Qualcomm introduced successor of powerful Snapdragon 800 which was unveiled in January. The new Snapdragon chip is labeled 805, and among other things brings support for 4K video.
According to the first unofficial measurement of performance of the new Intel's "system on a chip" for mobile devices, which is being developed under the codename Bay Trail, it should be faster than any currently available commercial solution.
A few new high level S4 quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have been released for the mass market. The company already has their processors in some of the most popular smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, HTC Windows Phone 8X, Nokia Lumia 820 and 920, Samsung ATIV S and Motorola Droid RAZR. Now they will push an upgraded version of their shining stars MSM8225 and MSM8625. They will bear the same names with just adding Q on the end. The next generation of Snapdragons will come in the first quarter of 2013.
Four days ago we talked about Asus and their awesome ability to design hardware that people really do want, but the issues they seem to have with getting those products to market (and maintaining supply). We specifically called out the Padfone that was shown off as a concept in 2009, actually domed in 2010, and officially launched mid-2011. This product that many are asking for has yet to see a paying customer’s hands and now we are hearing that there are supply issues with the Qualcomm SoC that is under the hood.
So Asus has released the specifications of their next generation Transformers and as we told you they are not getting rid of the Tegra 3 for their HD version of the popular tablet. The original rumor was that Asus was replacing the Tegra 3 for a Qualcomm SoC. In truth we find that Asus is entering the realm of cellular tablets.
On Monday of this week there was a rumor that went around the internet that claimed Asus was abandoning Tegra for Qualcomm in their upcoming Transformer line. The rumor cam complete with a fuzzy show of a slide from a presentation. This would seem to confirm the move and to give a confirmation before the Mobile World Congress that is kicking off. After asking around we have found that the real story is something a little different.
About two years ago, roughly the same time as the ZuneHD hit the market with the first Tegra inside, nVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a prediction of sorts. He stated that he envisioned a time when the GPU was not the bread and butter of nVidia. Instead he saw the mobile CPU and the SoC (system on chip) as the wave of the future. Of course he could not get away from his graphical legacy, so his vision also included an nVidia GPU (or two) along with the mobile CPU. At the time the press sort of overlooked the story. It was not that news worthy. After all the Tegra only had one well known design win (there were others but many never reached the market) the ZuneHD. Arguably it was (and still is) a great product, it just was marketed VERY poorly and was going head to head with the greatest show on Earth; the Apple marketing team.
Jump forward to today and we find the Tegra and the Tegra 2 in many devices. In fact one of the best-selling Android tablets on the market today has a Tegra 2 dual core SoC inside (for those of you that do not know it is the Galaxy Tab 10.1) this is followed by devices like the Asus EEE Pad Tansformer and others. They really have come a very long way in terms of the smartphone and tablet market. Of course they still have Apple to contend with (and their legal and marketing teams) so the battle is not won just yet. However, what we are seeing is that Huang’s vision is coming to pass. nVidia just might find itself earning more than 50% of their income from the tiny SoC and not their high-end GPUs.
Still the road ahead is not completely clear, nVidia will face competition in the form of Qualcom (which just bought BigFoot Networks), as well as Samsung and Even Apple (to a lesser degree) in this new market. As for Intel, Huang says they are not worried about them because the Atom is not an ARM CPU and is not even “speaking the same language”. He feels that the lower cost ARM based tablets will be more attractive to the consumer looking for a small and light system. With the advent of Windows 8 for ARM people will also gain the ability to move back and forth between ARM and x86 keeping things on almost the same platform. This will help to bring the more “desktop centric” consumers into the fold especially with the prospect of a quad core ARM CPU running Windows 8 on the horizon.
It is when companies have to innovate to survive that some of the coolest things arise. I wonder what we will see from Tegra in near future and what lessons from Tegra will nVidia take to other departments to help improve them?
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