Guest Post: OpenAI Reboot: Ecosystem Still in Trouble

OpenAI has been put back the way that it was, but the governance will be very different and the damage that has been done to its ecosystem aspirations could greatly impact its long-term future.

  • Altman and his crew have been reinstated at OpenAI and a new board has been formed. But how the non-profit part of OpenAI’s mission has changed is not clear at this stage.
  • The previous structure of OpenAI was a non-profit company with a subsidiary that would be able to make money. It is in this subsidiary that most of the investments have been made.
  • The problem is that OpenAI’s mission to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI) has a rapacious appetite for compute resources which is where the vast majority of the over $11 billion that Microsoft has invested has been spent.
  • This is where the non-profit and for-profit ideologies bump against each other as Microsoft has a fiduciary duty to make money for its shareholders and shoveling $11 billion into a black hole with no prospect of a return is a breach of that duty.
  • This is why there is an unusual situation in the for-profit subsidiary where Microsoft’s return is capped at 100x, which for all intents and purposes is perfectly fine.
  • The problem is that the board that oversaw OpenAI (and the for-profit subsidiary) was only supposed to care about AI benefitting humanity, which also means capping AI that it thinks could trigger the machine takeover of the human race.
  • I am pretty sure that this was the source of the conflict that led to the firing of Altman, but I suspect that it was rumors of a breakthrough in AI that were the catalyst for the recent events.
  • This “breakthrough” in AI, which has been termed Q*, appears to have been enough to make the board nervous and it may have something to do with reasoning.
  • I suspect that this “breakthrough” will be an enhancement of GPT models that makes them appear to be better at reasoning.
  • So far, I have seen no evidence whatsoever that any deep learning system is capable of reasoning.
  • Instead, what they are very good at is learning from examples and then applying that learning in a controlled setting.
  • The minute the setting becomes uncontrolled, deep learning systems go off the rails and start making things up or hallucinating or making horrible errors on the road that force the humans to take over.
  • This is because they have no causal understanding of the tasks that they are performing and instead only understand the correlation.
  • If this “breakthrough” involves reasoning and is real, then this would represent a step along the way to AGI.
  • However, all of the evidence I have seen suggests that while the machines can simulate reasoning, they always fall over the minute that they are put to a real test on data that they have not seen before.
  • This would also not be the first time that a heralded breakthrough from OpenAI turned out to be a red herring (Robotic Rubik Cube solver).
  • Hence, I suspect that all of the fuss about a robot apocalypse may have damaged OpenAI’s long-term outlook and greatly aided its competitors.
  • OpenAI launched its play for the AI ecosystem just this month and to make it successful, everyone needs to have complete confidence in OpenAI as a going concern as they will be basing their apps and services upon its foundation models or GPT itself.
  • The recent antics have shattered that confidence and now OpenAI will have to work much harder to shore up developer confidence that it will be around for the long term.
  • To make matters worse, it will now be much easier for rivals to lure developers, meaning that the whole ecosystem proposition has taken a large hit.
  • OpenAI is out of the woods and has a future, but its valuation and the prospect of dominating the AI ecosystem remain in disarray.

(This guest post was written by Richard Windsor, our Research Director at Large.  This first appeared on Radio Free Mobile. All views expressed are Richard’s own.) 

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MediaTek Summit 2023: AI & ASICs Driving Momentum Going Into 2024

  • MediaTek held its annual executive summit in Laguna Niguel, California, recently.
  • Key announcements emphasized on the company’s premium AI-driven and custom SoC (ASICs) strategy.
  • The new connectivity solutions from Wi-Fi 7 chips to 5G and 5G RedCap thin modems underlined its IoT strategy and momentum.
  • Other highlights included key partnerships and design wins – Meta for AR headset, NVIDIA for automotive and ARM for smartphones.

Counterpoint analysts attended MediaTek’s annual executive summit in Laguna Niguel, California, recently, spending time with key company executives CEO Rick Tsai, CFO David Ku, Corp VP Vince Hu, CTO Kevin Jou, SVP JC Hsu, GM & VP Marketing Finbarr Moynihan and partners and customers. The keynotes delivered centered around MediaTek’s incredible progress over the last five years and what is in store for the next five years.

MediaTek Executive Summit 2023 - Counterpoint Research

WATCH: MediaTek Executive Summit 2023: AI Across Segments To Drive Business Growth

Last five years:

  • MediaTek has raised its profile and performance over the last five years.
  • The company’s revenues are up 2x, gross margins have increased by around 48%, and marquee partnerships and product announcements have gone up.
  • MediaTek’s performance in “handsets”, its largest revenue segment, has been healthy since the pandemic and onset of the 5G era, leading the market in terms of unit volume share (see here: Smartphone AP/SoC Market Share by Quarter).
  • More than 2 billion MediaTek chipset-powered devices are being shipped every year.
  • MediaTek has spent nearly $18 billion in R&D over the last five years, helping it advance in areas of on-device AI and connectivity, and diversify into newer areas such as auto, wearables, 5G FWA and Chromebooks.

MediaTek Executive Summit 2023 - Counterpoint Research

Next Five Years:

  • MediaTek has laid out its key focus areas for the next five years, and obviously, they revolve around “Ubiquitous data processing (AI) and ubiquitous transmission (“fast connectivity 5G, Wi-Fi 7, NTN”)
  • MediaTek is focusing on “Ubiquitous AI” to power advanced silicon compute needs across smartphones, automotive, XR, enterprise, cloud and industrial applications.
  • The company has also been heavily focusing on the custom silicon (ASIC) market.

MediaTek Executive Summit 2023 - Counterpoint Research

  • MediaTek’s ASIC business is one of its less talked about success stories of working with multiple clients across multiple applications. For example, Sony for PlayStation VR2, Sony Premium Headset WH-1000XM5, Logitech, Juniper Networks Networking chip, Kontron SOM, BARCO and Advantech gateways.
  • The company shipped its One Billionth Consumer ASIC this year with a more than 80% increase in design wins in 2023.
  • MediaTek expects 200% revenue growth in the next two years for Edge AI custom ASIC chips.
  • One of the key announcements at the summit was MediaTek’s partnership with Meta to build custom ASIC for Meta’s future AR glasses.
  • This rides upon the successful design win in Sony’s PSVR2 (see here: XR Headset Market Share by Quarter )

MediaTek Executive Summit 2023 - Counterpoint Research

  • The new flagship Dimensity 9300, where MediaTek has taken a significant leap (see here: MediaTek Strengthens Premium Push With Gen AI Capabilities ), was among the most discussed topics.
  • The company’s tight partnership with ARM and adoption of the ARM Total Compute Solution 23 (see here: Arm Platform TCS23 Sets Benchmark to Power Advanced, Holistic Mobile Computing Experiences) has helped it bring to the surface significant performance from its flagship SoC, taking on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
  • The company believes its third-generation flagship SoC, the Dimensity 9300, will garner over $1 billion in revenues.
  • vivo’s new flagship smartphone X100 is the first device to sport the Dimensity 9300. Launched in the China market, its initial reviews are super-encouraging.
  • There was a discussion about how the company would get paid for AI and for improving AI models. For now, it is higher ASPs from its hardware. But it is early in the AI journey and things could change. The entire tech industry is exploring how it will monetize the generative AI wave.
  • The key takeaway was MediaTek’s AI strategy with its seventh-generation APU which can handle up to 33 billion parameters LLM, much more than the competition.
  • The company is also working on AI software tools, stack and ecosystem partners to allow OEMs and partners to leverage the compute capability via its NeuroPilot Stack.

MediaTek Executive Summit 2023 - Counterpoint Research

  • The foundry diversification strategy continues. Taiwan-based MediaTek has a strong relationship with Taiwan-based TSMC. It will continue to focus on leading-node production within TSMC. However, it is open to further diversification and US contracts are on the table.
  • The company is excited about its solutions for the automotive segment. MediaTek has partnered with NVIDIA for automotive with each company playing to its strengths. For MediaTek, this means providing cellular connectivity including 5G, Wi-Fi and infotainment solutions. The company emphasized this is a high-ASP, 3nm solution to support the latest in connectivity and high-end gaming (think ray tracing). The company is focused on the China EV market, which is already the largest market in the world and also the most competitive. MediaTek has ambitions to eventually have an ADAS solution.
  • The Chromebook market has been a blue-ocean opportunity for MediaTek to enter the PC market. The company believes it is going to be a natural progression to the Arm-based AI PC market in the coming years.
  • In IoT, the company unveiled its M60 5G RedCap modem (see here: Big Role for 5G RedCap in 5G Evolution, Massive IoT Adoption) targeting smartwatches, bands and lightweight AR devices.
  • Also announced were two Filogic Wi-Fi 7 (see here: White Paper: Growing 5G+Wi-Fi RF Complexity Demands Innovative, Advanced & Tightly Integrated RFFE Solutions) chipsets targeting global broadband service providers’ Ethernet gateways. These solutions will also service IoT router applications.

Wrapping up:

  • MediaTek has spelled out a clear vision and roadmap focusing on AI and ASICs to propel growth across different applications.
  • The ASIC strategy is working well to power compute in the IoT domain, whereas branded silicon is doing well in the handsets domain.
  • MediaTek will have its work cut out though on building ecosystem and developer traction when it comes to AI success across silicon.

MediaTek Strengthens Premium Push With Gen AI Capabilities

  • The Dimensity 9300 is integrated with the 7th-gen APU 790 processor, which supports a broad generative AI ecosystem and models including Meta Llama 2, Baidu ERNIE 3.5 SE and Baichuan 2.
  • It can run with 13 billion parameters, which are scalable up to 33 billion, on-device at a processing speed of up to 20 tokens per second.
  • The Dimensity 9300 will debut with the vivo X100 smartphone in mid-November

MediaTek recently launched its third-generation premium chipset Dimensity 9300. The company has emerged as a strong competitor in the premium smartphone chipset market after launching the Dimensity 9000 in Q1 2022. Currently, MediaTek leads the low-mid segment and drives significant volumes both for 4G and 5G in this tier.
Adopting a non-traditional CPU core design, the Dimensity 9300 focuses on raw performance. It has four large cores (Cortex-X4) and four performance cores (Cortex-A720 cores), thus enabling it to excel in raw computing power and advanced AI capabilities.

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 Features

Dimensity 9300 key specifications

Like the last two generations, the Dimensity 9300 SoC is built on a TSMC 4nm process node. It is more efficient and performs better than the Dimensity 9200. There is a 40% improvement in the multi-core performance and a 15% improvement in the single-core performance. The Dimensity 9300 combines an octa-core CPU with the company’s second-generation hardware raytracing engine, enabling smartphones to achieve console-level global illumination effects at a smooth 60 FPS. Besides, the chipset supports seamless multitasking, allowing users to simultaneously play games and stream videos or watch a video while gaming.

  • Four ARM Cortex-X4 CPU. Prime core clocked at up to 3.25GHz
  • Four ARM Cortex-A720 CPU clocked at up to 2.0GHz

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 CPU Architecture

7th-gen APU 790 processor

The chip is equipped with MediaTek’s next-generation APU 790 processor, which reduces power consumption by 45% while improving performance. Its processing speed is eight times that of the APU 690. It also offers significant improvements in generative AI performance and energy efficiency for edge computing. The APU 790 is specifically designed for generative AI tasks, marking a substantial upgrade over its predecessor. It accelerates processing through the Transformer model and supports image generation within one second using Stable Diffusion. The APU 790 also supports large language models with up to 33 billion parameters. MediaTek has also implemented mixed-precision INT4 quantization technology and NeuroPilot memory hardware compression to optimize memory usage for large AI models.

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 APU

The Dimensity 9300 has a strong AI generative ecosystem, which supports language models like Llama 2, Baichuan 2 and Baidu AI LLM. It helps developers to efficiently deploy multi-modal generative AI applications for users.

Immortalis-G720 GPU

With the integration of ARM’s latest GPU, the Immortalis-G720, the Dimensity 9300 offers almost a 46% boost in GPU performance and 40% power reduction compared to the Dimensity 9200.

Mediatek Dimensity 9300 GPU

The Dimensity 9300 chipset supports the new Ultra HDR format in Android 14, improving mobile photography with vibrant images and compatible JPEG files. It also offers ambient light adaptive HDR recovery technology for enhanced photography. It supports 100% pixel-level autofocus, dual lossless zoom and 3-microphone HDR audio recording.

The chipset’s display system is equipped with the MiraVision Picture Quality (PQ) engine which dynamically adjusts the contrast, sharpness and color of primary objects, resulting in lifelike video experiences similar to high-end TVs. It uses on-device AI to detect primary objects and background images in real time.

Enhanced connectivity

The Dimensity 9300 offers Wi-Fi 7 speeds up to 6.5 Gbps and improved long-range connectivity with Xtra Range 2.0 Technology. It also enhances smartphone tethering speeds by up to three times using Multi-Link Hotspot technology. The Dimensity 9300 also supports up to three Bluetooth antennas and features dual Bluetooth flash connection technology for an ultra-low latency Bluetooth audio experience.

DRAM support and security

The Dimensity 9300 is the first SoC that supports the LPDDR5T up to 9600 Mbps. Also, it integrates two SUPs, one for boot security and one for computing security.

Dimensity 9300 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

In terms of specifications, the Dimensity 9300 uses all big core architecture 4 prime cores (Cortex-X4) and 4 big cores (Cortex-A720), whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 uses one prime (Cortex-X4), five big (Cortex-A720) and two small cores (Cortex-A520). MediaTek with its all-big core design is addressing generative AI and gaming applications. On paper, the Dimensity 9300’s AI performance is competitive. The Dimensity 9300 supports large language models that can run with 13 billion parameters, whereas the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 can run with 10 billion parameters on-device.

The fact that MediaTek now offers performance and efficiency gains that are comparable to Qualcomm’s latest-generation flagship offerings, shows MediaTek wants to directly compete with Qualcomm in the premium segment. Overall, this is going to be a win-win for the industry, as it will raise the bar and, in turn, benefit the end users.

A table showing the differences between Mediatek Dimensity 9300 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

Expected timeline

The vivo X100 will be the first smartphone to carry the Dimensity 9300 chipset. It will be available in the market by the end of 2023. We expect that the Dimensity 9300 will have better adoption among Chinese OEMs compared to the Dimensity 9200. China will be the first target market for smartphones with the Dimensity 9300, followed by India, SEA and Europe.

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Podcast #71: Key Takeaways from Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit 2023

Qualcomm recently hosted its annual Snapdragon Summit in Maui, Hawaii, where it made several interesting announcements. AI, more specifically on-device generative AI, was a key theme. Qualcomm demonstrated the AI-on-edge capabilities on both smartphone and laptop reference designs, and they were impressive.

Key announcements included the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform, and the all-new Snapdragon X Elite compute platform powered by Oryon CPU cores. Qualcomm also announced the S7 and S7 Pro Gen 1 sound platforms, with the Pro version adding the XPAN feature for streaming audio using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Lastly, we also saw Snapdragon Seamless, a technology to link multiple devices across OEMs and multiple operating systems for audio and peripherical connectivity and file transfer.

In the latest episode of “The Counterpoint Podcast”, Research Director Tom Kang and VP of Research Neil Shah discuss their key takeaways from the Snapdragon Summit 2023. They touch upon the industry’s transformation towards AI-driven experiences, partnerships, the reduced gap between chipset release and chipset adoption, and much more.

Click the play button to listen to the podcast

Podcast Chapter Markers

00:33 – Neil talks about how this year’s Snapdragon Summit was different than the previous ones.

01:39 – Tom adds his views on what was interesting at the Snapdragon Summit this year.

02:53 – Neil shares his views on the Snapdragon X Elite with on-device generative AI, and how it can be revolutionary for the AI PC industry.

05:06 – Tom talks about Meta’s Llama 2 model unlocking new AI capabilities and experiences.

05:53 – Neil touches on Qualcomm’s partnerships for optimizing over 30 AI models for the X Elite and Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 platforms.

07:01 – Tom talks about AI experiences showcased by Qualcomm at the summit, and OEMs launching new devices at the same time as the chipset launch.

09:01 – Neil talks about the Snapdragon X Elite, its Oryon core, and ARM-based chipsets from competitors like AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel.

Also available for listening/download on:


Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite Unveiled: ARM-based SoC for Windows-powered AI PCs

  • Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X Elite SoC targets the AI PC market as the PC market bottoms out.
  • Made on TSMC’s 4nm process node, the new Snapdragon X Elite features a powerful 12-core Oryon CPU.
  • Between the Oryon CPU, Adreno GPU, and the Hexagon NPU, the Snapdragon X Elite can deliver up to 75 TOPS of AI computing performance.

Qualcomm announced its latest Snapdragon X Elite compute platform at the 2023 Snapdragon Summit held in Hawaii on October 24-26, during which the company also launched the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform. The Snapdragon X Elite is an ARM-based processor designed for personal computers and aims at delivering powerful performance and better power efficiency along with cutting-edge on-device generative AI features.

Qualcomm looking to expand its ARM SoC Smartphone Success to the PC Platform

Based on its brand-new ARM CPU core ‘Oryon’, developed from its Nuvia acquisition, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite SoC is built on TSMC’s 4nm process node. The CPU uses ARM’s 8.7 instruction set and features 12 high-performance ‘Oryon’ cores clocked at 3.8GHz. There is also a dual-core boost feature offering peak clock speeds of up to 4.3GHz. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon X Elite can offer 2x faster CPU performance than the competition while consuming one-third of the power.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon x elite cpu config
Source: Qualcomm

Combined with 136GB/s LPDDR5x memory bandwidth, and up to a total of 42MB cache, including three 12MB L2 cache, and the remaining 6MB shared with the overall CPU. The SoC comes with an integrated Adreno GPU as well as Hexagon NPU and sensing hub to enable multiple AI functions. This is effectively moving AI inferencing to the network edge (laptop). The Adreno GPU supports DirectX, OpenCL, and Vulcan APIs.

Built for on-device AI experiences, the Hexagon NPU can deliver peak AI computing performance of 45 TOPS, which Qualcomm claims is 4.5 times faster than the competition. And between the CPU, GPU, and NPU, the SoC can offer peak AI computing performance of 75 TOPS.

The SoC was designed to run large language models on-device, with up to 13 billion parameters, thus offering the claimed fastest Stable Diffusion performance by a laptop chip on the market. It can generate 30 tokens per second for seven billion large language models (LLMs).

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon x elite specs at a glance
Source: Qualcomm

The SoC is designed in a way that it can be used on laptops, tablets, and even desktop PCs. Qualcomm showcased a 12W fanless reference design, along with 23W, 45W, and even the one with 80W thermal design power (TDP). TDP measures the maximum amount of heat produced by the chip in terms of watts.

PC vendors including Lenovo, HP, Dell, Microsoft, and Acer are all working to bring Snapdragon X Elite-powered laptops to the market by mid-2024.

WATCH: “AI PC” Era Beckons with Snapdragon X Elite: Deep Dive with Qualcomm’s Kedar Kondap

Snapdragon X Elite Benchmarks Show Impressive Gains over Apple Silicon, Intel and AMD Processors

At the Snapdragon Summit, we also had an opportunity to take a sneak peek at the Snapdragon X Elite benchmarking, where Qualcomm tested the SoC on both Windows and Linux (using Geekbench 6.2). Cinebench, UL Procyon AI, Wildlife Extreme, Aztec Ruins, and PC Mark were some of the other popular benchmarks on which the Snapdragon X Elite was tested.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon x elite benchmark configs
Source: Qualcomm

The reference design laptops were loaded with some popular benchmarks to show how they performed over the competition. There were two TDP configurations — Config A laptop with 80W max and Config B laptop with 23W.

Below are some of the scores that Qualcomm shared:

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon x elite benchmarks
Source: Qualcomm

ARM-based Laptops to Further Gain Share at x86’s Expense

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite SoC was built completely on an ARM IP structure, instead of the long-lasting x86 IP structure in the PC industry, which supports our view of the double-digit YoY percentage growth in ARM-based laptop shipments.

counterpoint ai pc market forecast

After Microsoft and Qualcomm’s exclusive agreement to develop ARM-based Windows-compatible chips expires in 2024, we are expecting more chip vendors to enter the market and that will make the PC market more competitive. Intel could face more challenges to its long-lasting dominance in the PC CPU market.

We believe there are still challenges for the ARM-based PC ecosystem and apps/software support. Software developers have spent decades and billions of dollars writing code for Windows that runs on the x86 architecture. Even if Microsoft smoothly migrates its Windows software portfolio to ARM-based processors, it could take a lot of time for the ARM-based ecosystem to see similar migrations and maturity.

AI PC to Drive Another Wave of Shipment Growth in 2024

In 2023, PC OEMs and chip vendors are all dedicated to developing products/solutions for the AI universe. Over the past five quarters, PC OEMs have been working hard to resolve inventory issues and had a hard time searching for a new growth engine for the PC business. Now, the AI PC market is witnessing a surge, underpinned by Intel and Qualcomm’s new PC CPU platform, which is just around the corner. These AI-enabled PC models will likely be available around mid-2024.

We now expect AI PCs to have an over 50% 10-year CAGR from 2020, and after 2026, they will dominate the PC market. Intel, Qualcomm, and other PC CPU makers are working closely with PC OEMs toward the next-generation mainstream models, marking a new chapter for the PC industry.

MediaTek’s Q3 2023 Revenue Up 9% QoQ as Inventory Levels Normalize

  • MediaTek witnessed robust sequential growth in Q3 due to customers restocking inventory. 
  • Inventory declined to a healthy level of 90 days during the quarter.  
  • 3nm SoC shipments set to start in H2 2024 
  • Auto pipeline remains the same over $1 billion

MediaTek’s revenue increased 9% QoQ in Q3 2023, highlighting a good quarter, despite a YoY decline. This sequential growth was largely driven by inventory restocking by smartphone OEMs and new 4G and 5G model launches. The demand for wireless and wired connectivity grew sequentially with shipments reaching a quarterly record. Also, the inventory situation has gradually improved, coming down to a steady level of 90 days compared to 115 days in the previous quarter. The company is aiming to launch the 3nm chipset in H2 2023. 

Long-term growth potential in computing, edge AI and Auto segment 

CEO Rick Tsai: “For the future, the increasing computing capabilities, the proliferation of edge AI, and the higher adoption of semiconductor content for automotive will provide strong growth opportunities for MediaTek. For AI, we believe the increasing demand for cloud AI will create a complementary demand for edge AI, and, the more edge AI, the better cloud AI.”

Shivani Parashar’s analyst take: “MediaTek foresees strong growth potential in computing, edge AI, and automotive semiconductors. The company will focus on capabilities to integrate edge AI into SoCs for a wide range of applications, mostly for smartphones and the auto segment. MediaTek has already collaborated with NVIDIA in the automotive sector. The company is well positioned and plans to continue investing in successful segments. The expansion into new markets like AI and ARM computing, by leveraging its technological powers and partnerships with leading foundries, will help the company generate significant revenues in these segments.” 

Customer and channel inventory returned to a normal level 

CEO: “In the last few months, we’ve observed improvements in overall channel inventories, particularly with respect to smartphones. With prudent inventory management, we have reduced our inventory for five consecutive quarters. At the end of Q3 2023, our days of inventory has reached to a healthy level of 90 days. We expect the overall inventory environment to continue to improve in the coming quarters.” 

Parv Sharma’s analyst take: “According to our supply chain checks, Channel level inventory is reducing and by H1 2024, the inventory will be at a normal level. The smartphone OEMs have started restocking the inventory, but still, they remain cautious due to weak consumer demand.” 

5G penetration to increase in 2024 

CFO David Ku: “We still got a few more months to get into 2024, but in general, I think the mix in terms of 4G versus 5G, our view is actually 5G will continue — for our own shipment perspective — 5G probably will increase and 4G will decline in terms of shipment compared to this year, 2024 versus 2023. Because 5G again next year, our view is the overall market will still witness double-digit percentage growth, 4G probably will be flattish to slightly down from the market demand perspective.” 

Shivani Parashar’s analyst take: “We forecast that 5G penetration will increase in double-digit percentage in 2024. In anticipation of a shift from LTE to entry-level 5G smartphones, OEMs are expanding their 5G portfolio across price bands. Intense competition among OEMs, availability of cheaper 5G chipsets and declining prices of 5G devices will contribute to the growth of 5G chipsets. The 4G chipset will decline by low-single-digit percentage in 2024 compared with that in 2023.” 

Result summary 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Unveiled: On-Device Generative AI Takes Center Stage

  • On-device generative AI was a key theme of the launch.
  • Qualcomm has revamped AI Engine with support for LLM, LVM, and ASR to run solely on-device.
  • It can run 10 billion parameters on-device and LLM models at up to 20 tokens per second.

Qualcomm announced the next-generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform at its annual Snapdragon Summit held on October 24-26 in Hawaii. One of the key highlights of the new system-on-a-chip (SoC) is that it is now capable of running accelerated AI computer engines on-device. The chipset extends the possibilities of generative AI and enables a rich user experience. The launch will strengthen Qualcomm’s lead in the hardware-based AI capabilities for mobile devices.

On-device Generative AI: The Key Theme

Qualcomm spent a lot of time talking about generative AI and how it will transform smartphone computing and user experiences. Last year, with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the focus was on the Hexagon processor with Sensing Hub and on-device personalization. This year’s focus was on running Large Language Models (LLM), Language Vision Models (LVM), and transformer network-based automatic speech recognition (ASR) with up to 10 billion parameters running natively on-device.

Qualcomm has refreshed the AI engine with the Hexagon NPU showing double the performance growth and a 40% increase in the performance per watt to run the AI models. The chipset can now run up to 10 billion parameters on-device and LLM models at up to 20 tokens per second, removing the need to rely on the cloud for inferencing. Qualcomm has partnered with Meta to support Llama 2 and with Microsoft for Stable Diffusion. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, using Stable Diffusion on-device, can generate images in less than a second, without connecting to the internet. These are impressive capabilities for a low-power battery-operated device.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 on-device generative ai
Source: Qualcomm

WATCH: On-Device Generative AI: Text-to-Image in Under a Second

Qualcomm has also added support on the SDK level so that developers can include their own models. Xiaomi has added a model for running AI on-device with six billion parameters. It has also added a host of support for creators to use multi-modal generative AI like:

  • LLM-based assistants can help the creative process and summarize ideas for you.
  • LVM can bring these ideas to life with the use of fast diffusion technology. For instance, you can ask to generate a completely new image, say, a family of four on the beach eating burgers.

Cognitive AI, i.e. LLM and LVM together, give the best user experience. HONOR announced that the Magic6 series smartphones will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC and will have on-device LLM with seven billion parameters.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 camera
Source: Qualcomm

These models are being used for a breakthrough in camera experiences like:

  • A video object eraser by Arcsoft, allows to remove unwanted objects, and video bombers from videos.
  • OEMs can even use two always-sensing cameras in the front and back enabling easy QR code scan and face unlock.
  • The neural network allows you to zoom out beyond the picture captured, thus adding missing parts to photos making it feel like it was captured by a wide-angle lens. Qualcomm demoed this in action, calling it Photo Expansion, and it looked promising.

With advancements in AI-generated content, Qualcomm has also partnered with Truepic to adopt the C2PA standard. It lets viewers know whether the image is genuine or AI-generated and uses Qualcomm mobile security to create a cryptographic seal that indicates a genuine image. As all these experiences are on-device, the data never leaves your device, thus increasing security.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 specs
Source: Qualcomm

Snapdragon 8 Gen 3: Key Specifications

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC is built on the enhanced TSMC 4nm process node, just like the last two generations. It is impressive to see how Qualcomm still managed to increase the CPU performance by making it 30% faster, while also consuming 20% less power. This was achieved by using a tri-cluster eight-core CPU design featuring:

  • One ARM Cortex-X4based prime core clocked at up to 3.3GHz
  • Five ARM Cortex-720-based performance cores clocked between 3.0-3.2GHz
  • Two ARM Cortex-520-based efficiency cores clocked at up to 2.3GHz

In terms of graphics, Qualcomm claims that the new Adreno GPU is 25% faster in performance and 25% more power efficient. Overall power savings have improved by 10%, Qualcomm said.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 cpu
Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm has also improved the hardware-based ray tracing by 40% and added support for Unreal Engine 5 Lumen. The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is the first chipset to support this engine. There is also the Adreno Frame Motion Engine 2.0, which doubles the frame rate from 60fps to 120fps. Furthermore, with the Snapdragon Elite Gaming suite, the new SoC also supports 240fps gaming on a 240Hz display.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 elite gaming
Source: Qualcomm

Enhanced Connectivity: 5G Advanced Ready, Wi-Fi 7 and Dual Bluetooth

Qualcomm has added support for 5G advance using the Snapdragon X75 Modem-RF System, with hardware-based AI acceleration, making it another first for Qualcomm. This enables the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset to achieve better speeds, coverage, mobility, link robustness, and location accuracy. There is also the Qualcomm FastConnect 7800 Wi-Fi 7 platform that supports the High Band Simultaneous Multi-Link for faster speeds and low-latency performance.

OEM Partners and Expected Timeline

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset has secured design wins among global OEMs, including ASUS, HONOR, iQOO, MEIZU, NIO, Nubia, OnePlus, OPPO, realme, Redmi, RedMagic, Sony, vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE.

This is the first time that the launch of the chipset and device occurred simultaneously. Xiaomi took the limelight by launching the Xiaomi 14 series powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 SoC at the same time as the chipset launch. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 shipments will ramp up in Q1 2024 with wider adoption across the smartphone OEMs.

Qualcomm S7, S7 Pro Gen 1 Sound Platforms with AI-enhanced Audio and XPAN Technology

Along with the mobile platform, Qualcomm also announced the S7 and S7 Pro Gen 1 sound platforms that aim to offer a more advanced and personalized audio experience. Just like in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 mobile platform, AI follows a similar trajectory here as well. The sound platforms come with a dedicated AI coreto offer up to 100x higher AI performance, and five times more computing power compared to the previous generation.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 snapdragon sound s7 pro xpan
Source: Qualcomm

The dedicated AI cores are also used for audio curation including hearing loss compensation, low-latency DSP and to power the latest fourth-generation Adaptive ANC. The platforms support Bluetooth 5.4, and Bluetooth LE including Auracast Broadcast Audio.

The Qualcomm S7 Pro Gen 1 platform takes it up a notch by adding micro-power Wi-Fi connectivity to intelligently switch between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to offer the whole home and building coverage with XPAN technology. It supports 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and even 6GHz Wi-Fi bands. Lastly, with Snapdragon Sound, the S7 Pro Gen 1 can offer data rates of up to 29Mpbs, enabling lossless music streaming over Wi-Fi up to 24-bit/192kHz.

Snapdragon Seamless: Enabling Interoperability Between Windows and Android Devices

The Android and Windows ecosystems are fragmented, which makes interoperability a challenge. In an attempt to make devices work better together, irrespective of the OEM, Qualcomm also announced Snapdragon Seamless, which will enable Windows PCs and Android devices to discover each other and communicate seamlessly.

counterpoint qualcomm snapdragon 8 gen 3 snapdragon seamless
Source: Qualcomm

Samsung, with its Galaxy ecosystem, is trying to offer a seamless connectivity experience, but that is restricted to its own devices. Qualcomm is trying to break that barrier by offering a multi-device, multi-connect experience. Snapdragon Seamless will unify all devices from TWS and laptops to PCs, tablets, and smartphones, allowing rich experiences such as earbuds switching, text copy/paste, and image and video drag and drop between devices. It eliminates the need to constantly pair and unpair devices. Qualcomm demoed this between HONOR devices, and it looks promising.

Intel’s 14th-gen ‘Raptor Lake Refresh’ Processors Offer up to 6GHz Clock Speeds, Wi-Fi 7, AI-guided Overclocking, and More

  • Intel’s 14th-gen desktop processors offer up to 24 cores, 32 threads, and up to 6GHz peak clock speed.
  • The new Intel 14th-gen “Raptor Lake Refresh” processors offer enhanced gaming performance, AI-guided overclocking support, and advanced connectivity features like Wi-Fi 7, Thunderbolt 4, and 5.
  • The processors are backward compatible with 600/700 series motherboards and will be available in retail and via OEM partners from starting October 17, 2023, starting at $294.

Intel has launched its latest 14th-generation desktop processors, with the portfolio headlined by the Core i9-14900K – the first mass-produced processor with up to 6GHz clock speed out of the box. Like the 13th-generation Raptor Lake, the new “Raptor Lake Refresh” is made on an Intel 7 (10nm) process node, using the same die, with differences coming in the core count, higher clock speeds, advanced connectivity options and AI assist feature among others.

There are six new desktop processors in the family, including the Core i9-14900K/KF, the Core i7-14700K/KF, and the Core i5-14600K/KF. The K models come with an integrated GPU, while the KF models do not feature any integrated GPU and are slightly more affordable. Available starting October 17, these processors maintain the same pricing as last year’s processors.

Talking about Intel’s 14th-gen desktop processors, Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst William Li, who tracks the PC market said, “Intel’s new desktop CPU solutions could boost not only hardware capabilities to deal with incremental computing power requirements but also improve user experience with Intel Application Optimization (APO) technology. Although this time the Core 14th-gen desktop processors do not have huge upgrades as on laptop platforms, gamers and creators can still enjoy better computing performance without compromising user workflow with Intel’s solid achievement on overclocking. We believe that the global PC market has bottomed out in H2 2023 and will likely see a significant rebound in the next year largely due to the Windows 11 replacement cycle and Artificial Intelligence (AI) PC momentum.”

Intel 14th-gen ‘Raptor Lake Refresh’ Processors: Specifications

 Aimed at gamers and creators, the Intel Core i9-14900K/KF offers clock speeds of up to 6GHz. The processor has a 24-core CPU, including eight Performance (P) cores with a max Turbo frequency of up to 5.6GHz and 16 Efficiency (E) cores with a max Turbo frequency of up to 4.4GHz, and has a total of 32 processor threads. It also includes a 36MB L3 cache and 32MB L2 cache.

Meanwhile, the Intel Core i7-14700K/KF has a 20-core CPU, with eight P-cores, with a max Turbo frequency of up to 5.5GHz, and 12 E-cores (up from eight cores in the previous gen), with a max Turbo clock speed of up to 4.3GHz and has a total of 28 threads. It also comes with a 33MB L3 cache and 28MB L2 cache.

counterpoint intel 14th gen raptor lake refresh specifications
Source: Intel

Lastly, the Intel Core i5-14600K has a 14-core CPU, with six P-cores having a max Turbo frequency of up to 5.3GHz, and eight E-cores having a max Turbo clock speed of up to 4.0GHz and, has a total of 20 threads. It also comes with a 24MB L3 cache and 20MB L2 cache.

All six processors in the Intel 14th-gen family offer a max memory speed of up to 5600MT/s (DDR5), and up to 3,200MT/s (DDR4). The K models also include Intel UHD Graphics 770, with dynamic frequency between 1,650MHz to 1,550MHz, depending on the model.

In terms of backward compatibility, all the new processors will work with Intel’s 600- and 700-series motherboards that use LGA 1700 sockets, thus enabling easier upgrades for users.

AI Overclocking, Connectivity Enhancements, and more

One of the standout features of the latest 14th-gen processors is the new AI Assist feature in the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility (XTU). It provides users with one-click AI-guided overclocking on select unlocked desktop processors. As users receive step-by-step instructions, even someone without experience can easily overclock the processors. It signifies Intel’s commitment to delivering top-tier performance for desktop enthusiasts.

There are also new gaming-focused features like Intel Application Optimization (APO) that enhance application threading to optimize speed and frame rate for smooth and consistent gaming performance. It is enabled by default, but users can also disable it, or enable it only for certain games. Intel also mentioned that the APO is only for games and does not work with benchmarks. Then there is also the Intel Thread Director which optimizes application thread scheduling.

counterpoint intel 14th gen raptor lake refresh connectivity
Source: Intel

But that’s not all – currently, most people work in a hybrid environment, and mostly via calls on different platforms. The AI Boost feature allows users to make video calls keeping them in focus while blurring distractions from the background. The AI can also reduce ambient background noise, focusing on the user’s voice to offer crisp and clear sound on calls.

Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Akshara Bassi, who tracks HPCs, Cloud, and Server market said, “Intel has introduced AI features for its Extreme Tuning Facility (XTU) that help in AI-assisted overclocking for the 14th-gen processors (limited SKUs) and through the Application Optimization Program, it has introduced automatic thread performance while gaming.”

Connectivity is another area where the new desktop processors shine, with integrated support for Wi-Fi 6/6E and Bluetooth 5.3, as well as discrete support for Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4. The new processors also include support for Thunderbolt 4 and the upcoming Thunderbolt 5 wired connectivity, offering up to 80 Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth.

“From a technical perspective, the Intel Core-i9 14900K is the first chip in volume to hit 6Ghz, with support for Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4,” Bassi added.

In terms of pricing, the premium Core i9-14900K will be available for $564, the Core i7-1700K for $384, and the Core i5-14600K will start at $294.

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Guest Post: OpenAI Haymaker?

OpenAI makes hay while the sun shines.

When a company that has issues with making profits can raise money at a valuation of $85 billion, it becomes abundantly clear that investors in generative AI have taken leave of their senses. 

Open AI is reportedly raising money at a valuation of $80 billion to $90 billion. This looks like an opportunistic event for two reasons. 

First, doubts over whether Open AI actually needs the money. It was only nine months ago that Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI, meaning that if it has run out of money already, then it has a cash burn of $1.1 billion per month. This is Reality Labs’ levels of cash burn which with 400 employees amounts to $2.75 million per employee per month.  

The vast majority of this spend will be going to compute costs where even with 100 million users making 30 requests per day this is an uneconomic level of spending. This would mean that ChatGPT and generative AI generally can never become a viable business or generate a positive ROI and so one suspects that OpenAI has in fact got plenty of money left. 

Second, virtually free money. In the market’s mind, OpenAI is the leading generative AI company in the world (which is debatable). Furthermore, generative AI is the hottest theme in the technology sector by a wide margin, meaning that OpenAI sits at the pinnacle of what the market wants to own. This in turn means that OpenAI can sell far fewer shares for the money it wants to raise, and its existing shareholders can also register large unrealized gains on their balance sheets. Consequently, I think that this raise is opportunistic in that the market has given OpenAI an opportunity to capitalize on its fame and popularity. 

However, most telling of all is that employees will also have an opportunity to sell some of their shares as part of this transaction. Insider stock sales are often an indicator of the insiders’ view that the valuation of the shares has hit a peak. At $85 billion, this is pretty hard to argue against. 

OpenAI is supposed to earn revenues of $250 million this year and $1 billion next year, putting the shares on over 80x 2024 revenues. This is very high even in the best of times, but the plethora of start-ups and the thousands of models being made available for free by the open-source community leads one to think that competition is on the way. 

Hence, price erosion is likely which in turn could lead to OpenAI missing the $1-billion revenue estimate for 2024 and burning through even more cash than expected. OpenAI will not be alone, and many start-ups will suffer from price erosion that will cause their targets to be missed. This could well be the pin that pricks the current bubble, causing enthusiasm to wane and valuations to fall. 

OpenAI may not be worth $85 billion but the timing of the raise is perfect.

(This guest post was written by Richard Windsor, our Research Director at Large.  This first appeared on Radio Free Mobile. All views expressed are Richard’s own.) 

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