Chip updates: New processors for tablets, phones on the way

It’s a busy period for chip makers. Qualcomm, Broadcom, Samsung, and Rockchip are all working on new processors designed for smartphones, tablets, and other low power devices.

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the chip news that’s been making the rounds over the past 24 hours or so.

Samsung Exynos 5250

Samsung Exynos 5250

Samsung Exynos 5440 quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 chip

Our first entry in today’s roundup falls somewhere between a rumor and a leak. Samsung was the first company to produce a dual-core processor based on an ARM Cortex-A15 design. Now it looks like Samsung has a quad-core version in the works.

SammyHub noticed that Samsung’s Kernel Git page mentions a new Exynos 5440 chip. There aren’t really any other details, but the number suggests it’s an upgrade from the Samsung Exynos 5250 dual core ARM Cortex-A15 chip.

Rockchip RK31xx 2GHz multi-core processor

Chinese chip maker Rockhip is sampling its next-generation processor, a 28nm dual-core chip ARM Cortex-A9 with clock speeds up to 2 GHz. The Rockchip RK31xx chip also features ARM Mali 400 quad-core graphics.

Rockchip isn’t exactly a household name in the west, but the company’s processors power an awful lot of the cheap tablets and TV sticks we’ve seen come out of China in recent months.

While most of these devices ship with Google Android, independent developers have also made progress porting desktop Linux operating systems such as Ubuntu to run on the devices latest Rockchip processors.

Some device makers are referring to the Rockchip RK3188 as a quad-core chip, but it’s not clear if they’re counting CPU or GPU cores.

The company is also expected to launch a quad-core RK32xx processor soon. It’s unlikely we’ll see the new dual or quad-core chips show up in actual products until early 2013 at the soonest though.

Qualcomm updates its Snapdragon S4 lineup with two new chips

Chip maker Qualcomm’s S4 processors are some of the fastest ARM-based CPUs on the market today, powering devices such as Google Nexus 4 smartphone and the US variant of the HTC One X.

Now Qualcomm plans to expand the line with two new chips, the MSM8226 and MSM8626. Both are 28nm chips with support for 13 mexapixel cameras, 1080p HD video playback, and a range of Chinese wireless standards.

That’s because both chips are designed to be used in the Chinese market, so if you’re reading this in the West, you probably won’t buy a device with either of the new processors anytime soon.

Broadcom introduces BCM21664T system-on-a-chip

Braodcom’s latest chip is aimed at the budget crowd. It’s a dual-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor with support for WiFi, Bluetooth, HSPA+, GPS, and NFC.

It’s designed for entry-level phones, but it supports 720p video encoding and 1080p decoding and Broadcom says it’s optimized for Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Allwinner A31 quad-core CPU

Allwinner’s inexpensive A10 ARM Cortex-A8 single-core processor has proven popular with makers of inexpensive Android tablets, mini PCs, and other devices. It’s also proven popular with hobbyists because it’s pretty simple to get Linux up and running on an A10-powered device.

Now Allwinner appears to be working on its a new quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor called the Allwinner A31 which should offer better performance… although it remains to be seen whether the new chip will be quite as Linux-friendly as its predecessor.

Update: Allwinner A31 specs are now available from the company website.

thanks to Wondrous Wall for the tip on the Allwinner chip!