You’ve probably never heard of RISC-V But this is an exciting new hardware development mainly encouraged by the Chinese government to reduce the domestic influence of Western technology companies’ CPUs and GPUs.
While on the outside, end users won’t notice, this is one that will almost certainly have an impact on the global smartphone market as early as 2022, as more vendors embrace the open hardware philosophy.
At the forefront of RISC-V development is Chinese company Sipeed which revealed earlier this month that it is already running Android 10 on an Alibaba / T-Head RISC-V platform, the XuanTie C910.
Now, before we get excited about this, keep in mind that the platform has only been shown with Android 10. Nothing yet on Android 12, which is already mainstream.
What’s more, this one relies on a dual-core processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz, with a Vivante 3D GPU and 4 GB LPDDR4, which means that it will probably target the entry-level segment of the market. , namely cheap smartphones.
Still Sipeed suggesting that a “The RV64 phone will arrive next yearIs good news in the spirit of competition. Tuxphones reports that the RISC-V phone is expected to be more powerful than some quad-core A73 processors, which would place it directly against the Qualcomm Snapdragon 663 or 662, both of which launched in 2020.
Two big questions remain, however: where will Sipeed get the IP to build the accompanying 5G or LTE radio technology and why would anyone choose to go with RISC-V rather than stick with it. to Arm? This may be due in large part to the growing influence of the Chinese government on the national tech ecosystem.
Yesterday once again
Not too long ago (well, almost 10 years ago) a company called Ainovo released a RISC-V Android tablet with an unlucky name, the Ainol Novo 7. It was reviewed back then on ITProPortal and while it was half-baked, the prototype was promising. It ran Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, was only supposed to cost $ 100, and was powered by an Ingenic Semiconductor JZ4770. Sadly, he never really caught up as ARM rushed towards world domination.