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Arm-based Notebook PC Processor Shipments Jump Five-fold

by User Not Found | Aug 12, 2021

Despite their dominance in smartphone and tablet markets, Arm-based mobile processor vendors have long struggled to break into the notebook computing market. This can be attributed to a lack of strong software support, performance advantage versus x86 and channel support. In addition, until 2014, Intel has had an edge in semiconductor process technology, which is crucial in offering higher computing power by packing more transistors. However, Arm-based foundries TSMC and Samsung Foundry matched and even overtook Intel in recent years, enabling the Arm-based chip ecosystem to offer more computing power.

Arm-based vendors now widely participate in iOS, Mac OS, Android, Windows and Chromebook ecosystems. In 2020, Apple gave a much-needed boost to Arm camp with its Apple Silicon M1. Apple has started replacing Intel's x86-based chips in its laptops and desktops with an in-house Apple Silicon M1 processor. Strategy Analytics predicts mobile computing wars will heat up further as Arm-based vendors Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung LS, among others expand their offerings to address the notebook computing market.

Driven by breakthrough improvements in transistor technologies and CPU performance, Arm-based vendors finally made a dent in the notebook computing market in 2020. For example, Arm's latest Cortex-A710 offers over two-fold performance compared to 2018's Cortex-A75. Apple carried the torch for Arm-based companies with its Apple Silicon M1 processor in 2020. In addition, MediaTek capitalised on its early mover advantage in the Chrome OS ecosystem to gain market share.

Aug 13 Mobile Computing SA

In recent years, the smartphone industry has seen an accelerated semiconductor process, CPU, GPU and modem technology introductions and these developments have enabled the Arm chip ecosystem to improve performance by leaps and bounds while preserving battery life. We estimate Arm-based chips had 100 percent share and 89 percent share in smartphone and tablet applications processor markets, respectively, in 2020.  However, in notebooks Arm-based companies captured less than 10 percent share in 2020. Despite working closely with Microsoft on Windows 10 notebooks, Qualcomm posted negligible shipments so far, by our estimates.

  • We estimate that Arm-based smartphone, tablet and notebook computing chip revenue grew 27 percent to approximately $28 billion in 2020. In comparison, the dominant x86 vendor had Intel around $25 billion in revenue from notebook and tablet computing chips in 2020. Arm-based notebook computing chips grew nine-fold in revenue terms and five-fold in unit terms in 2020, by our estimates.
  • We estimate that notebook computing chips accounted for just 1 percent of total Arm-based computing revenue in 2020. However, we expect this revenue to grow significantly, thanks to Apple's M-series, Qualcomm's Nuvia CPU cores, MediaTek's partnership with NVIDIA on RTX GPU cores, Samsung's partnership with AMD on RDNA 2 GPU cores, Google's Tensor and Arm v9.
  • Qualcomm, Apple and MediaTek together captured almost three-fourths of mobile computing chip revenue share in 2020.

Our latest reports discuss Arm-based mobile computing market size, market share (unit and revenue) by device and by the operating system. Please let us know if you would like to explore this topic in detail.

Sravan Kundojjala

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