(Reuters) – Arm Ltd, the semiconductor firm owned by Japan’s Softbank Group Corp, on Tuesday released new technology aimed at helping Android devices catch up to Apple Inc’s iPhones for certain computing tasks such as video games.
Arm’s technology powers the processors in both iPhones and Android devices. But Apple extensively customizes what are called computing “cores” on its chips, while many Android devices hew more closely to designs developed and sold by Arm itself.
In recent years, mobile phones have used a mix of high-performance cores that are speedy at computing but drain a phone’s battery and power-efficient cores that are slower but preserve battery.
Apple’s iPhones, however, are believed to have at least one high-performance core that is larger than others, helping it beat out Android competitors’ peak speeds on single-threaded computing tasks. That can help with video games, web scrolling and faster app launches.
Arm on Tuesday announced a new design called the Cortex-X1. Paul Williamson, the vice president and general manager of the client line of business at Arm, said the company will work with the chip suppliers to high-end Android phones to provide cores that are capable of giving a boost of performance, even if it burns a bit of battery power.
He said Arm will also give game developers tools to take advantage of the new computing power when they make apps for Android devices.
“We’re lifting off the constraints around efficiency,” Williamson told Reuters in an interview. “This is a bit like the AMG tuning shop for Mercedes engines.”
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by Grant McCool