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ARM®’s James Bruce on Exynos, Mali-T600™ and the Future of the Industry, Part II

James Bruce, Lead Mobile Strategist of ARM® October 04, 2012

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James Bruce, lead mobile strategist for ARM®, is a devoted gadget guy with a long career in mobile technology that has made him an excellent source for questions about the world of mobile processors. In the first part of our interview, James spoke with us about ARM®, Samsung Exynos and big.LITTLE technology. In this installment, we’ll hear his take on Exynos SoCs, the second generation of ARM® Mali-T600™ GPUs and the future of the semiconductor industry.

James Bruce
James Bruce

ARM® Lead Mobile Strategist

What do you consider to be the most important merits or strong points of Exynos mobile application processors?

If you look at Exynos processors, they are a great balance between performance and efficiency. This balance comes from all of the little bits that make up the system, from the CPU and GPU to diverse video and camera functions. On/off capabilities implemented by Exynos contribute to efficiency by preserving power when certain functions aren’t in use. Performance on its own isn’t useful if it depletes your battery so quickly that your mobile device isn’t convenient anymore. It’s the pairing of high performance and power efficiency made possible by ARM® processor architecture and Exynos chip design that makes these SoCs strong competitors in the market.

Where do you see the future of this industry, whether from the perspective of companies like ARM® or Samsung Exynos, or from your own perspective as a mobile strategist?

If you look at advanced process technology, never before have we seen such a rapid uptake of the latest and greatest node. The reason for this is that mobile companies have started jumping on the SoCs that use these node technologies. Years ago, it was networking or graphics companies that snatched them up. Now that the mobile industry has joined the game, we’ll continue to see a much more rapid rate of innovation.

How will the new Mali-T600™ series GPU affect user experience on Exynos-equipped mobile devices? Can you give some specific examples of improvements in this latest series?

The ARM® Mali™-T604 GPU delivers such a high resolution that you can’t even see the pixels on screen. The displays will be so incredibly sharp that they’re going to look like physical paper. With this GPU compute solution, users will see a vast improvement in graphics capabilities; and these increased graphical standards will spur the development of even more compelling content. We’ll be seeing a major jump-up in the display qualities and graphics effects in games optimized to run on SoCs like the Exynos 5 Dual.

According to discussions at SIGGRAPH this year, improvements in graphics are going to start coming to mobile before they even reach computing. With such a high level of graphics performance, your mobile devices will be able to handle higher level gaming content that can then be sent to your TV. From there, your phone becomes a controller for the mobile game you’re displaying on the Samsung screen right in front of you.

In your opinion, what’s the next big thing in SoC technology, and how will it affect our experience with mobile devices?

With the next generation of SoCs — notably the ARM® Cortex™-A15 based Exynos 5 Dual with Mali™-T604 GPU — we are going to see a rapid increase in capabilities. The exciting bit is to see the services that will spring up and take advantage of these capabilities. Over the next two years, we’ll see how smartphones, tablets and the apps developed for them utilize new SoC technology to deliver innovative features and functionalities to the consumer.

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