ARM expects 20-nanometer processors by late next year

The chips should enable longer battery life in smartphones and tablets

ARM chips made with an advanced, 20-nanometer manufacturing process could appear in smartphones and tablets by as soon as the end of next year, the head of ARM's processor division said Monday.

The more advanced chips should allow device makers to improve the performance of their products without reducing battery life, or offer the same performance with longer battery life.

"The whole industry is focused on moving to the next generation as soon as it's economically viable and technologically achievable," Simon Segars, general manager of the processor and physical IP divisions at ARM, told reporters at the Computex tradeshow in Taipei on Monday.

The nanometer figure refers to the dimension of circuits etched on the surface of the chips. Each new manufacturing process enables chips with smaller, less power hungry transistors, allowing device makers to extend battery life or offer better performance in mobile devices.

ARM doesn't manufacture the chips itself. It licenses its designs to companies such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia, who in turn outsource manufacture of the chips to foundry companies like Taiwan's TSMC.

Qualcomm has said it faces shortages of its latest Snapdragon S4 processor, which is used in smartphones from HTC and tablets from Lenovo, among others. It blamed the problem on a shortage of 28-nanometer manufacturing capacity at TSMC.

That led some to see ARM's target for 20 nanometer parts as overly optimistic. But the problem with the 28-nanometer chips is a short-term capacity issue, not a technology issue, so ARM's target is a realistic one, said Dan Nystedt, vice president and head of research at TriOrient Investments in Taiwan.

Still, moving to a new manufacturing process is complex for any company and delays are always possible.

This year's Computex should be a big event for ARM. Microsoft has developed the first version of its Windows PC OS that runs on ARM-based processors, called Windows RT, and vendors are expected to show the first ARM-based tablets running the new software.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?