Since battery technology isn’t really enabling us to pack more than a few watt-hours into our portable devices, companies like Intel, Nvidia, and Texas Instruments are working hard at making their chips and processors more efficient. Apple is acknowledged to be the leader here — their vertically-integrated device creation process (and the mysterious A5) gives them the control they need to maximize battery and get that critical 10-hour claim. TI is hoping that an upcoming family of its OMAP chips will take some of the pressure off manufacturers and enable current batteries to last from dawn till dusk.
Speaking with Fudzilla, TI’s Brian Carlson mentioned that the 2013 OMAPs will use a 20nm process and should enable “true all day computing.” What does that mean, exactly, when the most popular device is sporting a 10-hour battery? That’s all day in most people’s books, even with plenty of video usage. Carlson didn’t put a number on it, but it’s clear that TI wants to focus on efficiency and not power. Nvidia, on the other hand, is in an arms race with Intel (an ARM race if you will) to push the power of its mobile processors as high as possible.
The question is: what will the tablet and mobile world look like in 2013? Probably not radically different, but an all-day battery might not be much of a draw by then. At any rate the improvement of memory and cache handling and other performance tweaks is always welcome.
As Tom’s Hardware points out, there were indications of TI’s intent to sell off the OMAP brand after the release of OMAP 5 in 2012. A nice bidding war between Nvidia and Intel would bring in a hell of a payday. Discussing plans for a 2013 release, however, seems to moot speculation on that point; maybe TI felt they were better off playing the game than cashing out.
Texas Instruments is a Dallas, Texas-based company that specializes in developing and commercializing semiconductor and computer technology for cellular handsets, digital signal processors, and analog semiconductors. Other focus areas include chips for emerging medical electronics, energy (including Low Power/No Power, LED Lighting, & Solar Technologies), RFID, and telecommunications infrastructure. The venture arm of Texas instruments is TI Ventures.