Nvidia turned more than a few heads earlier this year at CES when it announced plans to develop its own graphics-enabled microprocessor (MPU) using ARM technology, a decision that so far has been met with optimism by industry analysts, including iSuppli's Matthew Wilkins.
"Nvidia's entry into the microprocessor segment makes sense, despite the current market dominance of Intel and AMD," said Matthew Wilkins , principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS. "In notebook PCs alone, IHS iSuppli research forecasts the penetration rate for graphics-enabled MPUs will increase to 82.9 percent by 2014, up from 39 percent in 2010. This presents an opening for Nvidia to make inroads into the MPU market."
The obvious challenge here is in software. Nvidia has steadfastly denied plans to develop a x86 processor, and going with ARM's architecture will prove an uphill battle, albeit not as steep as, say, 12 months ago. Microsoft is building a version of Windows for ARM hardware, and also plans to port its Office productivity suite over as well. Between Nvidia's hardware and Microsoft's software support, it's conceivable that developers will make the jump without dragging their feet.
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