Nvidia Harmony

The Nvidia corporation will drop Android support for its devices running on the Harmony platform, according to a post on its official developer forums by Andrew Edelsten, Tegra Developer Relations.  This means that devices using the Harmony platform at their core  -- the Viewsonic gTablet and ViewPad7, Advent Vega, Toshiba Folio 100, and Notion Ink Adam -- will not have drivers built for video acceleration for any current or future releases of Android. 

This is not good news.  None of these Tegra 2-based devices is even a year old, and they are essentially dead in the water.  Even if someone were to build a higher version of Android for them, with no hardware support it's going to be a horrible experience.  Don't believe me?  Try an SDK port of Honeycomb on, well, on anything. 

I got myself a third cup of coffee, and sat down all ready to bash Nvidia for abandoning support for very capable devices, then I realized something -- I can't.  These popular devices are just the first official victims of Google's new method of forcing companies to obtain its  blessing to use a free and open-source operating system.  It's not Nvidia's fault.  You can't be expected to spend money and resources to update drivers for tablets that will never have official support from Google.  Andrew says that they have already updated their Ventana based devices to Android 2.3, and are waiting for Google to release Honeycomb to them.  I'm afraid we're going to see the exact same thing with the original Galaxy Tab, and it won't be Samsung's fault this time.  The phrase "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" comes to mind. [Nvidia Developer ZoneThanks, Adam!

 
There are 35 comments

atr2701 says:

I guess it is a good thing I only planned to use the GTab for a short period of time.

mjforte says:

Ouch! That sucks! Glad I got rid of the G Tablet and got a Xoom. The screen was horrible on it anyways.

cramleir says:

this sucks. anyone for a touchpad?

kinster02 says:

No... you can have the Latepad.

colin.mckean says:

I don't understand. How is this not Nvidia's fault?

Time to sale my g tab, anyone want one, I'll give you a good deal :)

063_xobx says:

Depends how much of a deal. It is a tablet with zero software future after all.
PM me a price and I'll get back to you.

RkyMtnHigh says:

I don't blame Google either. Too many variants getting released and everyone wants to blame Google when something doesn't work right. When that doesn't work, they go after the hardware manufacturer for support. NVidia didn't make the tablet, Google doesn't support it, and the manufacturer doesn't write drivers...hmmm

SharonW says:

Agreed, and it should not be overlooked that Google WARNED the OEM's not to use any Android versions earlier than Honeycomb because they were not optimized for tablets. How clearer could Google make it? It is Samsung's and others fault.

In essence, they were told not to build a sub-par tablet, but did it anyway.

Pimp Lucious says:

If this all leads to less crappy tablets sitting on the BestBuy shelves giving Android a bad name, it has my approval.

hoosiercub says:

This sucks, was hoping to someday see a port of Honeycomb for open iBoot on my iPad. I guess I won't be going the cheap way out and buying a gTab or original GalaxyTab for honeycomb either. Most unfortunate, starting to make that whole openness argument kinda moot. I know that honeycomb isn't finished. I don't see Google opening it up after it is though, which perturbs me about the future of Android on phones. Things are changing and even with the most awesome of devs out there, I see a big wave of change in the way Android co-exists with the dev community in the future.

jholmes5 says:

Wait a minute. Less than 3 weeks ago over 10,000 people brought Gtabs from Woot. This move from Nvidia has basically EOL their machines. Machines which are more than capable of running Gingerbread and most likely Honeycomb, but they need the video drivers.

Let's forget about Honeycomb, it is really reasonable and fair to leave users whose devices are only 2-3 weeks old stuck at Froyo? I don't think so.

People are worried about crappy tabs or Nvidia 'wasting' money due to Google's changes? What about the enduser's experience?

Think about this, what happens to those users who now realize they've just tossed away their money? Do you think the next time they decide to purchase a device, they will chose an android or instead they will play it safe with an iOS or Windows device? How does that help the android community?

The support these early tabs get set the standard going forward, regardless of whether the tabs are crappy or Google is being difficult. The enduser doesn't care, all they care about it that they brought something 2 weeks ago and now it is effectively EOLed.

We all understand that the tabs are suffering through growing pains and there is plenty of blame to go around in this mess; however the enduser should never have to be the ones to pay for it.

Right now due to forces beyond their control, they are and it doesn't have to be that way. If Nvidia released the drivers at least for Gingerbread, that would be a sign of good faith.

yetisnack says:

I just re-read the description of the gTablet from Woot's sale last week and nowhere does it mention anything about being able to upgrade to the next version of Android. Check for yourself... http://www.woot.com/Blog/ViewEntry.aspx?Id=16878 I don't see how customers are being screwed considering that the device that they just bought for a discount is going to do everything it was promised to do. If people bought something with the false assumption that it would do more, that is their own fault. People need to start taking responsibility for their own uninformed/misguided decisions and stop blaming other people/companies.

Hardware evolves (sometimes quicker than we would like) and our shiny new toys today are going to be tomorrow's obsolete junk. Buy the device that serves the need you have now and if are buying for a future need then you don't need to buy it today.

pixelslave says:

>> It's not Nvidia's fault. You can't be expected to spend money and resources to update drivers for tablets that will never have official support from Google.

This is bullshit. When does a chipset makers need an OS maker's approval to write a driver? Except for the Google reference platform, all other device makers have to write their own drivers. It's just nVidia's excuse to abandon their obsolete products. The real reason is, no major tablet makers are going to use Harmony from this point on, and the current user base of Harmony is too small to spend money on.

There is just way too much BS going on between google, developers and hardware manufactures. You never see this with apple. Seems like google and android are self destructing. I have been a diehard android fan since day one. I'm so tired of all this negative BS in these forums. Theres always some f@#king tragedy. This is the beginning of the end of android on tablets and phones. It's been a good run but my contract is up with sprint next month so
hello verizon and iphone.

jjenson says:

I am running 2.3.3 on my Gtab and it runs very very well. I guess my tablet still works perfect and I love it even if I cannot upgrade past 2.3.3 I am still ok that this tablet can serve the majority of my needs for $300 it was a great deal.

shibumi says:

Wait.. What?!?

So does this mean that the Asus Transformer (and every other Tegra2 tablet) is now dead on arrival??

Or are these not considered to be on the "Harmony Platform"?

cosmic12310 says:

I would assume any tablet coming out with honeycomb is already running on the Harmony Platform. The xoom (which has been the example product for other companies before being released to the public) also runs tegra 2 sooo possibly two different versions of tegra 2?

peng1can#AC says:

Anyone who seriously expected a 2.x device to be updated to Honeycomb is off their rocker in the first place. Despite what us power users might want, no manufacturer in their right mind is going to push such a huge interface update to the unsuspecting masses (and that's assuming the resource requirements aren't too steep).

Given that no manufacturer is going to push an update to these devices nor sell a new device with honeycomb and this chipset, there's no reason for them to bother dumping the money into building the drivers. It actually makes sense, with no Google-hating even necessary.

jholmes5 says:

The quest for Honeycomb is a distraction and I wish people would really try not to mention it too often. I think the hardware can run it, but I agree, I don't really expect vendors to invest the resources into it.

Gingerbread however, is a realistic goal to have and would certainly contribute to the feeling of fairness that is lacking with this decision.

We already have Gingerbread ROMs, but without the Nvidia video drivers, the devices are basically crippled. Does anyone really believe Nvidia doesn't have them? That is all that is being asked for, that they release the drivers. Let the community do the rest.

Don't allow this to become a conversation about Honeycomb, when it should be one about Gingerbread. The Gingerbread drivers are something that Nvidia should already have and it they don't, should be able to supply without a steep resource requirement.

Let the red herring swim on by.

PGiovanni says:

Believe it or not this actually helps alot...

Having a hard time deciding which tab to get. So anything with a Tegra OFF THE LIST>

patfactorx says:

Wait so you are saying that iPhone 3G runs the newest iOS. Quit dreaming =op

Consumer electronics = money vacuums

Buy what you want and don't set your heart on updates unless theirs a hacking community behind your product.

PGiovanni says:

What are you babbling about, whos talking iOS (no one but you), was looking at ASUS EEE pad transformer, but this news is making me sway to HTC's upcoming release....

Think you need to take a reading comprehension course, and get you head out of the fanboi cloud...

I currently own an Evo 4G and a Galaxy Tab and all I can say is that I will not be purchasing anymore Android products. The Google - Hardware Manufacturer - Carrier relationship is too jumbled and confusing for the average user to understand. No one wants to take responsbility for the lack of updates in current Android products. Once they have your money, the manufacturers and the carriers don't seem to care much about whether you get an update. Never did I think I was shelling out money for a Galaxy Tab that would not be updated. This product is barely six months old. I think I'll take my chances with an iphone/ipad later this year. I hear Apple updates their products.

shibumi says:

I'm not getting all of the justifications. If I go to nVidia's site I can download drivers for XP, Vista, and Win 7 for cards with chips MUCH older than Tegra 2 Harmony.

And I'm pretty sure that the bump from XP to Win 7 is much bigger than from 2.2 or 2.3 to Honeycomb.

This is BS on nVidia's part.

lordwalker says:

I was leaning towards getting an Android tablet later this month. I can't believe I'm saying this but, I'm buying an Ipad now.

bbasiaga says:

I second the question above...is the 'harmony' product line separate from Tegra 2? I can't believe with a majority of tablets coming soon (Asus, Samsung, Tohsiba, etc) built on Tegra 2 hardware, they'd be discontinuing support already.

I'll be interested to hear clarification on this.

"Harmony" is the code for the original Tegra2 platform. nvidia now uses the "Ventana" platform for the Tegra2.

They have stopped support for all Harmony devices (Adam, gTablet, etc.) at Froyo.

The Xoom is Ventana based.

The issue is that nvidia has stopped support for the Harmony platform, and as such has left a lot of new tablet users in a lurch. They (me included) will not be able to update to Gingerbread or Honeycomb with a complete set of nvidia drivers for their devices. The biggest technical issue would be the lack of hardware acceleration for video decoding.

The issue for nvidia is this: They have new tablet users now running Froyo, and will not go to Gingerbread or HC. It will leave a bad taste in the end users mouth when it is time for a new tablet. Will they buy nvidia again? As a user, I am now thinking when the Tegra3 and Ice Cream are released, there will be no more support for Ventana devices, so why would I buy a Ventana device now? I would look at Snapdragon, Oak Trail, (gulp) ipad, etc. before buying a new tablet.

kauh says:

UPDATE 12 APRIL 2011:

Sorry folks looks like I caused a bit of confusion. Since this is a developer forum my comments were targeted at Tegra Honeycomb developers and for this we’d like to focus on Ventana. For shipping or production products, customers should contact the device makers directly for OS support plans. They are responsible for the OS shipping on their device.

In relation to our linux kernel git repository, NVIDIA will continue to provide full open-source support for all of our kernel components and will push more of that upstream over time.

Andrew Edelsten
Tegra Developer Relations
NVIDIA Corporation

Argent says:

my Woot G Tablet is currently running 2.3.3 and I don't see any problems with it - compared to other similar devices the price was damn right.

I'm sad that support has died - but it's ok - I don't like Honeycomb anyway so I'm quite content to use mine on Gingerbread :)

kauh says:

hello, anyone know what that means? :[ good or bad news?

DjKaos says:

I've had it! This is the last time I ever buy an Android device! I've been burned twice already. The first with time was Motorola Backflip. It took 9 months for Motorola to update from 1.5 to 2.1, long after the Droids were running 2.2. Even then it was still crippled beyond belief.

I just purchased a G-Tablet several weeks ago from Woot! because I had read it was virtually running Honeycomb reference hardware, and now I'm screwed again. Yeah, it's a nice device for the price, but I'm tired of these things becoming obsolete the moment I open the shrinkwrap.

I'm still getting iOS updates on my 3GS almost 2 years after I purchased it, so I know it's possible to support a device more than 3 months after it's been released. Looks like my next tab will be an iPad.

All I can say is THANK GOD for XDA, ModMyMobile, and CyanogenMod! Without them I'd just have expensive paperweights.

sookster54 says:

Your problem isn't Android, it's Motorola, I'm in Canada and Motorola are horrible with support outside the USA (they basically abandon their devices upon release). Next time try an HTC, LG, or Samsung.

READ THE FOLLOWING COMMENT BEFORE POSTING PLEASE:

"UPDATE 12 APRIL 2011:

Sorry folks looks like I caused a bit of confusion. Since this is a developer forum my comments were targeted at Tegra Honeycomb developers and for this we’d like to focus on Ventana. For shipping or production products, customers should contact the device makers directly for OS support plans. They are responsible for the OS shipping on their device.

In relation to our linux kernel git repository, NVIDIA will continue to provide full open-source support for all of our kernel components and will push more of that upstream over time.

Andrew Edelsten
Tegra Developer Relations
NVIDIA Corporation"

So no need to throw those older tablets out with the bath water just yet! And for those of you running to the fruit orchard for update solace, for shame! You do know what forbidden fruit caused the theological downfall of mankind, don't you? ;)

david1995 says:

For all Notion Ink Adam users out there, read this and be happy:
http://notionink.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/in-the-mean-time/
:)