However, Arm may struggle to replace Intel CPUs as the main processors in laptops, since the PC version of Windows has not been ported to the Arm architecture, Gold said. Most fully functional laptops today ship with Intel CPUs and a version of the Windows OS.
Software is more important than hardware in commercial laptops, said Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. But Arm chips could work in laptops if there is a move toward Web applications and adoption of the Linux OS grows.
Arm processors are already being used as an alternative to Intel CPUs in small, low-cost laptops based on the Linux OS. Those devices are designed mainly for people who do most of their computing on the Internet. Chip companies like Freescale and Qualcomm are expected to deliver chips for such devices, which they call "smartbooks," based on the Arm architecture.
Still, Windows 7 needs to be ported to Arm to get more consideration from PC makers as a replacement for Intel CPUs, Gold said.
"Dell has essentially relegated Arm to a co-processor," Gold said. "I can't see Arm replacing Intel or Advanced Micro Devices -- x86 architecture -- in notebooks. Arm will run Linux so in netbooks it makes sense," he said.
Laptop makers may continue to adopt Arm CPUs as co-processors to run specific functions like scanning Internet data for malware and viruses, Gold said. The power-saving capabilities and low cost of Arm chips make them a good choice as co-processors.
Arm declined to comment for this story.