26
Sep
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Update: We inquired to TI about this news, and here's what a spokesperson had to say:

As communicated in this week’s investor event (webcast is available at http://investor.ti.com), the smartphone market has become a less attractive long-term opportunity for TI’s OMAP products, primarily due to vertical integration and market consolidation.  We are reprofiling our investment accordingly, but have no additional details to share at this time.

Overall, TI remains committed to the OMAP platform and our customers. We are accelerating the expansion of OMAP processors into a broader set of embedded applications such as automotive, industrial, enterprise communication, vision and robotics, to grow the OMAP footprint beyond mobile.

Late yesterday, Reuters reported that on an investor call, a senior VP at Texas Instruments basically suggested the company was calling it quits on the smartphone and tablet application processor market. The company wants to focus on "embedded systems" for industrial customers, as well as carmakers, in an attempt to appeal to a "wider market" (I'm entirely unsure how that's wider than the fastest-growing segment of electronics, but whatever).

TI, whose chips have powered phones and tablets from Motorola, Samsung, Amazon, and many other, smaller firms, has slowly been pushed to the edge of the market by the likes of NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Samsung. There had been rumors that TI was looking to sell its OMAP division in the past, so it's hard to say this comes as a complete surprise.

ti_omap_5_1

The company's OMAP5 platform has been in the works for some time, and now the next-generation chip's future would seem to be in serious jeopardy - who's going to buy a mobile processor from a company that really isn't interested in the business of making them anymore?

OMAP4 is nearing the end of its life with the 4470, the chip that powers tablets like the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and NOOK HD. Could the 4470 now be TI's last hurrah for mobile? We've reached out for comment, but given this news, it seems like TI has all but buried its mobile ambitions.

Reuters

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • drzfr3shboialex

    This hopefully means the next nexus has a quad core s4 pro, let that HTC rumor be true :D.

    • http://twitter.com/andQlimax andQlimax

      nexus phones never had a powerfull hardware, is not necessary.

      • drzfr3shboialex

        Since when? The Galaxy nexus and Nexus one were definitely high end. I don't get why people state stuff like this, when its not true. I'd say the only non high end nexus phone was the Nexus S. Hopefully that HTC rumor is true so people could see that Nexus are not low end.

        • ProductFRED

          I wouldn't say the Galaxy Nexus's chipset was high-end compared to what was available at the time (S4, Exynos dual-core), but it was definitely mid-high-end. I'm talking about capabilities, not every day usage.

          • drzfr3shboialex

            The galaxy nexus had many capabilities and retained/introduced many features in android. It had 720p(as well as the rezound), ICS, software buttons, pentaband gsm and etc. The only mid end thing would be the processor and the camera in low lightning. We'll just have to wait and see what the next nexus turns out to be, but I think it will have a quad core s4. The s4 has so much more than the other processor when it comes to radios too. Also when the galaxy nexus came out s4 was not out yet, so you can't compare those two.

          • ProductFRED

            That's what I'm talking about though; only the processor. It was at the very end of the last generation.

          • ssj4Gogeta

            I don't remember S4 being out in 2011.

        • OSagnostic

          The Nexus S was a repackaged Galaxy S. The Galaxy Nexus was less powerful, and had a worse camera, that the SGS2. The only high end Nexus was the Nexus One.

          I say this as a user of a Nexus S. The advantage of Nexus devices is the software not the hardware.

      • Robert Phipps

        Turned out it did get an S4 pro after all......

        • andQlimax

          my comment was before than nexus 4 release..after the nexus one and the galaxy nexus google start to make nexus phone much powerful like nexus 4 and nexus 5

          • Robert Phipps

            Yup, and I'm very pleased they have changed tactic. The nexus 5 is right up there with the hardware in more 'commercial' (used as loosely as possible) lines of phones. Although Samsung phones need the power to just run the bloatware!

    • Anand Thakur

      Isn't one of the reasons Google went with the TI chip for the Galaxy
      Nexus is that all of the drivers needed to run it could be made fully
      open source? Unless either Google or Qualcomm has a sudden change of heart, I'm skeptical about seeing an S4 there.

      • http://richworks.in Richie

        It's not fully open source. Drivers for GPU, bluetooth, WiFI and some other chips are still closed even in the Nexus phones. But compared to other SoCs OMAP is the most open of them all... Snapdragon is probably the second most open platform. And recently someone on XDA pointed out that Samsung have stopped sharing the Exynos drivers and are drifting farther away from an open ecosystem. And we all know how NVIDIA deals with this issue(thanks to Linus for pointing it out)

        So, logic dictates that the next Nexus will be powered by a S4 chipset.. but we'll see in another couple of months, won't we.

        • drzfr3shboialex

          I was hoping to see Omap5 on the next nexus, but after reading this I really hope its s4. Tegra is not as well rounded as the s4 or open sourced like it, same as exynos.

          • http://richworks.in Richie

            I am hoping the same as well. Custom ARM architectures like that on the S4 and Apple's A6 are proving to be much more powerful and power efficient than their ARM Cortex counterparts. Qualcomm took a gamble and it looks as if it has paid of very well.

            LG's latest phone Optimus G has the newest S4 with Adreno 320 on it and it's a f**kin beast of a phone. If that goes into the next Nexus, I'm sold :)

          • Robert Phipps

            Did you buy one then?

        • nycplayboy78

          Wow I didn't know that about Sammy's uber SoC...Thanks for the information but my heart of hearts is still hoping that Sammy might buy TI's OMAP division :)

  • L boogie

    was interested in seeing the OMAP5 chip's performance in future nexus devices as well as other mobile devices after seeing the chip's possibilities until i saw this news.....obviously since google picked them to be the SoC of choice what happens to that arrangement? best of luck in your endeavors, TI

  • http://meatcastle.com/ Youre My Boy Bloo

    When reached for further comment, a TI spokesman was quoted saying, "We know where the real money is in the electronics market: Graphics calculators! We are really excited to release the TI-89 Titanum Gold Plus Pro later this year!"

  • aiden9

    Its unfortunate to see them bow out. They made pretty good processors at a good value. Sad to see a good thing ruined by shareholder pressure again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bobby-Wright/100000797708370 Bobby Wright

    Google should buy Texas Instruments mobile processor division. Its a great CPU. Google could build its own chips for their Motorola devices. Just like what Apple does with their Ax chips for iPhone & Ipad. This would be a very smart purchase Google!

    • http://twitter.com/AthoraX athorax

      I don't think TI is selling the mobile processor division. I think they are simply removing themselves from the android/smartphone ecosystem and hoping to become predominate in other embedded systems.

  • Asphyx

    I wonder how much Intel's recent entry into the mobile proc world had to do with this.

    • techpunch

      You can probably count the number of Android devices with Intel SoCs on your fingers. So, I'm pretty sure Intel's entry had very little to do with TIs decision to bow out. And TI did mention the reason in their response - "primarily due to vertical integration and market consolidation".