Texas Instruments has been a pretty popular chip maker, powering all last gen Motorola phones and even the iconic Galaxy Nexus, Google’s flagship. They’ve also had a good run in the tablet market, with both the new NOOK HD and the Kindle Fire HD. But now it’s reported that they’re giving up, and leaving the mobile processor space.
The first thought that came into my head was “this is so bad for the developer scene.” Yes, there are better processors. TI’s OMAP 4 line was never very powerful. And my favorite processors are Samsung’s Exynos. But the biggest difference between the Exynos and OMAP is documentation. OMAP is very well documented, thus easier to develop for. For example, the OMAP powered Galaxy S II i9100g has a much better Jelly Bean build than the standard Galaxy S II i9100 with the superior Exynos. That’s sad, don’t you think?
I’m usually one to defend Samsung, but it’s just not a good thing that they keep all this documentation from the public eye. It just makes developers’ lives harder. And Samsung is not the only one, nor are they the biggest offenders. Look at NVIDIA, and all the woes they’ve caused the developer scene of devices like the LG O2X. TI did well in that respect, and now that they’re leaving the SoC market, there will be less incentive for other chip manufacturers to release documentation.
I’m still not sure why they’re leaving. Their business seemed to be going well, powering so many Motorola phones, the iconic Galaxy Nexus flagship, and a whole fleet of Kindle and NOOK tablets. They say they’ve left the business in an attempt to appeal to a “wider market” but I’m not sure how that doesn’t apply to making chips for such a huge amount of devices everyone uses in their daily lives. But it’s their decision. TI, we’ll miss you. Now we wonder what will happen to the OMAP 5 chips that have been in development for a while…