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
Back in late July, the Qualcomm Corporation - employer of over 30,000 individuals at the time - began the process of telling about 15% of those people (eg, over 4,000 gainfully-employed human beings) they were no longer needed. This was after already cutting another 1500 jobs in late 2014.
The company's stock is currently trading near 2-year lows, and while obviously still a very robust company, Qualcomm can't keep putting in these kinds of numbers if it's going to maintain its position at the tippy-top of the smartphone chipset market.
Qualcomm (QCOM - NASDAQ) stock is down over 10% year-to-date. It is down over 20% from its peak, reached in early 2014. Read More
Qualcomm's current top processor is the Snapdragon 810, which is only shipping in the LG G Flex 2 and set to appear in upcoming flagships like the HTC One M9. But at Mobile World Congress the chip manufacturer is already taking the wraps off of its next-gen design, the predictably-named Snapdragon 820. Details on the exact capabilities of the new chip are scarce, but Qualcomm says it should be ready to ship to mobile manufacturers sometime in the second half of this year.
The press release below doesn't delve into speed or raw capability, instead focusing on built-in functions like enhanced photos, wireless radio innovations, security features, and "always on" services. Read More
Look, we get it - MediaTek isn't the first name you want to hear when it comes to innovative new SoCs. The company doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to releasing source code, which is a huge no-no in the Android world. But still, this is probably worth talking about, because it's pretty neat.
This morning, MediaTek announced the first 64-bit octa-core processor for smartphones. The chip, model number MT6795, can run at speeds up to 2.2GHz, and supports native 2K displays (2560x1600). It can also process (record and playback) super slow-motion video at 480fps in 1080p. I'm not entirely sure why you need that on a smartphone, but you know what, it's there. Read More
New phones and tablets aren't the only thing that Samsung will unveil in Barcelona. A recent Twitter post indicates that the company will reveal a new line of Exynos mobile processors, cryptically titled "Exynos Infinity." The post from the official Exynos account omitted any other details, but a debut during the Samsung Unpacked event on February 24th (concurrent with, but technically distinct from, Mobile World Congress) is a safe bet.
We haven't heard anything about an Exynos Infinity, but SamMobile seems convinced that this is the Samsung GH7, an ARM processor with a 64-bit architecture spotted in a recent Linux kernel patch. 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
Most smartphone manufacturers have chosen to ignore Intel's mobile offerings in favor of ARM chips, but Intel is hoping to change their minds with its latest microarchitecture. Today Intel unveiled Silvermont, which reportedly will result in new mobile chips with three times the performance of current-gen Intel Atom processors. Alternatively, Silvermont will enable Intel's next-gen Merrifield smartphone chips to achieve the same performance levels as Clover Trail+ with one-fifth of the power consumption.
Want more specifics? Other advertised features of Silvermont include:
- A new out-of-order execution engine enables best-in-class, single-threaded performance.
- A new multi-core and system fabric architecture scalable up to eight cores and enabling greater performance for higher bandwidth, lower latency and more efficient out-of-order support for a more balanced and responsive system.
Oh man, if you thought quad-core phones were crazy, your brain should prepare itself for at least twice as much explosion. Samsung just announced at CES its new Exynos 5 Octa processors. These chips, on a 28nm architecture (which means they're small and use less power) have eight dang cores. The company says that this will result in up to 70% battery savings (compared to what is unclear...we would assume the previous Exynos processor).
Pics courtesy of CNET
Of course, the first thought is, "Do we really need that many cores?!" Well, for starters, yes. We'll always want more power. Read More
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.
The Snapdragon 600 will be running on four new Krait 300 cores (at clock speeds up to 1.9GHz), and should be able to deliver 40% more power than the S4 Pro while consuming less battery. Read More
Intel, not to be left out of the early CES fun, had a couple of announcements for tech fans today – a low-powered platform formerly known as "Lexington," (lovingly called Atom Z2420) for "emerging" value smartphone markets, and the Atom Z2760, codenamed "Bay Trail" headed for tablets and higher-end smartphones.
Intel says that it's already found partners in Acer, Lava International, and Safaricom for the Z2420 platform, and that the chip will be capable of 1.2GHz speed, 1080p hardware acceleration, and support for two cameras (with burst mode). With the Z2420, Intel is hoping to target what most call the budget smartphone market, which their release indicates will reach 500 million units by 2015 according to "industry sources."
The high-end Bay Trail SoC, meanwhile, is a quad core, 22nm chip that Intel hopes will expand tablet prospects in both the Windows 8 and Android arenas. Read More