Gone are the days when a mobile phone was judged by its design. In the past, no one really cared about the speed of the interface or the number of pixels in the display, a phone was popular because of the brand and the design. Skip to the present and the mobile phone industry (tablets included) is actually competing with the PC market. Companies have always talked about how the mobile phone is like a computer in your pocket and looking at the latest trend of smartphones, that line is starting to blur. Naturally, just like any computer, the CPU is the first to go through major changes since at the end of the day, your camera, screen resolution, apps and OS can only improve if the CPU gets more powerful. Smartphones have gone from single-core to dual-core and now quad-core and it’s only going to keep increasing. With companies throwing around terms like Snapdragon, Tegra 3, Mali-400, Cortex-A9, etc., it’s a daunting task to keep up with the different CPUs and chipsets in the market, even for us! You’ve heard the terms SoC being used very often in spec sheets and reviews, so what is it? What is a SoC? SoC is short for System on a Chip, an integrated circuit that combines all the primary components of a computer into a single chip. Think of your CPU, graphics card, memory controller and other components all rolled into a single chip, that’s essentially an SoC. This way, handset manufactures can simply drop this chip in their device and reap the benefits of the chipset straight away, rather than having to implement the CPU, GPU, etc. manually. Below, we have two popular SoCs, the first being an Nvidia Tegra 3 and the second, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC.
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