The Big Blue and ARM have announced that they will be working together to develop a "comprehensive design platform" built on a 14nm manufacturing process.
The new partnership is an extension of their past collaboration, which started back in 2008. The new agreement however, will focus on building products that feature "low-power, high performance for advanced consumer electronics", with particular attention to the current Cortex-A9 processor cores and with both companies' eyes firmly set on the Cortex-A15.
Last year, ARM announced similar partnerships with Taiwan-based TSMC to make chips using manufacturing processes as small as 20nm, with Samsung to make ARM Cortex-A9 SoCs with a 32nm process and Global Foundries aiming to deliver 28nm products.
Working with the main foundries worldwide means that ARM can eliminate costly initial issues by matching its physical and processor IP to their manufacturing process. This should mean that licensees will be able to bring their products to the market faster than ever before.
Coincidentally, on the same day, IBM announced a joint development agreement with Toppan printing to bring out a photomask process, that will cover the 14nm technology node.
The deal will pile pressure on Intel who has yet to make any announcements on processes as thin as this one.
A few days ago, Intel CEO Paul Otellini confirmed that the company will be ramping up 22nm development as soon as possible but this is still a few months away from producing processors.
TSMC is the only major chip manufacturer that has confirmed that they are planning to go below the 14nm process. Many believe that the smallest technology node that manufacturers will hit is 11nm, before physical limitations of CMOS technology appear.