ARM announced the new Cortex-A78, which is a CPU core that is expected to be used by virtually of the big chip makers, which means that we will see it powering Android phones in 2021.
These include Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung and even Google. As Google has been rumored to be designing its own chipset for the Pixel products.
How do we know that the Cortex-A78 is going to power 2021 Android smartphones? Well, because all current smartphones are running on a form of ARM's Cortex CPU cores. For instance, the Snapdragon 865 uses Cortex-A77 and Cortex-A55 cores. Samsung Exynos 990 uses Cortex-A76 and Cortex-A55 CPU cores as well as the Mali-G77 GPU. So yeah, next years phones will be using the Cortex-A78.
Cortex-A78 is the most efficient CPU ever designed for mobile
According to ARM, the Cortex-A78 is "unquestionably our most efficient Cortex-A CPU ever designed for mobile." Which gives it some pretty big shoes to fill.
ARM says that this features a 20% increase in "sustained performance" and that is compared to the Cortex-A77 design it released last year. And it stays within a 1-watt power budget too.
Because it is more efficient, it should be able to enable better efficiency for 5G battery drains. As well as working well with computationally hungry foldable devices. Which would feature multiple and larger displays.
ARM also has two new GPUs
ARM has also announced a couple of new mobile GPUs. Most Android smartphones on the high-end won't be using these. As they normally run on Qualcomm chipsets, and Qualcomm designs its own GPUs for its chipsets.
There is the top-of-the-line Mali-G78 which will support up to 24 cores. ARM also says that it will allow for 25% increase in graphics performance, and that is compared to the Mali-G77 that was released last year.
For the mid-tier their is a new Mali-G68 GPU. It is meant to provide some of the same performance as the Mali-G78, but in a cheaper package. So that chip makers can still provide some very promising performance without raising prices on their chipsets a whole lot. Which is already happening thanks to 5G.
What does this mean for the Snapdragon 875 and new Exynos chipsets?
If you're unfamiliar with ARM, this whole thing might sound weird. But essentially, ARM designs CPU cores (as well as GPUs) for mobile processors. There's also some laptops that run on ARM too. These CPU cores are found in processors from Qualcomm, Samsung, MediaTek (and Huawei, but that's another story).
The Snapdragon 875 will most likely run with a few Cortex-A78 cores. But don't expect it to run on the Mali-G78 or Mali-G68 GPU. As Qualcomm does completely design its own GPU. But Samsung will use it with its newer Exynos chipset.