Qualcomm has announced the APQ8064 chip, codenamed Krait, at Mobile World Congress. The new design is based on a quad-core processor (based on which ARM design/instructions – we don’t know) and featured a faster Adreno graphics processor (GPU), also said to have “Quad-Core”. As the notion of GPU “cores” is pretty loose from one manufacturer to the next, it doesn’t tell much, but Qualcomm says that it will be much faster than what’s on the market.
Of course, the 2.5GHz frequency will get Qualcomm a lot of press. It’s a great number and it will probably be impressive, but keep in mind that it’s “up to 2.5GHz”, so the fastest version (or “bin”) is probably for big tablets, set-top boxes or smartbooks (it does support PCIe, multiple USB and DDR3 memory – typical PC components), it’s not clear yet – that is what Qualcomm’s “next generation tablets and computing devices” expression means.
With all that progress, Qualcomm believe that it can provide console-level game quality, but we’ll have to wait and see. A lot of smartphone folks are saying that, but the Nintendo Wii is pretty much the only thing that mobiles can compete with. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are still way ahead.
It seems to me that Qualcomm will probably use that fastest 2.5GHz chip to expand into a new market segment, possibly in low-volumes. At this point, I’m ready to bet that next year’s tablets will run at 1.5GHz or less, but that is indeed a risky bet. Put your own prediction in the comment section below.
The chip won’t be available in volume before late this year, so expect to see the first products at CES 2012.