ARM Takes Aim at VR, AR, Mobile Gaming with New GPU, CPU
Company officials say the Mali-G71 GPU and Cortex-A73 CPU will drive the development of smartphones that will better run emerging applications.Over almost a decade ARM has become the key silicon player in the mobile space, with its low-power chip designs running most of the smartphones in the world. Officials with the company see the smartphone's future as more than just a communications and Internet access tool. The device will become the portal through which emerging technologies—such virtual and augmented reality, mobile gaming, machine learning and computer vision—will run, and ARM executives want to ensure their system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs are powering these more powerful smartphones. At the Computex 2016 show May 30 in Taiwan, ARM officials announced the next generation of the company's mobile CPU and GPU cores that they said will offer the performance and efficiency needed for these new workloads. Chip makers including Samsung Electronics, MediaTek and HiSilicon have taken licenses to manufacture SoCs based on the new designs, and ARM officials said new devices powered by the chips will hit the market next year. Production SoCs will be released later this year. The new products come at a time when smartphone sales continue to slow, due in large part to a saturation of developed markets, new Chinese manufacturers moving up the ranks and struggles by market leaders Apple and Samsung, according to IDC analysts. Research from the market research firm found that 334.9 million smartphones shipped worldwide in the first quarter, a slight uptick from the 334.3 million shipped during the same period last year, but the smallest year-over-year growth ever in the smartphone space.
However, ARM officials said that with the rise of mobile computing applications such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and Internet of things (IoT) in the consumer space, smartphones will take an even more central role in people's lives, and will need to offer the power and efficiency needed to run these workloads.