ARM has unveiled the Cortex-A73 processor and Mali G71 CPU that could be used to power the majority of 2017's virtual reality (VR)-ready smartphones.
The firm claimed that, as is typical with every new release, the ARM Cortex-A73 offers more performance and better efficiency, and has been designed with "smartphone intensive" uses in mind, including VR and augmented reality (AR).
"While the smartphone market is slowing, there's no slowdown in innovation and customer demand for new features," John Ronco, senior VP of product marketing at ARM, told V3. "Our goal is to redefine VR and AR experiences on Android."
The Cortex-A73, built using the 10nm FinFEt manufacturing process, offers 30 per cent more power compared with the Cortex-A72 before it, according to ARM, and an increase of up to 30 per cent in power efficiency despite being the smallest premium ARMv8-A processor yet.
Perhaps the biggest talking point, though, is the new Mali-G71 GPU, the first graphics chip built on the firm's Bifrost architecture which has been "designed from the ground up for high-end use cases" and is ARM's highest performing and most scalable GPU offering to date.
Designed for next-generation content, such as 4K displays and VR, the Mali-G71 GPU is optimised for AMD's low-overhead Vulkan API and boasts a 1.5x increase in graphics performance compared with that found on this year's top-end smartphones.
ARM has also worked closely with Google and the firm's new Daydream VR platform.
"We’re pleased to have been working with Google to ensure our range of Mali GPUs, video and display processors are able to deliver the ultimate mobile VR experience on Daydream," the firm said.
"In addition, ARM has been working closely with a number of our leading silicon partners, enabling them to ship their first wave of Daydream-ready devices."
ARM said that the Mali-G71 offers a 20 per cent boost in efficiency, 40 per cent better performance density and 20 per cent bandwidth improvement compared with the Mali-T880.
GFXBench benchmarking scores seen by V3 show that the GPU's performance exceeds that of a 2015 laptop with a discrete GPU.
ARM said that production of the SoCs will begin in late 2016, and will start to crop up in VR-ready smartphones in 2017. HiSilicon, MediaTek and Samsung have confirmed that they will license the technology.
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