One of the winners of the mobile revolution has been ARM Holdings, which designs microchips for a variety of devices, from smartphones to fridges to cars.
ARM chips have become popular over the past decade for their relatively low power consumption, which is especially crucial for portable, battery-operated devices. (Intel, which is still the dominant chip company for desktop, laptop, and server PCs, has missed most of this trend. But it has kept trying.)
And as the “internet of everything” has expanded beyond phones to smart cards, wearable devices, and embedded sensors, the number of chips containing ARM processors has soared—to 12 billion in 2014, roughly double the units shipped in 2010.
ARM’s year-end presentation for 2014 (pdf) outlines an even larger addressable market of about 33 billion chips, ranging from smartphones, where its market share is strong, to networking infrastructure, where it is weak.
And ARM expects that total market to roughly double again, to 60 billion chips in 2020, with tiny “microcontroller” computers, smart cards, and “embedded connectivity” chips—network access for the internet of things—leading its growth.