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
The Snapdragon 820 is far from a secret, but today marked the official "launch" of the upcoming chipset from Qualcomm in New York. The 820 is a huge bet for Qualcomm on the future of its high-end SoC business, marrying the latest technologies across the board for what it hopes will be the ultimate mobile processor.
The 820's full specification sheet, such as it is, is below.
The 820 will be manufactured on a 14nm FinFet process, sporting four brand-new Kryo CPU cores designed by Qualcomm. This marks a departure from the ARM reference cores Qualcomm has used exclusively on its 2015 lineup and which have arguably been a source of woe for the company this year. 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
While MediaTek has become one of the dominant forces in the budget end of the mobile processing market, they are now starting to push upward. Just a year after making its first 64-bit SoC, MediaTek has announced a new 64-bit series called Helio X. These will be octa-core, LTE-capable units that support the industry's latest top-end features like 4K, H.265 video, 120 Hz refresh rates, and 1080p video capture at 480 frames per second.
At this juncture, MediaTek has introduced just one Helio X series processor. The first is the octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 Helio X10, also known as MT6795W, which will have a 28nm process and speeds up to 2.2 GHz. 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
Following up on the announcement of the MT6595 (which will implement ARM's Cortex A17 announced earlier this month), MediaTek has announced the upcoming MT6732 SOC, targeted at what MediaTek is calling a new "super-mid market," aimed at providing a combination of cost efficiency and performance. The SOC consists of a 64-bit, quad-core, 1.5GHz ARM Cortex A53 cluster and a "next-generation" Mali T760 GPU. MediaTek boasts that the arrangement supports low-power 1080p playback with the fledgling H.265 codec, Category 4 LTE, and plenty more. Here's the full breakdown (from MediaTek):
Next-Generation 64-bit Mobile Computing System
- Quad-core, 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A53 processor system, delivering the performance boost and 64-bit CPUs that will become mainstream in mobile devices
- Next-generation Mali-T760 GPU with support for the Open GL ES 3.0 and Open CL 1.2 APIs and premium graphics for gaming and UI effects
Advanced Multimedia Features
- Supports low-power, 1080p, 30fps video playback supporting the emerging video codec standard H.265 and legacy H.264 and 1080p, 30fps H.264 video recording
- Integrated 13MP camera image signal processor with support for unique features like PIP (Picture-in-Picture), VIV (Video in Video) and Video Face Beautifier
- MediaTek ClearMotion™ technology eliminates motion jitter and ensures smooth video playback at 60fps on mobile devices
- MediaTek MiraVision™ technology for DTV-grade picture quality
Integrated Multi-mode 4G LTE Modem
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
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