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Intel’s desperate attempt to establish a sizeable foothold on the tablet market until its 14nm manufacturing leadership could provide a profitable position for the company in 2016
The stock market is over-optimistic about that: Intel tablets could cure [stock] market conditions [Saxo TV – TradingFloor.com YouTube channel, April 16, 2014]
I am—nevertheless—highly sceptical about that as Allwinner to continue the No. 1 position on Android tablet application processor market with the new UltraOcta A80 SoC optimized for premium devices, without the premium cost, also made universal accross other devices (TV box, notebook, smart TV, All-in-one and digital signage), and operating systems (ChromeOS, Smart TV, Windows, Ubuntu and Firefox OS) [‘USD 99 Allwinner’ blog, April 16, 2014]. My skepticism is also based on The lost U.S. grip on the mobile computing market, including not only the device business, but software development and patterns of use in general [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 14, 2014].
You can judge all that for yourself as the background and my analysis behind Intel’s tablet strategy could be found in the following sections of this post below:
- Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group (MCG), which the Tablet Group is just a part of, is the largest loss maker segment with losses even growing to $3.15B in 2013 from $1.78B in 2012, and continuing at least into 20145
- Intel is desperate to cheat when comparing its current tablet performance based on Clover Trail+ against much lower priced and lesser frequency ARM Cortex-A9 tablets from brand vendors.
- Intel’s Krzanich is betting on sacrificing “contra revenue” dollars for Q2-Q4 2014 tablet market with Bay Trail-based tablets, while hoping to level the playing field with its TSMC produced SoFIA SoCs for the 2015 tablet market.
To understand the technical and business development aspects behind that strategy read my previous posts as well:
– Intel CTE initiative: Bay Trail-Entry V0 (Z3735E and Z3735D) SoCs are shipping next week in $129 Onda (昂达) V819i Android tablets—Bay Trail-Entry V2.1 (Z3735G and Z3735F) SoCs might ship in $60+ Windows 8.1 tablets from Emdoor Digital (亿道) in the 3d quarter [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 11, 2014]
– IDF14 Shenzhen: Intel is levelling the Wintel playing field with Android-ARM by introducing new competitive Windows tablet price points from $99 – $129 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 4, 2014]
– The long awaited Windows 8.1 breakthrough opportunity with the new Intel “Bay Trail-T”, “Bay Trail-M” and “Bay Trail-D” SoCs? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 14, 2013]
1. Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group (MCG), which the Tablet Group is just a part of, is the largest loss maker segment with losses even growing to $3.15B in 2013 from $1.78B in 2012, and continuing at least into 2014
Source: Download Quarters Q1 2014 [Intel Corporation – Investor Relations, April 16, 2014]
MCG is one of the new operating segments representing the following organisational responsibility, which is aligned with Intel’s new critical objectives (this particular segment was previously buried in the Other Intel Architecture Group):
- Mobile and Communications Group (MCG): MCG includes the Phone Group, the Tablet Group and Multi-Comm, all previously part of the Other IA operating segments.
- Mobile and Communications Group: Delivering platforms designed for the tablet and smartphone market segments; as well as mobile communications components such as baseband processors, radio frequency transceivers, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth*, global navigation satellite systems and power management chips.
Note that the previous structure of operating segments (since the end of 2012) was as seen on the right. As far as the organizational size is concerned, according to Infineon Completes Sale of Mobile Phone Business to Intel – New Company Intel Mobile Communications starts operations [Infineon press release, Jan 31, 2011]:
Following the sale, approximately 3,500 employees in total will move globally from Infineon to the new company Intel Mobile Communications GmbH (IMC). IMC will be headquartered in Neubiberg near Munich, Germany.
Then according to Intel® Mobile Communications Profile [Intel, Jan 6, 2012]:
Intel Mobile Communications GmbH is a subsidiary of Intel Corporation headquartered in Santa Clara, USA. The company develops and markets innovative semiconductor products and solutions for mobile communications – most notably in the rapid-growth market segments of smart phones, tablets and ultra-low-cost mobile phones.
The company has approximately 4,000 employees all over the world, about 1,700 of whom work in Germany where the headcount at the company headquarters in Neubiberg near Munich is approximately 1,200. Other German sites are Ulm, Regensburg, Duisburg, Dresden, Braunschweig and Nuremberg. Intel Mobile Communications is represented in altogether 17 countries around the world and has a strong presence in the Asian growth markets.
Considering that the Mobile and Communications Group (MCG) of today was put together from Intel Mobile Communications, the Tablet Group and the Phone Group, the overall number of employees in MCG is quite probably more than 6000 people.
Note that as of May 2013 MediaTek had 6,880 employees and ARM Holdings’ workforce at the same time was 2,261. As of March 2014 Allwinner Technology had 550+ employees (450 of which were engineers). In July 2013 Rockchip had more than 500 employees, 80% were engineers. In September 2013 Spreadtrum had 1,506 employees.
The 4000 strong Multi-Comm business is mostly engaged in standalone baseband processor market which had the following sales structure in 2013 according to Forward Concepts [March 24, 2014]:
Intel, the 2nd leading supplier of 3G thin modems in 2013 – will likely become the 2nd leading supplier of 3G/4G thin modems in 2014. Their focus will be on winning 3G/4G modem orders for notebooks and tablets. They will be challenged by Marvell’s 3G/4G PXA802 TD- LTE modem, which also supports TD-HSPA+ and is already shipping to ZTE.
Intel was—however—warning in its Nov 21, 2013 Investor Meeting presentation that:
In fact Strategy Analytics was painting a rather dark picture in Qualcomm’s Dominance Continues with 64 percent revenue share says Strategy Analytics [Feb 21, 2014]:
Qualcomm, MediaTek, Intel, Spreadtrum, and Broadcom captured the top-five revenue share spots in the cellular baseband processor market [which the standalone is just a part of] in 2013. Qualcomm dominated with 64 percent revenue share, followed by MediaTek with 12 percent revenue share and Intel with 8 percent revenue share.
Sravan Kundojjala, Senior Analyst, explains “Qualcomm domination in the cellular baseband market continued in 2013, thanks to its early investments in multi-mode LTE technology. The LTE baseband landscape is expected to be a crowded one in 2014 with several vendors including Broadcom, Ericsson, Intel, Marvell, MediaTek, NVIDIA, Spreadtrum and others are all set to bring commercial multi-mode LTE chip products to the market and this could help drive LTE down into mid-to-low tier devices.”
According to Stuart Robinson, Director of the Strategy Analytics Handset Component Technologies service, “Strategy Analytics calculates that revenue from baseband-integrated applications processors represented over 60 percent of total baseband revenue in 2013, up from 48 percent in 2012. Most baseband vendors have now transitioned their portfolios to include integrated products in order to boost their revenue share.”
According to Christopher Taylor, Director of the Strategy Analytics RF and Wireless Componentservice, “MediaTek overtook Intel to capture the number two spot in the 3G UMTS baseband market in 2013, by Strategy Analytics estimates. MediaTek capitalized on its smartphone chip momentum and improved its baseband-mix. MediaTek’s recent LTE chip announcements could potentially improve its baseband revenue share in future.”
Such a doomsday scenario was even more present in Qualcomm, MediaTek in Two-Horse Race, Says CLSA; Game Over for BRCM, Etc. [Tech Trader Daily at Barrons.com, Apr 11, 2014]
… and predicting many of the challengers will fold up without making a dent in Qualcomm’s position.
We believe that the baseband battle is largely over and expect more consolidation in the next 1 – 2 years. Nvidia is already shifting its investments, and we see a strong possibility that Broadcom exits in the next 6 – 9 months. Intel’s new management may have a bit more time, but we do not see enough opportunity to justify its $2bn+ investments. Marvell is least likely to exit in our view, but we expect it to remain a niche player. Overall, we expect the Qualcomm / MediaTek duopoly to get even stronger in the coming years and see positive implications for the overall industry profitability.
The baseband market has seen meaningful consolidation over the years. In 2006, there were 15 vendors in the market including larger analog IC vendors such as Texas Instruments, Freescale, and Analog Devices. The market has contracted to about 9 vendors by 2008 and currently has 7 vendors, after the recent consolidation at ST-Ericsson and Renesas.
Even if second tier vendors make significant progress in LTE, we simply do not see enough opportunity for all these vendors to achieve profitability any time soon.
MediaTek has a higher share in shipments of Chinese smartphones:
Chinese telcos, in particular China Mobile, are aggressively expanding their 4G networks, and China Mobile is targeting 100m LTE devices for 2014. While China Mobile’s target does appear aggressive, Qualcomm appears to be dominating the early shipments. We expect MediaTek-based LTE phones to start shipping in the next few months and expect a majority of MediaTek’s 3G customers to stick with the company as the China market transitions to 4G. Chinese smartphone OEMs lack the R&D capability of their international peers, and as a result, rely on turnkey solutions from MediaTek and Qualcomm. While MediaTek appears a bit late with LTE, we expect the company to maintain a strong share of the China LTE market longer term given its relationships with domestic handset manufacturers.
2. Intel is desperate to cheat when comparing its current tablet performance based on Clover Trail+ against much lower priced and lesser frequency ARM Cortex-A9 tablets from brand vendors.
For an Intel Clover Trail+ (pre-Bay Trail-T) tablet: A Four-Tablet Comparison: Intel vs. Competition [IREPRockLegend YouTube channel, April 16, 2014]
But Intel is cheating here, especially by being at least 2 times more expensive than the others (all the below prices are “best retail ones”), even discounting the 3G call capability:
- $300 (but has 3G call capability as well): Asus Fonepad 7 (Intel Atom Processor Z2560 (2 Clover Trail+ cores/4 threads, 1MB Cache, 1.60 GHz) since Q2’13)
(++Review Asus Fonepad 7 ME372CG Tablet [Notebookcheck.net, Nov 13, 2013)
- $119: Amazon Kindle Fire [7”] HD* (TI OMAP 4460 Processor (2 Cortex-A9 cores, 1.20 GHz))
[* Intel is cheating even more here as the 2nd generation figured in the above test has been replaced half a year ago by a 3d generation 7” Kindle Fire HD tablet which contains the TI OMAP 4470 with 2 Cortex-A9 cores, 1.5 GHz.]
- $160: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7” (ARM Cortex A9 Processor (2 Cortex-A9 cores, 1.2 GHz) )
- $139: Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 (ARM v7 Cortex A9 Processor (MediaTek 8317, Dual Core 1.2 GHz) )
The same cheating is in another new Intel video: A Three-Tablet Comparison: Intel vs. Competition [IREPRockLegend YouTube channel, April 16, 2014] where the $140 Dell Venue 7 16GB, having the same Z2560 CloverTrail+ processors goes against the same 2nd generation Amazon Kindle Fire [7”] HD and the also same Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7”:
And finally the cheating in the 3d new video is even more inexcusable: Tablets with Intel Inside® vs. the Competition: Samsung as here the $305 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1” tablet with the same 1.6 Ghz Z2560 (and list price of is compared with the $200 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1” having just a 1 GHz Cortex-A9 dual core processor:
3. Intel’s Krzanich is betting on sacrificing “contra revenue” dollars for Q2-Q4 2014 tablet market with Bay-Trail-based tablets, while hoping to level the playing field with TSMC produced SoFIA SoCs for the 2015 tablet market
What is contra revenue? [Accounting Tools, March 5, 2013]
Contra revenue is a deduction from the gross revenue reported by a business, which results in net revenue.
Contra revenue transactions are recorded in one or more contra revenue accounts, which usually have a debit balance (as opposed to the credit balance in the typical revenue account). There are three commonly used contra revenue accounts, which are:
- Sales returns. Contains either an allowance for returned goods, or the actual amount of revenue deduction attributable to returned goods.
- Sales allowances. Contains either an allowance for reductions in the price of a product that has minor defects, or the actual amount of the allowance attributable to specific sales.
- Sales discounts. Contains the amount of sales discounts given to customers, which is usually a discount given in exchange for early payments by customers.
In fact what Intel calls in accounting terms “contra revenue” it actually represents the subsidies paid to tablet manufacturers in order bring the Bill of Materials cost of Intel tablets into line with ARM based tablets. Intel was forced into these subsidies otherwise tablet manufacturers weren’t going to offer Intel based tablets.
Intel aggressively promoting tablet CPUs in China [DIGITIMES, April 14, 2014]
Intel has resorted to an aggressive pricing strategy to promote sales of its tablet-use processors, particularly in China, a move which apparently will take on Qualcomm and MediaTek, while ramping up its market share, according to industry sources.
Prices of Intel’s mainstream quad-core tablet CPUs have dropped to below US$5, which are almost on par with those offered by China-based chipset suppliers such as Rockchip Electronics and Allwinner Technology and even below those available from Nvidia, Qualcomm and MediaTek, said the sources.
Consequently, the number of Intel-based tablets is likely to expand in a great proportion as more and more China-based brand and white-box tablet vendors are expected to use Intel’s tablet CPUs to develop new products, the sources revealed.
Intel’s new policy also focuses on deepening its relationship with the supply chain in China, highlighting by its recent announcement of establishing an Intel Smart Device Innovation Center in Shenzhen and a US$100 million Intel Capital China Smart Device Innovation Fund, commented the sources.
To encourage China-based tablet makers to use Intel’s CPUs, the chipset vendor is offering assistance in terms of design, technology and marketing, the sources indicated.
Intel’s offerings will be particularly attractive to white-box tablet makers as they can optimize low-priced chipsets and advanced technologies to roll out competitive models for the entry-level segment, added the sources.
Intel aims to ship 40 million tablet CPUs in 2014, including entry-level Bay Trail family and SoFIA 3G platform products, the sources noted.
Intel Beats on Bottom Line, Misses Revenue Expectations for Q1 Results [TheStreet YouTube channel, April 15, 2014]
From Intel Reports First-Quarter Revenue of $12.8 Billion Operating Income of $2.5 Billion, up 1 Percent Year-over-Year [news release, April 15, 2014]
Mobile and Communications Group revenue of $156 million, down 52 percent sequentially and down 61 percent year-over-year.
From Intel’s CEO Discusses Q1 2014 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, April 15, 2014] ragarding the tablet strategy which is carried out by the Mobile and Communications Group:
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: … We set an aggressive goal of shipping 40 million tablet SOCs this year. And I’m happy to say we’ve tallied more than 90 designs on Android and Windows and shipped 5 million units in the first quarter, placing us squarely on track to that goal.
We demonstrated SoFIA, our first integrated apps processor and baseband, after adding it to the roadmap late last year. We’re on track to ship the 3G solution to OEMs in Q4 2014, with the LTE version following in the first half of 2015.
We also shipped our first Quark SoCs for the Internet of Things and announced an upgrade of Edison to the Silvermont Atom architecture. Edison is on track to ship this summer.
And in the Technology and Manufacturing Group, who’ve worked to advance Moore’s Law as foundational to our long-term success, we began production on our 14-nanometer process technology and remain on track to launch Broadwell in the second half of the year.
And the foundry team extended our collaboration with Altera to the development of multi-dye devices that take advantage of our world-class package and assembly capabilities and Altera’s leading-edge programmable logic.
Stacy J. Smith – EVP and CFO: … The Mobile and Communications Group is down 61% from a year ago. The underlying dynamics are consistent with what we shared at the investor meeting last November.
We’re seeing a decline in our feature phone and 2G/3G multi-[com] [ph] business, as we’re in the midst of a transition to integrated LTE solutions. In addition, the ramp in tablet volume is being offset by an increase in contra revenue dollars.
We’re winning designs and ramping our tablet volume rapidly and we have design wins in LTE that will result in a second half revenue ramp.
Let me even back up and give you — again restate the strategy of what we’re doing here. … what we’re doing is we’re taking Bay Trail, which is a product really designed for the PC market, and we made the decision to take it broadly across different segments of the tablet market this year.
It brings along with it, at least over the course of 2014, a higher bill of materials. And that’s independent from the SOC cost. It’s the power management subsystem, it’s the motherboard that it goes on, it’s the memory solution, those kinds of things. And so, we’re providing some contra revenue to offset that bill of material delta over the course of 2014.
Now, as we said, we’re doing value engineering with our customers and our partners. And so we’re bringing down that bill of material over the course of 2014 independent of any changes to our SOC. …
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: … We have a series of improvements. They have already started to kick-in in some cases around our power management systems, the number of layers in our motherboards, the memory system integration. All of those things we’ve worked on and actually have started to see the advantages already in our costs.
Stacy J. Smith – EVP and CFO: So, I think on a like dollars per unit, it comes down pretty dramatically over the course of 2014. And it should be relatively small, if at all, as we get into 2015. And it’s, again, the enablement we’re doing around the bill of materials.
And then we also have new products coming into the marketplace, like SoFIA, that’s targeted at the low end, and then in 2015 you’ll see Broxton, which is an SOC more for the mid-range to high-range of the market coming into our product portfolio.
So, the combination of all of that gives us a better cost structure with our own products and a better cost structure overall with the bill of materials as we enter 2015 and then work through 2015.
We’ll have significant unit growth in tablets. But remember that contra revenue isn’t just a gross margin impact; it’s actually a subtraction from revenue. And so that will mute the revenue growth for the segment because you have that negative as we get into the back half and ship more tablets. …
C.J. Muse – ISI Group: In terms of integrated LTE, you’ve talked about when we’ll first see that. But curious when you expect to bring that in house at Intel.
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: We’ll bring that in on our 14-nanometer process either late 2015 or early 2016. We’re still battling back and forth on how fast we can bring it in and at what impacts that has. 14-nanometer is the technology there.
Blaine Curtis – Barclays Capital: … Maybe actually follows up on CJ’s prior question. The MPG business that you’re now breaking out, it’s pretty clear it’s losing $3 billion, $3.5 billion. How do you think about this business?
Obviously you’re trying to ramp the product set you are a bit behind. You’re entering from the low end and that pricing seems quite tough. You’re facing some subsidies that you have to do on the tablet side.
Are there some milestones that you look at to get this business back profitable? Or maybe would you consider this strategic enough that you would consider continuing to run this as a loss?
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: So, you asked several questions in there, so let me start to pars it apart. Absolutely this is a strategic business, so let’s just start with that. We think this is critical and we said this in our prepared statements. It’s critical from 2 in 1 devices down through the Internet of Things.
You look across the connectivity requirements there; more and more of the devices are requiring integrated connectivity, whether it be LTE, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and all of these connectivities are becoming more and more required.
We don’t go into these businesses thinking that we’re going to lose money. We believe we have a roadmap to get to profitability in that business. The milestones that I look at — and so I’ll give you those for yourself to look at, we have the 7160, the current LTE version out there. We’re the second in LTE. We have the 7260 launch this quarter. I think that’s a critical there.
Again, we’re closing the gap with our competition. We’re bringing out leading edge Cat 6 capability with carrier aggregation. That’s a critical milestone. That puts — that closes the gap and puts us firmly in the LTE capability.
The next one is SoFIA. If you look at the SoFIAs at the end of this year with 3G integration and then a big first half of next year with LTE integration. Remember those products weren’t even on our roadmap six or seven months ago. So, that shows that we’re acting quickly integrating and bringing those products to production.
Then after that is, as Stacy said earlier, Broxton, which is our internal 14-nanometer product. That’s targeted towards the mid to high level. And as we bring that into the second half of 2015 and into 2016, there will be various levels of integration on that.
So, when I look across this, those are the milestones I look at, because those are what drive that along with just the basic cost reduction capabilities we talked about for this year as we get out of this contra revenue into 2015. Those products then place us firmly in leadership capability from the low end to the high end with integration. And those are the milestones to me that will lead to profitability long-term.
Stacy J. Smith – EVP and CFO: And I’ll just add to that, I think you left it off because it was so obvious, but the 40 million tablets is one of the things I see Brian just laser focused on. And as we’ve talked about before, it gets us into the 15% to 20% range of the total tablet market.
It gives us a big enough footprint that we start to see people developing on our architectures. It becomes a self-sustaining ecosystem as we’re bringing these other products to the marketplace. So, don’t lose sight of that one, Blaine.
Stacy Rasgon – Sanford C. Bernstein & Co: I wanted to dig a little bit into the mobile and wireless group. So, you’ve talked a bit about having I guess developing leadership products, leadership position in order to drive profitability. We’re looking at this right now, though. So, we had the business fall more than 50% sequentially.
You have your 7160 which is shipping but apparently it’s not really driving much volume. We have the 7260 which is forthcoming, but we really haven’t heard much about design wins. And you launched at Mobile World Congress without really saying very much there.
We have SoFIA coming, which absolutely is integrated, but it’s being made at TSMC for the next few years which means you lose any potential benefits from your own process technology. And you would seem to be well behind what the market leaders are shipping in terms of 4G.
Just what should we be looking for and over what timeframe should we be looking for, for the ramp? I guess what I’m asking is, how can we get confidence that we’re going to actually see the revenue ramp that is built into the short-term expectations for this year and then going forward, to make sure that you can actually get a profitable business, which obviously would be driving quite a bit of upside to where the models are today?
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: Remember, the 7160, we gave you a series of products that it’s shipping in. And on the 7260, which will qualify this quarter, we gave you a list of OEM partners that have committed to that platform. So, we’re fairly confident that the ramp in the second half of this year will continue on that product. And it is a leadership product.
SoFIA, you’re right, is built at TSMC. We went for speed and integration. And it was simply quicker to get to market with a competitive product from both a price and performance. We actually believe that the IA core will give us better performance than the competition. And the competition is at that same node at TSMC. And it’s 3G at the end of this year and LTE in the first half of next year.
We then told you that in the second half of next year — and again, we’re debating whether it’s the second half or the first quarter of 2016, but we’ll move all of that internal on to 14-nanometers. And it’s really based on other products that we have moving in at that time and just overall resources all right.
We had a lot going on — the ramp of Broadwell, the ramp of Skylake in the second half of next year, plus bringing these products inside. But I’m very confident that when you do that, plus you add in Broxton, which is targeted towards the mid to high range and again is integrated with leading-edge LTE.
And don’t forget we have a roadmap of LTE products beyond the 7260 that continue the level of carrier aggregation and product leadership. We’re fairly confident that we can continue to grow this business and turn it profitable over that time.
Stacy J. Smith – EVP and CFO: And let me just comment on the question about the long-term profitability. It sounds basic, but it really stems from our manufacturing leadership. If we’re two years ahead of the rest of the industry, and extending it gives us the ability that, as we target our products into the right space from a power standpoint, we will have power advantage or performance advantage and a cost advantage.
That really is our strategy playing out. You’re seeing the first products hitting that theme over the course of this year and into early next year. Bay Trail is a really good product. For the high end of the market, you’ll see products coming into the market that are more targeted at the mid-range and lower end of the market next year. But that’s how the strategy plays out.
I’d say for 2015, I would expect to see reduction in the loss. Not profitability, but a reduction in the loss will feel pretty good when we get there and then we’ll keep driving towards the long-term profitability goal.
Stacy Rasgon – Sanford C. Bernstein & Co: I’d like to drill in a bit more. I’m actually into the tablet efforts now. So, we’re obviously subsidizing. And I get the idea of reducing BOM cost in order to make up for the deficiencies with the idea being that you can drive improved product set down the road.
But at the same time, if you look at the tablet market, where it is today, you’re obviously not going to be going after Apple any time soon. Maybe there’s a little bit of volume at Samsung. But I mean if you take those guys out, 75% of what’s left is systems that are $250 and below, where your competitors are shipping quad-core chips for much less than $10.
I’m curious to know what kind of economics and pricing you see from that market long-term. And are the — I guess the total revenue pool and profit pool that’s available, even if you were to succeed at your goals, why does that make it a worthwhile effort to actually go after? Or is this simply, as you said, strategic? Is this an attempt to limit further penetration of tablets into the core market?
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: You’ve asked a question that has multiple questions built into it. But let’s start with what we told you was we’ve got multiple OEM partners building tablets and phones on our products. And we gave you Asus and Dell and Lenovo and Samsung on those products.
If you look at the tablet business overall, it’s broken up into a series of segments. And you’re right; there is a large percentage of them that are $250 and below. Products like SoFIA are specifically designed for that segment.
And our dual-core SoFIA already performs quite well against quad-core systems. As we move into next year, we’ll bring quad-core SoFIA-based products out, as well. And so we believe that we can stay very cost competitive and have a performance leadership.
Remember, Intel has two assets. We have our silicon technology, but we also have our architecture. And one of the things an OEM gets when they build with Intel technology is that they can go into any OS and they can build a single platform and move that on to Chrome, on to Android, on to Windows. And that’s a very unique capability that we provide to OEMs for flexibility.
So, we believe with a product like SoFIA, as we bring that into the market next year, we can absolutely compete in those spaces and make money. You’re probably not going to make as much revenue dollars and as much margin dollars as the PC business, but we think this is still critical. And it’s critical for a variety of reasons. Part of it is simply the scale. You want to have those units. You want to have a presence in all areas of computing.
And the second one is developer attention. You want developers creating new products, doing innovation on your architecture. This is a space that’s got innovation. We are going to bring some of that innovation to this market. You’re going to see some tablets as you go into the end of this year.
We showed them at CES, some of the highlights where you have 3D cameras, you have perceptual computing capabilities for gaming. All of those kinds of things can change the tablet market, along with the PC market.
So, we believe that we can bring a lot of the innovation that we do in the PC down into the tablet space. And again, that keeps the developers developing and interested in our platform. I think for all of those reasons, we want to be in this space and we will be in this space from now on.
Stacy J. Smith – EVP and CFO: That was very complete, but we don’t fear the low end of the market. You look at how we played out in PCs. You can drive a lot of unit growth by participating in PCs now that are $199 to $250. We can have the cost structure because of our manufacturing lead to participate nicely there. And you see that as markets mature, they also segment.
And so we have look, you look at our PC business, we have great demand and profitability in core I7s and it spans down to Bay Trail at the Atom segment of the market. So, it’s a misconception to think that we only want to play at the high end. Our manufacturing leadership can give us the cost structure to play profitably at the low end, as well.
Mark Lipacis – Jefferies: Brian, when you talk about the 40 million unit bogey on tablets this year, could you go through the taxonomy of that a little bit? To what extent do you think this is Windows versus Android? And what’s the class of product you think will represent the mode or the mean? Like where do you think your sweet spot is going to be this year on tablets?
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: Our mix of OSs reflects pretty much what you see in the marketplace. So, I think, depending on how you look at it, it’s probably something on the order of 90% Android, 80% Android, 10% to 20% Windows.
Our percentages look very much like the marketplace. So, if Windows continues to grow and gain traction I think our percentage would just align directly to that. So, you can — don’t separate what we ship from what’s basically in the marketplace. We’re leadership capability on all of the OSs now.
As far as what is the price point, again, it reflects fairly close to what the marketplace is. You see us in systems below $100 now. The majority of the systems are say $125 to $250, somewhere in there. And then you see us in some of the upper end systems, $250 to $400. And so — but the majority is in that — I’d call it, $125 to probably $250 range.
Mark Lipacis – Jefferies: And then as a follow-up, did you discuss, do you expect to have the Android tablets ramping in volume this quarter? Are we going to be — should we expect to see the Bay Trail Android products at Computex this year? When do we really see the material ramp in the Android products?
Brian M. Krzanich – CEO: Sure, absolutely. You can go out to the store today and buy an Android — in fact, I’d love you to go buy one of the 40 million we’ll sell. But, yes, you can buy Android. It continues to ramp through this quarter. At Computex, we’ll show a series of Android and Windows-based tablets. And they just continue to ramp through this year. But they’re on shelves today. I saw them in the store this weekend.
Stacy J. Smith – EVP and CFO: The majority of the 5 million units, for example, are Android. Just as Brian said, it more or less follows the distribution between Windows and Android.
Intel is ready to push big in smartphones next year with its winning multimode voice and data, multiband LTE modem technology capable of global LTE roaming via a single SKU
To play it safe the chip is still produced by TSMC (as with Infineon bought in 2011 by Intel) and could continue so in the foreseeable future.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem is now shipping in the 4G version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1) – available in Asia and Europe.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 provides multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) voice and data with simultaneous support for 15 LTE bands for global LTE roaming.
- Intel announces PCIe M.2 LTE wireless data modules expected to ship in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook™ designs from leading manufacturers.
IDF 2013: Intel CEO shows 22 nanometer-based, LTE smartphone [ITworld YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]
From: Intel’s CEO Discusses Q3 2013 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Oct 15, 2013]
In the Wireless business, I was pleased with our progress on LTE. Our multimode data modem is now available in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. By the end of the year, we expect to have voice-over-LTE versions available for customers and our second generation of voice-over-LTE product with carrier aggregation will be available in the first half of next year.
See also: Intel® XMM™ 7160 Slim Modem [ARK | Your Source for Intel® Product Information, June 23, 2012]
Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Scale & Integration- Addressing the Global Market for LTE [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]
Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Intel’s Approach to Wireless Innovation [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]
Background information: Ask the Experts: Intel’s Aicha Evans Talks Wireless and Answers Your Questions [AnandTech, Aug 15, 2013]
Intel proves that it has what it takes when it comes to LTE [By Michael Thelander on Spirent blogs, March 19, 2013]
Signals Research Group (SRG) recently completed its eighth collaborative effort with Spirent Communications and its sixteenth “Chips and Salsa” report on cellular chipsets. In the most recent collaboration, we brought together LTE baseband chipsets from eight different suppliers (Altair Semiconductor, GCT, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Renesas Mobile, Samsung, and Sequans) to determine who has the best performing chipset, based on a series of 32 test scenarios that we derived from industry accepted 3GPP test specifications. SRG facilitated the benchmark study and was responsible for reviewing and analyzing the results. Spirent provided engineering support, and most importantly, the use of its 8100 test system to conduct the automated and highly repeatable tests on each chipset.
The most recent study marked our second benchmark study of LTE chipsets. Previous studies with Spirent have included HSPA+, HSDPA, UMTS call reliability and A-GNSS. To date, we are still recognized as the only independent provider of baseband chipset performance benchmark studies in the industry. And as a testament to our long-standing relationship, the companies that participated in the most recent round are already clamoring for the next round to take place. The companies that came out on top want to prove that they are not a one trick pony and the companies that came out toward the bottom want redemption. The few companies that were not ready to participate in the last study are also ready to enter the competition. There was a reason that we titled the report, “Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked” since some of these companies have been noticeably absent from prior studies due to the uncertain viability of their chipsets.
The results from the most recent round are interesting, to say the least. First, Spirent and SRG were able to bring together numerous pre-commercial and commercial chipsets. I imagine that most people were surprised that Intel actually had a working LTE chipset, let alone find out that it was the best performing chipset (more on this facet in a bit). Additionally, the list included pre-commercial solutions from Sequans, Renesas Mobile and NVIDIA. It would be virtually impossible for any organization to assemble such a line-up!
As I hinted in the title, Intel came out on top – beating the likes of perennial favorite and San Diego native, Qualcomm. To be fair, the results were incredibly close with only a few percentage points separating the two companies, but Intel’s results were better and close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We could add another activity to the list, but this blog is intended to be family friendly. And if you are assuming that Qualcomm came in second place then you might want to rethink your assumption – nothing we wrote in this blog suggests that they did.
In hindsight, Intel’s results should not be all that surprising since it highly leverages the Infineon 3G platform and stellar RF performance that has since evolved to support LTE under the Intel moniker. Infineon, I note, was always a strong performer in our HSPA+/HSDPA chipset studies and it was in the original 3G iPhone until Qualcomm won the slot, in part due to its ability to support the requirements of a certain North American operator whose name rhymes with Horizon Direless. Intel may have lost the ARM war, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Separate from the overall results, I once again saw some pretty big performance differences among all of the chipsets, in particular for the more challenging fading scenarios. As a side note, in addition to the more basic static channel conditions, our 32 test scenarios included various simulated fading channels (EVA5, EPA5, ETU70, and ETU300), SNR values, and MIMO correlation factors to create a range of challenging, albeit realistic, scenarios. In many cases the variance between the top-performing and bottom-performing LTE baseband chipset exceeded twenty percentage points. Even for the top-performing LTE baseband chipsets, it was clearly evident in the results that some chipsets did better in some scenarios than in other scenarios.
Now that we’ve set the bar for how chipsets should perform, I expect to witness material improvements in our next round, which we have planned for later this year. Just to keep everyone honest, I plan to change the test scenarios for the next round. In the interim, Spirent and SRG are investigating some additional benchmark studies that we can do together. These studies could include the industry’s first independent over-the-air (OTA) testing of leading platforms in commercial devices (imagine Samsung S III versus Apple iPhone 5) as well as our second round of A-GNSS testing.
If you are interested in the published report, please feel free to visit our website at www.signalsresearch.com where you can download a report preview.
Click here for more information on testing LTE chipset and mobile device performance.
Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform
Multimode LTE & DC-HSPA
Based on Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 digital and analog baseband with integrated Power Management Unit and Intel® SMARTi™ transceiver for 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is the most compact solution for LTE and DC-HSPA smartphones for worldwide deployment.
View the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform brief > [June 23, 2012]
- LTE capabilities of 150Mbps and 50Mbps (Cat 4)
- HSDPA and HSUPA capabilities of 42Mbps and 11.5Mbps with EDGE multislot class 33
- Multi-band LTE, penta-band 3G, quad-band EDGE for worldwide connectivity
- Excellent power consumption and extremely small PCB footprint
- Hardware and software interfaces to applications processors or to a PC as a wireless modem
From the announcement in February 2012 via product launch in Q1’13 to first commercial delivery in October 2013:
From: Intel Expands Smartphone Portfolio: New Customers, Products, Software and Services [press release, Feb 27, 2012]
Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2000.
The Z2000 is aimed squarely at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151.The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering great graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android* games. It also supports the Intel® XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G, offering flexibility on data/voice calling plans to save on costs. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.
Building on these 32nm announcements, Otellini discussed how the Atom™ processor will outpace Moore’s Law and announced that Intel will ship 22nm SoCs for carrier certification next year, and is already in development on 14nm SoC technology.
In 2011, Intel shipped in more than 400 million cellular platforms. Building on this market segment position, Intel announced the XMM 7160, an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G platform with support for 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink, and support for HSPA+ 42Mbps. Intel will sample the product in the second quarter with customer designs scheduled to launch by the end of 2012.
Intel also announced that it is sampling the XMM 6360 platform, a new slim modem 3G HSPA+ solution supporting 42Mbps downlink and 11.5Mbps uplink for small form factors.
From: Intel Accelerates Mobile Computing Push [press release, Feb 24, 2013]
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver a leading low-power, global modem solution that works across multiple bands, modes, regions and devices.
The Intel® XMM™ 7160 is one of the world’s smallest2 and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions (LTE / DC-HSPA+ / EDGE), supporting multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and Ultrabook™ systems. The 7160 global modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, more than any other in-market solution. It also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life, and global roaming in a single SKU.
“The 7160 is a well-timed and highly competitive 4G LTE solution that we expect will meet the growing needs of the emerging global 4G market,” [Hermann] Eul[, Intel vice president and co-general manager of the Mobile and Communications Group] said. “Independent analysts have shown our solution to be world class and I’m confident that our offerings will lead Intel into new multi-comm solutions. With LTE connections projected to double over the next 12 months to more than 120 million connections, we believe our solution will give developers and service providers a single competitive offering while delivering to consumers the best global 4G experience. Building on this, Intel will also accelerate the delivery of new advanced features to be timed with future advanced 4G network deployments.”
Intel is currently shipping its single mode 4G LTE data solution and will begin multimode shipments later in the first half of this year. The company is also optimizing its LTE solutions concurrently with its SoC roadmap to ensure the delivery of leading-edge low-power combined solutions to the marketplace.
From: Signals Ahead: Chips And Salsa XVI – Sweet 16 And Never Been Benchmarked [Feb 25, 2013]
In December 2011 we published the industry’s first performance benchmark study of LTE baseband modem chipsets. In that study we tested five commercially-procured chipsets from four chipset suppliers. We tested two different Qualcomm chipsets. Fast forward fourteen months and we are finally out with the results from our most recent study in which three companies vie for top honors. Intel’s pre-commercial solution was the top-performing solution that we tested.
This report is our sixteenth Chips and Salsa report since 2004, with the overwhelming majority of these reports focused specifically on performance benchmarking. Over the years, we’ve benchmarked UMTS (call reliability) HSDPA, HSPA+, Mobile WiMAX, A-GNSS and LTE chipsets, with the results always providing the industry with a fully independent and objective assessment of how the chipsets compare with each other for the given set of evaluation criteria. For the eighth time, we have collaborated with Spirent Communications to get access to their 8100 test system and engineering support in order to obtain highly objective results.
The significant advantage of conducting lab-based tests is that we can easily replicate and repeat each test scenario in an automated fashion, thus ensuring a common and consistent set of test scenarios for each device/chipset that we tested. And with the Spirent 8100 test system that we used for the tests, we know that we went with a test platform that is widely recognized and being used in several early LTE deployments. SRG takes full responsibility for the analysis and conclusions associated with this benchmarking exercise.
In the most recent round of chipset testing, we tested a seemingly staggering number of solutions – we tested solutions from eight different chipset suppliers (reference Table 1). We attempted to test a solution from HiSilicon, but through no fault of their own we ran into some difficulties and faced time constraints with MWC just around the corner. We reserve the right to publish their results in the near future and provide updated rankings. Many of these solutions were pre-commercial chipsets and/or the chipsets that came directly from the chipset suppliers. This approach ensured that the results that we are providing in this report are very forward looking and highly differentiated. It would be virtually impossible for any single organization to get access to all of these chipsets and replicate this study.
Worth noting, we personally invited all companies with LTE chipset aspirations to participate in this study, and given our history in doing these tests, companies recognize the importance of supporting our efforts. Needless to say, if we didn’t include a company’s LTE chipset in this study then they probably don’t have a solution that is ready to be benchmarked against their peers. It is one thing to issue a press release, demonstrate a working PHY Layer without any upper protocol layers, or show a chipset operating under ideal conditions. It is another situation all together to put your proverbial money where your mouth is and allow a third party to benchmark your solution and publish the results for all to read. Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked!
As previously alluded to in this report, we used throughput as the primary criteria for evaluating the chipsets. We recognize that device manufacturers and operators use other objective and subjective criteria to select their chipset partners. The criteria includes support for multiple RF bands and legacy technologies, power consumption, time to market, price, engineering support, and the inclusion of peripherals (e.g., application processor, connectivity solutions, etc.). However, no one can dispute the importance of throughput and the ability of the chipset to make the most efficient use of available network resources.
We subjected the chipsets to 32 different test scenarios that combined a mix of fading profiles (Static Channel, EPA5, EVA5, ETU70 and ETU300) and transmission modes (Transmit Diversity, Open Loop MIMO and Closed Loop MIMO). All of the chipsets that we tested performed quite well with the less challenging test scenarios but we observed a fairly large separation of results with the more challenging test scenarios. In many cases the performance difference was in excess of 20% between the top- and bottom-performing solutions.
Based on our highly objective evaluation criteria, Intel had the top-performing solution by a very slight margin. This result may surprise some readers, but we point out that the Infineon 3G solution was always a strong contender in our previous benchmark studies. That scenario is in stark contrast to its application processor which has continuously struggled to be competitive and to attract market share. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. All this and more in this issue of Signals Ahead.
From: Innovation, Reinvention on Intel® Architecture Fuel Wave of 2-in-1 Devices, New Mobile Computing Experiences [press release, Jun 3, 2013]
Accelerating Fast: Tablets, Smartphones and LTE
Intel’s 22nm low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture is enabling the company to accelerate and significantly enhance its tablet and smartphone offerings.
For tablets on shelves for holiday 2013, Intel’s next-generation, 22nm quad-core Atom SoC (“Bay Trail-T”) will deliver superior graphics and more than two times the CPU performance of the current generation. It will also enable sleek designs with 8 or more hours3 of battery life and weeks of standby, as well as support Android* and Windows 8.1*.
For the first time, [Executive Vice President Tom] Kilroy demonstrated Intel’s 4G LTE multimode solution in conjunction with the next-generation 22nm quad-core Atom SoC for tablets. The Intel® XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest4and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions and will support global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
With a number of phones with Intel silicon inside having shipped across more than 30 countries, Kilroy previewed what’s coming. He showed for the first time a smartphone reference design platform based on “Merrifield,” Intel’s next-generation 22nm Intel Atom SoC for smartphones that will deliver increased performance and battery life. The platform includes an integrated sensor hub for personalized services, as well as capabilities for data, device and privacy protection.
From: Intel Readies ‘Bay Trail’ for Holiday 2013 Tablets and 2-in-1 Devices [press release, Jun 4, 2013]
At an industry event in Taipei today, Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, unveiled new details about the company’s forthcoming Intel® Atom™ processor-based SoC for tablets (“Bay Trail-T”) due in market for holiday this year.
Eul also spoke to recent momentum and announcements around the smartphone business and demonstrated the Intel® XMM 7160 multimode 4G LTE solution, now in final interoperability testing (IOT) with Tier 1 service providers across North America, Europe and Asia.
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver leading low-power, global modem solutions that work across multiple bands, regions and devices.
Intel’s XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions. The modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, and also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Eul demonstrated the solution by showcasing a Bay Trail-based tablet over an LTE network connection, and said that Intel will begin shipments of multimode data 4G LTE in the coming weeks following final IOT with Tier 1 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.
Intel announced that the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2560 (“Clover Trail+”). Additionally, the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch tablet will come equipped with Intel’s XMM 6262 3G modem solution or Intel’s XMM 7160 4G LTE solution.
From: New Intel CEO, President Outline Product Plans, Future of Computing Vision to ‘Mobilize’ Intel and Developers [press release, Sept 10, 2013]
In high-speed 4G wireless data communications, [Intel CEO Brian] Krzanich said Intel’s new LTE solution provides a compelling alternative for multimode, multiband 4G connectivity, removing a critical barrier to Intel’s progress in the smartphone market segment. Intel is now shipping a multimode chip, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 modem, which is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband solutions for global LTE roaming.
As an example of the accelerating development pace under Intel’s new management team, Krzanich said that the company’s next-generation LTE product, the Intel® XMM™ 7260 modem, is now under development. Expected to ship in 2014, the Intel XMM 7260 modem will deliver LTE-Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, timed with future advanced 4G network deployments. Krzanich showed the carrier aggregation feature of the Intel XMM 7260 modem successfully doubling throughput speeds during his keynote presentation.
He also demonstrated a smartphone platform featuring both the Intel XMM 7160 LTE solution and Intel’s next-generation Intel® Atom™ SoC for 2014 smartphones and tablets codenamed “Merrifield.” Based on the Silvermont microarchitecture, “Merrifield” will deliver increased performance, power-efficiency and battery life over Intel’s current-generation offering.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem is now shipping in the 4G version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1) – available in Asia and Europe.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 provides multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) voice and data with simultaneous support for 15 LTE bands for global LTE roaming.
- Intel announces PCIe M.2 LTE wireless data modules expected to ship in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook™ designs from leading manufacturers.
Intel Corporation today announced the commercial availability of its multimode, multiband 4G LTE solution. The Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is featured in the LTE version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1)*, now available in Asia and Europe.
Intel has also expanded its portfolio of 4G LTE connectivity solutions, introducing PCIe (PCI Express) M.2 modules for 4G connected tablets, Ultrabooks™ and 2 in 1 devices as well as an integrated radio frequency (RF) transceiver module, the Intel® SMARTi™ m4G. These new products make it simple, efficient and cost effective for device manufacturers to add high performance wireless connectivity to their product designs.
“As LTE networks expand at a rapid pace, 4G connectivity will be an expected ingredient in devices from phones to tablets as well as laptops,” said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group. “Intel is providing customers an array of options for fast, reliable LTE connectivity while delivering a competitive choice and design flexibility for the mobile ecosystem.”
The commercial availability of the Intel XMM 7160 solution follows successful interoperability testing with major infrastructure vendors and tier-one operators across Asia, Europe and North America. The Intel XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode, multiband LTE solutions for phones and tablets. The solution provides seamless connectivity across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks,supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously and is voice-over LTE (VoLTE) capable. It features a highly configurable RF architecture, running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Intel offers a broad portfolio of mobile platform solutions including SoCs, cost-optimized integrated circuits, reference designs and feature-rich software stacks supporting 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. Building on the Intel XMM 7160 platform, Intel today announced two multimode LTE solutions that pave the way for 4G connected devices in a variety of form factors.
New Intel PCIe M.2 LTE Modules and Intel SMARTi m4G Solution
Intel introduced Intel PCIe M.2 LTE modules, which are small, cost-effective, embedded modules in a standardized form factor for adding multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) data connectivity across a variety of device types. The Intel M.2 module supports peak downlink speeds of 100Mbps over LTE. The modules support up to 15 LTE frequency bands for global roaming. In addition, those modules also feature support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) based on the Intel CG1960 GNSS solution.
For manufacturers, the M.2 module makes it simple to add 4G connectivity to their designs while reducing integration and certification expenses, and improving time-to-market. The M.2 module is currently undergoing interoperability testing with tier-one global service providers. Intel M.2-based modules will soon be available from Huawei*, Sierra Wireless* and Telit*. These modules are expected to ship globally in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook designs from leading manufacturers.
In addition to the new M.2 LTE module, Intel also offers the new Intel SMARTi m4G – a highly integrated radio transceiver module. The Intel SMARTi m4G was developed in cooperation with Murata* and integrates the Intel SMARTi 4G transceiver with most front-end components in one LTCC (low temperature co-fired ceramic) package. When paired with the Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 baseband, manufacturers can meet the certification requirements of service providers with minimal design cycles in an easy-to-place, low-profile solution. With the Intel SMARTi m4G, the overall component count can be reduced by more than 40 components and the required PCB area is reduced up to 20 percent.
Intel plans to deliver next-generation LTE solutions, including the Intel® XMM™ 7260 in 2014. The Intel XMM 7260 adds LTE Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, faster speeds and support for both TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA. More information about Intel’s mobile communications solutions is available at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/wireless-products/mobile-communications.html.
See also: Intel Talks about Multimode LTE Modems – XMM7160 and Beyond [AnandTech, Aug 20, 2013] from which I will include here:
XMM7160 is still built on TSMC’s 40nm CMOS process, and its SMARTi 4G transceiver is built on 65nm at TSMC, but Intel still claims it has a 20–30% power advantage for modem and RF compared to a competitor smartphone platform, though it wouldn’t say which. … The transition of modem to Intel Architecture (away from two different DSP architectures) also remains to be seen, and I’m told it will be two to three years before Intel’s modems are ready to intercept the Intel fabrication roadmap and get built on Intel silicon instead of at TSMC. …
From: Mobile Wireless M2M Value Proposition Product Portfolio and Roadmap for M2M 2G-4G [Intel presentation, Nov 26, 2012]
Allwinner in mainland China moved first to quad-core Cortex-A7 with the A31 SoC introduced with the launch of the first two tablet products, Onda V972 and V812, on December 5, 2012 (and delivered from December 24, 2012 on in mainland China). That prompted a direction only reaction that Qualcomm quad-core Cortex-A7 SoCs with Adreno 305 and 1080p coming for the high-volume global market and China [Dec 9, 2012]), with sampling just planned for Q2’13 and only now publishing a completely redesigned 2013 roadmap according to Qualcomm moving ahead of Allwinner et al. in CPU and GPU while trying to catch up with Allwinner in Ultra HD [Jan 12 – Feb 20, 2013]. The #2 SoC vendor MediaTek from Taiwan had already plans to move to Cortex-A7 so was able to react much more quickly with MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery [Dec 12, 2012]. Such a delivery first happened with Micromax A116 in India (from February 14, 2013 on) which targeted the delivery of Samsung Galaxy Grand (from January 21, 2013 on) based on a very much ‘2012 vintage’ SoC from Broadcom still using a dual core Cortex-A9 driven CPU.
So here we have an interesting possibility of comparing a ‘2013 vintage’ (quad-core Cortex-A7 at 28nm etc.) phablet solution with a ‘2012 vintage’ (dual core Cortex-A9 at 40nm LP etc.) one. In addition from a vendor (MediaTek) trying to agressively conquer the global market after the Greater China one by going against the global #1 heavyweight Samsung. Such an analysis would, no doubt, reveal quite interesting facts not only about the current state of the market but about the future market as well.
First here is an overall comparison video from India:
Micromax Canvas HD A116 VS Samsung Galaxy Grand – Gaming, Benchmarks, Camera, Performance, Display [intellectdigest YouTube channel, Feb 16, 2013]
Next there is a detailed specification comparison is in the table somewhat below.
Before that, however, note that to do such a comparison one needs to invest more than one day of time which shows quite well that in the consumer computing space customers will hardly be able to recognize the really deciding differentiators(in the same way as this happens with consumer products in general). I am particularly dismayed by the fact that even from such a table one will hardly recognize the most important differentiator that from power consumption point of view the Galaxy Grand is ways better that the Micromax A116 (440 hours of standby time vs. 174 hours, and 10 hours 10 minutes of talk time vs. 5 hours).
Then the display quality difference discussed first in the above video is far less than one would conclude from the below table (TFT LCD at 800×480 resolution on Grand and IPS at 1280×720 on Micromax A116) as evidenced by the excerpted video image included below (taken az [1:15] with A116 on the left and Grand on the right, for both the brightness set to maximum for the comparison). One of the reasons for that is the mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) technology from Samsung going back to 2003 with TVs. In fact MediaTek just now came up with a kind of similar technology of its own (see in the end of Section 1) called MiraVision. Immediately after that (in the whole Section 2) I included all available material about both the mDNIe and its “parent from TVs”, DNIe in order to make possible to understand the maturity of Samsung solution vs. the MediaTek one. And there are definitely other “tricks” (additional layers etc.) which are also essential for making the Grand screen a true masterpice of display engineering.
Click on the image below or this link in order to go to a clickable version of the table!
Click on the image above or this link in order to go to a clickable version of the table!
Finally, in addition to the already mentioned first two sections of the detailed analysis there is a Section 3 in the end devoted to the Broadcom SoC technology used in the Samsung Galaxy Grand
More information for this introductory part:
– Micromax Canvas HD A116 [Micromax microsite, Feb 13, 2013]
– MediaTek High Performance Quad Core Solution Empowers Micromax A116 Canvas HD [MediaTek press release, Jan 22, 2013]
– Micromax Canvas HD demo Video [micromaxtube YouTube channel, Feb 19, 2013]
– Micromax launches Canvas HD to strengthen phablet leadership [Micromax press release, Jan 21, 2013]
… it is the ideal phone for the young generation who is always on the lookout for better, faster and savvier smart phones on the go!
Commenting on the launch and association with MediaTek, Mr. Deepak Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer, Micromax said, “At Micromax, we constantly strive to innovate and develop great technological experiences for our consumers. Today’s launch marks our association with MediaTek to bring forth our first quad core phone in this segment, offering consumers a great user experience with latest features and added functionality.” He further added, “We are excited with the success of Canvas 2, which has clearly established Micromax as number one player in the new 5” phablet category in India. We are looking forward to similar success with the new phone being unveiled today.”
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. Finbarr Moynihan, General Manager – Business Development at MediaTek, said, “In less than 2 years of launching our first smartphone chipset, MediaTek’s shipments in this category have grown more than ten times, with 110 million units in 2012. As the world’s first commercialized quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC, the MT6589 is an innovative solution that accelerates product development, simplifies differentiation, and offers the best possible experience that mid to high-end smart device owners desire. Micromax shares our core philosophy of pushing the bar on innovation and bringing it within the reach of the masses. We are delighted that India’s leading youth mobile brand has chosen MediaTek to power its top-end mobile smartphones.”
About Micromax [the 12th largest handset manufacturer in the world]:
Micromax started as an IT software company in the year 2000 working on embedded platforms. In 2008, it entered mobile handset business and by 2010 it became one of the largest Indian domestic mobile handsets company by offering unique affordable innovations. … The brand’s product portfolio embraces more than 60 models today, ranging from feature rich, dual – SIM phones, 3G Android smartphones, tablets, LED televisions and data cards. The company has many firsts to its credit when it comes to the mobile handset market including the 30-day battery backup, dual SIM phones, QWERTY keypads, dual reception mode handsets, universal remote control mobile phones etc. Micromax has presence in more than 500 districts through 100,000 retail outlets in India. The company has global business presence spread across Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, Maldives, UAE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Afghanistan and Brazil.
– Samsung Galaxy Grand (i9082) full review hands on video [mobiscrub YouTube channel, Feb 4, 2013]
[2:06] The display of the Grand is a 5 inch Super Clear LCD with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. When compared to the Super AMOLED screen in the Galaxy Note II or the S III, the screen does look less saturated, however, color rendition is great & looks very natural. Wide viewing angles & good outdoor visibility lets you watch movies & read content easily. [2:42]
The Galaxy Grand camera is an 8 MP sensor with autofocus & LED Flash. The camera also features BIS (Backside Illumination Sensor) which basically takes great shots even in low light condition. The shutter speed of the Galaxy Grand camera is quite nice as well but not as fast as the Note II or the S III.
Much of the smart features in the Galaxy Grand resemble to those found in the S III & Note II such as: Multi window, Smart Rotation, Smart Stay, Smart Alert, Direct call & pop up play. Obviously there is no S Pen included with the Galaxy Grand, that differentiates from the smartphone beast, the Note II.
– Samsung GALAXY Grand [Samsung Mobile Press announcement, Dec 18, 2012]
– Samsung Unveiled GALAXY Grand [Samsung Tomorrow Global, Dec 18, 2012]
– Galaxy Grand GT-i9082 [Samsung India microsite, Jan 22, 2013]
– Samsung Galaxy Grand Redefines Smartphone Experience for All [Samsung India press release, Jan 22, 2013]
Even though it supports a massive 5.0″ screen with WVGA TFT display powered with mDNIe [mobile Digital Natural Image engine]technology, the device is incredibly slim and comes with an ergonomic design which makes is comfortable to hold. The vivid display provides an expansive viewing experience rendering messaging, multimedia and Web content in brilliant color and clarity.
Samsung GT-i9082 Galaxy Grand [Duos]
– Micromax Canvas HD A116 Detailed In Depth Video Review And Comparison With Galaxy Grand [Intellect Digest, Feb 17, 2013]
– List of Top 5 Phablets under Rs 20k – Feb 2013 [My PhoneFactor.in, Feb 20, 2013]
– Micromax A116 Canvas HD performance review vs. other quad-core phones [Thinkdigit, Feb 15, 2013]
Section 1 MT6589
Quad-Core Cortex-A7 1GHz+CPU Smartphone Platform [MediaTek product page, Dec 27, 2012]
The world’s first commercialized quad-core SoC available for mid to high end smartphone and tablets market
The Coolest quad core solution- MT6589 is the world’s first commercialized quad-core SoC (AP+BB) available for mid to high end smartphone and tablets market, the MT6589 integrates a power-efficient Cortex™-A7 CPU subsystem from ARM, PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies, and MediaTek’s advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem. The MT6589 is delivered in advanced 28nm process technology, creating a universal platform that delivers powerful performance at a very competitive price.
Innovative, Advanced Dual-SIM solution
Dual-SIM and Dual-Active functionality frees users to seamlessly make and receive calls on two SIM cards at the same time.
High-end Multimedia Capabilities
13MP camera with integrated ISP, 1080p playback and recording at 30fps, and enhanced image processing for DTV-grade image quality
Full HD (1920×1080) [1080p] LCD support for razor sharp visuals
Best-in-class MediaTek Technology
Integrated leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo, providing 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM radio
MT6589 – The Coolest Quad-Core SoC Platform – Thermal Benchmark [mediateklab YouTube channel, Dec 28, 2012]
– MediaTek Strengthens Global Position with World’s First Quad-Core Cortex-A7 System on a Chip – MT6589 [MediaTek press release, Dec 11, 2012]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, announced the launch of the MT6589, the world’s first commercialized quad-core System on a Chip (SoC), available for mid to high-end Android smartphones and tablets worldwide. The new quad-core SoC integrates MediaTek’s advanced multi-mode UMTS Rel. 8/HSPA+/TD-SCDMA modem, a power-efficient quad-core Cortex™-A7 CPU subsystem from ARM, PowerVR™ Series5XT GPU from Imagination Technologies, and is delivered in 28nm process technology. As a leader in Dual-SIM technology, the MT6589 is also the world’s first HSPA+ smartphone platform supporting Dual-SIM, Dual-Active functionality to address increasing multi-SIM demand around the world. The integration of these compelling features makes the MT6589 a universal platform that delivers premium multimedia capabilities with extremely low power consumption for an outstanding user experience. It also enables handset makers to reduce time to market, simplify product development and manage product differentiation in a more cost effective way, for any market worldwide.
The MT6589 also supports Miracast™ technology for multi-screen content sharing and pre-integrates MediaTek’s leading 4-in-1 connectivity combo, which supports 802.11n Wi-Fi, BT4.0, GPS and FM.
The MediaTek MT6589 is currently being incorporated into smart devices by MediaTek’s leading global customers, and the first models based on this new chipset are expected to ship commercially in Q1 2013.
– Lenovo S3000 uses MediaTek quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 [Charbax YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2013]
– MediaTek Powers Lenovo’s Premium Multimedia IdeaTab S6000 Tablet [MediaTek press release, Feb 25, 2013]
This year, at Mobile World Congress, MediaTek’s quad core SoC will be powering three new Android tablets launched by Lenovo, led by the Lenovo IdeaTab S6000. Built on the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, the S6000 is a sleek (8.6mm) and light (560g), 10” tablet which leverages quad-core processing to deliver performance, connectivity, and clarity.
Jeffrey Ju, GM of Smartphone Business Unit of MediaTek. “Our aim is to democratize the smartphone market by enabling the smart ecosystem to make high performance products at affordable prices for the mainstream market. This in turn will be the catalyst for the smart age as customers will demand greater device integration to share and view their entertainment and information seamlessly across multiple screens – requiring a sophisticated smart ecosystem that only MediaTek’s SoC total solutions can drive.”
– How MediaTek helps lower mobile device power consumption? [mediateklab YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2013]
– MiraVision makes Full-HD support for mobile devices a reality to everyone [MediaTek press release, Feb 25, 2013]
MediaTek Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions announced today the availability of “MiraVision,” the world’s most comprehensive suite of display picture quality technology, for its smartphone and tablet platforms.
The joint hardware and software suite of display picture quality technology – MiraVision – aims to strengthen Mediatek’s leading position in the smart age, where consumers can expect the same, high quality of the visual experience across various display resolutions. Leveraging MediaTek’s leading display picture quality technology developed in digital TV (DTV), MiraVision is designed to deliver seamless full high-definition display picture quality on mobile devices. It empowers handset and tablets makers to provide the best visual quality on the mobile platform with reduced time to market, simplified product development and differentiation for consumers everywhere.
MiraVision is equipped with specific features that enable users to enjoy DTV-grade display picture quality on their mobile devices. With MiraVision, contents will be displayed more vivid and saturated with more details, providing a far richer and more colorful viewing experience previously only available on a high-end DTV. Furthermore, specifically tailored for mobile devices, the all-important power efficiency has been addressed and boosted through the Ambient-Light Adaptive Luma (AAL) technology, which intelligently adjusts the panel backlight in response to the ambient light intensity and the displayed contents to simultaneously optimize battery life and viewing experience. The combination of enhanced sharpness, richer color and adaptive Luma technology means true seamless quality across multiple devices is closer than ever before.
“The future is more than just TVs or smartphones alone,” commented Jeffrey Ju, GM of Smartphone Business Unit of MediaTek, “our focus is on innovative solutions that enhance the chip, driving speed to market at premium performance up for our customers while ensuring the seamless cross-screen experience across the array of devices through which users are consuming entertainment and information. We are proud to be the one who can truly integrate technologies of DTV and mobile phones/tablets in the smart age, making the premium cross-screen experience real to everyone in every market.”
This background technology from MediaTek is also available to the MT6589 as evidenced by [2:00 – 3:00] time fragment of this recorded video (at [0:56] it is explicitly said: “Miravision engine which has been included in the new MT6589 quad-core SoC”):
MiraVision: world’s leading digital TV-grade picture-quality engine for mobile devices [mediateklab YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2013]
Section 2 Samsung mDNIe [mobile Digital Natural Image engine]
Mobile Digital Natural Image Engine – mDNIe [Read a tech, June 12, 2010]
Samsung Wave display features Samsung’s mDNIe – mobile Digital Natural Image engine technology, borrowed from Samsung’s latest LCD TV and LED TV products, says the company. The mDNIe technology is said to offer better viewing angles and “super fast response.” The Wave’s display is also touted for its tempered glass and anti-smudge surface.
The Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. DNIe improves contrast, white level, picture detail and incorporates digital noise reduction to improve lower quality video inputs. The 3-line digital comb filter constantly analyzes the three dimensions of picture height, picture width, and picture changes-over-time to dramatically reduce edge image artifacts while improving transition detail. Samsung’s Cinema Smooth 3:2 pull-down film mode corrects for the artificial frames created when films are converted to DVDs. The result is a clearer image without the subtle motion artifacts caused by 24-to-30 frames per second video conversion.
Samsung’s DNIe™ technology offers digital perfection in naturally presented, crystal-clear images that uncover even the most minute detail.
Motion Optimizer: The visual data are automatically broken down into signal and noise and adjusted through a combined spatial/temporal process to eliminate noise and blurring without the slightest damage to the original signal. This guarantees the viewer a picture of astounding sharpness, whether the scene is still or moving.
Contrast Enhancer: DNIe has done away with the unwanted side-effects that conventional contrast enhancement can produce, such as noise boost-up and flicker by developing an algorithm that recognizes over 1 million criteria for applying contrast. Its detail contrast enhancement technology can automatically analyze up to 70,000 local images within a frame, treating the viewer to a picture rich in contrast even in the tiniest details.
Color optimizer: For each scene the color optimizer calculates the saturation of red, green, and blue in the input signal and adjusts it to the shades that the human eye accepts as natural. Even a conventional process like white tone enhancement produces more striking results when when used with DNIe. The end result is a palette of vivid hues and pure white tones to satisfy the most discerning viewers eye.
Detail enhancer: Many viewers complain of the unnatural effect that conventional uniform detail enhancement produces by relying on artificial amplification of the input signal. In contrast, DNIe automatically analyzes the portion to be amplified, detecting and re-processing any noise or defect to bring the viewer a startlingly sharp and lifelike image.
“Nature created DNA, but SAMSUNG developed DNIe.” Samsung Electronics Unveils New “Natural Image” Technology for Digital TV [Samsung press release, April 2003]
– Digital TVs with new DNIe technology are being put on the world market. DNIe technology can be applied to all digital TV types—LCD, PDP, projection or CRT.
– The cleanest and most natural images are produced under all viewing conditions.
– Samsung, which leads the world market in color TVs, TFT-LCDs, and color monitors, aims to do the same with digital TVs.
Samsung Electronics has developed the Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) that greatly improves the clarity and detail of images reproduced by color TVs. The company expects its technology breakthrough to elevate the Samsung brand the top of the rapidly growing world digital TV market.
On April 29, Samsung Electronics held a briefing on the new DNIe technology and digital TV business strategy. On display were PDP, LCD, projection and cathode ray tube (CRT) models supported by DNIe, which offers far greater image detail than conventional digital TVs. Samsung Electronics began its research project to improve picture quality back in 1996 and implemented it in stages. The first prototype digital TV with DNIe was ready last December. The technology can be used with all types of digital TVs to re-create natural colors that truly please. Last year, Samsung sold more color TVs than any other manufacturer, and now the company is ready to do the same in the digital TV market.
DNIe technology optimizes the moving picture image and color, while the contrast ratio and fine details are amplified. These four processes automatically and precisely capture broadcast signals in all formats, from analog to high definition. This high clarity, high detail image technology provides the best possible picture quality under all conditions.
Last December, Samsung Electronics completed development of the four processes. The next four months were applying the new technology to CRT TVs (29”-32”), DLP projection TVs (43” to 61”), CRT projection TVs (43” to 52”) PDP TVs (42” to 63”) and LCD TVs (32” to 40”) and commercializing the new products.
Significance of New DNIe Technology
Samsung Electronics’ high clarity, high detail image technology is the product of a determined effort to improve picture quality. This approach is far more than a simple picture improvement based on analog signal reception. Rather, the new technology produces complete image quality; any signal input comes out cleaner and more natural.
DNIe can completely eliminate blurring from movement or image prolongation. A deep contrast can also be achieved. What is more, the finest detail appears sharp, while the vivid natural color is most pleasing to the eye.
The Samsung Electronics briefing clearly demonstrated the superiority of the company’s latest technology over conventional technology. The company has received 85 foreign and domestic patents related to DNIe, including a basic technology patent for contrast reproduction.
DNIe Technology in a Nutshell
Samsung’s unique DNIe technology encompasses four functions that analyze all signal input, from analog to high definition, in stages. The volume of noise in the signal is detected and the signal level is classified according into analog, SD or HD and then optimized accordingly.
Motion Optimizer: Processes Noise More Completely than Ever Before
This noise processing technology integrates temporal and spatial concepts to ensure clear images even when the motion is very fast.
Contrast Enhancer: For a Deeper Contrast
This technology employs a contrast ratio of one million or more and a new algorithm that can reproduce the optimal contrast to provide a deep and rich image quality.
Detail Enhancer: Complete Images, True to the Finest Detail
A vastly improved technology for automatically analyzing the picture signal reproduces images in amazing detail, resulting in more lifelike video.
Color Optimizer: Vivid, Natural Colors
The video signals being generated are analyzed and the quantities of reds, greens and blues are calculated to provide the colors most natural to the human eye.
FAQs: What is DNIe [Samsung, Oct 10, 2012]
Samsung’s Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe TM) is a set of four advanced image processing technologies that makes digital TVs, including various types of displays such as LCD, PDP, projection, and CRT, produce the clearest, most detailed, and yet most natural-looking images ever.
The four technologies used by DNIe are:
Motion Optimiser: eliminates noise, even in moving pictures
Contrast Enhancer: increases the contrast
Detail Enhancer: sharpens pictures and makes details visible
Color Optimiser: provides natural and vibrant colours
The secret of DNIe TM begins with an Intelligent Analyser that analyses any kind of input signal to optimise the picture quality. By analysing the frequency characteristics of the input signal, the Analyser automatically detects the amount of noise in the signal, identifies the source level as analogue, SD, or HD, and even determines whether it has been scaled.
Through this analysis of the input signal at the first stage of the DNIe TM process, the Intelligent Analyser ensures that the optimal adjustments is made throughout the remaining four stages to the production of the final output.
DNIe technology is not only suitable for all usual input signals for television reception today, such as analogue, cable, satellite and digital, it also works with the input signals of DVD, camcorders and game computers.
DNIeTM R&D History
Progress in picture quality enhancement has been achieved through sustained research and investment at Samsung, beginning in 1996 with an independent project. In 1997, Samsung’s project developed a noise reduction function for the image enhancement of CRT TVs.
In 2000, Samsung embarked on a new picture quality enhancement project and confirmed its potential for production. By 2001, the fruits of these research efforts had laid the technological foundations for the birth of Samsung’s full-fledged image enhancement algorithm.
In March 2002, the basic version of Samsung’s unique DNIe technology was ready. At last it was possible to obtain optimal picture quality with signals ranging from RF all the way up to HD. The development of DNIe was completed by 2002, and early 2003 this radical new technology caught the eye of the world in a successful demo at a show in Las Vegas.
For more information on (DNIe) Digital Natural Image engine click Here
DNIe – Digital Natural Image engine [Birds-Eye.Net, Apr 3, 2011]
DNIe, or Digital Natural Image engine, is a “natural image” technology introduced by Samsung in 2003. Originally developed as part of a concerted effort by Samsung to improve television picture quality on non-high-definition-televisions, the DNIe chip is now used in Samsung’s plasma and high definition televisions (HDTV). DNIe makes input signals sharper, clearer and more lifelike. Its advanced image processors help to create true-to-life colors and high contrast, while pretty much eliminating digital artifacts.
DNIe offers better detail than conventional televisions by using four proprietary processes that optimize and enhance image quality and sound: a Motion Optimizer that is a noise processing technology used to eliminate blurring and noise in fast moving images and thus producing a more natural-looking motion; a Contrast Enhancer that offers rich details and image quality through brightness and contrast levels that are enhanced for deeper, richer blacks with greater detail, and more natural whites; a Detail Enhancer that automatically analyzes the picture signal elements in order to produce sharper detail, clearer image separation and more natural edge transition; and a Color Optimizer that analyzes the video signals being generated so that the quantities of reds, greens, and blues are calculated to provide colors with a more lifelike realism, where whites are more accurate, and skin tones are given a more natural hue. DNIe also offers Samsung’s patented “My Color Control” technology that the user to control specific colors without affecting the whole screen, providing six color-control selections: white, red, pink, yellow, green and blue, so the user can adjust a color to their liking.
Other Related Definitions for DNIe
“The secret of DNIe TM begins with an Intelligent Analyzer that analyzes any kind of input signal to optimize the picture quality. By analyzing the frequency characteristics of the input signal, the Analyzer automatically detects the amount of noise in the signal, identifies the source level as analogue, SD, or HD, and even determines whether it has been scaled.” [Samsung]
“The SAMSUNG DNIe vision is an image enhancement algorithm with remarkable engines that work in tandem and individually to improve the visual quality. This technology from SAMSUNG that spells the end of conventional television.” [Samsung]
“SAMSUNG’s DNIe Pro (Digital Natural Image engine) ensures the clearest, most natural images imaginable. Colour and motion are optimised and the contrast and detail are enhanced to ensure unprecedented image quality.” [Samsung]
“Samsung’s proprietary technology, DNIe – Digital Natural Image engine – is the secret to stunning HDTV picture quality. DNIe optimizes six different elements of image quality such as color balance, sharpness, and motion to reproduce the most life-like and vibrant picture throughout Samsung’s broad portfolio.” [Samsung]
“DNIe generally improves most HD and DVD content with a few exceptions, but it’s a mixed bag with NTSC sources. Many HD and DVD images are made sharper with DNIe, contrast is improved, and color accuracy is enhanced in many scenes.” [Extremetech.com]
“DNIe is Samsung’s image “enhancement” engine…On the surface these claims sound great, but on closer examination most of these features are either impossible (6 times density enhancer) or undesirable (dynamic contrast ratio). For every image DNIe makes better there are two images that it makes worse. There is no way these sets can hold a calibration with DNIe enabled. If accuracy is desired DNIe should be turned off and left off. On the HLP DNIe can be easily disabled in the user menu. It should be noted that there are a few models of Samsung DLPs (notably the HLR series) that have DNIe permanently enabled. Before purchasing a Samsung display I would make sure that DNIe can be toggled from the user menus.” [Gadgetbench.com]
“DNIe is a video enhancer that makes the picture more colorful and lifelike. You can tell too. In the DNIe product demo, the screen is split – one side shows natural footage, the other shows DNIe enhanced footage. The difference is remarkable. The natural footage is boring and robbed of color while the DNIe footage is bright and crisp. The user controls when DNIe is used, which is good because not everyone will want enhanced video all the time – like an editor previewing footage to see what color correction is required.” [Matthew Torres]
Links Related to DNIe
Nature created DNA, but SAMSUNG developed DNIe – Samsung Electronics Unveils New “Natural Image” Technology for Digital TV
What is DNIe? – Digital Natural Image engine
Technical Resources for DNIe
Feel the DNIe – Video demo of DNIe and Technical Information
Blogs about DNIe
Samsung Village – Official Samsung blog for news and inside stories
Books about DNIe
Digital Video and HD, Second Edition: Algorithms and Interfaces (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics) – by by Charles A. Poynton
Global Marketing Management – by Kiefer Lee and Steve Carter
Smartphone HSPA+ Platform (from 2013 Products of Broadcom [Feb 8, 2013]):
- BCM28145: 720p 4G HSPA+ Smartphone Processor
BCM28155: 1080p 4G HSPA+ Smartphone Processor
Broadcom CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jan 29, 2013]
Scott A. McGregor – Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Samsung launched the Galaxy Grand, Grand Duos, and Galaxy S2 Plus, leveraging our complete Android platform, which includes our 3G cellular SOC and wireless connectivity.
We also have more than 40 designs in process in China on our turnkey reference platforms. Our technology mix is trending to HSPA+ dual core application processors and additional connectivity, features which command a meaningful ASP premium.
The Galaxy Grand, for example, includes Broadcom’s dual core SOC NFC controller, connectivity combo with built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and FM, RF transceiver, power management, and GPS.
Robert Americo Rango, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile and Wireless Group:
Broadcom’s focus is on 3G and 4G. The reason we’re focused on 3G is because we see the 3G market continuing to grow. We see it being very important for emerging markets. And we see the 3G market taking over the feature phone market going forward. So for emerging markets, our focus is on 3G. And then the 4G market, of course, for developing regions like the U.S. Big investment in 4G, a lot of progress to report, and I’ll get into this in my presentation. So focused on both because these — this is where the growth is, and this is where the action is in the market.
So 2 years ago, we had one 3G smartphone SoC. That was the 21553. And you can see that’s the 7.2-megabit modem, single-core device. It could address screen sizes, say, from 3 to 3.5 inches. And this was the device that last year I talked about that powered the Samsung GALAXY Y, which was one of the most popular smartphones in India. Now, over the last year, we added 2 chips that we announced earlier this year, the 21654 and the 28145. We switched from 65-nanometer to 40-nanometer, and we went from single core to dual core. So — and you can see that it helped us address a bigger part of the market. We were able to move up to the 4- to 5-inch phone screen size.
Now today, with the announcement of the 21664 and extension of the 28145 to the 28155, we now have a full family of solutions on 3G. We can cover anything from 3 inch, all the way up to 7 to 10-inch, which would be a tablet. More interesting actually is the 5 to 7-inch category, because the phablet is growing at a 93% compounded average growth rate. And phablets turn out to be one of the biggest growth areas for phones in Asia, okay? So Broadcom has the ability now to address this entire market. And again, why is that important? Because once a customer invests in one of these chips and picks up the Broadcom software suite for one, it can quickly be applied to an entire family of products.
Now, again, 3G market is very competitive. We all know that 3G is probably the most competitive segment out there. The reason that we can win is because we have a family of devices here that offer different feature points, different cost points and allow us to make money at these various cost points, okay? So a full range of 3G for all of the segments is now complete.
Now, let me highlight one other point. So 82% of the volume is in this 5-inch and below, but I did mention the phablet being an important segment.
Now, let me highlight our multimedia capability. I just wanted to compare the 28155 on the right to the HTC One X on the left. So HTC One X is a phone you can buy today. HTC One X is the phone that has been touted to have a lot of multimedia capability, world-class imaging, world-class image signal processing. This is the post-processing that goes on, on the pictures to make the pictures look good. A console gaming capability, good browsing experience, a 720 HD screen, Miracast capability that I just described to you, this ability to beam videos from your phone to a TV as well as Wi-Fi Direct. All these are the multimedia capabilities touted by the HTC One X.
Now last year, I talked about the economics of the chips that we were announcing. For those of you who were here, I talked about how Broadcom’s ability to integrate with — change the economics of the smartphone business. And here’s a perfect example of how it changed it, okay? So HTC One X, tear it apart, what do you see inside? Three different chips. A thin modem chip, a quad-core application processor, discrete application processor, and a discrete ISP chip.
Tear apart one of our 28155 phones, what do you see inside? One chip, integrated modem, application processor, graphics and ISP. Okay. So I told you I would exemplify the power of the 28155, and I wanted to talk today about Samsung’s — Samsung is going to be announcing a series of phones based on Broadcom’s 28155 dual core HSPA+. I’m holding the first one in my hand. This is the GALAXY S II Plus, okay? And again if you look go back and look at the GALAXY S II, you’ll see a similar architecture, GALAXY S II Plus, based on 28155, is based on the Broadcom chip, the integrated chip. So those economics that I was talking to you about, they come to play right here with the Samsung GALAXY S II Plus. And in fact, there’s a series of phones that Samsung will be putting out based on the 28155 over the next couple of quarters.
So and then beyond that, what have we done in 2012? We’re working on customer diversity. And in order to achieve customer diversity in today’s 3G market, you need what’s called a turnkey device, a turnkey design. And you might ask what’s the difference between a turnkey and a reference design? Well, a turnkey is something that can quickly be put into production by a customer. So I’m holding up Broadcom’s 28155 turnkey design. And you can see it’s very thin, it’s very light, it’s the kind of phone that you’d want to carry with you. We have a design file that we can offer a customer. And it can reduce their investment from 6 to 9 months of time, down to 30 to 60 days. Where it used to take 200 to 300 engineers to put a design in production, now it’s something like 20 to 30 engineers because we’ve done the turnkey design. And this design is so complete, we have second-sourced the major components, the panel, the sensor, the memory, and we picked suppliers that are favorite suppliers for companies in China who are really building, taking advantage of these turnkeys. So what we’re doing is we’re enabling our handset companies to focus on what they do best, brand and distribution, and we focus on what we do best, which is engineering execution, okay? And we now have turnkeys for 21654, which is our single-core device, 40-nanometer single core; 21664, which is the part we just announced yesterday, which is our low-cost dual-core device, HSPA+ capable; and our 28155, which is what I’m holding up right now, which is our high-end dual core HSPA+ device. Okay.
So a lot of activity has been spawned by this — by these turnkeys and, again, this is a capability we’ve put in place in 2012. So it’s hard to measure the progress yet, but I tried to do that with this chart. And you can see, even in the short time that we’ve had the turnkey capability in place, the number of designs have gone up significantly, almost threefold. So significant number of designs that are currently going on, 15 from last year to 44. So you can see the power of the turnkey design because it enables companies — handset companies, to quickly adopt our platforms.
So talk some more about our expanding cellular SoC share. If you focus on that first row now, those are the phones that I’d like to highlight. Of course, I just mentioned the Samsung GALAXY S II, and I mentioned that there’ll be a series of phones based on Broadcom’s 28155 dual core HSPA+ coming from Samsung. The other phones you see here, GALAXY Chat, GALAXY Music, GALAXY Pocket Plus, are the beginning of a series of phones that are coming out on our single core HSPA+ device. And I’d also like to point to some of these interesting carrier-branded phones, okay? Kind of a blessing our 3G technology in the world’s biggest carriers: T-Mobile, with Concord, this is our first 3G phone in the U.S. market; Vodafone, with the Smart II and Orange. All phones based on Broadcom 3G SoCs, okay? And then all the phones in the bottom row, all in production still, all rolling along with our first 3G SoC, that’s the 21553 that I talked to you about last year. Samsung GALAXY Y is still selling like gangbusters along with a number of these Samsung smartphones in the developing countries, okay? So a lot of progress on 3G. And you can see a number of Chinese vendors on the chart, TCL, ZTE, G’FIVE, Sprocomm. Those are all customers and certainly, there’s other customers in China now working on our turnkey designs.
So exemplifying that growth we have in the 3G space, this chart shows that from Q3 2011, Q3 2012, we grew our 3G business 500%. Pretty big growth. More important to me though, is the market share that we command. You can see that Strategy Analytics has now recognized that Broadcom has 15% of the 3G/4G Android smartphone SoC ecosystem, okay? 15%. And we haven’t started shipping our 4G LTE solution yet, okay? So again, significant market share gains over the last 24 months in the most important ecosystem for us, which is Android, 15% market share.
… roughly 15 different customers that make up that 44. And if you talk about when products hit the market, I mean, I think, they’re starting — they’re going to start hitting the market in — over the next 3 months. …
… you’re asking, should I worry about the vertical integration at Samsung? And I think anything Samsung does on vertical integration only applies to one segment of their business. I mean, if you look at Samsung’s business, it’s very broad. Everything from entry-level smartphones, midrange 3G smartphones, 4G smartphones, they have a very broad portfolio. In order for them to make money in all these areas, they need chips that are optimized for each one of those segments. And I think I exemplified that with the 28155 for the GALAXY S II Plus. So I think the risk of vertical integration is kind of overblown because you just need to apply the best solution to the particular class of product you’re building. …
… we see Wi-Fi changing very rapidly and it will change even in the China market. So we don’t see the need to go integrate it. We believe the idea of having a connectivity island and a SoC island with app processor graphics and cellular modem, is the right partitioning for the next couple of years. …
My question is, I guess, is do you think your timing — it seems like now, you’ll really going to hit the market, 2014 is when you get any significant revenues. Is that — are you going to really miss out on the profit pools while you’re fighting it out at the — with MediaTek at the midrange and low-end, meanwhile your good buddies in Southern California capture all this profit and then use that to attack you elsewhere?
… if you look at the 3G space, it’s a lot more than just China. Right? I mean, I just showed you all the different phones from Samsung that are still coming out on 3G. So I do not believe that there’s not money to be made in 3G. Okay? Having said that, a big investment in 4G, absolutely recognize the importance. We’re moving very fast we have a big R&D investment in 4G. We think we’re going to get there in time to hit the sweet spot of the 4G market. And 4G will last for many years to come.
Can you talk a little bit about your position on the RF side of the equation? You’re building full turnkey solutions now, there’s a lot of complexity on the RF side of the handset and whether you have the applicable tool kit to do more integration on that side.
That’s an easy question because we have one of the world’s most capable RF teams in Broadcom. Broadcom pioneered CMOS RF, implementing RF in CMOS. And you can — as witnessed by our patent portfolio, which is second to none. We have a very capable team. The team has built RF chips for all of our devices. And I mentioned earlier that we sell more wireless chips with integrated RF than any company on the planet. So I’m very confident in the capabilities. They are doing the RF for all of our complete platforms that I showed you. So whether it’s 21553, 21654, 21664, 28155, those are complemented with Broadcom RF internal, 100% Broadcom IP. And again over the course of time, we can integrate all these IP into a single chip. That’s the reason these big OEMs, these big handset OEMs want to work with Broadcom because they know eventually all these connectivity pieces will integrate into a single connectivity island, and same thing with the baseband island.
As it relates to the wins that you had earlier this year with the single-core platform like let’s say for example going into Samsung, I think the rough dollar content is about $10 to $12. Because you’re not only supplying the baseband, you’re supplying the power management, RF, integrated connectivity. And I think you’ve told us before that as the team moves to the dual-core platform, very similar to the GALAXY S II plus announcement today, that it’s roughly about a $7 to $9 increase in dollar content. So first question is, is that still the case?
I think you’re asking is can our dual core — our 28155, for example, which is our high-end dual core, okay. As I mentioned, this is part that has integrated ISP. That’s the same ISP engine that Nokia used for their 41-megapixel camera that’s on board our 28155 device. We also have very high-end graphics on that device. The graphics on Broadcom 28155 rivals lot of the 4G SOCs that are out there. In fact, it surpasses a number of them, okay. So when you compare the price of that to the single core, absolutely the price delta would be in the range that you mentioned, okay, the ASP uplift.
And then the second question is, as a team rolls out the turnkey solution, my sense is that there is still a lot of customization that has to be done on the software and the firmware set for your customers.
… the idea behind the turnkey is not to have a lot of customization. The way that a company — a handset company could take advantage of our turnkey is to perhaps change the color, perhaps change the idea a little bit, but not change it. And that’s really what’s important. So there isn’t a lot of customization needed. We do all of the Android integration, all the tests. And we make sure all of the Android certification tests pass when we deliver that turnkey design. So if somebody wanted to put their own skin on top of it, we could do that, but would really prefer when it comes to the turnkey that they don’t touch anything, that they use this as their experience phone, if you will.
12 months from now, most of the growth of the smartphone market is coming from emerging markets, much lower-end mix, can you help me understand how that impacts the content, the pricing, the competitive landscape, the profitability? Is that China market really going to be it’s a Broadcom turnkey solution or it’s a MediaTek turnkey solution and whoever has that turnkey solution wins it all?
… first of all, every handset company, any smartphone handset company is — are spinning their 3G offerings today. So in order to — for them to take advantage of the growth in 3G, they’re all having to reduce their costs. They are all having to move to more integrated solutions. So I don’t see it as just a China play, okay. So I see it’s a worldwide event. And that certainly in China, I think the turnkey does help significantly because if you look at Tier 2s and Tier 3s in China, they don’t have as much engineering resource. So I do think it’s a big swing, an advantage to have a full turnkey and be able to supply this multi-sourcing capability to those Chinese customers. But again, the 3G turnover is going to happen across the world, not just in China.
Source: Broadcom 2012 Analyst Day Supplemental Content, Dec 6, 2012
Dual Core 720p/1080p HSPA+ Baseband Processors [Broadcom product page, Feb 24, 2012]
The BCM28145/BCM28155 HSPA+ baseband processors are highly integrated high-performance dual-core CPUs implemented in a cost effective 40 nm LP process that squarely targets today’s power-conscious mobile platforms. These devices, combined with their complete reference platform, provide system designers with everything needed to bring next-generation mobile devices to market while also providing an extremely flexible platform for application, video, and multimedia developers.
BCM28145/BCM28155 devices integrate high performance dual-core ARM® Cortex-A9 processors, each with a NEON floating-point SIMD processing engine. A powerful 2D/3D graphics engine, the latest audio codecs, and advanced video and image processing capabilities are all delivered by the integrated Broadcom VideoCore-IV® technology.
Advanced 2G/3G modem with support for 21/5.8 Mbps HSPA+ and Class 33 EDGE
Advanced applications processing subsystem
– Dual ARM cortex-A9 processors with NEON extensions, up to 1.2 GHz per core
– VideoCore-IV multimedia and imaging processor
– Support for 20-Mpixel imaging, 720p (28145) /1080p (28155) video capture and playback, and accelerated 2D/3D graphics
– Full integration of audio subsystem
High performance memory and peripheral interfaces
– 400 MHz LPDDR2 memory interface (single-28145, dual-28155)
– High-speed e.MMC/SD/SDIO and NAND interfaces
– CPI and MIPI® CSI-2 and MIPI DPI-2, DBI-B and DBI-C DSI serial camera and display interfaces
Source: Broadcom 2012 Analyst Day Supplemental Content, Dec 6, 2012
– Broadcom Introduces New Platforms Optimized for Android ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ Smartphones [Broadcom press release, Feb 27, 2012]
Single and Dual Core Processors with VideoCore® Technology Provide Premium Android Experience
Broadcom’s new family of 3G platforms will enable handset OEMs to affordably deliver a premium Android 4.0 user experience across multiple smartphone product tiers. The Broadcom® BCM21654G features a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, an integrated 7.2/5.8 Mbps HSPA modem and low-power VGA video support. The BCM28145 and BCM28155 include dual ARM Cortex A9 cores up to 1.3 GHz, 21/5.8 Mbps HSPA+ modems and HD 720p and 1080p, video respectively. All three chips were developed in an advanced, low power 40 nanometer process technology and are complemented by radio frequency (RF), power management unit (PMU) and an advanced connectivity suite for a complete system solution.
All three platforms are sampling to customers and expected to be in production in the second half of 2012.
Optimized for Superior Android 4.0 ICS Smartphones:
Broadcom’s industry-leading VideoCore technology offers a ‘third processing core’ to offload the application processor, enriching the Ice Cream Sandwich user experience with the industry’s lowest power HD playback and camcorder capabilities up to 1080p.
Low latency memory and bus architecture boosts overall system performance for a highly responsive user interface.
Highest quality imaging is provided by Broadcom’s latest Image Signal Processor (ISP) that supports cameras up to 42 megapixels, with very low light capabilities and wide dynamic range for the sharpest images.
Robert Americo Rango, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile and Wireless Group:
… Broadcom has been investing for many years, actually, since 2004 when we did an acquisition, in graphics. In fact, we call it VideoCore, and that, it’s maybe a misnomer, it should be called MediaCore because this dedicated IP block does graphics, it does image signal processing. When your image comes off the camera, you need to post-process it, that’s called image signal processing, okay? And it does video. So you can’t do those functions well with standard application processors. You need to do that with dedicated hardware, dedicated customized hardware, and that’s called VideoCore.
Source: Broadcom 2011 Analyst Day, Dec 14, 2011
Now let’s see how we do versus the industry’s competition. One of the most recognized benchmarks that’s out there is called Taiji. It’s the OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark most people will recognize as benchmark, as a very important benchmark. And what you see here is Broadcom versus Qualcomm versus TI. In fact, this TI chip, I think, is running the latest version of some of Ice Cream Sandwich phones that are out there. And you can see that Broadcom’s VideoCore is able to render over 50 frames a second while some of the competition can barely get to 30. And in fact, just another data point comparing Broadcom VideoCore 4, all this — again, this is a fair comparison because it’s comparing what’s in production to what’s in production. Our VideoCore 4 is in production in many different Nokia phones, smartphones. And Nokia’s multimedia experience is widely considered to be one of the best. Now comparing VideoCore 4, which again is in production, to one of Imagination’s latest IP cores, we’re 1/2 the power and 2x the performance.
So some of our competitors don’t have this IP. They go often license it from a company like Imagination. It sounds good on paper until you have a problem. And a customer calls you up and says, “Hey, this game, this Modern Warfare 3 won’t run,” and that company has to go call Imagination. Okay, Broadcom doesn’t have to do that. We’re a one-stop shop. All this IP that I’m talking about is owned and within Broadcom so I can walk down the hall, knock on the engineer’s door and say, “What were you thinking when you designed this?” and I usually get an answer very quickly. And I think that’s the respect we have with our customers, okay? We have the IP in-house. Okay, so the industry’s best graphics performance and power consumption. …
Broadcom Announces 1080p Multimedia Processor with Breakthrough Mobile Power-Performance [Broadcom press release, Dec 15, 2009]
New Broadcom® BCM2763 VideoCore® IV Processor Features 1080p Video, 20 Megapixel Photos and 1 Gigapixel Graphics in an Ultra-Low Power 40 Nanometer Design
Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced its next generation multimedia processor that delivers industry leading performance and lower power in the top multimedia categories for mobile devices. Using 40 nanometer (40nm) CMOS process technology, the new Broadcom® BCM2763 VideoCore® IV multimedia processor provides even higher integration, smaller footprint size and lower power consumption than 65nm designs.
With the higher integration and significant power savings from 40nm CMOS process technology, the BCM2763multimedia processor features the most advanced mobile high definition (HD) camcorder and video playback, up to 20 megapixel digital camera and photo image processing, and 1 gigapixel 2D/3D graphics rendering for a world-class gaming experience. HD video, 3D games and high resolution 20 megapixel pictures can be displayed at top quality on full-sized HD televisions and monitors using an on-chip industry standard HDMI interface. Additionally, the BCM2763‘s highly integrated architecture reduces bill-of-materials (BOM) cost to help drive sophisticated multimedia features into more affordable handsets.
The breadth and quality of Internet multimedia content is rapidlyimproving, with sites such as YouTube now supporting full HD 1080p video sharing. Consumers are also increasingly using cell phones as their primary digital camera and camcorder, which is driving demand for higher resolution and more sophisticated image processing which is currently only available on advanced standalone camcorders and cameras. Additionally, newer graphics-oriented user interfaces and mobile games now require enhanced graphics capabilities.
The new Broadcom BCM2763 VideoCore IV multimedia processor enables best-in-class performance in the following areas:
Full HD 1080p camcorder capabilities in a cell phone with significantly improved quality over current generation handsets (which generally have VGA or lower resolution camcorders).
Up to 20 megapixel digital camera with advanced features such as multiple shots per second, image stabilization, face and smile detection and panorama mode.
The ability to render mobile games natively at up to 1080p resolution, which in combination with an on-board HDMI output, allows a console-quality gaming experience on large screen HDTVs.
In addition to providing these capabilities on new handsets, the BCM2763 has improved power savings using a 40nm process without draining the battery or significantly reducing talk time. Additional ultra-low power consumption features include:
20% to 50% power reduction in comparison to the prior generation Videocore III multimedia processor.
4 to 6 hours of 1080p video recording and 8 to 10 hours of mobile playback, with up to 16 hours of full HD playback over HDMI given sufficient handset storage.
Only 490 mW of chip power is required for 1080p camcorder H.264 High Profile encoding and only 160 mW for 1080p playback.
Only 160 mW of power is required for mobile game graphics processing, supporting up to 1 gigapixel per second fill rates and improves graphics performance by a factor of 4x to 6x in comparison to the prior generation Videocore III multimedia processor.
The BCM2763 processor integrates the key functionality and components needed to drive advanced multimedia capabilities in new handsets. As a result of this high integration, the BCM2763 enables a lower overall BOM cost, enabling manufacturers to pass these lower costs on and introduce advanced features to lower tier phones than previously possible.
The BCM2763 integrates the functions of eight chips including GPU and graphics memory, image signal processing (ISP) and ISP memory, video processing and video memory, HDMI and USB 2.0. 128MB of LPDDR2 graphics memory is stacked in a single package.
The 40nm process enables reduced power, improved performance and reduced handset board space.
Benefiting from an existing VideoCore software code base and legacy architecture, manufacturers of phones and other consumer electronics devices can easily add these new VideoCore IV multimedia features to their products, allowing faster time-to-market.
Mark Casey, Vice President & General Manager, Broadcom’s Mobile Multimedia line of business.
“VideoCore IV is setting new benchmarks for performance, power consumption and affordability and is poised to drive advanced multimedia capabilities into new tiers of handsets. Supported by our comprehensive line of complementary cellular and connectivity solutions, our multimedia processor technology is the right choice for next generation mobile designs.”
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Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything®.
Broadcom is one of the world’s largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2008 revenue of $4.66 billion, and holds over 3,650 U.S. and over 1,450 foreign patents, more than 7,750 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, data and multimedia.
A FORTUNE 500® company, Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at +1.949.926.5000 or at www.broadcom.com.
Nokia CEO: salespeople to deliver true WP7 retail experience supported by improved product management, marketing and accelerated global coverage with a full breadth of products
Nokia Quarter 4 results 2011 webcast [Nokia, Jan 26, 2012]:
prepared remarks by Stephen Elop, President & CEO
[02:00] … Lumia …
In Q4 2012 Lumia was introduced to:
- a number of European countries
- Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea
… [remarks on January US introduction already covered by me in detail: Nokia’s Lumia strategy is capitalizing on platform enhancement opportunities with location-based services, better photographic experience etc. [Jan 12, 2012]]
- China and Latin America in this half
- to date well over 1 million Lumia devices sold
- since mid November from zero markets to 15 markets, from zero devices to well over a million devices, from no presence in the US to being in lead in the AT&T’s LTE launch
From this beachhead you will see us to push forward with the sales, marketing and successive product introductions necessary to be successfull.
Our performance with Lumia on a country by country basis varies. Often [it] is a combination of relative brand strength and retail execution capabilities.
- For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.
- Contrarily in Germany and Spain we have seen steady, weak on weak improvement in Lumia device activations up to the Holiday season followed by a small expected dip in the last week of the year, and then a continued weak on weak growth in January.
.. we are in the heart of our transition, which means as we bring the first of our new devices to market there are areas we are learning and areas where we must adjust:
- We are learning more about the variations in our store by store retail execution related to Lumia. Our consumer research indicates and response at CES validates that once a consumers use a Lumia device their responses are positive. Where we’ve secured strong support from the operators we need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumersand puts the Lumia device in their hands. As a result we are adjusting, we are adjusting our retail tactics by increasing the quantity and quality of our retail associate traning programs, seeding more Lumia devices into the market, and increasing point of sales activities.
- With the continued focus on consumer net promoter scores we are also learning about the areas where consumers are most favorable towards the specific capabilities of Lumia and those areas upon which we need to focus. For example, we’ve received very positive feedback on the elegance of design, ease of use, and absolute performance of the products. On the other hand, consumers initially reported that battery performance needed focus. Thus we immediately adjusted to improve battery performance with software updates which are now in the market. This rapid cycle of consumer learning and Nokia response is a critical part of our improved approach to product management.
- We are learning that awareness of Lumia is steadily growing, assisted by each of the successive product and country launches that continue. As awareness grows we are adjusting the focus of our marketing efforts from an aspirational aspect of a new launch towards an emphasis on a differentiated experiences and capabilitiesof the Lumia products.
- We are learning about the importance of truly breaking through. Thus we are adjusting our plans to increase the rate at which we enter new markets during the course of 2012. We also are increasing the focus of our corporate resources on continued marketing campaigns, and we are working to accelerate the introduction of a full breadth of products.
Overall we’re pursuing this pattern. We’ll take each step up the ladder one running at a time recognizing that the competitive dynamics vary country by country. This underscores the large amount of work immidiately ahead of us to break through as the third ecosystem, to capture the attention of retail sales associates, to convert the increasing awareness around Lumia and the purchase intent, and ultimately to delight our consumers. [09:12]
the essence of the answers to some questions:
on carriers’ motivation:
… motivation on third ecosystem is very strong … consistency on user experience on behalf of Microsoft … it is in our favor but we need earn their respect …
on Lumia sell-through:
… different [retail] experiences and so forth … focus on when and how those [retail] experiences are different … we do see different [retail] experiences and patterns in different countries … some are related to competitive dynamics, brand strengths, retail capabilities and so forth … for example, a lot of those reports tend to focus on UK, which in the context of Europe is the hardest market in terms of breaking through the strength of the competing ecosystems and so forth … you’ll see a lot of ballance in that direction … what’s really interesting is, and this is we’re so much in very early days that you have to really dig into the details … even when you’re in the UK. I was there a couple of days ago, and as you can imagine, I went to store, to store, to store, and asking: tell me about smartphones, what’s new and all that type of thing. You’ll see a great variability of in-store performance in terms of retail experience. .. in certain stores the retail presentation is great, the associates are well trained, everything is right, and of course it correlates very closely with the success that we’re seeing in certain chains of stores, in certain areas and so forth. Very good performance. … In other areas we are not as far along as we need to be. We need better retail execution, associates are not as well prepared, or there are other dynamics that are at play. The reason I tell you about this variability is because, first of all, how people report depend very much on the experience they have, this mix from location to location in some countries. But also as you assess, OK, as we apply more resource, as we make sure that we are very focussed on getting everyone upto the base level, if not the excellent level of retail execution, we can clearly see our way through the work that need to be done in order to deliver the results that we want to continue to deliver. …
on China dynamics:
… The Chinese operators are increasingly, on accellerated basis entering into structures where there’s effectively retail rate plan bundling is going on at the store. The operators are driving very hard for the volume of 3G data subscribers. And this is not necessary an economic measure as it is driving volume on certain networks for certain technologies. I think those targets are probably set more broadly for all of the operators [he could mean: by the state, as all three operators are majority owned by the state]. And the impact of that is that they are discovering that with very low priced devices on certain radio technologies they can drive a lot of volume at those levels. And so we are seeing, for example, a very significant uptake in a number of low-priced devices that are on CDMA, there’s also a very significant focus on the Chinese technology TD-SCDMA, again all of the low levels ought to drive those volumes. My comment in the prepared remarks is that Symbian is not well positioned today against that. We do not have Symbian CDMA products at all, so we are not participating in that part of the market. So as that part of the market grows our addressable market has gone down because of that. In TD-SCDMA we do have some products in that space but not at the price points and configurations that is the real focus of this market. …
… We have not yet announced our specific products for the Chinese market but I will say that when we first announced our launch plans, I think all the way back in October, we did highlight that we would have CDMA based Windows Phone products and TD-SCDMA Windows Phone products. That thing said it is the case that we have work to do to successively drive the prices down further and further and further. That will take a bit of time but this is clearly the pattern you are going to see us on the months ahead. …
[I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
– The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [Jan 6, 2012]
– China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum [Jan 21, 2012]
– China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011]]
on differentiating the Windows Phone:
… the overall user experience is differentiated against Android … good response from the customers on Music service included, location services (Map and Drive) … partnerships: e.g. ESPN … in addition we have to ensure that the retail experience is differentiated … even price, e.g. in US/T-Mobile case already …
[I have a couple of deep and current analysis on that:
– Nokia’s Lumia strategy is capitalizing on platform enhancement opportunities with location-based services, better photographic experience etc. [Jan 12, 2012]
– The precursor of 2012 smartphone war: Nokia Lumia vs. Samsung Omnia W in India [Jan 3, 2012]
– The leading ClearBlack display technology from Nokia [Dec 18, 2011]
– Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition [Oct 26, 2011]]
on rapid scalability for lower prices of Chinese market:
… a critical consideration for us … work is under way with Microsoft … you will see a stepwise progress in that direction in the periods ahead.
on the mobile phones business:
… feature phones and how that market is perceived is less about the collection of features and what it does and doesn’t do, but it is more about the price span, the opportunity to drive, increase sales in that area, to serve consumers who don’t want to spend the money, or don’t have the money to spend on what we would today consider smartphone and so forth. …
[I have a deep and more current information on that:
– Smarterphone end-to-end software solution for “the next billion” Nokia users [Jan 9, 2012]]
– Nokia Lumia Momentum Map [Nokia Maps Blog, Jan 15, 2012]
If a picture is worth a thousand words, an interactive map is at least worth ten thousand words! To coincide with the launch of Nokia Lumia in USA; we launched the Nokia Lumia Momentum Map – an interactive way to check out the countries where Nokia Lumia smart phones are either available or will be coming soon. You can also check out the tweets, videos and photos from users about the Lumia series.
The content of the Momentum Map as of Jan 15, 2012:
|Country||Lumia 710||Lumia 800|
|Spain||Jan 11, 2012||Now|
|United Kingdom||Feb 1, 2012||Now|
|USA (+ Lumia 900
“in coming months”)
|Jan 11, 2012||Coming Soon|
|Hungary||Jan 20, 2012||Jan 20, 2012|
|Greece||Jan 21, 2012||Jan 20, 2012|
|Portugal||Feb 2, 2012||Jan 26, 2012|
|Switzerland||n.a.||Jan 13, 2012|
|Denmark||n.a.||Jan 20, 2012|
|Sweden||n.a.||Jan 23, 2012|
|Norway||Feb 1, 2012||Feb 1, 2012|
|Canada||Feb, 2012||Feb, 2012|
|Belgium||Mar 1, 2012||Feb 1, 2012|
– Nokia Q4 2011 net sales EUR 10.0 billion, non-IFRS EPS EUR 0.06 (reported EPS EUR -0.29) Nokia 2011 net sales EUR 38.7 billion, non-IFRS EPS EUR 0.29 (reported EPS EUR -0.31) [Nokia press release, Jan 26, 2012]
– Quarter 4 report tables in xls [Jan 26, 2012]
– Nokia Names Siilasmaa as Chairman to Replace Retiring Ollila – BusinessWeek
… Nokia investors lost more than 60 billion euros ($79 billion) in share value after Apple Inc. leapfrogged it with the iPhone. Siilasmaa will oversee Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop’s efforts to win customers as Apple and Google Inc. expand into new markets. … An investor in Finnish startups, Siilasmaa may also broker more tie-ups with new companies such as “Angry Birds” maker Rovio Entertainment Ltd.
“I don’t want to leave a fortune to my kids,” Siilasmaa told a panel on startup investment …
Relative to that media reports are very narrow focused as you could even see from the below entries considered the best among them:
Nokia Posts Huge Loss [The Wall Street Journal, Jan 27, 2011]
Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said Nokia’s shipments were in line with expectations. ‘Overall, what we have been looking for is an improvement over the third quarter, and we got that. But while it seems Nokia is on track, there is still a lot more to do,’ she said.
Nokia CEO taps salesmen to assure Lumia push [SlashGear, Jan 27, 2012]
Over the last year when it came to Windows Phone, we saw a lovely looking user interface fall victim to less than stellar engagement and interest on the part of the public – Stephen Elop this week says that it’s the work of the salesmen, not the manufacturer, to make the final drop of the device into the hands on the consumer. Without a doubt there’s a certain flair to the Lumia line of smartphones being released both here in the USA and abroad this year, but without the folks in the stores actually pointing people to the hands-on equipment, there’s certainly no chance of a big hit in the engagement environment. Elop let the world know in Nokia’s sales call what he expects from store employees in the very near future.
Without that final point-of-sale touch, all else will certainly fail, at least that’s what Nokia’s top minds seem to be saying this week. Though the devices are perfectly legitimate in their build and execution, and the advertisements surrounding them may be lovely, there’s always a third step that must be taken. Elop said thusly this week in Nokia’s sales call:
“We need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumers and puts the Lumia device in their hands. For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.” – Elop
And the comments were mostly supportive of that:
Joseph Paradis1 day ago
I think he has a good point. I had known about WP7 for quite some time before the launch and had already chosen the phone I wanted. The last step for me was going to the store and getting a little hands-on to seal the deal. I had 3 sales reps (from 3 different stores) tell me to check out the Android phones instead (?!). One told me that the Windows OS is no good because its buggy, the other two were just astounded that I was interested in a WP7. I knew way more about the specs of those phones (and a good count of Android phones) than the sales rep. There are a lot of people who I think would like Nokia WP7 phones and other WP7 phones, but kind of go to the store without much knowledge and get carted around by these reps who may have ulterior motives.
Stephens_Eloped1 day ago
I think anyone who is reading a website like SlashGear is the kind of person who probably knows more than the average salesperson in a mobile phone store. Definitely. I’ve had the experience of being “too knowledgeable” myself on many occasion. You stand there listening to false information and you’re either tempted to let it fly, (poor guy didn’t any training) or if they’re douches, you just say, “No, you’re wrong, the N9/L800/L910 isn’t all aluminum, it’s all poly-carbonate, which is a plastic.”
I think salespeople in the States are the worst – they’re so entrenched with Android and iPhone (and also any OEM + WP that ISN’T Nokia), that unless Nokia say, “ok salesteam, here’s a much, much bigger commission for you if you sell a Lumia”, then they haven’t got much chance of changing the mindset of the average American consumer. It’s not a Nokia friendly world here, so they’ve got to up their game. TV ads ain’t nowhere near enough.
Clever22 hours ago
It’s definitely the salespeople who make it hard for WP7 to take off. Phone carriers make their biggest profits from sales of Android handsets and are able to load the Android phones with their bloatware, therefore the sales staff are trained to push these phones over iPhone and WP7 handsets.
Here in Australia our stores are all Android themed and one store in Melbourne has a whole floor called “Android Land”, where phone shoppers can explore and learn all about the Android ecosystem. Now that there are some decent WP7 handsets coming out, I think Microsoft really needs to do three things to get their OS to take off:
1 – Get some handsets out to carriers and stores. Only 1 carrier out of 4 in Australia even sells WP7 devices and they are outdated and you’d be lucky to even find them on display in stores. I think a lot of people would like to by a Nokia N900 but if it takes another 12 months before they even hit our shelves I’m sure we will have lost interest.
2 – Work with carriers to not only sell WP7 devices but to actually push them. Make the devices resonably priced and give carriers incentives in the way of good subsidies to entice them to get their staff to actually push WP7 devices.
3 – Market WP7 so people actually know it exists and know to look for it when they do walk into a phone store. Apart from us tech heads I would bet that half of the population doesn’t even know that WP7 exists. People who don’t know about something are a lot less likely to purchase it. Where are the TV ads telling us why we should be buying a WP7 device?
Dumb salesmen are hurting us – Nokia CEO [The Register, Jan 27, 2012]
Incentivising the McJobs
Analysis Stephen Elop got a pretty indulgent reception from analysts, and most of the press yesterday, after delivering some shocking results. Nokia turned a profit of €2bn into a loss of €1bn in the new boss’s first full year; volumes are down by 29 per cent; sales of the new Windows phone are unremarkable (to put it generously); and Elop has scrapped guidance for the rest of the year. [Summary] News like this would normally have analysts reaching for the panic button – but not today. Why would this be?
Well, obviously, much can be explained by the appreciation that Nokia is in rapid transition – it isn’t even a full year since the Elopcalypse. Elop got the bad news out of the way in his (still) remarkable Burning Platforms memo. But it’s also because he was quite unexpectedly frank and forthcoming about why Nokia isn’t making more headway with its shiny new platform – the one that isn’t burning. Elop explained that Nokia has a very stiff learning curve ahead of it in consumer retail. He also said that sales staff in the channel weren’t helping. He even detailed this country-by-country. I’m surprised more Nokia-watchers haven’t remarked on this – or why Elop dwelled on retail in such detail.
Nokia staff should be glad he did, because of a forlorn sight I saw last November. Just as the Christmas shopping season was getting underway on London’s Oxford Street, I saw a quite ominous sight. The flagship West End Carphone Warehouse store, next to John Lewis, had large posters in the window announcing the arrival of the Lumia 800. There were two live Lumia 800s available for curious punters to play with – of around half a dozen such working retail models from rivals. Except they weren’t live. They were completely dead. And although Nokia had secured the prime corner spot for its devices, it may as well have hidden them on some remote industrial wasteland. The shop was very busy, but nobody came and asked if they could see the Lumia working.
If Nokia is to claw its way back into contention, this won’t do. Getting one million Lumias stocked really isn’t a terrific achievement considering that the six largest European markets had the 800, and some pretty significant Asian markets had the 710. The needle hasn’t moved.
“There are areas where we are learning and areas where we must adjust. First, we are learning more about the variations in our store-by-store retail execution related to Lumia,” said Elop yesterday.
He then re-emphasised how important it was to show people the Windows UI, and suggested that quality of the sales droids was very variable:
“We need to increase the engagement of the retail sales associates in the stores, because it is the retail associate who speaks with our consumers and puts the Lumia device in their hands,” he added, correctly. And he singled out some of the domestic channel here, suggesting he hadn’t been impressed by what he saw:
“For example, in the United Kingdom, where competitive ecosystems are firmly entrenched, we have seen mixed retail execution around Lumia devices with a range of results among different locations, different chains, different stores and so on.”
I know several first-time smartphone buyers and Windows Phone wasn’t even on the radar. People don’t know it exists. In the UK, Android gained an early and enthusiastic foothold, which two years on translates into a mature and knowledgeable market. The Samsung Galaxy SII was the best-selling phonein the UK at Christmas, by some distance. For the average punter a buying decision begins with a binary choice between Apple and BlackBerry, and if it’s a touchscreen then it’s between the iPhone and “one of the other lot”. The other lot is Android. Sales staff in stores like Carphone aren’t uniquely thick – they’re like all savvy retail staff – they want their commission, and they know there’s a huge appetite for Android out there.
It’s a sign of how things have changed. Nokia can no longer play hardball with its channel partners – today, it really needs their help. Windows has made no impression on the market and gaining people’s attention – which includes aligning the incentives of the channel – is going to be much more expensive than analysts realise.
I’m onto my second Lumia, and I like the UI very much indeed. But I still haven’t seen a civilian – someone who isn’t an analyst, journalist or Nokia industry partner – carrying a Lumia in the wild. Have you?
China TD-SCDMA and W-CDMA 3G subscribers by the end of 2011: China Mobile lost its original growth momentum
While China Unicom (W-CDMA) has been able to maintain an average 9.8% month by month growth of 3G subscribers in Q4 CY2011, China Mobile’s growth performance during the quarter has been significantly lower, 5.9% month by month on average. In fact China Mobile lost its momentum during the last 5 months of the year with only 6.2% average monthly growth while China Unicom’s has been an average 9.2% monthly growth during the same period which is even sligthly better than the average 9.1% during the first 7 months of the year:
The analysis of this significant trend you can find in The new, high-volume market in China is ready to define the 2012 smartphone war [Jan 6, 2012] which was based on November data.