While most Android fans are only really interested in the high-end smartphone realm from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG, it’s hard to remember that the mid-range is important, too. Which is no doubt why HTC are going to pay closer attention to the mid-range sector going forward, and believe it to be the answer to their ailing financial situation. Still though, the mid-range has become not so mid-range in the last year or so, with devices like the HTC One Mini and Moto G questioning how we see these more affordable smartphones. Add that to Android 4.4’s frugal attitude and you have a bright future for mid-range devices running Android.
ARM, the company that creates the blueprints for the Snapdragons and Exynos processors we’re all using, thinks so too, and have announced a new core design, the Cortex-A17. Not to be confused with the Cortex-A15 that shook up devices with the Snapdragon S4 line of CPUs, the A17 is very much aimed at mid-range devices. Built using a 28nm process, the Cortex-A17 features the big.LITTLE architecture that’s in Samsung’s Exynos line of CPUs and should help with power efficiency. The biggest thing here though, is the 60-percent performance boost from the aging Cortex-A9 CPU design that’s at the heart of the Tegra 3 and should be more powerful than the Cortex-A7 design that MediaTek have been using for a while, as well as Qualcomm inside of their Snapdragon 400 CPUs that’s at the heart of the Moto G.
This new design from ARM is perhaps not going to make much of a difference until 2015, but any performance boost for affordable Android devices will be welcome. Like we said, Android 4.4 KitKat has become more frugal and as such, it looks like 2015 could be the year that mid-range Android devices get much faster, while still costing a lot less than their bigger brothers.