From the iPhone to the Microsoft Surface: The tech powered by ARM

Acorn Archimedes

This Acorn Archimedes is where it all started for ARM. Acorn was a household name in the UK in the 1980s thanks to the success of BBC Micro, a chunky beige computer that was a staple in UK schools, selling about one and a half million units.

ARM was formed in 1990, when Acorn decided to spin off its research and development division into a joint venture with Apple and the chip manufacturer VLSI.

The company began life designing and licensing high performance 32-bit RISC (reduced instruction set) processors, which were used by Acorn in its Archimedes computer family -- its 1987 follow-up to the BBC.

Image: The Centre for Computing History / www.computinghistory.org.uk

By Nick Heath

Nick Heath is a computer science student and was formerly a journalist at TechRepublic and ZDNet.