Few trend-spotters would disagree with the following prediction from ARM, but it's worth laying it out anyway: Of the 300 million mobile devices sold in 2010, the majority cost over $400. Within the next two years, however, these "crazy money" products (as a spokesperson described them) may represent just 25 percent of the total mobile market -- still huge in absolute terms, since almost two billion phones and tablets are forecast to be sold in 2015, but a distinct minority relative to entry-level and mid-range options.
In an effort to convert these expectations into an even taller heap of gold, ARM just announced a new mid-range core, the Cortex-A12, which is designed to replace the aging Cortex-A9 while offering a 40 percent boost in performance. This gain will likely come with the added advantage of better battery life, since the Cortex-A12 will initially be fabricated at 28nm instead of 40nm, and will be offered to manufacturers alongside a new Mali GPU (the Mali-T622) and video engine (Mali-V500) that promise further power savings of their own. The Cortex-A12 will also support big.LITTLE configurations, allowing it to be installed alongside Cortex-A7 cores that will take over for low-effort tasks in order make further power savings. Big.LITTLE hasn't really blown us away so far, at least not on the Octa-core Galaxy S 4, but its wrinkles may well have been ironed out by mid 2014, which is when the Cortex-A12 is due to land. Check out the PR for more technical details on each component.
Richard Lai contributed to this report.