Rockchip to launch CPU for Android

July 13, 2009 | 13:37

Tags: #android

Companies: #arm #rockchip

ARM could be getting a bit of competition in the ultra-low voltage CPU market with Chinese chip maker Rockchip getting in on the act.

According to an article over on PMP Today, the company has designed a range of new processors for the next generation of Chinese smartphones – with the most notable being the RK2808, a processor expressly designed for devices running Google's Android mobile platform.

The company, which has previously specialised in mobile internet devices, hopes that its new processor will bring improved multimedia capabilities to Android-based devices to address what it calls “poor multimedia functions, which [are] recognised by the industry.

The company is looking to launch the first Android-based handset with the RK2808 chip on-board some time after October – with an Android-based PMP device acting as the testing ground before Rockchip wets its feet in the new mobile 'phone market. With support for mobile TV functionality and the ability to play back up to 720p content, it could prove a winner.

Owing to its home-grown nature, the Rockchip processor could well reduce the manufacturing cost of a smartphone: being able to undercut ARM's offerings and coupled with the open-source nature of Android, Rockchip could well be on track to offer an excellent deal to its Chinese customers.

The company has yet, however, to offer an idea of just how much cheaper their processor offering will be compared to ARM's solutions: while the lure of a homegrown solution will be popular in China, the company will have to offer a convincing price point to other markets in order to tempt people away from the safe solution.

Is this a good development for Android – and smartphones in general – or should companies concentrate on licensing existing ARM technologies rather than fragmenting the market with their own innovations? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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