Future Roadmap & Final Thoughts

The new A-Series architecture means to represent a reset for Imagination’s product offerings, representing a bright new future for the company. The new GPU IP is certainly impressive in terms of the PPA metrics that it promises to achieve, and if realized, it does have ramifications for the wider industry and the competitive landscape.

But even if the A-series can deliver on all of Imagination's promises, the company can't stop there. The competition is continuing to refine and improve their designs, and so must Imagination. To that end, along with today's announcement of the A-series, Imagination is also publishing a very broad roadmap for the next few years, outlining the upcoming GPU generations and their expected performance gains. All of this is especially important for SoC designers, who want to know what's coming down the pipe before making the effort to switch IP vendors.

Imagination’s roadmap following the A-Series is seemingly very aggressive, promising yearly updates going forward, with large annual performance increases of 1.3x, or a 30% yearly compound annual growth rate. This is a much bigger goal than we’re used to historically, but it’s very much in line with the pace of progress we’ve seen from some vendors in the past, or even what Apple has managed to recently achieve over the last two generations.

For the A-Series, Imagination has adopted a public announcement schedule more similar to Arm’s, meaning that the A-Series has already been finished and licensed out to customers, with SoCs being designed and prepared to hit the market for 2020 – we’re assuming the latter part of 2020.

The B-Series is already well under way in terms of development and projected to be completed by next summer if the roadmap is to be taken as an accurate schedule, so at least Imagination has a strong path forward.

What’s important here for Imagination, is managing to actually achieve design wins for the new GPU IP in meaningful higher volume sockets. In terms of possible customers, it’s an increasingly small list, with most of them being the smaller Chinese SoC vendors such as RockChip, Unisoc (formerly Spreadtrum). Samsung is an unlikely client given their plans with AMD as well as custom GPU development, unless there happens to be some opportunity in the low and mid-range segments. HiSilicon likely is tied to Arm, if their plans of a custom GPU don’t pan out. This leaves MediaTek as one of the bigger clients, with the most opportunity and likelihood of adopting the A-Series. Holding onto more MediaTek SoC wins, instead of having them flip-flop between PowerVR and Mali, would be a big win for Imagination and its GPU group. With MediaTek now having re-entered the flagship SoC market, it seems like a very good match.

The wider semiconductor industry is said to be in an architecture revival phase, realizing the need for stronger designs in order to make up for decreasing yearly improvements in process performance. Imagination’s A-Series here seems to be a perfect example of such a revitalization, bringing with it massively impressive generational jumps. If the improvements pan out in practice, I do believe it could be a turning point for the company, and in the future we indeed might look back on it as being the most important launch in the company’s mobile history.

PPA Projections - Significant, If Delivered
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  • s.yu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Oh they are, my iPP 1st gen from 2015 is finally starting to see some age, in practical graphics loads. Reply
  • mode_13h - Sunday, December 8, 2019 - link

    Thanks for confirming that. I appreciate all of your posts in this thread. Reply
  • webdoctors - Monday, December 2, 2019 - link

    Are they OK? I thought they were gonna shutdown after Apple dropped them as a vendor. After the canyon bridge buyout, do they have enough cash to keep operating?

    Hopefully they can keep the lights on
    Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Monday, December 2, 2019 - link

    If the GPU architecture delivers a even some (most?) of what they're promising I could see them being bought for the IP and the A-series architecture coming to life in a future SoC brought to you by a different company. Reply
  • yeeeeman - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    Apple dropped them cause they copy pasted the design so there was no reason to keep licensing it from them. Reply
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    Yup. They tried to do this with Qualcomm's modems, too, by feeding their data to the Intel engineers.

    The difference is that Qualcomm had the funds to fight back.
    Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    You guys are a joke. Seriously. Reply
  • Korguz - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    you are worse melgross Reply
  • melgross - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    No, you guys are just either completely ignorant, or deliberately hateful. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    Why can't it be both? The two do tend to correlate. Reply

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