ARM Holdings unveils more powerful mobile chips

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By Larry Banks

Mobile chip designer ARM Holdings Plc has unveiled a new processor design, with vastly improved performance and graphics for smartphones and tablets, which will be launched next year.

ARM Holdings’ Cortex A72 processor

The new Cortex-A72 processor and improvements will help the smartphone industry, which has seen demand cool after several years of impressive growth. Recently, investors have been concerned about royalty rates for ARM as the smartphone market blossoms in China where consumers typically spend less than $200 on devices. In the U.S. and other mature markets, the average price of a smartphone is normally several hundred dollars higher.

ARM doesn’t make its own chips, but licenses its technology to other companies such as Qualcomm and Samsung electronics, as well as Apple. It makes an income from royalties which are based on the selling price of the chips its partners make.

3.5 times the performance

ARM Holdings Chips
ARM Holdings’ chips are found in a variety of smartphones and tablets.

The new CPU is alleged to have 3.5 times the performance of similar chips from last year, according to executives at a recent event in San Francisco. The chip will also achieve a 75% reduction in its energy footprint, reducing battery drain in the process.

However, some of the improvements will come from advanced in the manufacturing stage, as companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) shrink the die size even further.

Nandan Nayampally, the VP of marketing at ARM, said that the Cortex A72’s stroinger performance will enable tablets and smartphones to take on more complex tasks that are currently offloaded to remote servers. An example of this is Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana personal digital assistants.

“There’s more than enough performance on tap (for) increasing complexity on the local device,” said Nayampally said, and added that devices using the new chips should ship in 2015.

ARM shares have risen 0.6 percent to $47.64 in NASDAQ trading.

SOURCE: Reuters

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