Huawei hosted a conference in Beijing today to showcase its upcoming 5G products: the Balong 5000, which it claims is the world's fastest 5G chip, and the 5G CPE Pro, a powerful home router. With these devices, the Chinese manufacturer is aiming at becoming a reference in 5G chips, and is trying to dethrone Qualcomm with a more powerful product.
Qualcomm is undeniably the darling of Android OEMs, with their chips being the only viable option for flagship smartphones and tablets. That's something MediaTek would obviously like to change with its latest premium SoC, the Helio P90.
Following a day of bad press regarding an undisclosed security vulnerability, Google pushed the message of strong security during its October 9th hardware reveal event. Among the announcements: the Mountain View-based tech giant has developed a dedicated chip for its mobile devices that integrates Titan Security, the system it built for Google data centers.
When an OEM chooses a Qualcomm SoC for a phone, the first thought is whether to include a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 800 series chip or something cheaper. The 700 series was recently unveiled, but before that the next best thing has been a 600 series processor such as the Snapdragon 660. Qualcomm's latest announcement introduces a successor, the predictably named Snapdragon 670.
When it comes to making processors for Android smartphones, Qualcomm is by far the market leader. MediaTek trails, focussing mainly on budget hardware, and then there are proprietary chips from the likes of Samsung and Huawei, but they aren't used outside of a few of their own products.
Qualcomm has a range of SoCs to cater for mobile devices of any level, but the mid-range market is where the money is right now. With that in mind, the company just announced three new chips: two in the lower mid-range 400 series and one in the higher mid-range 600 series.
Last month, it was revealed that Facebook is working on its own smart speaker. That product has now been delayed amid Facebook's ongoing privacy scandals, but future versions of it could use Facebook's own chips. According to Bloomberg, the company is looking to design its own chipsets, based on recent job listings.
The smart speaker wars are in full swing, with Amazon and Google dominating most of the market. Amazon's Alexa assistant was first on the scene, but Google Assistant is making progress, particularly with the Home Mini and third-party speakers. According to a report from The Information, Amazon is working on its own AI chip designed to make Alexa-powered devices respond quicker.
The Exynos 9 Series processors were introduced by Samsung almost a year ago, and we've seen them used in the company's flagship phones of 2017. With the announcement of the Galaxy S9 nearing, it's time we learned a little about the chip that will be running the show (outside of the US and China, which will get Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 processor), so Samsung has lifted the covers off the Exynos 9810 SoC.
It's built on Samsung's second-generation 10-nanometer process, which boasts improvements such as a faster LTE modem and support for deep learning-based image processing software. As with any new chip, faster performance is promised, and it will apparently handle multitasking better than its predecessor – which is no surprise again.
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).