We have known for awhile now that Samsung was working on a dual-core processor named Orion (which is based on ARM’s Cortex-A9 design), but the GPU remained a mystery until recently. Samsung chose the PowerVR SGX540 GPU from Imagination Technology for their Hummingbird processor (found in the Galaxy S lineup), but they will be using ARM’s new Mali-400 GPU for the upcoming Orion.
The Mali GPU was first introduced way back in June 2008 by Falanx, a Norwegian graphics IP company, and was later acquired by ARM. I’m having a hard time finding many design wins for the Mali-400 GPU, but that should be a different story now that Samsung has licensed it.
Notable features of the Mali-400 GPU include 4 cores (or “fragment processors”), 1080p video decode/encode, and fives times the 3D graphics performance of previous Samsung processors. We don’t know how it will stack up with other mobile GPUs, but the 5x graphics performance is the same phrase being used to describe NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor.
Some sites have begun to speculate that the Orion processor will appear in a future Samsung tablet, but we have no confirmation of that right now. NVIDIA has already named Samsung as one of their biggest customers and it is rumored that the Tegra 2 will power Samsung’s first Honeycomb tablet.
To catch a quick glimpse of Android running on the Orion processor, check out this video from ARMdevices.