ARM threatens Intel notebook hegemony

A report estimates that by 2015 over a quarter of notebook PCs will be equipped with ARM-based microprocessors, threatening Intel’s grip on the market.

IHS said that the move to ARM processors will be prompted by the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 for ARM. Shipments of notebooks in 2015 will total 74 million, up from 7.6 million in 2012.

Matthew Wilkins, principle analyst at IHS, said that the X86 architecture has dominated the PC market since the introduction of the 8088 CPU for the IBM PC in 1981.

“The days of X86’s unchallenged domination are coming to an end as Windows 8 opens the door for the use of the ARM processor, which has achieved enormous popularity in the mobile phone and tablet worlds,” he said.

He thinks that such a move will benefit third party companies like Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.
projected notebook share

Intel acknowledged earlier this year that it has real competition in the marketplace from ARM based microprocessors. But it’s not insoucient about the threat – and we all know Chipzilla is best when its back is against the wall.

But one semiconductor insider at an X86 manufacturer doesn’t think that the move to ARM will be as easy as all that – it’s all about the egosystem.

He said: “I’ve seen some of the blurbs about the ARM “notebooks”. I use the quotes as it will take a long time for the ARM ecosystem to mature and even longer before World of Warcraft, Crysis , et al will be running at parity with the PC notebooks of today, even a Brazos based notebook.

“It’s important to look at the amount of work being done between common apps. Look at Skype on Android vs PC. The PC version is doing vastly more work.”