Google (GOOG) is rumored to be readying the second-generation version of its 7-inch Nexus tablet that will debut later this year. Earlier reports claimed the next-gen Nexus 7 will be equipped with a 1080p full HD display and a quad-core Qualcomm (QCOM) Snapdragon processor. According to Digitimes, Google and ASUS (2357) decided to ditch NVIDIA (NVDA), which supplied Tegra 3 processors for the original Nexus 7, because of Qualcomm’s tight integration with 4G LTE radios. NVIDIA recently announced the quad-core Tegra 4i processor with an integrated LTE chip, however the company may be unable to meet Google’s launch schedule for the second-generation Nexus 7, which is rumored to be set for a debut at the annual I/O Developers Conference in May. Losing Google as a customer will be hard on NVIDIA, which could now see 2013 processor shipments drop by as many as eight million units.
A variety of benchmark test results last month revealed that NVIDIA’s (NVDA) next-generation mobile processor will be hard to beat. The Tegra 4 processor displayed vast improvements over older Tegra 3 models and in some cases resulted in scores that nearly quadrupled the performance of older devices. According to a new report, NVIDIA’s latest processor is even faster than Qualcomm’s (QCOM) flagship Snapdragon 800 CPU. More →
So how will Apple (AAPL) release a cheaper version of its iPhone while still maintaining the desirability and high margins of its standard model? Forbes points us to some analysis from research firm Detwiler Fenton that suggests Apple could look outside its own hardware to build a lower-cost smartphone. More specifically, the firm believes Apple could use “a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon” processor from Qualcomm (QCOM) that would deliver inferior computing and graphics capabilities than standard iPhones that use Apple’s in-house A6 processor. The reason for this, Detwiler Fenton writes, is that Apple “would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product.”
Last night, Qualcomm (QCOM) reported a strong quarter and revised its year 2012 estimates for 3G/4G device volumes in different geographic regions. The big bombshell was the downward revision in North American 3G device volume growth, though — Qualcomm estimates that it will be just 4% in 2012, less than half of the previous growth rate projection. More →
Texas Instruments (TXN) on Tuesday revealed plans to shift its focus away from its mobile processor business and target broader markets such as industrial clients in the car industry, Reuters reported. The company sees its processor growth slowing, although it is still profitable, and is looking to expand in order to maintain growth. In recent years, Texas Instruments has lost ground in the wireless industry to rivals Qualcomm (QCOM) and NVIDIA (NVDA), both of which also produce mobile processors. The company will continue to support its customers, however it will not invest in supporting future roadmaps to the same degree as before. More →
Qualcomm on Tuesday announced the Snapdragon software development kit for Android during the Uplinq Developers Conference. The SDK will allow mobile developers to access next-generation technology such as blink and smile detection, burst camera mode, surround sound recording, sensor gestures and indoor locations, to enhance their applications on devices equipped with a Snapdragon S4 processor. “The most powerful applications in mobile are those that are tightly integrated with the underlying hardware,” said Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and the company’s senior vice president for software strategy. “Qualcomm is always striving to enable developers and device makers to differentiate their offerings via the unique capabilities found in its industry-leading Snapdragon mobile processors. With the Snapdragon SDK for Android, developers and manufactures can now more easily utilize these features as they work to set their products apart in a crowded ecosystem.” Qualcomm’s press release follows below. More →
It’s still a bit early to get excited about the next generation of LTE, called “LTE-Advanced,” that carriers are planning to roll out in a couple of years at the earliest. But Dish Network wants to make sure it’s keeping up with the competition, which is why it has already locked in a deal with Qualcomm to develop LTE-Advanced chipsets for future devices, reports FierceWireless. Dish has a 40MHz chunk of satellite spectrum on the 2GHz band that it’s itching to use for terrestrial LTE-Advanced services if the Federal Communications Commission gives it permission to do so later this year. For the uninitiated, LTE-Advanced will represent a major upgrade over current LTE technologies, as the International Telecommunications Union has said that LTE-Advanced will deliver average download speeds up to 100Mbps (which, coincidentally, was its original requirement for a service to be defined as “4G” before the group caved to pressure from carriers and withdrew its position). More →
Qualcomm on Tuesday revealed that it is expanding beyond mobile devices with new variants of its Snapdragon S4 processor. The company announced chips that will power HDTVs and set-top boxes, as well as PCs and various Windows 8 devices. The upcoming processors will be available in four different tiers: Prime, Pro, Plus and Play. The Snapdragon S4 Prime chip features a 1.5GHz quad-core CPU with Adreno 320 graphics and will power smart TVs, while the S4 Pro processors will power the next-generation of Windows RT tablets and laptops. The Snapdragon S4 Plus is designed for the high-end smartphone market and the S4 Play will focus on the entry level smartphone market, featuring dual-core CPUs clocked to 1.2GHz and Adreno 203 graphics. Read on for Qualcomm’s announcement. More →
Intel in 2011 achieved its highest annual market share in more than 10 years, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. The chipmaker’s market share increased 2.5 points to 15.6% from 13.1% in 2010. In the same year, the company’s revenue jumped 20.6%, outpacing nearly every other semiconductor supplier in the top-20 with the exception of Qualcomm. The jump represents the highest share Intel has attained since 2001, when the company reached a 14.9% market share. “Intel in 2011 captured the headlines with its major surge in growth,” said Dale Ford, head of electronics and semiconductor research for IHS. “The company’s rise was spurred by soaring demand for its PC-oriented microprocessors, and for its NAND flash memory used in consumer and wireless products. Intel’s revenue also was boosted by its acquisition of Infineon’s wireless business unit. The company’s strong rise helped it to stave off the rising challenge mounted by No. 2 semiconductor supplier Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which had been whittling away at Intel’s lead in recent years.” More →
Well-known gadget repair company iFixit made its way to Australia on Thursday in order to be among the first to procure a new Apple iPad. Following a midnight launch at one Australian retailer, iFixit has managed to obtain the highly sought-after tablet and is already in the process of performing one of its famous teardowns. Gadget fans and investors alike will be watching closely as the firm reveals the manufacturers behind many of the key components found within the new tablet, and we’ll update this post as details emerge.
UPDATE: iFixit believes that the LCD panel in the iPad it is currently disassembling was manufactured by Samsung. Earlier reports stated that Samsung is the sole manufacturer of Apple’s new 9.7-inch Retina Displays, while a subsequent report claimed LG Display is also supplying panels for the new iPad. IFixit also states that the new iPad includes a 11,560 mAh battery. More →
Nokia and Microsoft plan to continue their mobile partnership by entering into the tablet race, DigiTimes reported on Monday. According to the publication, Nokia will release a 10-inch Windows 8-powered tablet with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chip in the fourth quarter of 2012. “Nokia is expected to outsource production of the 10-inch tablets to Compal Electronics with the first batch of shipments to top 200,000 units,” noted the site’s sources. A Nokia spokesperson previously denied the Finnish vendor’s intentions to enter the tablet market. “We haven’t announced any plans anywhere in the world at this point regarding a potential tablet strategy,” the company representative said. More →
Microsoft is testing a Windows Phone 8 handset with a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset for Sprint’s network, The Verge reported on Wednesday. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor has posted impressive performance when powering Android devices, beating out Samsung’s Galaxy S II (Exynos) and Motorola’s Droid 4 (TI OMAP) by a wide margin in many tests. Microsoft hopes the chip will bring similar performance to the Windows Phone platform. Sprint has reportedly shared its LTE specifications with Nokia and may not introduce any further Windows Phone devices until Windows Phone 8 is launched later this year, The Verge claims. More →
During NVIDIA’s earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told investors that quad-core Tegra 3 smartphones would ship this quarter. “This quarter we are expecting to ship Tegra 3 based superphones,” Huang said. “At Mobile World Congress is when we expect to announce these devices, and we expect to announce and ship them this quarter.” The company also announced that its 3G/4G LTE system on a chip will be coming to devices sometime this year. The current generation of LTE phones and tablets use radio chips that are separate from the processor, however numerous companies are looking to integrate LTE into a single chipset. “We will have shipping modems this year, hopefully sooner than later,” Huang said. NVIDIA looks to compete with Qualcomm, which plans to soon release an integrated 4G LTE Snapdragon chipset. More →