ARM has had one heck of a run in the past few years thanks to the modern day touchscreen mobile devices what encouraged them to make ever more powerful smartphones, and evolve at a rate seemingly even faster than Moore's Law (at least for now). ARM was already in somewhere around 98% of the world's phones even before the touchscreen smartphones arrived, but it wasn't until these past few years when they dared to dream to one day even threaten the mighty Intel.
That day is starting to get closer and closer with the imminent arrival of the new Cortex A15 chips, that promise significant performance improvements over Cortex A9, and ARM thinks it's even good enough to be used in servers for datacenters, where power consumption is one of the main worries.
But these chips will soon arrive in our smartphones and tablets as well, and perhaps even low-end laptops or hybrids (which is something that Asus is already doing with Transformer). Rumors were even suggesting some upcoming Chromebooks from Samsung that will use their own Exynos 5250 chip that has a dual core 2 Ghz Cortex A15 CPU and a Mali T604 GPU, which is also on a new architecture.
The Exynos 5250 is probably the only Cortex A15 chip we'll see shipping in devices this year. The TI OMAP 5 was supposed to arrive at the end of the year, too, but seeing how TI has experienced some delays with their OMAP line lately, I wouldn't bet on it arriving until early 2013.
Today, however, ARM is already giving us a glimpse of a slightly more distant future, one where we'll see these quad core 2 Ghz Cortex A15 chips. They've just announced its specification is ready, but I doubt we'll see it in devices until mid-2012 or later. Tegra 4 is also rumored to use a quad core Cortex A15 CPU next year, so that kind of confirms their availability for 2013.
It should also be the year when such quad core Cortex A15 chips will start to gain access to the mainstream population in low-end laptops or hybrids as well, and they should have more than enough performance with a slim OS like Android or iOS, considering most people already believe even last year's tablets were good enough performance wise to do most of their tasks.