ARM and Intel prepare for mobile fisticuffs

Intel and ARM are preparing to slug it out to win business in the mobile chip market but there’s unlikely to be a clear winner for very many rounds.

In-Stat said in a report that even though both Intel and ARM will have fresh microprocessor designs later this year, there are unlikely to be rapid changes in the current market mix.

Companies using ARM technology, such as Samsung, Texas Instruments and Freescale, will fabricate multicore CPUs that will use equivalent power consumption to their current offering. Intel, however, will manage to reduce the power consumption needs of the X86 architecture to what In-Stat describes as “acceptable levels” for smartphones and other mobile devices.

The real battle between the ARM and the Intel camp won’t likely come until 2011 when so called mini notebooks become the primary battleground.

ARM still dominates cellular devices while Intel still dominates the computing applications, said Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat. “Both architectures are likely to co-exist as devices become more focused in features and usage models.”

The market for mobile processors will grow 22.3 percent right up to the end of 2013 while additional cores, better graphics and multimedia and baseband features will continue. By 2013, says McGregor, 87 percent will feature mobile processors with integrated baseband functionality.