Chipmaker battles hot up at Vegas consumer show

FASTER and more powerful mobile phone technology became the focus of Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) yesterday, as microchip makers battled to show off the designs they hope will be used in the next generation of smartphones.

Two US processor manufacturers – Qualcomm and Intel – have both unveiled their latest mobile microchips, in events that will be carefully watched by Cambridge-based smartphone chip designer ARM Holdings.

Qualcomm – after hosting CES’s opening keynote on Monday night – yesterday showcased its new top of the range processors, which are based on licensed ARM technology, while Intel renewed its push into the FTSE 100 company’s territory by reiterating its plans to make a dent in the smartphone market.

Intel has long been renowned for its computer processors, but as PC sales decline, it has made efforts to push into designing chips for mobile devices.

Processors for smartphones are seeing rapidly increasing demand as sales rocket in emerging economies and high-end handset manufacturers demand ever more power and efficiency.

The City did not appear fazed by Intel’s words however, as ARM shares rose 1.15 per cent in trading yesterday, despite analyst warnings that Intel could muscle in on its core business.

“While ARM’s valuations continue to suggest that it will remain a monopoly in the smartphone and tablet markets while taking share in the notebook and server segments, we expect Intel to gradually take greater share in both smartphones and tablets while defending share in the notebook segment,” Liberum Capital analyst Eoin Lambe said.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2013 ROUNDUP

Sony unveils waterproof phone
Japanese firm Sony unveiled its latest smartphone in a bid to make an impression on the smartphone market, where it has failed to gain much momentum. The Sony Xperia Z’s unique feature is that it can be used in the bath or the shower without it breaking.

Firefox mobile software this year
Mozilla, the software company best known for its Firefox web browser, promised that a Firefox smartphone operating system will be released later this year. The free software is likely to feature on cheap smartphones in developing economies.

Microsoft at 60m Windows 8 sales
Microsoft said yesterday that it had sold 60m licences for its new operating system, Windows 8, and that the software was selling at a rate equal to that of its last desktop computer software, Windows 7. Other industry data has suggested poor sales.

Chinese firms eye expansion
Huawei and ZTE both unveiled new high-end smartphones, in a bid to expand beyond their established Asian markets into Europe and the US. Huawei in particular caught the eye, showcasing a device featuring a 6.1-inch screen – the biggest seen on a smartphone.