Firms aim to improve phone battery life [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The rising number of smartphones in the Kenyan market and ensuing competition has forced mobile companies to come up with a variety of methods to woo the discerning customer.
For a basic phone user, what is important is what one would expect of his or her gadget; its battery life, rate of the downloads, speed of camera shutter, and how responsive the touch screen is.
These are the benchmarks usually set by buyers which, in turn, affect the sale of a mobile phone or gadget. A phone that sucks battery charge over a short time does not invite confidence no matter how powerful it is.
The need to keep the phone alive for longer has forced electronic firms that make chips to concentrate more on either increasing the battery life of a mobile device or its speed so that a user has the time needed to complete the task at hand.
Mr Chris Mwangi, a field applications engineer at Intel East Africa, said Kenyans should be spared what he terms charge anxiety. This, he says, is when one is forced from time to time to check the level of the battery during working time, which is unsettling because it can lead to a hurriedly but poorly done job or having to stop mid-way to charge the device before continuing.
Intel, however, said the Kenyan market will soon usher in what the company is calling a mobile revolution. Bay Trail, which will be introduced globally at an Intel developer forum next week, is its first 22 nanometre system-on-a-chip for mobile devices based on the company's new low-power, high-performance Silvermont micro-architecture. The firm says this is what will save a user the agony of worrying about battery life while using a gadget.
Silvermont is a chip micro-architecture that will be used in a wide range of machines, from mobile devices to networks and servers.
Mr Mwangi said the new Intel micro-architecture will improve circuitry and power management by introducing a smaller processor, which increases the amount of circuits through a 3D transistor structure, allowing it to reduce the overall size of the chip and improve battery life by cutting consumption.
Intel said it can manage to match ARM on battery life in smartphones and tablets with its current Atom processors. With its mobile chips based on the Silvermont technology, the company expects to become a market leader not only in performance but also best battery life for devices.
Mr Noel Hurley, the vice-president of marketing and strategy at ARM's processor division, said the Cortex-A15 processor provides more performance at "30 per cent less megahertz." The processors, including the high-end Cortex A15 and low-end A7 chips, could shame Silvermont in performance and power consumption, according to him.
Mr Mwangi, however, said power-saving features and improved energy efficiency will result from Silvermont's micro-architecture, which is designed and co-optimised with Intel's 22nm manufacturing process using revolutionary 3-D Tri-gate transistors.
This, he said, will increase battery life of an average gadget five times its present status without sacrificing its performance. The chip will also improve the operations of the device three times if the same battery life is maintained.
A financial analysis report released last month by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC Equity Research Department, seems to support this and is quoted as saying: "Bay Trail/Silvermont will have a performance and power advantage over competing ARM-based processors."
Unlike Intel, ARM-based chips do not have 3-D Tri-gate transistors. This means that in future, mobile phone companies will adopt aspects of power management to remain competitive in the market.
GlobalFoundries and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), which make ARM-based chips for the likes of Qualcomm and Nvidia, are expected to implement 3D transistors next year or in 2015.
Apple and Samsung share most of the smartphone market in the country and the toughest question is how Intel will convince them to dump ARM for Silvermont.
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