’ll find scores from many different Android devices.

If you’d like to run MobileXPRT:

Simply download MobileXPRT from MobileXPRT.com or the Google Play Store. The full installer package on MobileXPRT.com, containing both app and test data, is 243 MB. You may also use this link to download the 18 MB MobileXPRT app file, which will download the test data during installation. The MobileXPRT user manual provides instructions for configuring your device and kicking off a test.

If you’d like to dig into the details:

Check out the Exploring MobileXPRT 2015 white paper. In it, we discuss the MobileXPRT development process and details of the individual performance scenarios. We also explain exactly how the benchmark calculates results.

If you’d like to dig even deeper, the MobileXPRT source code is available to members of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, so consider joining today. Membership is free for members of any company or organization with an interest in benchmarks, and there are no obligations after joining.

If you haven’t used MobileXPRT before, give it a shot and let us know what you think!

Justin

Notes from the lab

This week’s XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight featured the Alcatel A30 Android phone. We chose the A30, an Amazon exclusive, because it’s a budget phone running Android 7.0 (Nougat) right out of the box. That may be an appealing combination for consumers, but running a newer OS on inexpensive hardware such as what’s found in the A30 can cause issues for app developers, and the XPRTs are no exception.

Spotlight fans may have noticed that we didn’t post a MobileXPRT 2015 or BatteryXPRT 2014 score for the A30. In both cases, the benchmark did not produce an overall score because of a problem that occurs during the Create Slideshow workload. The issue deals with text relocation and significant changes in the Android development environment.

As of Android 5.0, on 64-bit devices, the OS doesn’t allow native code executables to perform text relocation. Instead, it is necessary to compile the executables using position-independent code (PIC) flags. This is how we compiled the current version of MobileXPRT, and it’s why we updated BatteryXPRT earlier this year to maintain compatibility with the most recent versions of Android.

However, the same approach doesn’t work for SoCs built with older 32-bit ARMv7-A architectures, such as the A30’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 210, so testers may encounter this issue on other devices with low-end hardware.

Testers who run into this problem can still use MobileXPRT 2015 to generate individual workload scores for the Apply Photo Effects, Create Photo Collages, Encrypt Personal Content, and Detect Faces workloads. Also, BatteryXPRT will produce an estimated battery life for the device, but since it won’t produce a performance score, we ask that testers use those numbers for informational purposes and not publication.

If you have any questions or have encountered additional issues, please let us know!

Justin

BatteryXPRT: A quick and reliable way to estimate Android battery life

In the last few weeks, we reintroduced readers to the capabilities and benefits of TouchXPRT and CrXPRT. This week, we’d like to reintroduce BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android, an app that evaluates the battery life and performance of Android devices.

When purchasing a phone or tablet, it’s good to know how long the battery will last on a typical day and how often you’ll need to charge it. Before BatteryXPRT, you had to rely on a manufacturer’s estimate or full rundown tests that perform tasks that don’t resemble the types of things we do with our phones and tablets every day.

We developed BatteryXPRT to estimate battery life reliably in just over five hours, so testers can complete a full evaluation in one work day or while sleeping. You can configure it to run while the device is connected to a network or in Airplane mode. The test also produces a performance score by running workloads that represent common everyday tasks.

BatteryXPRT is easy to install and run, and is a great resource for anyone who wants to evaluate how well an Android device will meet their needs. If you’d like to see test results from a variety of Android devices, go to BatteryXPRT.com and click View Results, where you’ll find scores from many different Android devices.

If you’d like to run BatteryXPRT:

Simply download BatteryXPRT from the Google Play store or BatteryXPRT.com. The BatteryXPRT installation instructions and user manual provide step-by-step instructions for how to configure your device and kick off a test. We designed BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android to be compatible with a wide variety of Android devices, but because there are so many devices on the market, it is inevitable that users occasionally run into problems. In the Tips, tricks, and known issues document, we provide troubleshooting suggestions for issues we encountered during development testing.

If you’d like to learn more:

We offer a full online BatteryXPRT training course that covers almost every aspect of the benchmark. You can view the sections in order or jump to the parts that interest you. We guarantee that you’ll learn something new!

BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android Training Course

If you’d like to dig into the details:

Check out the Exploring BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android white paper. In it, we discuss the app’s development and structure. We also describe the component tests; explain the differences between the test’s Airplane, Wi-Fi, and Cellular modes; and detail the statistical processes we use to calculate expected battery life.

If you’d like to dig even deeper, the BatteryXPRT source code is available to members of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, so consider joining today. Membership is free for members of any company or organization with an interest in benchmarks, and there are no obligations after joining.

If you haven’t used BatteryXPRT before, try it out and let us know what you think!

Justin

Looking under the hood

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll publish the source code and build instructions for the latest HDXPRT 2014 and BatteryXPRT 2014 builds. Access to XPRT source code is one of the benefits of BenchmarkXPRT Development Community membership. For readers who may not know, this a good time to revisit the reasons we make the source code available.

The primary reason is transparency; we want the XPRTs to be as open as possible. As part of our community model for software development, the source code is available to anyone who joins the community. Closed-source benchmark development can lead some people to infer that a benchmark is biased in some way. Our approach makes it impossible to hide any biases.

Another reason we publish source code is to encourage collaborative development and innovation. Community members are involved in XPRT development from the beginning, helping to identify emerging technologies in need of reliable benchmarking tools, suggesting potential workloads and improvements, reviewing design documents, and offering all sorts of general feedback.

Simply put, if you’re interested in benchmarking and the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, then we’re interested in what you have to say! Community input helps us at every step of the process, and ultimately helps us to create benchmarking tools that are as reliable and relevant as possible.

If you’d like to review XPRT source code, but haven’t yet joined the community, we encourage you to go ahead and join! It’s easy, and if you work for a company or organization with an interest in benchmarking, you can join the community for free. Simply fill out the form with your company e-mail address and click the option to be considered for a free membership. We’ll contact you to verify the address is real and then activate your membership.

If you have any other questions about community membership or XPRT source code, feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Justin

Running Android-oriented XPRTs on Chrome OS

Since last summer, we’ve been following Google’s progress in bringing Android apps and the Google Play store to Chromebooks, along with their plan to gradually phase out support for Chrome apps over the next few years. Because we currently offer apps that assess battery life and performance for Android devices (BatteryXPRT and MobileXPRT) and Chromebooks (CrXPRT), the way this situation unfolds could affect the makeup of the XPRT portfolio in the years to come.

For now, we’re experimenting to see how well the Android app/Chrome OS merger is working with the devices in our lab. One test case is the Samsung Chromebook Plus, which we featured in the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight a few weeks ago. Normally, we would publish only CrXPRT and WebXPRT results for a Chromebook, but installing and running MobileXPRT 2015 from the Google Play store was such a smooth and error-free process that we decided to publish the first MobileXPRT score for a device running Chrome OS.

We also tried running BatteryXPRT on the Chromebook Plus, but even though the installation was quick and easy and the test kicked off without a hitch, we could not generate a valid result. Typically, the test would complete several iterations successfully, but terminate before producing a result. We’re investigating the problem, and will keep the community up to date on what we find.

In the meantime, we continue to recommend that Chromebook testers use CrXPRT for performance and battery life assessment. While we haven’t encountered any issues running MobileXPRT 2015 on Chromebooks, CrXPRT has a proven track record.

If you have any questions about running Android-oriented XPRTs on Chrome OS, or insights that you’d like to share, please let us know.

Justin

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