As we count down to a possible demo of Ice Cream Sandwich on October 11, more clues are beginning to appear about the specs of the fabled Nexus Prime. The latest tidbit comes from Samsung Semiconductor Inc., which just announced their new dual-core 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212 processor.
This latest addition to the Exynos family is built with Samsung’s advanced 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power process, which promises “30 percent lower power-level over the previous process generation.” For comparison, NVIDIA’s upcoming Kal-El is a 40nm process and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 will debut at 28nm early next year.
Faster 1.5 GHz clock speeds in the Exynos 4212 will provide a 25 percent increase in processing power. This new chip might also include a different GPU, because Samsung says it will offer “50 percent higher 3D graphics performance over the previous processor generation from Samsung.” It could be a faster version of the ARM Mali-400 GPU or a newer PowerVR GPU from Imagination Technologies.
For months we have been expecting the Nexus Prime to feature a dual-core 1.5 GHz OMAP 4460 from Texas Instruments. But that part might have been delayed, and we were left wondering which processor Google might go with.
Unfortunately, the chances of seeing this faster 1.5 GHz Exynos 4212 inside a device this year does not look good. Samsung says it will begin sampling to “select customers in Q4 2011″, which is exactly what was said of the first Exynos around this time last year. The original Exynos didn’t start shipping in devices until well into 2011, and I don’t expect we will see this 32nm Exynos until Q2 2012.
It’s fun to speculate what processor might appear in the Nexus Prime, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter that much. We know it will be dual-core and the software optimizations in Ice Cream Sandwich should make it the fastest Android experience we’ve yet seen.
Which processor will Samsung and Google surprise us with? I guess we’ll find out in the next two weeks.