36 thoughts on “Hey iPhone, Meet a Tiny Chip With Superpowers.”

  1. “As we have often explained in the past, the computing is going through a transition akin to the shift from fixed line phones to telephones.”

    What? cellphones.

    1. Arm has been pushing the envelope for quite a bit now. Enough to worry intel. By the way more than 20 billion processors based on ARM have been shipped so far.

  2. “It was the day the desktop computing changed for me and for a lot of others.”

    “As we have often explained in the past, the computing is going through…”

    “But that is not all since it will be able to equally at home inside…”

    Love the article, interesting as always.. But ye gods… Grammar check disabled? I winced each time I ran across and extra “the” and wondered how much was missing in the 3rd booboo.

  3. D’oh, I typed my comment on an ipad so I am not responsible for the extra “d” in my own spelling.. Seriously though, what do you think the upper limit on cellphone processing power is; will we eventually see water-cooled cellphones hitting 5GHz?

    1. Ronald

      Thanks for the grammar related comments. Late night man!

      Secondly I think we should see some more speed bumps, but not much. All mobile chip related innovation has to combine power+Power efficiency + bandwidth and that wouldn’t necessarily mean mega chips like we are used to in the pc world.

  4. Isn’t there something missing on the SW site. If we have 4core systems where’s the SW layer which allows apps to interchange data easily and safely? Apple cut back on inter apps data exchange for a reason.
    Context processing is massively parallel, as smarter ones apps have to get as more context one needs as more parallel processing is required. Making it faster doesn’t necessarily make it “smarter”.

  5. A bit skeptical on the performance comparison of the current Cortex line to the Atom
    (see http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/16/arms-cortex-a9-beats-atom-n270-too-bad-its-not-2008/ )

    Now that being said, Intel is still in trouble as the Atom cores can’t compare power consumption-wise. There will still be a market for servers which will drive the content to mobile devices, but as mobile devices continue to take on more tasks (AutoCAD just got released for the iPad) from the desktop world, Intel’s market share will continue to shrink.

    Maybe selling off their X-Scale line was a bad idea 🙂

  6. Om – a couple questions;

    1.) Given the support for virtualization and higher memory addressability of this processor, two deficiencies in prior ARM cores, is this new processor the key to penetrating the server market? Is this the core that SmoothStone is using for their designs?

    2.) Since this core will support virtualization, is it possible to run Windows in the abstraction layer through the hypervisor and therefore this becomes a back-door way to run windows on ARM? seems too simple of a solution to actually work…

    thanks in advance


    1. Hey

      1. Yes I think this will help them get further penetration in the web server market.

      2. On Virtualization, I think it has less to do with running different OSes and more about running different “use case environments.”

      1. agree, even early adopters will not be willing to run their mission critical applications on ARM-based servers initially. But we’ll need OS compatibility w/ ARM first. Windows is the obvious OS that hasn’t ported over to ARM yet.

    2. Don’t forget that virtualisation does not mean it can run many oses, for instance, Windows is built to run on X86 architecture which if I remember correctly is not part of ARM’s featureset

      1. correct – windows is built to run on x86 and not ARM. my question centered around the ability to use cortex a15’s VMWare-compatibility as a work-around to get Windows to work on ARM…using the hypervisor as the interface between the two. not sure if it would work, i’m speculating it wouldn’t.

        i am fairly certain that Windows v8 will be optimized for ARM though. if this version is released in ~18 months, it will likely coincide w/ the production runs of these new Cortex A15 chips, could be interesting to see what happens.

  7. Power and more power. The argument made is well put together but probably unrealistic. More bandwith? Streaming? Greater power needs? It may cost an arm and a leg to do what is written. Service Providers will drive growth in this area, not chip manufacturers nor device assemblers nor software makers and nor anyone else. The tariffs servie providers will place per download and the way wireless web will develop will dictate this.

    Not the same old game in the PCs as big difference between smartphones and netbooks is that one of the two cannot really be used without access to the Internet and bandwidth.

  8. This will be great for home devices, but OM, come on … not even you can believe this paradigm shift is going to make any real dent or difference in the mobile space with carrier greed running rampant like it is today.

    Sure (sharks grin) you will be able to use your devices full capability for a measly $299 a month for unlimited everything* (*up to 7 GB total bandwidth per 31 day period.)

    Hah! Major shifts worth using in the mobile space will only ever come when someone somehow neutralizes the carriers. Its going to be funny how the big telecos corporations will be vilified in the future for all they did to kill innovation. Like some bad scifi story.

    Hopefully, the corp. hate will create change after the dreaded Telecos riots of 2056 leave only the scared small providers behind.

  9. “Intel, he said is trying to focus on lowering power consumption, a problem ARM has licked”.

    What the hell does that mean?

    1. Well, the Atom processor ‘success’ (which helped spawn a new market segment – netbooks) was reportedly a failed attempt to develop a cellphone-worthy chip… Intel has had a hard time making its chips fit a cellphone/smartphone/tablet power budget. Reasons are too numerous and complex to fit here, but suffice it to say that there is still a lot of over-design inherent in Intel’s design flow, notably to meet timing and power integrity constraints.

      One of the reasons we are seeing multi-core proliferation is that ‘overclocking’ existing architectures is not easy. With clocks and memory buses running at GHz speeds, maintaining ‘signal integrity’ in the chip becomes a nightmare. ARM has been relying on Synopsys to solve such problems in their design flow, while Intel has been heavier on home-brew tools…

  10. I’m game for any device that Windows desktop doesn’t run on. And I hope that ARM devices become the consumer’s favorite computer platform. It’ll save a lot of space and lots of electricity. It’ll turn computing into a greener environment.

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