ARM Interview at MWC 2016: top trends shaping the mobile industry

by: Darcy LaCouveeMarch 1, 2016
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AT MWC 2016, we got to spend a moment with Ian Ferguson, the VP of Worldwide Marketing and Strategic Alliances, and James Bruce, the Director of Mobile, at ARM, to talk about the continuing growth and penetration of ARM and the application of their technology beyond mobile computing, examine current mobile industry trends, and discuss some of the latest processors built on ARM technology. Let’s take a look!

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While we are familiar with what our smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other electronics are capable of, many may not know how huge a role ARM plays in making all this possible. ARM licenses their architecture to a multitude of partners, who then, in turn, build their own chips, resulting in the vast majority of devices featuring CPUs based on ARM architecture. ARM is truly where it all begins, as we continue to marvel at the growing capabilities of the technology all around us.

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This allows for great CPUs and GPUs to be put on a wide range of SOC’s. Further, SOC’s (system-on-a-chip) allow for computers to have really form factors, that helps create innovative products. There are actually chips now available that are small enough to fit into a dimple on a golf ball, and ARM also showcased the world’s smallest computer, that was practically invisible to the naked eye, back at CES 2016. While our focus here at Android Authority is largely on the mobile space, these incredibly small chips have a wide variety of applications, with a wonderful example being having a chip at the back of the eye, with the technology allowing for corrective measured being made.

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Among ARM’s partners are companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung, MediaTek, Huawei, Rockchip and more, with each of these companies having a business relationship with ARM that allows them to build processors that are compatible with the ARM architecture. With such a vast ecosystem of partners, there is some curiosity with regards to who is leading the pack. However, a good point to consider is the fact that picking a mobile handset isn’t entirely dependent on benchmarks, but rather the entire experience something like a smartphone can provide. Benchmarking is certainly not dead, but what can be more important to a consumer is a combination of various factors, including aspects like camera performance, durability, hardware features, battery life, and more.

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That said, what is key is the fact that all their partners are creating SoCs that are offer significant improvements when compared to their respective previous generations. For example, the Samsung Exynos 8 Octa, powering certain versions of the Galaxy S7, with its Mali-T880 GPU, offers slightly more than a 60% improvement in GPU performance compared to last year’s Exynos 7420 MP 12 and the Mali-T760 MP8, which is quite impressive. Of course, this jump doesn’t matter without anything to take advantage of it, but we can expect to see improvements on the gaming front, as well as with improved VR experiences.

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Talking about VR, an important point to remember is that it is still in its very nascent stages, and we’re yet to imagine what this technology can potentially be capable of. That said, something like Augmented Reality can actually surpass the potential of VR, with the ability to get extra information surrounding your real world can certainly prove to be incredibly useful. In either case, the applications are endless, and the potential is limitless, which is why there is so much to be excited about.

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Going beyond the mobile space, a big focus moving forward is also going to be on the Internet of Things. Being able to have control of all your day to day tasks at the tip of your fingers is intriguing and very interesting, even if it has to be said that the complete dependency on technology and automation can be quite scary. Other application areas include healthcare, which we are already seeing some movement around with fitness trackers and other wearables, and even more exotic applications like smart clothes, and more. All said and done, we can certainly expect ARM to be at the forefront of it all.

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So there you have it for this interview with ARM at MWC 2016! Do check out the video above for the full interview, and we have extensively covered ARM here at Android Authority, which you can find here.