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ARM Cortex A5 chip to bring smart phones to the masses

Features from high-end smart phones will start leaking into cheaper handsets thanks to a new chip from ARM, the brand that powers the iPhone

Envious of your mate's Palm Pre, iPhone or Nokia N97, but not willing to shell out the wonga to make it your own? ARM, the British company that makes the chips that power those phones, promises its new Cortex A5 chip will make all your cut-price smart phone dreams come true.

The Cortex A5 has three times the processing power of its low-end ARM9, the brain of the Nintendo DSi. But it uses a third of the power of the ARM11, which is in the guts of the Nokia N95, so it should help stretch battery life to longer than the lifespan of a fruit fly, as well as be slightly cooler against our sizzling faces.

Chips based on the Cortex A5 architecture will also be piggin' tiny, making them cheaper to manufacture and opening the door for smaller, thinner devices.

TVs, set-top boxes and other tech clutter will also benefit from the chips, which will have the power to fuel better Internet connectivity, for example.

"It's our latest technology put into the mainstream," Eric Schorn, ARM vice-president, told Crave.

ARM also hopes the chip will help the mobile Web take off in the developing world, where inexpensive phones and the SMS system are used for a huge range of day-to-day tasks, such as banking.

ARM will be posting the new chips to integrators in December, with the first devices hitting our shops in 2011.