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ARM chief shrugs off Intel tablet threat, sees deluge at CES

updated 06:55 pm EDT, Thu November 4, 2010

ARM CEO not worried about Intel tablets

Intel's Oak Trail platform for tablets shouldn't pose any threat to the iPad or other ARM-based tablets, ARM's own CEO Warren East said today. The Atom chips reaching tablets next year would still be poor as they used too much power, he told the FT. ARM has developed a reputation for power efficiency and is key to Apple getting over 10 hours and even Samsung's smaller Galaxy Tab getting seven, on par with a much thicker and heavier netbook.

"Atom designs are just not good enough in terms of power consumption," East said. "Intel knows this."

Oak Trail was designed from the start for tablets, set-top boxes and in some cases smartphones. Intel has been counting on its all-in-one design, which includes graphics and most other controllers on one chip, to resurrect ambitions in mobile that had fallen apart after the Mobile Internet Device (MID) category was virtually abandoned. It should consume about half as much power on average and support hardware-accelerated HD video whose absence has kept the platform back.

The HP Slate 500 has been emblematic of Intel's problems. Partly as it uses an older Atom chip, the Slate gets just half the battery life of an iPad and needs a special Broadcom accelerator to properly play HD video.

East also noted that the tablet market was likely to get much more active. While very few tablets are on the market, he saw the CES show in January bringing a large number of new tablets. Optimism also guided the outlook as he expected between 30 million to 60 million tablets to ship just in 2011, with his unofficial estimate at the "higher end of that range." Apple's current monopoly of tablets should lead most of those models to be iPads.

By Electronista Staff


  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Intel knew it when Apple chose ARM

    Re: Atom power inefficiency: "Intel knows this."

    They knew it the instant Apple turned them down and went with their own ARM variant. And I would expect Apple to eventually use some kind of multi-core ARM variant of their own design in their MacBook Airs as soon as possible. (Small matter of porting Mac OS 11, or whatever the post-10.7 OS will be called, to RISC from CISC etc. etc. etc.)

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    Snap, he didn't say that. Them's fighting words.

    "Atom designs are just not good enough in terms of power consumption," East said. "Intel knows this."

    He might just as well have said, "Your momma" to the Intel CEO.

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Intel knew this 5 years ago

    They've been pre-announcing chips "just around the corner" that will totally rule the mobile world. They've done this every year. Every year it's been "what we've got now is great, but soon we will have mobile chips that everybody will immediately switch to, because they will be wonderful. ARM can stop updating their CPU's now. And they might as well also stop producing them."

  1. shawnde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    Intel is being stupid

    Intel is totally got funnel-vision when it comes to mobile. Instead of trying to shove their archaic, a**-backwards instruction set down everybody's throats, they should just become an ARM licensee, and use their strength in fabrication, to make kick-a** ARM-based mobile chips. They're just being idiots. They want to show the world that they're proud of the dumb-a** X86 architecture, and that it's scalable (which it's not). They want to say that they did the impossible.

    I read recently that Samsung's semiconductor business, made more money that all other divisions combined, simply because Samsung is the sole supplier of application processors (fabrication only) and flash memory. Well guess what, Intel is really good at fabrication too; and they've got the most amount of resources in being able to handle volume and reach economies of scale.

    Instead of beating their head against the wall, they should, as everyone else, including TI, nVidia, Samsung, Qualcomm, etc, go out and license the ARM instruction set, and just churn out boat loads of chips for Apple and others. They just bought Infineon, and they already are a big SSD producer, and they're also a part owner of Imagineers, so they've got all the pieces of the puzzle. They could make truck loads of money doing this.

    It's the same as Microsoft; they're waiting for the Windows tablets to release Office for them. Meanwhile, an aspiring developer, will release a compelling office suite for the iPad (and Android tablets), and all a sudden, the world will be a different place. Microsoft will be caught with their pants down (for the umpteenth time), and they'll just become irrelevant.

    Can you guys already see Intel becoming irrelevant? I certainly can.

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