This Chip Might Power The Cheap Superphones Of Tomorrow

ARM's new ultra-efficient Cortex-A7 processor isn't going to do anything for smartphones today. But in the near future, it'll be doing what today's fastest CPUs do at a sliver of the price, eating a sliver of the battery life.

The big claim here is that the A7 will push today's high-end power into the cheapo, $US100 and below handsets down the line. Meaning even the replacement phone they give you when you drop yours in the toilet will be pretty good.

But it means way more than that. The A7's built with a 28nm process — meaning it's much tinier, runs much cooler and uses much, much less energy. And this could be a big deal for expensive phones too: ARM's devised a system to rapidly switch between an A7 and a more powerful CPU within the same phone. This means it'll fall back on efficiency when you're texting or listening to music, but flip on the afterburners when you're, say, playing a game, or watching HD video. In short? Better overall battery life by cramming in a frugal secondary CPU. Two brains. [ARM via Engadget]

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