ARM's Q1 Profit Rises 10 Percent On Mobile Processor Sales

ARM’s financial earnings report for the first quarter of 2011 through March 31 included its highest-ever revenues and profits, which ARM attributed to its manufacturing partners’ increased sales of mobile devices that feature ARM’s processor designs.

ARM, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, registered a 10 percent rise in net profit to £21.5 million, roughly $35.6 million, and a 29 percent increase in revenue year-over-year from $143.3 million to $185.5 million.

“Shipments of ARM-processor based chips increased 33 percent on the same period last year driven by growth in smartphones, tablets, digital TVs and microcontrollers," ARM CEO Warren East said in a statement. "ARM's revenue growth enables us to continue to invest in innovative technology development at the same time as delivering strong increases in profits and cash flow.”

ARM secured 39 processor licenses in Q1 after signing 35 processor licenses in the fourth quarter of last year, in which ARM posted increases in quarterly revenue and profit of 28 and 67 percent respectively.

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According to ARM’s Q1 earnings report, 1.15 billion ARM-based processors shipped in mobile devices in Q1, while 0.7 billion ARM-based application processors shipped in Q1 to consumer electronics and embedded products.

ARM’s recent business growth is due in part to the success of Apple’s iPad and iPad 2, which run on Apple’s own A4 and A5 processors, which are in turn based on ARM’s low-power Cortex architecture. Qualcomm, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Freescale, and Nvidia -- which has teamed up with ARM to challenge Intel in traditional PC segments such as servers -- all sell processors based on ARM’s low-power designs geared toward mobile and embedded processor markets.

In particular, the proliferation of various tablet form factors -- including recently launched tablet models from Asus, Lenovo, Acer and HP -- has prompted Intel to enter the market earlier this month with the launch of its Intel Atom-based Oak Trail processors.

Meanwhile, Microsoft in January said it plans support ARM processors on its upcoming version of Windows and ARM last week unveiled its Cortex A-15 low-power processor core design that features twice the performance of ARM’s current Cortex A9 chip and is due to come to market inside mobile devices in 2012, according to an ARM executive.