ARM vs. Intel

There is an interesting article on ARM vs. Intel competing in the lucrative evolving product category placed in the gap between the smart phone and the laptop computer.

Intel looks set to invade the low power handhelds – a traditional domain of ARM. And its strategy to this effect involves offering X86 processors with leading performance while reducing the power consumption and footprint. ARM meanwhile continues to come up with various processor architectures and cores optimized for its customers’ needs and semiconductor manufacturing capabilities of its licensees.

The question is: Will future mobile handhelds run on an X86 or ARM instruction set architecture?

I summarize here a few points for both parties:

Advantage ARM:

  • The ARM processor was built for mobility from the ground up
  • ARM’s strategy looks to be targeted more on “needs of its customers” vs. Intel’s “what it can do with technology”
  • ARM works along with partners to develop an ecosystem where various entities contribute by building the system with ARM’s core while retaining their differentiating features; vs. Intel’s strategy of setting out a standard, defining the platform architecture and letting others build upon that. The latter has worked for PC and laptop market but may not get the same success in the volatile, different features for different people consumer market.
  • ARM’s TrustZone technology which gives an ARM CPU a secure state

Advantage Intel:

  • It is big & its pockets are deep
  • It has the silicon manufacturing edge
  • It can help OEMs with their branding & marketing
  • Apple may be leading the way in this market and Intel can buy its way back into telephone silicon

The coming months will tell how flat the world has become…… 

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