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COMPUTEX 2009: the year of the low power chip

by Scott Bicheno on 3 June 2009, 17:12

Tags: Toshiba (TYO:6502), NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), ARM, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)

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Squaring up

A year ago in Taipei, the talk of Computex was Intel's recently launched Atom CPU. Its small size, low power and low price opened up a whole new class of PC and the netbook has been the primary driver of growth in the PC industry ever since.

Intel is still talking Atom a year later; introducing the next generation platform - codenamed Pinetrail. It's also making a big noise about its CULV platform, designed to be the brains of a new generation of affordable ‘thin and light' notebooks.

But Intel's in danger of having its thunder stolen somewhat this year, because there's a new kid in town that thinks it can do better.

ARM is actually a seasoned veteran at making low power chips - most mobile phones have several chips based on ARM designs inside them. But with its latest designs it has ambitions in larger form factors, which is why this is the first year it has been squaring up directly against Intel.

We bumped into ARM's director of mobile solutions, Rob Coombs, in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt in Taipei, and over a pot of Jasmine tea he explained why ARM thinks it's on to a winner.