ARM Develops Special Chip for Low-Cost Smartphones

ARM Adds Cortex-A "Kingfisher" to Roadmap

by Anton Shilov
02/02/2011 | 09:47 PM

ARM, a leading developer of low-power processing technologies for mobile, low-power and consumer electronics, said that it had added a new application processor design into its roadmap. The new chip design will address the market of inexpensive smartphones, which is projected to skyrocket in the coming years.

 

"The Kingfisher is aimed at lower end smartphones and feature phones and cost-sensitive digital TV applications. It is an A-class processor, a small Cortex A-class processor," said Warren East, chief executive officer of ARM, at a conference with financial analysts.

Smartphones have traditionally been expensive products for people requiring a lot of features from their mobile devices. But as the demands of general consumers grow, manufacturers of smartphones start to make inexpensive versions of smartphones for those, who does not want to get a handset with a hefty price-tag, but want something more than a phone. In the coming years the market of such cell phones will grow rapidly, according to analysts. Many chip designers are already developing their system-on-chip products for such phones. But ARM wants to tailor the architecture itself for inexpensive smartphones.

“Total shipments of mobile handsets are projected to hit 1.3 billion in 2010, and are forecast to surpass 1.7 billion in 2015. Moving to 3G technologies and beyond, increasing demand for smartphones is a key factor that will drive market expansion over the next five years,” said industry analyst Celia Bo with ABI Research.

Approximately six billion of chips produced in 2010 were either compatible or were based on ARM architecture. About 1.9 billion of those chips were actually powered by physical IP developed by ARM itself and thus can be called ARM-designed.