ARM announces new tech to boost smartphone battery performance

Smartphone and tablet chip design firm ARM has unveiled a new technology called big.LITTLE that it claims will boost the battery life and performance of smartphones and mobile devices.

The technology works by pairing a powerful processor with a less powerful one, and switching between the two depending on the task.

Tasks requiring a lot of processor power, such as some games or augmented reality apps, will use the more powerful and battery-intensive “big” processor.

However, when the device is running less processor-intensive tasks, the “big” processor is shut down and the low-power “little” processor is used instead, saving battery life.

In an interview with TechRadar, ARM chief executive Warren East says consumers will have to wait until 2014 to see big.LITTLE become a common feature of smartphones.

“[When it comes to chips based on big.LITTLE,] 2013 is just too early to expect to see them in phones. Technology is something that people think of as fast moving and in some ways it is, but it takes a very long time to get products to market,” East says.

“I’m not surprised that Samsung managed to get a big.LITTLE phone to market this year because they are a very capable, determined outfit and there is a lot of marketing kudos in being first to market.

“But the reality is that we have 17 partners with a big.LITTLE licence out there…2014 is going to be a big year.”

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