ARM is the democratization of the CPU outside the Wintel paradigm. Every significant tech company, Samsung, Qualcomm, Cirrus, DEC, Sharp, Texus Instruments, Yamaha, LG, NEC, Nvidia, and even formerly Intel makes ARM processors. Instead of “Intel Inside”, the freedom and openness of the ARM architecture allows Apple to make their own ARM-based SoC (System-on-chip). Apple A4 CPU in the iPad is an example of an “Apple Inside” situation. There is nothing to stop a “Nintendo Inside”, “Dell Inside”, “Microsoft Inside”, “Google Inside”, “Qualcomm Inside”, or a “Sony Inside”. Any company can bypass the Intel paradigm, license the architecture for themselves, and design and build their own CPU to custom-fit their product. Just as importantly, the ARM licensing fee has been calculated to cost as little as 6.7 cents per chip.
Most crucially ARM allows fungibility of processors between manufacturers. For instance, Apple uses Samsung-sourced ARM processors in the iPhone, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon, the CPU used in the Nexus One, has been rumored for both the iPhone as well as iPad; ultimately Apple created their own ARM processor called the A4 for the iPad, and presumably will use variants of that chip for future iPhones and iPod devices as well. The end-user doesn’t know or care, they both function identically, but ARM offers real free market competition between manufacturers and real interchangeability between makers that keep prices down and quality up.
via Mobile Local Social – definitely worth a read.