PwC forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53 percent for application processor speed, as measured by Gigahertz per core per dollar (GHz/Core/$), through 2015, a faster growth rate than the 43 percent CAGR for 2007-2011. Stated another way, by the end of our forecast period, application processor speed will have increased five times from what it was in 2011, our baseline year. The CAGR for application processors will grow faster than the CAGR for any other device component of the Mobile Technologies Index, and second only to the infrastructure speed component (54 percent CAGR).
This essentially means that the application processor, which is equivalent to a personal computer’s central processing unit (CPU) and is also known as the mobile processor, will enable various mobile device use cases, likely to include more powerful multitasking operating systems, more immersive and natural user interfaces and more powerful graphics, including 3D. Many vendors are already designing and building these because they can be sure that the processor will be up to the tasks.
This article explains how and why we reached these conclusions and explores some of the developments we might expect to see as mobile processor speeds reach the tipping point for processor-driven innovation.
|05/09/2013||Mobile operating system: Smartphones will just get smarter||View PDF|
|03/05/2013||Enabling devices to offer users more natural interaction||View PDF|
|1/17/2013||Image sensor: Steady growth for new capabilities||View PDF|
|12/13/2012||Storage: Quenching the thirst for more||View PDF|
|11/09/2012||Memory: The ever-predictable DRAM path||View PDF|
|10/02/2012||Application processors: Driving the next wave of innovation||View PDF|
|09/12/2012||Infrastructure speed: Watch capital investment in 4G for the next inflection||View PDF|
|07/25/2012||Device connectivity speed: One half of an equation||View PDF|
|07/25/2012||Making sense of the rapid change in mobile innovation||View PDF|
The industry will continue to push beyond the 1.66GHz threshold in application processors in 2013. But how far beyond depends on factors not currently predictable. The possibility of 3GHz exists—PC processors have gone there. But power and heat problems for mobile devices at that clock speed are creating huge challenges for chip designers. Moore’s Law is silent on these issues.