A lot of small mobile processors are going to overcrowd the big PC chips by 9:1 in by 2014, a research by a market tracking firm claims.
Microprocessors for personal computers have traditionally been the most advanced, powerful and state-of-the-art which is why there are only two companies nowadays capable of developing and delivering such chips on a regular basis. But thanks to the growing importance of hundreds of mobile and small form-factor platforms, hundreds of new chip designers emerge. While those chips cannot compete against processors by Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp., they just flood the market and in four years time central processing units for personal computers will represent only 10% share of the total available market (TAM) of microprocessors, according to In-Stat.
While the handheld devices are adapting rapidly to the new software environment and features like touch screens and sensors, the PC segment is strapped with a legacy operating system model, limited interface model, and device-centric business model. As a result, the true mobile platforms are now becoming the innovators in terms of software, UIs, and even hardware technology further, increasing the divide and lessening the value proposition of the traditional PC as well as its share of the mobile processor TAM which will drop below 10% by 2014, says In-Stat.
The market tracking company estimates that the mobile processor TAM is projected to approach 4 billion units annually in 2014. The ARM architecture will continue to be the dominant architecture.
“Even though there is a symbiotic relationship between all the mobile devices because mobile apps are developed on a PC, a user cannot run a mobile app on a PC unless it has a developer environment installed. If this divide is not bridged, even the development of mobile apps will eventually move to other platforms that use the same mobile environments like tablets or smartbooks," said Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist at In-Stat.
In the following years typical processors will transform into highly-integrated system-on-chip solutions. Almost all mobile processors will have integrated graphics by 2012. Moreover, the trend towards integrated baseband modems will become a critical differentiator for mobile processors over the next few years.
Smartphones will continue to be the innovation driver in mobile processor technology, according to the research.