ARM tipped for netbooks  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

Netbooks using ARM's high-end "Cortex-A" family of processor cores will begin appearing soon in netbooks, an ARM executive is reported as saying. Rob Coombs, ARM's director of mobile solutions, says to "expect announcements in the next few months," as quoted by ZDNet UK.

The netbook category was, of course, christened by ARM's chief rival, Intel, which coined the moniker for low-cost sub-notebooks that use low-powered x86 processors such as the A110 or Atom. Future "netbooks" based on ARM cores would run on Linux, Windows Mobile, or Windows CE, but not Windows XP or Vista, unless Microsoft chose to port to the architecture. Meanwhile, the market for smaller MIDs (mobile Internet devices) will be dominated by ARM, despite Atom and other new lower-powered x86 processors, according to a June report on the MID market from Forward Concepts.

"In the future, we're going to be in netbooks," Coombs is reported as saying. Products, which may offer "gigahertz speeds," will be based first on ARM's Cortex-A8 processor, and later on the company's multicore Cortex-A9, Coombs is said to have added.

According to writer David Meyer, Coombs did not name any manufacturers who are preparing to release Cortex netbooks, instead referencing ARM's published list of licensees. Chipmakers licensed to produce Cortex-A9 CPUs are NEC, Nvidia, STmicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba, ARM says. Meanwhile, those licensed to produce Cortex-A8 products are Broadcom, Freescale, Matsushita, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and PMC-Sierra, adds ARM.

ARM tipped for netbooks

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Out of the above, Nvidia may be the likeliest candidate to extend Cortex technology into netbooks, since it has already started combining its notebook graphics processors with ARM cores, in SoCs aimed at the "mobile" market. The chipmaker in February launched the 600MHz

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This entry was posted on 1:22 AM .