x86 and MIPS Applications Processors to Challenge ARM’s Smartphone Market Share

The smartphone market is currently occupied by ARM based processors. ARM based processors have the advantage of high power efficiency and have more processing power as compared to their Intel equivalents. Hence they have been ruling the smartphone industry. But according to analysts, both Intel and ARM have been working hard to address their weaker areas and there will be a point in the next few years when the performance/power efficiency of these technologies will be equal. At that point, the competition in the market should be immense. x86 and MIPS cores have entered the market in 2011, and are forecast to grow to around 18% of the market by 2016.

Processors based on ARM architecture like those of Qualcomm are ruling the roost in the smartphones business. However, Intel is now reworking its new Atom based processors to slowly stand up and hold its own against the competition. The chips Intel is now working on are supposedly extremely power efficient and pack enough processing power to get the task done. It can enable features like video conferencing and High Definition support. This is their second-generation, low-power Atom platform that can exceed their competition in terms of power and performance. These chips are codenamed Moorestown. This system on a chip platform is divided into three components, first is an Atom processor combining the CPU core with video encoder, graphics rendering and memory functions; the second part controls system level tasks, while the final piece is an IC chip handling power delivery and charging. These chips are stated to use just 1.75 percent of the power used by the current Atom chips in the idle state and provide an overall much less power consumption as compared to the present Intel Atom architecture.

At this rate soon Intel could be up and ready to threaten ARM’s market presence. Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Marvell the 4 market leaders, currently occupy 70 percent of the total market revenue stream and these revenues are expected to nothing but double in the next 5 years. The only precursor event for this to happen is for the smartphone industry to continue growing at the same rate as now.

While chip architectures battle it out for control, the selling prices of chipsets are expected to come down. Intel and ARM will have to fight it out in terms of innovation.

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