ARM's Eagle Chip Will Spread Wings, in a While

When ARM Holdings executives announced a new chip called Eagle, they couldn’t exactly say it has landed. But they weren’t shy about suggesting that the fledgling design could help the British company eventually fly into some new markets.

Unlike rivals such as Intel (INTC), ARM doesn’t turn its creations into products. Rather it licenses the equivalent of technology recipes to manufacturers, which add their own ingredients and cook up chips for a wide array of applications. The best known is cellphones, a market that ARM pretty much owns.

ARM CEO Warren East, speaking at a gathering on San Francisco’s waterfront Wednesday night, estimated that his company’s customers have cumulatively shipped 20 billion processor “cores”–the equivalent of electronic brains–since the company began operations nearly 20 years ago. And it’s not stopping there; East predicted that figure will hit 100 billion over the next decade. “We have barely scratched the surface,” he said.

The company said the new chip, formally called the Cortex-A15, will offer a five-fold jump in computing power. Among other changes to drive higher performance, the chip is expected to operate at 2.5 gigahertz, compared with a 1-gigahertz peak for ARM chips now used in the most advanced smartphones.

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