ARM says new chips have enough power to gain ground in laptops

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(Bloomberg) -- ARM Holdings Plc, whose chip technology underpins all modern smartphones, said a new design will provide a leap forward in performance and help it gain a foothold in larger-scale computing, where it will compete with Intel Corp.

The Cortex-A76 processor will perform most tasks 35 percent faster than its predecessor, the company said Thursday at an event in San Francisco. In laptop PCs, that will let processors using ARM technology drive performance that’s as good as Intel-based machines and go much longer between battery charges.

“For the end user, it’s going to be a combination of no-compromise performance and truly all-day battery life,” said Rene Haas, president of ARM’s IP products group.

ARM, part of Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. since 2016, is trying to deliver on a promise to spread its dominance of the mobile market into other areas of the electronics industry. The computer business, where most machines are run by more expensive processors from Intel, has so far proven tough to crack. Several attempts by chipmakers using ARM’s designs have failed to gain traction against Intel’s X86 technology. Intel has about 95 percent revenue share in PC processors, and nine out of every 10 laptops are based on an Intel chip.

ARM’s latest attempt to muscle in on Intel began last year when PC makers began offering laptops based on Qualcomm Inc. processors using ARM technology. That effort, which has Microsoft Corp.’s support, is based on a mobile-phone chip. Reviewers have praised the battery life of devices, while saying that the performance lagged behind. Qualcomm has pledged more powerful future chips for laptops.

Apple Inc., Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co. and many other companies either license ARM’s fundamental technology or pay for its chip designs, giving the company a unique reach. It’s had the most success in the smartphone market, where all of the major components of handsets depend on its inventions.

U.K.-based ARM is also offering new graphics and video-processing chip designs. In the future, even phones will need the capability to drive large-screen, high-definition televisions and monitors, according to Haas.

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