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ST-Ericsson outs 1.85GHz ARM-based processor

ST-Ericsson set to compete with big names in the world of tablets and Smartphones.

ST-Ericsson is the latest chip making company to break into this market with the new low power, the high value processor which clocks at 1.855GHz. It is making a mark in the Smartphone world that is ruled by few companies like Qualcomm, TI, Nvidia and Samsung. So the ST-Ericsson chips will be a good alternative for the coming year’s phones and tablets.

Its latest chip NovaThor L9540 consists of two ARM Cortex-A9 processors, each of which will run at 1.85GHz and is supported by an Imagination SGX544 GPU.

According to ST-Ericsson’s senior vice president for Smartphone and tablet solutions this chip will not only be fast but it will be of low power and low cost. In these chips depleted silicon-on-insulator technology (FD-SOI) is used which can run the L9540’s two cores.

The aim of this design is to create Nvidia’s “companion core” strategy without using an extra core. While Nvidia’s Tegra 3 platform uses 4 high-powered cores and 1 low-power core but ST-Ericsson run at 400MHZ, just like a “companion core” without any extra cost and space of an extra core.

The FD-SOI technology runs more clock cycles at lower power that allows ST’s chips to run at 1GHz at 0.6 volts while others need 0.9 volts for 1GHz.

Previously ST-Ericsson was one of the major suppliers of Nokia but it was not going great in the market. So in April they decided to move its standalone processor business to its parent company ST Microelectronics which resulted in elimination 0f 1,700 jobs.

The OS platforms for the chipset are still not sure but it seems they are narrowing on Android and Tizen. But Nokia may use the company’s U8500 chipset in Windows phones.

As LTE modems are coming to an end in the market, ST-Ericsson has started its own supply chain (with IBM and Samsung) which will bring out 28nm chips. Though it might take some time for them but surely will pay off in power savings.

ST-Ericsson has denied making CDMA compatible devices. So it may prove to be a costly loss for them as major carriers like Sprint, Verizon all use CDMA.     


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Pallab Jyotee Hazarika, 2012-05-26 (Update: 2012-05-26)