ARM is not worried about Intel

Posted by Emory Kale

Intel struggles to be dominant in mobile. As much as any multi-billion dollar behemoth struggles to do anything. Meanwhile, ARM just sails along nicely, thank you.

Earlier we reported on a a story out of Reuters that Samsung will use Intel's Clover Trail+ mobile chip for at least one version of its 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 3. Although there is some confusion as to what Samsung plans to do with other versions of the 10-inch Galaxy Tab equipped. So, should ARM be worried?

Probably not. The Cambridge, UK based ARM is leading and Intel is following. Intel is not really used to being in this position. While Intel's new CEO, Brian Krzanich, has stated that the company wants to be everywhere in the mobile segment, much as it dominates the PC market, Intel doesn't inspire the same fear or admiration as customers shift away from traditional desktops and laptops. ARM doesn't seem worried at all.

ARM Cortex-A12

In addition, ARM is doing exactly what Intel was good doing itself, it is executing on great product roadmaps with chips that cover every segment and niche. Witness the new Cortex-A12, which the company claims will be 40% faster the A9 that powers the Samsung S3 and iPhone 4S, and still keep in the same power band. The A12 is a mid-market product, and targets the USD 200-350 device category. Why is this of any significance? Because, Intel doesn't do well in mid-markets or low markets when it doesn't own the high ground. Intel hasn't changed anything about its strategy, management or culture to imply that it can adapt to the Post-PC area. ARM has done nothing but live and breathe the Post-PC era.

And there's the problem. Intel can come up with all kinds of solutions. You can even argue that it only gets a Samsung on board because it is also going to supply Samsung with Windows chips. But saying we have Windows, too, is not a strategy or a tactical advantage. 

And one final kicker is that an ARM Cortex-A12 paired with a Mali T622 GPU gives ARM users a powerful combo for that mid-range market. This is the market that will come to dominate the device category, as it should.  There's got to be a point when upgrading $600 smartphones, that are obsolete in 6 months, becomes unbearable. 

Intel doesn't do middle of the road well at all.