ARM, the designer of microprocessor technologies that power various handheld and ultra low-power devices, said that chips based on its architecture would power roughly half of all mobile personal computers in the world already in 2015. The company, in particular, believes that ultra-portable devices like tablets and smartbooks will continue gaining popularity at a rapid pace.
"Today we have about 10% market share [in mobile PCs]. By the end of 2011 we believe we will have about 15% of that market share as tablets grow. By 2015, we expect that to be over 50% of the mobile PC market," said Tudor Brown, president of the U.K.-based company, during a news conference at the Computex trade show in Taipei, reports IDG News.
At present there are no personal computers in traditional form-factors (desktop, clamshell/notebook, convertible, etc.), but ARM itself considers media tablets (such as Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab or Motorola Xoom) personal computers despite of the fact that they do not have proper multitasking, cannot run productivity or professional software and can be generally used only for consumption of content.
The market of various media tablets and even smartbooks will indisputably grow in the coming years and it is not hard to expect that a substantial part of notebook owners will also have some sort of tablets, some laptop users will switch to slates and systems in iPad-like form-factor will gain ground in areas where notebooks have not managed to. But those devices will still not be able to do what traditional PCs can and will be able to. Therefore, calling them PCs seems to be an exaggeration. This is not the first time when ARM officially considers tablets as personal computers.
Thanks to flexibility of ARM-based designs, the developer does not have to worry about exact form-factors of future devices. While Intel Atom chips were tailored primarily for clamshell notebooks, ARM-based solutions can fit into almost everything. Given the fact that Microsoft is serious about supporting ARM with certain versions of "big" Windows operating system (OS), it is also clear that even without getting into fully fledged PCs, the importance of ARM will increase greatly in the next five years.