Picture: 123RF/SASHKIN7
Picture: 123RF/SASHKIN7

London — Arm unveiled the biggest overhaul of its technology in almost a decade, with new designs targeting markets currently dominated by Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker.

The Cambridge, UK-based company is adding capabilities to help chips handle machine learning, a powerful type of artificial intelligence (AI) software. Extra security features will lock down data and computer code more.

The new blueprints should also deliver 30% performance increases over the next two generations of processors for mobile devices and data centre servers, said Arm, which is being acquired by Nvidia.

The upgrades are needed to support the spread of computing beyond phones, PCs and servers, Arm said. Thousands of devices and appliances are being connected to the internet and gaining new capabilities through the addition of more chips and AI-powered software and services. The company wants its technology to be just as ubiquitous here as it is in the smartphone industry.

“As we look towards a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come,” said Arm CEO Simon Segars.

Arm sells processor designs and licenses an instruction set — code that controls semiconductors — to companies such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm. Arm’s technology is pervasive in the smartphone industry and is gaining a foothold in other markets such as personal computers and servers.

Intel dominates the markets for PC and server processors. But that grip is slipping as customers such as Amazon increasingly design their own chips using Arm technology. With the launch of its new Armv9 architecture, Arm is trying to cement its current position while giving customers tools to compete better with Intel.

Softbank is selling Arm to Nvidia for $40bn. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval. Some Arm customers are protesting the transaction, Bloomberg has reported.



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