Yesterday an announcement came from Intel partner Altera at the ARM developer’s conference, which states that Intel will start making ARM-based chips starting from 2014. The first of these chips will be Altera Stratix 10 SoC, powered by 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 Quad Core CPU.
It is important to note Intel is manufacturing these chips to Altera, not to sell itself like it does Intel x86-64 chips used in traditional computing. Intel will manufacture the chip for Altera on its most advanced 14-nanometer manufacturing process. These processors are meant for networking equipment only and won’t be compete with companies like Qualcomm and Samsung for smartphones.
This is a significant move on the part of Intel. While Intel is simply manufacturing the chips for someone else, it is not too far fetched to see Intel play a bigger role in the ARM world going forward. Intel said on other occasions that it is willing to produce custom chips for companies, given that those chips do not directly compete with Intel products.
“Intel will build Apple’s Apple’s A7, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or the Nvidia Tegra for the right price. Now, the question is, are they ready to pay that premium and feed their direct competitor, except for Apple. But that would actually make business sense for everyone,” adds Brookwood.
Intel later on confirmed it as well, stating,
“Altera and Intel are pleased with the early results of the relationship between the companies and this announcement from Altera is consistent with the agreement we announced earlier this year. We have said that we will be open to manufacturing competitive architectures and would evaluate them on a case by case basis.”
We feel Intel moving into the ARM world is significant; Intel is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, chip manufacturers in the world and them entering a world dominated by the likes of Samsung will indeed change market dynamics, thanks to their expertise in manufacturing and capacity to meet large demand. Let’s see what happens going forward.