Chip manufacturer Marvell has announced a new processor for portable devices which aims to give rival Qualcomm's 1GHz Snapdragon a run for its money.

As reported over on PC Magazine, the new Marvell Armada 618 is an ARM v7-based 1GHz processor with integrated 3D graphics support for DirectX, Open GL ES 2.0, and Open VG 1.1 - which the company claims offers rendering speeds of up to 45 million triangles per second, roughly double that offered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon.

As well as vastly improved 3D performance, the company's co-founder Weili Dai claimed that the new chip will enable "next generation smartphones to take a dramatic leap forward into high-end multimedia capabilities" with support for 1080p full-HD video playback via an in-built HDMI output and planned integration with 802.11n wireless chipsets.

The new chip also looks to keep the power draw down, despite its impressive performance: with support for low-power DDR-1 and DDR-2 memory and optimised power management, Dai claims that the Armada 618 will offer "longer battery life" than rival processors.

The 618 joins the lower-performance Armada 610 previously announced by the company which is aimed at lower-power devices such as e-readers and basic handsets, with the 618 taking pole position for high-end smartphone devices.

Marvell claims that the new chip is already in production, and that several unnamed manufacturers have already started integrating the processor into their products - although so far there's no comment on when Armada 618-based handsets will be hitting the market. The company has, however, promised to reveal reference designs at next week's Mobile World Congress trade show - at which point the manufacturers will probably come out of the woodwork to show off their new high-powered handsets.

Do you think that high-powered, HD-capable chips is the way forward for smartphones, or should companies be concentrating on offering reasonable functionality for a far lower power draw? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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