From year to year, portable devices become more powerful and get more features. original aluminum iPhone and its plastic counterpart iPhone3G flaunted a 412 MHz Samsung processor based on an old core ARM11 (the real frequency of the chip is 620 MHz, but for the sake of saving the battery it was reduced). iPhone 3GS offered a qualitatively new and much more productive chip based on ARM Cortex-A8 – in comparison with its predecessors, it simply “flyed”. iPhone 4 received a proprietary chip Apple A4, with a Cortex-A8 central processor similar in architecture, but with an increased frequency, a new graphics core, and optimized SoC system blocks. In terms of overall speed, it is roughly comparable to the 3GS, but four times as many pixels are processed due to the increased display resolution. In addition, the device can easily cope with HD-video (720p). What awaits us tomorrow? As practice has shown, the hardware platform develops in approximately the same way for all players in the mobile market, because the basic components used are almost identical. Only the design of SoC systems differs, which can give an increase in performance compared to competitors, but not too much. Thus, one hardware platform can be used to judge others that will appear in the future. In particular, the new SoC system was presented by Texas Instruments (TI).
Her latest development, called OMAP 4440, will give a rough idea of what kind of filling tablets will get in the second half of 2011. It was for that period that the mass production of the SoC system was scheduled. Similar components will obviously be present in the future Apple A4 chip (or A5?). In particular, the novelty has acquired a dual-core processor ARM Cortex-A9 up to 1.5 GHz, which is complemented by a dual-core coprocessor Cortex-M3. The latter is used to improve the operation of the multitasking mode, performing tasks in real time. The increased frequency and co-processor provide a performance boost of up to one and a half times compared to modern SoC systems – and this is only in general tasks where the central processor is involved. graphics accelerator PowerVR SGX540 is also faster than the most powerful modern solutions by about a quarter.
Where can all this power be applied? Primarily in entertainment tasks: games, video playback. Don’t forget about web surfing. OMAP 4440 renders web pages 30% faster than modern solutions, the same Apple A4, for example. As for games, Infinity Blade is already squeezing all the juice out of modern iGadgets. An increase in the speed of the hardware core will not hurt future game projects.
Motorola MotoPad tablet may well contain an OMAP 4430 chip inside
With video, the OMAP 4440 is generally interesting. Its capacity is sufficient to reproduce simultaneously two video streams in 1080p resolutionor one, but already in 3D mode. This, of course, is cool, but it is not entirely clear why a portable device needs such an opportunity? Content in 720p resolution is still all right. The size / quality ratio is quite suitable for handheld devices. But a higher resolution also implies a significantly larger file size, and 3D is out of the question. There will simply be nowhere to squeeze them in, there is too little flash memory built into compact gadgets for such content. But if, nevertheless, FullHD video is recorded in the device’s memory, then there will be no problems with its output to an external screen. The new TI chip supports HDMI 1.4 interface and can even broadcast a stereoscopic picture. By the way, useful quality for the future Apple TV.
One of the main customers of TI is Motorola and its MotoPad tablet can clearly contain the younger brother OMAP 4440, known as OMAP 4430. Mass deliveries of this chip will begin early next year, and it offers almost everything the same, but the frequency is limited to 1 GHz. Because of this, the SoC-system is not capable of playing FullHD video in 3D, but 720p in stereoscopic mode is quite pulling, and 1080p in normal 2D. The RIM PlayBook tablet also easily copes with video in FullHD resolution, which means that it carries something similar, or an alternative in the face NVIDIA Tegra 2. In any case, it is based on the same ARM Cortex-A9 processor.
RIM PlayBook ready to compete with iPad 2
That is, we see parity, and it is not difficult to assume that Apple will apply similar basic schemes in iPad 2: it will change the core from Cortex-A8 to Cortex-A9, install a more efficient video accelerator and increase the amount of RAM (I hope that up to 1 GB ). This will not hit the autonomy of the tablet much, after all, new processors are manufactured using a thinner process technology and consume less energy at a load similar to that of their predecessors, but they will significantly increase performance and, judging by the active development of iOS as a gaming platform, it will not be superfluous. Let’s not forget about other possible innovations in the iPad 2, like a gyroscope, a couple of cameras, and we are starting to slowly save up money for a new product, which, theoretically, should hit the market in three months.
From year to year, portable devices become more powerful and get more features. The original aluminum iPhone and its plastic counterpart the iPhone 3G sported a 412 MHz Samsung processor based on the old ARM11 core (the actual chip frequency is 620 MHz, but it was lowered to save battery power). iPhone 3GS offered a qualitatively new and much more efficient chip based on…
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