Intel may have decided that ARM's advantage within small devices and embedded systems is just too much to contend with, because now the world's largest semiconductor chip maker will start to fabricate ARM chips in its plants. Altera announced at a conference today that Intel would produce the company's ARM Cortex-A53 processor beginning next year. Who would have guessed that Intel would be the company to manufacture one of the world's first quad-core 64-bit ARM chips?
Earlier this week, Samsung announced that it was bringing Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) to Exynos 5 Octa chips. Samsung didn't clarify if HMP would require new hardware, but that was the implication. Now Meizu has unexpectedly announced the Exynos 5 Octa chip in its recently unveiled MX3 will be getting HMP through a software update.
All Exynos 5 Octa processors until now have used cluster migration to manage the ARM big.LITTLE cores.
Since Samsung announced the Exynos 5 Octa at CES 2013, one major criticism has been leveled at its implementation of big.Little technology time and again: for some reason, it has only ever been able to run 4 of its 8 cores at a time. Not only that, but it has never been able to mix-and-match the higher performance A15 cores with power efficient A7 cores to get the best possible configuration for performance and power usage.
The new Verizon DROID devices announced last week had been thoroughly leaked before the event, but one thing nobody expected was Motorola's new X8 mobile computing platform. The Google subsidiary was intentionally vague when discussing the chip, leaving us scratching our heads. Now Motorola has opened up about the hardware powering those DROIDs, and maybe the Moto X, which will be announced tomorrow.
We already knew the X8 was based on a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro.
We don't see a lot of Exynos chips shipping in Samsung phones in the US, but the rest of the world is swimming in devices running Samsung's in-house ARM chip. The Exynos 5 Octa (5410) debuted in the Galaxy S4, and now an updated version of that chip known internally as the Exynos 5420 has been officially announced.
Like the older Exynos 5 Octa chip, the 5420 has eight total cores that leverage ARM's big.LITTLE design.
CyanogenMod and other aftermarket ROMs are often the last recourse for tech-savvy users whose hardware has fallen behind the curve, or just been forgotten by a manufacturer or carrier. But even the CyangoenMod team can't keep supporting devices forever. In a Google+ post today, the CM team states that due to technical limitations, support for phones and tablets using the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset will end with the next major Android release.
ARM is kind of of big deal if you like mobile devices: they release and maintain the architectures licensed by nearly all the world's mobile System-on-a-Chip (SoC) makers. Today they've announced new CPU and GPU designs specifically targeted ant the growing mid-range market, the Cortex-A12 and Mali-T622. This silicon is powerful by today's standards, but a bit less so than their A15 (Samsung's Exynos 5250, NVIDIA Tegra 4) and T624 (and higher) counterparts, designed for more economical implementation.
A few days ago, I posted about a student project at a Russian University that aims to run two or more instances of Android at the same time on a single device. It's a technology called virtualization, and we already use it on web servers and developer machines everywhere.
At first glance, the idea sounds interesting, but seems to lack practical uses for the majority of people. Sure, some developers will save a few hours on testing, and industrious users might want to run the latest CyanogenMod nightly ROM alongside their daily driver, but this kind of stuff doesn't really appeal to your neighbors or parents.
If you thought the Snapdragon S4 Pro in the Droid DNA was snappy, get ready to redefine snappy. Not to be outdone by NVIDIA's Tegra 4 announcement yesterday, Qualcomm has detailed its own 2013 ARM chips. The S4, S3, etc. naming scheme is no more – the new chips are the Snapdragon 800, Snapdragon 600, Snapdragon 400 and Snapdragon 200. The 600 and 800 are the new high-performance processors in Qualcomm's lineup, and that's where the company is focusing most of its attention.
At ARM TechCon today, the titular purveyor of semiconductors announced its Cortex-A50 series, dubbed "the world's most energy-efficient 64-bit processors." Based on the ARMv8 architecture, the line will launch with the Cortex-A53 and A57 processors, allowing not only for significantly more energy-efficient processing, but SoC scalability that makes the line applicable to devices from smartphones to high-performance servers. The A57 is geared toward high-performance, while the A53 is lauded by ARM as its most power-efficient.