ARM Cortex-A17 CPU To Boost Mid-Range Handsets

ARM Chip lead

ARM Cortex-A17 targets mid-range smartphones and tablets

ARM has announced a new range of chip designs aimed at manufacturers of mid-range smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs, including the ARM Cortex-A17 processor, which promises to more efficient and deliver 60 percent more performance than the Cortex-A9 processor.

The British firm, which designs chips and licenses them to other companies, says the Cortex-A17, along with the ARM Mali-T720 GPU and the ARM Mali-V500 video processor, will allow manufacturers to offer a premium experience more cheaply.

Strong ARM

ARM chip“We expect to see a rich set of innovation in the mid-range mobile phone segment which is forecast to become a half a billion unit market annually from 2015 and the Cortex-A17 processor will be a key component in that growth,” says Ian Ferguson, vice president of segment marketing, ARM. “To date, the ARM Partnership has shipped more than 50 billion ARM-based chips and the continued broadening of our processor family will enable our partners to further optimize their offerings in existing and new product categories.”

The ARM Cortex-A17 is architecturally aligned with the Cortex-A7, meaning that mid-range devices can take advantage of the firms’ big. LITTLE multi-core technology. Chip manufacturer MediaTek has already announced plans to launch the world’s first LTE-enabled octa-core smartphone System on a Chip (SOC) using a combination of A17 and A7 processors.

The ARM Mali-T720 GPU is aimed at entry-level Android devices and promises to reduce the complexities of manufacturing and reduce the time of market. It also supports the latest GPU computing APIs, something which ARM says will allow cheaper devices to offer visual experiences offered by high-end smartphones and tablets.

Pre-tax profits at ARM increased by 19 percent to £95.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, but slower sales of high-end smartphones in the second half of the year affecting the company’s full year financials. This problem is affecting smartphone manufacturers too, with many turning to the mid-range to maintain levels of growth – something which should increase royalty revenues at ARM if the push is successful.

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