ARM has unveiled details of its new Cortex-A15 MPCore processor, and it's quite the power house.
While Qualcomm and Samsung are preparing to hit the market with their new (ARM-based) dual-core parts running at speeds up to 1.5GHz, ARM's new chip design can pack in four processing cores and run at up to 2.5GHz. As ARM doesn't actually manufacturer chips itself, it will be licensing the design to its partners like Samsung, Qualcomm, Broadcomm, and Apple for immediate production on Global Foundries' 32nm or 28nm process.
With the core processors based on existing ARMv7-A Cortex architecture, the new CPUs will be completely backward compatible with software for existing designs. However, the new chips also add new features like Large Physical Address Extensions (LPAE) for addressing up to 1TB of memory and hardware virtualisation support.
All this points to the high-end quad-core parts being put to use in server and embedded environments, rather than your next smartphone Nonetheless, we can certainly expect to find even faster dual-core parts in tablet PCs and smartbooks in the not too distant future, and ARM reckons "mobile configurations of the Cortex-A15 MPCore processor will deliver over five times the performance of today’s advanced smartphones".
It will be a while before we see such handsets hit the market but with that sort of progress to look forward to, we suppose we can wait.