CHIP VENDOR Qualcomm will fill its newly created S4 product category with its Krait chip next year.
Last week ARM-based system-on-chip (SoC) vendor Qualcomm announced that it will group its chips in four categories. It outlined what chips will fit in its S1, S2 and S3 categories, but Raj Talluri, VP of product management at Qualcomm told The INQUIRER that the next generation S4 category will be filled by the firm's Krait SoC.
Talluri's admission that Krait will be the firm's next big update to its Snapdragon family isn't all that surprising, as the firm talked about Krait at Mobile World Congress. However, Talluri said that the 28nm Krait chip will run at 2.5GHz. He did not say whether the first release will be a single, dual or quad core SoC chip, although previously Qualcomm has said that Krait chips will be available in all of those configurations.
The next question is just when these 28nm Krait SoCs will slot into Qualcomm's neat product line. Previously Qualcomm had mooted that Krait would tip up at the tail end of 2011, however Talluri said that while samples are being shipped to device manufacturers, mass production will occur sometime in the first half of 2012.
Yesterday we reported that The INQUIRER has been hearing whispers that fabs are having problems with the 28nm process node, however Talluri was emphatic in saying that Qualcomm's 28nm chips "were on track", adding that the firm is the first vendor to use the 28nm process node.
Much like Intel, Qualcomm views the shift in process node as a necessary step in the developmental process, with Talluri saying that "we are not moving [process node] for moving sake" and that "the process node is very important to us". Talluri said that not only does it reduce the physical size of the die, it reduces costs. In particular he highlighted that the smaller physical footprint of the chip results in greater circuit board space, allowing device makers to load more functionality or memory onto the board.
The news that Qualcomm will be shipping 2.5GHz Krait chips by this time next year is impressive and shows just how much work its ARM-based competitors and Intel will have to do if Qualcomm can tame the 28nm process node and cement its dominant position in the smartphone market. µ