NVIDIA will ship the world’s first mobile quad-core processor (Kal-El), but Qualcomm is on track to be the first to market with a mobile 28nm processor. Delivering up to twice the density of previous manufacturing nodes, 28nm technology allows chips to do far more with less power.
Qualcomm just announced that their next generation of Snapdragon processors will sample in June and should be available by the end of the year. These latest processors feature Qualcomm’s new Krait CPU architecture, which replaces the aging Scorpion core found in the first couple generations of Snapdragons.
Krait promises to offer speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core and deliver 150 percent higher overall performance, as well as 65 percent lower power than currently available ARM-based CPU cores. It will be available in three different models: a single-core MSM8930, dual-core MSM8960, and quad-core APQ8064.
First up is the MSM8960, which samples next month and could show up in an HTC device by Christmas. The MSM8960 features dual asynchronous CPU cores which can be independently controlled for maximum efficiency, dual-channel LP DDR memory, and an integrated multi-mode 3G/LTE modem. This next gen Snapdragon will also feature the latest Adreno 225 GPU, which delivers eight times the performance of the original Adreno.
Further down the road, the single-core MSM8930 and quad-core APQ8064 will start sampling in early 2012. We might not see these in devices for another year, but gaming fans should keep an eye on the APQ8064 since it features the new Adreno 320 quad-core GPU (that’s 15x the performance of the Adreno 200 found in the HTC EVO and Nexus One).
How does this affect me?
What’s really interesting to me is how this new 28nm Snapdragon could influence Google’s next Nexus phone powered by Ice Cream Sandwich.
Most of us assumed that the upcoming Nexus 3 (or is it the Nexus Prime?) will feature NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor since it would be the fastest thing available, but the Snapdragon MSM8960 might have a fighting chance if Qualcomm can deliver it by Christmas.
I have nothing to back this up, but it could be the source of the recent rumors which suggest Google is looking at either LG (Tegra 3) or HTC (MSM8960) to build their next flagship device.
If you were Google, which processor would you choose? The quad-core Tegra 3 which could be faster or the 28nm Snapdragon which could offer much better battery life?
Update: After speaking with a representative from Qualcomm we learned that the first Krait CPU will be available to OEMs in Q4, but don’t expect any actual devices in stores until 1H 2012.