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Following mobile chip announcements from NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA ) and Marvell Technology Group (Nasdaq: MRVL ) , you'd think the two companies would have a lock on the next-generation smartphone market. The Tegra 3 and Armada processors seem to be light-years ahead of their time, running at blindingly quick speeds with unmatched graphics features and multiple processor cores to boot.
But Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN ) would like to remind you that it's a multi-horse race, and that these hyper-modern chips are just paper launches so far. And when they do hit the street, nestled inside real tablets and smartphones, TI will be there with an equally impressive OMAP 5 platform.
If nothing else, TI's own paper launch serves as a powerful reminder that today's high-end phones will be tomorrow's toddler-time toys, fit for prizes in Tomorrowland's cereal boxes. And it will happen quickly -- OMAP 5 devices should hit store shelves in mid-to-late-2012.
These chips will run as much as five times faster than today's state-of-the-art chips, depending on the workload. They'll support up to three ultra-high resolution LCD screens as well as 3-D HDMI support, along with up to four cameras for a highly immersive teleconferencing experience.
TI envisions pico projectors and cameras combining to create entirely new ways of interacting with your mobile devices, such as projecting documents on a table or a whiteboard and making changes by manipulating the projected image.
It's all exciting stuff and a powerful reminder of the pace of innovation. Some of TI's improvements still sound like science fiction, even to diehard bleeding-edge enthusiasts. Not for much longer, though.
There's plenty of innovation juice left in Silicon Valley's tanks, most of it powered by designs from either ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH ) or MIPS Technologies (Nasdaq: MIPS ) . Just today, Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) fired back with a quad-core 2.5 GHz chipset of its own, which promises to best even TI's own ambitious designs. With sustained innovation comes long periods of mobile device growth, and that's what we're looking at here.