Freescale Semiconductor, which used to be a part of Motorola until 2004, has recently announced a new lineup of chips dubbed the i.MX 6 series and they pack one hell of a punch. To start things off the applications processor is based on ARM’s Cortex A9 processor. Right not there’s nothing on the market that’s shipping with said processor, but NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 is soon going to change that; let’s talk about that later. The i.MX 6 will allow vendors to go with a single, double, or quad core configuration and each core will be able to scale to 1.2 GHz and have up to 1 MB of L2 cache. On the graphics sidetha this new processor is supposed to be able to deliver 200 million triangles per second, which is insane when you consider the PowerVR SGX540, currently the fastest mobile GPU on the market and can be found in the Nexus S and Apple iPad, does only 90 million triangles. There’s also support 1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode, 3D video playback, and it could even handle stereoscopic image sensors, meaning you’ll be able to take 3D photos. Want even better news? The i.MX 6 is the first chip to hardware accelerate Google’s VP8 codec.
Samples are due to be released during the tail end of 2011 meaning that in all likelihood you’re not going to see this type of performance inside a mobile phone until the holiday 2012 shopping season at the earliest. The race to release the first dual core product will be won by NVIDIA with the Tegra 2 chip, but Qualcomm will win a majority of dual core smartphone market share because unlike the Tegra 2, Snapdragon comes with WiFi/GPS/Bluetooth and all the cellular connectivity needed to build a phone. There’s a reason that a flood of Android devices seemingly cropped up out of nowhere. Having to buy from 1 company, then slapping their kit inside a plastic box with your name on the front, versus multiple companies and dealing with a logistical nightmare, has practically guaranteed Qualcomm’s future success in the smartphone space.