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Chipmaker ARM betting on 4K and VR in the smartphones and other handsets of 2017

by on June 4, 2016

Stephan Jukic – June 04, 2016

We’ve seen plenty of awesome new flagship phones emerge already in 2016 in the form of models like the Samsung Galaxy S7, GL G5 and HTC 10, and we have also heard plenty of rumors about the cool next-generation phones we can expect for 2017. However, one thing that hasn’t yet emerged in 2016 at least is a mobile device with 4K display for the consumer market. Nothing since 2015’s Sony Xperia Z5 Premium phone at least.

This however hasn’t stopped certain companies from planning and developing for the future. One of these is the chipset design & manufacturing leader ARM, which is already launching its new CPU and GPU chipsets for the smartphones of 2017. These two chip systems are respectively called Cortex A73 and Mali G71 and both have been developed with a 4K display and compact VR display experience firmly in mind.


According to ARM, the new chipsets will offer the ultimate in VR visuals and are expected to be significantly more advanced than VR technologies of a similar bent which have already been produced in 2016 for handsets like the “Gear” for Samsung’s S7 or rival units from LG and Huawei.

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In essence, ARM wants to push the envelope quite a bit further on the sort of smartphone display technology which first emerged with Sony’s 4K screen on the Z5 Premium phone from 2015 and the company expects to see more phones with 4K resolution, low latency and VR capacity coming out in 2017. This of course means the development of more processing power and much better batteries in 2017 phones.

ARM is also expecting to see production of such technologies start to take off near the end of 2016 and for new handsets to appear with ARMs own CPU and GPU cores in the first quarter of 2017.

We’ll have to wait and see how the chipmaker’s predictions pan out but their plausibility is high considering the insider knowledge involved in making these claims, from a tech player right at the heart of the exact technologies the near future of smartphones will depend on.

For the time being, the smartphones of 2016 have been limited to sets with powerful new camera features, which now also widely feature 4K video recording capacity. These phones include the same Z5 Premium phone mentioned above and other devices like Apple’s iPhone 6S/6S Plus. Furthermore, consumers who want to see what sort of power ARM can already deliver to existing smartphones need look no further than the Huawei Mate 8 and P9 phones from the first quarter of 2016. Both of these models feature the current best in ARM chipset design specs and can be considered a taste of the developments to expect next year.

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