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ZTE Making First ''Super Phones'' with Tegra 4, i500 LTE

By - Source: ZTE PRess Release | B 17 comments

ZTE Corporation said on Wednesday that it will be the first to launch "super phones" based on Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC. The first models will reach the Chinese market in the first half of 2013, delivering improved app load times, realistic gaming experiences, great battery life and more thanks to the new chip's 72 custom GeForce cores and quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU.

The new "super phones" follow previous collaborations between ZTE and Nvidia including the Grand X, which features both a Tegra SoC and Nvidia's Icera modem, and the just-launched Tegra 3-laced Grand Era (Hong Kong). They also brought to the market the very first premium quad-core smartphone priced below $160 USD, the ZTE U950, which packs Nvidia's speedy Tegra 3 chip.

"We’re proud to continue our pioneering partnership with Nvidia and are looking forward to offering more Tegra-powered devices, which are defining a new generation of phones offering premium mobile computing experiences,” said Mr. He Shiyou, ZTE EVP and Head of the Terminal Division. "Our Tegra 4 smartphones will provide full HD entertainment and multimedia experiences that consumers will love."

ZTE said that part of its "super phone" wave includes a Tegra 4 solution that will use Nvidia's optional i500 processor for worldwide 4G LTE voice and data support. Based on a unique software-defined radio (SDR) technology, Nvidia calls this modem "future proof", delivering 100 Megabits per second out of the box, plus software-upgradeability to 150 Mbps LTE, carrier aggregation, and TD LTE.

"Icera has unique soft modem technology which implements the entire modem baseband in software," said Nvidia's Phil Carmack in a blog on Tuesday. "This approach is particularly suited to the modem due to the adaptive nature of the wireless cellular environment. It allows the modem to dynamically allocate more processing resources to the most challenging processing functions required at any given time, making it much more efficient than traditional hardware-centric implementations."

He added that the modem's roadmap can be extended with feature upgrades and performance enhancements through software updates. This is even more beneficial for SoC's with an embedded Icera modem by "delivering the cost-reduction benefits the SoC brings without having to compromise on feature capabilities and performance enhancements."

As for ZTE's "super phone" lineup featuring Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC, there's no indication that they'll make it to the States. ZTE is no stranger to the North American smartphone market, and a T-Mobile-branded ZTE Grand X was just seen at the FCC back in December. That said, there's a good chance we'll see at least one of these units locally before the end of the year.

 

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  • 5 Hide
    blazorthon , February 20, 2013 11:37 PM
    I hope that the GPU improvement is at least as significant as seemingly implied CPU improvement.
  • -5 Hide
    redeemer , February 20, 2013 11:45 PM
    Nvidia's Tegra business is dying, but Kudos to their effort!
  • -4 Hide
    zeratul600 , February 21, 2013 1:26 AM
    but isn't tegra slower than their competitors? it is fun that they spent money on a 150 mbps modem, when in my country you cant get more than 1,5mbps on a wired connection, and dont get me started on how painfully slow is the cellphone internet
  • 4 Hide
    blazorthon , February 21, 2013 2:00 AM
    zeratul600but isn't tegra slower than their competitors? it is fun that they spent money on a 150 mbps modem, when in my country you cant get more than 1,5mbps on a wired connection, and dont get me started on how painfully slow is the cellphone internet


    Quad-core Cortex A15 has some serious performance enhancement implications. It'll take more detailed specs before I'd make any more exact estimations on where it stands, but the implications are good thus far.
  • -7 Hide
    teh_chem , February 21, 2013 2:33 AM
    Snore. Tegra 4 is built on an already-outdated architecture.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , February 21, 2013 2:40 AM
    teh_chemSnore. Tegra 4 is built on an already-outdated architecture.


    How is Cortex A15 outdated?
  • -1 Hide
    spandexninja , February 21, 2013 2:52 AM
    I'll believe 'great battery life' when I see it. The ZTE devices always have low MAH, and they also seem to get less runtime per MAH than higher cost devices.
  • -1 Hide
    digiex , February 21, 2013 4:17 AM
    It's a bird, it's a plane, it's super phone, drop it from a table top, it will break.
  • -1 Hide
    blazorthon , February 21, 2013 4:20 AM
    digiexIt's a bird, it's a plane, it's super phone, drop it from a table top, it will break.


    Do you have proof of these phones being that fragile?
  • 4 Hide
    renz496 , February 21, 2013 6:34 AM
    redeemerNvidia's Tegra business is dying, but Kudos to their effort!


    how is it their Tegra business is dying? just because the rumor nvidia having trouble convincing phone/tablet maker to use their Tegra 4 then the division suddenly dead. also those Tegra chip are not limited to phone and Tablet as well.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 22, 2013 3:12 AM
    blazorthonHow is Cortex A15 outdated?

    The A15 design was finished in 2011, it went into devices in 2012. It's 2013 and Nvidia is only just now announcing that Tegra4 will be out in devices, but not until Q3 of 2013. I'd say that's pretty outdated. The S4 pro Krait is already in many products, and generally rivals the A15 architecture in overall performance.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 22, 2013 3:29 AM
    teh_chemThe A15 design was finished in 2011, it went into devices in 2012. It's 2013 and Nvidia is only just now announcing that Tegra4 will be out in devices, but not until Q3 of 2013. I'd say that's pretty outdated. The S4 pro Krait is already in many products, and generally rivals the A15 architecture in overall performance.


    A15 is still ARM's fastest arch IIRC and it wasn't used much until a few months ago at the most from what I've read. It isn't outdated unless you call being the most recent ARM architecture outdated. Also, if Krait is currently only matching A15, then it certainly doesn't help you prove your point. Sorry, but I don't understand your reasoning.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , February 22, 2013 12:51 PM
    blazorthonA15 is still ARM's fastest arch IIRC and it wasn't used much until a few months ago at the most from what I've read. It isn't outdated unless you call being the most recent ARM architecture outdated. Also, if Krait is currently only matching A15, then it certainly doesn't help you prove your point. Sorry, but I don't understand your reasoning.


    OK, here's the logic. Tegra 4 is based on A15. Tegra 3 is based on A9. A15 is ~40% faster than A9 clock-for-clock, so we know tegra 4 is going to be faster than 3, assume 40% (cpu-wise). But the current S4 pro/Krait is already as fast as A15-based systems. It was shown already that Tegra 4 won't be clocked much different than 3 (1.9ghz vs. 1.6ghz max). That's great except the currently-available Krait is already as fast as A15-based systems. Ergo, the current competitor's chips are already as fast as tegra 4, except T4 won't launch in products until 6 months from now. Qualcomm has already announced their successors to the S4 pro (nomenclature changes aside), which they claim to continue their performance improvements over the previous generation (we can take that with a grain of salt; every manufacturer likes to say this about next-gen releases).

    However you break it down, Tegra 4 will be using an outdated cpu platform when it goes live. That's not to say that their claims of "six times the graphical capabilities" of Tegra 3 can't be useful, but it's a sad fact of the matter that for being released into the wild six months from now, T4 won't be using a very current cpu platform. It'll only be catching up to what is already available right now.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 22, 2013 1:08 PM
    teh_chemOK, here's the logic. Tegra 4 is based on A15. Tegra 3 is based on A9. A15 is ~40% faster than A9 clock-for-clock, so we know tegra 4 is going to be faster than 3, assume 40% (cpu-wise). But the current S4 pro/Krait is already as fast as A15-based systems. It was shown already that Tegra 4 won't be clocked much different than 3 (1.9ghz vs. 1.6ghz max). That's great except the currently-available Krait is already as fast as A15-based systems. Ergo, the current competitor's chips are already as fast as tegra 4, except T4 won't launch in products until 6 months from now. Qualcomm has already announced their successors to the S4 pro (nomenclature changes aside), which they claim to continue their performance improvements over the previous generation (we can take that with a grain of salt; every manufacturer likes to say this about next-gen releases). However you break it down, Tegra 4 will be using an outdated cpu platform when it goes live. That's not to say that their claims of "six times the graphical capabilities" of Tegra 3 can't be useful, but it's a sad fact of the matter that for being released into the wild six months from now, T4 won't be using a very current cpu platform. It'll only be catching up to what is already available right now.


    OK, I get it now.
  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , February 23, 2013 8:09 AM
    teh_chemThe A15 design was finished in 2011, it went into devices in 2012. It's 2013 and Nvidia is only just now announcing that Tegra4 will be out in devices, but not until Q3 of 2013. I'd say that's pretty outdated. The S4 pro Krait is already in many products, and generally rivals the A15 architecture in overall performance.


    i don't follow much about this SoC business. so what is the latest architecture from ARM right now? (that being use in current device)
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , February 23, 2013 10:01 PM
    renz496i don't follow much about this SoC business. so what is the latest architecture from ARM right now? (that being use in current device)

    The latest commercially-used instruction set for ARM-based processors is typically ARMv7, and is generally an old (but not necessarily bad) instruction set that's been used for quite some time; but that's not the only part of the architecture. The architecture varies from platform to platform. Snapdragon-based ARM platforms had a lot more components integrated onto them with development (GPU/cellular/GPS/wifi/bluetooth) vs. using a separate PCB for these components. But most other platforms have begun to integrate these things recently as well.

    I'll admit to not knowing exactly what about Qualcomm's or Tegra's platforms makes them better or worse in various areas compared to other ARM-based CPU platforms; only that most mobile-based processor designers have made extensive efforts to integrate most components onto the chip--making them system-on-chips.

    I think it's all really interesting where the industry was going. I was probably a bit too harsh in my analysis of Tegra 4, but the fact still remains, their release cycle seems to lag quite a bit behind the competitors in the mobile arena.
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , March 3, 2013 9:26 AM
    Quote:
    OK, here's the logic. Tegra 4 is based on A15. Tegra 3 is based on A9. A15 is ~40% faster than A9 clock-for-clock, so we know tegra 4 is going to be faster than 3, assume 40% (cpu-wise). But the current S4 pro/Krait is already as fast as A15-based systems. It was shown already that Tegra 4 won't be clocked much different than 3 (1.9ghz vs. 1.6ghz max). That's great except the currently-available Krait is already as fast as A15-based systems. Ergo, the current competitor's chips are already as fast as tegra 4, except T4 won't launch in products until 6 months from now. Qualcomm has already announced their successors to the S4 pro (nomenclature changes aside), which they claim to continue their performance improvements over the previous generation (we can take that with a grain of salt; every manufacturer likes to say this about next-gen releases).

    However you break it down, Tegra 4 will be using an outdated cpu platform when it goes live. That's not to say that their claims of "six times the graphical capabilities" of Tegra 3 can't be useful, but it's a sad fact of the matter that for being released into the wild six months from now, T4 won't be using a very current cpu platform. It'll only be catching up to what is already available right now.


    Rather than repeat myself:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/tegra-4-tegra-4i-gpu-architecture,3445.html
    See my comments to blazorthon. S600 already losing to a dual core A15, anand benched an S600 at MWC last week, it lost. Note you can't actually buy it yet (unless I missed a release date...LOL), so it's not out but already beat by A15 in nexus10. "Speed Enhanced" A320 is already beat here in A600 also. It barely catches the T604, and is smoked offscreen 1080p and will LOSE to T4. A330 coming on S800 won't change this, but it may get close. Nexus was the first device to use A15 IIRC. Exynos5 was the first to feature an A15 which is in nexus10. It just came out 4 months ago and ONLY in dual until octa etc hits. Your comments make no sense. I gave links to tons of benchmarks above, where are yours? I'd like to read them :) 

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6787/nvidia-tegra-4-architecture-deep-dive-plus-tegra-4i-phoenix-hands-on/6
    " Tegra 4 Performance:
    NVIDIA shared a bit of performance data generated from a 1.9GHz Tegra 4 reference tablet. CPU performance is understandably higher than anything we’ve seen from anything ARM or Atom x86 based thus far"
    Either anand is an idiot, or you're wrong ;) 

    Links to currently available Krait beating A15 please. :)  I'd be surprised to see it catch the dual, and there is no quad A15 device yet (which T4 is, so is Octa, etc). I'm not aware of a shipping A15 Quad in any product (again, how can T4 be old when no A15 quad exists yet?), but based on dual A15 benchmarks vs. Krait, I don't think a krait will catch A15 this year (including S800).