ARM has tweeted about “15 things you need to know for 2015.” These predictions cover a wide range of topics and reflect all the different areas of technology that utilize ARM based processors. The areas covered include smartphones, wearables, IoT, security and servers.
The first prediction that is relevant to Android is that “50% smartphones shipped in 2015 will be 64-bit capable.” Of course we need to include non-Android smartphones in this, but however you slice it that is a mind-blowing trend. If you think back to just a few years ago, smartphones used single core 32-bit processors. Now we have entered an era where smartphones use 64-bit multi-core processors and include technologies like heterogeneous computing with big.LITTLE.
64-bit LTE smartphones will ship for under $70.
Another interesting aspect is that these 64-bit phones won’t just be flagship devices. ARM predicts that “64-bit LTE smartphones will ship for under $70” in 2015. This shows the power of ARM’s business model. It has licensed its 64-bit tech to a variety of companies and some of these, like MediaTek, are producing inexpensive 64-bit, multi-core processors for low- and mid-range devices. Of course, a smartphone is more than just a SoC, but we are already seeing this trend. Earlier this year I reviewed the THL L969, a sub $140 4G smartphone.
When it comes to smartwatches, ARM has something quite interesting to say, namely that for wearables to become truly successful they must pass the ‘don’t leave home without me’ test. Most of us probably don’t leave home without three essentials: keys, money and a smartphone. When that list can be truly expanded to keys, money, smartphone, and a wearable (e.g. a smartwatch or whatever) then wearables will become a multi-billion dollar business.
Chinese semiconductor vendors' focus on IoT will start to deliver significant design wins.
When it comes to China, ARM predicts that once the Chinese semiconductor makers start to focus on IoT they will deliver significant design wins. Although China is already a huge force in the smartphone market, it has yet to truly turn its attentions to IoT, including wearables. At the moment there are no Chinese companies which make Android Wear devices. Cheap production costs and innovative designs are the cornerstone of the fledgling IoT market. Once China enters the game, things will change.
The rest of ARM’s predictions are as follows:
- Biometrics will drive alternative user ID strategies
- Mobile operators will deploy smartphone services as de facto healthcare for rural areas
- IoT biggest revenues will be in cities and enterprises
- Increasing cyberattack concerns will drive hardware security from sensor to server
- More OEMs and internet companies will acquire semiconductor vendors to drive their USP into value chain
- Massive mobile payment surge with “Chip and Pin” and smartphones will make retail more efficient
- Benchmark data will shift end-user choice to purpose-optimized servers versus monolithic approaches
- Effort will turn to efficiency + form factor as wirelessly chargeable consumer devices enter market
- Latest IoT buzz will shift from wearables to robotics
- Diverse IoT standards groups will start to consolidate as industry begins maturing
- System Perf demands will move NFV from software on server to tightly coupled hardware accelerators
So what do you think, does ARM have it right? Do you have any predictions about smartphones, IoT or wearables for 2015?