The rise of the ARM architecture has been a meteoric one and came as something of a shock to many of the mainstream players in the mobile industry. The concept for the ARM based SoC (System on Chip) is pretty simple: build a small, energy efficient device that is able to use memory and processor cycles as efficiently as possible. This is what x86 CPU manufacturers are trying to do as well. So why are there more manufacturers of ARM based SoCs than there are x86? Well, the problem here is one of licensing. You see, it is much easier and less expensive to license the ARM architecture than it is x86. Right now there are very few players that even have an x86 license. This limits the competition down quite a bit and also (unfortunately) slows progress. However, the fight between Intel and ARM is just heating up. And despite the small number of players in the x86 market, things are far from certain in this area as we enter into a new round of combat between RISC and CISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing and Complete Instruction Set Computing).
MIPS has unveiled a new edition of its processor architecture, the "release 5" which inherits the "release 3". With the new architecture, MIPS hopes to improve their standing in the competition with ARM, and the most important features include hardware-assisted virtualization, and new SIMD instructions. There is also improved support for multi-threaded execution, and the address space for 32-bit architecture has also been upgraded.
At their earnings call the other Day Intel made the statement that they are at least three years ahead of other companies when it comes to silicon manufacturing. Yesterday and today the news is all about how ARM is preparing to compete with Intel in the server market with their 64-bit RISC processors which are to be manufactured using the same tri-gate manufacturing that Intel is currently using for their Ivy Bridge CPUs. You know the ones that have been shipping since early this year? This means that no matter how thin you slice it ARM will not have able to make a tri-gate CPU until at least 2014-2015.