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Looking forward to the day when ARM chips appear in more handheld internet devices than Intel and other x86 processors do? You may not have too long to wait - though don't expect an overnight switch.

Market watcher ABI Research today said ARM will overtake Intel as the platform of choice for netbooks, MIDs, tablets and UMPCs during 2012.

By the end of that year, Intel's share of the market will have fallen from more than 90 per cent in 2009 to around 48 per cent.

A year on, and its share will have dropped to 40 per cent, ABI predicted.

“2010 will be pivotal for building momentum behind non-x86 solutions, and gaining adoption in both distribution channels and by end-user populations worldwide," said ABI senior analyst Jeff Orr.

But it's not just Intel that needs to watch out - mobile phone networks must too. The growing internet gadget market - whether based on ARM or x86 chippery - will have integrated 3G for phone-like always-on data connectivity.

That, said Orr, will put far more of a strain on carriers' networks than smartphones do today - even ones with iPhones on them. ®

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