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AllWinner Announces A31s Processor for Phablets, Hints about Ubuntu Devices

February 28th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

AllWinner is currently a Mobile World Congress 2013, and Charbax had the chance to interview Eva, manager at AllWinner, and learn more about new processors, and future plans by the company. They spent some time discussing about AllWinner A31 and AllWinner A20 quad and dual Cortex A7 processors, but since we’ve know about those for a while I’ll skip this part. The most interesting part is about AllWinner A31s, a cost down version of A31, specifically designed for phablets (smartphones with 5″ to 7″ screens).

AllWinner A31s Block Diagram

AllWinner A31s Block Diagram

Like AllWinner A31, AllWinner A31s is also a quad core Cortex A7 processor with PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU (8 shader engines) and the following specifications:

  • CPU – ARM Cortex-A7 Quad-Core with 256KB L1-Cache/1MB L2-Cache
  • GPU – POWERVR SGX 544MP2 with 8 logic cores. OpenGL ES2.0, Open CL1.x and DX 9_3 compliant.
  • Memory
    • 32-bit Dual-Channel LPDDR2/DDR3/DDR3L Controller,
    • 8-bit NAND FLASH Controller with 64-bit ECC
  • Video
    • UHD H.264 2160p video decoding
    • Multi-format HD video decoding including MPEG1/2,  MPEG4 SP?ASP GMC, H.263, H.264, etc.
    • BD Directory, BD ISO and BD m2ts video decoding
    • H.264 High Profile 1080P@30fps encoding
    • 3840×1080@30fps 3D decoding, BD/SBS/TAB/FP supported
    • 3840×1080@30fps 3D encoding
    • Complies with RTSP, HTTP, HLS, RTMP, MMS streaming media protocol
  • Display
    • Dual-Channel LVDS/RGB/CPU LDC Interface 1024×768 resolution
    • Integrated HDMI 1.4 1920×1080@60fps
  • Camera
    • Supports 0.3M/1.3M/2M/5M CMOS Sensor
    • Supports 8/10/12-bit YUV/Bayer sensor
    • Integrated ISP
  • PMIC – PMIC AXP221s designed for A31s. 21-CH power output and 2.2A Flash charging. Complies with USB 3.0 power supply standard

I extracted this from the video below, and some things do not look right (e.g. 3840×1080@30fps 3D decoding), but compared to AllWinner A31, I understand that A31s “only” support 2160p video decoding, a rather low 1024×768 resolution for screens, and 1080p HDMI output. A31 camera sensor can support between 5 to 8 MP, but A31 can support lower resolution (0.3M) for front camera, to a maximum of 5MP. The PMIC is called AXP221s vs AXP221 for A31. The rest of the specifications appear to be the same. They will mention Android 4.1/4.2 support, as well as “Windows 8″.

The interview starts with AllWinner A31, at 3:04 they switch to A31s for about 2 to 3 minutes, and continue with A20.

Eva also explains A20 is pin-to-pin compatible with A10, but it appears some other modifications are required on the board. She also talks a bit about future products, including a server chipset? (not sure I heard that correctly) in Q2, and a “super processor” in Q3 (AllWinner Cortex A15 coming our way?). Finally she mentioned AllWinner has a close relationship with Ubuntu (I suppose she means Canonical), so that could bode well for AllWinner based Ubuntu tablets or smartphones in 2014.

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  1. Ian Tester
    February 28th, 2013 at 16:49 | #1

    With “3D” (really stereographic) video you need two images – one for each eye. Well, one of the ways to encode those two images is to put them side-by-side into one image, and 1920 * 2 = 3840. That’s how you end up with 3840×1080 video decoding. I don’t know if that means it can decode other “3D” arrangements e.g top-bottom or interlaced.

  2. Marius
    February 28th, 2013 at 19:34 | #2

    For quad core smartphones you have MTK6589 which has an integrated modem, supports dual sim and all the good stuff. I doubt this will catch on but competition is always good.
    The only thing that really worries me is the supported res.

  3. February 28th, 2013 at 19:40 | #3

    Great find, looks promising.

  4. onebir
    February 28th, 2013 at 20:52 | #4

    Stupid onebir qn #n:
    Ubuntu support=> decent Linux driver for PowerVR SGX544MP2?
    (Possibly trailed [url=http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTIzNTc]in Phoronix[/url]?)

  5. February 28th, 2013 at 21:04 | #5

    @onebir
    Ubuntu support = Ubuntu on Tablets support, which uses the Android kernel.
    If AllWinner “super processor” is a quad core A15 processor, then this would be used for the “enterprise tablets” which are supposed to both support the tablet and desktop versions. I don’t know the technical details behind this, but for now desktop uses a proper Linux kernel, so it would mean a working Linux driver.

  1. February 28th, 2013 at 20:07 | #1
  2. April 13th, 2013 at 15:55 | #2
  3. August 25th, 2013 at 11:10 | #3