Now that is an unholy alliance; Intel, Apple and Qualcomm go after Samsung

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 12:14 PM |
Tagged: apple, Samsung, Intel, qualcomm

Apple is getting some help in its legal quest to force Samsung out of the mobile phone business, even though Samsung is one of their major suppliers.  Both Intel and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through Samsung's source code and are offering more potential infringements for Apple to use in their case.  Qualcomm helped develop the 3G standard and so possess quite a bit of intellectual property that pertains to the use of 3G, while Intel owns an immense amount of telecom and chip patents which Samsung may have infringed upon.  The Register speculates on just why Qualcomm and Intel would offer their legal teams to Apple, as well as pointing out the obvious irony of Apple attacking its memory and screen manufacturer.

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"CHIP VENDORS Intel and Qualcomm have agreed to help Apple in a lawsuit against Samsung by providing source code, according to one of Apple's lawyers.

Apple's seemingly never ending battle with Samsung over smartphone patents will get helping hands from Intel and Qualcomm as the firms hand over source code to support Apple's case. According to Andrew Fox, Apple's lawyer, Intel's and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through the source code and agreed to provide it to Apple."

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Source: The Register

Qualcomm Shipped Most Smartphone and Tablet GPUs in 2011

Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2012 - 06:31 AM |
Tagged: ti, qualcomm, nvidia, mobile gpu, jpr, apple

The researchers over at Jon Peddie Research pushed out their results yesterday for shipments of mobile GPUs in SoC (system on a chip) platforms, and they found some interesting results. The article covers the number of shipments by the major players in the mobile device GPU space and uses those numbers to estimate the amount of market share each of the companies has using an average of all the four quarter shipment numbers. Further, they found that from Q1 2011 to Q4 2011, the number of mobile device GPUs shipped by all manufacturers had a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 18%. That's a fairly impressive growth rate that shows the smartphone and tablet hardware market is continuing to steadily grow.

In terms of market share, at the end of 2011 Qualcomm was leading the pack with 31.4%, and the only other manufacturer to come close to that number was Apple with 22.7%. The little Adreno GPU by Qualcomm was obviously a popular choice last year!

To make things even more interesting, they note that although Qualcomm has the highest shipment rates, it was Samsung who enjoyed the highest CAGR with a 39% growth rate (bringing them up from 9.2% in Q1 to 14.9% in Q4). Apple then followed behind Samsung's numbers with 26% CAGR. Finally, Qualcomm had the lowest percentage growth rate but maintained the highest number of shipments.

The table below shows off the relative market share for the major SoC mobile device manufacturers, as provided by Jon Peddie Research.

Market Share Q1'11 Q2'11 Q3'11 Q4'11 2011
Apple 22.2% 21.4% 18.7% 27.1% 22.7%
NVIDIA 2.8% 3.6% 4.1% 1.7% 3.0%
Qualcomm 31.6% 32.6% 31.6% 30.2% 31.4%
Samsung 9.2% 13.9% 15.9% 14.9% 13.8%
TI 20.6% 16.2% 15.9% 16.2% 17.0%
Others 13.4% 12.2% 13.8% 9.9% 12.1%

 

They further state that the mobile GPU war is really heating up, especially between Samsung, Apple, and Qualcomm, and I tend to agree. This area of the technology market is seeing some very impressive growth and is really booming as mobile GPU SoCs are continuously released and they are getting more powerful each iteration. It is an area that has a lot of competition and is growing rapidly, much like desktop computers did 10 to 20 years ago when personal computers really started to be affordable and powerful enough to take over the world (well, market share wise).

Another interesting point about the marketshare results in that of NVIDIA's shipments.  With all the marketing behind the Tegra SoC and its popularity in high end smartphones and tablets, I was under the impression that they had a lot more marketshare than they do such that when I first saw the JPR chart, I did a double take and had to be sure I read them correctly!  It will be interesting to see how they do this year and whether they will start to see increased growth.

It will be interesting to see if Samsung can catch up to Qualcomm and whether or nor Qualcomm will still be the heavyweight champion by 2012. Nvidia is still just breaking into this market but they have a very powerful GPU, so it will be interesting to see just how much they manage to grow this year. What are your thoughts on these numbers? How do you think things will unfold this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Qualcomm Licensing PowerVR Display Intellectual Property Technology

Subject: Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: tegra, SoC, qualcomm, PowerVR, mobile, Android, adreno

Quite a few mobile device manufacturers are implementing graphics processors and image processors based on Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR technology. Popular licensees of Imagination Technologies PowerVR core patents include Intel, LG, Samsung, Sony, and Texas Instruments (a big one in regards to number of SoCs using PowerVR techs for mobile phones).

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Interestingly, Qualcomm is not currently licensing the graphics processor portfolio that man other mobile OEMs license. Rather, Qualcomm is licensing the PowerVR display patents. The intellectual property features the PowerVR de-interlacing cores and de-judder purposed FRC (Frame Rate Conversion) core. The de-interlacing core(s) can do either “motion adaptive (MA) or motion compensated (MC) de-interlacing” as well as a few other algorithms to deliver smooth graphics. Further, the FRC cores take 24 FPS (frames per second) source material and outputs it as either 120 Hz or 240 Hz while applying image processing to keep the video looking smooth to the eye. The method for grabbing and extrapolating “extra” frames to take a 24 FPS video and display it on an LCD screen that refreshes at 120 Hz by displaying each one of those 24 frames five times every second involves a bit of math and algorithmic magic; a simplistic explanation can be read here.

It will be interesting to see how Qualcomm applies the image processing technology to their future SoCs (system on a chip) to entice manufacturers into going with them instead of competition like Texas Instruments or Nvidia’s Tegra chips. The Verge speculates that this Qualcomm and Imagination Technologies deal may be just the first step towards Qualcomm licensing more PowerVR tech (possibly) including the GPU portfolio. Whether Qualcomm will ditch their Adreno GPUs remains to be seen. If I had to guess, the SoC maker will invest in more PowerVR IP, but they will not completely abandon their Adreno graphics. Rather, they will continue developing next generation Adreno graphics for use in their SoCs while also integrating the useful and superior aspects of PowerVR graphics and display technologies. Another option may be to develop and sell both platforms (possibly with one being high end competition to Tegra and the other being for the rest of phones as competition to other low end, low power chips) to hedge their bets into the future of mobile SoCs which is a rapidly advancing industry where change and what is considered the top tech happens quickly.

Source: The Verge

Remember the Phoenix BIOS screen?

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2011 - 09:18 AM |
Tagged: bios, phoenix, win8, qualcomm, texas instruments, windows on arm, WOA

American Megatrends Inc., aka AMI, pretty much rules the world of the PC BIOS after virtually booting Phoenix and Award from the market.  A recent post on DigiTimes shows that Phoenix is planning on making a splash with the arrival of Windows 8.  It is not just the PC market that Phoenix intends to rise again in; they are working with ARM to develop a BIOS for Windows on ARM as well as talking with Qualcomm and Texas Instruments about designing BIOS for their devices.  Could it be that they will indeed fire up a new age of competition in the BIOS market?

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"BIOS player Phoenix Technologies has recently announced its latest Phoenix SCT 2.2 solution to assist its PC partners to develop systems based on Windows 8, according to the company.

Currently, American Megatrends (AMI) is dominating in the desktop BIOS market, with Insyde Software and Phoenix accounting for 55% and 45% of the notebook BIOS market, respectively.

President of Phoenix Greater China, Kelly Wu pointed out that the company's new solution has more than 60 new functions to support Windows 8 and is optimized for system performance, security, connectivity, mobility and user experience."

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Source: DigiTimes

Qualcomm Commits To Gaming Market With Software and SoCs

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 3, 2011 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm, PC, mobile, gaming, console

Mobile gaming has seen a relatively sharp rise in popularity in recent years thanks to the rise of powerful smartphones and personal media players like the iPod Touch and its accompanying App Store.  Mobile networks, powerful System On A Chips (SoC) that are capable of 3D graphics, lighting, and physics, and a large catalog of easy to download and play games have created an environment where people actually want to play games on their mobile devices.  Many people now indulge themselves in quick Angry Birds sessions while in long lines, on work breaks, or wherever they have time when out and about.  

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One area where mobile devices have not caught on; however, is at home.  Mobile devices face stiff competition from game consoles and the PC.  That competition has not stopped numerous manufacturers from trying to implement an all-in-one mobile console that was portable and easy to plug into a larger display when at home.  Everything from cheap controllers with logic inside that allows them to play old arcade games to smart phones with HDMI outputs costing hundreds of dollars have passed through the hands of consumers; however, the mobile console has yet to overcome the sheer mind share of consumers who prefer dedicated game consoles and their PCs.

According to Anandtech, Qualcomm, a popular manufacturer of ARM SoC for smart phones has announced its plans to pursue that vision of an integrated, mobile console.  They claim that the increased power provided by next generation SoC technology will allow tablets and smartphones to deliver graphics that are better than those of current dedicated game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360.  Due to Sony and Microsoft wanting to extend the lives of consoles well into the future, mobile technology may well surpass it.  The company "is committed to delivering both the hardware and the software support needed to bring developers to these mobile platforms," according to Anandtech.

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Qualcomm wants to bring portable consoles to the masses powered by their SoCs and backed by their software.  The tablets and smartphones would be able to connect to displays using HDMI or wireless technology in addition to supporting controllers (or acting as a controller itself).  Further, the games library will be the culmination of software from all platforms and will rival the graphical prowess of the current consoles.  Qualcomm hopes that a large library and capable hardware will be enough to entice consumers to the idea of a portable console becoming their all-in-one gaming device.

Portable consoles are similar to tablets and 3D television in that there is a major push for it every few years, a few devices come out, and then it dies off to be reborn again a few years later.  Whether Qualcomm is able to pull off the plans for a portable console remains to be seen; however, the device is bound to catch on at some point.  At the very least, this is certainly not the last time we will hear about the portable console.  You can see more of Qualcomms plans here.

What do you believe is holding back the portable console from catching on with consumers?  Is it a good idea in the first place?

Source: Anandtech
Author:
Subject: Editorial, Mobile
Manufacturer: Qualcomm

Meet Vellamo

With Google reporting daily Android device activations upward of 550,000 devices a day, the rapid growth and ubiqutity of the platform cannot be denied. As the platform has grown, we here at PC Perspective have constantly kept our eye out for ways to assess and compare the performance of different devices running the same mobile operating systems. In the past we have done performance testing with applications such as Quadrant and Linpack, and GPU testing with NenaMark and Qualcomm's NeoCore product.

Today we are taking a look at a new mobile benchmark from Qualcomm, named Vellamo. Qualcomm has seen the need for an agnostic browser benchmark on Android, and so came Vellamo. A video introduction from Qualcomm's Director of Product Management, Sy Choudhury, is below.

 

With the default configuration, Vellamo performs a battery of 14 tests. These tests are catagorized into Rendering, Javascript, User Experience, Networking, and Advanced. 

For more on this benchmark and our results from 10 different Android-power devices, keep reading!