Cortex A-15 Processor: A change in chapter of computing

ARM Cortex A-15
ARM Cortex A-15

Britain based ARM chip manufacturer has come up with a new product Cortex A-15 processor with processing capacity up to 2.5 GHz.

Lately ARM technology(ARM A-8, ARM A-9) based chips have become the default/major chip used in almost all smart phones. The chip that is currently being used has 1 GHz capacity and is used in devices like the iPhone and iPad. The key differentiator between ARM chips and other chips manufacturer like intel, AMD is that ARM has managed to produce chips that are highly energy efficient and requires only fraction of the energy compared to what is required by normal processors. It thus does not require to be cooled by a fan.

The new chips also bring along with them the capability of multi-core processing which was a major differentiator between the mobile chip and PC chip. Current PCs and gaming devices are equipped with multi-core processor. Dual core being the most commonly used processor for an end user device like a desktop or a laptop. But now that the ARM Cortex-15 brings along with it similar capability consuming only fraction of the resources. It is only a matter of time that these chips would be integrated in new mobile devices like the tablets, smart phones, PMP, gaming devices, home entertainment and many more. The more you think about the possibilities that this chip would change in to reality is just mind boggling. It would only be the intent(or lack of it) of the major electronic giants now to stop the fiction of yesteryears change to reality. One of the major constraints for them at this stage would be to try and get return on their current investment and at the same time invest in research of new products that have the capability to become mainstream so that the investment is worth a return.

What this means from an end user perspective is that this is the beginning of the end of computers we have known so far and the beginning of a new age of computing. Tablets will certainly become a norm for the next few years until users are used to the idea of computing on devices other than the desktop/laptop.

Intel has been trying hard to get in to this segment but without any success. Intel has also recently acquired Infineon’s wireless solutions business for approx $1.4bn. Infineon chips are currently being used in iPhones and iPads as wireless communication chips(3G). But the recent development from the Apple camp is they are moving away from Infineon chips in favour of Qualcomm which again is a major set back for Intel in this space. Intel has been pushing hard with their Atom processor for mobile computing especially in the netbooks segment and were comfortably dominating the market but with the faith of netbooks itself now being a concern, Atom processors do not seem to have a long life. AMD on the other hand is still catching up on the desktop processors with their new range of processors “Fusion” that they claim to be better than any competing processor for a desktop. And to their credit the processors have received some good reviews from the industry. But the question of the moment is whether they should continue to build their desktop processing capability or move to investing and inventing in what looks like the new age in computer processing?