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ARM Holdings unveils Cortex-A72 processor

The new processor said to deliver a 75% energy consumption reduction from current devices

ARM Holdings unveils Cortex-A72 processor
The Cortex-A72's main booster is energy efficiency.

Chip designer ARM Holdings has unveiled a new core processor that boasts three times the performance of its current designs for smartphones, escalating pressure on Intel, which has been struggling to compete in the mobile chip space.

The Cortex-A72 processor, which ARM said will deliver a 75% energy consumption reduction from current devices, will "enable a new standard for premium experiences on 2016 mobile devices."

Industry pundits have stressed that the unveiled processor is a jab to Intel.

A72's main booster is energy efficiency, but ARM stated the processor also would be particularly powerful for the mobile-gaming and video-streaming market, as it also includes graphic upgrades that generate an improved visual experience for users at up to 4K 120fps resolution.

The company currently provides its Cortex-A15 design, used in a variety of phones and tablets.

"Our new premium mobile experience IP suite with the Cortex-A72 processor delivers a decisive step forward from the compelling user experiences provided by this year's A57 based devices," said Pete Hutton, executive vice president of Products Groups for ARM. "In 2016 the ARM ecosystem will deliver even slimmer, lighter, more immersive mobile devices that serve as your primary and only compute platform."

Meanwhile, Intel has struggled to make significant gains against ARM on the smartphone front despite its lock-tight grip on the x86 PC and server processor markets.

Intel's smartphone chip space offers the Atom Z2580, which is used in only a limited number of smartphones made by firms such as Asus and Lenovo in overseas markets, and the SoFIA smartphone chip, which began shipping late last year with integrated 3G radio technology.

Early in 2015, Intel said, it will ship with a LTE version. Intel said it has about a half dozen phone manufacturers set to adopt its SoFIA chips.

Looking beyond SoFIA, Intel said it is developing new 22-nanometer chip technology, named Moorefield and Merrifield. Longer-range, Intel said it is developing a new Atom processor, code-named Broxton, which will be aimed at high-end smartphones in the 2016 time frame.

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