ARM Cortex Browsing Test shows the Full Internet Experience.

Posted on 02 September 2008, Last updated on 11 November 2019 by

cortexbrowser Here’s another one of those ‘we can beat Atom’ tests where the fine detail of the result is irrelevant. The important thing here is that, like the VIA Nano comparison test, significant, market-changing progress has been made.

I’ve been talking about ARM’s Cortex A8 for a while now and keeping an eye on it in terms of its suitability for Mobile Internet Devices. Its a powerful computing core and people like Ti are using it to build very small, power-efficient media and Internet-capable platforms. Apart from Pandora, we’ve seen it being promoted for use in OHA Android phones and even for netbooks.

But how fast is the Cortex A8? How fast would Firefox 3 run on a Cortex-based Android smartphone? And how accurate would it be? Intel keep pusing the ‘real internet’ and about how many errors you’ll find with smartphone browsers but when you’re running Firefox 3 on both platforms, the difference disappears. Intel also talking about speeds but when the processing power is the same on both hardware, that difference disappears too. ARM’s partners have already fought back against the Intel Atom machine a few times in the past (Nvidia here and here) but this video strikes right at the heart of Atom/Moblin. It shows Firefox 3 running at impressive speeds. Forget the normalised comparison at the end of the video, any browser that can average under 10 seconds per page as shown in this demo is going to be good enough for almost everyone. Its twice as fast as previous ARM-based devices and completely removes the 9-second disadvantage that I’ve talked about before. [see video below]

We are entering a significant moment in the MID story where two huge players are now able to compete on level ground. ARM’s partners and Intel’s partners are able to play like-for-like on both hardware and software in the mobile Internet category. Moblin vs Android. Cortex vs Atom. Both could offer the FIE.
Is there going to be a winner and a loser or will they both find comfortable positions and both win in this new market?

19 Comments For This Post

  1. Charbax says:

    I guess that you know that the new Archos 5 is the first product to actually be released based no the ARM Cortex processor. Using the latest version of Opera, it might even have a faster mor eoptimized browser then in this Firefox 3 demo, since the Opera people know well how to opotimize an embedded to the maximum and to integrate protable browsing interfaces specifically. You can buy the Archos 5 right now in its 12mm thiick 60GB model for $350 on or you can wait a few weeks for all the ressellers to have it and for them to compete on resale pricing for I guess as low as $250. Or you could even wait for carriers around the world to distribute the new Archos 5G with a built in HSDPA sim card reader diertly into the device whilethe normal Archos 5 needs a HSPDA USB dongle for that type of wireless funcionality.

  2. chippy says:

    Yup. Many of us are excited by the new Archos devices. I plan to go to Amsterdam in a few weeks to check them out at the IBC expo.

  3. Micke says:


    Can´t wait to try out the Archos 5. Hopefully Nokia will put the Cortex A8 in an internet tablet as well. Then I´ll have what I´ve been looking for all this time, the FIE in my pocket!

    All these Atom MIDs still seem at least as big as the OQO model 02, and that´s too big.

  4. Alan Wallcraft says:

    Where is the video or link?

  5. chippy says:

    See full version of the article.
    Or are others having problems too?


  6. says:

    and then there is the dark horse, the openpandora. and it seems to be close to shipping now ;)

  7. chippy says:

    See Charbax’s video about that. Pre orders start in Sept. Delivery in Oct.

  8. Charles says:

    People that pre-ordered the Archos 5 in France can expect their MIT really soon as they started shipping a batch. I will get mine around september 15th but expect reviews very soon on french archos-related websites. Cortex processor should completly change the way we see Internet on mobile devices. The Archos 5 is not a UMPC, it is smaller than a UMPC. 12mm thick is incredible for a such device of 60GB. It’s an ultra small pocketable device. And get even more possibilities will all the avaible accessories. We can’t really compare to a UMPC because Archos is not open-source and you cannot install your own OS on it but I think Internet on this little device should perform excessively well, especially with Flash content which other devices have problems with.

  9. ChristophD says:

    Pretty sweet demo indeed!

    I also agree with Micke and MIDs simply being too big. I’d much rather have a really powerful smartphone / PDA sized device combining Cortex A8, Android and Google’s AppStore (another potentially major advantage compared to MIDs).

  10. chippy says:

    Yup, the app store is a BIG advantage and Intel indicate that they are not going to do anything about this for Moblin.
    Dont forget that Android could run on Atom though (and on Moorestown, the smartphone-targeted CPU, in 2010)


  11. says:

    most linux distros have a built in “app store”, so i dont think the moblin one need anything specific.

  12. ChristophD says:

    Well, I would argue that there’s a bit of a difference between something such as Synaptic and Apple’s AppStore. :-)

    I very much believe that an easy-to-use AppStore (with applications that ‘just works’) sits at the core of software ecosystems for mobile and consumer products such as smartphones and MIDs.

  13. says:

    thats a matter of opinion.

    the nokia tablets have been using apt-get for quite a while, and i would say it works fine.

    biggest issue for a while was that people where setting up their own repositories rather then sending their creations of to for inclusion in the extra repository.

    but this is being cleaned up nicely as things have become more automated.

    and yes, there nokia runs its own repository for proprietary software providers.

    as for “just works”, if the majority is after “koi pond” style apps, it should not be that hard to make them just work…

    still, even apple have trouble getting things to “just work” recently…

  14. says:

    i forgot to say that apt-get is hidden behind their application manager program. so all the user see is a nice long list of app names ;)

  15. ChristophD says:

    Oh, I love me some apt-get and yum but I wouldn’t be the one having to support friends and family having issues with those tools on their smartphones…

    While I’m the first to point out that the number of cool and usable iPhone / iPod touch apps can be counted on one hand the general platform is pretty damn good. Installing applications on Symbian S60 3rd edition phones is also quite acceptable these days, the main issue there is that there’s no central marketplace to search for and discover software.

  16. says:

    i got to say that the only time i have seen issues with apt-get on the nokia tablet is when i try to use the developer repo to get hold of software early.

    that or the odd time when i directly install a .deb and then try to update it from the maemo repo later on when the developer have gotten around to get it registered there.

    but then thats me playing on the edge of the technical deep end and reading internettablettalk forum threads ;)

  17. Sam says:

    That OpenPandora thing is pretty interesting, esp. battery life, 3D acceleration (I think) & tiny size. Can’t see the weight anywhere.
    Chippy, I think details should go in your Products section and do a review if you get the chance.

  18. chippy says:

    Pandora is already in the portal.


  19. Sam says:

    Didn’t realise.
    If you ever get the chance to review it that would be interesting.
    Does anyone know the weight?

4 Trackbacks For This Post

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