As the electronic industry has been steered by iPhone in the realms of pocket computing, more and more demand for higher processing power is driving ARM and Intel on the path of collision. Touch pads and tablets are the growing PC markets now and are becoming more in demand, and so are the applications and software compatible with them. Gaming industry is moving towards ARM because of the processing power, low battery consumption and low heat release. These features are strongly favoring ARM’s entry in the PC arena. ARM’s strong presence in mobile market also marks an interesting benefit for Apple and Google, that they can afford to make software only for one type of processors, giving them the benefit on economies of scale, bringing cost benefit and higher profitability. This looks like the sustainable advantage from ARM’s point of view, with proof coming from MS’s acceptance to ARM.
Intel, with its 3D architecture, certainly has the first mover’s advantage and its effect can be seen on smaller players like Soitec from the mobile industry. This can be seen as a strategic move targeted from Intel to establish itself as the main competitor of ARM, as Intel has the pocket to play on pricing, initially to enter in this arena. From PC industry’s point of view this can be seen as a retention move, helping Intel to maintain its dominance, at the same time attracting Apple and Google to start manufacturing tablets and PCs on Intel’s high performing chips which are power efficient too. In this way it is not only creating a “barrier to entry” for the competitors but also creating a “barrier to leave” Intel’s umbrella of chips, which promises innovation.
“Is more processing power still the need or the power efficiency will rule the future?” Answer to which, only time can tell, but for now Intel does seem to have a sustainable advantage.