ARM Holdings, a leading developer of low-power microprocessor technologies, said that chips based on ARM architecture will power half of tablet personal computers in 2011, which leaves another half to Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices with their x86-based offerings.
“ARM expects 50% of the global tablet PCs to be using its processor IP in 2011,” said Bob Morris, the director of mobile computing at ARM, reports DigiTimes web-site.
Earlier this year ARM said that it expected 50 slate-type personal computers powered by its processors to be released this year. The first tablet PCs powered by ARM processors are projected to be released in Q2 2010.
Mr. Morris reportedly expects global tablet PC shipments to total four million units in 2010 and 21 million units in 2011, which seem to be rather conservative predictions.
ARM processors power the absolute majority of mobile phones that are sold worldwide. By contrast, x86 microprocessors are inside the lion’s share of personal computers. In the recent years ARM began to speed up its architectures with the aim to address personal computers in clamshell and slate form-factors, whereas Intel and AMD initiated development of chips that could be used in various ultra low power applications, the stronghold of ARM. Intel already have highly-integrated system-on-chip device called Atom Z600-series (Moorestown), which is somewhat outdated in the PC terms, whereas AMD is working on code-named Ontario product, which will feature two low-power Bobcat x86 cores along with DirectX 11-class graphics engine, with mainstream PC feature-set.
As a result of the recent developments on the ARM and x86 markets, it is quite noteworthy that ARM expects its chips to power 50% of tablets, leaving the remaining 50% to x86. Perhaps, this is an indication that there will be two distinct types of slates coming to market: very light machines with ARM inside that cannot offer high performance as well as slightly bulkier products that bring the power of x86 and Windows operating system.
According to the high-ranking executive, companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo and Sharp have plans to release smartbooks or slates based on ARM microprocessors.