ARM Mali GPUs: Bringing High-Quality Graphics to Emerging Markets

Chinese Version 中文版:ARM Mali GPU:为新兴市场带来高质量图形

The ARM Ecosystem continues to drive innovation, diversity and opportunity across the entire industry at an astonishing pace, bringing the benefits of semiconductor technology to all potential users across the world. The changes appearing in the cost-efficient segment are especially exciting: there are a huge number of opportunities for silicon venders and OEMs to successfully differentiate their products for this market. Examples include the growing number of customers looking to upgrade from feature phone to smartphone technology as initiatives such as Android One (launched yesterday in India) emerge and gain momentum; the ability to bring high performing technology, showcasing fast frame rates, great displays and long-lasting batteries, into the mainstream; new applications emerging that offer desirable new functionality and capabilities; and new form factors placing mobile silicon into a variety of exciting and affordable new markets. The mass market is discovering a whole host of features which two years ago was only available in premium devices.  With all this change taking place, it is no wonder that the industry is seeing shipments of superphones waning, making way for the era of the mass market.

Gartner graph.png

The mass market (entry level & mid range) is predicted to total 80% of total smartphone shipments by 2017 (Source: Mixture of ARM & Gartner estimates)

But just how big is the global mass market opportunity? In ARM’s results statement, we predicted that the mobile app processor market would be worth $20bn in 2018 of which the total addressable market for the mass market would be $10bn. The main geographical areas driving this ongoing smartphone growth are emerging markets such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, as the graph from Credit Suisse shown below predicts. With 1.75 billion people already owning a smartphone, there are still over 5 billion left who are yet to experience fully mobile connectivity. China and India alone are predicted to bring over 400 million new users to this market in 2014.

Credit Suisse Graph.png

Emerging markets will be the long term driver for smartphone shipment volumes (Source: Credit Suisse, The Wireless View 2014)

ARM® Mali GPUs have rapidly become the de facto GPU for the mass market and for Android devices as a whole. Thanks to the low energy, low silicon area yet feature rich elements of our cost-efficient roadmap, we are now the most commonly deployed GPU in all new smartphone models with the fastest growing market share across all GPU vendors - in 4Q13 73 new Mali-based smartphones were introduced into the market.  In fact, over 75% of all application processors coming out of APAC now have an ARM Mali GPU inside. The first set of Android One devices, whose goal is to bring affordable smartphone technology to emerging markets, is entirely based on Mediatek's MT6582 SoC featuring a Mali-400 MP2 GPU.

Bank of America graph.png

ARM Mali GPUs took the #1 spot in 4Q13 among new models (Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research estimates)

The Mali-400 GPU has driven success in this market for all its customers since its announcement in June 2008 and continues to be popular in emerging markets where great hardware and software has to be brought together in an affordable manner. Beyond the Android One smartphones, it can be found in a range of popular devices ranging from smartphones to wearables:

  • Oppo Joy (Mediatek MT6572)
  • Huawei Honor 3C (Mediatek MT6582)
  • Alcatel One Touch Idol X Plus (Mediatek MT6592)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini (Samsung Exynos 3 Quad)
  • Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch (Mediatek MT6572)

However, as the technology behind these devices is evolving at such a fast pace, tomorrow’s mass market consumers will be demanding more from their devices than their current counterparts. For this reason, ARM has developed a long-term GPU IP roadmap that specifically meets the needs of silicon partners addressing this market, ensuring that as consumer values evolve the ARM Ecosystem has everything it needs to continue its success.

For example, OpenGL® ES 3.0 will become the universal standard for developing mobile games and applications. Already, over 20% of devices support this API, according to stats from Android. Mass market consumers will expect to be able to enjoy the latest titles as soon as they come out and getting the most out of them will require a GPU which supports the most popular standards. As another example, the trend for higher resolutions continues and a mass market GPU will be required that has the computational power to deliver the desired performance at higher pixel densities. The ARM Mali-T720 GPU has been developed to meet these needs of future generations of mass market consumers, offering both higher computation capacity and API support up to and including OpenGL ES 3.1.

The opportunities in the mass market are seemingly endless and ARM IP is historically proven to be the leader in this field, offering functional, energy-efficient graphics within the smallest possible silicon area. Our mid-range GPU roadmap is advancing in line with the market with new GPUs ready to become the Mali-400 of the future, combining the best of ARM’s traditional mass market offering with the new requirements of a future age. For more information about ARM’s mass market offerings, visit

Graphics & Multimedia blog