Intel Criticizes Modern Smartphones, Blames ARM Microprocessors

Intel Claims ARM Processors Have Inadequate Performance for Modern Smartphones

by Anton Shilov
10/22/2008 | 08:41 AM

Intel Corp. heavily criticized microprocessors based on ARM micro-architecture during Intel Developer Forum in Taipei, Taiwan, claiming that modern smartphones could do a lot more if powered by higher-performance chips. The company even slammed Apple iPhone, a rather popular gadget, for low performance.


“The smartphone of today is not very smart. The problem they have today is they use ARM,” said Pankaj Kedia, director global ecosystem programs at Intel Corp., reports ZDNet web-site.

In fact, ARM processors power 98% of all cellphones sold worldwide and currently the company is mulling about entering the market of mobile Internet devices (MIDs). In fact, Texas Instruments OMAP (Open Multimedia Application Platform) microprocessors with ARM architecture and PowerVR graphics cores already power Nokia’s N770, N800 and N810 Internet tablets, which can easily be considered as MIDs, just like Apple iPhones.

Intel is trying hard to popularize MIDs that run Intel Atom x86 central processing units, claiming huge performance advantages of its chips over ARM architecture.

“If you want to run full Internet, you are going to have to run an Intel-based architecture. Intel processors achieve two to three times the performance of ARM equivalents,” said vice president of the mobility group and director of strategic planning of platform architecture and software for the ultra mobility group.

According to Mr. Wall, even though Apple iPhone has advanced user interface and some other benefits over competing offerings, it is too slow, which is why demanding applications will hardly work on it.

“Any sort of application that requires any horse power at all and the iPhone struggles,” said Mr. Wall.

It is logical for Intel to criticize ARM processors’ low performance. However, one definite advantage that those chips have over Intel’s is low power consumption. Nevertheless, Apple iPhone gadgets are often condemned for short battery life. Still, business-oriented phones by companies like Nokia offer email and Internet browsing amid much longer life without a charge.

There is always a trade-off between performance and battery life in case of mobile devices. While Intel Corp. does understand it when it comes to notebooks, it still praises only performance when it comes to handhelds.