The explosion of smart phones, initially kicked off by the iPhone, has fueled tremendous improvement in mobile processors. We went from 1 GHz single-core processors to 1.5 GHz quad-cores in less than three years. Now, the relatively easy ways of improving performance performance are out due to power and heat considerations, and manufacturers are being forced to innovate.
Nvidia chose to increase the number of GPU cores to 72, and switched to quad-core Cortex-A15 (with a fifth power saving core) for the Tegra 4. Some doubts have already been raised about Nvidia’s performance claims, but we will have to wait to know for sure. Qualcomm is relying on a combination of updating the GPU, increasing the CPU clock speed to up to 2.3 GHz, and increasing the bandwidth to deliver performance improvements with its new Snapdragon 600 and 800 series chipsets. Current generation Snapdragon chipsets have been reported to generate a lot of heat and as Qualcomm continues to push the clock speeds, that might become a bigger concern.
A short while back, Samsung revealed its cards, and shared with the world what it has in store for mobile devices. The new Exynos 5 will boast of an octa-core CPU. Yes, you read it correctly. The next generation SoC (System on Chip) from Samsung will have eight cores. Fortunately, the Exynos will never use all eight cores simultaneously. Exynos 5 will have two clusters of quad-cores. One of them will be Cortex-A15 CPUs, while the other one will be Cortex-A7 CPUs. A7 CPUs are known to consume a lot less power, and will be used for non-intensive tasks. In other words, Samsung is hoping to improve upon Nvidia’s concept of using a fifth power saving core for common tasks to save battery. The A-15 CPUs will kick in only when required, and as per Samsung’s stats, can deliver more than twice the performance of Exynos 4 quad.
Samsung has started rolling out a new firmware update for the Galaxy S III in the United Kingdom that fixes the Exynos security exploit and the sudden death issue.
The Exynos security exploit was discovered in the middle of last month, and allowed any malicious app to gain root access to the RAM/physical memory of any Exynos 4 device easily. Samsung was informed immediately about the security exploit and the company announced that it will roll-out a fix for the exploit as soon as possible.
The new firmware update (XXELLA) for the Galaxy S3 is still based on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, and does not bring any new feature like the previous firmware updates brought with it.
While Samsung has not confirmed it officially, SamMobile have managed to confirm it with their sources that the firmware update also fixes the sudden death issue plaguing the Galaxy S3. Apparently, the firmware update also contains a new bootloader update that fixes the issue.
As of now, the firmware update is only live in the United Kingdom and is available via OTA or KIES. Giving how serious the security exploit and the sudden death issue is, expect Samsung to start a global roll-out of the update sometime soon.
All the mobile SoCs in the market available today, except for the Qualcomm S4 Krait, are based on the Cortex-A9 architecture. The Qualcomm S4 SoC is a custom designed SoC and is a hybrid Cortex-A9/A15 competitor. The Cortex-A15 based SoCs are expected to be available later this year, or sometime early next year. The OMAP5, Exynos 5 Dual, and the Tegra 4 are the Cortex-A15 based SoCs to watch out for.
Samsung today became the first SoC maker to announce its Cortex-A15 based SoCs, the Exynos 5 Dual. The Exynos 5250 will pack two 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 cores based on the 32nm HKMG process, along with the T604 GPU from ARM. The SoC supports a whole bunch of specifications and standards including Wi-Fi Display, OpenGL ES 3.0, OpenVG 1.1, Open CL 1.1, DirectX 11, LPDDR3 RAM, SATA III controllers, and the ability to encode and decode videos at 1080p resolution with 60 FPS.
If the above standards confuse you, then in a simple word, the Exynos 5 Dual is a beast. Rumors suggest that the Exynos 5 Dual might be used by Samsung in one of its upcoming Retina-Display resolution like tablets, which is supposed to release sometime before the end of this year.
However, don’t get your hopes too high on this. The Exynos 5 Dual might just show up directly on the Galaxy S4 next year. Some Exynos 5 Dual commits were found by codeworkx earlier this year in AOSP. So it is very much possible that the next Nexus from Google will use the Exynos 5250 SoC. Only time will answer when the Exynos 5250 SoC based devices will hit the market.
The whole white page and other specs of the Exynos 5 Dual SoC can be found here.
Samsung has officially announced that its latest and greatest Android smartphone, the Galaxy S III, will be available in Canada beginning from June 20th. While this news will definitely please people residing in Canada, there is a catch here.
The Canadian variant of the Galaxy S III will sport completely different internals than the European I9300 version. Instead of the 1.4Ghz quad-core SoC and an ARM-Mali 400MP GPU, the Canadian version of the S3 will sport Qualcomm’s S4 SoC. The S4 SoC is a dual-core custom designed Cortex-A15 competitor from Qualcomm clocked at 1.5GHz, and is coupled with an Adreno 225 GPU. While the dual-core S4 SoC can compete with the quad-core Exynos SoC, the Mali GPU of the Exynos absolutely trumps S4’s Adreno 225 GPU. The Qualcomm S4 SoC will allow the Galaxy S III to support the LTE network in Canada, which the Exynos SoC lacks.
“We are very excited to bring the highly anticipated GALAXY S III to Canadians so they can experience firsthand, the power, performance and passion that Samsung is known for,” said Paul Brannen, Vice President, Enterprise Business Group, Samsung Canada. “This next generation of the GALAXY S series is sleek and stylish, and offers users features that promote sharing, and are intuitive and powerful, allowing Canadians to enjoy a more human experience with their smartphone.”
The Canadian version of the SGS3 will also sport a whopping 2GB of RAM compared to the 1GB of RAM found in the European version. Other than this, the Canadian variant packs in the same specs as its international sibling, which includes a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen with 720p resolution, a 2100mAh removable battery, NFC, 16/32GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot, an 8MP camera, and Samsung’s new nature inspired design and UI features like Smart Stay, pop-up play, free 50GB of dropbox storage space for 2 years etc.
It looks like Samsung could not wait until May 3rd for its Unpacked Event in London to unveil the SoC inside its hotly anticipated Galaxy S3. In a press release today, Samsung has unveiled the Exynos 4 Quad SoC, which will be powering its next Galaxy handset.
The Exynos 4 Quad SoC pack in four-physical Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.4GHz each, and is made on the 32nm HKMG fabrication processor from Samsung. Sammy states that the Exynos 4 Quad provides nearly double the performance of the Exynos 4210 based on the 45nm fabrication process, while consuming 20% less power. While Samsung did not mention the exact GPU used inside the Exynos 4 Quad, rumors suggest that it packs in a higher clocked variant of the ARM Mali-400MP GPU.
Compared to the Exynos 4210, Exynos 4 Quad also features power gating for all the four cores, along with frequency and voltage scaling. Samsung also mentions that the Exynos 4 Quad is pin-compatible with the Exynos 4210, thus making the upgrade path of OEMs easier.
Frankly, I was really expecting the Samsung Galaxy S3 to use a dual-core A15 based processor. There is still very limited use of a quad-core SoC in mobile phones, and two faster A15 cores can easily outperform a quad-core SoC in real-life mobile usage.