2.6 billion ARM-based chips shipped in Q1 2013, more big.LITTLE chips on the way

April 25, 2013
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There’s a good chance that your smartphone is running an ARM-based chip, and you’ll definitely be using one if you’re planning on picking up the latest HTC or Samsung handsets.  The company pretty much corners the smartphone and tablet markets, having licensed its processor technology out to a range of high profile manufacturers, including Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Samsung.

Unsurprisingly ARM has just posted some impressive figures for the first quarter of this year, but perhaps the most remarkable statistic is that a massive 2.6 billion chips shipped in Q1 2013 are based on its technology. That’s a 35% year on year increase in the number of ARM based chips on the market.

For stockholders, this translates into a substantial $269.9 (£170.3) million worth of revenue so far in 2013, earning the company a pre-tax profit of $89.4 million.

ARM certainly has a smart business model, it can simply license out its technology to other manufactures, like Qualcomm, who then put the designs into new chips and offer them to handset manufacturers. This model is clearly working out too, as in the first quarter alone ARM has signed up another 22 processor licences for all manner of applications, from TV’s to smartphones. Half of these licenses were for Coretex-A series processors, like the new Cortex A15 found in the new Tegra 4 and Exynos 5 chips, and seven of them were for ARM’s latest Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 processors.

Interestingly ARM has managed to sign up “another” licensee for its yet unreleased ARMv8 architecture. Remember that he ARMv8 architecture introduces 64-bit support to ARM’s processors, with a focus on power-efficient big.LITTLE designs like the impressive sounding Cortex-A57 and A53 combination. So hopefully we’ll be seeing something, probably a tablet in my opinion, fitted with one of these beauties before the end of the year.

To date ARM has signed 133 Cortex-A and 75 Mali graphics processor licenses. Additionally, there are now 17 big.LITTLE licenses signed as well, so expect to see a range of powerful yet efficient ARM-based processors heading our way over the next year.

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