ARM unconvinced of tablet boom

Arm boss "tenpole" Tudor Brown reckons Apple's iPad success doesn't necessarily herald a rosy outlook for tablet PCs of any flavour over the coming years.

It's "too early to tell" Brown told the Financial Times in an interview at the Computex trade show in Taiwan last week.

"It’s an interesting market. What we have to be very careful of is projecting just how big that particular part of the market is going to be, because it’s very early days since any of these tablets have been on the market," the president of the Cambridge-based chip design firm said.

"We’re actually into a period of experimentation at the market level, and I’m expecting to see a range of devices ... maybe we’ll see more tablets, different user interfaces, and different ways people are going to use them. But, from where I’m sitting right now, I think it’s too early to make wild predictions.” Brown sagely cautioned.

Given the kerfuffle Apple's iPad caused even before it was launched, it's hardly surprising the firm has managed to flog more than two million of the things already.

But the proof of the pudding, as ever, will be in the eating. And it's still possible that mountains of the flat-tops will gather dust in magazine racks, lost under piles of traditional newspapers and books, while Jimmy and Nancy Ordinary stick to Facebook and gaming on the PC in the back bedroom.

The mobile phone, meanwhile, remains proven technology and Arm has chip designs in some 85 per cent of these devices.

Last week Arm also joined the likes of IBM, TI Freescale, Samsung and ST-Ericsson to push Linaro, a development of Linux for mobile phones and digital-convergent tellies, as well as... tablets.

Just in case.