MWC Interview: ARM discusses plans for expanding the mobile experience

by: Andrew GrushFebruary 26, 2014

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At MWC 2014 Android Authority’s Darcy LaCouvée had the opportunity to talk with John Heinlein, ARM’s VP of corporate marketing. In the interview, the executive spoke on ARM’s plans to continue expanding the mobile experience, particularly focusing on three key areas (which we’ll mention below).

Although there are currently roughly 6 billion mobile subscribers around the globe, about 2 billion of these users are on smartphones with the rest stuck with feature or even voice-only handsets. ARM’s first key goal is to find ways to expand smartphone  capabilities into broader market, and hopes to achieve this by bringing diversity to the different price points in the low and mid-range sector.

Reaching the “next billion” and beyond

The idea of reaching the “next billion users” by expanding to emerging markets seems to be a re-occurring theme not only for ARM and its partners, but also for Google, Motorola, Intel, Nokia and many others. With the higher-end market marching steadily towards an eventual point of saturation, emerging markets and budget users are becoming major targets for smartphone expansion.

While ARM is keen to expand their presence into emerging markets for obvious reasons, the ARM VP is also personally excited about how democratization of accessed information by smartphone can improve day to day life for folks in emerging markets (and for budget-users). As smartphones continue to expand into new markets, users will have access to a vast array of information that many of us take for granted. Heinlein also notes this expansion could also be extremely important for e-commerce.

Technologies that “expand the mobile experience”

The second key area of expansion for ARM is through wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers. Heinlein also briefly mentions the potential of other types of accessories that can expand the mobile experience, which includes automobiles that integrate with mobile technology.

It’s certainly true that we are starting to see many more devices tackle the ‘accessories’ market with examples shown off at MWC 2014 including Sony’s wearable glasses concept, Huawei’s wristband, the Sony SmartBand, the Gear 2 and Gear Fit. At CES we also saw ways that this ‘extension of mobile capabilities’ will also affect the automotive industry.

ARM’s ambitions for datacenter and cloud infrastructure

The third focus might not have to do with mobiles, but it is still very important for the company, and that is ARM’s datacenter and cloud infrastructure ambitions.

ARM says that their solutions can bring improved efficiency to the server world, and that administrators are able to install storage servers based on ARM and get double the density, compared to conventional storage infrastructure.” Heinlein says that while their early attempts at breaking into the server market have revolved around 32-bit processors, ARM is slowly working to bring 64-bit solutions as well.

Wrap up

Moving on from the three key focus points, ARM’s VP talked a little about the upcoming processors from Qualcomm, MediaTek and other partners. Heinlein also talked about ARM v8 and how it is important for both ARM partners and for the future of the mobile world.

The interview concludes by briefly talking about Intel, where John Heinlein states that competition is healthy and that they are keen to continue to push the mobile experience forward, regardless of what Intel dishes out.

  • renz

    So what is ARM plans to compete with Intel desktop class processor? Surely what they plan on doing is not limited to server and cloud data center only.

    • Stefan

      Why would they? The PC market is declining, and ARM strategy was never about absolute performance, but perfomance in power or termal restricted scenarios.

      • renz

        when i said dekstop i mean laptop as well. for example chromebook still using x86 processor. why not offering ARM solution to chromebook? right now intel trying to enter soc space. so i think ARM should attack intel dekstop territory as well. while pc is declining the market will never dead. when talking about ARM people always thinking about OS for casual use. with OS like WinRT it gives ARM the chance to enter dekstop space. the OS feels like dekstop OS although it cannot run application made for x86 windows.

        • Stefan

          You are right, ARM chips for chromebooks would be a great idea. I’m not sure about WinRT, beacause it’s hard to market a windows machine without full compatibility ( and this confusion caused low sales). Also, I think there is a place for ARM chips in micro-consoles or steamboxes and Nvidia seems to push this idea with the K1, since it supports OpenGL 4.4 and it can run Unreal Engine 4.

  • Nickle

    Server-based ARM are already doomed.
    That’s not their strong point. They should keep focus on mobile & wearable device.

    • Stefan

      I don’t think so, there is a need in the market for cheap, massively parallel server solutions that don’t require active cooling or high voltage. ARM can deliver on that, and it’s how their business works: thay have a server class chip, and they improve the design to make it suitable for mobile devices (think Cortex A57 or A53).