It’s that time of year again, where anybody who’s anybody is bringing their new devices and announcements to Barcelona. Mobile World Congress is always a busy time of year for manufacturers, not unlike LG and Samsung, but it’s also a trade show that looks ahead to the future. For companies like ARM, that means looking ahead to the future, and if you ask anyone right now they’ll tell you that the future is in wearables and the Internet of Things. To that end, ARM is introducing a new processor design specifically for those two applications, the new Cortex-A32.
Those that keep up with processor talk in the mobile world will know that ARM’s Cortex-A series of processor designs are often used in smartphones, tablets and anything that runs a complex operating system, such as Android. This new Cortex-A32 design is their most efficient Cortex-A series processor by being the smallest Cortex-A processor to date, which will not only use less power, but also generate less heat. The Cortex-A32 will be a direct replacement for the Cortex-A7, the design used in the popular Snapdragon 400, which is at the heart of the LG G Watch, Huawei Watch and many other Android Wear smartwatches. Unlike the newly-announced Snapdragon 2100, which is still based on ARM’s previous Cortex-A7 designs, chips based on the Cortex-A32 will be part of a whole new generation of processors.
While the A32 is still a 32-bit design, it features the ARM V8-A instruction set, just without the 64-bit side of things, this helps bridge the gap between something like the Cortex-A7 (which was an ARM V7-A design) and the Cortex-A53. These new instructions in the Cortex-A32, compared to the A7, allow the new chip to be over 5 times quicker in Streaming tasks and a further 13 times quicker in Crypto applications, such as encryption. The Cortex-A32 will be available in chips from just 0.25mm-squared to powerful quad-core chips that still use hardly any power at all. The Cortex-A32 will be hitting devices next year, with sampling to hit device manufacturers some time later this year.