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Orion will power smartphones and tablets in the first half of 2011

Samsung's Hummingbird 1 GHz ARM Cortex processor already fares quite well against the 1 GHz Snapdragon in the GLBenchmark, and has helped power impressive sales of the Galaxy S line of Android smartphones across all major U.S. wireless carriers. Now, Samsung is introducing a new 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor, dubbed "Orion."

The Hummingbird, which powers devices like the Epic 4G and the upcoming Samsung Tab, is a single-core processor. The Orion features a pair of 1 GHz Cortex A9's, allowing an estimated 50 percent increase over the Hummingbird's power, while improving battery life and allowing 1080p video capability and HD recording.

"Mobile device designers need an application processor platform that delivers superb multimedia performance, fast CPU processing speed, and abundant memory bandwidth," Dojun Rhee, a representative for the Taiwanese tech company, said in a press release. "Samsung’s newest dual core application processor chip is designed specifically to fulfill such stringent performance requirements while maintaining long battery life.”

The A9's performance is based on its 45nm architecture, compared to the A8's 65nm. Each core will sport a 32KB data cache and a 32KB instruction cache, as well as a 1MB L2 cache "to optimize CPU processing performance and provide fast context switching in a multi-tasking environment." An enhanced GPU will allow five times the graphics performance over the Hummingbird, which should entice heavy gamers. 

"Customers have the choice to use different types of storage including NAND flash, moviNAND, SSD or HDD providing both SATA, and eMMC interfaces. Customers can also choose their appropriate memory options including low power LPDDR2 or DDR3, which is commonly used for high performance," the press release said.

The Orion will also allow mobile devices to run two simultaneous on-screen displays, while powering another external display like a TV, thanks to an on-chip HDMI 1.3a interface.

The Orion will be available to "select customers" in Q4 of 2010, and will begin mass production in the first half of 2011. You can expect the first batch of Orion-powered smartphones to hit the market some time around then.

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Getting carried away here?
By EricMartello on 9/8/2010 4:26:26 AM , Rating: 1
It just seems like modern gadgets are obsessed with consolidation at a cost of mediocrity. Think about it for a moment...this is a PHONE. It's a communication tool, it's not an entertainment center, it's not a gaming has a specific purpose. I'm all for enhancing the capabilities of the phone but it's like they're just shoving buzz words out there that mislead people into believing the phone is not just a phone anymore.

What do I mean? OK, we start with a phone but now...'s a digital camera, but the pictures it takes pale in comparison to a real digital camera.'s a video recorder, but the video it shoots does not stand up to a real camcorder.'s a "mini computer" but a laptop or desktop are still far better for the task.'s a portable game system but not better than a real portable game system like PSP or DS.

Yes, it can do all of the above but it does them poorly...and it seems people are adjusting to this new level of substandard quality simply out of convenience? Or perhaps they lack standards themselves (the latter is more likely the case).

1080P video...hah...who needs 1080P on a phone? Really? Most phone screens aren't even able to display 480P and with screen sizes that small, there is little need for 1080P. You may say "oh, but you can connect it to your TV and watch a movie" and to that I'd reply, I have a better way of watching movies on my TV.

As for games...sure, it's nice to have games on the phone but has anyone taken notice that none of the video game companies have released any portable gaming units in the recent years? The Nintendo DSi and new PSP are just rehashed versions of the older units, not entirely new...but I can tell you that portable gaming on either a PSP or DS is far better than on a phone.

The point I'm making here is that people are getting carried away with stuff that really doesn't matter. I'd much rather have the right tool for the job, then a single tool for every job. It's not just phones that are being turned into "omnidevices"...TVs, game consoles, cars and even refrigerators have fallen victim to this misguided "vision of the future".

RE: Getting carried away here?
By danobrega on 9/8/2010 6:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
Well, it is not a phone, it is a chip.

Still, so what? I long for the day where my phone it will actually be my computer. I'll carry it with me, with my applications, with my documents. When I get home it will connect to my monitor or even my TV via WHDI. Sounds cool.

By EricMartello on 9/8/2010 4:21:08 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, this article is about a chip that is used in Phones...and my rant was about devices that used to do one thing very well now doing a lot of things poorly.

What would I rather see?

How about ad-hoc networking with phones so we can eliminate the need for a central carrier. Imagine having the full functionality of a cell without having to pay out of the ass for it each month.

How about improved transmission protocols that allow for lower latency and improved data rates?

Just saying, either of those would be far better for a cellphone than a new touchscreen or 1080P support.

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