ARM provided a window into the future of smartphones tonight when they announced the Cortex-A15 MPCore processor. The new design will be used in 32nm and 28nm chips with 1-16 cores, with clock speeds up to 2.5GHz.
Before you get too excited, ARM does not expect these processors to arrive in phones until late 2012. By the time they are available, ARM says to expect five times the performance of the Cortex-A8 CPUs that we find in most current smartphones, at a similar energy footprint.
As many of you know ARM does not manufacture its own CPUs, but licenses its technology as intellectual property to other hardware partners. So far, the three lead licensee partners for Cortex-A15 include Samsung, ST Ericsson and Texas Instruments. NVIDIA and Qualcomm were not mentioned in the press release, but I expect they also have plans for A15 chips.
Executives from ARM are hoping the increased performance will allow the A15 to appear in all types of devices including smartphones, consumer electronics, and even web servers. Eric Schorn, VP of Processor Marketing ARM, told Hexus that A15 is “The biggest thing ARM has ever done, the degree of commitment is truly phenomenal. It’s like taking a desktop and putting it in your pocket.”
So now the waiting game begins. If you buy a new smartphone this Christmas with 2-year contract, it should expire just in time for these chips to land.