Samsung may bring ‘big.LITTLE’ ARM processor to next generation Chromebook

May 31, 2013
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    Google-IO-2013 Pixel chromebook 1600 aa

    The Samsung ARM Chromebook is ubiquitous to the lineup. It was the first to be offered at an attractive price point, and opened many of us up to the possibilities and benefits of Chromebooks, and Chrome OS. While not without its issues (Netflix, anyone?), The ARM Chromebook continues to pace the market.

    Though powerful, the ARM Chromebook has its limitations. Handling multiple tabs can be a chore, causing older tabs to refresh without provocation. For some, this is a nuisance. It can be controlled with a few tweaks, but the average user isn’t interested in manipulation. Samsung may be changing that soon, bringing their next generation ARM chipset to the Chromebook.

    Called the big.LITTLE ARM processor, the architecture is not new to us. Having been implemented in the Galaxy S4 international model, the chipset balances power between those smaller processes (like background information or tasks) and bigger ones (GPS use, games with intense graphics, etc.).

    While the Chromebook may not have what we consider those “big” tasks, it very well could in the near future. With Packaged Apps on the horizon, Chromebooks may need a lot more processing power. The continued shift toward HTML5 will mean many more apps, web or packaged, and that means more multitasking.

    A chipset like the big.LITTLE could also mean a better device altogether. This could be the first hint at a mid-level Chromebook Pixel, replete with more memory and touchscreen we’ve grown so fond of. Then again, this news isn’t official, and comes from someone who is “well informed about the plans of the two companies”. We’ll see how it plays out.

    Comments

    • Peter Frazier

      Wonder if they’ll keep the same price point as the first. I would pay even a bit more for better performance.

    • kascollet

      Why would Samsung choose to use an ARM SoC in the CB when they have a big battery and obviously a deal with Intel ?

      • companyemails

        You do know that Samsung already uses an ARM based SOC on its current Chromebook right?

        • kascollet

          Yes, of course, but this was before the GTab 10.1 with Intel rumor.

          • SPM

            Batteries are expensive, which is the reason why ultrabooks with a decent battery life are so expensive, and why i5 Windows laptops with 2.5 hour battery life can be bought so cheaply. Probably also why Acer puts a 3.5 hour battery rather than a 6.5 hour battery into its $199 laptop.

            They may be putting Intel into tablets for the same reasons others are planning to introduce Android tablets, hybrids, and touch laptops, starting from Q3 – because the Windows 8 tablets they have developed aren’t selling and they are left with component stocks and R&D costs to recoup, and there is a shortage of ARM chips at the moment. That is the reason why some Galaxy S4s use Samsung’s octo-core big-little ARM chips while others use Qualcom’s quad core ARM chips.

    • Lycan X

      The current implementation of BIG.little architecture is f***** up. Check this below:

      http://www.sammobile.com/2013/05/30/samsung-processor-chaos-disappointments-and-their-current-soc-future/

      I think you should highlight this in a seperate article AA.

      • kascollet

        Very interesting. Thank you.
        A15 is a doomed architecture for mobiles.

    • dogulas

      Netflix is working on it now, as of a couple months ago, p.s.

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