It's difficult not to be wowed by ARM's latest offering, the Cortex A15, an architecture so powerful that it makes ARM's current mainstream chip family, the Cortex A8, look positively archaic.
By 2012 ARM posits, a dual Cortex A15 will be around four times more powerful than a Cortex A8 SoC; this is a conservative number given that each licensee will be looking to improve performance and power consumption.
Oh, and the fact that the Cortex A15 can scale up to 16 cores and reach speeds of up to 2.5GHz means that it will offer the kind of flexibility that will make it a rival for Intel on all fronts including desktops and servers.
One year ago, during an interview with Eric Schorn, the VP Marketing at ARM's processor division, we found out that a 2GHz Cortex-A9 could reach a score of up to to 10,500 on the Coremark benchmark.
The only silver lining for Intel is that it is now aware of the roadmap of its competitor for the next four years or so and can therefore allocate resources, both financial and human, accordingly.
Either way, Intel can only lose; making the Atom processor range more powerful will make its classic entry level range obsolete and redundant; slapping an expensive price tag will make it unattractive to manufacturers and slashing prices will have a negative effect on Intel's eye-popping profitability.
Worse, it cannot even buy ARM because (a) other manufacturers would probably outbid Intel (b) any acquisition will be ruled anti-competitive.