Group attack leader Qualcomm, Nvidia and Renesas join forces to develop integrated SOC

The 4G integrated mobile phone system single-chip (SoC) market has joined two more powerful players. NVIDIA and Renesas Mobile released the first integrated SoC combining quad-core application processors and long-range evolution plan (LTE) modems at this year's MWC, which will be greatly enhanced The competitiveness in the smartphone chip market strongly threatens Qualcomm's leading position.

Xu Hanzhou, a researcher at the Semiconductor Center of Tuoji Industry Research Institute, said that integrated SoCs that integrate applications and baseband chips have the advantages of high performance, low power consumption and small size, and help reduce system costs. (Phablet) is particularly important. Therefore, in addition to upgrading their application processors to four-core specifications, first-line mobile phone chip vendors have also integrated multi-frequency and multi-mode LTE communication chips at full speed, including NVIDIA, Renesas Mobile and ST-Ericsson. .

In fact, Qualcomm, MediaTek and ST-Ericsson have always regarded the integrated design of applications and baseband chips as their core competitiveness. Among them, Qualcomm has the fastest and comprehensive layout. According to Xu Hanzhou ’s analysis, Qualcomm ’s first quad-core processor to integrate the LTE Cat.4 baseband chip solution. In addition to having entered multiple Phablet supply chains, by introducing 7.1 channels, 4K & TImes; 2K display and 802.11ac networking functions It is expected to attack the market of tablets and anamorphic laptops that value multimedia playback and streaming experience. In addition, Qualcomm also uses a lower-standard quad-core integrated SoC to lay out a low-cost smart phone public board.

In order to prevent Qualcomm from occupying a large market, NVIDIA's quad-core integrated SoC--Tegra 4i, specially selects the latest and highest efficiency R4 Cortex-A9 core from ARM, and introduces a software-defined LTE modem to promote the chip Balanced development of efficiency, size and power consumption to meet all-round mobile phone design needs.

Xu Hanzhou emphasized that as the Tegra 4i upgrades the 28-nanometer (nm) high dielectric constant metal gate (HKMG) process and uses the 4 + 1 Cortex-A9 architecture of the previous generation Tegra 3, it saves a lot of design, verification and mass production The cost, which can improve the cost performance of the chip, helps NVIDIA sprint the market penetration of low-end mobile phones.

As for Renesas Mobile, it is betting on the recent design of large and small core SoCs, developing a quad-core Cortex-A15 plus A7, and integrating the LTE Cat. 4 modem integrated solution-MP6530, competing for Phablet market pie. According to Shinichi Yoshioka, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Renesas Mobile, mobile devices are increasingly demanding chip performance, driving chipmakers to invest in the development of highly integrated solutions; in response to this trend, the company has combined its own LTE technology with ARM ’s big.LITTLE design architecture, upgrade communication functions and extend the endurance of the device, in order to stimulate the purchase intention of mobile phone factories.

In addition to Renesas Mobile and NVIDIA, Marvell and Broadcom are also developing 4G integrated SoCs at full speed, which will pose a great threat to Qualcomm in the future. Xu Hanzhou pointed out that both Marvell and Broadcom already have four-core 3G integrated SoC technology, and plan to launch LTE baseband processors this year; once the new products of the two major manufacturers are successfully launched, in addition to helping to narrow the competition gap with Qualcomm, It will also compress the living space of second-tier chip vendors and affect the change in the chip market ranking.

Xu Hanzhou also mentioned that Intel (Intel) also frequently launched mobile phone chip offensives at this year's CES and MWC, and it is expected that mass production of 2 watt (W) quad-core Atom SoCs will be mass-produced around Christmas 2013 . Due to Intel ’s advantages in manufacturing process, CPU performance and memory bandwidth, coupled with recent breakthroughs in low-power design and LTE technology, the future competitiveness in the mobile market should not be underestimated.

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