Renesas Mobile is a chip designer that doesn't get too much press, so you'll be forgiven if you haven't heard of the before. They're just like NVIDIA or Qualcomm, meaning they don't actually make chips, they just create blueprints which are sent to a factory in Taiwan. But enough about that, let's get to the news.
ARM has a technology called “big-little” that our very own Robert Triggs detailed in an exhaustive article earlier this week. Here's the basic idea: You put two kinds of cores on one chip. The “big” cores do the heavy lifting, stuff that takes a lot of horsepower. The “little” cores can handle stuff like email or Twitter. Why would you do this? Because “big” cores eat up a lot of power, whereas “little” cores don't.
Later this month, at Mobile World Congress, Renesas Mobile is going to show off two chips using “big-little” technology. One chip is a quad core solution called the MP6530 2.2, while the other is the octo core MP6530 4.4. The “big” cores are going to be ARM's Cortex A15, while the “little” cores will be ARM's Cortex A7.
Where have we seen this before? From Samsung, of course, who announced the Exynos 5 Octa at CES a little over a month ago. Where Renesas Mobile has an advantage is that they're integrated their own 4G LTE modem in their chips, something that Samsung isn't doing. But, and this is a big but, Renesas doesn't expect phones using these new chips to hit the market until the fourth quarter of this year.
It's February. When you say something is going to happen in Q4, that means there's a high probability it's going to happen in Q1 next year. TSMC, who will be making Renesas' chips, only has so much capacity. Who do you think they're going to prioritize?
Qualcomm and NVIDIA. For good reason too.