The Highlander battle among chip manufacturers has started anew . This time it’s among the makers of chips that run smartphones. Besides initiating a new round of cutthroat competition, this battle suggests that computing is undergoing a substantive conceptual shift--from units that are all powerful to ones that are strategically powerful.
The objective is to make more powerful chips that consume less energy, and take up less space, with the intent of creating products that are smaller and less functional than their PC brethren, but are more in-tune to the particular needs of their users. The big players include the well known, such as Intel, ARM, Samsung, AMD, and Apple, and the lesser known, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Microelectroincs, and GlobalFoundaries. The money being spent in this competition totals in the tens of billions.
These chips are prevalent in smartphones, and they are working their way into netbooks, tablets and eReaders, where the current PC processor OS restriction doesn’t apply. This means that a whole new world of computing potential will be showcased as this little war plays itself out. It also means there will be some multi-billion dollar casualties along the way.
Suggested by this is the concept of computing shifting to address the particular, rather than the general, needs of users. If this market becomes economically attractive it might lead to a decrease in attention to the higher end, which in turn could mean slower development of the ‘hot’ technology that currently drives the market.
Image Credit: Apple Computer