Not only are chipset makers racing to 5G, there's also a constant push towards shrinking fabrication processes. The smaller the process, the smaller and more power efficient a chip can be – or, conversely, the more transistors it can fit, making it more powerful at the same size. As it stands, 10nm is as little as it gets when it comes to commercially available mobile processors, but that won't hold true for long. Shortly after Huawei quietly announced that its Kirin 980 system-on-a-chip (SoC) will be built on 7nm process technology, Qualcomm has announced that its next flagship chipset will also be built on the 7nm process node. Read More
MediaTek gets a lot of flak—and, at least in part, it's deserved—but the company's products occupy a necessary niche. After pretty much every ARM chipset manufacturer excluding Qualcomm pulled out of the smartphone race in the early 10's, MediaTek was left to fill the entry-level void, and it has. The fact that its chipsets typically end up in lower-end devices means we're especially excited for today's news, as the company is launching the Helio A series destined for low to mid-range hardware, starting with the A22. Read More
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. Read More
Today Qualcomm has announced a whole new Snapdragon series that fits (in both number and performance) between the existing 800 and 600. This 700 series includes high-performance features from the more expensive flagship-bound 800s like custom Kryo cores, the Hexagon DSP, Spectra ISP, and Adreno graphics. But unlike the 800, this new line is destined for more affordable devices, bringing flagship-level features to an increasingly accessible price point. Read More
Google's hardware plans for the future are getting bigger. Variety is reporting that Google has hired Manu Gulati, a hardware architect, away from Apple. Gulati is reported as having previously played a significant role in the development of Apple's SoCs for the last eight years and was hired sometime in the last few weeks. His new title at Google is Lead SOC Architect, and he's expected to work on custom chipsets for future Pixel phones. Read More
MediaTek has just announced a new chipset for two of Google's favorite recent projects: Google Assistant and Android Things. The descriptively named MT8516 is a 64-bit ARM platform that includes wireless radios and is designed specifically for voice assistants applications. It looks like Google has one more hardware partner behind Intel and Qualcomm for its future IoT plans. Read More
Qualcomm, one of the world's most renowned mobile chipset manufacturers, has just announced three new chipsets in its Snapdragon 600 and 400 tiers: the 653, 626, and 427. Sure, these aren't as exciting as a flagship 830 would be, but the mid-range market is huge for Qualcomm. The San Diego-based company has actually made some fairly interesting improvements with these new pieces of silicon.
The 653, 626, and 427 all receive a new X9 LTE modem and support for Quick Charge 3.0 and dual cameras. This X9 LTE supports Cat 7 downlink speeds of up to 300MBps, and Cat 13 uplink speeds of up to 150Mbps (up to 50% better than the X8 LTE's uplink speeds). Read More
Intel hasn't been very fortunate in the smartphone chipset business. Despite dominating the personal computing semiconductor space, the company failed to gain traction in mobile in time and struggled to catch up afterward despite trying to crack the entry code from different angles: wearables, IoT, tablets, phones, and so on. Eventually, Intel sort of threw in the towel and decided to close its Atom business and take its time to regroup and think of other ways to tackle the issue.
Its foundry business seems to be the key. See, aside from offering platforms and architectures for chipsets, Intel also has a small side business, Intel Custom Foundry, which produces chipsets for other chipmakers. Read More
The dream is to have smartphone batteries that can last days upon days of use. The reality is that the more power-efficient our smartphones become, the more demanding we are, perpetuating the status quo of lousy battery life. The band-aid solution so far seems to be the speeding of charge times. Qualcomm has its Quick Charge technology, Oppo has its Super VOOC, ASUS has BoostMaster, and MediaTek has Pump Express. The latter just received a boost to version 3.0, marking the first time it uses USB Type-C Power Delivery instead of VBUS current modulation.
The first benefit of Pump Express 3.0 is that it significantly reduces overheating while charging by bypassing all circuitry inside the phone. 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