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Let’s be blunt: the graphics in most smartwatches suck. They’re frequently limited to basic effects, and you’ll sometimes see the kind of stuttering that has long-since disappeared on your smartphone. ARM aims to fix that, however. It’s launching the Mali-470, a mobile graphics core that’s virtually tailor-made for smartwatches, the internet of things and anything else where battery life is the top priority. The GPU supports the flashy per-pixel visual effects you see on modern phones (OpenGL ES 2.0, to be exact), but it uses half as much power as the long-serving Mali-400 even as it runs faster– you could see lively 3D animations that don’t kill your watch within a few hours.
ARM hasn’t named customers for the Mali-470, so it’s not yet clear just who’s using it in their processors. You’ll have to wait a while to use it, at any rate — ARM doesn’t expect the core to reach real, shipping products until late 2016. When it does, though, it could help usher in a new generation of wearables and smart appliances whose graphics don’t feel like throwbacks.