HP switches to Intel StrongARM for Jupiter CE machines

HP's ARM licence the other week may be panning out into a co-development deal

As anticipated here, HP is switching its handheld PCs to the ARM processor line, and is to be supplied initially by Intel. HP and Intel are already partners in IA-64 design, and they announced yesterday that HP's next generation of handhelds would use Intel's new StrongARM SA-1100 processor and its companion chip. The machines, which HP is expected to announce shortly, will run Windows CE 2.1, 'Jupiter,' which is due for launch this autumn. The deal between the two companies is however likely to be a lot broader than appears at the moment. HP recently announced it had become an ARM licensee, and would implement versions of the chip line in a broad range of devices and appliances. Considering the breadth of HP's product range and ambitions, this could mean anything and everything, but obvious candidates include handhelds, laser printers, networking and test equipment. Intel meanwhile has recently made highly enthusiastic noises about ARM after a shaky start, but must surely still have to beef-up its development for the chip - it shed a lot of the old Digital developers when it bought the business, and although it will have rebuilt the team by now, it has ambitious plans for StrongARM for next year. HP's expertise will, following its acquisition of the licence, definitely be applied to ARM, so HP resources can help Intel, while HP is a potentially huge customer for Intel's ARM fabbing. HP is also one of those nice Intel customers who co-operate with the company, and who're committed to shipping Intel-based (i.e., IA-32 and IA-64) systems as their mainstream platforms. So no danger of Intel accidentally cannibalising its own revenues there. Plus, HP has been a major customer for Intel's old line of embedded chips. Which leaves Intel with a development partner, a nice big customer that will help keep its fabs churning, and seriously enhanced credibility for its StrongARM line. More customers will undoubtedly follow, and that's not at all bad for a company that gave every sign of never having heard of StrongARM when it wound up buying it last year. ® Click for more stories

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