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ARM’s new smartphone chip design promises 4K video and console-class gaming

Improved 4K video capture and console quality gaming performance could be hitting smartphones by this time next year, following the announcement of ARM’s latest processor designs.

The firm has just taken the wrapper of the Cortex-A72 chip, which promises a “huge step forward” from this year’s Cortex-A57 designs and will boost CPU performance by 50x compared to 5 years ago.

Coming to devices in 2016, the Cortex-A72 is 3.5 times more powerful than the A15, offers 30 per cent greater memory performance and brings 1.8x graphical performance thanks to the new Mali-T880 GPU.

In real world terms for users, ARM says the gaming performance and graphics will be “console class” while it’ll also unlock “immersive and sophisticated image and video capture, including 4K120fps video.”

Elsewhere, it’ll be 75 per cent more energy efficient than the Cortex-A15 running on 2014 mobile devices. Graphics also require 40 per cent less power.

The A72 is also designed to play nice with ARM’s big.LITTLE technology which allows one set of processors to do the heavy lifting while the others handle the device’s more mundane, low-powered tasks.

ARM also says the designs will enable even thinner and lighter smartphones than ever before.

In terms of who’ll be making these designs a reality, Huawei, MediaTek and Rockchip have already agreed to build the Cortex-A72 processors, while the company expects them to sit within hardware sometime next year.

We can certainly imagine these processors sitting within handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the HTC One M10 (or whatever they end up being called).

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“Our new premium mobile experience IP suite with the Cortex-A72 processor delivers a decisive step forward from the compelling user experiences provided by this year’s Cortex-A57 based devices,” said ARM’s Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president, products groups, in a press release.

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

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