LONDON – ST-Ericsson's announcement of a design win for a PowerVR Series 6 graphic processor core from Imagination Technologies Group plc in the Nova A9600 applications processor is a blow to ARM Holdings plc and its aspirations in graphics.
It represents a design win for Imagination at an account where ARM and its Mali graphics cores had got a foothold and serves to emphasize how tough a competitor Imagination has become in the graphics business.
What is not clear is whether Imagination is now the incumbent across the piece at ST-Ericsson and ARM is out, or whether ST-Ericsson will employ a two-supplier, treat-em-mean to keep-em-keen strategy.
The upside for ARM is that the difficulties it faces trying to catch up with Imagination in graphics, other companies are also facing when they try to attack ARM's position in central-processing units.
This is the subject of an article in January edition of EE Times Confidential written prior to the news of the Rogue GPU design win.
I am sure you are right that ARM is in graphics for the long haul and I also believe it will win market share from Imagination -- but how much and how quickly?
The point I was trying to make was that Imagination WAS the incumbent with STMicroelectronics and ST-Ericsson, got displaced by ARM Mali in the U8500 but has now regained a key position.
If ARM is going to gain market share in graphics it needs to win customers AND hold on to them.
Is this an overstatement of the situation? ARM is getting into the graphics business, and Imagination is the installed champ, so doesn't make sense that Imagination will win few?
Arm needs integrated high end graphics to compete with Intel's Atom chips, so it will be there for the long haul.