ARM Enjoys Provoking Intel: We Lead the SoC Race
Is this like teasing a sleeping giant?
Over the long haul, it is innovation and better products that appeal to customers. For some strange reason, ARM has been engaging in making remarks that are either grossly underestimating Intel, or saying that Intel's strategy on how to gain traction in the smartphone and tablet world is doomed.
In a conversation with EETimes, ARM CEO Warren East said that Intel does not have the manufacturing advantage in SoCs at this time. "For SoC Intel is manufacturing using 32-nm high-k metal gate planar CMOS," East said. "TSMC is manufacturing using 28-nm high-k metal gate. That doesn't sound like a massive lead to me. If anything, you could argue that TSMC is ahead." He added that Intel would have a tough time to create 22-nm FinFET technology for SoC.
What makes these statements so interesting are the impressions we see and the information we have from the real world. Intel's 22 nm FinFET for SOCs is scheduled to arrive in 2013, with the next shrink anticipated for 2014. Intel has a talent of bending the time frames of new manufacturing timelines in its marketing and PR, but nevertheless, the company has delivered on its tight manufacturing schedules and capabilities for well over a decade. We also know that Intel tends to be developing its best technology when it is under severe competitive pressure. On the other hand, there is no FinFET for ARM either and recent notes suggest that prototype systems may be arriving in late 2013 or early 2014. In a response to EETimes, East said "it's hard to say exactly when it [FinFET for ARM] is going to arrive."
Of course, East has an enviable ecosystem of partners, all of which currently enjoy that they are ahead of Intel and have market superiority. However, scenarios like these can change.
Has East reason to be so optimistic and tease Intel? Share your thoughts in the comments below.