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Future Android phone CPUs could finally beat the iPhone

2025's flagship Android phones could gain another huge CPU boost.

Published onJanuary 10, 2024

  • Arm is reportedly aiming to launch an Apple-beating smartphone CPU this year.
  • The CPU is codenamed Blackhawk and will ostensibly be called the Cortex-X5.
  • We’d expect the MediaTek Dimensity 9400 and Samsung Exynos 2500 to offer this CPU.

Android phone processors have generally played second fiddle to iPhone chipsets as far as single-core CPU power is concerned. Now, it looks like chip kingpin Arm might take the fight to Apple in this regard.

Analyst firm Moor Insights and Strategy reports that Arm’s next Cortex-X CPU could be the most powerful smartphone CPU around. This next CPU is said to be codenamed Blackhawk and will presumably be called the Cortex-X5 if history is anything to go on.

The analyst firm reports that this new CPU will offer the “largest year-over-year IPC performance increase in five years.” We’re guessing that the last time we saw a similarly large performance leap was with the original Cortex-X1 CPU, which was revealed in 2020. This CPU is also said to offer “great” large language model (LLM) performance, suggesting a notable boost for generative AI tasks.

It’s believed that this ambitious new CPU is part of a plan by Arm to “eliminate the performance gap between Arm-designed processors and custom Arm implementations.”

What does this mean for 2025’s phones?

Of course, this is all easier said than done. Android phone processors using Arm CPUs have seen significant CPU upgrades in recent years, but single-core CPU performance has continued to lag behind Apple’s iPhone silicon. So we’ll take a wait-and-see approach to this news.

We’re also curious to see what the Blackhawk or Cortex-X5 CPU means for battery life. After all, Apple-beating performance doesn’t really mean much if your phone has drastically reduced endurance. This is particularly relevant in light of MediaTek dropping power-sipping little cores entirely in favor of big and medium cores only.

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You shouldn’t expect Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 processor to adopt this Blackhawk CPU, though. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 will be the first Snapdragon mobile chip to use the firm’s custom Oryon CPU cores.

However, it stands to reason that the MediaTek Dimensity 9400 and Samsung Exynos 2500 will adopt this new Arm CPU. Either way, between this new CPU and Qualcomm’s Oryon CPU, we’re keen to see how Android phone processors compare to Apple’s latest chips.

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