ARM Holdings, the Cambridge-based company which holds the licensing rights to the majority of processors found in modern mobile devices, is said to be in Apple’s shopping list. Apple, purported to be ARM’s largest customer, pays the company royalties for each iPod and iPhone sold. An unnamed trader speculated to The Evening Standard that Apple would likely offer ARM 400p per share, or £5.2 billion ($8 billion USD). Shares in ARM Holdings closed Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange at 250.5p, up 3.09%. Last April, Apple acquired chipmaker PA Semi for $278 million. Earlier this month rumors began circulating that Apple had bought out the privately owned and Texas-based ARM design firm Intrinsity, a company which built its reputation a upon its energy efficient microprocessors. Many believe that Intrinsity’s acceleration technology plays a key role in the A4 processor found in the iPad. If Apple were to acquire ARM, there is every possibility it could fall victim to an anti-trust legislation as it would be in a position where it could exert undue influence upon its competition which also rely heavily upon ARM. One thing is for certain, almost every mobile device manufacturers is probably sweating at the thought of this actually happening… More →
Folks hoping for an Atom-powered Android smartphone have reason to rejoice, as Intel’s GM of software and services announced that not only has the chipmaking giant modified the open-source platform to play nice with its x86-based processors, but it already has customers interested in using the unique OS-chipset combination. While no further details were divulged, the same executive also mentioned the company is hard at work getting “enabling all OSes for Atom phones.” When Google first designed the Android platform it did so with ARM-based processors in mind, but now that people have a taste for high-powered processors like the 1GHz Snapdragon from Qualcomm, companies such as Intel are scrambling to get their processors compatible with a multitude of operating systems. Can you imagine a phone like the HTC EVO will full Adobe Flash compatibility running a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450? Yes, our hearts would melt, too.
A newly circulating rumor potentially sheds new light on that Samsung tablet which was outed earlier this week by Emmanuele Silanesu, National Product and Marketing Manager for Samsung Australia’s IT division. Despite the insinuation by Silanesu that the device will feature an Intel Atom chip with some flavor of Windows on board, this latest rumor turns that whole scenario upside down by claiming the device will be powered by Android. Details are sketchy but the tablet could feature calling via a headset presumably using some implementation of VoIP, 3G and possibly even 4G connectivity, and an ARM-based architecture under the hood. We have a good six months to elucidate all the details on this slate device but this latest rumor paints a picture of a device which is much more desirable than a re-hashed Q1. Cross fingers and hope that this latest rumor is the one that rises to the top when all the wheat is separated from the chaff. More →
Since the heyday of the UMPC, Intel has dominated the mobile PC market, from the Intel Celeron M in the Samsung Q1 to the current Atom processor which is present in nearly every netbook on the market. According to market research company ABI, those days of Intel dominance may be slowly coming to an end as mobile PC manufacturers turn to ARM-based solutions for this emerging category of devices. In contrast to the x86-based architecture, ARM-based systems offer low power consumption, improved battery life, compatibility with a variety of mobile platforms, have a lower price tag and offer an always on, always connected experience. As its raw processing power and popularity increases, the ARM-based system on a chip is also expanding beyond its smartphone roots and is being used to power tablets, netbooks and the like. A combination of these above factors is expected to slowly propel ARM to dominance by 2013 with ARM’s SoCs garnering a 25% market share in 2010, increasing yearly until the pendulum shifts in 2013 and it grabs a dominant 60% market share by 2014. Faster, cheaper, longer lasting mobile devices? We say bring it on. More →
With the way technology and software have been moving, nothing beats open source anything. From open source browsers to operating systems, it seems the trend is going to become the standard very soon. So, the Open Handset Alliance has just announced the addition of 14 new members to its growing community. Powered by the sacred Google-juice, Android seems to be the platform or mobile OS of choice these days, and why wouldn’t it be given its open source goodness? In addition to those already part of the alliance, AKM Semiconductor Inc., ARM, ASUSTek Computer Inc., Atheros Communications, Borqs, Ericsson, Garmin International Inc., Huawei Technologies, Omron Software Co. Ltd, Softbank Mobile Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Teleca AB, Toshiba and Vodafone are jumping on the bandwagon. The more the merrier indeed as all of these companies will now be actively developing handsets, hardware and other goodies powered by the Android OS. The G1 is getting lonely fellas, get moving!
Computerworld’s Seth Weintraub sat down with Bob Morris, director of platform enablement for ARM’s mobile processor group, and came away with a wealth of information on the future plans for the ARM Cortex architecture. Though Morris did not speak directly about Apple, he did provide details that could lead one to theorize that Apple will be using the ARM architecture for its much-rumored Mac netbook/tablet. An inset on a PowerPoint slide showing a very recognizable Mac notebook at the top of the list of the mobile device breakdown is the most convincing piece of evidence provided by Morris. Weintraub adds to the speculation by outlining the reasons why he believes Apple would adopt the ARM platform over the popular Intel Atom architecture for a potential netbook/tablet venture. Those reasons include:
- Apple has an internal PA Semi team working on future ARM chips for the iPhone/iPod Touch
- ARM chips cost an order of magnatude less (to license) than Intel equivalents
- ARM chips take up less space on a motherboard
- ARM chips use many times less power, enabling much longer battery life and much sleeker design.
- You won’t need to virtualize Windows on these types of devices. Most other Apple applications can be easily ported between chips.
- Apple wants more control over the processors, which it can’t have with Intel.
- While a variant of the iPhone version of OSX is the most likely of candidates, Snow Leopard’s optimization release might also be for ARM as well.
This is still very much a rumor as Apple has not confirmed that it will be entering the netbook/tablet market anytime soon. Speculation on the production of such a device was rejuvenated when Steve Jobs recently commented on the netbook platform by saying that the iPhone is Apple’s “entrance in that category” and that it will “wait and see” how that category evolves. If Apple does enter into that market, Jobs promises that Apple has “got some pretty interesting ideas if it does evolve.” An ARM/Apple venture that expands upon the success of the iPhone and iPod Touch would be a pretty interesting idea, don’t you agree? Hit the jump to see the entire PowerPoint slide.
Adobe, ARM, and Qualcomm, among a host of several other players in the telecommunications and entertainment industry, are teaming up to develop and launch the Open Screen Project. If you aren’t familiar with the OSP, we’ll brief you on what it is and what it means for both developers and consumers. It is going to change the future of rich Internet content and media and how it will be delivered to consumers. With the OSP, users will be able to see and share videos, pictures, and other content across all devices and platforms from set-top boxes, computers,to mobile devices. The project is spearheaded by Adobe, but it will certainly be no small feat. Several big players will be joining the software giant, notably ARM, Qualcomm, Cisco, Intel, NTT DoCoMo, Verizon Wireless, and all the major mobile device manufacturers. Major content providers such as MTV Networks, BBC, and NBC Universal will also be supporting the project. For more information and a video explaining the Open Screen Project, hit the jump.
ARM and Ubuntu announced on today that they are working together to develop a new version of Ubuntu custom made for the ARMv7 architecture, including the new Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9 processors. The new ARM version of Ubuntu will leverage the low-power consumption and integrated graphics of the ARM chipset with its own user-friendly UI to create a new platform for mobile devices. We’re not talking cell phones here, folks. Think of the new Archos Internet Tablet with Ubuntu instead of the proprietary Archos OS or a netbook that delivers all day usage on a single battery charge. Now you can see the reason why this announcement is so exciting. The Ubuntu ARM distribution is expected to be available starting April 2009 and may finally mark the start of Ubuntu as a competitive mobile platform. Bring it on!
Following Google’s footsteps, Nokia and Symbian are really pushing forward with R&D by taking in several huge companies to gain access to Symbian. Notable companies include ARM, Visa, and Huawei amongst 52 companies that have expressed their interest in joining the Symbian Foundation. With such a huge following, the software and platform potential could create a formidable force to rival Google’s Android OS. Nokia plans on buying out all shareholders of Symbian for $410 million and make their goods royalty-free… way to go, Nokia! Profits from Symbian will go to the Symbian Foundation in order to support its efforts to create an open-source platform. Symbian Foundation software should be making its debut some time in 2009 with a fully operational platform in 2010. It’s nice to see the telecom industry team up with other companies and embrace the open-source nature of things.