Among the big pile of announcements at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, these announcements stand out:
Broadcom takes one of everything. ElectronicsWeekly.com reports that Broadcom has licensed every ARM processor core from the flagship multiprocessor Cortex-A15 through the newly announced Cortex-R5 and Cortex-R7 real-time processor cores to the small Cortex-M0 processor core. This processor core product line spans all applications from low-end Bluetooth headsets to full-blown smartphones and tablets that require multicore processing bandwidth.
Texas Instruments rolled out the OMAP 5 mobile platform containing two ARM Cortex-A15 processor cores running at up to 2 GHz and two ARM Cortex-M4 processor cores for interrupt-driven, real-time task execution. TI expects to sample OMAP 5 devices in the second half of 2011.
Qualcomm introduced its next generation of Snapdragon Mobile Chipset SoCs that incorporate one, two, or four of its Krait processor cores—MSM8930, MSM8960, and APQ8064 respectively. The Krait processor cores are Qualcomm’s own implementation of the ARM v7 instruction set but the Qualcomm processors reportedly run at clock rates to 2.5 GHz using a 28nm process implementation. That’s fast.
Nvidia announced its own ARM-based quad-core mobile SoC, code-named “Kal-El” (Superman’s original name on the planet Krypton). Based on four copies of the ARM Cortex-A9 and likely to be officially introduced as the Tegra 3, the Kal-El chip runs its ARM processor cores at 1.5 GHz. It also appears that Nvidia’s Kal-El SoCs may hit the market first, with perhaps 6 to 12 months lead over the competing multicore mobile SoCs.
Which of these will win in the marketplace? There’s really only one right answer. ARM.