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ARM bets on mid-range mobile devices with new Cortex A-12 processor

Cambridge-based ARM Holdings is banking on a continued boom in the mid-range segments of the smartphone and tablet markets, today releasing a brand new processor it hopes will dominate these categories.

The Cortex A-12 has been optimised for mobiles devices around the £150 - £250 mark, with ARM forecasting that 580 million of these products will be a sold a year by 2015.

Chip rival Intel said it was attacking a number of market segments with its all-new 22nm Atom line-up dubbed Silvermont unveiled last month, but ARM pointed to its strategy of licensing designs to major manufacturers like Qualcomm and Samsung as helping to set it apart from competition.

"They [Intel] are a very big competitor and they're a big competitor to our partners. We have a different business model - we license IP," ARM marketing executive vice president Ian Drew told Reuters.

"But we're not slowing down. We focus on how we differentiate the industry ... which is why we launched Cortex A-12 and all the graphics and video products around that."

ARM claims the Cortex A-12 processor delivers “40 per cent more performance” than its predecessor the Cortex-A9, and brings features like virtualization to the mid-range mobile device market.

Alongside the Cortex A-12, the company has also revealed the Mali-T622 GPU - “an efficient and qualified OpenGL ES 3.0 solution”, and the Mali-V500 video IP solution which promises to reduce system bandwidth and power.

“The market is evolving at an amazing rate and there is now a choice of solutions for semiconductor companies and for mobile device-makers,” Drew adds in a statement. “Our suite of optimized IP expands the choice for the mid-range mobile market."