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

by: Robert TriggsApril 25, 2013


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.

  • Pat

    I don’t think this is meant for tablets, remember when folks kept saying the snapdragon 600/800 were destined for tablets only, wake up call, most Android Tablets use hardware that coming to think about it, is less powerful than what goes into Phablets, yes, I said 5.3 inch plus Phablets and not regular sized smartphones. I can see a market for the Tegra 4 going into Windows and Android Tablets, the snapdragon 800 and A53/A57 chips will be destined for a bigger S5/Note 4/Optimus G3 and possibly whatever huge phablet Sony has in line for next year, we already know the 6.44 inch Togari and Optimus G2 is supposed to be coming to market this fall with snapdragon 800. When people keep saying ”so and so” is for tablets, it ultimately ends up in larger screened phones. Not saying I wouldn’t want to see a powerful Tegra 4/Snapdragon 800 or Exynos 5450 running on an 8 inch plus device, Android OEMs neglect tablets like there’s no tomorrow.