Intel, ARM Go to War Over Mobile Market

Dennis Faas's picture

The rivalry between processor makers Intel and ARM is heating up and that may mean cheaper prices on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

Historically, both firms have been dominant in very different markets. Most laptop PCs use Intel processors that are very powerful but drain a battery in just a few hours.

Meanwhile, cellphones and smartphones most commonly run processors based on ARM technology. These processors are less powerful, thereby restricting the range of functions available on the device. However, they also place less pressure on a device's battery.

The line between these companies and their target audiences has been blurred with the rapid expansion of the tablet computer market. These devices seek a balance between power and portability, thereby providing both ARM and Intel with new challenges.

Now, Intel is trying to break down those barriers. Its new 'Haswell' chips are designed to provide impressive computing performance without rapidly draining away battery life.

Hybrid Tablets-Laptops Could Take Off

The idea is that computers using the new Haswell chips will feature battery life closer to that of a tablet, but be able to run full-blown versions of popular software packages.

Intel says the processors will be the key component behind new 2-in-1 devices that feature a touchscreen display and detachable keyboard. (Source:

Intel is also touting a new range of processors dubbed 'Merrifield' that are made for tablets and smartphones. It says that, compared with previous models, the new processors offer better performance and help extend battery life.

New Processors Support LTE 4G Mobile Broadband

Another key difference with the Merrifield processors is that they come with built-in support for high-speed LTE 4G broadband technology. (Source:

For consumers, this could mean a better selection of mobile devices that meet their budget limitations.

In the long run experts suggest it's possible competition between Intel and ARM will result in significant price drops. However, it's worth keeping in mind that the processor only makes up a small portion of the total cost of a device.

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