We've known for a while that Google was interested in making its own chips. Recently their hardware efforts even bore some fruit, but most of us assumed that it would be quite a while until Google made anything at a consumer level.
Well, it turns out that the new Pixel 2 phones have a bit of Google-designed hardware inside them. It's called Pixel Visual Core, and it brings even better camera performance to the phones — or it will, once it's turned on. Pixel Visual Core augments Google's HDR+ implementation, improving latency, power efficiency (using 1/10 the power), and speed (5x faster). Read More
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?
However, Altera's product is destined for use inside network equipment, not smartphones. This deal may not immediately directly threaten competitors like Samsung, who produced Apple's 64-bit A7 ARM chip, but tighter competition could be brewing down the road. Read More
According to the aptly-named New Cell Phones Blog, photos of the "4.3-inch or 4.5-inch" Droid 5 have surfaced, which would confirm that Moto has another QWERTY slide-out keyboard in the works. The photos come to New Cell Phones courtesy of Weibo and show off a wireless charging coil. Other rumored features evidently include NFC and a resistance to both water and dust.
Nothing else is known about these photos, their veracity, or Motorola's plans for a Droid 5, but we'll certainly keep you updated when and if more details emerge.
Source: Weibo (1, 2) via New Cell Phones Read More
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. Both chips also support 32-bit and 64-bit ARM code, and according to ARM, the A53 can live up to the performance of the Cortex A9 at 60% the die area. Read More
According to a recent FCC filing, Qualcomm is hard at work on a new radio chipset that would support seven spectrum bands, including three below 1GHz. The introduction of this chipset could offer an effective solution to LTE spectrum fragmentation, which is a thorn in the side of manufacturers looking to cleanly execute broad product releases.
LTE fragmentation has also stirred debate among carriers, though. Smaller carriers operate within the Lower A block of the 700MHz band, in Band Class 12 while larger carriers like AT&T operate on the Lower B and C blocks in Band Class 17. For this reason, smaller carriers are urging the FCC to mandate interoperability. Read More
Qualcomm is going to release an upgraded version of its S4 generation Snapdragon chipset in the second half of 2012, the company announced at MWC 2012 today.
The more capable and powerful S4 "Pro" variant of the original dual-core MSM8960 chipset (which can be found in the HTC One X, for example) will feature an Adreno 320 GPU as opposed to Adreno 225 in the regular S4 MSM8960. Before this announcement, Adreno 320 was scheduled to accompany only the quad-core Krait CPUs, like the APQ8064 and the MSM8974 which won't be coming out until late 2012/early 2013.
Qualcomm says the new GPU could be up to four times as powerful as Adreno 225, with support for higher resolution displays, next-gen 3D graphics capabilities, and a new "computational camera" that should theoretically enable the use of light-field technology in mobile devices (you may recognize the term "light-field" from the revolutionary Lytro camera that came out last year). Read More
Despite all this talk about upcoming phones and tablets running on the Tegra 2 processor, you may want to stop and consider the new offering in the Snapdragon line of processors from Qualcomm. Taking a 28-nm dual core beast (MSM8960), the company promises speeds up to five times their current offerings, as well as 75% less lower power usage.
But the real shocker here is the updated GPU, which Qualcomm claims is capable of delivering gaming performance equal to the of an Xbox 360 or PS3.
We should certainly wait for some real life tests and comparisons to Tegra 2 before really hyping this up, but still: can you imagine the PSP phone launching with these capabilities? Read More