The next game-changer in tablets could come from Samsung, not Apple, as a perfect storm of processor, screen and platform coalesces to make the Korean firm an innovator not a copycat. Samsung has already demonstrated its abilities in processors – even Apple would have to agree with that, having co-developed the A4 chipset powering the original iPad with its Korean rival – but the new Exynos 5 Dual raises the bar significantly; according to the rumors, meanwhile, that will find its way into the Samsung “P10″, a new uber-tablet packing a display that squarely challenges Apple’s Retina tech.
The P10, it’s believed, will arrive sometime in 2012, with an 11.8-inch WQXGA screen. If you’ve not been keeping up to speed with your acronyms, that means 2560 x 1600 resolution for a pixel density of 256ppi; in contrast, Apple’s new iPad has a 9.7-inch screen with a 264ppi pixel density. At those sort of levels, a handful of pixels either way probably isn’t going to swing it, meaning both tablets will likely be as easy on the eye when it comes to graphics.
The 2560 x 1600 number is interesting, because it’s the figure Samsung has been shouting about with relation to the Exynos 5 Dual, the latest SoC (system-on-chip) off the Korean firm’s semiconductor lines. Although only a dualcore, rather than the quadcores we’ve seen from NVIDIA and others, Samsung steps up to an altogether more advanced type of processor, the Cortex-A15, which means that – on paper at least – the Exynos 5 Dual will be more potent than any of the chipsets currently on the market. In fact, Samsung says one A15 core is between 1.5x and 2x faster than the A9 NVIDIA is currently using.
So, Samsung has a pixel-dense display – one we have high hopes for, too, given the company’s track record in panel technology – and the processor to drive it, but that’s not the extent of the new Exynos’ abilities. In fact, running such a screen is really just the baseline. The Exynos 5 Dual is able to overlay a live UI onto a 1080p HD video, while simultaneously processing a live camera preview feed, encoding video in the background, and driving a separate display via HDMI output. Most users will never require that exact mixture of tasks, but it does suggest that the new Exynos will be smooth as melted butter in everyday use.
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