The Best Mobile Chips Of 2010 (So Far)

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Tablet CPU

The first thing you need to know about the single-core, ARM-based Apple A4 processor is that it’s sold a heck of a lot in the three months or so since it arrived in the iPad tablet from the Cupertino, Calif.-based idea factory. More than three million units, to be precise -- and that’s just the iPad sales. An Apple-designed A4 also powers the new Apple iPhone 4, which was moving to the tune of about 1.2 million units shipped in just three days following its release.

The other thing you need to know is that it’s pretty difficult to figure out what exactly makes the A4 tick. Apple isn’t saying much and neither is Samsung, which manufactures the things and puts them in its own Wave devices. What we can gather is that the A4 is a package on package (PoP) system-on-a-chip (SoC) with a 1-GHz clock that includes both a Cortex-A8 CPU core and a 45-nm PowerVR SGX 535 GPU. However you slice it, 4.2 million units shipped in just a few months is pretty impressive (forgive us if we assume that Samsung Wave sales haven’t added much to the total).

Launch date: April 3, 2010 (iPad release)

Price: $19.50 (iPad teardown estimate by iSuppli)

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