The 2013 Consumer Electronic Show had several announcements from Intel, Qualcomm/ARM licensing, Nvidia, and AMD and other companies offering new mobile chip designs. With the explosive growth in the mobile market, this is no surprise. New designs came out, each company claimed that its’ product designs will provide higher performance, low power, better reliability (and other things) for higher bandwidths on cell phones and tablets. The promise is that you will soon be able to download movies, videos, do intensive computer work --this all sounds very sexy doesn’t it?
Let’s step back and see how the devil is really in the details:
Some of the best brains in the industry are working on a series of mobile problems now racking their brains, testing prototypes, and crunching numbers like crazy. Why? As performance requirements increase (e.g. you download video or a movie) the more power you need, hence, the hotter your device gets. The work is all happening in a chip that is getting designed to be smaller and smaller and, at the same time, is more crowded with logic for more and more powerful functions; thus, it gets heated up faster working harder. Note that this is tricky and hard to do well for every company right now.
By-the-way, if you want to download video or a movie on your cell phone, it will cost you in terms of bandwidth and money. Your tablet is bigger (bigger screen, bigger chip, maybe less heat, etc.) and may be better. But please, buyers beware!
So the moral to this story is, let us wait, see, and evaluate what the results are over time. The big deals are made between these computer chip companies and Apple, Google, and other places, of course. The winning chip design will be based on test results and many other factors (business relationships included.) But be sure to evaluate what you really need to do on mobile devices. Think about whether you really need to see the entire Super Bowl game on a cell phone or if you’re better off going to a friend’s house and watching it on a T.V. set. You may save yourself sticker shock.