ST-Ericsson has just publish what’s easily the craziest press release I’ve ever read. The company is announcing that next week, at Mobile World Congress, they’re going to demo their latest chip running at 3 GHz. The chip in question, named the NovaThor L8580, uses four ARM Cortex A9 processors. Considering that we’re going to see ARM Cortex A15 chips coming out this year, and 64 bit compatible ARM Cortex A53/57 chips next year, we have to wonder what the point is of showing the world that you can make an “old” Cortex A9 go really fast.
But the madness doesn’t stop there. The GPU, PowerVR’s Imagination SGX544, will also be on this chip, clocked at a staggering 600 MHz. Again, that sounds impressive, but we’re soon going to see chips using PowerVR’s sixth generation core, codenamed Rogue.
Finally, there’s the modem. Ericsson knows wireless networks better than almost anyone else, and the modem in the NovaThor L8580 is frankly out of this world. It supports 150 megabit per second 4G LTE, carrier aggregation, which some people like to call “LTE-Advanced”, and just about every other wireless standard under the sun. Oh and one more thing, the modem can support *17* bands. Which ones exactly weren’t specified, but we’ll find out soon enough.
So now for the one and only question worth asking: When will this thing be in a smartphone on a store shelf near you? They don’t say. If that’s not the kiss of death, I don’t know what is. Anyone can demo one chip doing one thing really well. The hard part is signing up customers, calling up TSMC or UMC to do your chip manufacturing, and of course all the integration work that’s needed to make software actually work on this thing.
I don’t want to sound cynical, but I’m just tired of demos. Show me products, not benchmarks.