Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL) has announced today two of its newest 4G LTE-capable SoCs aimed at the low-cost smartphone market.
The Marvell PXA1908 and PXA1936 are Marvell’s latest SoCs that are aimed squarely at a global market for global LTE deployments. Both the PXA1908 and the PXA1936 are Marvell’s own 64-bit entrants into the SoC market for low-cost smartphones, utilizing ARM’s own A53 CPUs in 4 and 8 core configurations in order to deliver reasonable performance at low power.
The PXA1936 is Marvell’s higher-end 64-bit offering with a combination of the 8 ARM Cortex-A53 with a Vivante GPU capable of 1080P display and video playback as well as support for a camera of up to 16 megapixels. This is in contrast with the PXA1908, which is also a 64-bit based SoC, but with only four ARM A53 CPU cores and a Vivante GPU capable of only 720P and an image signal processor for 8 megapixel cameras.
Also, Marvell has included some advanced security features into the PXA1936 in order to enable trusted computing, DRM and mobile payments. This means that OEMs can utilize this SoC for virtually any purpose and not worry about missing features. Speaking of features, it also has an integrated location and sensor hub for added efficiency and power reduction.
The modem on both of these SoC’s is Marvell’s own and is capable of LTE TDD and FDD and maximum speeds of Cat4, which is currently enough for what most operators are delivering outside of Japan and Korea, but still far behind industry leaders like Qualcomm with Cat6 LTE. Even so, nobody is shipping Cat6 LTE for low-cost smartphones, so Cat4 LTE is more than good enough for this market segment.
Marvell’s SoCs with multi-mode LTE are already certified for use on Verizon and China mobile and are already in the AT&T modem certification process and are testing in Japan and Europe as well. These SoCs are already in the process of shipping to customers and Marvell expects that customers will have devices on the market in 2015, which means we could see some fairly decently powered sub-$100 smartphones and tablets with Marvell’s chips inside of them.