British chip giant ARM is looking to head American Johnny-come-lately Intel off at the pass, planning a deal with Google to shift the company's Google TV devices off x86 and on to RISC.
The talks, which were reported by TechWorld today, would see the Google TV reference design moved away from Intel's CE4100 Atom-based processor, which the company markets for embedded use in consumer electronic devices, and on to one of ARM's many low-power chip designs.
It's a deal that makes sense: Google TV is based on the company's Android mobile platform, which is already designed to run on the ARM processors found in the vast majority of smartphones on the market today. ARM chips also draw less power and run cooler than the equivalents from Intel, meaning that manufacturers can make smaller, more eco-friendly devices.
Speaking at a conference in Taipei today, president of ARM Tudor Brown confirmed that the company is talking to Google, but declared that "we have nothing to announce right now."
Brown went on to suggest that "if Google TV is to be mainstream, it must be built on a lower power system [...] on lower cost technology," two things which he believes ARM designs are well positioned to deliver.
If a deal is reached between the two companies, it would spell bad news for Intel. The company has been recently pushing its low-power Atom processors at markets where ARM has an overwhelming majority share, and to lose a deal as potentially large as the Google TV platform will set the company back significantly.
Reviewers who have had a fiddle with Google TV thus far think it a bit crap.