LONDON ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) signed up two licenses for its Mali graphics cores in its fourth quarter bringing the total number of Mali licenses signed to 27, and giving the company enough encouragement to boast of signings that include Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
"We're starting to talk about the fact that one of those Mali licenses was with Samsung who's obviously a leader in the industry and an opinion former in the industry as well. So that's very encouraging for our graphics licensing," Warren East, president and CEO, told an analysts conference convened to discuss the company's fourth quarter financial results.
"Mali is pretty new. Royalty is starting but it is almost negligible," East told EE Times, but he made the point that it can take three or four years for significant royalties to flow from work done by licensees to get ARM cores into silicon.
As ARM acquired the Mali graphics technology three-and-a-half years ago the company should be on the verge of a breakthrough with graphics royalties starting to climb in subsequent quarters. This would also put ARM into competition with Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England), a former partner.
"We are the new kid on the block. Imagination is very much the incumbent," East said before adding that ARM used to work with Imagination and helped it get many design wins. "As such we only have ourselves to blame," he said.
But East pointed to the graphics traction ARM is starting to get. "We're now up to 27 licenses. There are some who have niche product lines and others who can move the market." Some of the better known licensees include: Samsung, STMicroelectronics, MediaTek and ST-Ericsson.