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ARM CEO Dismisses Intel's New Mobile Attempt

In an interview at CES in Las Vegas, ARM CEO Warren East called Intel's latest attempt to enter the mobile market "good enough." The rival's new Medfield finally came out of hiding this week during the show, revealed to be heading to Android smartphones manufactured by Motorola Mobility and Lenovo for starters.

Yet East also acknowledged Intel as a serious competitor, and that the x86 giant will inevitably score a few smartphone wins. "Are they ever going to be the leaders in power efficiency? No, of course not. But they have a lot more to offer," he said. "They (Intel) have taken some designs that were never meant for mobile phones and they've literally wrenched those designs and put them into a power-performance space which is roughly good enough for mobile phones."

But even though Intel's current entry is "good enough," East said that ARM won't take Intel's x86 assault lightly. He pointed to the company's new Cortex A7 design that features the performance of chips used just a few years ago, but with 20-percent of the power consumption. This will obviously help consumers do more with their smartphones while battery sizes remain relatively consistent.

"It's like having a car with a fixed-size fuel tank and you want to drive 100 more miles," he said. "You've got to make the engine more efficient. That's what we do for a living."

East went on to talk about Microsoft and its decision to bring ARM's architecture into Windows 8. He also admitted that Android is "the flavor of the month" and "flavor of the year," and ARM wants to be a part of that. But there's also a special place in ARM's heart for Microsoft's flagship operating system, and seeing Windows 8 running on tablets using ARM chip designs is just simply "exciting."

"We've waited a long time for this to happen. Another six months, another 12 months doesn't matter," said East. "I'd much rather wait however long it takes to get a quality experience than compromise."

Sounds like true romance.

  • aznshinobi
    OH SNAP, it's true though. AMD/Intel are far from competing with ARM in mobile industry. Mainly because ARM has the edge in power consumption per performance. Plus ARM is about to release A15, already reaching the Quad-cores for mobile use. Crazy how fast we've grown in the past 2 years.
    Reply
  • Chainzsaw
    Next thing you know ARM will go the way of AMD (as of late). In 1-2 generations, intel could possibly overthrow ARMs dominance in the mobile sector due to intels brute strength in manufacturing, money and engineering.

    Watch out, or you will be left behind!
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    I can't wait to see ARM in the more traditional x86 market. It will hopefully give Intel and AMD a kick up the backside and come up with some innovative products.
    Reply
  • James296
    the worse thing ARM can do is underestimate intel
    Reply
  • KardisF1
    JeanLucI can't wait to see ARM in the more traditional x86 market. It will hopefully give Intel and AMD a kick up the backside and come up with some innovative products.I do believe that only Intel and AMD hold x86 licenses, unless you mean ARM competing with x86 in PC's.
    Reply
  • fidgewinkle
    aznshinobiOH SNAP, it's true though. AMD/Intel are far from competing with ARM in mobile industry. Mainly because ARM has the edge in power consumption per performance. Plus ARM is about to release A15, already reaching the Quad-cores for mobile use. Crazy how fast we've grown in the past 2 years.
    ARM has an edge in ultra low power. That is completely different than performance/power, which is very difficult to compare across performance levels. If you were to need processing on the order of what a 6 core Xeon server can put out, all cores working on the same problem, there is no ARM solution, no matter how many processors you use, that can produce the performance. This is because they have an extremely poor performance data path.
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    ZingamDude, I doubt that Intel can take on Samsung, Apple, Texas, Nvidia, Marvel and 200 other companies that are that what is ARM. And when these companies start producing ARM CPU "good enough" for general use in laptops and desktops, Intel will become irrelevant.And if the rumors are true and Apple releases MacBooks with ARM, this is the first sign of the end of reign of Intel.
    Alot of Apple fanbois/fangrls will be suprised when their Macbooks don't run any traditional apps because they didn't include any ARM to X86 emulators! That would be hilarious
    Reply
  • fidgewinkle
    ZingamDude, I doubt that Intel can take on Samsung, Apple, Texas, Nvidia, Marvel and 200 other companies that are that what is ARM. And when these companies start producing ARM CPU "good enough" for general use in laptops and desktops, Intel will become irrelevant.And if the rumors are true and Apple releases MacBooks with ARM, this is the first sign of the end of reign of Intel.
    Intel has a better process than any of these companies do, and it isn't by just a little. Also, almost all are just using ARM's IP for their cores, so they really aren't all that differentiated from one another.

    As for ARM getting into the PC market, that is so much harder than Intel getting into phones that it isn't even funny. Who is going to buy a gimp notebook with no software? The PC software ecosystem is enormous compared to the several year old smartphone market. That is what they will be trying to sell. However, in the cell phone market, the browser is most of the value. Then 75% of apps run in an interpreted language, which means they work on multiple platforms. The remaining 25% are games, which will be something of a challenge, but not the headache that ARM will have trying to get into the x86 PC market.

    x86 was able to beat RISC architectures in high performance computing because there was no legacy software and they will beat ARM in mobile because there is no legacy software. The issue has always been a question of when the power/performance would start to overlap enough that ARM would be vulnerable to x86.
    Reply
  • dragonsqrrl
    James296the worse thing ARM can do is underestimate intelAgreed, I certainly wouldn't dismiss Intel in any market segment, especially mobile (Graphics might be another story, at least for now). If I was ARM I would at least be concerned about Medfield, especially considering Intel's rapid release schedule in the coming years for their Atom based SOC lineup. The latest performance/power consumption previews of Medfield are nothing to laugh at, in fact they're quite impressive:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5365/intels-medfield-atom-z2460-arrive-for-smartphones
    Reply
  • teodoreh
    Intel is the only obsolete dinosaur of IT that survived by using their monopoly on x86 architecture. ARM is doing something very smart, they allow partners do whatever they want with their ARM intergrations - it's pretty much what NVidia did when every chipmaker was selling his own VGA card. Let's hope history will repeat itself.
    Reply