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ARM Cell Phone Processor ‘Five Times More Efficient’

ARM has debuted the Cortex-A7 MPCore processor, which the company says is five times more efficient and one fifth the size of a predecessor found in many of today’s most popular smartphones.

The manufacturer said the Cortex-A7 offers significantly better performance than the Cortex-A8. The A7 will provide sub-$100 entry-level smartphones with an equivalent level of processing performance to today’s $500 phones, ARM said, while occupying less than 0.5 mm. It is due to start appearing in smartphones in 2013 or 2014.

The company says that its Big.LITTLE processing system, pairing the Cortex-A7 with the Cortex-A15 MPCore, satisfies conflicting consumer demand for both extended battery life and high performance, which is increasingly required as smartphones and tablets take on more and more capabilities.

The “little” side of the system, the low-power Cortex-A7, runs the phone’s operating system and applications for basic always-on, always connected tasks, such as social media and audio playback. The OS and apps can then be seamlessly migrated to the higher-performance processor as demands increase for high-end tasks, such as navigation and gaming, ARM said. This results in significant energy savings for common workloads, it added.

ARM said partners supporting these technologies include LG, Samsung, Sprint, ST-Ericsson, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Compal, Freescale, HiSilicon, LG Electronics, Linaro, OK Labs, QNX and Red Bend.

Sprint’s director of innovation and advanced labs, Von McConnell, said that battery consumption is an important factor with the use of smartphones, especially given the ongoing exponential growth in data use.

The telecoms company recently announced that it is planning to partner with device manufacturers and suppliers to measure, report and reduce their emissions. The partnership will address consumption from hardware, operating systems and applications.

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