ARM CEO Warren East says the notebook space will be a better opportunity for ARM than the crowded mobile chip market will be for Intel.
Intel may gain some share of the
competitive smartphone space, but ARM will take a bigger bite out of the PC
market, according to ARM executives.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal
May 17, ARM CEO
Warren East said he expects that by 2014 or 2015, 10 percent to 20 percent of
notebook PCs will be sporting low-power chips designed by ARM and made by
manufacturers like Samsung Electronics, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.
Meanwhile, East said Intel would probably take about 5 percent to 10 percent of
the smartphone space.
The two companies have been eyeing
each others markets for several years. Intel, which dominates the PC and
server chip spaces, is looking to make inroads into the booming markets for
smartphones and tablets. Intel this year is releasing its Ivy Bridge Core
processors, which feature the new three-dimensional Tri-Gate transistor
architecture that promises to improve the chips performance while driving down
At the same time, Intel also is
ramping up the speed of innovation around its low-power Atom chip platform for
smartphones and tablets. The company last month announced the first smartphone
based on Intel technology, the XOLO X900 from Indian company Lava
International, and other vendors, including Lenovo, Motorola Mobility, ZTE in
China and Orange in France, have announced intentions of building Intel-based
Intel CEO Paul Otellini said in April
that he would be
disappointed if we're not a major player in a few years."
However, ARMs East told The Journal
that the XOLO X900 was a
perfectly adequate smartphone and that Intel will be a perfectly credible
player in the space. However, he noted that there are almost two dozen other
chip makers aiming at the smartphone space, making it difficult for one company
to rise above everyone else.
"It's going to be quite hard
for Intel to be much more than just one of several players," East said.
Meanwhile, the ARM CEO said he sees
his company being able to make significant inroads into the PC space,
particularly with the upcoming release of Microsofts Windows 8 operating
system, which for the first time will have a versiondubbed Windows RTthat
will support non-x86 system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures like ARMs. He said
Windows RT may not have all the functionality of Windows 8, but that there is a
portion of the consumer market where that wont matter.
"If you look at a lot of
consumer PCs, people just want to run an Internet browser, an email package,
some Office applications and Adobe Photoshop or something like that, and not
much else," East said. "Therefore, we can put ARM processors into the
heart of PCs to target a lot of the use requirements."
ARM-based chips also will be cheaper
than Intels, which will make them increasingly attractive to device makers who
would see the profits on PCs rise, he said.
ARM and some of its manufacturing
partners also are pushing to bring the low-power architecture to servers,
another area dominated by Intel and smaller rival Advanced Micro Devices. ARM
executives expect to begin making inroads into that market within the next
couple of years, as chips based on its new Cortex-A15 design start coming on
The company is targeting low-power
servers that can be used in dense, massively populated data center environments
running compute-intensive Web 2.0 and cloud workloads. ARM-based chip makers
Marvell Technologies and Nvidia already have projects under way, and Calxeda is
partnering with Hewlett-Packard to create low-power systems. Calxeda officials
earlier this month demonstrated a prototype server running their ARM-based
EnergyCore processors, and expect systems using the chips to become available
later this year.
For its part, Intel is pushing the microserver form factor
for its Core
and Atom chips. In addition, the company is working on Centerton, an SoC
platform targeting microservers that officials said will roll out in the second
half of 2012. Microservers are expected to grow in popularity as Web 2.0
companies likes Google, Facebook and cloud providers build massive and very
dense data centers with highly efficient servers that can process high numbers
of small workloads.