ARM announces future roadmap

British chip shop ARM has given us a vision of the future with three new chip designs in the pipeline code-named Eagle, Heron and Merlin.

Hoping to take on the burgeoning netbook market currently dominated by Intel's Atom chipsets, the plucky little chip IP and design company, which is reported to be heavily involved in the silicon for Apple's forthcoming iPad tablet device, revealed its plans in a financial conference call recently.

ARM, which has more licensed chips in mobile devices than perhaps any other company on the planet, is planning on putting the 2GHz Cortex A9-based Eagle chips into smartphones and other portable systems as early as 2012. The Heron and Marlin designs will be used in cars and industrial machinery among other things.

Until now the company has struggled to break into the mainstream computing market because most people want a familiar operating system, and ARM architecture has never supported Windows.

ARM recently announced that its bottom line had taken a beating to the tune of 10 per cent, but wasn't too bothered about that as the rest of the microprocessor industry was down by an average of 20 per cent.