ARM is keeping an eye on Nvidia

Little British chippie, ARM, may be better known for its powerful yet ultra-low power processors, but the firm is also keen to get the word out about its graphics capabilities.

Recently a spokesperson for the firm told TechEye ARM was keen to “pack a punch” in terms of its graphics products, known as the Mali line, capable of full 720p HD.

“We’re an IP provider to the embedded market and therefore it’s crucial we have both a CPU and GPU technology solution,” Ed Plowman, ARM’s technical marketing manager told us.

Of course, ARM’s Mali is not the only such “solution” in the space, with both Imagination Technologies and Nvidia’s Tegra roaming the embedded territory too.

“Personally I don’t think ARM’s strength is in the graphics side,” an industry source told TechEye, but added that he felt it was important to the firm to provide Mali as an option to its IP customers “because not everyone is going to want a Tegra solution, for instance.”

ARM is the first to admit it sees its relationship with Nvidia in terms of co-opertition, licensing the green graphics giant with bits of IP while trying to compete with it on other parts.

It’s important to note, however, that since Nvidia is a systems company, it is more of a competitive threat to the likes of Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, both of whom are ARM licensees.

“We keep an eye on Nvidia, though,” said Plowman, adding “but Kudos to Nvidia for Tegra 2, really, because it’s very good. We just haven’t seen it in many products yet.”

ARM also feels it has something of a unique value proposition for the space, telling TechEye, “IP may look easy, but believe you me, it is not as easy as it looks. And ARM has a lot of experience, we pioneered the IP process.

“We don’t mind where anything ends up as long as we get a royalty for it,” he concluded.