Archive for April, 2010

Apple To Bid For Phone Chip Maker ARM?

Chip designer ARM Holdings has come under the market spotlight as rumours do the rounds that it could be an acquisition target for Apple.

The Cambridge,UK based firm, whose microchips can be found in most of the world’s mobile phones, including Apple’s iPhone, would likely cost more than £3bn according to reports, such as one on Techradar.com this morning.

Shares in ARM are currently hovering around the unchanged mark at 250.2p but had pushed up to 255.4p earlier today.

Arm Holdings has grown into a multibillion-pound business with 1,700 employees worldwide. Last year almost 4bn chips based on Arm’s designs were shipped worldwide. Consumer demand for smartphones means that Arm is getting more and more of its designs into phones. In the last quarter of 2009 the company was averaging 2.4 chips per handset.

Arm and Apple go way back. Arm is a product of the home-computing boom of the 1980s that pitted Acorn against Sinclair. Having used off-the-shelf processors to power its early models, Acorn decided to create its own microprocessor for a new range of computers with a Californian silicon company called VLSI Technology, and in 1983 the Acorn Risc Machine (Arm) project was born. The chip was a success, but the products Acorn built around it were not. But the chip also met the requirements of Apple and in 1990, Arm was spun off as a separate company with Acorn, Apple and VLSI as founding shareholders.

Part of the reasoning behind the Apple rumours is that as smartphones get smarter, they will need more of Arm’s designs. Having said that, Apple now owns its own chip designer – PA Semi.

Apple has declined to comment on the rumour while ARM could not be reached for comment.

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Dell Phones Leak Reveal…

New top of the range handsets from computer giant Dell have been leaked online to blog Engadget. The Lightning, a phone running the forthcoming Windows 7 mobile operating system, and the Google Android-based Thunder are both due out in America later this year, although no UK dates have yet been announced.

The Thunder features a 4.1” OLED screen, ties into social networks Facebook and Twitter, and also uses a new interface developed by Dell to extend the capabilities of the Google Android OS. According to Engadget it borrows in part from the HTC Sense style of interface. It also runs Adobe Flash 10.1, features an 8mp camera and, in the US at least, will offer a built-in app to integrate video service Hulu.

The Windows-based Lightning has a similar set of features, although it also includes a slide-out keyboard. A fast, 1ghz Snapdragon processor and a 5mp camera, however looks set to make it one of the premium Windows Phone devices when it launches at the end of the year. It will offer Flash, too, which is not currently slated for the first release of the new Windows Phone OS. Towards the end of 2011, too, the handset is likely to get an upgrade to LTE, the new wireless standard.

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3G Handset Growth Up 40 Percent in 2010

­According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global 3G WCDMA handset shipments will grow an impressive 40 percent during 2010. The growth will be fueled by strong demand for high-tier smartphones in mature regions and by shipments of entry-level models in emerging markets. The United States will be the world’s largest 3G country this year.

Alex Spektor, Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “We forecast global 3G WCDMA handset shipments to grow an impressive 40 percent to 358 million units during 2010. The growth will be fueled by strong demand for high-tier smartphones and feature phones in mature regions such as the United States, and by shipments of lower-cost entry-level models for prepaid users in emerging markets like China and India.”

Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The United States will be the world’s largest 3G country in 2010. Shipments in the US will far exceed those of other established 3G markets such as Japan, Italy and the UK. Vendors with a strong operator presence in the United States, such as Samsung and Apple, are in a good position to profit from the surging revenues in 3G handsets and data services that will take place this year.”

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