There is now speculation that Google is dumping NVIDIA, whose dual-core chipset helped to shape Android 3.0 Honeycomb, in favor of Texas Instruments for its Ice Cream Sandwich platform, which will begin the process of merging the tablet and smartphone editions of Android into one platform. The company’s OMAP 4 chip will be the reference platform on which Google will develop the next iteration of Android.
Sources to RCR Wireless who made mention of TI’s new prominent role expressed some backhanded comments at NVIDIA while praising TI: TI are just so relaible, if they say they’ll have something done by Tuesday, it’s done on Tuesday, and it’s done right. Does this suggest that NVIDIA is unreliable and untimely? The source says the following about NVIDIA: “Nvidia seems to have run out of steam, lacks engineers and has come up against a bit of an innovation wall.”
It’s unclear what went wrong in the Google-NVIDIA partnership. The company was the first out of the gate with a dual-core ARM-based applications processor in the form of the Tegra 2, which marries the companies GeForce GPU onto the SoC design. There were speculations in the past that NVIDIA’s chipsets are creating compatibility issues with 4G LTE networks, and perhaps that may be the reason why Motorola is swapping out the Tegra 2 chipset in the Droid Bionic‘s re-design in favor of the TI OMAP4 chipset.
It’s unclear if Motorola is aware of Google’s new purported fondness for TI; it’s decision to go with TI for the Droid Bionic 4G LTE smartphone may be due to the its historic relationship with that chip-maker as Motorola had used TI chips in the original Droid and Droid X smartphones. Currently, the Motorola Droid X2 is the only smartphone on Verizon’s lineup that make use of the dual-core Tegra 2 chipset, but that phone is on the carrier’s 3G CDMA/EV-DO network so it could be that 4G LTE incompatibilities may be keeping NVIDIA out of the carrier’s faster mobile broadband standard.
The switch is said to be made on a fair assessment on who could deliver the best results, though Google may also be considering Qualcomm for the version of Android following Ice Cream Sandwich. That version of Android is codenamed Jello. The source to RCR Wireless says, “Google isn’t doing this to give each chip firm a turn, it is being purely utilitarian in choosing which platforms to optimize for, going for the ones it thinks are best at any given time.”
Despite a positive showing of the Kal-El chip, which is believed to be launching is Tegra 3, the chip may not be up to Google’s standards.