Tag Archive | "cortex"

ARM Cortex A15 – 5x Performance for More Than Just Mobile

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Just one week before Intel’s IDF will detail more about their mobile CPU roadmap for 2011/2012, ARM have announced some details about their own 2012 high power mobile silicon. Cortex A15 (Codename: Eagle)

Based on a 28/32 nm process (ref: news about 28nm process here) this quad-core design will clock up to 2.5Ghz. That’s 4x cores and 2x clock compared to todays ‘best of.’ ARM say it will provide 5x computing performance. You’ll see it run up to 1.5Ghz in smartphones but I suspect there are some other ‘smart’ opportunities in the netbook space here.

‘Eagle’ Cortex A15 News release.

cortexA15

With the dual-core A9 already reaching up into Intel’s performance space, solutions based on this Cortex A15 will put it directly head-to-head with Intel’s 32nm Medfield platform.

Expect similar power and performance profiles for A15 and Medfield’s Atom core which means the choice of CPU wont be that important for customers any more. The choice lies with the software, designer and, increasingly, the marketing and customer-relations teams.

Intel and ARM have 2 years to get a suite of operating systems ready for these products that range from real-time, through mobile to desktop productivity. I see ARM having a lot of potential with Android but with a lack of productivity applications and a potential patent problem, Intel are in a good position with MeeGo. Having said that, MeeGo will run on ARM CPUs to so in my eyes, what we have here is simply a great range of platforms and operating systems lined up for an amazingly mobile 2012.

A15

Roadmap for Eagle web

More detailed information available here.

Via Slashgear

Expect more details at ARM’s Techcon event in November.

Samsung Galaxy Tab – Sunspider and Quadrant Benchmarks

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MVI_4559_0001 After our hands-on with the Galaxy Tab we couldn’t resist a few benchmark tests. In the video below you’ll see the Sunspider test which is a single-threaded test. For reference we’ve seen 9000ms on the iPad and just under that on Tegra 2 (with Android 2.1) A netbook comes in at about 2000ms. The Galaxy Tab? About 7500ms showing that the a single CPU core (we’re not 100% on the CPU details yet – we suspect a single Cortex A9 core at the moment.)

Next up you’ll see the Quadrant test that we ran on the Tegra 2 platform this week. On the Toshiba AC100 we saw a very impressive score of 1911 which is one amazing score. Remember the Quadrant test is a CPU, 2D and 3D test so it tests more than just the CPU. On the Galaxy Tab we saw a score of 1064. That might sound a lot less than the Tegra2 platform but it’s more than the impressive Samsung Galaxy S!

All is revealed in the video below.

Ti Announces License for ARMs ‘Eagle.’ Cortex A10 / OMAP 5 for 2013?

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hdr_ti_logo No-one really knows much about ARMs Eagle CPU design yet. I spotted it on a slide at Computex earlier this year but the only real info available is from a presentation back in 2009. It’s the next-next generation high-end core and likely to be produced in a 28nm process but based on the standard lead-time for an ARM architecture to get into an end product I’d say we’re looking at 2012 and 2013 for this one. Cortex A9 hasn’t been introduced in any products yet and Cortex A8 still has a way to go too. To give you an idea of the end-end timescales for a new CPU design, Ti are only now announcing that they have the license. The deal was made in 2009!

If we project our thoughts 3 years into the future we’re going to be in a time-period where Intel CPU’s are likely to be in smartphones and ARM are likely to be in laptops. We could be looking at MeeGo and WebOS or something completely new. Google OS perhaps? Will Windows still be as dominant or will Android or IOS develop to become a truly productive operating system? I wonder if I’ll still be blogging?

Ti’s announcement.

ARM Products and Platforms Primer and Resource List for Mobile Internet Devices in 2010. (Updated)

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This article is updated from Jan 2010. See below for history.

The ecosystem around ARM, its designs and licensee products can be difficult to understand so I’ve been researching the current status and have summarized the important products, brands and technologies in the article below. You’ll find details on all the important keywords and technologies, links to all the important CPUs and platforms, a reading list and some ‘tip’s’ for CES2010 which starts this week. All the information is based on my own knowledge and research so if you spot any errors, please be sure to let us all know in the comments. I know there are some CPU designers and ARM partners reading this site so again, if there’s anything that needs changing or adding, please help us all by adding a comment below.

armarch

Overview of processor architectures in current ARM products

For the purposes of this article I’m ignoring anything other than ARM v7 architecture CPUs. In my opinion and experience the previous (ARMv6, ARMv5) designs don’t provide the processing power needed for the quality web experience expected in  MIDs. Note: Tegra (current version 2009) is an ARM11 multi-core CPU  implementation based on ARMv6 architecture. I expect Nvidia to move to ARMv7 in their next Tegra product.

ARM v7 is a CPU architecture, not a CPU.

ARM V7 is a processor architecture. It’s a design that belongs to ARM and it can be used to build CPUs that can process around 2 Dhrystone MIPS/Mhz. (Wikipedia – Dhrystone) That’s about 2000 DMIPs/Ghz which is not far from the processing power achieved by simple, non-hyperthreading Intel Atom cores also used in MIDs. DMIPs processor performance is not the only measurement of device speed but it’s a good starting point and is relevant to web rendering and web applications.

Processing power

In general, the architecture is being used to make CPUs and platforms running at between 600-1000Mhz (about 1200-2000 DMIPs) although there is one known implementation that has been tested at over 2Ghz. Power consumption per core is said to be around 300mw per 2000DMIPs using the latest manufacturing processes although this figure can vary greatly depending on implementation.

Remember that the CPU core takes only a small percentage of the power drain in a working device where the total in-use power budget including screen lighting, radios, audio, gpu, storage and DC components can span from 2W to 10W. (Texas instruments thinks that a 1W MID is possible though)

In comparison with the Intel Atom CPU the ARM v7 architecture can be used to make CPUs that consume about 1/3 – 1/5th of the power of an Intel Atom CPU for the same DMIPs computing power.

ARMv7 can also be used to make multi-core CPUs where up to 4 cores can be used to provide over 8000 DMIPS of computing power. (Assuming the software is built to handle multi-processing hardware)

(Further note: All these figures based on research, marketing figures, experience, testing and technical documents that I have read during this research.)

ARM does not manufacture CPUs.

The architecture created by ARM is used to do two things:

  • The architecture is used by ARM themselves to make a complete processor implementation which may include other ARM property. The CPU implementation is then licensed out to third parties who can either mass produce the CPU or build and manufacture complete computing platforms including graphics, sound, power, memory, etc. One example is the Ti OMAP 3 and 4-series platforms.
  • The architecture gets licensed out to third parties who make their own processors and platforms based on it. One example is the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform.

ARM have a number of processors that they’ve built using ARMv7 architecture and all fall under the ‘Cortex’ brand. There are real-time and highly embedded versions but the ‘A’ versions are the ones that interesting for general mobile computing tasks. ARM have three versions of the CPU. The A8 (currently in products), A9 (high end, multi-core capable due in products in 2010) and A5 (small, low-cost, due in products in late 2010) versions

Licensees.

When final products are completed by licensees you will often see them marketed under different brands. This is where it gets very confusing so I’ve listed most of the main players below along with notes and links to their various products and brands. Note that some ARM licensees are not made public and therefore no information is available.

ARM Cortex A8

ARM has 9 licencees. 8 are public.

Cortex A8 Product brief (PDF)

Licensee notes.

  • Ti OMAP 3 platforms 34xx 35xx 36xx  using Cortex A8 CPU core up to 800Mhz. Used in Nokia N900, Archos 5 devices for example.
  • Freescale iMX5 family of CPUs based on Cortex A8. Use in the Sharp Netwalker for example. iMX515 is focused at mobile internet and includes graphics co-processing.
  • Samsung. S5PC100 application processor includes the Cortex A8 CPU core (E.g. Odroid)
  • Samsung / Intrinsity – Hummingbird A very specific implementation of the Cortex Core using a tightly defined manufacturing process.
  • Zii Labs ZMS08 Core of the ‘stem cell’ computing platform. (Q1 2010 volume shipment) 1Ghz implementation.
  • Matsushita (Panasonic) Details unknown.
  • PMC-Sierra (storage, switching, routing solutions) Details unknown.

Cortex A9 (Multi-core capable)

Cortex A9 Product information (PDF)

ARM has 9 licencees. 6 are public.

Licensee notes.

  • Ti OMAP Dual-core 44xx platform. Full production expected 2H 2010.
  • ST Electronics Cortex A8 licensee (set top boxes)
  • St Ericsson – U8500 Dual Cortex A9/HSPA Modem platform. (Note Nokia and Symbian will be using this and it includes a Mali GPU and 1080p recording capability)
  • Broadcom (ARM news. No products announced yet.)
  • Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-core
  • NEC Electronics. No information available.
  • Update: 28 Jan 2010. It appears that Apple may have licensed Cortex A9 for the iPad A4 CPU. (Source) Update: It’s ARMv7. Apples own implementation.

Cortex A9 MPCore Hard Macro – 2Ghz implementation of Cortex A9 using specific TSMC silicon manufacturing process.

Cortex A5

Cortex A5 is a multi-core, low cost ARM V7 implementation previously known as Sparrow.

Link to ARM information

No known implementations at present.

Other ARM v7 implementations:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon platform (QSD8x50) uses single core CPU (Scorpion) based on ARMv7 architecture.
  • Qualcomm QSD8672 dual core platform at up to 1.5Ghz.
  • Marvell Armada 500 / 510 platform (PDF product brief) Up to 1.2Ghz

Notes for CES 2010 (UPDATED)

Key platform announcements to watch out for at CES 2010. Expect demonstrator products planned for 2H 2010. (All Cortex A9)

  • Nvidia Tegra 2 – Announced.
  • Ti OMAP 44xx – No news.
  • St Ericsson U8500 – Demonstrated by Movial on a set top box.

Expected in MIDs and smartbooks shipping in 1H 2010 on the following platforms. (Single core ARmv7 and Cortex A8 implementations.)

  • Freescale iMX5
  • Ti OMAP 3
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon
  • Nvidia Tegra
  • Zii Labs ZMS08

Product rumors / expectations: CES 2010.

Further reading:

Update: ARM presentation at CES.

I had a chat with ARM at CES and they followed up by sending me a PDF. Here’s one slide from that PDF that is directly relevant here. It lists ‘candidate’ platforms for Mobile Computing. We listed all of these platforms above but it’s good to know what ARM sees at potential platforms.

Click to Enlarge.

Note to PR agencies for ARM ecosystem partners. Put one twitter/web address in the comments and we’ll add it to the further reading list.

If you find the information useful for your work, please consider a small donation to help us continue the work. UMPCPortal is independent and funded purely through donations and advertising revenue.  Many thanks

Updated: 14th Jan 2010

Updated: 18th Jan 2010 (added ARM slide)

Updated: 28 Jan 2010 (added possible Apple licensee (for A4 processor) information.

Updated: 12 May 2010 with more product information

High-End Android Slider for $200! Inbrics M1

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If Inbrics really can bring the M1 to market for $200 then we’re looking at a very good value MID/Phone but somehow I get the feeling that the mention of $200 was really a ‘CES Press Special’  i.e. whatever you say in Vegas, stays in Vegas!  The market could bear $300 for something like this so there’s no reason it would launch at such a low price.

inbricsm1mid

A capacitive 800×480 screen on Cortex with a full implementation of Android along with a nice design and that productivity-helping slider keyboard makes this a ‘must watch’ device. We would have like to have seen a larger screen for real high-end usage and we wonder how long this device will look ‘high-end’ considering the pace that new high-end smartphones are entering the market but it’s interesting all the same.

Here’s a video of the device at CES a few weeks ago.

Thanks to Netbooknews for ‘helping hands’ on this video.

6 WVGA Smartphones that Push The Mobile Web Envelope.

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Finally, after years of waiting and wishing, I can finally say that there are smartphones on the market that offer fast, high quality internet experiences and offer the web-focused user a converged product on which they can do tasks that, until now, required a true mobile computer. In this article I take a look at 6 of the best.

6midphones

Read the full story

Live session. Archos and Sharp. Today at 2100 CEST.

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Update: Thanks to the 800+ viewers we had on the live session. It’s great to have so much feedback on a live session. Video recordings are always available here.

On Friday evening at 1900 GMT (check your timezone here) JKK and I will be LIVE again.

For the first time ever it’s an ARM-only show featuring Cortex CPUs from Freescale and Texas Instruments. The Sharp Netwalker will be there and, if Mr DHL does his job, the Archos Internet Tablet (Android version) too.

We’ll be focusing on the Mobile Internet experience as usual but we’ll be giving a hardware overview, software overview (as much as we can given that these devices are brand new on the market) and trying to answer your questions.

The Sharp Netwalker is kindly provided to JKKmobile by Conics.net. The Archos Android Internet Tablet is kindly provided by you readers. (Please keep supporting our advertisers!) The session is unsponsored so bring beer and expect a no-holds-barred session.

Start time 1900 GMT. (Time in your location)

Live chat, audio and video

provided in the LIVE! page.

Bring your own food.

*1 About 50% chance right now on the Archos tablet. 1545 Tablet has just been delivered.

Session will be recorded.

Archos tablet information

Sharp Netwalker Information

Sharp’s 5-inch NetWalker MID Arrives. Ticking the Carrypad Boxes!

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Engadget have just posted an article on this rather interesting MID / Carrypad-like device that should challenge the UMID that Ben is currently testing. The Sharp Netwalker PCZ1

Sharp PCZ1 ARM-based smartbook running Ubuntu

This isn’t an Intel-based MID device but with the Cortex-based CPU and desktop OS it should be of interest to the same target audience. I’m analysing the details right now but so far it’s looking good. Check out the gallery and the information at Engadget while I get the details together for the database. Update: It’s in the database now.

800MHz Freescale i.MX515 CPU built around the ARM Cortex-A8 architecture, 512MB of memory, 4GB of on-board flash storage (with microSDHC expansion for another 16GB), 802.11b/g WiFi, 2x USB, and QWERTY keyboard going 68 percent of full-size. Sorry, no 3G data. The PC-Z1 features a 3-second quick launch, non-removable 10-hour battery

Sharp’s 5-inch PC-Z1 NetWalker honors Zaurus legacy with touchscreen Ubuntu.

Update: More images over at Nebooked

N900 Outed in Proto Expose.

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Amazing. The Mobile-Review team out in Russia have had a prototype N900 for a while and because of the leaked information they have seen on it they have chosen to air some initial thoughts including device images and a ton of images about the OS. There’s a lot to analyse here. It’s a phone. It’s running Maemo 5. It’s looking like Nokia really is moving to Maemo as their high-end OS. I’m quite stunned that Maemo has come this far. Hats off to Nokia. I’m going to try and get myself down to Stuttgart for Nokia World now because clearly this is going to be on the agenda there in just a few weeks.

N900-clean

We’ve added all the specifications we could confirm from the article into a new N900 information page which we’ll be updating as new information comes in but for now, the best information is over at Mobile-Review.

As usual there’s a lively conversation over at Internet Tablet Talk. Your immediate thoughts are welcome in the comments below.

Omnia HD. MID, Smartphone and The End Of The Tweener.

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The Omnia HD is something that all MID fans should be taking a close look at. It highlights how close the ARM-based platforms are to Intel’s MID platforms. In fact, in many ways, the Omnia HD looks like one of the best MIDs so far with longer battery life, smaller form factor, 720p video recording and a mobile-focused software suite that addresses new mobile markets. It’s an incredibly converged product but at the same time, you could call it a tweener. Neither a 24/7 phone or high quality mobile internet device.  I intend to re-visit the Omnia HD by testing it in full in the near future but in the meantime, take a look at the specifications when placed side-by-side with the most popular tablet MID of the day and lets think about how the Omnia HD highlights that there is no such thing as a tweener.

S5D samsung-omnia-hd-3
Omnia Image via AreaMobile.

Viliv S5. (Estimated 800 Euros with 3G) Omnia HD 600 Euros Comments
CPU Intel Atom 1.3Ghz (Menlow platform) ARM (Cortex A8) 800Mhz (OMAP platform) Atom estimated 2x processing power.
Wifi BT 3G (data only) Wifi BT 3G (voice and data, HSUPA) Voice convergence is important for some. HSUPA important for Europe.
1024×600 4.8” screen (250dpi) LED, resistive touch. 640×360 3.7” screen (approx 180dpi) O-LED, capacative touch, O-LED will give outdoor readability issues. 640×360 restrictive for web browsing.
GPS (no software) GPS plus Navteq maps and social networking. GPS software for XP is expensive.
5hrs online Est, 3hrs online (based on hsdpa talk-time) For online use, the Viliv wins but the Omnia is more efficient.
10hrs standby (on, screen of) 600hrs standby (on, screen off) Always-on is important for comms!
Windows XP plus touch UI Symbian S60  plus mobile software suite (TouchWiz) S60 is mobile-focused (some exciting next-gen social and LBS apps available) but no desktop app compatability.
No cam 8mp cam with 720p recording 720p recording is a huge bonus for the consumer.
400gm 125 gm 1/3rd the weight means you can carry an extra two batteries
Video playback – 720p flexible support, 6hrs Video playback – 720p, 4.5hrs Similar video capability. XP comes with only WMV support out of box.
Storage 60GB Storage 16GB + Micro SD Big storage on the Viliv compared to Omnia.
Browsing: Desktop quality, sub 10-second average, full flash and plugins Browsing: Limited quality. Estimated 20s page load time. Omnia browsing will fall way short of a desktop experience.
3D graphics: Power VR SGX 3G Graphics: Power VR  SGX Snap!
Accelerometer Good for navi, web, ereading
FM Radio A useful, very low power information source. (Local Traffic, news, music, events)
Component, S-video out, VGA HDMI Out Digital output on Omnia turns it into a better set top box.
Best USB device support Limited USB device support If you have USB devices, they are likely to work better with the Viliv S5
Full desktop software capability Mobile-focused software capability Viliv S5 allows you to carry on using your desktop software. Desktop software is, however, expensive.
Availability: Limited roll-out Availability: Global Omnia HD will be widely available
Brand unknown outside Korea Top-tier global branding. Provides consumer confidence.

Clearly the Samsung Omnia HD has specifications that are very close to one of the best Intel-based MIDs on the market. You’re looking at an extremely capable hardware platform that provides consumer-focused MID, PMP, PVR and PND-like capabilities in a 24/7 voice-capable form factor.  It’s also got mature, consumer-friendly mobile-focused software that tackles new mobile usage scnearios and it’s reached the market before anyone else could with Intel-based MIDs that are targeted at the same usage scenarios.  For some it’s going to be seen as the ultimate converged device and one of the best ‘MIDs’ on the market.

Look at it from another angle though and you see a different story.  If you want a 24/7 phone,  the Omnia HD is very very expensive and for most people, too big.  If you’re looking for the best quality mobile web browser, PND, PMP or microblogging device, it falls short on either screen size, keyboard or software. As with most converged devices, it takes new, exciting usage scenarios and lever’s them into compromised form factors.

What I see with the Samsung Omnia HD is a device that underscores exactly the emerging  scenarios that MIDs are targeted at. It’s providing a taster of things to come.  If these scenarios develop, the new ecosystems created could support dedicated devices that fit in the space between the smartphone and the netbook. With technology like the Texas Instruments OMAP 3 platform and Intel’s Moorestown available to OEMs, it will only be a matter of tweaking the design, the software and applying the right marketing to slot the variants into the new ecosystems.

How about dropping the Omni HD’s internals into a Nokia N810-like form factor and increasing the screen to 4.8” with 250 DPI to improve the focus on mobile geo-enabled social networking? How about adding a powerful photo flash and video editing software to enhance mobile photo capabilities and add how about adding a daylight-readable 6″ screen for a move into the ebook market? Think about an iPod Plus, a Kindle with a fast browser and think about the next Nokia Tablet. A Techcrunch Crunchpad or  a Google Lattitude Social  Tablet.  A Canon/YouTube device  or even a dedicated Vodafone/BBC iPlayer.  I don’t propose that all of these are winning business opportunities but I bet there are a few opportunitues in that list for dedicated devices that people have called ‘tweeners’ in the past.

The real story here is three-fold. The Omnia HD highlights how advanced and flexible the latest smartphone platforms are.  It highlights that new usage models are emerging and that if these ecosystems grow, there will be opportunities for dedicated devices. Thank-you Samsung for highlighting that the MID concept is on the right track and that the end of the Tweener-era is nigh.

Does anyone know what CPU is in the Samsung Mondi?

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Turning the tables on you this morning, I’m trying to find out what CPU/chipset Samsung are using in the Mondi. I’ve spent a lot of time searching but it seems that no-one at CTIA, so far, has popped the obvious question – “Hi Samsung. Is it correct that the Mondi is running an ARMv7 (E.g. Cortex) CPU and not the ARMv6 (E.g. ARM11) core that’s too under-powered for Internet browsing?” If Samsung won’t say, just dive into the settings, please someone.

At the moment, all I can find is something that Qualcom leaked last year. At WITA, they said that Samsung would be producing a MID that would be based on ARM v7. I covered it in this article and I really hope it’s true because ’10 times the processing power of a Nokia N810′ would put this in a very special place on my wishlist.

There are a couple of new videos of the Mondi on YouTube this morning. I’ve linked them in at the bottom of the product page.

Texas Instruments enhances OMAP 3 platform for 2010 Mobile Devices

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multimediagirl While it’s very exciting to be thinking about OMAP 4 and Sparrow, they are a long, long way away from being a reality in a device. More interesting today are the Cortex A8-based products. Texas Instruments have the OMAP3 platform which includes a Cortex A8 core and you can find it in a number of leading-edge computing products like Open Pandora, the BeagleBoard and, when it launches, the Palm Pre. As these and other OMAP34xx devices reach the market, Ti will be feeding in a new range of OMAP3 platforms known as the OMAP36xx series. The platform doesn’t change much in terms of building blocks but there are important incremental improvements all round. The platforms will be available for sampling in Q3 2009 which probably means 2010 production and products.

Most important are the improvements brought by moving to a 45nm process (as the Intel Atom uses) which are said to improve efficiency by up to 25%.  An extra 30 minutes mobile browsing time here and there is never a bad thing! Key features reported on the press release are shown below.

  • 45 nm CMOS process technology delivers higher performance with lower power consumption versus the OMAP34x family, including an approximately 25% reduction in power and 75% improvement in graphics performance.
  • Robust multi-tasking platform that supports running multiple applications in parallel by simultaneously exercising the CPU, multimedia performance and 2D/3D graphics engines.
  • Dedicated 2D/3D graphics hardware accelerator, enabling more immersive user interfaces and compelling graphics for applications like realistic 3D gaming.
  • Smart pixel technology via OpenGL ES 2.0 delivers stunning imaging capabilities through advanced reflection effects and life-like facial features.
  • Supports multi-standard 720p HD functionality for HD video recording and playback.
  • Integrated image signal processor (ISP) supporting up to 12 megapixel (MP) imaging for enhanced photographic image quality and fast shot-to-shot camera performance.
  • Pre-integrated support for mobile connectivity, including TI’s current and future combo WiLinkTM Wi-Fi solutions, NaviLinkTM GPS solutions, and BlueLinkTM Bluetooth(r) solutions.

More details on the Ti product pages