ARM is best known for its power-sipping smartphone and tablet processors, but according to iSuppli, the chipmaker will soon elbow its way into the laptop market. With the next version of Microsoft's operating system -- Windows 8 -- expected to support ARM's microprocessor architecture, iSuppli believes the company will quickly seize a respectable portion of the laptop market.
Windows 8 is expected to launch next year, during a time when ARM will represent approximately 3% of the worldwide notebook market. By 2015, that figure will mushroom to 22.9% as ARM-powered notebook shipments climb from 7.6 million in 2012 to 74 million. In that same timeframe, ARM CEO Tudor Brown believes his company's chips will account for 40% of the netbook market.
Unsurprisingly, ARM will focus on low-powered, value-oriented notebooks, contending directly with AMD's E-series Fusion APUs as well as Intel's Celeron M and Atom processors. According to DigiTimes, industry titans like Acer, Asus, Samsung and Toshiba are already developing ARM-based Android notebooks for the end of 2011 along with Windows 8 models for 2012.
Unlike the unsuccessful ARM and Android-powered smartbooks (the amalgamation of netbooks and smartphones), the incoming machines will be faster and more functional than before. It's believed that smartbooks flopped because consumers expected them to offer the functionality of a Wintel machine, but their weak processor and diluted OS simply couldn't fit the bill.
"ARM is well-suited for value notebooks, where performance isn't a key criterion for buyers," said iSuppli analyst Matthew Wilkins. "Value notebook buyers are looking for basic systems that balance an affordable price with reasonable performance. ARM processors deliver acceptable performance at a very low cost, along with unrivaled power efficiency."