ARM announces processors, antipiracy chips at Computex

ARM makes a number of chip announcements at Computex, including a next-generation processor for mid-range smartphones.

ARM is targeting the Cortex-A12 at mid-range phones, a position the iPhone 4S holds today.
ARM is targeting the Cortex-A12 at mid-range phones, a position the iPhone 4S holds today. Apple

ARM, the designer of most of the world's smartphone processors, announced new silicon that will likely find its way to future mobile devices.

Mali-V500: This video encode/decode chip is designed to prevent piracy of 1080p class video. Using TrustZone technology, the V500 was developed after consultation with Hollywood studios, according to a report in the Financial Times. Hollywood movie studios and content distributors like Netflix "are demanding [that]...their highest value content...be protected not just by digital rights management but by the hardware, all the way from download through to display," the Times wrote, citing an ARM executive.

Cortex-A12: This is a chip planned for mid-range smartphones. It's more powerful than the widely-used -- and dated -- Cortex-A9 (use in the iPhone 4S for example) but not quite as powerful as the new Cortex-A15 chips, such as the Exynos 5 Dual (used in Google's Nexus 10 tablet). It offers a 40 percent performance improvement over the A9, according to ARM.

Mali-T622 graphics processing unit: ARM claims it is 50 percent more energy efficient than earlier Mali chips. And because it's compliant with Open CL 1.1 and designed as a "GPU Compute" engine, it is much more efficient at handling some tasks that a central processing unit (CPU) would have done in the past.

ARM isn't being too specific on timing because it doesn't make the chips, its partners -- like Nvidia and Samsung -- do. So, don't expect finished silicon for the Cortex-A12 anytime before mid-2014.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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