LG licenses ARM’s most powerful CPUs and GPUs, but Samsung shouldn’t be scared

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 28 May 2013

ARM has just announced that LG has licensed their Cortex A50 series CPUs and “the next generation of ARM Mali” GPUs. For those who need a little bit or a refresher, ARM’s business model is to make blueprints for processors, which they then license to pretty much everyone. Companies take those blueprints, design a processor, and more often than not they ship those final designs to what’s called a “fab”. (www.newenglandtours.com) Basically a factory that spits out chips.

And that’s what LG is doing here. They’re going to design their own chips, but then have TSMC build them, at least that’s what DigiTimes says. Samsung designs their own chips and then makes them in their own factories, so they have higher margins. True, it’s interesting that LG has licensed ARM’s A50 series processor, but then again everyone else is licensing those processors as well.

Why should you be excited for the ARM A50 series? Besides being faster than the previous generation of ARM processors, they support 64 bit memory addressing. Translation: Smartphones with 4 GB of RAM or more. Those old enough to remember the switch to 64 bit computers will recall that it wasn’t until AMD shipped the Opteron in 2003 that companies began shipping computers with a lot of RAM.

Now I know 4 GB of RAM in a smartphone sounds crazy, but I bet if I told you back in 2007 that phones would eventually have quad core processors, 13 megapixel cameras, and 1080p screens, you would’ve thought I was on drugs.