LONDON – Graphics IP licensor Vivante Corp. claims to be providing graphics cores for the majority of TD-SCDMA based smartphones. This would put Vivante in a leading position ahead of better known graphics core licensors Imagination Technologies Group plc and ARM Holdings plc, albeit in just a part of the Chinese mobile phone market.
TD-SCDMA is an air-interface standard being deployed for 3G communications in China as an alternative to W-CDMA. Vivante said that is now benefitting from high volume product shipments for China Mobile's TD-SCDMA network. China Mobile is the largest mobile telecom operator in China with over 638 million customers.
Vivante's success has come by way of its design wins in chips from Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Santa Clara, Calif.), particularly the PXA920 communications processor. This chip ships in China Mobile smartphones made by Asus, Huawei, Lenovo, Samsung, ZTE and others, Vivante (Sunnyvale, Calif.) said.
"It has been a great year for Vivante. We see growth from multiple directions, more products demand GPU capability, products already with GPU capabilities push for higher performance to differentiate, taking advantage of 40-nm, 28-nm technology, and more products are getting into mass productions stage," said Wei-Jin Dai, president and CEO of Vivante, in an email communication with EE Times. Dai added that Vivante GPUs shipped in over 30 million chips worldwide in 2011 deployed in smart phones, tablets, and TVs.
Imagination's shipments in the year to Oct. 31, 2011 were 230 million units. It's not known how many millions of units of Mali GPUs are shipping from ARM but the company claims to have 43 licensors, 29 SoCs designed and 10 royalty payers.
"The mass deployment of TD smartphones is a major milestone for the company, and we are very excited to be the leading GPU supplier in that segment," said Vivante's Dai in a statement.
"China's TD market represents one of largest and fastest-growing sectors of the mobile industry globally, said Ivan Lee, vice president of mobile products at Marvell Semiconductor Inc., in the same statement. Vivante entered the Silicon 60, EE Times'
list of emerging startup companies at version 12.0 in 2011. The
latest edition of the Silicon 60 is version 12.5, which is the subject
of a detailed technology and employment digital edition which can be
accessed via http://e.ubmelectronics.com/Silicon60/index.html
ok by "limited" i meant "sold mostly in" .
I am not aware of any major design wins for Freescale i.MX in consumer space like tablets or mobiles. (is there any?) Kindles and Eink readers is an exception, but then graphics performance is a non issue there. Also for automotive and embedded space, high performance graphics may not be needed.
Who said Vivante is "limited" to the Chinese market?
It just so happens that TD-SCDMA is China-only market but Vivante has other design wins.
Freescale has licensed Vivante graphics cores for use in its i.MX applications processors for consumer, automotive and embedded applications. There's no geographical limitation there (see last link under news articles above).
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.