We’ve heard some discussion of dual-core mobile CPUs before, but as of yet we have yet to see any dual-core ship that could work in a smartphone of tablet. That is, at least, until today when Samsung announced it’s newest ARM processor, the Cortex A9.
The new chip, codenamed Orion, is one of the first (if not the first) dual-core mobile CPUs. Both cores run at 1 GHz, and there is integrated 1 MB of L2 cache for better multitasking. According to Samsung, the Cortex A9 is capable of powering two on-device screens as well as a third external screen via HDMI or other such interfaces. The chip can also playback 1080p video at 30 fps, which is quite impressive compared to even current generation Atom processors.
According to Samsung the Cortex A9 will be shipping on some devices later this year, and will go into full mass production in early 2011. So now even tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab are a generation behind in terms of CPUs when they finally release. Samsung does tend to provide it’s chips to other manufacturers, so perhaps Motorola’s dream of having a dual-core Android phone out by year’s end will come true. This could mean we’re in for some great Android and Windows Phone 7 phones before the end of the year, let’s just hope that it doesn’t eat battery too much.