Chip designer ARM is taking aim at the low-to-mid range smartphone market with its new ARM Cortex-A12 platform.

The company figures we could see ARM Cortex-A12 chips in mobile devices that sell for between $200 and $350.

ARM Cortex-A12

ARM figures we could see Cortex-A12 chips in upcoming smartphones, tablet, television boxes, networking devices, and other products.

While not as fast as Cortex-A15 chips like the new NVIDIA Tegra 4 or Samsung Exynos 5, chips based on the new Cortex-A12 design should offer about 40-percent better performance than Cortex-A9 chips like the Tegra 3, Exynos 4, or Rockchip RK3188.

Cortex-A12 chips will be available as single, dual, and quad-core chips based on ARMv7 architecture. They support up to 1TB of addressable memory, making the design pretty future-proof (for now).

ARM’s new design also supports big.LITTLE technology, which allows chip makers to pair ARM Cortex-A12 CPU cores with lower-power processors cores based on ARM Cortex-A7 designs.

When you need all the performance your phone can offer, the higher-power CPU cores kick in. But for basic tasks, the lower-power cores take control in order to offer longer battery life. This is how Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa processor works… but with ARM’s new design, we could see multi-core processors with big.LITTLE technology in smartphones.


ARM is also unveiling new graphics chip designs including the high-performance Mali-T622 GPU and energy-efficient Mali-V500 video processor which can handle 4K video playback at 120 frames per second in mid-range phones and tablets.

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4 replies on “ARM introduces Cortex-A12 chips for mid-range phones, tablets”

  1. The cortex A-12 uses ARMv7-A architecture not ARMv6. The ARMv8 should be out by the next year so I dont think it will be so future-proof.

  2. Interesting, but isnt this going to be obsolete when this CPU hits the market? I mean, 200-350$ is not considered as cheap by many, me included, at least not in tablet market.
    Nexus 7, MemoPad 7 HD – both have sub-200$ price points, yet offer alot for their price.
    I see the additional core option for low power tasks as only viable bonus of A12 for now.
    In smart phones, on the other hand, if they start to produce these CPU’s soon, it could be good alternative for increased battery life in budget phones.

  3. > chips based on the new Cortex-A9 design should offer about 40-percent better performance than Cortex-A9 chips


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