ARM Targets 40 Percent Notebook Market Share By 2015

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News Posted: Thu, Jun 23 2011 8:09 PM

We've discussed ARM's plans to enter both the netbook and server markets, but a new interview with Tudor Brown, the company's CEO, suggests the CPU designer's plans are more ambitious than some have realized. Speaking to DigiTimes, Brown claims that the company will snatch a huge chunk of the notebook market by 2015, while simultaneously gripping 85 percent of the future tablet industry.

Brown's betting on Windows 8 will open the netbook/notebook market to ARM processors in ways the company hasn't previously been able to achieve. There's no denying that the CPU designer's products have matured enormously in recent years--dual-core Cortex-A9 CPUs have established themselves as the workhorse of the nascent tablet industry, with the next-generation Cortex-A15 Eagle already scheduled to debut in 2012-2013.

What makes the company's plans more interesting is that a number of prominent vendors have signed on to build ARM-based mobile systems. Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, and Asustek are all reportedly working on ARM products with plans to launch them as early as the end of this year.

Lenovo's Skylight Smartbook was an ARM-based machine aimed at a sub-netbook market.

If true, it implies that vendors want to drive ARM-based products in two different directions. ARM chips running Android/Linux can launch at any time and have no need to wait for Windows 8. We saw a similar trend with x86 processors back when Asus' original EEE PC kicked off the netbook craze. Vendors positioned Linux-based systems at the lower end of the market while systems with more RAM were equipped with Windows XP.

ARM's tablet predictions are bullish, but play to the company's historic market strengths. It's netbook/notebook predictions are optimistic to the point of being dubious. Raw performance, in this case, matters less than application support. Potential customers need to know that certain core products (think Office) run equally well on both CPUs. Even if ARM-based Windows 8 netbooks and tablets start selling like mad, it'll take developers awhile to build a software library.

That's where Linux and other OSS software solutions come in handy. With OEMs reportedly targeting price points as low as $299, it shouldn't be difficult to offer multiple attractive models with better performance, longer battery life, and other advanced features that weren't available on the early Atom-based netbooks.

According to Digitimes, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, and Asus are all planning to launch ARM-based netbooks/notebooks based on Windows 8. None of the companies listed have formally confirmed those plans, but we suspect there's truth to them. ARM, like Tilera, believes its products address the needs of certain markets more effectively than current x86 processors do. Brown may be wrong about where ARM will be four years from now, but we suspect a sea change is inevitable.

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pwrntspd replied on Thu, Jun 23 2011 8:16 PM

Supposedly windows 8 will only run on certain ARM based processors, so im curious to see the hardware on these. It will be interesting to see how vendors are going to make their products unique and if apple is going to have anything to say. Aside from that, i always feel change is a good thing, especially when i comes to new technology and trends. Generally means lower prices and better performance for us.

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If ARM manages to get all these major players into the market then I see no reason why ARM won't be able to be successful in their ventures. It will be interesting if Windows 8 does only run on certain ARM processors and would seem a bit counterproductive for Microsoft since their goal should be to get their OS on as many devices as possible.

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rrplay replied on Thu, Jun 23 2011 11:53 PM

Sure could see this definitely working out even with some lighter functional office apps. in Linux. any one else notice the snap and load times with Libre Office lately on a light Linux desktop.? very much a possibilty to perform quite well with some software developemnts from the open-source community for under 300.00

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ARM is definitely making inroads with their duel core processors.

I wish them well.

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