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Qualcomm prepares for the 28nm era

by Scott Bicheno on 12 August 2011, 17:25

Tags: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)

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We're on the verge of the most competitive phase of the mobile chip market yet. NVIDIA just announced strong growth from its Tegra division, and is set to launch the first quad-core mobile SoC - codenamed Kal-El - sometime soon.

Meanwhile TI is an early adopter of ARM's next-gen, 28nm Cortex A15 core and is rumoured to be the supplier of the chip for the reference handset for the next version of Android - Ice Cream Sandwich - and the likes of Apple and Samsung continue to develop very competitive SoCs of their own.

The market leader remains Qualcomm, but with all this healthy competition it can't afford to rest on its laurels for one second. To get an indication of the current state of play I spoke to product management VP at QCT - the division of Qualcomm that makes the Snapdragon SoC - Raj Talluri.

"We're so excited about the MSM8960 - dual Krait CPUs and integrated LTE. The power/performance of the chip is phenomenal," said Talluri. He was referring to the first of the next generation of Snapdragons, which has been talked-up for some time, and will feature several firsts.

Krait is the successor to the Scorpion CPU core that has featured in every Snapdragon before it and, as Talluri said, they promise more processing performance at lower power draws. In addition the MSM8960 will be the first Snapdragon to be manufactured on the 28nm process, which does much to contribute these power/performance gains.

Talluri also confirmed the GPU in the MSM8960 will be called the Adreno 225, rather than 220 as had previously been announced, but that we're still looking at around eight times the performance of the Adreno 200.