Here’s something interesting that isn’t about the Nexus 5 – Intel are going to start building ARM chips as of next year, beginning with the Altera ARM Cortex-A53.
This is an interesting development for Intel, who up until now have been trying to convince everyone that x86 processors are just as good as ARM chips for mobile devices. No one’s been buying it, even though some pretty high-end tablets have been packing Intel cores. Without getting into the specifics of why (something about reduced instruction sets), ARM CPUs are much more battery friendly than desktop-class x86 CPUs and so are better suited for mobile devices. So much so that almost every mobile device on the market – Android, iOS and Windows Phone/RT – is powered by an ARM CPU.
The processor in question, the Altera ARM Cortex A53, is a quad-core 64-bit CPU – one of the first of its kind – and will be used to power boring old network equipment, rather than zippy new smartphones. Nonetheless, it’s a fairly symbolic decision from the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world, with Forbes willing to suggest that Intel are getting ready to compete with the big semiconductor foundries for the business of companies like NVIDIA or Qualcomm.