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June 14, 2012

Android Linaro 4.0.4, the pumped up ICS

Not satisfied with your Android ICS-powered device? Do you feel a bit lacking in performance and think that you can still squeeze more juice out of your device? A group of developers also feels the same way and that’s why they decided to optimize Google’s latest OS and bring it up to about 30-100% increase in performance.

Just a bit of a background before we get all geeky up in here. Linaro is a non-profit engineering organization established by a group of companies (ARM, Freescale, IBM, Samsung, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instrument) some two years ago. This group comprises of over 120 talented engineers whose goal is to provide their “members” (the term they used to address the founding companies) with innovations to improve the quality of their products through cost-effective solutions and software optimizations.

Sticking to their open-engineering roots, they’re also well-known for their transparency on their works. From their progress on their work down to the finish product, Linaro‘s work are open for public viewing/scrutiny. As a testament to the group’s ingenuity and free-for-all ideology, they’ve recently announced their latest software build called “4.0.4 Linaro” that addresses some of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich‘s performance issues on devices with ARM-based processors.

Here’s a short video clip courtesy of ARMDEVICES.NET

In this comparison, the group used two identical TI OMAP 4430 SoC (System-on-Chip) processor rigged in what they call a “PandaBoard” with one running on stock Android 4.0.4 and the other Linaro 4.0.4. This is the same processor under the Galaxy Nexus’ hood. Based on the results of the synthetic benchmark that they’ve done, they’re optimized version of ICS finished the test faster than the former even though the engineer gave it a couple of seconds of head start.

The group was able to achieve this marvelous feat by having a deeper understanding on how the OS works and mastery of the hardware components. By doing so they were able to sort out the pros and the cons of the official ICS. From there, they’ve altered some of the codes and running GCC toolchain. What GCC toolchain and how it does its thing is beyond me. But to put in a more simple and human-understandable way, they’ve optimized how the OS executes commands more seamlessly. And with better set of source codes this may even address battery life issues which are common to smartphones.

These innovations certainly look promising. A bump in the overall performance in your Android devices is definitely a welcome improvement, and one that is hard to pass up. What’s even better is that well-known third-party OS developer Cyanogenmod was deeply impressed with Linaro’s code and have already integrated it on their CM9 Nightly build. It is reported that the unofficial Cyanogenmod’s Linaro optimized CM9 Nightly OS runs like a charm with Galaxy Nexus. If you own one, you can give it a try and hit us back with your experience.

As for the team Linaro, they’ve without a doubt made their mark on the Android ecosystem with their OS build. In our opinion they would certainly be a great addition to Google’s Android development team. The big question here is will Google acquire the Linaro team and if they decide to do so how would this play out with the original “members” of the team. Your guess is as good as ours. For now feel free to chime in with your thought about the Linaro 4.0.4.

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15 Responses to “Android Linaro 4.0.4, the pumped up ICS”

  1. Roskie Cruz
    Twitter: roskiecruz
    says:

    Just a note to the editor: That’s Cyanogenmod. Thank you.

  2. David says:

    So basically, we have to root our devices to install their version, right? It might be much better if they acknowledge and incorporate the said mod into an update for the official ICS.

    • rporter says:

      @David, Even if Google incorporates Linaro there will be another question for the manufacturer.

      That’s why superusers always rules!

  3. kev
    Twitter: Kevin
    says:

    Galaxy Notes ICS Kernel for Custom Roms are already using this. :)

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1673072

  4. Louie
    Twitter: John_Louie
    says:

    Downloaded the latest gedeROM with Linaro Toolchain for the Kindle Fire. Works well than the previous custom ROMs I’ve used. Benchmarks see it as Galaxy Nexus and beating the Kindle Fire in Antutu.

    • Turonbulaong
      Twitter: TuronBulaong
      says:

      How about the performance? Any difference on the benchmark results? Have you used the usual benchmark tests?

    • Louie
      Twitter: John_Louie
      says:

      Performance is way better. I haven’t experienced any lags so far. Battery management is better. Usual benchmark tools used. Quadrant Standard, Nenamark, and Antutu. Always scoring below the LG Optimus 2X.

  5. jeijei says:

    I really hope that Google will consider to release this as an official update to ICS before they go live with Jelly Bean.

  6. Obob says:

    Google should hire this guy. if it’s a 100% performance boost then linaro just got rid of some of the bottleneck problems by fixing code in machine level. It is possible that Google might adopt Linaro’s code changes in the future, 30 – 100% performance boost is no joke!

  7. crunchee says:

    any update when will this come to be available S2 Philippines (official firmware update)?

  8. crunchee says:

    any update when will this come to be available S2 Philippines (official firmware update)?

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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