Finally! ARM's new chip to enable VR content in smartphones

ARM has announced its latest Cortex-A73 processor and Mali G71 GPU which will enable smartphones to run VR and augmented reality content.

The new Cortex-A73 chip offers 30 per cent better efficiency and performance compared to the existing Cortex A-72 processor.

The new processor and GPU combination is aimed at the latest high-end smartphones which will let users access the latest virtual reality content, augmented reality content and to run apps and browsers faster than ever without encountering performance issues.

"While the smartphone market is slowing, there's no slowdown in innovation and customer demand for new features. Our goal is to redefine VR and AR experiences on Android," said John Ronco, senior VP of product marketing at ARM to V3.

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The Cortex A-73 chip is based on the revolutionary 10nm FinFEt process, offers enhanced efficiency and performance despite being smaller than its 14nm or 16nm predecessors. At the same time, the new Mali G71 GPU is based on ARM's Bifrost architecture and has been designed for high use cases to enable superior graphics performance in smartphones which it will power in due course. Optimised for AMD's low-overhead Vulkan API, the GPU will support VR and 4K content and will offer a graphics performance which is 1.5 times better than the performance offered by its predecessors.

At its recently concluded I/O conference in Mountain View, California, Google launched its new Daydream VR concept which it said will let Android users enjoy VR content on their smartphones rather than spending on expensive virtual reality hardware. Daydream VR will run on Android phones with Android N operating system and those which feature AMOLED displays and other specifications. ARM has reportedly worked with Google's Daydream VR concept and has optimised its processor and GPU to enable the concept in future smartphones.

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"We’re pleased to have been working with Google to ensure our range of Mali GPUs, video and display processors are able to deliver the ultimate mobile VR experience on Daydream. In addition, ARM has been working closely with a number of our leading silicon partners, enabling them to ship their first wave of Daydream-ready devices," said a company spokesperson.

Even though Apple hasn't been as enthusiastic about VR or augmented reality as other smartphone makers or even Google, it is placing its trust on Intel's new XMM 7360 modem chips to offer added performance and efficiency in some of its upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus handsets. The remaining handsets will feature Qualcomm's MDM9635 LTE chips that power Apple's latest iPhone 6s and 6s Plus phones and offer download and upload speeds of 300 Mbps and 50 Mbps which is the current standard for premium 4G phones.

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