Make no mistake, the war over CPU supremacy is shifting to mobile, and unlike traditional battlegrounds like desktops, notebook PCs, and servers, it's ARM
, not Intel
, that has the biggest army. Of course, that's not to say that couldn't change in the blink of an eye, and if Intel attacks the mobile market with the same vigor that it did on the desktop, we could be looking at a x86 revolution among smartphones and tablets.
Before that can happen, Intel needs to produce chips that are more competitive with current ARM processors. If you're rooting for Intel, or are a fan of competition in general, you'll be happy to know that the Santa Clara chip maker may soon disclose an accelerated release schedule for its upcoming 14nm Atom
processors designed for mobile devices.
Intel is a step behind ARM at the moment. Only recently has Intel begun to focus its attention on smartphones and tablets, however its current generation 22nm Atom parts are only now reaching production, and they're generally only as good as current ARM processors, not better. According to Tom Halfhill, a microprocessor analyst with Linley Group, for Intel to win over customers, it needs to surpass ARM in power and efficiency, not just reach parity.
"There's not enough of an incentive for OEMs to move to x86 if they're merely getting comparable performance and energy savings," Halfhill said, according to Barron's
That's exactly where 14nm Atom processors come into play. If everything goes to plan, Intel's next generation Atom parts will trump ARM in both power and efficiency, the latter of which is important because it leads to longer battery life.
Let the mobile wars begin.