ARM and TSMC have manufactured the first Cortex A57 processor based on ARM’s next-gen 64-bit ARMv8 architecture.
The all new chip was fabricated on TSMC’s equally new FinFET 16nm process. The 57 is ARM’s fastest chip to date and it will go after high end tablets, and eventually it will find its place in some PCs and servers as well.
Furthermore the A57 can be coupled with frugal Cortex A53 cores in a big.LITTLE configuration. This should allow it to deliver relatively low power consumption, which is a must for tablets and smartphones. However, bear in mind that A15 cores are only now showing up in consumer products, so it might be a while before we see any devices based on the A57.
In terms of performance, ARM claims the A57 can deliver a “full laptop experience,” even when used in a smartphone connected to a screen, keyboard and mouse wirelessly. It is said to be more power efficient than the A15 and browser performance should be doubled on the A57.
It is still unclear when we’ll get to see the first A57 devices, but it seems highly unlikely that any of them will show up this year. Our best bet is mid-2014, and we are incorrigible optimists. The next big step in ARM evolution will be 20nm A15 cores with next-generation graphics, and they sound pretty exciting as well.
Hewlett-Packard garnered attention at Mobile World Congress show with its new Slate 7-inch tablet and then the sale of webOS assets, but the company is looking to put past distractions behind and will release more tablets in the future, the company said.
“You can expect going forward [to release] a family of products,” said Shane Wall, chief technology officer at Hewlett-Packard’s mobility group, in an interview at MWC. The mobility trade show is being held in Barcelona from Feb. 25 to 28.
The 7-inch tablet attracted a small crowd at the HP booth, with people lining up to photograph or use the device. The company effectively took a dive into the low-cost tablet and tried to differentiate its tablet by a lower price, and also features like a micro-SD card slot for expandable storage and dual-cameras. Google’s $199 Nexus 7 is priced higher and has a quad-core processor, a higher-resolution screen and Android 4.2, but HP believes it will sell a lot of the tablets at the $169 price.
“We’re obviously late,” Wall said. “We wanted to start and see how aggressive we can be on the low end.”
The Slate 7 also signifies HP’s re-entry into the consumer tablet market after a disastrous stint with the webOS mobile operating system, which it got with the acquisition of Palm in 2010 for $1.2 billion. The first webOS tablet, the TouchPad, was launched in 2011, but later discontinued along with webOS smartphones. Since then HP has released enterprise tablets such as ElitePad 900 with Windows 8, and now the company has adopted Android for consumer tablets.
The decision is estimated to displace about 500 jobs in South Korea and follows a decision made a month ago to close down most international Motorola websites and to lay off about 4,000 workers.
Motorola Mobility said in a statement that it began telling staff in South Korea on Monday about “plans to close most of our operations in Korea, including our research and development and consumer mobile device marketing organization.”
The statement said the changes “reflect our plans to consolidate our global R&D efforts to foster collaboration, and to focus more attention on markets where we are best positioned to compete effectively.”
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-cores are slowly starting to show up in new phone and tablet designs, and in case you’ve been following the market, you know they will be the fastest thing around until A15 parts appear.
But aside from the custom Krait core, Qualcomm’s new chips feature new Adreno 3 series graphics and judging by some early benchmarks, this is a match made in heaven.
Tom’s Hardware put the new graphics core to the test, with some very impressive results. Basically Adreno 320 blows the competition out of the water. However, it does not manage to surpass the huge SGX543MP4, used on the third generation iPad.
In GLBenchmark 2.1 the SGX543MP4 ranks first, with 251 and 139 points in Pro and Egypt tests. Adreno 320 comes in second, with 191/137, the SGX543MP2 scores 147/90, while the Tegra 3 TL30 scores 82/63. However, in fill rate tests Adreno 320 trails both the SGX543MP4 and SGX543MP2, but it is still miles ahead of the Tegra 3, SGX540 and Adreno 225.
However, in off-screen GLBench 2.5 Adreno 320 manages to squeeze ahead of SGX543 parts and the rest of the competition, but once again it loses in fill rate tests.
This wild rumor is not completely without merit, as Qualcomm did acquire a piece of AMD, or AMD’s handheld graphics business to be precise, and it would not be too surprising to see Qualcomm after the whole company sometime in the future.
Samsung on the other hand is not an entirely impossible choice, but at this point it won’t be acquiring AMD either.
It looks like market players want to see the acceptance of Windows RT that will finally prove how important ARM processors really are and knowing AMD, the worst is behind them, as 2012 was the year of many chances, cancelation and anything but good execution for them.
Meanwhile Qualcomm is doing great in the ARM market, although its Snapdragon S4 line suffers from insufficient 28nm production, but due to its on-chip LTE implementation the chips are sought after, especially in the United States market.
Qualcomm said it believes TSMC’s 28nm supply issues will continue until year end.
Qualcomm, which relies solely on TSMC for its 28nm chips, said it believes the supply of chips will improve, but the firm expects its 28nm supply not to be back to normal until the end of 2012.
Previously Qualcomm had poured scorn on TSMC by telling investors it is looking at rival wafer fabs to avoid supply issues in the future. Qualcomm’s CEO Paul Jacobs told Reuters once again that the firm is looking to other foundries for extra capacity, adding, “The goal is to get enough supply for everyone.”
TSMC’s 28nm process node has been tapped by a number of big name customers including AMD, Nvidia and Qualcomm, with the chip fab unable to meet demand. Since Qualcomm made the rare public admission that it wasn’t happy with the state of TSMC’s 28nm chip supply, the smart money has been on Globalfoundries picking up the slack, however nothing specific has been announced by either firm.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chips are proving to be quite a coup for the company. They are faster than anything the competition has to offer, more power efficient and some versions include integrated LTE. The only problem is that Qualcomm is having trouble meeting demand.
Qualcomm announced four new S4 chip series aimed at wildly different market segments, all based on the very successful Krait architecture.
Snapdragon S4 Prime chips will target smart TVs and similar applications. The first Prime part is the MPQ8054, a 1.5GHz quad-core with Adreno 320 graphics. Qualcomm promises “leading” audio/video capabilities and low power consumption, although we are not sure efficiency very important in TVs.
Meanwhile Snapdragon S4 Pro parts sound like all-rounders. They also feature Adreno 320 graphics and the S4 Pro tier includes the APQ8064 quad-core and MSM8960T, the Pro version of MSM8960. Pro parts are likely to end up in tablets, hybrids and other “ultra-thin and sleek” devices.
S4 Plus parts are geared towards the traditional mobile market, smartphones and tablets, ranging from the low-end to the high-end. Processors in the S4 Plus tier include MSM8960, APQ8060A, MSM8660A, MSM8260A, APQ8030, MSM8930, MSM8630, MSM8230, MSM8627 and MSM8227.
As we know Intel is not a total Windows 8 and Android shop. Although MeeGo was abandoned by Nokia in favor of huge investment from Microsoft, but Intel will continue to develop MeeGo and it will also add Tizen to its OS effort.
Tizen is a free open source mobile operating system based on Linux and backed up by Linux foundation. Tizen is planned to work on Atom N2800 and N2600 processors or simply said Cedar Trail platform and it was supposed to be out of Beta by end of Q1 2012. If all goes according to schedule it will reach its gold status by mid of Q2 2012. At some point it will also get an application store too, but release schedule is yet to be set in stone.
Intel believes that Tizen combines the communities and best technologies under one unified environment. MeeGo is supposed to have Strong developer community and LiMo should bring broad service provider support to this marriage. They will have strong support for HTML 5 and WAC (wholesale application community).
Tizen is supposed to work on ARM as well as on x86 and we can expect the first devices, or at least prototypes, to show up by the end of the year. Once it gets out it should cover mobile phones, tablets, netbooks, smart TVs and in-vehicle entertainment systems.
Intel tried to do gaming graphics cards and it failed, but when it comes to CPUs for desktop and notebooks, it is currently dominating the market. Even the graphics used in Intel’s latest integrated CPUs these days are quite decent for multimedia and even some basic gaming.
Still, Intel is now shifting its focus and it sees Qualcomm as its main competitor in years to come. We heard this from high ranked sources from within Intel who believe that Qualcomm is the only ARM company that has it all, and Intel wants to take it on.
Intel is carefully watching Nvidia and Texas Instruments, again two strong ARM players, but it still thinks Qualcomm has better time to market, more customers and a much stronger portfolio.
Intel should start shipping Medfield just in time for Windows 8, and in case you’ve missed it, Medfield is a SoC (System on Chip) platform that should find its place to a few tablets and probably even some phones next year. Since Intel is trying to speed development up and put as much pressure on ARM players as possible, its next generation SoC will also come before the end of 2012, and it will use the advanced 22nm process, something we won’t see in ARM chips next year.
According to industry analysts, mobile device shipments will exceed a billion devices in 2015 and will rapidly outrun PC shipments. That’s great news for end user convenience, mobility, and work-anywhere productivity. But it also means that enterprises must prepare for the fact that the criminals will target these devices with attack exploits, spyware,
and rogue applications.
And while IBM’s IT security research team, X-Force, predicts a modest 33 software exploits targeting mobile devices in the year ahead, that’s roughly twice the number of such attack code released in the past year.
The group also sees a number of other troubling mobile security trends. First, when software flaws do surface, many mobile phone makers do not rapidly deploy software patches to devices; malicious apps are often distributed through third-party app markets. Another troubling trend is that some mobile malware can collect end user’s personal information for use in phishing attacks.
An example of vulnerabilities that would make such attacks possible are the two recent Android security flaws that were reported to affect popular handsets including the AT&T Samsung Galaxy SII and various HTC devices.
The security find announced by security researcher Trevor Eckhart, called HTClogger (logging tools introduced by handset maker HTC) that could leak email account information, user location, phone numbers, and messaging logs.
Handset maker HTC said, in a statement, that it is working to quickly issue an update to its customers. “HTC is working very diligently to quickly release a security update that will resolve the issue on affected devices. Following a short testing period by our carrier partners, the patch will be sent over-the-air to customers, who will be notified to download and install it. We urge all users to install the update promptly,” the company said.