According to a recently published report by analyst Semicast, there will be two ARM-based devices for every single person in the world by 2015. Based on data from the UN's World Population Prospects database, the world population is forecast to grow from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 7.6 billion in 2016. Over the same period, the total number of of ARM shipments will total 95 billion.
Colin Barnden, Principal Analyst with Semicast Research and author of the study, predicts that the number of ARM-based processors in operation will reach 17 billion by 2016, from just 0.4 billion in 2000.
Semicast estimates annual shipments of ARM processors will pass 7 billion units in 2011, with the 'two ARM cores per person' milestone of almost 15 billion units forecast to be reached in 2015.
The study predicts that smart phones will remain the primary platform, at least in the medium term, while identifying the 'digital home' as a key growth area, with strong growth also forecast in applications such as ebook readers, media tablets, netbooks, games consoles and home networking equipment.
Of course, the deployments will be through licensees strong in these application areas, such as Freescale, Nvidia, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Mediatek, Qualcomm, NXP, ST and Toshiba. The industrial and medical sector also represents a key growth market for the ARM architecture, with strong growth forecast in applications such as smart cards, smart metering/smart grid, network-enabled field instrumentation, motor control, security/fire control, consumer medical appliances, EFT terminals and CCTV/video surveillance.
Significant growth opportunities are also forecast for the ARM architecture in the storage market, in particular for HDDs and solid state discs, while ARM continues to rapidly increase market share in the automotive sector, both in under-the-hood applications, as well as entertainment and navigation systems.
Semicast estimates the value of ARM-based embedded processors to be shipped in 2011 to total USD 32 billion (including microcontrollers, embedded microprocessors, ASICs, ASSPs and FPGAs). Qualcomm is judged to be the leading supplier of ARM-based embedded processors, ahead of Samsung Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.