ARM debuts new chip designs, with Austin flavor

Feb 4, 2015
Austin American Statesman

Influential British semiconductor company ARM Holdings on Tuesday released a suite of designs for next-generation mobile phone processors, with some of the work coming out of Austin

The new designs, ARM says, will feature beefed-up graphics and processing speeds at ever-lower power costs. One design, the company’s Cortex A72, will be featured in phones next year, and was developed in ARM’s Austin office

ARM, which employs more than 300 people in Austin, is the primary chip designer for smartphones and other mobile products. The company licenses its designs to chipmakers who then build the processors found in those devices

The new processor’s CPU performance is 50 times greater than leading smartphones from five years ago. It will also feature 4K resolution video at 120 frames per second; ARM says it also will allow phones to play “console quality” video games

ARM announced the new designs in San Francisco. The new offerings also included designs for a graphics processing unit and other chips

“For multiple generations, together with our partners, we have delivered the leading edge of the premium mobile experience,” said Pete Hutton, ARM’s executive vice president and president of products groups. “Building on this, in 2016 the ARM ecosystem will deliver even slimmer, lighter and more immersive mobile devices that serve as your primary and only compute platform.”

As for Austin, its design center has delivered five generations of leading ARM microprocessor designs, said Nandan Nayampally, ARM’s vice president of marketing for its CPU group

Another processor designed locally, the Cortex A57, can be seen in current smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

ARM has technology that is in more than 95 percent of smartphones, according to Bloomberg News

Royalties, the fees that ARM collects when its chipmaker customers use its technology, grew 9 percent in the third quarter, down from 13 percent a year earlier, Bloomberg reported

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