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The market of various mobile devices will grow much faster in the coming years thanks to greatly expanded set of mobile gadgets capabilities and rising demand towards them. According to an analyst, the war between various companies and architectures on the mobile chip market will cause importance of certain architectures as well as instruction sets to diminish as software makers will try to address all potential hardware.

Currently, two architectures, ARM and x86 dominate the low and high-end of the mobile market, respectively, and are battling it out for the mid-range convergence devices like e-readers, tablets, and netbooks. However, other architectures, such as MIPS and SH, are equally suited to power mobile SoCs and as more emphasis is placed on the OS and mobile applications, the use of a particular processor architecture or instruction set is likely to become less important, according to In-Stat market research firm. The differentiating factors become price, power, and performance as competing architectures wage war to gain their share of the nearly 4 billion unit mobile processor market in 2014.

 “ARM will dominate in the handsets and high-end handheld solutions like tablets and e-readers; the x86 architecture, primarily Intel at this point, will dominate in the PC-like solutions ranging from netbooks up through traditional notebooks; MIPS will continue to dominate in the limited-function handheld solutions; and SH will continue to have its market niches in the Japanese device market,” said Jim McGregor, chief technology analyst at In-Stat.

Nearly 75% of all mobile processors will be multi-core in 2014, and an even higher percentage will have integrated baseband. With four processing engines it will be possible to run a broad amount of operating systems and applications on chips that could not do that before. As a result, even Microsoft Corp. is developing an operating system that runs on ARM-based microprocessors, according to reports.

Tablets represent the fastest growing market segment for mobile processors with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 123.6% from 2009 through 2014, according to In-Stat. Cell phones, including feature phones and smartphones, represent the largest opportunity for mobile processors today and for the foreseeable future. As a result, new chips and chip companies will emerge.

“There are likely to be many moves by both start-ups and existing companies, such as the ASIC, MCU, and connectivity vendors to expand into the mobile processor market through internal growth and acquisitions," added Mr. McGregor.

Many various standards and chips essentially mean the lack of any standards. As a result, there will be a mess on the market of mobile solutions in the coming years. The result of that mess will be a number of very strong players that will survive.

Tags: , x86, , Intel, AMD, SH, MIPS

Discussion

Comments currently: 1
Discussion started: 12/29/10 10:59:37 AM
Latest comment: 12/29/10 10:59:37 AM

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Interesting. But I don't see arguments that this will be thoroughgoing.
If this happens completely then we can adopt a modern, efficient architecture without being tied to x86. But that may be a pipe dream.
Maybe one of the future possibilities with Windows Phone 7 is that since everything is .NET (no native code apps) it can support more than one architecture and the most efficient can win out.
0 0 [Posted by: CSMR  | Date: 12/29/10 10:59:37 AM]
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