SANTA CLARA, Calif. The outlook is for stormy weather in the global cellular industry, but ARM Ltd. chief executive Warren East is hopeful his company is diversified enough to remain stable.
The mobile market likely will decline amid global economic turmoil and the entrance of Intel Corp. will inject a new dynamic into that market, East said in a video interview at the ARM Developers' Conference here. However, he outlined several factors that could help keep the processor design company buoyant.
With stock markets in China, the U.S. and Europe down by double digits even before the Wall Street crisis of September, "why would consumers not spend less," East said.
Nevertheless, he said the cellular industry might still see ten percent growth this year and a smaller growth next year. That's well above recent projections of some market watchers.
The emerging smart phone segment spearheaded by Apple's iPhone should continue to expand, East said. ARM gets as much as six times the royalties from smart phones which contain high-end application and media processors as it does from basic phones which use ARM chips as a baseband processor.
East would not comment on reports that Apple has obtained an architectural license to the ARM processor for the former P.A. Semi team it acquired to build iPhone and iPod chips. Separately, Marvell Technology Group Ltd. showed at the conference versions of the XScale processor it acquired from Intel using Marvell's own ARM variant, called Sheeva.
Analysts have said the Atom processor Intel rolled out this year for subnotebooks and other mobile systems will be competitive with ARM-based products for smart phones when Intel moves the chip to its 32nm process. East noted ARM has already taped out its first 32nm chip using the Common Platform Alliance process being developed at IBM and expects it to deliver similar performance and power benefits.
An executive from foundry Chartered Semiconductor discussed the Alliance's progress on 32nm technology at the conference on Tuesday (Oct. 7).