Innovation and the demand for new experiences are driving mobile technology trends beyond the smartphone. They are creating a demand for always-on, always-connected devices—ranging from phones to laptops to PCs—featuring immersive computing, with powerful artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and machine learning capabilities. The goal is to enable seamless productivity for users on the go. Arm offers a broad range of IP to enable developers and OEMs to meet these increasing customer demands.
From navigation device to entertainment device to payment device, the smartphone has a long list of uses. Its combination of always-with-you compute and connectivity has changed the world and allowed 3 billion people to connect to the digital world.
Arm has delivered more for less by increasing the smartphone’s CPU performance by 100x and GPU performance by 300x since 2009, bringing laptop-type productivity and high-fidelity gaming to your fingertips, with power efficiency that delivers long-lasting power and even thinner innovative designs. And Arm innovation extends beyond CPUs and GPUs to many other components within the smartphone and adjacent technologies, such as VR and augmented reality (AR) through artificial intelligence. This innovation from Arm and its ecosystem partners underlies the modern smartphone experience.
Smartphones: The Portal to Innovation
Smartphones provide the fundamental blocks for next-generation experiences. Users will access many of these use cases—artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, and VR and AR—from their smartphones through always-connected wireless networks that are a pathway to cloud services.
Smartphones have become the consumer’s portal to services and capabilities, setting a performance standard that consumers have come to love and expect. High performance combined with leading-edge, energy-efficient processors lead the way for the next wave of innovation, expanding the mobile experiences into PCs for even more productivity and longer battery life.
The ongoing VR, AR, and mixed-reality revolution, while still in its infancy, demonstrates the power and potential of immersion in specialty systems and use cases, but the biggest growth opportunity is by far in mobile. To drive those experiences into the mobile world, there are hurdles to overcome, including battery life, computer vision, and pixel density beyond 4K. All this computation also needs to be done within a fixed 2-3-watt thermal budget, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with ever-smaller devices.
This new type of device requires powerful AI algorithms, some of which need to be computed on the device, rather than in the cloud, for offline availability, latency, privacy, and security reasons. There are several initiatives currently aimed at bringing AI to mobile devices locally, such as TensorFlow Lite and Caffe2Go; ultimately, they will enable facial and voice recognition, real-time “linguistic” responses and conversation, and more accurate handwriting recognition.
Arm has been focused on these challenges, developing innovations that address these key requirements to power the next generation of mobile AI and AR/VR devices.
Beyond the Smartphone: Productivity on the Go
The lines between compute devices are blurring. Increasingly, desktop productivity experiences are delivered from a docked mobile device, enabling productivity wherever you are. With all data in one place, any location can become a workplace. This puts some pressure on mobile designers who need, for example, to power 4K high-dynamic range (HDR) displays while running multiple windows of apps simultaneously. Coupled with the fact that large-screen compute is becoming more “mobile-like” with, for example, apps on Chrome and Windows for the Arm instruction-set architecture, more single-thread performance and higher compute density in smaller form factors is more important than ever.
Mobile encompasses much more than the smartphone, with consumers now expecting always-on, always-connected devices to enable productivity from anywhere. The latest developments see premium devices with built-in modems for constant connectivity, and extended battery life of 20 to 30 hours. Processing on these devices needs to be high performance within thermal and power constraints.
Path to 5G: Next Steps in Connectivity
The variety of tasks you can accomplish with your smartphone has been enabled by innovative applications and services from developers throughout the Arm ecosystem. This strong ecosystem has enabled rapid innovation, resulting in today’s vibrant smartphone ecosystem.
The dawn of 5G continues the evolution of the always-on, always-connected world and fosters innovation and new user interactions. As mobile broadband development evolves, we see new and different use cases. As well as multi-gigabit services, 5G also promises to deliver on low-bandwidth, energy-constrained devices.
Achieving this vision calls for a symbiotic relationship between hardware and software, where security is no longer an afterthought. It requires an expanding portfolio of secure IP and software, and a collaborative ecosystem that fortifies devices across a common platform.
Introducing a new IP Suite for Premium Mobile Experiences
The Arm-powered smartphone is the world’s primary compute device that more than 3 billion consumers reach for every day. Smartphones are the portal to innovation starting in the palm of your hand and expanding to large-screen devices.
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