Some future Nokia Windows Phones to sport ST-Ericsson processors

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ST-Ericsson has issued a press release stating that it has been selected as 'a' supplier of chips for future Windows Phone devices from Nokia. Specifically, we're expecting some future models to use ST-Ericsson's 'NovaThor' chips, offering dual core functionality and cutting edge functionality. The current Lumia 800 and 710 from Nokia both use the hitherto standard Qualcomm chipsets and it's expected that Nokia's range will use both, in different models.

GENEVA, Nov 02, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Nokia has selected ST-Ericsson as a supplier for future devices it plans to introduce based on the Windows Phone mobile platform.

"We are pleased to have been selected by Nokia as a key partner for Windows smartphones, in line with our goal to be present in all segments and major operating systems," said Gilles Delfassy, president and CEO of ST-Ericsson. "Our NovaThor platforms continue to gain traction as they enable customers to bring great smartphones to the market."

From the ST-Ericsson site, the current NovaThor benefits are listed as (and I've emboldened items that I think are interesting, in light of the current Lumia 800's specs):

  • Full HD 1080p camcorder, multiple codecs supported (H264 HP, VC-1, MPEG-4)
  • High-resolution, touchscreen display support up to WXGA (1280 x 768)
  • Simultaneous dual display support up to dual XGA
  • High performance 3D graphics
  • Dual camera support with Integrated ISP 20 Mpixel and 5 Mpixel
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM enabled platform (no NFC though, currently)
  • Built-in USB 2.0, HDMI out
  • Support for major operating systems
  • Optional support for mobile TV standards
  • 3GPP Rel 7
  • GSM/EDGE quad band
  • WCDMA/HSPA+ pentaband support
  • HSDPA 21 Mbps (cat 14)
  • HSUPA 5.76 Mbps (cat 6)
  • Highly efficient, low-power ARM® dual Cortex- A9 processor
  • Dual multimedia DSP for low-power, flexible media processing
  • High-bandwidth LP-DDR2 interface
  • ARM Mali 400 GPU and NEON®CPU extensions
  • Unique audio architecture with a wide range of audio codecs supported
  • Advanced power saving architecture enabling class-leading audio and video playback times

These specification indicate the capabilities of the chip. The capabilities of a product using this chipset would be dictated by a combination of both the chipset and the enabling platform (Windows Phone in this case).

Rafe adds:

For its first generation products (Lumia 800 and Lumia 710) Nokia is using a base board derived from a Compal offering (similar to other Windows Phone devices). This base board use the Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor. Nokia decided to use this in its initial products in order to cut the time it took to get its first Winodws Phone devices to the market.

Nokia usually creates its own base board (the combination of chips, memory and other key components that make up the guts of a phone) because it offers better economies of scale, more customisation options and better margins. 

This announcement indicates that Nokia is planning to create its own hardware platform for its Windows Phone product portfolio. ST Ericsson will be providing the all important SoC (system on a chip) for the hardware platform. However, it is likely that Nokia will have more than one hardware family, as it is aiming to target both mid tier and high end segments across the world. 

Ultimately these hardware platforms could become a key differentiator for Nokia, enabling it to stand out from other Windows Phone manufacturers by offering additional features or performance characteristics.

Source / Credit: Market Watch