ARM is working with Microsoft to develop processor architectures. ARM Taiwan president Philip Lu made the statement at a March 22 press conference in Taipei but wouldn't reveal any details. Many Taiwan-based ODMs and OEMs believe that ARM platforms developed through cooperation with Microsoft will focus on applications for smartphones, tablet PCs, and other types of handheld devices, according to DigiTimes.

Two months ago, Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures from ARM-based systems designed by partners Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. The company essentially confirmed rumors that it is working on an ARM-friendly Windows OS.

Lu also noted that there were as many as 6.1 billion ARM-licensed chips shipped globally in 2010, a 55 percent increase from the number in 2009 (the total numer of chips in the industry increased by an average of 30 percent). Of the ARM chips shipped last year, 62 percent were put into mobile Internet-access devices, 19 percent powered embedded devices, 14 percent were used in business-use equipment, and 5 percent showed up in products used in the home.

ARM has licensed its latest Cortex A15 patents to several chip vendors, products for which are expected to be launched in late 2011 or early 2012. The company has been hard at work on architectures for new applications, including micro-controllers, sensors, SSDs, medium-sized mobile computing devices, and large servers. All in all, Lu said his company expects cumulative global shipments of ARM-architecture ICs to exceed 100 billion chips in 2020.