licensees, who wish to integrate an ARM core into their own chip design, are usually only interested in acquiring a ready-to-manufacture verified . For these customers, ARM Holdings delivers a description of the chosen ARM core, along with an abstracted simulation model and test programs to aid design integration and verification. More ambitious customers, including integrated device manufacturers (IDM) and foundry operators, choose to acquire the processor IP in () form. With the synthesizable RTL, the customer has the ability to perform architectural level optimisations and extensions. This allows the designer to achieve exotic design goals not otherwise possible with an unmodified netlist (, very low power consumption, instruction set extensions, etc.). While ARM Holdings does not grant the licensee the right to resell the ARM architecture itself, licensees may freely sell manufactured product such as chip devices, evaluation boards and complete systems. can be a special case; not only are they allowed to sell finished silicon containing ARM cores, they generally hold the right to re-manufacture ARM cores for other customers.
ARM Holdings offers a variety of licensing terms, varying in cost and deliverables. ARM Holdings provides to all licensees an integratable hardware description of the ARM core as well as complete software development toolset (, , ) and the right to sell manufactured containing the ARM CPU.
In 2009, some manufacturers introduced netbooks based on ARM architecture CPUs, in direct competition with netbooks based on . According to analyst firm IHS iSuppli, by 2015, ARM may be in 23% of all laptops.
The ARM architectures used in smartphones, PDAs and other range from ARMv5 to , used in low-end and midrange devices, to ARMv8-A used in current high-end devices. ARMv7 includes a hardware (FPU), with improved speed compared to software-based floating-point.