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

    "Apple is the biggest example of what a toxic system capitalism can become. "
    Clear sign of a hater, vlad.
    "Huawei is the biggest example of what a toxic system state capitalism-cum-corrupt monarchy can become. "
    It could direct authorities to jail an individual for 251 days with false testimonies only to be proven innocent and compesated with a recording he kept, and those who lied under oath are never held accountable.
    Huawei could frame somebody, to be jailed using the state apparatus supported by taxpayers, to be compensated using tax money when proven innocent, without expending a single cent from its pocket or giving so much as single apology when exposed. Yeah that's so much better than Apple.
    Reply
  • Korguz - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    he's right apple does charge way to much for their products. all apple cares about.. is its profits.... Reply
  • Threska - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Who isn't selfish? Companies care about profits. Consumers care about the lowest price. Reply
  • Korguz - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    not like apple does.. their stuff is very overpriced.... Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1004918/huawei-is-i...
    Everybody who has idealistic views of Huawei should be reading this, vlad accuses me of being a hater and look what he's doing.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    No shit that was 404'd.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50658787
    This is a BBC article but with much fewer details.
    Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Key points here:

    1. Huawei's HR lead a few employees to lie under oath to start the investigation against him.

    2. Authorities had the choice between detaining him and not detaining him, all they had to go on was Huawei's testimonies, they detained him siding with Huawei despite circumstantial evidence that the accusations were likely false.

    3. He was investigated due to another false accusation from Huawei a few months in for an extension on his jail time.

    4. Another employee was jailed under similar circumstances but gave in and wrote a confession under Huawei's promise no to press charges, which Huawei immediately seized, and brought to court.

    5. He only discovered the reason to jail him when he met his lawyer appointed by his wife, which was already months into his effective sentence, only then did he disclose that he had a recording of his discussion with the company regarding compensations(and multiple backups, some of which survived police search during his arrest), which proved his innocence.

    6. Upon procecutors terminating investigations on revelation from the recording and releasing him with compensation from the state, Huawei immediately modified their testimony.

    7. There was never an apology nor compensation from Huawei for framing Li, not in an official capacity, not by the employees and the HR who gave the false testimonies, and the individuals who lied under oath were never prosecuted nor even investigated.

    8. In the first 2-3 days of the incident there was intense censorship, to a scale probably unimaginable by an outsider, but as the Party realized this could not be suppressed, which brings us to where we are now. They turned to attempting to dictate the public discourse with censored reports and obfuscated details, and encouraging the spread of effectively irrelevant content defending Huawei from ideological and emotional standpoints.
    Reply
  • ksec - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    That assumes the drivers from IMG or Vendors could make their GPU perform as fast as it could. Reply
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - link

    Only because they refuse to open source (or publish details to support open source driver development). Reply
  • lucam - Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - link

    Do not forget there is also the AXT-48-1536 for premium mobile that should go even faster than the 1024 and therefore easily compete with the future A14 Reply

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