OTTAWA -- IBM, Toshiba, Qualcomm and Avago won significant sockets inside Sony's latest portable gaming console, the Playstation Vita, according to a teardown by UBM TechInsights. A quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor co-developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba is at the heat of the new handheld.
Sony unveiled the Vita at the E3 Expo as the follow on to its Playstation Portable (PSP) and a direct competitor to the Nintendo 3DS, subject of a UBM TechInsights teardown earlier this year. So far, Sony and Nintendo still command the lion's share of the portable gaming market, but smartphones are on the rise as handheld gaming platforms.
To keep an edge, Sony packed into the Playstation Vita a five-inch OLED multi-touch screen supporting 16 million colors. The Vita also sports a touch-sensitive back panel that will open doors to new kinds of game play such as tracing your fingers along the back of the device to generate movements on the screen.
Playstation Vita incorporates all the bells and whistles of today’s high-end smartphones, including a GPS device and a three-axis gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass. Sony sells a version supporting both 3G and Wi-Fi as well as a Wi-Fi-only model.
From a technical perspective, the Playstation Vita is of great interest because it is among the first handheld devices to use a custom quad-core ARM processor. Sony hopes the part helps differentiate Vita from other handheld gaming consoles, as well as the gaming experience offered on tablets and high-end smartphones.
Sony turned to its Cell processor partners—IBM and Toshiba—to create the CXD5315GG, a four core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU. There was some speculation that Samsung would be the manufacturer, but Sony looks to have chosen fab partners that it had comfort working with in the past.
A die shot of the processor and a close up of the Toshiba fab marking are below. Besides helping create Vita's quad-core CPU, Toshiba also snagged design wins in providing the multichip memory package and the system memory of the device.
Qualcomm provides the MDM6200 HSPA+ GSM modem in the Vita, another major win after being designed into the Apple iPhone 4S. (Unfortunately, it looks as though Sony decided to make the Vita a GSM-only device so CDMA customers will be out of luck.) Qualcomm also scored a design win for its PM8028 power management IC, which we have seen in numerous devices this year.
Avago scored six socket wins in the Playstation Vita, a number of them on the communications board. STMicroelectronics captured two design wins, while Kionix and Marvell got one each for an accelerometer and Wi-Fi chip, respectively.
The Playstation Vita features three separate PCBs that serve different purposes. One controls the system’s analog and digital joysticks, another handles wireless communications and a main board is home to the processor, GPU and other key components. -- Allan Yogasingam is Technology Roadmap Manager of UBM TechInsights, and division of UBM LLC, the publisher of EE Times.
The Vita's quad-core ARM Cortex was co-developed by IBM, Sony, and Toshiba...
It certainly won't be HP's WebOS!
I too hope it is Android. I like the Honeycomb release and there are plenty of apps already, rapidly catching up with iPad's choices.
Regarding IBM's role in this, I too am not sure where it is... one possibility is in the wideIO memory to which IBM held some patents; the other could be the 3DIC stacked memory where IBM also held some IP.
Well, this all becomes mute if they don't sell many of these. Integrating phones with gaming systems is a good idea (IMHO) but it seems as if the gaming rage has sort of come and gone...
But then again, I'm not a 10 year old kid...
Comparing it with iPhone 4S, some names are common - Toshiba (for memory), Qcom (for Power management IC),ST Micro (for Gyro), Avago (GSM Power Amplifier). The difference is Sony opted Marvell and Apple Opted Broadcom for Wi-fi/Blutooth/FM/GPS combo-chip.
I am continually excited at the pace of higher powered processing in the mobile field (phone or game)! It looks like Sony picked from many sources to create a very powerful device. Interesting spread of companies, showing their strengths in chip offerings. Nice tear down! Thank you.
Its almost like a smartphone/tablet. but priced much lower at 299$ for the 3g version. I guess they are hoping to make money thru selling games.
IMO the market of these kind of devices will keep shrinking as smartphones get more and more powerful. Sony should have invested more time on the playstation phone than on this device.
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.