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New design from Imagination Technologies offers yet another competitor in the booming mobile market

In the world of RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architectures the game is officially on.  Imagination Technologies Group Plc (LON:IMG) today previewed [press release] its first 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS CPU cores targeting the mobile market, a market in which ARM Holdings Plc's (LON:ARM) titular RISC core has reigned dominant for so long.

Imagination Tech. has long licensed graphics processing unit companion cores to go alongside ARM or Intel Corp. (INTC) Atom CPU cores.  In a sense both ARM and Intel have historically been more diversified as they produce GPU cores, as well.  But with its acquisition of MIPS Technology Inc. last November, Imagination Tech. looked to level the playing field.

Before, the mobile market looked like a race between Intel and ARM.  Now Imagination Tech. is determined to make it a three-man race.

The new MIPS CPU cores, dubbed Series5 "Warrior" cores will offer some unique perks.  First, they bring support for single instruction multiple data (SIMD) programming APIs like OpenCL (NVIDIA Corp.'s (NVDA) CUDA is another proprietary SIMD API).  Second, they offer built-in security features, including processing units designed to accelerate content protection, secure networking protocols and payment services.

MIPS roadmap
MIPS roadmap [click to enlarge]

Lastly, Imagination Tech. is plugging built in hardware and software virtualization support in the upcoming core series.  The company says its aiming to target "a wide range of markets, from mobile and networking to embedded and microcontroller applications."

In other words, expect some OEMs to potentially test the waters with Android-driven Warrior core smartphone and tablet designs.
MIPS Android
Just how valuable is the mobile CPU market?  Consider that ARM pocketed $136M USD on a gaudy 50.5 percent operating margin in Q1 2013.  Imagination Tech. is likely salivating at the potential for that kind of licensing loot.

The one thing that's unclear is when exactly the "Warrior" cores will hit the market.  Imagination Tech. offered no release schedule.  Imagination Tech. is also winding up to the release of a new GPU core, the PowerVR Series6 core, which offers support for OpenGL ES 3.0 for the first time.

Source: Imagination Tech. [press release]



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RE: These guys are dead or bought
By TheJian on 6/27/2013 7:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
They only spend on gpu's and socs (shield and grid cost 10mil each so next to nothing to further the gpu's and socs).

What elsewhere? They've made Socs integral to their company across the board now, so a good 1/3-1/2 of their company is now aimed at taking out IMG.L etc.

But I cited them as the PUNY guy in the room. If they don't get you, Qcom, Intel, Samsung, Apple etc will (the big boys so to speak). My example was just to show how bad it is vs the smallest guy in the group already but noted the big boys cash wads to further the point. You can't survive making 14mil/yr in a business where the rest are sitting on billions in cash and aiming the bulk of their R&D efforts at your product line. I don't see how a company who has to borrow money to get a cpu, has no modem, makes basically no money (14mil?) etc can survive this war.

But if you're in when they get bought (apple?) maybe a good deal :) No argument there, but it's risky. Most already have their own socs. Apple already bought PA Semi etc, so don't see a real need there. NV doing their own (denver boulder) cpu and already of course have years of gpu's to toss desktops at mobile socs. I guess samsung needs a gpu company (cpu as a bonus I guess). Not many other buyers in the mix I'd think. Intel is pretty out of this also given their roadmaps don't require either a cpu or gpu it seems. You did well on mips, but I'm thinking IMG.L is a bit risky comparatively speaking.


RE: These guys are dead or bought
By simsony on 6/28/2013 12:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're a bit too fixated on the smartphone market, the point is while the bigger guys are chasing the smartphone market, this mips processor could be used in other markets.

I'm not saying they have an easy job, indeed Nvidia failing in the smartphone market could lead them straight to the markets Imagination would like to take on.


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