Odds are good that any Android devices you have around are running on ARM technology. The ARM architecture powers virtually all systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), with Intel x86 parts coming in a distant second. ARM doesn't actually make the chips, but it creates the reference designs and instruction set, then licenses the IP. Today the company is announcing some new designs and process refinements for other companies to license.


There are three new hardware designs on the table for chip makers, starting with the 64-bit Cortex-A72 CPU core. This is the new top-of-the-line, replacing the Cortex-A57. The A72 is compatible with the low-power A53 in a big.LITTLE configuration where it can boost performance by 30%. It's based on a 16nm process and can be clocked as high as 2.5GHz. Several companies like MediaTek and Rockchip have already licensed the design for use in their SoCs.

The next piece of new tech from ARM is the Mali-T880 GPU. ARM GPUs aren't as common as the CPU cores, but they still show up in chips from Samsung, MediaTek, and others. The T880 offers 1.8X the graphics performance of the current flagship Mali-T760. Power consumption is 40% lower too. It pairs with the Mali-V550 video processor and Mali-DP550 display processors to enable 4K display output and supposedly "console-like" gaming.

The last piece of hardware is a new coherent cache interconnect known as the CCI-500. This is the replacement for the CCI-400, which is a component of the SoC that moves data between the two CPU islands (big and little). The CCI-500 will apparently offer a 30% increase in memory performance compared to the CCI-400.

ARM also announced some new initiatives to push its 16nm FinFET designs (like the A72) so manufacturers will be able to move quickly from 32/28nm processes to the new, more efficient versions. ARM also takes the opportunity to remind everyone that the ARMv8-A instruction set is 64-bit and Android 5.0 finally supports that. It doesn't sound like there are any changes here, it's just a little FYI at the end of the PR. All the new technology should start showing up late this year.