Samsung, Exynos, processor, MWC

Plus new camera sensors and radio chipsets

Mobile World Congress isn't just big smartphone announcements — like any big trade show there are announcements small and big, consumer and technical. This one trends more on the side of technical, and it's Samsung's latest application processors: the Exynos 5422 and Exynos 5260.

We'll start with the Exynos 5422, an octa-core chipset that, like previous Samsung octa-core processors, is really more like two quad core processors combined. The Exynos 5422 includes four powerful ARM Cortex-A15 cores that can be clocked up to a blazing 2.1GHz, and four ARM Cortex-A7 cores running at up to 1.5GHz for lighter loads. Samsung claims the Exynos 5422 can "deliver up to 34 percent higher performance than in previous Exynos Octa models." All this power means the processor can handle 4K displays with aplomb, though it's not likely we're going to see those any time soon, so that extra oomph can instead be directed at other tasks. The 28-nanometer process used to fabricate the Exynos 5422 is said to result in a 10% reduction in power consumption.

The Exynos 5260, on the other hand, is a hexa-core processor with two big 1.7GHz ARM Cortex-A15 cores paired with four 1.3GHz ARM Cortex-A7 cores. The 6-core model isn't quite as powerful as its 8-core brother, having both a lower clock speed and fewer cores, but Samsung still projects it to be able to handle displays all the way up to WQXGA (2560x1600). The Exynos 5260 is currently in production, while the Exynos 5422 is scheduled to start mass production in the first quarter of the year, so be looking for both in future Samsung products.

Apart from the new Exynos 5 chips, Samsung's also pumping out new CMOS image sensors (i.e. the sensors that go into smartphone cameras). The new ISOCELL sensors were first previewed back in September 2013, and now they're beginning production on both 13- and 16-megapixel. Samsung says the sensors will have 1.12-micrometer pixels:

By incorporating ISOCELL, the image sensor will have 30 percent decrease in crosstalk; 30 percent increase in full well capacity; and 20 percent wider chief ray angle.

The 13-megapixel ISOCELL sensor utilizes what "Smart Wide Dynamic Range" technology which allows for multiple-exposure HDR imagery to be captured at 30 frames per second. The 16-megapixel sensor, however, features a 16:9 aspect ratio (standard camera sensors are built at 4:3), mimicking the aspect ratio of most smartphone screens, modern computer displays, and televisions. By going with a wider aspect ratio, the entire 16-megapixel array can be utilized when recording video, which this sensor does at 60 frames per second. The 13-megapixel sensor is due to begin manufacturing in the first quarter, with the 16-megapixel version hitting the assembly line the following quarter.

Apart from that, Samsung's also produced a third-generation NFC chip, the first to use a 45-nanometer embedded flash process for lower power consumption, plus it uses "the industry's smallest antenna with enhanced radio frequency performance." There's also a new low-power Wi-Fi solution — the S5N2120 — designed for connected devices with a small footprint and low power draw.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow