ARM believes that Intel’s attempts to conquer the mobile phone market have highlighted how dominant the British company’s designs are in the post-PC world.
Although being one of the UK’s most successful companies, ARM-designed chips are in almost everything from digital cameras to the latest tablets, the Cambridge based firm is a long way from being a household name.
Lance Howarth, vice president of ARM, recently admitted that they needed to raise they game. “Three years ago I’d say we suffered with anonymous ubiquity,” said Howarth. “We were everywhere, but nobody knew. Now we’re starting to see a transition because of mobile devices. The awareness of ARM and the types and diversity of the devices we are in is becoming talked about. The arrival of Windows 8 on ARM is accelerating that even further.”
“So one of our challenges is getting this balance right, supporting our federation and partnership against the empire of Intel. It’s how we join up our efforts – so that the combined aggregate total is not just ARM against Intel, but Qualcomm TI NDS and so on. We’re all joined by a common set of values which is the people have united around the ARM architecture.
“My utopian goal is that when you guys talk about technology, say the latest HTC phone – that it isn’t HTC on Qualcomm but HTC on Qualcomm which is ARM – I want to get ARM into almost every article.”
Intel has been a vastly dominant force in chips for many years, especially in computers, with the x86 architecture the basis for almost every PC for years. However, as times change, Intel has been looking to the mobile device market, which Howard views as bringing unforeseen benefits.
“We’re a UK company and as a consequence we don’t normally fit into the US tech coverage, so when Intel come along and say ‘we’re getting into smartphones’ all the Germans say ‘hold on, we’ve already got smartphones – and if you aren’t in smartphones then who is?’”
“So they say ‘it’s Qualcomm and Nvidia and Ti and, oh they are using this technology from ARM’, so suddenly your message is getting out there.”
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