Pretty much every top smartphone this year, from the Galaxy S4 to the iPhone 5S, has been powered by ARM's efficiently designed chips.The Altera chip is destined for high-end networking and communication equipment, meaning you shouldn't look for it to take on consumer-facing chips. But it is a significant step forward in Intel/ARM relations and Intel's hopes for mobile.
Intel partner Altera announced at the ARM developers' conference yesterday that the world's largest semiconductor chip maker will start manufacturing 64-bit ARM chips beginning in 2014, reports Forbes. The move brings Intel's chipmaking prowess to the most popular architecture for mobile devices and could prove to make Intel a foundry option for Apple and its custom A-series chips for its iOS devices at some point in the future.
“It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bits processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat,” explains Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.Apple notably signed a three-year deal in June with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to produce A-series Chips for future iOS devices beginning in 2014, with the move seen as a part of Apple's strategy to move away from rival Samsung for component supplies. However, Samsung was soon after reported to have landed another deal to produce chips for Apple beginning with the A9 in 2015. According to a report in June, Samsung will also remain involved in next year's A8 chip family, with TSMC handling 60 to 70 percent of the manufacturing load and Samsung picking up the remainder.
“Intel will build Apple's, 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.