Electronic – Why are smartphones and tablets ARM based


Why don't these devices use Intel processors like laptops do? Why are they restricted to ARM?

Also for Windows 8, do they want ARM just for tablets and smartphones or is it also for laptops/desktops (is that even possible)?

Best Answer

Today ARM processors have a big advantage in mobile devices: they need less energy in order to work. This is very important in smartphones and tablets because the technology of the batteries is always the same and so if you want to increase the autonomy of these devices you need components that use less power. For now, Intel is some steps behind in power usage, so manufacturers prefer to use ARM CPUs in mobile devices. This is mainly due to the retrocompatibility of the x86 architecture that Intel is forced to maintain. This involves a higher number of transistors and the more transistors, the more power needed. Intel is investing a lot in this sector and today some devices are starting to use its processor (Motorola RAZR i, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1).

For now Intel processors have better performance and so are preferred in laptops and desktops to ARM. ARM is growing fast and I think that in the future its processors will also be used in laptops (that have more benefits than desktops in reduced power consumption) and finally in desktops.

For now Intel wins in performance and ARM wins in consumption but they are working hard to reduce their gaps. Intel also has the best manufacturing process in the world and this is a great advantage that allows to them to reduce the gap from ARM in power consumption.