Free Newsletter

Samsung steps up challenge to Snapdragon with new processors


Published: 23 September, 2009

READ MORE: Samsung | Semiconductor | Handset

At its Mobile Solutions Forum in Taipei this week, Samsung stepped up its challenge to Qualcomm in the mobile internet processor market, announcing two chips that have come out of its Hummingbird project, and which are likely to find their way into the Korean giant's own phones from the first half of 2010.

Samsung Electronics unveiled a range of advanced components that will add up to a turbocharged smartphone, with enhanced capabilities for high definition video, gaming and imaging. These products will be available to other phonemakers of course - Apple iPhone is a notable customer for Samsung processors - but are likely to appear first in selected Samsung devices. The firm suggested that it would embed the new apps processor first in a brace of gaming optimized handsets for release in the first quarter, in Korea and some European markets.

These will join the growing breed of high end, media-heavy phones that sport 1GHz processors - and the battle for that chip space is turning into a head-to-head between Samsung and the Qualcomm Snapdragon. The latter has appeared in the Toshiba TG01 superphone, heavily geared to video applications, and Samsung announced its own challenge back in July, with the Hummingbird development project, a collaboration with Intrinsity.

In December, it will start sampling two 1GHz app processors based on the ARM Cortex-A8 platform, one for smartphone makers and one for netbooks and 'smartbooks' (the category largely defined by Qualcomm and Freescale, of ultra-mobile ARM-based netbooks, which are likely to run Linux variants). The two apps processors, the S5PC110 and S5PV210, will be made on Samsung's 45nm process to reduce power consumption. They could be targeted at successor handsets to the 800MHz media-intensive Jet.

Samsung also announced components for the capacitive touchscreen and camera module, that reduce size and power. Its touch-embedded display driver chip crams all the controls for a capacitive touchscreen into a far smaller package, and new camera modules combine 5-megapixel sensors with 1080p HD video recording capabilities on a single system-on-chip. There is also a single-chip mobile TV channel decoder SoC for China's mobile TV standard, and a 1Gb OneDram chip using fusion memory technology.

While Samsung's phone unit uses silicon from a wide range of suppliers, it is likely to take early advantage of these advanced components, as it looks to follow up on the popular 1GHz Jet superphone. This is a heavy hitter in the category of high end handsets that are geared to advanced media functionality rather than, necessarily, open operating systems and app downloads.

Qualcomm has announced a dual-core version of its Snapdragon chip and ARM is working on a multi-gigahertz, multicore processor that is probably a year away. Meanwhile, EETimes says Marvell will soon boost its Sheeva ARM-based processor to 2GHz and could create a multicore, multi-gigahertz chip, taking it into Intel x86 territory in performance terms. Intrinsity CEO Bob Russo told the paper that Marvell spent more than $100m developing Sheeva and Qualcomm spent $300m on Snapdragon but "we did Hummingbird in 12 months for a small fraction of that cost. We can turn these cores fairly quickly with a staff of 40-70 people on it for most of the time".

Pages: 1 | 2

Related Stories


  • email story Email
  • print story Print
  • digit digit
  • facebook facebook
  • Twitter Twitter
  • Linked-in Linked-In
  • Comments (0)


Add Comment
No comments yet. Be the first to add a comment!

    BYOD: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    An in-depth insight into the rise of BYOD policies within the enterprise and analysis of the impact the trend will have on IT departments,...

    Voice Command, Control and Search on Mobile Phones: Market Analysis & Forecasts

    This report provides a comprehensive insight into the growing importance of voice command, control and search on handsets, analysing...

    Data Centre Network Equipment: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    This report provides a global assessment of the data centre network equipment market. Besides assessing the key market trends, sub-markets...

    HetNet Market Summary & Forecasts: Macro Cells, Small Cells & Wi-Fi Offload

    Carriers are struggling to cope with the explosion of data traffic on their networks, and the additional deployment of LTE and legacy...

    Over-the-Top Communications: Threats & Opportunities for Mobile Operators

    This report examines the implications of widespread adoption of mobile over-the-top IP communications for mobile operators, handset...

    Portable Gaming Consoles: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    This report provides a global assessment of the PGC market. In addition to assessing the key market drivers, market barriers, vendor...

    Satellite Phones: Will Dual Mode Help the Phoenix Rise from the Ashes?

    Satellite phones have followed an arduous path since their much-hyped launch more than a decade ago. The hype was followed by an e...

    Mobile Widget Platform Market Analysis: Understanding the Business Case and ROI

    This white paper presents an analysis of the mobile widget platform market, as well as metrics supporting a mobile carrier?s busin...


You must be a registered user to post a comment. or
Username *
Email *
Comment *