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ARM hopes to power 50% of mobile PCs by 2015

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Not content just to dominate smartphones, chip maker ARM is expecting chips based on its processor designs to power half of the mobile PC market (which includes tablets, netbooks, and the like) by 2015, PCWorld reports.

But the company is surely going to face heavy competition from Intel, which is gearing up to make mobile chips an integral part of its plans, after seemingly ignoring the mobile market for years.

ARM licenses its chip designs to companies like Samsung and Nvidia. For example, Nvidia’s Tegra 2 mobile chip, which is currently found on a slew of Android tablets and smartphones, is based on a dual-core ARM processor design. Even Apple’s A4 and A5 chips (which are developed by Apple and manufactured by Samsung, and which power the iPad and iPhone 4) have ARM CPUs at their core.

“Today we have about 10 percent market share [in mobile PCs]. By the end of 2011 we believe we will have about 15 percent of that market share as tablets grow,” ARM president Tudor Brown said today at Computex in Taipei. “By 2015, we expect that to be over 50 percent of the mobile PC market.”

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it’s developing a  version of Windows compatible with ARM processors. Such a move would make Windows more suitable for use in tablets and other mobile PCs. It’s a big shift for Microsoft, a company that has mostly relied on Intel processors in the past, and it could end up being a coup for ARM’s market share.

Rumors have also surfaced recently that Apple may replace Intel chips for all of its laptops with ARM-based chips — but I think that’s crazy. More likely, Apple could eventually release an ARM-powered MacBook Air in the future, since the low-power nature of ARM chips would be perfect for a thin ultraportable like the Air.

ARM’s upcoming Cortex A15 processor design is said to be five times faster than current mobile chips, and it’s expected to find its way into devices in early 2012.

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