ARM develops second wave of 64-bit processors

ARM's Maya and Artemis chips are already being licensed to mobile device makers

ARM is developing its second wave of 64-bit processors as it tries to maintain its edge over Intel in smartphones and tablets.

The chips -- called Maya and Artemis -- are already being licensed to chip makers, said Simon Segars, CEO of ARM, during a webcast earnings press conference on Tuesday.

Segars declined to talk more about the processors, saying ARM will reserve details for the actual announcement date. But he said that the company's future processors are being targeted at not only its existing smartphone, tablet and server markets, but also at areas like automotive and networking equipment.

"Artemis and Maya are the fruits of the investment that we've made in R&D over the years," Segars said. "The products [we] are creating will help us sustain market share."

ARM develops designs for the processor, interconnect and other crucial building-block technology for mobile chips. Its ARM processor designs are used in most smartphones and tablets now on the market.

ARM in 2011 introduced its first 64-bit microarchitecture, called ARM-v8A. It was first used in Apple's iPhone 5s, introduced last September.

ARM designs generic 64-bit processor designs based on ARMv8, which it has licensed to companies like Qualcomm, Advanced Micro Devices, Samsung and MediaTek. Apple developed its own processor based on ARM-v8A architecture.

The Maya and Artemis chips will be based on the 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. The chips will succeed the Cortex-A57 and A53 processor designs, which are expected to be used in ARM servers and Android smartphones due to hit the market later this year.

ARM is also planning new processors for wearables, embedded equipment and the Internet of Things market, Segars said. Last month ARM opened a center in Taiwan to make low-power chips for wearable devices.

ARM competes in the mobile, laptop and server markets with Intel, which has released Atom chips based on the x86 microarchitecture.

Competition is coming on strong from Intel and AMD, which competes with ARM in the embedded market, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. So it's only natural to see "aggressive product development" from ARM, McCarron said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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