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Category: CES

Golden tickets go global

I’ve spent the last week at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The show is somewhat reminiscent of CES in January, but with a much more European/global feel. There are seven large halls of booths with phones, tablets, accessories, and gadgets of every sort.

MWC picture

I have felt Fujitsu’s haptic technology on a tablet, seen phones operating under water such as Kyocera’s and others, and even talked with someone at Oral-B about their Bluetooth-enabled electric toothbrush.

As at CES , my primary goal has not been to play with cool gadgets, see the sights, and eat good food. (Though, admittedly, all of that has been fun!) Instead, I was here to spread the word about the XPRT benchmarks. I handed out more of the special golden tickets that invite folks to be heard by joining the BenchmarkXPRT community and to take advantage of the opportunity to have PT test devices for free with all the applicable XPRT benchmarks.

If you were not able to attend CES or MWC, or I missed you and did not give you a golden ticket (or one of our cool shirts), please contact us. We don’t want any members of the community to feel left out! And, we’d love any of the rest of you readers to join the community and be part of creating the benchmarks for the next wave of cool phones, tablets, and devices.

-Bill Catchings

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MWC is coming

As you probably know, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) starts Monday in Barcelona. Bill loves gadgets, loves Barcelona, and loves talking about technology, so he’s really looking forward to being there.

Bill’s got a lot to talk about. In January, we released the first community preview for TouchXPRT 2014. Then on February 7, 2014, we released the first community preview for a brand new benchmark: BatteryXPRT 2014 for Android. Not only that, HDXPRT and WebXPRT are in development. And he always loves to hear about new areas where you are interested in having benchmarks.

And that’s not all – If you read Bill and Mark’s post about being at CES, you’ll be happy to know that the Golden Tickets are back! The Golden Tickets let you join the community and get your device tested for free. If you’re a mobile device manufacturer, be sure to find Bill to get yours.

If you want to meet with Bill, send an e-mail to BenchmarkXPRTsupport@principledtechnologies.com. You can also DM us on Twitter at @BenchmarkXPRT.

We hope to see you there!

Eric

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Golden tickets

We (Bill and Mark) are on our way home from CES. There were lots of cool things to see, from electric cars to health and fitness wearables to all manner of mobile devices. And, more, a whole lot more.

We enjoyed seeing many of those products, but that was not our primary mission at the show. Our main goal was to spread the word about the XPRT benchmarks. We did that by visiting multiple mobile-device members and giving out to many of them a very special golden ticket. Yes, we’re talking a physical, Willy Wonka-style golden ticket. The two-sided tickets look really cool.

One side invites folks to be heard by joining the BenchmarkXPRT community. The other offers them the opportunity to have PT test devices for free with all the applicable XPRT benchmarks. All a vendor has to do to get this free testing is send the device to PT. We hope to get many devices in-house and to provide a great many results on our Web sites.

We wore the new BenchmarkXPRT shirts as we walked the floor.

We will soon be sending one shirt—and one golden ticket—to each member of the community. Please make sure we have your latest mailing address so we can ship those to you.

-Bill & Mark

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Happy New Year everyone!

We hope you had a great holiday.

Bill and Mark are preparing to go to CES this year. We’re really excited about the chance to talk with folks because there’s so much to talk about.

It’s been a great year for the XPRTs. At the start of 2013, HDXPRT 2012 was the only XPRT benchmark available to the public. Now four XPRT benchmarks are available through our Web site. Take a look at some of the milestones from this banner year:

  • We released MobileXPRT 2013, TouchXPRT 2013 and WebXPRT 2013 to the public.
  • To reflect the expanded offerings, the HDXPRT Development Community evolved into the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community.
  • We radically redesigned the Web site.
  • The greater XPRT offerings let us test more varied devices, including the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX, Barnes & Noble Nook HD+, NVIDIA Shield, XBOX ONE, and PS4.
  • We released four videos.

And 2014 is going to be an even bigger year! We are very close to releasing the TouchXPRT 2014 community preview and are in the comment period for a new battery life test—and we are only two days into the year!

If you will be at CES, this is a great time make yourself heard. E-mail benchmarkxprtsupport@principledtechnologies.com if you’d like to chat with Bill and Mark about what you’d like to see in the coming year.

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Some good questions

On Tuesday, we had a Webinar for the BenchmarkXPRT community. This Webinar covered the material that Bill would have given in individual presentations at CES. As such, it was an overview of the XPRT family.

The Webinar was well attended. We will be posting the slides and the recording of the Webinar online soon. However, we got some good questions, and thought we’d share our responses with you.

How will updates to TouchXPRT, and other benchmarks, affect results? We will avoid affecting results as much as possible. However, when updates do affect results, we will disclose the effect and the testing we performed to verify it.

Will we provide a way for benchmark users to talk to each other about support issues, perhaps via OpenBlog? We had envisioned the benchmark forums providing this opportunity. However, we are very happy to look into ways to make community communication easier and more effective.

Do you provide company memberships, as opposed to individual memberships? Not currently, although we will certainly look into this. We have no formal voting mechanism, as SPEC and some other organizations have. We may get there one day, but it’s not currently an issue. If your concern is about paying multiple membership fees, contact us, and we’ll work with you to avoid that.

In HDXPRT, can you select the CPU or GPU for video conversion and control the quality of the conversion? We have not investigated this. HDXPRT installs the applications using the default settings. However, because HDXPRT installs the applications in a separate step from running the test, it might be possible to manually change the benchmark settings and then run HDXPRT. We will be looking into this and reporting on it going forward.

How does the server influence WebXPRT results? We have run WebXPRT hosted on different servers in different locations, and seen little influence on the results. However, as part of preparing the WebXPRT general release, we will characterize and document the influence of the server.

Feel free to let us know what you think about these or any other topics. As I said earlier, we’ll be posting the whole Webinar online soon.

Eric

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Unchecked ambition

With 10 applications and five scenarios, HDXPRT 2012 is the most ambitious version of HDXPRT ever. However, as we said in the blog post of the same name, There is such a thing as too much. We heard that message from you as well: HDXPRT 2012 is too big. At 11 GB, we can’t make it available for download, and it won’t fit on a single DVD.

It also takes longer to use than many of you would like. The installation takes a couple of hours, and each iteration takes 2 to 3 hours. Because a valid run of HDXPRT 2012 comprises three iterations, getting a single result takes all day.

As we work to reduce the size of HDXPRT 2013, we’re being careful. While we need to shrink the benchmark and its running time, we want to be sure that we don’t compromise its essential value. As part of this process, we’re looking at both the selection of applications and the ways we can reengineer the scenarios.

If you have ideas about HDXPRT 2012 that you haven’t sent yet, now is a good time to do that. We’ll be sending out the HDXPRT 2013 RFC in the next couple of weeks. Once it’s out, we will look forward to hearing your comments.

I also wanted to mention that as we had to cancel CES at the last minute, we’re planning to do a Webinar next week (Tuesday, January 22) to cover the material we planned to present there. We’ll send out an email later this week with more details.

Bill

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