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Know your Mobile Processors [An Overview]

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Smartphone sales have hit an all time high and is growing at an increasing rate. If you are a smartphone user and a premium one at that you wouldn’t be surprised at the sheer amount of functionality that your phones have.

But have you considered what makes these smartphones truly smart?

While many are fairly aware of their processor speeds or whether they use a dual core or a single core processor, few are aware of the Processor that acts as the brains of their smartphones. This post helps you know your processor better along with the popular phones they feature in.

Qualcomm- SnapDragon

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Qualcomm has become the world leader in smartphone processors in the year 2011, beating Texas Instruments in terms of volume shipped and revenue. Qualcomm has recently risen to the top of the processor market mainly due to its high multimedia capability and by the fact that it supports multiple platforms.[1] Qualcomm SnapDragon is in fact the recommended processor for all Windows 7 smartphones. It has launched the latest version of its SnapDragon processor, the SnapDragon S4 which powers the LTE version of HTC One X.

Processor

SnapDragon processors were initially designed by Qualcomm using their own architecture, however these days SnapDragon uses the ARM architecture , which is popular among most smartphone processors. These processors have high multimedia capability and have circuitry to decode HD videos of 720p or 1080p resolutions. In fact Qualcomm has famously conducted its “One Charge” campaign which challenged users to perform multiple tasks using their SnapDragon. SnapDragon processors are best suited today to cater to not just HD video recording, but even 3D video recording, GPS Navigation and high performance graphics. It is no wonder that some of the planet’s most powerful smartphones are powered by a SnapDragon.[2]

Popular Phones

CPU Mobiles
600-800 MHz HTC Explorer
800-1000 MHz Motorola Defy XT XT535, Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, Nokia Lumia 610
1 Ghz Nokia Lumia 900, HTC Desire HD, HTC Desire S, HTC Incredible S, HTC Inspire 4G, HTC One V, HTC Radar,  Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc,  Neo, Neo V, Play, Pro, Mini,  Mini Pro,  Ray,
1.2 Ghz BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, BlackBerry Torch 9810, BlackBerry Torch 9860
1.5 Ghz HTC Titan, Htitan II, Nokia Lumia 710, Nokia Lumia 800,  Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7003), Samsung Galaxy S Plus, Samsung Galaxy W, Samsung Omnia W
1.2 GHz Dual Core Samsung Galaxy S II
1.5GHz Dual Core Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Sony Xperia S

 

Samsung- Exynos

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Samsung have become the prominent suppliers of equipment for the Apple iPhone as well as several top cellphone manufacturers. In the processor business too, Samsung has gained significant ground in the recent past and have secured the second rank in terms of processors shipped and revenue. Samsung’s home grown Exynos aka Hummingbird graces most of its Bada OS smartphones such as the Samsung Wave. Samsung also makes its high profile A5X Processors for Apple, although designs of the processors are exclusive to Apple and remain the benchmark for processor capabilities, Samsung have been equally capable in manufacturing these magnificent processors.

Processor

Samsung’s processors are fabricated by the company itself and thereby uses their own unique method which helps in significant power savings. Samsung’s Exynos processors have significantly less power consumption rates than competition, as much as 30-40% less than competition. This is a big deal if you are a heavy smartphone user or need a lot of battery life. Samsung’s own machines are testament of the computing capabilities of its processors as well. If you are buying the top line smartphone of Samsung, you probably wouldn’t have much choice anyway.

Popular Phones

CPU Mobiles
1 Ghz Samsung Galaxy S line, Samsung GT-S8500 Wave,Samsung Wave II S8530, Nexus S, Meizu M9, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Samsung Droid Charge, Exhibit 4G, Samsung Infuse
1.2Ghz  Dual Core Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, Samsumg Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Hardkernel ODROID-A, Meizu MX, Cotton Candy by FXI Tech

Note: Apple processors are only manufactured by Samsung and do not come under the Exynos brand name.

Texas Instruments- OMAP

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They were the market leaders for over a decade with some power packed processor offerings. Texas Instruments may have recently given up its throne as the leaders in processor, but still hold significant sway among smartphone manufacturers. The Texas Instrument OMAP rode on the success of Nokia’s N series smartphones and Motorola to reign supreme on the processor market. Until the rise of Android phones helped Qualcomm beat the OMAP brigade.

Processor

OMAP processors have been known for high power saving capability. The processor is extremely light on the battery and lets you use your smartphone for very long time. The OMAP processors don’t win many points on its graphic capabilities, but is extremely capable in handling HD videos. The processor is extremely quick in encoding and decoding HD video content. It is mainly for this reason that the latest Galaxy Nexus ran on Texas Instrument OMAP.[3]

Popular Phones

CPU Mobiles
600-800 MHz  Motorola Charm,Motorola Droid/Milestone, Nokia N900, Palm Pre, Samsung i8910
1 Ghz Barnes & Noble Nook Color, Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch, Lenovo IdeaPad A1
1.2 Ghz LG Optimus Black, Motorola Droid 2, Motorola Defy , Motorola Defy+, Nokia N9, Nokia N950, Palm Pre 2,
1.2 GHz Dual Core BlckBerry PlayBook, LG Optimus 3D P920, LG Optimus 3D Max,  Motorola Atrix 2, Motorola Droid Bionic, Motorola Droid RAZR, Samsung Galaxy S II (GT-I9100G),Amazon Kindle Fire,  Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet
1.5GHz Dual Core Samsung Galaxy Nexus,

Nvidia- Tegra

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Nvidia have long been making mind blowing processors for graphics for the desktop. With their Ge Force engine, Nvidia have a cult following among gamers. Their foray into smartphones and mobile devices was late, having made their entry with the Zune Music player in 2008. Nvidia has since made its mark among processors, most recently by being the first to bring a Quad Core processor to market with the HTC One X.

Processor

The most natural benefit of Nvidia Tegra is its sheer graphic processing capability. With years of experience in building excellent Graphical Processors, Nvidia manages to enthrall all users with mind blowing fast processors which can handle extremely high graphics. The processors however aren’t just for gamers. They come with exceptional multitasking capabilities, better performance in Web browsing and watching HD videos.

Popular Phones

Nvidia Processors have only just started making its way into smartphones, they are however popular among several popular tablets. The much talked about Quad core Nvidia Tegra 3 will be making waves with the HTC One X.

CPU Mobiles
1 Ghz dual core LG Optimus 2X, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Samsung Galaxy R,  Micromax Superfone A85, LG Optimus Pad,  Notion Ink Adam tablet,, Motorola Xoom,Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1,  Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, Sony Tablet S
1.4 Ghz Quad Core Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, LG Optimus 4X HD, HTC One X, ZTE Era, ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity 700 Series (WiFi-version)

Summary

The most popular processor will continue to be the Qualcomm SnapDragon, however, with the rise of new forces such as Samsung and Nvidia, the processor manufacturers are into a constant battle for supremacy. Texas Instruments may not really have much left to offer to the new generation smartphone users, but new makers such as Broadcom and Marvell have made for an interesting scenario in processors market.

So the next time you use your Samsung Galaxy Note or the latest HTC One X smartphone, you may feel happier knowing the processor which make these beauties a sheer computing beast with more processing capability than any computer in the last decade.

[References: PA, Gizmodo, ET]

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About Sitakanta Ray

Sitakanta is co-founder of web startup - MySmartPrice.com. He is an alumnus of IIM-Bangalore and has avid interests in Latest Tech & Mobile trends.

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