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ARM processor runs applications in some Intel-based PCs, claims executive

February 10, 2009 //

Some PC makers are using an Intel processor to provide compatibility with the Windows operating system but finding ways to let an ARM processor run key applications for the sake of its power efficiency and the resulting longer battery life for the computer, according to ARM CEO, Warren East.


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LONDON As the terminology has shifted around ultramobile PCs, mobile internet devices (MIDs) and netbooks, some may have made the assumption that any given PC would be powered by either an Intel processor or one designed by ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) and implemented by one of its semiconductor licenses.

In turns out that assumption is too simplistic. Some PC makers are using an Intel processor to run the Windows operating system but finding ways to let an ARM processor run some key applications for the sake of its power efficiency and the resulting longer battery life for the computer.

Warren East, president and CEO of ARM, told analysts at a meeting held to discuss the company's financial results that his company's collaborative work with software vendors to port specific applications to ARM's processor cores was yielding results in both mobile internet devices and in PCs.

"[There are] interesting hybrid products where PCs are adopting our technology alongside Intel technology for functions such as the Internet and for email, because that gives you a much longer battery life as a user," said East. East gave the Dell Latitude ON E4200 laptop computer as an example of the Intel-ARM hybrid twin-processor approach. East said the computer uses an ARM processor for email and Internet access when running the Linux operating system, but qualified this by saying "according to industry reports."

The Dell Latitude ON E4200 specification sheet boasts of "all-day mobile computing" saying that it is dependent on the "configuration" of the computer but does not mention an ARM processor implementation. The processor is described as an Intel Core2 Duo ultra low voltage processor running at 1.40-GHz and with 3-Mbytes of level-2 cache memory.

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