ARM launches A12 core to address mid range smartphone requirements

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Looking to address the burgeoning market for SoCs for mid range smartphones, ARM has launched the Cortex-A12 core.

Jeff Chu, ARM's director of segment marketing, client computing, said the mobile phone market was dominated by the premium segment, but entry level and mid range devices are now coming to the fore. "At the entry level, it's about affordability. At the high end, it's about the latest and greatest, with the best specifications. The mid range is a tough sector to address, because it's a mix, which means manufacturers need to develop targeted solutions." According to Chu, those solutions need to balance features against power. "People are doing more of everything," he added, "while wanting longer and longer battery life. We have to work with manufacturers to help them optimise the SoC." ARM's solution is the Cortex-A12 core, said by Chu to bring a 40% performance increase over the Cortex-A9 core at the same clock rate. "While it's designed for a 28nm process, it doesn't have to be on the leading edge," he noted. "Trailing processes can help to keep costs down." Chu noted the A12 will offer greater performance boost over the A9 when targeted at a 40nm process because it will run more quickly. The A12 is also targeted at ARM's big.LITTLE concept. "The A12 will make a good 'big' processor," he said, "and will be paired with the A7 to provide a big.LITTLE solution for mid range phones." Alongside the A12, ARM has also announced the Mali-T622 gpu, said to bring high end graphics performance to the mid range, and the Mali-V500, ARM's first video core. As a single core, the Mali-V500 can support 1080p/60 encode and decode. When configured with eight cores, it supports ultra high definition 4k video at 120frame/s.