The LG-Samsung rivalry might not be as fierce at the global stage as it is in the companies’ stomping ground. The South Korean heavyweights have been in intense competition in the television, home appliance and smartphone space and now it seems LG is following Samsung into the chipset game as well.
Korea Times reports that LG will produce its first in-house mobile CPU beginning in the latter half of 2013. Reportedly, LG’s research labs recently completed developing the Odin chips. The big news here is that the chip will have eight cores and will be used in the LG Optimus G2, which is likely to be launched near the end of the year during IFA in Berlin, keeping in line with the Optimus G's launch in late 2012.
LG is reportedly building a chipset design based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture
An LG official told the paper, “LG Electronics is going to mass-produce the Odin processors by using finer 28-nanometer level processing, applying high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology. The processors will be used in LG’s next flagship Optimus smartphone ― the Optimus GII ― which will probably be unveiled in this fall’s IFA trade fair.”
Despite its pedigree in electronics manufacturing, LG doesn’t have a chip-making facility and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will manufacture the Odin processors, according to the official.
The Odin processor will also feature the big.LITTLE architecture, developed by British chipset designer ARM. The architecture is also the backbone of Samsung’s next-gen Exynos 5 Octa SoC, which features four ARM Cortex A7 cores and four Cortex A15 cores, which alternate processing duties depending on the task at hand. This arrangement is said to provide high performance without adversely affecting battery life.
The official confirmed this setup. “When you want to do energy-intensive jobs such as graphics work or 3D gaming, then the A15 cores will operate. For web surfing, the A7 cores will serve better.”
Company spokesman GW Kim said LG is looking into various chip-related products to strengthen its competitiveness in the mobile segment. “CEO Koo Bon-joon is injecting more resources in smartphone-related projects to fully revive the business. LG is striving to transform itself into a major fabless chip-making firm by increasing the number of its qualified chip designers and giving authority to associated divisions,” the officials said.
This indicates that LG will rely on third-party foundry chipmakers, just like NVIDIA and MediaTek do. “We want to be much more independent to have power both in parts and finished-goods like Samsung by improving our in-house chips. LG has taken the first big steps toward its aim to become a major and reliable fabless chipmaker by successfully completing the development of Odin processor.”