LG announced its first SoC, a Cortex-15 and –A7 octa-core “Nuclun” with LTE-A Cat.6 tech that debuts this week in a Korea-bound LG G3 Screen Android phone.
LG Electronics has decided to follow in Samsung’s footsteps and create its own ARM system-on-chip for its mobile devices. LG, which has mostly used Qualcomm processors in the past, announced an octa-core Nuclun SoC, which will debut on a 5.9-inch, Android 4.4 based LG G3 Screen phablet that will go on sale this week in Korea.
The Nuclun uses ARM’s Big.Little technology to combine four Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.5GHz with four Cortex-A7 cores at 1.2GHz. It would appear that like other recent Big.Little octa-core SoCs, such as the Allwinner A83T and UltraOctaA80, or the Samsung Exynos5422, the Nuclun supports heterogeneous multi-processing (HMP). According to LG: “The number of performing cores can be adjusted based on the requirements of the task for maximum processing power or maximum energy savings.”
No details on the GPU, coprocessors, fabrication process, or I/O capabilities were provided. However, LG does tout the Nuclun for supporting the latest LTE-A Cat.6 4G technology, which is said to offer download speeds of up to 225Mbps while retaining backward compatibility with current LTE networks.
LG did provide more details on the G3 Screen smartphone. The phone “inherits the design language, camera and UX features” of the quad-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801-based LG G3, says LG.
The G3 Screen runs Android 4.4 on the Nuclun SoC with 2GB of RAM, and offers a 5.9-inch full HD IPS display. The G3 Screen is further equipped with 32GB of eMMC flash, expandable with a microSD slot. It provides a 13-megapixel OIS+ (optical image stabilization plus) rear-facing camera, a 2.1-megapixel front-facing cam, and a “high fidelity 1W speaker for the ultimate smartphone experience,” says LG.
The G3 Screen is touted as being the largest smartphone designed for LTE-A Cat.6 networks, delivering download speeds three times faster than regular 4G LTE networks. The 157.8 x 81.8 x 9.5mm device weighs 182 grams and runs on a 3000mAh battery.
No images were provided for the G3 Screen, but it has identical specs to an LG Liger phone leaked today on a Vietnamese site called Kenhcongnghe.vn, as reported in English by GSMArena. The Liger is said to run a homegrown LG processor called the Odin, which appears to be identical to the Nuclun. Kenhcongnghe.vn even posted Antutu 5 benchmarks, giving the Liger a much lower performance score than the LG G3, which itself was beat by the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, HTC One, and Sony Xperia Z3.
Leaked image of LG Liger
(click image to enlarge)
If that sounds a bit odd, it should be noted that the despite only being quad-core instead of octa-core, the Snapdragon 801 found on the LG G3 uses a 2.5GHz Krait (Cortex-A15) core rather than the Nuclun’s 1.5GHz. Still, we’ll wait for confirmation of the benchmarks, as well as of the assumption that the Liger and G3 Screen, as well as the Odin and Nuclun, are each matched pairs.
LG follows Samsung lead toward autonomy
Autonomy seems to be order of the day among smartphone vendors. Just as Samsung makes its own chips and fields its own alternative Tizen OS in case Android — or Google’s influence on Android — becomes a liability, LG has its own readymade mobile OS in its backpocket in WebOS, and is now getting into processors.
The first Android smartphones almost universally ran on Qualcomm’s ARM-based Snapdragon. Fairly quickly, however, Texas Instruments started pushing its OMAP SoCs, primarily on Motorola devices, and Samsung began to populate its phones and tablets with its own ARM SoCs, starting with the Hummingbird.
TI has left the commercial mobile market, but Samsung reigns supreme in mobile processors thanks to its continuing dominance in Android mobile devices. All these big names, including a still thriving Qualcomm, are increasingly challenged by lower-cost processors from the likes of Allwinner, Rockchip, MediaTek, and other mostly Chinese vendors. Meanwhile, Intel has begun to nibble away with its Atom-based mobile chips, which are finally appearing in some mainstream Android devices such as the PadFone X Mini.
“With this in-house solution, we will be able to achieve better vertical integration and further diversity our product strategy against stronger competition,” stated Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Co. “NUCLUN will give us greater flexibility in our mobile strategy going forward.”
The LG G3 Screen will go on sale this week in Korea at an undisclosed price. More information should eventually surface on LG’s mobile processor page. More information on the Nuclun should eventually appear on LG’s website, as well.