ARM confident it can hold off Intel with big.Little architecture


ARM is confident it will withstand a marketing onslaught from Intel, by focusing on delivering power efficient mobile chipsets and retaining high-profile customers.

The Cambridge-based manufacturer claims that although it expects Intel to make a big push in the mobile market, it has the partners to keep its lead.

"Our customers such as NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Samsung have big budgets to compete with Intel's marketing. At present we find that consumers are going with brands they recognise [Apple and Samsung] rather making a purchasing decision based on the chip inside," Nandan Nayampally, director of CPU product marketing told IT Pro.

Nayampally also rebuffed Intel's previous claims about Android not being optimised for multi-core chipsets. However, he did admit it was hard to judge which ARM-based chip on the market provides the best performance.

"Android is based on Linux, which has utilised multi-processing for a long time. The plethora of devices with multi-core are not an accident there are more and more apps utilising them to improve performance and efficiency," he said.

"ARM provides tools for manufacturers to create chipsets. Performance-wise you can get varying results everyone does their own tests and some chips will be better in some areas than others despite the difference in cores.

ARM aims to consolidate its position in the mobile market as partners ship devices with the big.Little architecture in early 2013, he added.

The system will use a low-power Cortex-A7 core to run features less intensive task such as social media apps and audio playback.

Meanwhile, a Cortex-A15 chip will kick in when users need to run heavy duty applications such as web browsing, navigation and gaming. These chipsets can be combined to have dual-core and quad-core configurations.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.