Imagination Technologies announced a new multi-core processor called "PowerVX SGX543" that could land in the next-generation iPhone this summer. Imagination manufactures the PowerVR MBX chip found in the current iPhone.
According to Imagination CEO Hossein Yassaie the new chip is designed to scale from two to sixteen cores without increasing performance challenges for developers and offers both OpenGL ES and OpenCL support.
Tony King-Smith, Imagination's VP of Marketing, adds:
The performance delivered by our latest POWERVR SGX543MP family is the ultimate statement of the highly linear scalability of our unique Series5XT architecture. With the ability to combine up to 16 SGX543 GP-GPU* cores on a single SoC, we are now able to deliver capabilities to our licensing partners previously only thought the domain of the discrete GPU chipset vendors, while maintaining our unrivalled power, area and bandwidth efficiency.
The Register explains that the multi-core support in the new chips is transparent to developers:
In other words, the SGX543 can have any number of cores from two to sixteen with no change in the driver software or the application. All that complex data/pipeline/thread management is done in hardware. No muss, no fuss.
According to MacRumors both Apple and Intel have made substantial investments in the company.
The new multi-core iPhone chip supports a rumor I reported in January about a quad-core iPhone announcement at WWDC.
Update: Nadzim Al-Rash notes:
ARM is the most widely used CPU for all mobile phones and car navigation systems. But, just like your computer, normally it doesn’t do the graphics. The most widely installed graphics processor for those devices would be Imagination’s PowerVR. It’s in the iPhone, iPod touch, Nokia N95, and a lot of other phones including from Sony Ericsson and Motorola. The upcoming PSP2 is rumoured to use PowerVR as well... PowerVR can also be built into ARM or Atom chips.