ABI Research Teardown: Qualcomm 28nm Chip Found in the HTC One S Top Dual-Core Performer but Not as Power Efficient as Expected

23 Apr 2012

The HTC One S is a recently launched HSPA phone running Android 4.0.3.  The handset sets a new mark for elegance, performance, and efficiency.  The HTC One S performance comes from Qualcomm’s first 28nm processor - the MSM8260A, which sports an Adreno 225 GPU core.  The combination of the 28nm shrink and the higher-performing Qualcomm core provides the best user experience found in any Android phone.  Scoring 25% higher than its older 45nm siblings (MSM8260 or APQ8060, which are 33% larger die) in CPU performance benchmarks shows Qualcomm has delivered on its promise for higher performance CPU (both cores were running at 1.5GHz). The graphics core performance remained on par with prior generation designs. 

Jim Mielke, vice president of engineering, says, “The performance, ergonomics, and efficiency of the HTC One S design set a new benchmark for all around user experience.  Don’t expect much on battery life improvement though. The current drain for most tests was in line with the prior generation’s design, and the video encode was actually poorer, although the actual cores were found to draw 33% less power. The cores are not the limiting factor in the handset design.”


Major HTC One S notables include: 

  • Highest performing dual-core handset/tablet on the market
  • First new Qualcomm S4 production platform consisting of MSM8260A,PM8921, WCN3660 connectivity, and WCD9310
  • Very small footprint for the complete modem, application processor, and connectivity solution
  • On par battery performance compared to prior generation, except for video encode, which was poorer
  • TriQuint and Avago sharing the PA design wins
  • Knowles continues its strong position in the MEMS microphone market

ABI Research’s “HTC One S Teardown report”  provides detailed photos, process evaluations, and part descriptions for all of the major components, such as the power amplifier, power management, baseband processor, application processor, RF, Bluetooth, GPS, WiLAN, and many discretes. Tying all this information together are unique circuit board photos, performance measurements, benchmark data, cost information, and board area data.


It is one of thousands of devices and components that are torn down and analyzed in the firm’s Mobile Device Teardown Service

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