Also note that Samsung has also had another, pretty much mysterious chipset for over a year, the S5L8900
. It is, therefore, a year older than the S3C6410/S3C6430 (and is of about the same age as the S3C6400); this may also mean itís still using the old, 90 nm technology, not the new, 65 nm one. Itís being used in many Apple products (including the iPhone) and only one WindowsCE (NOT Windows Mobile!)-based, announced Meizu M8 miniOne
high-resolution phone. Unfortunately, itís still not out and, again, itís WindowsCE-based only, meaning NO (hacking-less) compatibility with the vast majority of Windows Mobile programs. You can find a full list of the mobile devices using the S5L8900 HERE
Interestingly, Samsungís official pages have absolutely no information on this chipset either Ė just like the case with the brand new, but, because of the lacking 3D hardware acceleration, not very interesting, ďbudgetĒ S3C6430.
Itís stated to have a lot of goodies; for example, hardware 3D acceleration (a PowerVR MBX 3D processor). See THIS
for more info, links and for some speculations on why Samsung doesnít even mention it on their homepage.
All in all, way to go Samsung
, and DO force hardware ODMís use your S3C6410 Ė NOT the old S3C6400 or the budget S3C6430! (For example, could you force E-Ten to switch to S3C6410 from the already-outdated S3C6400?)
Finally, a somewhat unrelated shot of their new, power-saving LCD technology:
Imagination Technologies's stuff (incl. PowerVR)
When discussing the S5L8900 above, Iíve already mentioned the PowerVR
3D hardware accelerator used in the top-secret, only-for-Apple S5L8900 Samsung chipset. Now, letís see what they have on offer. A LOT!
Note that the PowerVR 3D hardware graphics accelerator is used in several other chipsets; for example, the (advanced) Texas Instruments OMAP2420
chipsets used in the Nokia N93/N95/N82.
They have announced several advanced designs at MWC (see their original press release HERE
). The new chipset is about two times faster than the currently available one in, say, the above-mentioned Nokia phones. Therefore, of course, first, Iíve asked them when weíll see see their latest 3D mobile (low-power) hardware accelerator chipset to appear in mainstreams CPUís (or CPU architectures) like the above-mentioned TI OMAP 2420 chipset. There isnít any information on this.
Iíve also asked them on what they think of the Nokia N96 Iíve elaborated earlier on
and whether they think its lack of a dedicated 3D accelerator, along with the lack of 3D hardware accelerator support in Next-Gen N-Gage games, means the end of using the PowerVR hardware acceleration technology in Nokiaís highest-end entertainment / multimedia / gaming devices. They consider the N96 a niche product Ė one that is not really made for gaming fans, but more likely those of watching TV in realtime. They also explained the lack of the 3D acceleration in the N96 is deliberate: Nokia didnít want to totally cannibalize the N95 8GB (which was only released less than half a year ago) sales. And, I should add, those of the N82 Ė albeit, the latter phone also has a Xenon flash. All in all, they arenít afraid of Nokiaís completely stopping releasing 3D-accelerated devices. They have also added that, sooner or later, Next-Gen N-Gage games will also get hardware 3D acceleration support (currently, theyíre software-only, which pretty much sucks).
Turning to the question of Windows Mobile, while more and more WinMo models are receiving the more up-to-date TI OMAP chipsets, it still remains to be seen if any of these will have a chipset directly supporting 3D hardware acceleration. They didnít have any information on this.
Unfortunately, the same stands for their new, mobile H.264 hardware accelerator solution. If youíve read my H.264 Bible
, you know well enough that, currently, no Windows Mobile chipsets support accelerating H.264 playback by doing the decoding in the much more efficient hardware. (Yes, in theory, the new Marvel PXA310 and PXA320 in the iPAQ 110 / 21x Pocket PCís do Ė but whether there will be players to utilize this still remains to be seen. Hope the CorePlayer folks indeed manage implementing this.)
Note that they have also shown a 3D demo (still with their old drivers) of a non-3D hardware accelerated Nokia and on an accelerated one. The video can be found for example in THIS pocketgamer.co.uk
article. (Iíve also made a video of it, but will only make it available later, when I have some time for transcoding it into high-resolution H.264 to avoid the problems associated with the low resolution of YouTube or Google Video).
Finally, a big-big thanks to the Imagination folks. Being pretty busy at discussing the H.264 issues, Iíve left my highest-end P&S camera (the 12 Mpixel Ixus 960 costing over 530 US$ in Europe) on their booth. When I wandered backwards (still having not realized my camera is missing Ė Iíve had a ScottVest on me, fully packed with mobile phones and PDAís and, therefore, I havenít promptly noticed the missing camera), they came to me and handed my camera back. Great and sincere folks Ė again, I canít express my gratitude enough!
First and foremost, if youíre a user of a HTC-manufactured, Qualcomm-based device like the Kaiser/Tilt, your first question will surely concern the 3D and the graphics drivers. (If you arenít aware of the issue, just look around HERE
, particularly around the sticky threads) Let me elaborate on this question first.
Iíve also spoken to a device manufacturer (an ODM). Their name must remain unknown (upon their request). They have a pretty nice (albeit QVGA) device with all the necessary (wireless & connectivity) goodies and is built on the current Qualcomm MSM7200 chipset (the one that lacks the 3D / real display driver in HTCís current devices). They stated Ė XDA-Developers folks (and anyone else wanting a proper video / 3D driver for their Qualcomm devices), attention! Ė itís in no way impossible to create a 3D driver for it. Some of the framework has already been produced but they have to work on the drivers too. Weíll see the results pretty soon, if the hardware manufacturer in question indeed manages to ready the driver before their deadline Ė which will be before the XPERIA X1ís release (or the Kaiserís getting outdated). This also means that, should they manage to create a driver, the XDA-Devs hacks will have a decent source to get the already-written driver from Ė at last.
Iíve also talked to the Qualcomm folks themselves about the driver issues with HTC-manufactured devices. They didnít want (read: refused) to comment on anything (pretty much understandably).
New Qualcomm chipset?
Of course, Iíve also spoken to the Qualcomm folks on whether they have anything to announce as, right before MWC, Iíve heard of their releasing a supposedly new chipset, running at 560 MHz and having a lot of advanced features compared to their current MSM7200. The MSM7200A (notice the trailing ďAĒ) might not be the chipset in question because it ďonlyĒ runs at 528 MHz (as has been also explained HERE
). Unfortunately, the person in charge of answering questions like this wasnít present so weíll need to e-mail each other; I fill you in as soon as I receive some new info.