Guest post by Dinesh V. K.
The challenge perceived by the communication industry in the near future, is to put PC-like computing power and various other facilities into one integrated portable gadget, like the smartphone. Undoubtedly it is the mobile phone manufacturers who are breaking into this threshold and fast. Their ultimate aim is to transplant the hi-power computing experience into a small hand-held device, with selectively enhanced capabilities. In association are the chip makers, who supply and develop the CPU for all kinds of gadgets and devices. Last but not the least, the cost factors too influence the market.
The relentless drive of technology and innovation
- The latest technology and innovations, in micro-processors, take the portable or hand-held device into a new multi-core threshold.
- Now dual-core chips, with enhanced power and efficiency, are finding their way into tablets, slates and smartphones rapidly.
- Advanced graphics capability is also being used to enhance the mobile experience.
- Gaming smartphones and introduction of 3D graphics are all set to fascinate mobile and tablet users.
- Already Dual-core smartphones are available from LG and Motorola.
- Quad-core micro-processors are soon on the way.
The market will not be replacing single core with dual-core or quad-core as hurriedly as we may speculate, but will be using all types of chips according to the application, requirement and use, as perceived. Therefore all types of chips will be in parallel development and deployment.
NFC/WiFi integrated chips
The smartphone now takes multi-functional roles. For example the Near Field Communication technology will bring the credit/debit card or banking capability easily into the hand-held device, or what is being called the “mobile wallet”. The handset used as a tethered modem earlier, now comes with WiFi and can become a virtual netbook for the user. And the list of capabilities goes on increasing.
Makers of micro-processors chip in
Chip manufacturers undoubtedly have a core role to play in this rapid development. Smartphones will soon evolve logically, under the circumstances, to take in hi-power chipsets, improving the mobile internet experience and corroborating the convergence of smartphone and netbooks. But the single core mobile chip will continue to survive. The furore created by Apple iPhones and iPads has created a niche market. Three UK microchip companies – CSR, Imagination Technologies and ARM Holdings are in the Apple bandwagon as they are suppliers. Samsung too has announced its dual-core mobile chip called Exynos which was known as Orion on the internet. The Exynos 4210 is the first product to be released.
Chipset maker Nvidia is gearing up to meet the next generation of superphones and super tablets. The chip maker’s Tegra-2 dual-core processor has enhanced graphics capabilities. It is found in the LG Optimus 2X and the Motorola Atrix. Nvidia has a dedicated app for Androids to provide games designed to take advantage of the dual-core.
The Nvidia Tegra 2
The Tegra 2 is the first mobile dual-core CPU with the Ultra Low Power (ULP) Nvidia GeForce GPU, that results in amazing performance as never before in a mobile device. It gives faster browsing, accelerated Flash and visually engaging 3D graphics. Featured in the chipset are:
- The Dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU comes with out of order execution resulting in faster web browsing, more efficient processing and better overall experience.
- The Ultra Low Power (ULP) GeForce GPU results in excellent visual experience, and with highly responsive 3D user interface for 3D gaming.
- The 1080p Video Playback Processor delivers full frame 1080p HD playback and streaming HD Flash Video Playback, without taxing the battery.
- 1080p Video Encode Processor
- Image Signal Processor (ISP)
- Audio Processor
- ARM7 Processor
- High-Definition Digital Display Output
- OpenGL ES 2.0 Optimizations and Support
- Global Power Management System
Usage: Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid Bionic,(yet to be released) LG Optimus 2X
Qualcomm is a major player in this field of smartphones and are expected to bring out quad-core chipsets with WiFi inside but not 3G modem, as it foresees smart tablets to be the first recipient of this type of chip. The quad-core Snapdragon chipset is a platform for tablets. The next chip codenamed Krait uses 28nm process for manufacture and will be offered in single, dual and quad-core versions. It will claim clock speeds of 2.5Ghz and power reduction of 65% over existing mobile ARM chips.
Qualcomm also understands the the increasing use of 2D and 3D forms of intensive graphics. So they have integrated the new GPU called Adreno 320 that has a 15x boost of performance over the previous Adreno and an integrated multi-mode LTE modem too. It can drive latest games and large screen video. It supports 3D, S3D and full HD at 1080p over HDMI. The new Snapdragon family is all set to revolutionise the mobile device again.
The latest Snapdragon family will include the single-core MSM8930, the dual-core MSM8960 and the quad-core APQ8064. All chipsets will provide connectivity solutions like Bluetooth, WiFi, FM, and GPS. It will include support “near field communication” (NFC), as well as stereoscopic 3D (S3D) video or photo capture/playback. Snapdragon chipsets will support for every major operating system.
Usage: HTC Sensation, HTC Flyer
The Apple A4 chip found in iPad tablet and iPhone4 models actually combines an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU with the PowerVR GPU. This chip is package on package (POP), system-on-a-chip (SoC), designed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung (for Apple).
The Apple A5 is a similar chip to supersede the A4. The A5 combines the dual-core ARM Cortex A9MP Core Cpu and a dual core Power VR SGX543MP2 GPU.
Apple claims that the GPU is 9 times more powerful than the A4 and the CPU, twice as that of the A4.The dual-core processor is more energy-efficient as seen tin the iPad 2, running the graphic processing better on games or on video-conferencing calls.
Usage: iPad2, iPhone5 (yet to be released)
Samsung’s Mobile Chipsets
Samsung Electronics is probably the largest technology company in the world. System -on-a-chip integrates a variety of digital device systems into a chip. Samsung is speeding into the next generation SoC market with high performance mobile CPU and High density SIP. It supplies chipsets to other mobile phone manufactures.
The Exynos 4210
The Exynos is a SoC built around the 32-bit RISC processor. It gives the best performance features like dual-core CPU, world’s first native triple display, 3D graphics hardware, high memory bandwidth, 1080p video decode/encode hardware and high speed interfaces. The chipset uses the CortexA9 dual core. It provides for heavy use like in 1080p video encoding/decoding, 3D display and native triple display. It can support simultaneously WSVGA resolution of two LCD displays and HDTV display through HDMI.
Usage: Samsung Galaxy S-II
Powerful Smartphones breaking ground
Next Generation smartphones are actually turning into Superphones, being embedded with hi-power quad-core chips. These chips allow multitasking and 3D gaming to be fast and effective. In the perspective of the rapid evolution of the smartphone, some models would be breaking new ground. Android smartphones use the ubiquitous hi-powered Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The other dominant player is the Nvidia Tegra2 processor, which has found its way into the superphones.
But its is the tablet that seems to be catching the users’ imagination, for its amazing computing power, portability and connectivity. Will it actually evolve into the superphone? Or will the smartphone rise like the phoenix to become the superphone? Or will Clark Kent changing to Superman be the kind of transformation we may witness? Maybe the Motorola Atrix has the core idea of this transformation.
This was a guest post by Dinesh V. K who works as a full time content writer and looks forward to know more about new gadgets and devices that are released in the UK market. He writes for various sites including Mobile Phones and other cashback sites.