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Intel CEO Talks About Competing with Arm

During Intel's fourth-quarter earnings conference call Thursday, CEO Paul Otellini revealed company plans to compete with the rapidly growing ARM chip ecosystem knocking at the backdoor. Currently ARM is leading the tablet sector with giant leaps, with Apple's offering its own flavor of ARM in the iPad, and Motorola, RIM and Samsung basing their tablet designs around the power-efficient ARM processors.

Of course, there's also rival Nvidia and its just-announced "Project Denver" consisting of a Nvidia CPU--running the ARM instruction set--that's fully integrated with a Nvidia GPU. This will bring ARM up into the PC sector, making it available for desktops, data center servers and even supercomputers.

"ARM’s modern architecture, open business model, and vibrant eco-system have led to its pervasiveness in cell phones, tablets, and other embedded devices," said Nvidia's Bill Dally in a recent blog. "Denver is the catalyst that will enable these same factors to propel ARM to become pervasive in higher-end systems."

So what's a CPU giant to do in order to show the new kid in town who's boss? Attack from three fronts, starting with the Atom processor. "In 2011, you will also see Atom in a wide array of tablets running three different operating systems: Windows, Android, and MeeGo," Otellini said during the call.

An analyst asked how Android development partners would differentiate between Atom and ARM-based tablets. Otellini responded by saying that Atom-based tablets can run multiple operating systems "which I think is a unique value proposition with Intel."

The second prong of its attack on ARM is Intel's "manufacturing prowess" as described by Otellini. "As we have done for decades in the traditional computing markets, we will apply the world's most advanced silicon transistor technology to these new segments to deliver the lowest power, highest performance, lowest-cost products on the planet," he said.

  • Yeah, that's the same strategy you've had with Atom all along, which has succeeded in:

    *creating the worst PC experience you can buy without digging an old PC out of the trash
    * cannibalizing sales of real notebooks
    * failing to deliver a TDP sufficient for cellphones without clocking them down to 300mhz

    Nowhere within there have they created a chip that's faster AND competitive on performance per watt. They have faster chips that consume way too much power, and they have that are semi-competitive on TDP but are not as fast as ARM at the same TDP.
    Reply
  • stingstang
    Scrap Atom architecture. It's NEVER been efficient, it's NEVER been fast, it's NEVER beaten anything in it's class. It's been outclassed by a low-powered core2duo since it's introduction.
    Reply
  • fazers_on_stun
    Intel needs to take Oak Trail to 22nm with 4 CPUs and a 24EU HD4000 GPU...
    Reply
  • azcoyote
    stingstangScrap Atom architecture. It's NEVER been efficient, it's NEVER been fast, it's NEVER beaten anything in it's class. It's been outclassed by a low-powered core2duo since it's introduction.
    Hmm... Well, my tiny Netbook that lasts 8 hours on a 6 cell battery and fits into my day planner would have to disagree Sting....

    Find me any C2D that can do all of that.
    Reply
  • Niva
    Really intel, you'll provide the highest power at the lowest cost? Puhlease...

    Thanks to your competition we can actually afford some of your products these days, otherwise we'd be payink 1k for an atom I'm sure.
    Reply
  • saturnus
    I'm sorry Intel. This is one battle you're gonna lose. ARM is the most popular platform in the world for a very good reason and that's because ever since they were conceived in the early 80s as a competitor to the x86 platform they have beaten x86 based chip on cost due to minimal silicon real-estate and performance per watt. The platform is so popular that it's practically impossible to imagine a household without several ARM chips. Be it in the micro-oven, washer-dryer, or in mobile phones.
    Reply
  • photoguy73
    They said they would "Attack from three fronts", but I only counted 2 - (1)Atom chips in the tablet market, and (2)using their "manufacturing prowess" to out perform ARM. What's the third?
    Reply
  • saturnus
    photoguy73They said they would "Attack from three fronts", but I only counted 2 - (1)Atom chips in the tablet market, and (2)using their "manufacturing prowess" to out perform ARM. What's the third?
    Bribery naturally. :)
    Reply
  • hellwig
    If I'm not mistaken, TSMC fabs some of the Atom chips, so what state of the art silicon transistor technology are they using that anyone else can't also use? Heck, AMD fabs a lot of their stuff at TSMC too. Does Intel own the process by which these chips are fabbed? I mean, if TSMC has the equipment necessary to fab these chips, can't anyone "rent-out" that equipment? I guess I'm confused.
    Reply
  • FloKid
    So is Intel making an ARM system??? or is this CEO from China? I am just kiddin ofcource, but it seems like ARM is just a fancy name for the new types of processors. It can still be called Pentium, but with smaller design process, and what's so great about the new instruction set anyways...
    Reply