Will small, powerful, connected-to-everything devices running on non-Intel silicon become the personal computer? The CEO of graphics-chip supplier Nvidia thinks so.
The sentiment, voiced at the company's annual conference this week by chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang, has been expressed before. And like any strong strategy statement from a Silicon Valley CEO, it's self-serving. Nvidia is staking a good chunk of its future--as much as half of its business--on chips based on the ARM design.
But that doesn't mean Huang has got it all wrong, either. Indeed, ARM-based devices such as Apple's iPhone and iPad, Motorola's Droid, Research In Motion's BlackBerry, and countless future smartphones and tablets from Motorola, RIM, Apple, and others will use the ARM chip design. "ARM is the fastest-growing CPU (processor) in the world today. It's the instruction set architecture of choice of mobile computing," Huang said. "It is very clear now that mobile computing will be a completely disruptive force to all of computing."
Huang continued. "This (smartphone) is the first computer that is equipped with all kinds of sensors, cameras, microphones, GPSs, and accelerometers. This is the first computer that's context aware. Situation aware. Who knows, someday it may be self-aware," he said.
Huang raises interesting questions about the future. Will a future PC be a powerful, multi-core-CPU handheld device that wirelessly connects to large displays and a host of other devices--so the PC is carried around in your pocket or small satchel and then connects on the fly to larger devices and/or peripherals?
But the ARM-based vision also presumes that the largest chipmaker in the world, Intel, is standing still. Which it isn't.… Read more