What's in YOUR Smartphone?

This is a discussion on What's in YOUR Smartphone? within the Android Forum forums, part of the Android Discussions category; (Cut-N-Paste from ATTDroids) With the sales of smartphones skyrocketing, they're becoming what most people are buying when it's time to upgrade. So are you one ...

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Thread: What's in YOUR Smartphone?

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    Super Moderator Dorian's Avatar
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    What's in YOUR Smartphone?

    (Cut-N-Paste from ATTDroids)

    With the sales of smartphones skyrocketing, they're becoming what most people are buying when it's time to upgrade. So are you one of the educated geeks, or one that doesn't really live for specs but more so how conveniently can it text or place a phone call? I hope to edumakate somebody here, so let me see if I can explain to you just what's in your phone. :cool:

    The first thing everyone should know is that there are basically four major juggernauts that fab mobile CPU's, just like Intel and AMD fab for notebooks/desktops. Those are:

    RED = Platforms that are depreciated and no longer being used en masse.
    GREEN = Platforms that are currently shipping in devices that you can purchase today.
    BLUE = Future platforms that are sampling but haven't yet made it to market in any shipping devices.

    • Texas Instruments - Maker of the TI OMAP series SoC (System on Chip)
    • Samsung - Maker of ARM11, Hummingbird, and Orion SoC's
    • Qualcomm - Maker of ARM11, Snapdragon, and Snapdragon MP SoC's
    • NVIDIA - Maker of ARM11 (Tegra1) and ARM7 (Tegra2) SoC's


    I'm going to start with Qualcomm, as they have a very broad market share. Almost every single major OEM has at least one phone based on a Qualcomm platform, and here they are explained:

    MSM7200/7600 - Common in the older midrange to current basic handsets. They consist of a 528MHz ARM11 core and an Adreno 130 GPU manufactured on a 90-65NM process. These aren't capable of OpenGL ES 2.0, and so can't play most 3D games. CPU performance is also bottlenecked by no on-die L2 cache. These aren't recommended because they have trouble keeping up with the current Android OS development scale. 2.1 was the last service update most of those will ever see from their OEMs, as 2.2 doesn't add much (if any) noticeable performance increase.
    • These are featured in handsets such as the HTC G1, Magic, Droid Eris, Hero, and more.
    • From Motorola such as the Cliq, Cliq XT, Dext, Devour, i1, and Backflip.
    • From Samsung such as the Galaxy i7500.
    • And many, many more from many other OEM's. This was previously the most popular smartphone platform by miles.

    MSM7227, MSM7225 - The 7225 is a second generation 528MHz ARM11 core, and the 7227 is a 600MHz ARM11 core. The 7225 and 7227 are paired with the same GPU as the first generation Snapdragon cores, the Adreno 200. The Adreno 200 is fully OpenGL ES compliant including 2.0, but it's performance when paired with any CPU of this family won't ensure full 3D gaming abilities. All of these cores also come with 32KB of on-die cache, which greatly improves performance and efficiency over the previous generation MSM7200 based cores.
    • You can find these cores in the HTC Wildfire, Tattoo, Aria, the Palm Pixi, and many more.

    Snapdragon* - These are most commonly found on high-end smartphones. They feature vastly improved performance over the previous MSM7200 cores, and come with either an Adreno 200 or 205 for the first and second generation, respectively. All of the Snapdragon cores are ARM7, and support CPU extensions like NEON and 128-bit SIMD instructions. CPU frequencies are usually either 800MHz for the MSM7230 in the G2, and 1GHz for most all other Snapdragon based devices. Major OEM's for the Snapdragon platform are:
    • HTC
    • Dell
    • LG
    • Samsung
    • Acer
    • HP
    • Fujitsu
    • Toshiba
    • Sony Ericsson
    • ... and many more.
    • This is the most popular high-end smartphone platform currently.

    *The Snapdragon cores pull higher Linpack scores than any other platform because the Scorpion CPU cores that make up the Snapdragon's, feature 128-bit SIMD extensions, while most all other CPU's only feature 64-bit SIMD extension support.

    Snapdragon MP - This is Qualcomm's new mobile platform for 2011. Not a lot of information is known about these new platforms aside from a few basic points. There have been two officially announced platforms: The MSM8260 and the MSM8660. The "2" denotes GSM/UMTS while the "6" denotes CDMA/EV-DO connectivity, as has been the case for all the Snapdragon based SoC's. Initially these are both shipping at 1.2GHz, with a Adreno 220 GPU on-board. The Adreno 220 GPU is slated to bring up to a 5x performance increase, compared to the previous Adreno 205. A major design plus for the new Snapdragon Scorpion CPU cores are intelligent power gating and clock gating on both cores, which should bring significant power savings compared to other or previous platforms. With the intelligent power gating the second core can be completely powered down.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Next up is Texas Instruments. They also have a very broad market saturation. They have SoC's in a lot of big-hit high-end phones from several OEM's.

    The TI OMAP CPU lineage is much less complicated than that of Qualcomm. The models are clearly spaced and positioned, and offer some of the best performance per dollar you can buy. The major buyer of TI OMAP cores is Motorola, offering them throughout their entire current smartphone lineup.

    OMAP 34xx - These cores are all ARM7 and range from 600MHz to 800MHz. They all feature the PowerVR SGX530 GPU, which is fully OpenGL ES compliant including 2.0. They can handle 3D games and graphics competently and most support up to DVD quality video recording.
    • These can be found in the Motorola Droid, Milestone, Flipside, Flipout, Palm Pre, Samsung i8910, and Nokia N900.

    OMAP 36xx - These are the second generation silicon, based on the 34xx series. They are die-shrunk, with their frequencies raised, usually to 800MHz or 1GHz. The OMAP 3610 is the only SoC that doesn't feature a dedicated GPU, so watch out for that one when purchasing!
    • These can be found in the Droid X, Droid 2, Bravo, the Palm Pre 2, and several more.

    OMAP 4430/4440 - This is TI's new mobile platform for 2011. Both the 4430/40 are dual-core Cortex A9 designs, with the 4430 being a 1GHz part, and the 4440 being a 1.5GHz part. This platform will ship with the PowerVR SGX540 GPU, which has been proven as a VERY solid and powerful GPU by Samsung's Hummingbird line. Both models are 1080p compatible with playback, with the 4440 being able to record 1080p stereoscopic 3D h.264 while the 4430 can only handle 720p stereoscopic 3D recording. Both platforms support dual cameras, with static megapixel ratings at 20MP.

    Rumored to be the base of Palm's new WebOS tablet.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Next up is the Samsung SoC's. Samsung doesn't have as broad a market penetration as TI or Qualcomm, but they offer some great platforms. Samsung has been making SoC's for quite a while, with most of the older iterations of their platforms powering iPAQ's and phones going years back. Most of Samsung's SoC's as of lately are used with their own branded Samsung/Anycall phones.

    S3C6410 - This is a 600MHz to 800MHz ARM11 core with a custom in-house GPU. It doesn't support the modern OpenGL extensions and isn't compatable with ES 2.0 frameworks. This is a platform I'd steer clear of, as it's performance is extremely lackluster, comparatively.
    • You can find these in the Samsung GT-i5700, Omnia, Omnia II, Moment, Transform, Intercept, and many more from several other OEM's.

    Hummingbird (S5PC1xx) - This is a 1GHz ARM7 Cortex A8 core with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. These are most known as the power behind the Galaxy S series of phones, and the new Nexus S from Google. They have full OpenGL compliance v1.1 and 2.0, and are capable of competently playing any 3D game currently on the Android Market.

    Orion - This is Samsung's new mobile platform for 2011. It features a dual-core Cortex A9 design, with a base frequency of 1GHz with 1MB of L2 cache to optimize multitasking abilities. This platform will ship with the Mali 400 GPU, which is capable of 30M tri/s with a maximum of 1.1 giga-pixel/s texture fill rate. Mali is also fully OpenGL ES compliant, including ES 1.1 and ES 2.0 as well as OpenVG for 2D rendering. Though the one thing that sets this platform apart from the others is the fact that it's not just limited to certain types of flash storage. OEM's can choose NAND flash, moviNAND, SSD or HDD providing both SATA, and eMMC interfaces. Another major point that sets this platform apart is the fact that it supports DDR3 memory.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NVIDIA Tegra 2 - This is Nvidia's new mobile platform for 2011. Some of you may have the Zune HD, that features the original Tegra 1, which was an ARM11 CPU core with a custom NVIDIA GPU only found on Tegra chipsets. It enabled the Zune HD to have 720p output over HDMI, which was quite a powerful feature at the time. With Tegra 2 NVIDIA is aiming high... really high. Tegra 2 features a dual-core 1GHz Cortex A9 CPU with a revised custom NVIDIA GPU. Some have stated that the Tegra 2's GPU is simply a carry over from Tegra 1 that's been die shrunk and enhanced, because it's performance is lacking compared to the SGX540 found in the Hummingbird, and simply doesn't match up to it's uber powerful CPU. Now some information on Tegra 2:

    • Dual-Core 1GHz Cortex A9 CPU with Out-of Order execution
    • Custom NVIDIA GPU that enables 1080p MP4/H.264 video decoding and output over HDMI
    • Support for LPDDR2 (Low-Power DDR2)
    • Extremely power efficient with media encoding/decoding tasks (playing/recording MP3/MP4/H.264)
    • Rivals Atom in instructions-per-clock, with Atom supporting HT, and Tegra 2 supporting Out of Order execution
    • When fab processes die shrink the A9 cores in late 2011/2012, speeds in excess of 2GHz are on the table
    • Also, the Tegra 2's A9 CPU supports up to 8MB (:eek of L2 cache, so expect crazy floating point numbers.
    • Intelligent power gating on CPU core #0. This allows for marginal power savings when the full frequency isn't needed.
    • *I will update this section as new information becomes available on the Tegra 2 handsets*


    Currently found in the Motorola Atrix 4G, Droid Bionic, and the LG Optimus 2X.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now with most all phones you have 3 RAM/ROM steps that correspond with the different market targets.

    Basic
    256MB of RAM and 384MB-512MB of ROM
    Mainstream
    512 MB of RAM and 512MB-1GB of ROM.
    High-End
    512MB-1GB of RAM and 512MB-2GB of ROM.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The major display technologies are currently S-LCD (super-LCD), IPS LCD, AMOLED, and S-AMOLED. No matter how much of a stickler you are for display quality, odds are you can find a smartphone that more than suits your needs. The IPS LCD panels in the iPhone 4 and the S-AMOLED panels used in the Samsung Galaxy S series and the Nexus S offer some of the best viewing experiences currently available on ANY phone.

    With the introduction of Samsung's Infuse 4G and SCH-i520, S-AMOLED is being dropped in favor of S-AMOLED+. S-AMOLED+ is a regular RGB OLED setup that eliminates the "checkerboarding" effect of the Pentile Matrix S-AMOLED on the Galaxy S phones. It also introduces 50% more subpixels. Without a doubt, this will be the hot display tech of 2011.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now for the network side of things... There are two major technologies that are in use around the world today. Those are GSM and CDMA. As of 2009 GSM is used by more than 1.5 billion people in more than 212 countries, and CDMA is used in 116 different countries by more than 308 different carriers.

    Major GSM Carriers in the US: AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, Cincinnati Bell, Corr Wireless.
    Major CDMA Carriers in the US: Verizon Wireless, Sprint-Nextel, MetroPCS, Cricket.

    For the data side of things you have several major technologies in use by the major carriers, and usually the evolution of each is building upon the former technology. They use that structure to minimize expenditures and to ensure backwards compatibility.

    For GSM Carriers these are their data network types: GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, and LTE.
    For CDMA Carriers: 1xRTT, EV-DO (Rev.0, Rev.A), WiMAX, and LTE.

    GSM Acronyms Explained:
    EDGE: EDGE is an advanced form of GPRS. GPRS comes in "classes" for higher data rates, and EDGE is Class 10 GPRS, and usually tops out around 150-200kbps with latency around 250-300MS. That puts it on a semi-fast dial-up experience level.
    UMTS: UMTS is a baseline 3G technology. I say baseline because all of the other technologies such as HSDPA, HSUPA, and HSPA+ are built with UMTS as a foundation. So when you hear UMTS used, it can mean any of the aforementioned tech.
    HSDPA: HSDPA is High-Speed Downlink Packet Access. This is a 3G technology, used in most every market around the world. It provides a maximum download speed of 14.0Mb/s in optimal geographical conditions, but is usually around 3-5Mb/s in everyday use.
    HSUPA: HSUPA is the amendment to HSDPA that provides faster uplink, or upload, speeds. Typical uplink speeds for HSUPA are .7-2Mb/s with a maximum of 5.76Mb/s uplink speed.
    HSPA+: HSPA+ is the expansion of HSDPA/HSUPA that provides additional downlink speeds, and as of Jan. 2011 defined as a 4G technology. HSPA+ in it's current implementation provides a maximum of 21.1Mb/s downlink speed with 5.76Mb/s uplink speeds. Currently though, tower backhaul isn't adequate to supply these speeds, so carriers are upgrading tower backbones with HSPA+ rollouts. HSPA+ is a transitory network to true 4G LTE.

    CDMA Acronyms Explained:
    1xRTT: 1xRTT is the core of what makes up the CDMA standard in use today. It's maximum downlink data rate is 153kb/s, which in real use is about the speed of a quality dial up connection.
    1xEV-DO Revision 0: 1xEV-DO or 1xEV is the evolution of 1xRTT. It uses complex radio signal multiplexing, code division, and time division to offer a maximum downlink speed of 2.4Mb/s while also providing 153Kb/s uplink speed.
    1xEV-DO Revision A: This is a network software upgrade to provide maximum downlink speeds of 3Mb/s while also providing a maximum upload speed of 1.8Mb/s. As of late 2010, Verizon Wireless has upgraded 100% of their network to this standard.

    The future of wireless networks:
    LTE: LTE is defined as "Long Term Evolution". LTE is meant as a complete overhaul of the core of a carrier's network. When finally implemented wide-scale, it will provide voice as well as data over the same connection. LTE is a pure digital packet based IP solution. Voice will be carried over IP telephony protocols, and data right along side it. So when this type of network is rolled-out en masse, it will function just like your home landline based connection, with speeds to match or exceed those provided by landline telco's. As stated by the current standard, maximum downlink speeds are 100Mb/s with an uplink speed of 50Mb/s with packet latency as low as 10MS. MIMO antenna/radio configurations can take advantage of 326Mb/s downlink!

    If you have a smartphone and are unsure about what's inside or are planning on purchasing a smartphone, post here and I or another knowledgeable member here will point you on the right path, and give you some insight as to what you can expect out of each platform.
    Last edited by Dorian; 01-22-2011 at 01:52 AM.

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  3. #2
    Android Junkie Mujibar's Avatar
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    VERY nice writeup, Dorian! Thanks!!

    EDIT: Oh, wait ... it's a cut & paste. Umm ... VERY nice cut & paste, Dorian!
    Last edited by Mujibar; 01-14-2011 at 12:48 AM. Reason: It's late & I need sleep.

  4. #3
    Super Moderator Dorian's Avatar
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    Thanks Mujibar! I wrote that up a while back, but as MWC comes around, I expect this list will have a few revisions. :cool:

  5. #4
    Android Enthusiast Martin030908's Avatar
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    pretty cool write up. I like it.

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    Super Moderator/RS psychotic_penguin's Avatar
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    Very nice write up, thanks.




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    Administrator smalltowngirl13's Avatar
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    Lots of good info there!
    The beatings will continue until moral improves...my new motto for work!
    Droid X Specific Site: www.droidxforums.com

  8. #7
    Android Jr Member royolpunk's Avatar
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    Wow!! Thanks for the very nice write up. Now I finally know what is in my phone.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Android.net App

  9. #8
    Android Lurker ilikemoneygreen's Avatar
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    This is cool, Makes me curious as to the future of TI though...Are they gonna make a dual core? have they already made one?

  10. #9
    Super Moderator Dorian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilikemoneygreen View Post
    This is cool, Makes me curious as to the future of TI though...Are they gonna make a dual core? have they already made one?
    Yea, they've got one ready for market, but it's not in any shipping devices AFAIK. It's the TI OMAP 4430/4440.

    EDIT: It's rumored to be the base of HP/Palm's new WebOS tablet, and the Blackberry Playbook.
    Last edited by Dorian; 01-15-2011 at 09:18 PM.

    Need Assistance? Contact me at dorian@android.net

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    Super Moderator Dorian's Avatar
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    Updated with information on all the upcoming mobile platforms, display technologies, as well as a little color coding.

    Need Assistance? Contact me at dorian@android.net

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