As Intel is more aggressively moving its processor architecture down-market, ARM could be facing another competitor who is moving up-market.
MIPS, which recently announced its ProAptiv core, stressed that it considers the processor to become a director competitor for ARM's Cortex-A15 chip.
The big advantage of the MIPS32-based ProAptiv is that it is, according to MIPS, only half the size of the Cortex-A15, which could be interesting for very compact product designs. Today, MIPS' chips are primarily used in TVs and set-top boxes as well as some phones and tablets sold in emerging markets.
MIPS recently announced the ProAptiv as a 40 nm and 28 nm single- to quad-core processor, while future versions may include up to six cores. The company said that it expects the chip to scale to 1.51 GHz in mobile applications with a performance of up to 3.5 DMIPS/MHz. According to MIPS, the ProAptiv's performance is comparable to that of "leading IP core alternatives".
MIPS has a long history dating back to 1985, when the company announced the R2000, the industry's first RISC processor, as its first design. In 1992, the company was acquired by SGI, but was spun off in 2000, and therefore avoided SGI's bankruptcy and complete dissolution in 2009. MIPS employs fewer than 150 people today and is much smaller than ARM, which is believed to currently have about 2,000 employees.