British chip designer ARM has unveiled a new graphics processor design that promises to bring games-console levels of visual power to mobile phones and tablets.
Dubbed the Mali T604, the new architecture is said to offer 25 times the graphical power of Apple’s iPad, within a mobile-friendly power budget of only 850mW.
Speaking exclusively to PC Pro, ARM VP Lance Howarth predicted that chips based on the T604 design would open up new possibilities for mobile visual computing.
“We’re talking about things like smile detection, improving picture quality, and augmented reality. Current augmented reality applications are very naïve — they just slap metadata onto a picture. But we can do much more interesting stuff: recognise a face or a building, pull up a phone number and fetch information from the internet.”
The most widespread application of the new chips is likely to be gaming. “We’re really now in the realm of an Xbox 360 in a mobile phone,” declared Howarth. “Your mobile phone could soon be your games console. Hook it up to the TV and you’ll see no difference. It means games need no longer be tied to the home environment.”
But such devices won’t be in the shops for a few years yet, owing to the amount of time it takes for ARM's designs to be implemented in silicon and integrated into products.
“Realistically, we might see Mali T604 products in 2013. Certainly by 2014. That’s the nature of the business: it takes two years to design, two years to build chips, then another year before they emerge in products.”
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk