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.
If you were to come up with your ideal phone, the specs would probably look like those rumored for the mysterious LG LS970 on Sprint. This phone will reportedly have the Qualcomm APQ8064 (Snapdragon S4) at its heart. This is a quad-core 28nm Krait chip with the next-generation Adreno 320 GPU. Since this is an "APQ" chip, that means a separate LTE data modem will be used, currently listed in the leaked profile as the MSM9615.
Completely out of the blue Samsung has officially outed its next generation system-on-a-chip (SoC). The Exynos 4 Quad is very much what it sounds like: an updated version of the previous dual-core Exynos chip with four cores instead of two. Each core will be clocked to 1.4GHz, much like the last generation, and it is still going to be based on ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture.
I expected that Samsung would be moving to Cortex-A15 to more adequately compete with Snapdragon S4 and its Krait cores.
With the Mali-T400 running on the Galaxy SII, and the Mali-604 still in production, ARM is still racing ahead, releasing details surrounding the Mali-T658 GPU today - yet another next-gen chip that will support up to eight cores.
The T-658 is poised to improve on ARM’s T-604, allowing up to ten times the graphic performance of the current-gen T-400 chip (and 4 times the computing power), as well as enabling nice compatibility with ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture, which allows the set to switch dynamically between chips to achieve stunning power efficiency and performance under strain.