The future hardware powering Windows Phone 7

As you probably already know by now all Windows Phone 7 handsets will be powered by a Qualcomm SoC. The specifics of the chipsets used are still unknown but we do know that it will have minimum click rate of 1Ghz which hints at a SnapDragon or similar architecture (the QSD8x50, MSM8x55, MSM7X30, QSD8x50A all qualify). The only reall info we have so far comes from the leaked HTC Mondrian ROM which mentions the presence of a QSDx50A chipset on board. So how is this piece of hardware interesting? Well, first off it is still unreleased and when the HTC Mondrian finally launches this fall it will probably one of the first devices to sport one. Secondly it’s the new shrunk down (45nm) version of the now famous QSD8X50 found in the majority of high-end Windows Phone and Android phones and is clocked at 1.3ghz (compared to the regular 1ghz chips shipping now). But the most interesting aspect of this new SoC is the updated GPU known as the Andreno 205 (the current SanpDragon CPU is the Adreno 200 aka AMDZ430). This new unit has been tweaked to have better OpenVG and Flash perfomance as well and improved shader performance:

This GPU features dedicated 2D Open VG graphics hardware along with 3D hardware which provides faster, higher-quality 2D rendering, simultaneous use of 2D and 3D, and lower power use.

•Hardware-accelerated SVG and Adobe Flash®
•Significant improvements in shader performance over Adreno 200 GPU
•Streaming textures that can combine video, camera, SVG and other image surfaces with 3D graphics
Supported APIs:

OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenGL ES 1.1, OpenVG 1.1, EGL 1.3, Direct3D Mobile, SVGT 1.2, Direct Draw, GDI. Concurrent CPU, DSP, graphics, and MDP


In the case of Windows Phone 7 this probably doesn’t mean much especially in the first release of the OS this fall. Microsoft currently doesn’t allow shader programming and is providing five effects profiles (which are based on over 70s shader combinations) that developers can choose to use in their applications (and WP7 doesn’t support OpenGL ES but only Direct3D Mobile which is currently being revamped..). The Adreno 205 will only allow better performance via its higher clock rate I guess. One thing to keep in mind is that all Windows Phone 7 devices launching this fall will not have the latest and greatest MSM8x55 or QSD8x50A but will run the currently shipping QSD8x50 but this shouldn’t be a problem at all given that the OS doesn’t seem to be heavily taxing the hardware (some of the prototype devices are only running at 666Mhz and everything is butter smooth) and the chipset is already capable of a lot of things but its unfortunitel held back by crappy drivers on Android and Windows Mobile (720P support….). Also keep in mind that all of this applies to Android too. Don’t be surprised if HTC also launches a QSD8x50A based Android handset in a few months alongside its Windows Phone 7 offerings. in the case of Android developers will have better access to the hardware thanks to the more mature platform and rivers but Microsoft and Qualcomm are working hard to make bulletproof drivers for this fall (as seen in the WP7 behind the scene article). Microsoft has still a lot of work to do but the tight integration of Qualcomm’s hardware ith the OS will hopefully give the user the best experince possible. On the other hand, developers and hobyist who wish to have access to the latest 3D features and develop straight to the metal will have to trun to Android handsets for the time being (Android has now taken Windows Mobile place. Back then Windows Mobile was the platform of choice to showcase the latest hard wand graphics..remember the Dell Axim X50/51 with their Intel 2700G CPU..). Windows Phone 7 will also be the mobile OS that natively support the most codecs, but I would be surprised if they will be all available straight out of the box. Below are two video of the Adreno 205 in action. The first one showcase a 3D UI in OGL ES 2.0 with the water physic handled by the NEO SIMD FPU and the second is the OpenGL ES 2.0 Ilomilo game.Both are runing on Android:

Source: Qualcomm

  • Diego!

    iOS, Android, WebOS… beware!!! WP7 is coming to get you hehehe

  • Diego!

    iOS, Android, WebOS… beware!!! WP7 is coming to get you hehehe