Texas Instruments preps next-gen ARM processor

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Texas Instruments (TI) is prepping a next-gen, Cortex-A processor core for mobile devices. The chip - which has been dubbed "Eagle" - is expected to be be deployed in TI's future OMAP lineup.

Work on the "Eagle" apparently kicked off in June 2009, with TI utilizing its low power, system-on-chip (SoC) platform experience with ARM to advance the processor core's definition.

Texas Instruments preps next-gen ARM processor"We aim to raise the bar in [mobile] high-performance, power-efficient computing," TI spokesperson Remi El-Ouazzane explained in an official statement.

"Using [our] unique SmartReflex power and performance management technology, TI believes it can deliver SoCs with industry-leading low power consumption." 


So, enough of the marketing spin - what does this mean for you?

Well, Stefan Constantinescu of IntoMobile notes that ARM is currently in a "race to compete with Intel" and has been making their chips faster while concurrently reducing power consumption. 

"The Cortex A8 [currently] exists in such products as the iPad - which has Apple's A4 - and the Samsung Galaxy S, which has Samsung's Hummingbird. The next generation after the A8 is called the A9 and with it come out of order execution - a first for an ARM processor, [but] something Intel has been doing with x86 [for a long time]," wrote Constantinescu.

"[And] after the A9 is Eagle, a processor we know absolutely nothing about. Sure, it's faster than the A9, that's a given, but what special features will it have that will improve our mobile phone user experience? We'll [just] have to wait until the end of this year to find out."

Meanwhile, Brand Linder of Lilliputing opined that TI's ARM-based chips are like to eventually "show up" in smartphones and other low power electronics devices.

"We could also see them in netbooks or smartbooks of the future...But at the moment, we don't really know anything about the upcoming Eagle chips.

"[Still], if I had to guess, I'd imagine that they'll be more powerful than current ARM-based chips while using less energy, because let's be honest...that's always a good bet in the mobile chip space."