AllWinner Rolls Out A31S Quad-Core SoC for Phablets

To cater to a surge of "phablets," 5~6.9-inch handhelds that are tablet and smartphone in-betweens, AllWinner rolled out an SoC, which it feel could score design wins due to its high cost/performance ratio. The new A31S from AllWinner packs a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, PowerVR SGX544MP2 graphics, HawkEye camera post-processing IP, and an integrated audio CODEC that locally processes noise-cancellation.

The A31S features a CPU complex extremely similar to that of NVIDIA's Tegra. There are four Cortex-A7 cores for general processing, and a fifth energy-saving core that keeps the device running even as power is gated to the others, when the device is standing by. The SGX544MP2 GPU packs eight unified shader cores. The HawkEye technology works with the camera to post-process and improve image quality, perhaps by accelerating multiple-capture HDR and noise-reduction. AllWinner claims its chip can not only provide high cost/performance, but also energy-efficiency. Paired with a 4,000 mAh battery (typical for 7-inch tablets), the chip can keep the device playing 1080p video for up to 7 hours. Expect a swarm of phablets to feature this chip.

Allwinner Technology, a worldwide leader in mobile application processor design, today introduced the A31s: the world's first quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC designed specifically for phablets.
Jack Lee , marketing director, Allwinner Technology, said, "Market research showed that phablet shipments grew at an astounding 4,504 percent growth rate last year, and they're projected to hit 150 million units in 2013 (Source: ABI Research). We designed the quad-core A31s specifically for phablets, and that means we're able to deliver clean radio connectivity, low power consumption, 1080p video and WXGA display support with this exciting system-on-a-chip."

He continued, "Allwinner supports brands to get great products to market faster. We work closely with our experienced design house partners to ensure product reliability, production scalability, and industry-leading times-to-market. We also work together with brands' key OEM factory partners as needed."

Phablets, hybrids between smartphones and tablets, are disrupting the traditional smartphone market and shaping the way people consume mobile media content. A31s, through its turnkey solutions, enables the next generation of low power, connected, and high definition phablets for its brand and hardware partners. It offers optimized connectivity to EDGE, 3G, LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, GPS, AGPS, and NFC radios.

"Companies like Allwinner are at the forefront of pushing technology to deliver an increasing array of form factors and price points to consumers," said Ian Drew , executive vice president, Marketing, ARM. "The Allwinner A31s SoC, powered by the combination of the quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and ARM 40LP POP IP technology, demonstrates the level of innovation that is enabled by ARM's business model. Allwinner's A31s will create the next generation of exciting low power, high performance platforms that will give consumers the always-on and always-connected lifestyles they want."

Key Features:

  • Quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU with a fifth power-saving standby core
  • PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU with eight unified shader cores
  • HawkView camera ISP with enhanced image quality and rapid image capture
  • Custom low power companion PMU designed specifically for multi-core CPUs
  • Integrated audio codec with multiple mic support and CrispTalk noise cancellation

Low Power
Power consumption is a critical focus of Allwinner's new quad-core Cortex-A7 A31s design. AXP221s, a highly-integrated custom low power companion PMU, provides 2.2A rapid charging capability, precise up to 1 percent power level detection, and a 21-channel, highly efficient power supply management system optimized for multi-core architectures. And integrated inside A31s, a lightweight fifth core provides low power for standby operation. Results show A31s's low power focus has paid off; devices running on a 4000mAh-rated battery can get up to 7 hours of battery life while playing video, and up to half a month of battery life while on standby.

Powerful Multimedia

3D graphics, GUIs, and the web blaze at lighting-fast speed on A31s platforms, thanks to its eight unified shader core PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. Tony King-Smith , EVP marketing, Imagination Technologies, said, "We are pleased to be strengthening our strategic partnership with Allwinner. We are delighted that the Allwinner A31s is using the advanced and trend-setting graphics capabilities of PowerVR as a key feature in this rapidly developing and highly competitive market."

Additionally, the A31s can drive HD resolution up to 1280x800 pixels, decode video up to 2160p, and encode video up to 1080p - perfect for mainstream phablets. And A31's proprietary, integrated HawkView ISP packs a powerful punch: crystal-clear image quality, 0-second image capture, 10 photo bursts per second, and auto-focus in under a second. ISP integration also means lower system costs.

Crisp Communication
Phablets require high quality voice communication and seamless connectivity with baseband. A31s's fully integrated audio codec delivers by providing dedicated 24-bit input and output audio channels, supporting up to four microphones (3 analog, 1 digital), and running Allwinner's proprietary CrispTalk noise cancellation feature. Codec integration reduces system costs, lowering prices for all partners in the chain.