ARM: Smartphones, tablets may become our main computers

— 1:37 PM on April 20, 2011

Even ARM's fastest processor cores are no match for Sandy Bridge, but could their successors one day power smartphones that supplant our primary desktop and laptop computers? The folks at ARM certainly appear to see things that way. ARM executive James Bruce brought up the subject when speaking to TG Daily, and he didn't mince words.

"With our upcoming Cortex-A15 processor, we are definitely moving closer to the day when your smartphone or tablet can act as a primary computing device," Bruce is quoted as saying. "You can simply hook the smartphone or tablet up to an external monitor to watch a movie and presentation, while linking a mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth to work on an Office doc."

Bruce doesn't sound overly bullish, though. He told TG Daily that x86 computers aren't going anywhere just yet, and that the Cortex-A15 will power "accompanying" devices when it ships in late 2012 or early 2013. (According to a separate report by PC World, Cortex-A15-based chips will pack up to 16 cores and run as fast as 2.5GHz. Nvidia and TI have already licensed the design.)

I believe our own Scott Wasson made a similar prediction in one of our recent podcast episodes, but it's interesting to hear someone at ARM echo it. Certainly, with smartphones becoming increasingly powerful and their hardware migrating into even more capable tablets, the notion that our PCs might eventually be simple smartphone docks is starting to sound awfully plausible.

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