BSquare has just announced the availability of a Mobile Development Platform (MDP) based on the Qualcomm dual-core MSM8660 Snapdragon system on a chip (SoC). This flavor of MSM8660 used in the MDP can run at frequencies of up to 1.5GHz. This is Qualcomm’s first dual-core chip for smartphones that we are talking about. The MDP lets developer build, and most importantly *fine-tune*, their applications well before the first commercial products will arrive to market.
Traditionally, most developers had to wait for consumer handsets to arrive before they can finally (buy some and) work with the final hardware. As you can imagine, and depending on assumptions made during the initial development phase, there can be a number of things in the application that might require changes if the estimates are not on target.
That’s particularly true for videogames where a wrong performance estimation can be very costly if major work needs to be done on the artwork for example. For that reason, many developers prefer to wait, which means that when the new smartphones hits the shelves, customers have few apps that actually utilize the new capabilities.
Now that developers can buy MDPs from BSquare, things should get a whole lot better and the direct impact for you and I, will be more -and better- apps down the road, MSM8660-powered smartphones become available.
At this point, the price of the MDP has not been made public, but I don’t think that the cost is prohibitive for a developer. If anything, this should be a big saver as it could avoid costly miscalculations based on theoretical numbers.
I’ve played shortly with a demo unit, and it was very fast by today’s smartphone standards, and the fact that it could decode 1080p video files with a bit rate superior to 15Mbps was impressive too. Today’s chips often top at 5Mbps.
Related post: SoC: The Force That Rules All Smartphones and Tablets
MSM8660 MDP specifications
- 3.61″ WVGA
- Up to 1.5Ghz (each core can run at a different frequency)
- 1GB of RAM
- Adreno 220 graphics processor (GPU) – stereo 3D capable
- 16GB of storage
- 13 Megapixel camera
- 1 Megapixel front-camera
- Stereo speakers