It seems Qualcomm is making a habit of dissing the competitor’s chips at every major event. At CES they did it to the Exynos 5 Octa at CES, saying 8-core chips are a gimmick, this time at MWC they took on Nvidia’s Tegra 4, saying that they aren’t worried that much about it, and are focusing on shipping chips.
That’s probably a valid argument. We haven’t seen Nvidia announce that many design wins with Tegra 4, so there is a possibility manufacturers are even less interested in Tegra 4 than they were in Tegra 3 last year. Meanwhile Qualcomm has a dominant position in the market, that started since they released the first 1 Ghz ARM chips in 2010 in Nexus One and other HTC phones, and then continued with the S4 last year which was the first to have integrated LTE. That turned out to be a great boon for smartphones because it would lower power consumption.
That’s also one of the main reasons why phone manufacturers stayed away from Tegra 3, and probably why they’ll stay away from Tegra 4 this year, although Tegra 4i may find its way into a few smartphones this year. But we’ll probably see Tegra 4 more in tablets, and possibly in some Chromebooks this year.
Qualcomm also says that their S800 chip, which will run up to 2.3 Ghz and have an Adreno 330 GPU, should also have better performance as it will both decode and encode 4k videos. I have my doubts it will beat Tegra 4 in browser benchmarks, if we are to go after the benchmarks of Tegra 4 we’ve seen so far, and I also doubt Adreno 330 will be more than 50% faster than Adreno 320, which means it won’t be fast enough to beat the Tegra 4 GPU, which should be about twice as fast as Adreno 320.
Adreno 330, being part of the Adreno 300 series, does support OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenCL, though, and Tegra 4 doesn’t. I think that’s an advantage Qualcomm needs to promote more, and they haven’t. They also haven’t been able to show some great game demos for the S800 yet, so it’s possible that at least in the GPU area, it should be quite behind the Tegra 4. It also remains to be seen if it can beat it in CPU performance.