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.
Along with the Nexus 4, Google announced a new 10-inch Nexus tablet manufactured by Samsung. The tablet is a powerhouse with a retina busting 10.1-inch display sporting a resolution of 2560×1600.
Internally, the Nexus 10 packs in the next-generation Cortex-A15 based SoC — Exynos 5 — which also includes an ARM Mali-T604 GPU. Other specs include front-facing stereo speakers, 2GB of RAM, NFC, Wi-Fi, GPS, and the usual stuffs. The press release from Google states that the Nexus 10 is capable of playing back videos for up to 9 hours or up to 500 hours of standby time, all thanks to its beefy 9000mAh battery.
On the software side, Nexus 10 runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that includes multiple user profiles, a swype like keyboard and other tablet related enhancements. The 16GB version of the tablet will only cost $399 while the 32GB variant will set you back by $499. It will be available for purchase directly from Google Play on November 13th in the U.S, U.K, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and Japan.
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.