ST-Ericsson introduces NovaThor L8580 chip, with eQuad technology (Update: it’s not quad-core)

ST-Ericsson NovaThor L8580 eQuadThis past week, we’ve been introduced to next generation processors from Qualcomm, Nvidia and Samsung, and now it’s the turn of ST-Ericsson, which has revealed its new NovaThor L8580 chip at CES 2013. While ST-Ericsson doesn’t share quite the same level of name recognition as its peers, its NovaThor chips found their way into a wide variety of handsets during 2012, and this more powerful model could see it become better known this year.

ST-Ericsson says the L8580 is the world’s fastest and least power hungry mobile processor with an integrated LTE modem available, a title it says is thanks to a clever manufacturing process known as FD-SOI. Without going into detail, this allows it to operate either at full speed, or power down to an energy saving setting where only one core is active. The company call this eQuad, and see it as an alternative to other power-saving solutions such as the companion core system popularized by Nvidia.

Capable of running at speeds up to 2.5GHz, the  NovaThor L8580 uses a PowerVR GPU – similar to the ones used by Apple – and has a modem which can support LTE and HSPA+ on GSM, WCDMA and the Chinese TD-SCDMA bands, giving it worldwide appeal. There’s all the usual connectivity options, from GPS to Wi-Fi Direct built-in, plus it can handle displays with a 1080p resolution.

A key difference between the NovaThor L8580 and some of the other processors revealed at CES is it is based on ARM Cortex A9 architecture, and not the latest ARM Cortex A15 architecture, as seem on Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800. We’ll have to wait until some benchmark figures appear to compare them, but as chips like the Exynos 4 Quad also use ARM Cortex A9 architecture, it certainly won’t be slow, and that’s before eQuad comes into the equation.

ST-Ericsson has worked closely with manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony over the past year, and we’re sure to see the L8580 appear in a device from both in the future. However, there is another possible home for its new NovaThor eQuad chip in 2013, as a partnership between ST-Ericsson and Jolla was announced last November, paving the way for an eQuad Jolla phone, perhaps?

The company has said samples of the chip will be available to its partners before the end of March.

Updated on 03/14/13 at 10.00am by Andy: ST-Ericsson’s marketing team want you to think the NovaThor L8580 is a quad-core chip, but sadly, it’s not. That’s not to say it isn’t rather clever, as by using the eQuad system, its dual-cores have two power modes – as described above – which lets them run at full speed or in an energy saving mode. A Mobile World Congress, ST-Ericsson demonstrated a 3GHz version of the chip, which out-performed the Galaxy S3 and the Nexus 10 tablet. According to a report at PCMag, phones using the L8580 NovaThor platform will arrive in the U.S. later this year.

Article originally published 1-11-2012.


Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

If Core i5 CPUs are great for most people, do you really need a Core i7?

This guide is designed to help you decide whether you need the extra technological enhancements provided by the i7 core, or if the more affordable Core i5 will suit your needs. In the i5 vs. i7 battle, which is best for you?

Samsung teases it will reveal its foldable phone during the Galaxy S10 event

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

AMD Navi graphics cards may not reach gamers until October

AMD's Navi graphics card line is the one fans hope will bring the fight to Nvidia's midrange like never before. But those same fans may have to wait longer to test out that theory, as a rumored delay has pushed the cards back to October.

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.

Bag yourself a bargain with the best budget tablets under $200

The battle for your budget tablet affections is really ramping up. Which tablet, costing less than $200, should be commanding your attention? We take a look at some different options for the budget-conscious.

What is Wi-Fi 6? Here's a look at the next evolution of the wireless standard

We're exploring the new naming convention for wireless standards, how it affects the devices you buy, and what the upcoming Wi-Fi generation is changing for the better.
Home Theater

Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

It's been all but certain that Samsung would launch a successor to its Gear IconX wireless earbuds soon, but a newly leaked photo and recent FCC certification document seems to indicate that the debut is very close.
Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.