Intel, ARM Jockeying for Position in Mobile Chip Market

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During his keynote speech at Computex 2011 Sean Maloney, Intel’s Executive Vice President, highlighted the chipmaker’s move to mobile and attempt to enter the tablet-sphere that is currently dominated by ARM processors.

Intel Atom LogoMaloney’s address and the attention he allotted to mobile technology have refocused the spotlight on Intel versus ARM. Intel is the king of processors for PCs and laptops, but finds itself far back in the tablet race. Until recently, with the exception of a few Windows 7 business tablets and the Cisco Cius, the entire market rested on ARM-designed processors. The iPad has an ARM processor, as does the Xoom, the Galaxy Tab, and just about every other tablet the average consumer could name.

Maloney took his keynote as an opportunity to speak about the Intel Atom Z670, the 32 nm processor codenamed “Medfield,” and the 10 tablets currently available that feature Intel chips. All three of these developments from Intel signal the company’s continued vigor in its battle with ARM.

The Intel Atom Z670 is popping up in some generic consumer tabs, with Maloney proclaiming that as of Computex 2011, ten various tablets (ranging across three OS’s) feature the chip. The Z670 represents some of Intel’s first shaky steps into the ARM-controlled mobile space.

“Medfield,” which will not be seen until sometime in 2012, will be compatible with Android Honeycomb and be optimized for low power and high performance. The 32 nm chip could potentially be Intel’s first real threat to ARM.

An ARMed Response

On the other side of things, ARM President Tudor Brown said that his company expects to control half of the mobile PC market by 2015, signaling his belief that tablets will continue to gain ground, and that ARM will continue to maintain a major presence in the devices.

AMD could potentially be a wildcard in the race, as the chip and GPU manufacturer has recently trained its eye on tablets as well, as indicated by a recently leaked roadmap.

For some further reading on Intel’s new mobile push visit our sister site DesktopReview, where the saga continues.




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