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Tablets get quad-core chips, face slow adoption

Agam Shah | June 2, 2011
Tablets with low power dual-core chips have started reaching the market, but some chip makers expect the devices to be further supercharged later this year with quad-core chips which were in the spotlight at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

Mobile chip makers are continuously packing more cores to remain competitive, and are also coming up with innovative designs aimed at preserving battery life on devices. TI's new OMAP4470 is based on a hybrid design with two high-performance CPU cores running at 1.8GHz, and two low-power processor cores running at 200MHz to run secondary applications such as screen orientation. Devices with the chip will reach market early next year, TI said.

As an alternative to CPU cores, chip vendors are also leaning toward integrating more independent cores dedicated to specific tasks like graphics.

Nvidia, known primarily as a graphics company, is touting the multimedia capabilities in its latest Kal-El chip, calling it a "super-chip" that reflects the "future of gaming" in a blog entry. The chip can top 1080p video with the ability to play 1440p video content on a 2560 by 1600 pixel resolution panel.

Nvidia also claimed that the chip offers twice the Web browsing performance than its current Tegra 2, which is currently used in tablets from Motorola, LG and Dell. Kal-El will appear in devices starting in September, Nvidia said at Computex.


Qualcomm claimed the speed crown with its upcoming APQ8064 chip, which is targeted at tablets and PCs. The chip will run at speeds of up to 2.5GHz and its cores can be independently clocked up or shut down to make the chip more power efficient. Qualcomm has said that the device will offer twelve times the performance as well as 75% lower power than earlier Snapdragon processors. Qualcomm at Computex said that the chip will start sampling early next year for device makers to test.


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