Nokia selects ST-Ericsson’s Dual Core NovaThor for future Windows Phones

| November 2, 2011 | 86 Replies


So this was reported in February that Nokia would be choosing ST-Ericsson chips to go inside their Windows Phone handsets. Significant at the time since WP was pretty much Qualcomm only. This was confirmed in various places by ST Ericsson.

Today, MarketWatch posts that Nokia has selected ST-Ericsson as a future supplier for Nokia Windows Phones, in particular the NovaThor platform. The U9500, U8500 and U5500 all sport dual core. The top two capable of 1080p recording with 20MP stills, and the high end U9500 capable of dual WXGA (1280X768 – at the same time!).  Nokia will most likely use both Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson chips.


  • Full HD 1080p camcorder, multiple codecs supported (H264 HP, VC-1, MPEG-4)
  • High-resolution, touchscreen display support up to WXGA
  • Simultaneous dual display support up to dual XGA
  • High performance 3D graphics
  • Dual camera support with Integrated ISP 20 Mpixel and 5 Mpixel
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM enabled platform
  • Built-in USB 2.0, HDMI out
  • Support for major operating systems
  • Optional support for mobile TV standards


  • 3GPP Rel 7
  • GSM/EDGE quad band
  • WCDMA/HSPA+ penta band support
  • HSDPA 21 Mbps (cat 14)
  • HSUPA 5.76 Mbps (cat 6)
  • Rx diversity
  • GRAKE2+ (Type 3i) advanced receiver with interference suppression
  • Enhanced F-DPCH
  • Enhanced CELL FACH
  • Fast Dormancy (with cause indication)
  • Voice supporting AMR-WB


  • Highly efficient, low-power ARM® dual Cortex™- A9 processor
  • Dual multimedia DSP for low-power, flexible media processing
  • High-bandwidth LP-DDR2 interface
  • ARM® Mali™ 400 GPU and NEON®CPU extensions
  • Unique audio architecture with a wide range of audio codecs supported
  • Advanced power saving architecture enabling class-leading audio and video playback times
Thanks @NOMOSDesign for the tip!

Category: Nokia, Windows Phone

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Nokia’s Dual Core Windows Phone Chip Supplier Confirmed To Be ST-Ericsson | The Handheld Blog | November 2, 2011
  2. NOKIA تختار ST-Ericsson لمعالجاتها ثنائية النواة في أجهزتها Windows Phone القادمة | November 2, 2011
  3. Nokia chooses ST-Ericsson for future dual-core Windows Phones | WMPoweruser | November 2, 2011
  4. Windows Phone Nokia Dual Core con la piattaforma NovaThor di ST-Ericsson in un prossimo futuro | November 2, 2011
  5. Unable to perform Translation:Quota Exceeded. Please see - Phonebook | November 2, 2011
  6. Sarà ST-Ericsson che fornirà processori dual-core alla Nokia | Windows Phone Magazine Italia il blog Italiano sul Microsoft Windows Phone 7 | November 2, 2011
  7. Nokia to use ST-Ericsson NovaThor for future WP phones | TechnoFiesta | November 2, 2011
  8.   Nokia to use ST-Ericsson NovaThor for future WP phones|GusTinZ Blog | November 2, 2011
  9. Nokia to use ST-Ericsson for future WP phones | Torrent Nova | November 2, 2011
  10. Nokia to use ST-Ericsson chipsets for future WP phones | | November 3, 2011
  11. Nokia to use ST-Ericsson chipsets for future WP phones | Srimeenakshimobiles | November 3, 2011
  12. Nokia To Use ST-Ericsson's Chips In Its Future Windows Phones, Probably Starting Windows Phone Apollo | Androsym | November 3, 2011
  13. Nokia to use ST-Ericsson chipsets for future WP phones | November 3, 2011
  14. Nokia Selects ST-Ericsson’s Dual Core NovaThor for Future Windows Phones | November 4, 2011
  1. MoritzJT says:

    I really really hope we see some ST-Ericsson love for a last symbian powered N8 successor…

  2. Shiamal Harkison says:

    Didnt Ballmer announce they dont plan on moving from Qualcomm anytime soon? anyway, they rather stick with qualcomm, their new Krait CPUS are better than any of the competition.. just check anand tech..

    • Jay Montano says:

      True, but Ballmer represents the other WP manufacturers. Nokia has leeway on things like this.

      We’ll see what the purpose of this is. Maybe it’s not placed for high end? (Though all three NovaThors kinda are…)

      • Cloud_Connected says:

        There have been patent issues between Qualcomm and Nokia in the past. Moving to such a supplier and letting go of the old and trusted partners couldn´t have been welcomed by Nokia. I see that just as a move by Nokia to make it´s own business decisions whilst not being dictated by Microsoft.

        • N00-00 says:

          The patent issue was more to do with CDMA technology (as far as I remember). That is why Nokia doesn’t make CDMA phone (I don’t think there is one).

          • migo says:

            They did make CDMA phones for a while, but they used their own chips for them. I guess there was no cross licensing agreement as Qualcomm only makes chips and had no need for use of GSM related patents.

      • N9 says:

        Jay this means kernel support that as far as we know NOKIA is hands off for the WP so its needs to be done by Microsoft (at least major optimizations, well they can reversengineer. ). Its a wonderful ecosystem for/by Microsoft.

    • migo says:

      If the Kratis don’t support penta-band, they’re not better in the ways that count.

  3. Michael FT says:

    Heard also ARM released V8 chipset, supposedly more efficient, faster etc. Could they be used in N8-01?

    • migo says:

      V8 is 64bit I believe. Wouldn’t be for mobiles as much as servers.

      Cortex A7 though is the more power efficient version (running v7) which would be rather ideal for an N8 sequel (won’t be called the N8-01 tho)

  4. RVM says:

    Good news. Let’s hope we’ll see some dualcore ST-Ericsson (U8500 or even U9500 ?) in new Symbian smartphones aswell.

    • Viipottaja says:

      There are probably dual-core Symbians already out on the streets on Nokia staff hands, perhaps closer to you than you’d expect or notice.

      • migo says:

        Really? That strikes me as one of the most unlikely scenarios. I don’t think Symbian could take advantage of dual core.

        • MoritzJT says:

          Well you are mistaken. It can. Its kernel is capable of multicore szenarios. I’ve seen it run on dualcores, as well as it has no resolution restriction. That is only nonsense. Of course it would need tweaking were it to use AVKON. But with Belle that is no longer any issue.

          • migo says:

            Ok, by take advantage what I meant was really benefit from it. Would Symbian be better on a dual core set up than it is now?

            • MoritzJT says:

              The OS layer itself is fine on current Hardware. What would benefit are resource hungry apps, like games. Also multitasking would benefit greatly from it. Saving energy by completing tasks earlier. While the kernel is optimized, none of the apps currently are. They would have to be written with multithreading in mind. Current apps won’t benefit. Only that you can run resourcehungry tasks simultaneously.

  5. Cod3rror says:

    Wake up horsy! It’s a quad core race now, dual core is old news.

    Nokia will never catch up with the competition. Go back to the rubber boots Nokia.

    • ZiPA says:

      Yes, everyone and his aunt are running around with quad core phones on the streets. No, wait, what?

      Ooh, I see. You’re just a bad troll. Now crawl back under your rock, will ya?

      But just to entertain you, why would any sane person want a quadcore battery sucker, when a single core CPU is enough to give you the smoothest and silkiest UX on any mobile phone?

    • asdf says:

      Why would I care about quadcore as a consumer? I can barely see the advantage of two cores. WP7.5 seems to be very snappy even with one and my N9 has no trouble running on an “outdated” 1GHz OMAP3630. The only platform that desperately needs the hardware is Android which seems to be laggy even with the latest high-end tech crammed into it.

      • N00-00 says:

        The current ones have display resolution and video recording (720p) limitations. And as the OSes develop, they would need more processing power in future.. So a well designed and optimized dual-core processor will be good for the OS and for better resolution screen & 1080p recording.

        • phishbone says:

          No argument there, but it’s also what you do with that extra horsepower. I lived with an LG-P999 (dual-core 1Ghz Tegra2)for a month and I couldn’t get rid of it quickly enough. It was quick for about a day or so, before everything (including the UI) would start to lag. This phone runs vanilla Android, by the way. Not even Symbian in its worst days made me that angry.

          After that experience, I didn’t mind dishing out $820 (after taxes) to Expansys for an N9, which in my opinion has more than lived up to the hype.

          • N9 says:

            ++++++++++++ and a few more++++’s

          • migo says:

            Dual Core is really about future proofing. I’d hope that the chips (and Windows Phone) support entirely disabling one core for more efficient usage when necessary. I also wouldn’t mind if it brings 720P@60FPS alongside the much less important 1080P@30FPS.

    • Andre C says:

      Then why your beloved iphone is running on an 800 MHz dual-core battery sucking processor!!

    • Tom says:

      Good stuff. That made me laugh this morning. Hopefully your Siri isn’t having power problems like others.

    • Arts says:

      You’re just so sad. I pity you.

    • rxc13 says:

      Go back to your cave troll. Don’t you need to recharge your iPhone because of the bug with the battery life?

  6. Doffen says:

    If they make a N9 follow up with one of these processors i’m sure they will sell well…

  7. Jaydee says:

    Dual core in the 4s is mainly used for the 1080p video recording n higher textured gaming, that’s all I believe.. I’d gladly miss those for the next 4 yrs than compromise on power consumption and a lock down OS.. That said, I wish Nokia is working on something Siri like.. Don’t mention Vlingo.. Its always has been a hit or miss affair for me. Need something spot on for once and intuitive, artificial intelligence like..

    • Luisito says:

      If Apple doesn’t start their typical “we did it first”… You will be more Siri-likes things

      • migo says:

        Siri doesn’t rely on Dual Core, Apple just artificially restricts it to the iPhone 4S.

        Android was waaaay earlier than Apple with Dual Core, and everyone knows that, especially since Apple prefers not to talk about internal specs.

  8. ssdh says:

    OOhhh, shocker…
    Wasn’t MeeGo supposed to run on these SOCs??

    Old news really… Even the unpolished, earlier and unoptimized 2010 version of MeeGo was already running on a ST Ericsson U8500 ARM Cortex-A9

    • N9 says:

      Because its the Linux kernel, the open nature of it makes it perfect to develop test and optimize. And the best thing is that its the manufacturer that does it and its in his best interest to push it upstream. Other not open platforms tend to prefer to only work with one manufacturer.

  9. kolokoyme says:

    “U9500 capable of dual WXGA (1280X768 – at the same time!).”
    High-resolution, touchscreen display support up to WXGA
    Simultaneous dual display support up to dual XGA
    - The feature indicates dual mode for XGA only (1024×768) not for wxga (1280×768)!!!

  10. N00-00 says:

    Makes sense.. Nokia has already hardware reference platform based on these and have ported their OSes (MeeGo(Harmattan as well??) has been seen on them and must be optimized well by now. Not sure about Symbian but hope they have moved on from ARM11 to one of these). And if they can include WP (and for S40 and Meltemi (Will it be an overkill – an under-clocked one would do)), it would help them in optimizing their procurement and manufacturing processes.

    Also, this would be a kick for Qualcomm which would delight most Nokia fans and Nokia themselves..

    • N00-00 says:

      Another thing these have penta-band HSPA+ support which is fast becoming a Nokia trait..

    • N9 says:

      still not completely sure hoe this is gona be rooled out in WP, I’m sure NOKIA wants 2 but now sure how 2.

      Nokia only has permit to change the UI(and only a bit) not to mess with the kernel wich I’m mostly sure they don’t have the source code to beguin with.
      So in theory this hardware will be deeply unoptimized on WP7 unless Microsft is helping ST-Ericsson chips.

      • migo says:

        Windows Phone will support dual band in the future. It’s just a question of whether it gets supported with Tango (less likely) or Apollo (most likely).

        • N9 says:

          Migo its not a mater of supporting… that is rather trivial, its a mater of the specific kernel optimizations and direct hooks to the hardware, usually the CPU manufacturer does this, In a perfect world the manufacturer as access to the kernel source code to make it work. Now in the closed source windows phone its becomes much more complex as Microsoft holds all the dors and windows, And I’m not sure they are willing to let any one look at the kernel source code apart from Qualcomm.
          So even if the architecture might work would be very strange if it did not the specific optimizations need to be done by Microsoft, that do not seem to be very willing to do that…. So my guess is that NOKIA wants this, Qualcomm holds a monopolist system om WP and can leverage that into porfit at the expense of NOKIA and other OEM’s.
          The problem is that I’m not sure Nokia can actually pull it off, since they don’t have any control over WP at that level…

          • migo says:

            Microsoft doesn’t have a special deal with Qualcomm, they’re just sticking to Qualcomm for the moment because it’s easier to support one chipset. Once they go to dual core anyway, they’ll have to do the same work on a Qualcomm dual core as with another provider’s dual core, so that’s a more logical point for them to expand chipset support than going from one single core solution to another.

            • N9 says:

              Well main problem is that they have to depend on them selfs to do all the hardware optimizations. This is not the PC market with only Intel and no real Comparison, this is a diverse competitive marker from to bottom, and the ones with the better skils to make the optimizations on the kernel are the ones making the hardware. specially wen this cpus are sooo filled with modules that do som many different things connected between themselves in so many ways.
              In this area The Linux Kernel is the king, one its by far the most used kernel, and the target kernel wen developing all of this CPU’s even qualcomm ones.
              Apple opted to develop its solution from top to bottom and Microsoft in a way plans to do the same, and its the only thing they can do if they don’t plan on opening their kernel, which for several reasons we know thy never will.

              • migo says:

                This is an early start. Initially MS-DOS started only on IBM, and other systems were called IBM clones. Then things developed further. In the past Windows Mobile supported more architectures than any other mobile OS at the time, they don’t have any intention of sticking only Qualcomm in the long term. They’re just sticking with it for convenience until they get enough marketshare to be able to support the kind of mini-fragmentation that multiple chipsets would create.

    • migo says:

      I could have supported Nokia making peace with Qualcomm if Qualcomm were actually competent enough to support penta-band HSPA. No wonder Nokia made their own CDMA chips instead of doing it Qualcomm’s way.

  11. Will these chips handle the LTE bands used by verizon and att?

  12. migo says:

    Penta-Band Support! That settles it. Nokia N9 for now, I’ll get a Nokia Windows Phone later.

    • N9 says:

      Migo you will really like it, its better than what people have been saying it is, and I know they have been saying its great ;) soo its better than that.

      • migo says:

        It’ll take a lot to impress me. The only thing I really care about with the N9 though is battery life, screen in sunlight and its ability to pull a signal in the worst conditions. That’s already been confirmed, anything else is just a bonus.

        That’s why I’m perfectly happy with the Windows Phone deal in principle, because everything I like about Nokia is in the hardware. Nokia N9 or Nokia Lumia 800… same diff as far as I’m concerned – except for the frequencies supported, which is pretty much a deal killer. I want a phone that once I’m done with it, I can give it to friends and family, regardless of which network they use or where they are in the world.

        I know I’ll be happy enough with Harmattan, at least it’s not Symbian, but I doubt I’ll be laying quite such lavish praise on it as others have.

  13. Bobhyde says:

    I wonder if Nokia plan to use this platform for all of their products?

    I remember seeing MeeGo screen shot on an ST Ericsson development board some time back.

    It would make sense to help keep cost down (WP, Symbian and Maemo devices).

    Interesting . .

    But how will this help the other WP partners keep their cost down?

    I thought the plan was to keep to the same architecture for all WP devices.

    Well I am sure that Elop knows what he is doing . .

    • migo says:

      Eventually they’re going to have to expand, for one, keeping costs down is easier if one chip maker doesn’t have exclusivity. If Qualcomm knows that they’re the only one supplying chips for Windows Phone, they could start inching costs up 5%. If Freescale, Marvell, TI, nVidia, Rockchip etc. all get in on it as well, then one of the less popular ones like Freescale, Marvell or Rockchip could offer lower prices, so Qualcomm, TI and nVidia have to keep their prices reasonable.

      Sticking to Qualcomm right now is a matter of convenience, and it helps only having to develop for the Snapdragon platform while the system is still maturing, but once it’s stable and has a lot of the niggling details worked out, the benefit of keeping things simple starts to slip away.

      I would also be very, very, surprised, if Nokia gets exclusive access to alternate chips. I’m sure once Nokia starts using ST-Ericsson dual core chips that all the other Windows Phone partners will have the option to do the same.

      • ssdh says:

        That’s just counterproductive on Nokia’s part…

        Their operating systems, especially MeeGo is already capable of running on multiple SOC platforms…
        I thought going into the MS deal was supposed to help Nokia so that it would not worry too much about supporting it’s OS. Isn’t that why all those Symbian developers were fired in the first place?? and now you’re telling us that Nokia now has to go through all these work, so that they could use a different platform for their WPs, optimizing these for the different hardware features that they want to add on their WPs like NFC or pentaband or such, when their other OSs are already able to run on multiple SOC platforms (see my previous post above for reference)? Now, how’s that different with what they are doing with their other OSs in the past??
        That’s like going back to zero again… It sound like Elop just restructured Nokia so that it would work to benefit MS… What’s next? Nokia WPs for Nvidia Tegra SOCs?

        • migo says:

          They’re not going to extra work for that. Microsoft has always said they’re not having any exclusivity deal with Qualcomm, and it just happens to be that only Qualcomm chips are approved at the moment. They’re not going to have to do extra work for NFC either – it’ll be supported either way in future Windows Phone releases.

  14. zlutor says:

    “Dual camera support with Integrated ISP 20 Mpixel and 5 Mpixel” – what about Carl Zeiss optics then?

  15. totesilva says:

    This indicates that the Nokia 900 can be dual core.

  16. ohmy says:

    why not choosing Nvidia’s ka-el?definitely more should get Nvidia!

  17. ccna study says:

    This is one of the good option that nokia has selected ST-Ericsson as a future supplier for Nokia Windows Phones.

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