In our smartphone and tablet reviews we make sure to spend a good amount of time talking about the silicon powering these devices. There’s no reason that handset and tablet manufacturers shouldn’t be held to the same standards as the PC vendors we’ve worked with for years.
Today the fastest phones are either based on ARM’s Cortex A8
core or a similar architecture as in the case of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon
. Starting either late this year or more likely sometime next year we’ll see the first SoCs based on ARM’s first out of order core, the Cortex A9, shipping in phones. The roadmap doesn’t end there though.
Later this year ARM will officially announce the successor to the Cortex A9
, codenamed Eagle. Today, Texas Instruments is announcing that it is the first company to license the ARM Eagle core.
The announcement goes further. Not only is TI licensing the core, but it also helped define the specifications for the core. TI has been working on the design with ARM since June 2009. As a result, TI expects to be the first to market with SoCs based on ARM’s Eagle core.
Unfortunately there’s not much to say about Eagle itself until ARM makes its announcement later this year. TI’s Cortex A9 based SoCs (OMAP 4) will be shipping in Q4, showing up in devices in early 2011. Based on that schedule I wouldn’t expect to see Eagle anytime sooner than 2012.
Eagle’s performance is slated to be much more competitive with future derivatives of Intel’s Moorestown SoC
, while power consumption should be similar to existing designs thanks to the 2x-nm manufacturing process it will most likely be built on.
We’re still waiting to hear more details about the Eagle architecture but with today’s announcement, something from ARM can't be too far away.