The name MediaTek is usually associated with lower-end Chinese smartphones and tablets, since their SoCs are rather inexpensive. In the last year or so, the chip manufacturer has been working to push past that reputation. When it introduced the Helio X20, a few people took notice. Innovation is not usually the game with MediaTek, but it does try some interesting CPU designs. Today, it revealed the new Helio X23 and Helio X27 mobile processors. Read More
Intel hasn't been very fortunate in the smartphone chipset business. Despite dominating the personal computing semiconductor space, the company failed to gain traction in mobile in time and struggled to catch up afterward despite trying to crack the entry code from different angles: wearables, IoT, tablets, phones, and so on. Eventually, Intel sort of threw in the towel and decided to close its Atom business and take its time to regroup and think of other ways to tackle the issue.
Its foundry business seems to be the key. See, aside from offering platforms and architectures for chipsets, Intel also has a small side business, Intel Custom Foundry, which produces chipsets for other chipmakers. Read More
Look at your smartphone. Odds are very, very good that it's running a chip with ARM-designed components, or at least the ARM instruction set. UK-based ARM Holdings has become an integral part of mobile computing, and Japan's SoftBank wants a piece of that. The companies announced today that SoftBank will acquire ARM Holdings for about $32 billion. Read More
Qualcomm was looking to put the disastrous Snapdragon 810 in the rear view mirror when it began shipping the Snapdragon 820 a while back. Now, it's putting more distance between itself and ARM's reference cores with the Snapdragon 821. This is the second chip with Qualcomm's custom 64-bit CPU cores, and it's apparently as much as 10% faster than the 820. Read More
Have you recently stopped to think about what modern smartphones can do? It's amazing how much power is packed into these small little devices that we carry around all day, and it's even more amazing that most of that power resides in teeny tiny chips that are lodged somewhere between the huge screen and the big battery.
ARM is one of the companies that provide the building blocks for modern smartphone SOCs. It makes graphics and application processors that companies like MediaTek and Samsung use in their Helio and Exynos chips, respectively. Now ARM is unveiling new processors for the 2017 flagships that will push their performance even further. Read More
Qualcomm did not have a great 2015 with the issues surrounding the 810, but it's looking to turn that around in 2016. The Snapdragon 820 might help, but the fancy high-end chips aren't everything. Qualcomm has announced several new mid-range ARM chips, as well as a new modem and a wearable-specific SoC. Read More
Hey you! Yes, you, the Android fan who spent $650 to get a Nexus 6 the moment it became available, then felt somewhat disheartened when it started popping up for $300 or less, then heroically resisted the siren song of new devices from Huawei and LG! To reward your frugal self-control, Google is now allowing you to play with the camera user interface featured on the new Nexus phones without spending any money whatsoever! Ain't that great? Just don't ask about slow motion video or burst mode for stills, because your puny camera module can't handle it. Read More
The Nexus 6 had a lot of fine qualities, but the sluggish storage performance was a disappointment. This was mostly due to the automatic device encryption, which was managed by software rather than hardware. In today's Reddit AMA, the Nexus team was asked about encryption support in the Nexus 5X and 6P. VP of Engineering Dave Burke responded, saying it's still software-based, but it should be even faster than hardware encryption this time. Read More
Qualcomm's high-end processors aren't exactly without their flaws right now, but the mid-range and entry level chips from the company are still seen as the best bang for the buck. The most popular budget SoCs from Qualcomm have gotten a little spec bump, but the company didn't think that was worth even a proper press release. No matter, we've got the details on the Snapdragon 212, 412, and 616. Read More
You are probably familiar with the issues surrounding the Snapdragon 810 by now, but a new chip is right around the corner that could get Qualcomm back on track. I speak of course of the fabled Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996). Details of this chip have allegedly been leaked in China, and while we can't know for sure that they're accurate, the slides sure look legit. Read More