LONDON – Renesas Mobile, the mobile chip division of Renesas Electronic Corp., has developed an application processor with on-chip LTE modem that an analyst said could provide competition to market-leader Qualcomm.
The MP6530 from Renesas Mobile is a quad-core big-little processor and a FDD/TDD Class 4 LTE/DC-HSPA+/EDGE/GPRS/GSM modem on a single piece of silicon, according to Will Strauss, principal analyst at Forward Concepts (Tempe, Arizona). It is thought that this includes dual-core Cortex-A15 and dual-core Cortex-A7 processors licensed from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England).
Big-little is an approach to energy efficiency developed by ARM, that enables application software to switch between cores optimized for low power and high performance for an overall energy saving in typical use where equipment spends most of its time in standby mode.
Strauss said he discussed the MP6530 chip with Renesas executives at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, although there doesn't appear to have been any official announcement of the chip.
The MP6530 appears to be aimed at smartphone applications. It has less processing power than the big-little Exynos 5 Octa from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. – but does include the multimode modem that extends up to category 4 LTE performance, 150-Mbit per second.
Strauss said the chip also provides PowerR SGX graphics rendering, dual-channel LP-DDR memory interface, a 20-megapixel image signal processor and wireless connectivity for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM radio and GPS/GNSS. Strauss added that the MP6530 modem and application processor could provide "real competition for Qualcomm's current Snapdragon S4 product line." Qualcomm is widely thought of as the market leader in application processors for smartphones.
However, at CES Qualcomm announced it is sampling its follow-on to the S4 series, the Snapdragon 800 including quad-core Krait400 processor. At the same show Nvidia announced the five-cored Tegra 4 and ST-Ericsson the quad-core Cortex-A9 NovaThor L8580 ModAp. Both the Snapdragon and NovaThor chips have an LTE modem integrated with the application processor.
The modem of the MP6530 provides full global coverage and is already certified said Strauss and there are hardware reference designs and Android support for both smartphones and tablet computers. According to earlier reports the Renesas modem is certified by AT&T and NTT Docomo.
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