Rumors surrounding the potential launch of the Galaxy Nexus on Sprint have hit an all-time high. Just yesterday, we reported on a leaked ad stating that the Sprint variant of the Galaxy Nexus could possibly be the carrier’s first LTE device. We also noticed that the ad specified a “1.5 GHz Dual-Core Processor.” Could this possibly mean that the Sprint-bound iteration of the Galaxy Nexus will don a different SoC? Jump past the break for our take!
The two current versions of the Galaxy Nexus share the same 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 SoC. There are currently three versions of the TI OMAP4 in total: the 4430, 4460, and 4470. The 4430 and 4460 both mate a dual-core ARM A9 CPU with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU. Where they differ, however, is in clock speed. The 4430′s CPUs can range from 1.0 – 1.2 GHz, which is lower than the 4460′s 1.2 – 1.5 GHz; and the 4430′s GPU clocks in at 308 MHz, compared with 384 MHz on the 4460. Much more appetizing than either is the 4470, which pairs a 1.5 – 1.8 GHz dual-core A9 CPU with a PowerVR SGX544 running at 384 MHz. In other words, if the leaked ad is correct, we could either be seeing a higher-clocked 4460 or the much-improved 4470.
Considering Samsung’s track record, there is also the somewhat-unlikely possibility that Sprint’s variant may use an entirely different SoC altogether. Using the flagship Galaxy S II as an example, Samsung has shown affinity towards its in-house Exynos (GT-I9100), the Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 (SGH-T989), and even the TI OMAP4 (GT-I9100G)! These are all “Galaxy S II” devices. However, there are massive performance differences in the GPU segments between the siblings, as the Mali-400 inside the Exynos is generally the fastest in most situations (barring high polygon count). And in the case of the SGH0T989 on T-Mobile, the dual-core Scorpion CPU segment is actually an ARM A8-derivative with some added elements of speculative execution and an FPU. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s essentially the same processor as seen in the HP Touchpad and many, many HTC devices. If the same product line cannot even pack the same SoC, the current state of fragmentation is indeed depressing.
That said, the most likely (and ideal) scenario is that the processor spec-bump is simply a typo. We all know that the last thing Android needs now is even more fragmentation, a problem which has even begun seeping into the Nexus line. However, I simply cannot imagine that Google would be foolish enough to create true fragmentation between its own devices. Yes, there were various versions of the Nexus S, but they each shared the same SoC. The same could be said regarding the different variants of the HTC-built Nexus One. Having a more powerful variant of the Galaxy Nexus would mean that the fundamental user experience between Galaxy Nexus devices will vary depending on which carrier you happen to show your allegiance to, and I just don’t see that happening.
Who wants to take the bets? You can put me down for another 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460. That said, it is possible for the Sprint variant to be clocked at 1.5 GHz and still contain a 4460. And on that note, I’ll leave you with an entirely unrelated (but very awesome) image.