Everyone likes to save money, including me. I get tired of forking out more and more for what have become necessary items. Phones, laptops, and all the paraphernalia that goes with them are no longer luxuries. They are necessary for business and daily living. My job, paying bills, depositing money, and even buying supplies is now centered around computing. So when something is going to save me money, I stand up and take notice. ARM Processors are going to save us money. Here’s how!
Prediction In 2013 the cost of new computers will fall drastically. This will be across the board on computers of all types: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. When I say drastically, I mean as much as 25% to 30%. Tablets and laptops will fall because Microsoft is entering the race with ARM processors and Windows8RT. Desktops will fall in price because more and more desktops are being replaced by fast, capable laptops.
Catalyst ARM processors are on all smart phones, most tablets, and many laptops. They are rocketing in popularity because they are small, inexpensive, fast, and consume very little power. They are not the same architecture as the Intel and AMD x86 processors we’ve used all these many years. They are a different, new architecture, and the applications/programs used on them require different code.
Boring Background The following quote is from Wikipedia: “In 2005 about 98% of the more than one billion mobile phones sold each year used at least one ARM processor. As of 2009 ARM processors accounted for approximately 90% of all embedded 32-bit RISC processors and were used extensively in consumer electronics, including personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets, mobile phones, digital media and music players, hand-held game consoles, calculators and computer peripherals such as hard drives and routers.”
Today that figure is growing as the need for mobile technology continues to push personal computer sales. I don’t expect the sale of desktops to stop, but I do expect to see increased sales of tablets at the expense of laptops and also the switch from x86 processors to ARM processors for laptops.
Power, size, and low price are only part of the equation creating the popularity of ARM processors. Reduced power consumption is a huge advantage. It’s the low power consumption that allows for the extended battery life we are seeing in tablets and laptops today. This need for small, fast, efficient processors is only going to increase as we expect better portability and performance from our computers.
The ARM architecture is licensable. It can be licensed by and is used by companies like AMD and Intel. They are permitted to manufacture and design their own CPU cores through licensing.
Intel’s use of ARM processors for their entry into the Tablet market and the creation of Windows8 RT represent a first for Intel and Microsoft. Previously Microsoft has only written operating systems for use on x86 architecture. Now they are writing for ARM architecture. This is a big deal and will catapult the popularity of ARM processors and architecture.
There’s always a downside but it doesn’t have anything to do with the hardware. It’s the software! You will need new software. None of your old software, antivirus, tweak programs, scrapbooks, or games will work on the new ARM architecture. You will need to purchase all new software.
It souldn’t be too bad though. Our favorite programs must be completely rewritten and it is certain there will be improvements and updates to offset some of the costs involved.
So what do you think? Are you ready for a faster, longer-lasting mobil option? Are you ready for all new software? Will the savings outweigh the costs?
Let me know what you think.