Google may annoint Texas Instruments as official silicon partner for Android Ice Cream Sandwich
The only downside is that this and last year mostly Qualcomm and NVIDIA were placing their silicon inside Android handsets. Qualcomm because it has tightly integrated chipsets that include the baseband radios, and Nvidia because it was first to get its foot in the door with Honeycomb tablets and dual-core phones.
It seems that Google has been watching closely the roadmaps of major chipset manufacturers, though, and is preparing to enter a love affair with Texas Instruments for its upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) version that will merge the smartphone and tablet experience.
Now we don't know which exactly of the OMAP chipsets will be the main man in future Android phones and tablets with ICS, but there are several plausible candidates. It won't be the 2GHz dual-core OMAP5 family, since it's not supposed to ship for another year. We'd bet on the 2011 crop, of course - OMAP4430 is already found in the BlackBerry PlayBook and LG Thrill 4G, so it's old news, but Q3 should see the launch of the dual-core 1.5GHz OMAP4440, which might go into ICS handsets and tablets.
Even better, early next year, when the majority of manufacturers should have flagship handsets with ICS, Texas Instruments is supposed to ship OMAP4470, which goes up to 1.8GHz, and, more importantly, features the PowerVR SGX544 GPU, which is insanely fast.
Now, we've heard a few rumors about an upcoming Samsung phone with 1.8GHz dual-core chipset, which will, however, be outside of the Galaxy family. We also know that one of the reference designs for the Nexus Prime given to Google for review is by Samsung, and, rumor has it, it has won the hearts and minds at Mountain Dew, so that might be it.
Couple this with the fact that these speculations are pointing to late fall release for a monster Samsung/Google handset, plus the Koreans announcement that the next, 2GHz version of its own Exynos silicon, won't be entering phones until next fall, and we might as well see a Nexus with TI chip inside announced by the end of this year, as an ICS poster child.
Either way, if TI has scored a partnership with Google over ICS devices, this will bode very well for its bottomline and stock price, and the company's OMAP family surely deserves it.