New 'energy-efficient' chips for future mid-range phones
Anticipating growth ahead in the mid-range mobile market, chip design giant ARM has unveiled a new range of processors for the mid-level phones and tablets of the future. ARM's Cortex A17 is 60 percent faster than current Cortex A9 designs with improved power efficiency, the company says, and is designed to deliver "today's premium user experience" in next year's mid-range products. Cortex A17 supports the big.LITTLE processing technique with full-system coherency, and example configurations show A17s twinned with A7s in quad-, hexa- and octa-core arrangements.
The A17 processor is paired with ARM's new Mali-T720 GPU, designed for entry-level mobile devices, as well as smart TVs and streaming boxes. The "cost-optimized" GPU supports OpenGL ES 3.0 (added to Android in version 4.3), RenderScript and OpenCL, allowing it to back up the CPU by handling general computing tasks as well as graphics.
In addition to phones, tablets and entertainment devices, Cortex A17 is also targeted at industrial and automotive "infotainment" systems, which are sure to be a key area for Android in 2015 as the Open Automotive Alliance kicks into gear.