ARM's Simon Segars, general manager of processor and physical IP divisions, said that ARM-based 20 nm SoCs could be appearing in smartphones as early as late 2013. Given the fact that 28 nm chips are still in short supply, the move to 20 nm within 12 - 18 months is rather quick.
Intel is placing big bets on its manufacturing technology to compete with ARM chip makers. The current Medfield 32 nm will see a new 22 nm chip next year, which will be replaced again with a 14 nm SoC in 2014, according to Intel's roadmap.
"The whole industry is focused on moving to the next generation as soon as it's economically viable and technologically achievable," Segars told press at Computex in Taipei. There is no information to back up Segars' prediction, but it is common sense to expect such notes given ARM's huge exposure at this year's Computex as Windows RT arrives and a number of ARM-based Windows notebooks are shown. As ARM's profile grows, however, greater investments in manufacturing are likely and a 20 nm forecast for 2013 may not be so unrealistic.
ARM's revenue has been just $294.9 million for the first two quarters of its current fiscal year, but the IP company said that more than 1.9 billion processors based on its blueprints were shipped globally during the time. 1.1 billion chips went into mobile phones and tablets.