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Semiconductor News Stream

1. Samsung Puts 'Orion' Tablet Chip in 'Exynos' Family /PC Magazine

2. Qualcomm unveils new chip aimed at tablets / Reuters

3. TI shows four ARM core smartphone processor / ElectronicsWeekly.com


1. Samsung Puts 'Orion' Tablet Chip in 'Exynos' Family

Mark Hachman - PC Magazine Mark Hachman - Pc Magazine Thu Feb 10, 4:00 pm ET

Samsung Semiconductor said Thursday that the company's Orion dual-core ARM processor for tablets and smartphones will ship next month, and be part of the newly-renamed "Exynos" processor brand.

In other embedded processor news, Qualcomm revealed that the processor at the heart of the WebOS-powered HP Touchpad was the APQ8060, a previously unannounced processor.

Without head-to-head tests, comparisons between the two chips aren't directly possible. But when Samsung announced the Orion processor in September, the two processors seemed somewhat comparable in terms of feature set.

For example, Samsung described the Orion, now known as the Exynos 4210, as capable of playback and encoding of rich media. The chip includes two ARM Cortex A9 cores running at 1 GHz apiece.

"Samsung's new application processor incorporates a rich portfolio of advanced multimedia features implemented by hardware accelerators, such as video encoder/decoder that supports 30fps video playback and recording at 1080P full HD resolution," the company said. "Using an enhanced graphics processing unit (GPU), the new processors are capable of delivering 5 times the 3D graphics performance over the previous processor generation from Samsung."

Qualcomm described the APQ8060's features thus: capble of "stereoscopic 3D (S3D) entertainment, 1080p 30fps HD video capture and playback, console-quality gaming and full web browsing with Adobe Flash 10".

"The third-generation includes: two asynchronous processor cores; an integrated Adreno 220 GPU with twice the processing power of its predecessor; support for up to a 16 Megapixel camera; and can capture and display HD 1080P stereoscopic video or 8 Megapixel stereoscopic still images to an autostereoscopic panel or a 3DTV (via HDMI), allowing consumers to capture high resolution video or stills and watch them without the need for special glasses," Qualcomm added.



2. Qualcomm unveils new chip aimed at tablets

SAN FRANCISCO | Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:43pm EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Qualcomm Inc said on Thursday that its newest dual-core processor was designed to compete in the red-hot tablet market against Texas Instruments and smaller rival Nvidia, which has dominated design wins in early 2011.

Qualcomm's APQ8060 dual-core Snapdragon processor is being used in Hewlett-Packard Co's "TouchPad", which was unveiled on Wednesday.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm's Group president, said in an interview on Thursday that companies had agreed to use its processors in more 20 tablets.

He gave no further details but said, "If you look at our customer base it tends to be a blend of traditional phone manufacturers going after that market as well as traditional PC manufacturers going after that market and we have a good mix of both."

Qualcomm shares rose 1.41 percent to end at $57.

HP is betting heavily on the its TouchPad tablet, due to be released this summer, making the design win significant for Qualcomm.

Qualcomm's newest processor belongs to the Snapdragon line and it allows for high-definition and 3D video.

Nvidia, which specializes in graphics chips, has led tablet design wins so far this year with its Tegra 2. Its shares are up almost 50 percent since the end of December.

Earlier this week, Texas Instruments announced its newest mobile processor, the OMAP 5, which is also a two-core processor and will be available for tablet and phone makers to test in the second half of 2011.

All three chipmakers' mobile processors' are based on an energy efficient architecture licensed to them by Britain's ARM Holdings.

So far, manufacturers have mostly avoided Intel's mobile chip offerings, which are based on scaled down versions of PC chips and use more energy. Intel expects to launch improved versions early this year and has said it is committed to the mobile market.

On Monday, market research firm IHS iSuppli said Apple's new CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon uses a baseband chip made by Qualcomm, a major design win.



3. TI shows four ARM core smartphone processor

Richard Wilson
Wednesday 09 February 2011 16:00

Texas Instruments has announced a 28nm system-on-chip device with four ARM processors on-chip.

The latest generation OMAP 5 mobile applications processor integrates two Cortex-A15 MPCores running at 2GHz and two Cortex-M4 processors.

See: Will latest Cortex-M4 chip come from TI? 

The M4s will be used for offloading real-time processing from the Cortex-A15 cores for mobile handset control functions.

There is up to 8Gbyte of dynamic memory access and hardware virtualization support.

All this on-chip processing power will be used for video, 3D graphics, 2D graphics, display and security functions.

There is now support on-chip for S3D video in 1080p quality, gesturing (including proximity sensing), and interactive projection.  

"We continue to see high performance mobile devices, such as advanced Smartphones and tablets, requiring increased processor performance while remaining within the restricted mobile power consumption boundaries," said Mike Inglis, executive v-p and general manager of the ARM processor division. 

The chip incorporates TI’s power management, audio and video processing.