An interview with Simon Segars at the ARM techcon 2010 about the status of the ARM industry. He is one of the early employees of ARM, joined in 1991, now member of the board of directors, has led the development on many of the ARM CPU products.
High performance, low power, low cost. Tarantino style.
ARM CEO and other Executives provide very interesting quotes in a new article in the New York Times:
The number of ARM chips produced a year, which go into many different products, dwarfs the hundreds of millions of chips sold by Intel, the world’s largest chip maker in terms of revenue. Inevitably, analysts often portray the companies as mortal enemies, dueling for dominance in the chip market. ARM executives play down such a dramatic story line in their typical, low-key fashion.
“People want there to be this David and Goliath struggle between us and Intel,” Mr. East said. “It just isn’t that way.”
I wonder also if Intel strategists are resting on their laurels and not seeing ARM as a threat to its Netbook, Laptop, Desktop, Set-top-box (Google TV) and Server markets?
“We don’t look like Intel,” he said. “We’re never going to be a $100 billion outfit.”
Yet ARM just unveiled new chip designs that could carry its products into servers and networking equipment — Intel’s turf.
Is ARM presaging an era with no more $100 billion giant dominant corporations in the consumer electronics industry? ARM solutions enabled Apple to more than triple its gigantic valuation on the Nasdaq over the past 5 years, but are these mega Silicon Valley companies going to continue to be so large?
Investors appear enthralled by ARM’s business. Over the last year, the company’s shares have nearly tripled, to a close on Friday of $18.34, from a low of $6.52. Rumors have swirled that Apple may acquire ARM, though such a move seems unlikely given ARM’s broad partnership model.
“I laughed about it with the folks at Apple,” Mr. East said. “It is completely nonsensical.”
It is simply not going to happen. The EU and ARM's obligations to its partners would not allow it to happen.
“Apple and the Newton made the company exist,” said Mike Muller, one of the founders of ARM and its chief technology officer. “The Newton never went anywhere, but it got ARM started and gave us some credibility.”
Dealing with hand-held devices and cellphones forced ARM to operate under severe power restrictions. It chased milliwatts, while Intel chased horsepower.
Once ARM has reached the desired level of performance at a desired level of power consumption, then it means ARM can bring competition to a market, which creates an environment for a faster rate of innovation among companies. Once full web browsing is demonstrated to work on ARM, once full WebTV and VOD interfaces fully work on ARM, it will mean that the ecosystem of ARM providers can replace the need for Intel in these areas.
“We’ve always known Cambridge is not the center of the universe,” Mr. Muller said. “If you’re in Silicon Valley, you might make that mistake.”
The company offers choice to customers through various types of licenses. A customer can take ARM’s basic design at face value or choose a license that allows it to create custom products.
“We’re encouraging specialists to do what they’re good at,” Mr. Muller said.
The companies making ARM Cortex A8, A9 and A15 designs, such as Texas Instruments, Freescale, Samsung, ST Ericsson, Nvidia, Rockchip, VIA and Telechips those are using the one type of ARM licence. While Marvell, Qualcomm and Microsoft are using another type of ARM licence which allows them to differently customize their processor technology offerings.
Intel and Microsoft secure the vast majority of profits available in computers and servers, leaving the likes of Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer to fight over a few dollars per machine.
Apple has shown that the largest profit margins are available in adopting the ARM ecosystem and philosophy of product design and marketing. It is likely that we will soon see all the major PC, Laptop and Server manufacturers shift to using ARM solutions, which will both allow to lower cost to customers and increase the profit margins at the same time!
While the 45nm process such as the TI OMAP3630 (1ghz), Samsung Humminbird S5PC110 (1ghz) and Apple A4 (1ghz) have all just recently been released in the latest bunch of smart phones such as the Motorola Droid X, Samsung Galaxy S and iPhone 4, 28nm was also just recently announced by Global Foundries to be perfected and sampled this year, now also, here's an announcement by ARM and TSMC working together to accelerate the time to market of the 20nm process designs as well:
TSMC signed up to work with ARM on the 28nm node which is headed toward qualification later this year. ARM will develop IP for at least two 28nm processes: TSMC 28nmHP (high performance, High-K Metal Gate) and 28nmHPL (low power, High-K Metal Gate). But the agreement doesn’t stop there; it commits to work on the 20nm node as well. That’s significant because ARM can begin development work earlier than ever before on a TSMC process. This assures the earliest-possible IP availability to our partners and an easier and faster route to deliver advanced products into the market.
This is going to be awesome in the ARM Cortex A9 processors.
Tudor Brown, one of the founders and current president of ARM, speaks at a cloud computing forum at Computex 2010.
This STMicroelectronics STi7108 development platform demonstrates what the future of set top box user interfaces will look like, with support for multiple live video views and pretty advanced 720p or even 1080p playing on the HDTV of 3D games like Quake 3.
AMD spin-off called GlobalFoundries is looking to make one of the fastest ARM Cortex A9 implementations as a 28nm process size, using High-K Metal Gate instead of the Silicon Dioxide Gate of previous processors. This allows for smaller and even faster processors.
The implementation of high-κ gate dielectrics is one of several strategies developed to allow further miniaturization of microelectronic components, colloquially referred to as extending Moore's Law.
My question would be like this: Does this basically mean that AMD investors are investing heavily in designing ARM processors instead of X86?
AMD spin-off is going ARM, Nvidia is going ARM, VIA is going ARM, that may leave Intel a bit alone with the X86.
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ARM is presenting this hardware based secure payments and authentication system which all future mobile devices may be shipping with. The functionalities of those calculators that people use for their netbanking can thus be integrated in the future mobile phones, to let people do secure payments and authentication using a simple 4 number pin code on their mobile phone. The way they do it is that they guide the keyboard entries directly into a separate secure encrypted OS that functions separately from Android to do the secure authentication that then sends back the certificate (or how it's called) back to the web based application. This kind of system, I would guess, could also be integrated in laptops, or you could use your phone to authenticate yourself on any website very securely using any computer.
You can find more information about this at: http://www.arm.com/markets/mobile/trustzone-and-mobile-payments.php
It should bring more functionality to your washing machine, toaster and everything. This is to power what people have been talking about with IPv6, where everything will be connected to the Internet.
Shyam Sadasivan talks about the launch of the Cortex-M4 processor at ARM's official Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/ARMflix: