Will More Computers be ARMed with Low-Power CPUs in 2009?

armStacey has a great thought post up at GigaOM that underscores some of the trend I and others have been noticing. It seems to me that the combination of Android and netbooks are raising ARM awareness, which clearly Intel doesn’t want. Even the iPhone, which runs on an ARM processor, is showing folks what you can do with an energy-efficient CPU. Long gone are the days of chasing the CPU clock cycle leader for a mobile device. We’re at the tipping point now where the CPUs can do just enough and they don’t need to eat up 30-, 50- or 60-Watts to do it. One watt or less, when combined with a light, optimized environment goes a long way today.

In fairness, I’m not in total agreement with the title of Stacey’s great post, which is “Netbooks and the Death of x86 Computing”. Traditional x86 computing will be around for years to come, but it’s not the only game in town any longer. It really never was, considering that most smartphones since early this decade ran on ARM-based devices. But the ARM licensees are showing that they’re ready to compete in this space, for real. Are the stars aligning for 2009 showdown between ARM and x86 chips like Intel’s Atom? I think so for reasons I’ve mentioned before, but the news out of CES will set the stage for the year. Stay tuned…


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