Marvell PXA988, PXA986 chips support 3G for China, the world without reinventing the wheel (or phone)

Whenever we see a smartphone optimized for China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3G, it usually represents one of two things: it's either a China-specific variant of a phone we already know, or it's a local-only model that's unlikely to ever travel abroad. Marvell has just unveiled a new mobile processor platform that could allow for a lot more globetrotting with those basic designs. The PXA988 is limited to China Mobile's technology for data, but its PXA986 doppelganger can fit the same slot to offer regular HSPA+ 3G without forcing phone makers back to the drawing board. Both run on a dual-core, 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 at their heart -- nothing exciting in mid-2012, although they're well-enough equipped to capture 1080p video and tout extras like NFC. Only test samples exist today, but there's a chance we'll soon see phone designs that are just as much at home in Berlin as they are in Beijing.

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Marvell is the First to Announce Breakthrough Single Unified 3G Platform Supporting TD-SCDMA and WCDMA: Increasing Global Footprint and Reducing OEM Investment

Marvell's advanced, unified 3G platform enables global OEMs to lower their development cost and serve the growing mobile market with interchangeable R8 TD-SCDMA and global R7 WCDMA solutions

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL) today announced a single unified 3G platform featuring the new Marvell® PXA988 and PXA986 – the next-generation of its industry-leading single-chip application and communications processor System-on-Chips (SoCs) – combined with Marvell's latest wireless combination technology (Wi-Fi + Bluetooth + FM radio + Near Field Communications (NFC) + GPS), RF transceivers and integrated PMIC solutions for both Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access (TD-SCDMA) and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) markets. With pin-to-pin compatibility, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can leverage the same printed circuit board (PCB) and ID designs, and operating system, application and multimedia software to address both the WCDMA and TD-SCDMA markets, which is expected to greatly simplify design cycles and reduce unnecessary cost. Engineering samples for the unified platform are available now.

"I believe Marvell's advanced, single unified dual-core 3G platform will deliver high-performance, affordable smartphones and tablets to the global mass market. In the new era of the 'Connected Lifestyle,' I believe it is important for mobile devices, such as tablets, to have a highly integrated single-chip solution, combining a high-performance application processor and an always connected modem with high-end graphics and HD video capabilities," said Weili Dai, Co-founder of Marvell. "I am very proud and thankful for Marvell's global team of talented engineers, partners and Tier-1 customers in the mobile ecosystem, for their hard work, innovation and dedication to move the industry forward faster."

Marvell's new PXA988 and PXA986 SoCs integrate high-performance, 1.2GHz dual-core processors with cutting-edge cellular modems to support advanced multimedia capabilities consumers demand for their mobile devices. The successor of Marvell's PXA920 and PXA968 families of mobile processors, which currently power millions of devices by leading OEMs, the Marvell 3G platform combines field-proven modem technologies with new features designed to bring universal connectivity and high-performance, low-cost processing power to mobile devices around the world.

Designed specifically for the China 3G TD-SCDMA market, the new PXA988 is the next generation of the highly ubiquitous PXA920 family of mobile processors that powers millions of smartphones in China. Building from the momentum and success of the PXA920 and PXA920H, Marvell's new single-chip, dual-core PXA988 features high performance Cortex A9 1.2GHz processors and full 1080p encode/decode capability, which makes it ideal for high-quality multimedia playback and video capturing. The PXA988 is equipped with an integrated image signal processor (ISP), advanced graphics processing unit (GPU) that can achieve 192 million triangles per second (MT/s) and a breakthrough 533MHz LPDDR2 memory architecture for enhanced CPU and system performance. The PXA988 features a TD-HSPA+ R8 modem which supports dual-carrier aggregation and represents the next-generation of TD-SCDMA technology. The new advanced modem also supports Dual SIM Dual Talk, which enables users to activate two services on a single smartphone, and Downlink Dual Carrier (DLDC).

The all new PXA986 single-chip, dual-core mobile processor was designed for WCDMA markets and is pin-to-pin compatible with the PXA988, effectively streamlining and reducing costs for OEM design cycles. Powered by the identical high-performance application processor subsystem as the PXA988, OEMs can seamlessly re-use their operating system and multimedia software across both mobile platforms to minimize design resources and decrease time to market (TTM). The PXA986 features a HSPA+ R7 modem, which supports 21.1 Mbps download data-rate and 5.76 Mbps upload data-rate, making it a viable solution for 4G smartphones. The PXA986 modem also supports critical features such as Dual SIM Dual Talk.