An ARM processor is a specific type of computer processor designed according to a model developed by ARM Holdings PLC. This processor design is described as a reduced instruction set computing (RISC) design, where a simplified central processing unit (CPU) design accommodates higher performance. The first ARM processor-based computer was the Acorn Archimedes, released in 1987. ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machines.
ARM processors are microprocessors and are widely used in many of the mobile phones sold each year, as many as 98% of mobile phones. They are also used in PDAs (personal digital assistants), digital media and music layers, handheld gaming systems, calculators, and even computer hard drives.
Apple Computer became involved with helping to improve the ARM technology in the late 1980s, with their work resulting in the ARM6 technology in 1992. Later, Acorn used the ARM6-based ARM 610 processor in their RISC PC's in 1994. The latest developed ARM processor families include ARM11 and Cortex. ARM processors capable of 64-bit processing are currently in development.
The ARM architecture is licensed to Apple, Cirrus Logic, Intel, LG, Microsoft, NEC, Nintendo, Nvidia, Sony, Samsung, Texas Instruments, and many more.
It is remarkable how many products these days contain chips, and many of those will include an ARM, and it is going to dominate in the future also.
So, why there are roughly 40 billion out there use ARM processors?
ARM processors are usually used when low power consumption is desired. The majority of smartphones and tablets use ARM processors because they are required to run on battery for many hours of usage. One could find ARM processors in the "heart" of controller systems, ranging from network routers to network storage drives. They are also used in some portable gaming consoles, such as Nintendo 3DS. Another popular ARM implementation is the Raspberry Pi series. The ARM processor’s smaller size, reduced complexity, and lower power consumption makes them suitable for increasingly miniaturized devices.
So, ARM is going to remain as the embedded market leader. ARM is constantly striving hard to produce cores with lowest power consumption, smallest footprint catering to various application segments. The fact that this has been achieved with a 32-bit architecture when most of the competition at the top end has migrated to 64 bits is a testimony to the ARM architecture.
ARM is moving into the server market, a move that represents a large change in direction and hedging of bets on performance-per-watt over raw compute power. AMD offers 8-core versions of ARM processors for its Opteron series of processors.
An ARM server uses perhaps hundreds of smaller, less sophisticated, low-power processors that share processing tasks among that large number instead of just a few higher-capacity processors. This approach is sometimes referred to as “scaling out,” in contrast with the “scaling up” of x86-based servers.
Applications in robotics like the ARM Rubik’s Speedcuber are gaining popularity. With the rising popularity of smartphones as their market penetration increases, the ARM cores are gaining more popularity with giants like Google, HTC, Nokia, Adobe, Acer, Nvidia, Motorola, LG and many others all set to standardize the ARM processors for the operating system Android.
With each milestone that the ARM processors achieve, they are being pitted against the x86 platforms. ARM architecture seems to be a very promising venture for the present and the future. ARMs have certainly provided strength to our advanced digital products and the dream to make them available to the public at affordable pricing.