UK firm essential for millions of smartphones faces fierce competition

ARM makes millions of pounds by licensing its designs Credit: ITV News

In a small corner of the mammoth 1.8 million square foot CES 2013 show is a relatively understated stand showcasing the work of a relatively unheard of British company called ARM. But ARM's reach is anything but small.

In fact, there's a high chance that you're using ARM technology to read these very words right now. That's because ARM has designed processors that are in 95% of the world's smartphones and its technology is also found in many televisions, computers, tablets and even cars.

The company, which is based in Cambridge, doesn't actually manufacture anything but rather licenses its designs to the likes of:

  • Apple

  • Samsung

  • ASUS

  • HP

  • Dell

  • Fujitsu

You'll find those designs in the iPad, the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S3.

ITV News' Lewis Vaughan Jones reports:

Those licenses bring the company its core revenue. In 2011, eight billion ARM powered chips were put into devices around the world. For each of those chips, ARM gets a royalty.

Until now, ARM has been the designer of choice for most smartphone manufacturers because of the energy efficiency of its chips. But 2013 looks set to be a tough year for the company as Intel, undoubtedly ARMs biggest competitor, fights for a slice of the mobile market.

Last year saw the launch of the first Intel powered smartphone and the manufacturer has said that mobile is a key priority for the company in 2013.

In response, ARM is now spreading its wings and branching out into Intel's traditional arena - the server, the home PC and other performance hungry products.

The British company is facing increasing competition for a slice of the market Credit: ITV News

With demand for PCs declining and increasing consumer desire to be mobile, ARM should remain the forerunner for some time yet in the mobile market. But Intel are hot on their heels and the giant knows exactly where its investing its hefty research budget in 2013.

Read more about the gadgets being unveiled at the CES 2013 show in Las Vegas here.