At the Linley Group Tech Mobile Conference 2012 which was recently held in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose), Amit Rohatgi from MIPS Technologies Inc. spoke about the penetration MIPS is bringing to the crowded Android tablet space with quite impressive figures.
During a panel with senior executives from Linley Group, Intel and Qualcomm, Amit Rohatagi, Principal Architect for MIPS Technologies detailed the mobile strategy of its company and the effects of collaboration with Chinese Ingenic Semiconductor. Ingenic was founded in 2007 and until today, the company shipped over 30 million CPUs. Ingenic is focusing on optimizing MIPS architecture and is currently working on new mobile chip based on MIPS64, a 64-bit architecture which debuted in 1991.
The growth of MIPS in tablet space is especially interesting. Since the announcement that Google Android 4.0 ICS is enabled to work on MIPS processors, MIPS started to grow in Mainland China like no tomorrow. Chinese Ainovo (products are sold under Ainol brand) was the first manufacturer to offer an 7" Android 4.0 ICS powered tablet for only $99, and after the company offered $79 and $119 parts, all tablets are continuously sold out. Ainol is producing as much tablets as they can handle, and the company is now starting to see competing companies launching their MIPS powered tablets.
The numbers are quite impressive – for a part that only hit mass production at the tail end of last year, Ingenic Semiconductor shipped 1.8 million chips for tablets. With the initial programme being deemed successful, the next step is to push for 10 million shipped units by the end of the year.
Given that even Philips launched a low-cost tablet product based on MIPS architecture (available in China only), time will tell when the world are going to take notice. Remember, just six months ago, nobody expected MIPS to emerge as a serious contender to ARM and x86.