ARM to wrestle quarter of laptop market from Intel
Windows 8 to lead smartbook revival
Give it four years and ARM-based processors will be found in almost a quarter of all notebooks sold.
So predicts market watcher iHS iSuppli, which also reckons 7.6m ARM-based laptops will ship next year - three per cent of total number of notebooks shipped.
That itself is a staggering statistic since there are none shipping now unless you count old Toshiba AC100 smartbooks being flogged off on eBay.
Source: iHS iSuppli
Come 2015, and ARM-based notebook shipments will have reached 74m units, iSuppli believes - 22.9 per cent of the laptop market.
Only one half of the Wintel monopoly is being broken, though. While ARM chips will eat into the market share of x86 chip maker Intel, it's Microsoft's Windows 8 that will drive the adoption of ARM by laptop makers, iSuppli said.
ARM will grab the most share in the low-cost laptop business where price is a more important purchase consideration than performance. So while Intel will lose market share by units, the cut into its share by revenue will be much smaller.
And that assumes Intel's continuing efforts to drive down the power consumption of its processors doesn't allow it to deliver chips that provide better performance at a comparable price and power draw as ARM offerings.
Apple, for one, has been claimed to be trying out ARM CPUs in its slimline MacBook Air, a product that emphasises mobility over performance. So ARM may not be only the value option. ®
Its not W8 that will drive ARM adoption
its the fact that MS will no longer have a 'valid' reason to threaten OEM's that try to build ARM.
Manufacturers will find they can sell their ARM laptops and still get MS discounts.
Others will be able to buy the same machines without the MS tax - so that should be a good 10-20% discount.
Any other form of licensing will be just too blatantly anti-competitive.
And at last we will have the portables that its been technically possible for 5 or 6 years now.
iphone/ipad/android have changed the landscape
Thanks to Mr. Jobs, consumers now accept non-MS Windows devices. Focus has shifted towards function and "looks".
In this "mobile" market, MS have much reduced clout to hold the manufacturers back, a factor that capped the success of earlier netbooks.
Cost of ARM v Intel and android/ios/linux v MS leaves higher margins on lower volumes for the manufacturers.
Apple and ARM have sidestepped the Wintel Cartel on our behalf.
From the article: "... staggering statistic since there are none shipping now unless you count old Toshiba AC100 smartbooks being flogged off on eBay."
This is simply not true. There are a number of smartbooks currently shipping. The best known and one of the better specced ones is probably the Genesi Efika MX Smartbook:
In production and actively supported. I have one, and with a few relatively minor hardware and software modifications it is actually an extremely nice and usable piece of kit:
From the article: "ARM will grab the most share in the low-cost laptop business where price is a more important purchase consideration than performance."
This statement is not well thought out. ARM's biggest advantage is performance per watt. It's performance is equal to or better than Intel's Atom at typically about a tenth of the power envelope. Intel likes to quote TDP figures which look good on paper, but what they fail to mention is that this doesn't include the rest of the motherboard components. ARM is a SoC (System-on-Chip) design, so there are no other motherboard components, so the TDP figure is much more meaningful in terms of assessing total power draw.
For comparison, a Dell Mini 1012 with an Atom N450 draws about 30W from the wall plug when running flat out, with the battery fully charged. The Toshiba AC100 (which is considerably faster, BTW) draws 6W flat out.
Anyway, to sum up, it's not about cost, the big advantage for laptops is the improved battery life, and thus the possibility of fitting a much smaller battery and thus making the laptop smaller, lighter and more elegant.
Is the Asus Transformer not a smartbook?
Seems like one to me, though i don't use the keyboard much.