ARM expects 20-nanometer processors by late next year

The chips should enable longer battery life in smartphones and tablets

ARM chips made with an advanced, 20-nanometer manufacturing process could appear in smartphones and tablets by as soon as the end of next year, the head of ARM's processor division said Monday.

The more advanced chips should allow device makers to improve the performance of their products without reducing battery life, or offer the same performance with longer battery life.

"The whole industry is focused on moving to the next generation as soon as it's economically viable and technologically achievable," Simon Segars, general manager of the processor and physical IP divisions at ARM, told reporters at the Computex tradeshow in Taipei on Monday.

The nanometer figure refers to the dimension of circuits etched on the surface of the chips. Each new manufacturing process enables chips with smaller, less power hungry transistors, allowing device makers to extend battery life or offer better performance in mobile devices.

ARM doesn't manufacture the chips itself. It licenses its designs to companies such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia, who in turn outsource manufacture of the chips to foundry companies like Taiwan's TSMC.

Qualcomm has said it faces shortages of its latest Snapdragon S4 processor, which is used in smartphones from HTC and tablets from Lenovo, among others. It blamed the problem on a shortage of 28-nanometer manufacturing capacity at TSMC.

That led some to see ARM's target for 20 nanometer parts as overly optimistic. But the problem with the 28-nanometer chips is a short-term capacity issue, not a technology issue, so ARM's target is a realistic one, said Dan Nystedt, vice president and head of research at TriOrient Investments in Taiwan.

Still, moving to a new manufacturing process is complex for any company and delays are always possible.

This year's Computex should be a big event for ARM. Microsoft has developed the first version of its Windows PC OS that runs on ARM-based processors, called Windows RT, and vendors are expected to show the first ARM-based tablets running the new software.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?