ARM Showcases Cortex-A7 MPCore Family

ARM has added a new member to its Cortex family, the A7, which joins the A5, A8, A9 and A15. Available in up to four core clusters and with a typical clock speed of 1.2GHz, the application processor will be available on the market in the 2013/2014 time frame, around one year after the first products built around the Cortex A15 are launched.

ARM's Warren East told an audience of journalists in London that they can expect the Cortex-A7, as a stand alone product, to deliver the same rich user experience on sub-$100 entry level smartphones in 2013 as the current $500 smartphones.

The processor is expected to be manufactured using a 28nm process and will deliver five times the energy efficiency at one fifth of the size of the Cortex A8 processor (like the one in the Samsung Galaxy S).

More importantly though, a single core Cortex-A7 is expected to be more than twice as powerful as the Cortex A8 (fabbed using a 65nm process and clocked at 600MHZ, like the model in the iPhone 3GS).

Eight semiconductor partners, four software companies and, surprisingly, one mobile network operator (Sprint) have already signed up for the Cortex-A7. We noted that neither Renesas nor Nvidia were listed amongst the list of initial partners.