Marvell Launches High-End Smartphone Processor – Reviews by PC Magazine
“Marvell’s gigahertz-class ARMADA 618 application processor enables next generation smartphones to take a dramatic leap forward into high-end multimedia capabilities incorporating the key pillars of differentiation: gigahertz CPU, 1080p full-HD video, 3D graphics, fastest LP-DDR, and optimized power for longer battery life,” Marvell co-founder Weili Dai said in a press release.
Vivek Chhabra, the head of Marvell’s mobile and cellular business unit, described the 618 as a “high end processor for smartphones,” as opposed to the 610, which at the Consumer Electronics Show seemed to be targeted to a broader market, including e-readers and tablets.
The Armada 618 has an integrated SSD controller and integrated HDMI output, both relatively uncommon features on phones. Chhabra said that SSDs would start appearing in mobile devices soon.
“A few years ago, people said nobody wants to use 12-megapixel camera. The prices of these things come down fast,” Chhabra said.
The 618 can be integrated with 802.11n Wi-Fi support, another feature that will soon become more common in smartphones, Chhabra said.
Like the Snapdragon (which is inside the HTC HD2 and Google Nexus One smartphones) and the TI OMAP3 (inside the Palm Pre, Motorola Droid and Apple iPhone 3GS), the Armada 618 uses the ARMv7 instruction set. Like the Snapdragon, the Armada isn’t a standard ARM Cortex-A8 processor; like Qualcomm, Marvell has a license from ARM which lets them develop their own chip designs that are still compatible with the same code.
The Armada 618’s graphics core is “far better” than the Imagination PowerVR SGX 535 that most analysts say is used in the iPhone 3GS, Chhabra said.
Marvell’s XScale processors once played a major role in the handheld market, but in recent years Samsung, Qualcomm, and TI have all had much more prominence in smartphones.
The new chips are available to manufacturers now, and mobile phone companies have already started integrating them into new products, Chhabra said. Marvell will be demonstrating reference designs for the new chips at MWC next week. We’ll be there.