Currently ARM processors are limited to 2.3 GHz due to the size of the manufacturing node, which is currently at 28 nm. This can be seen in both the Snapdragon 800 and the Tegra 4i, both of which are scheduled to arrive in late 2013 or early 2014.
The good news for ARM, and the consumers, is that TSMC and GlobalFoundries plan to move to a manufacturing node of only 20 nm, which, according to TSMC, will allow for a 30 percent higher speed, while requiring 25 percent less power. This improvement will bring the ARM SoCs to about 3 GHz, while the amount of transistors will be greatly increased as well. The increased amount of transistors is supposed to be primarily used for graphics. 25 percent reduction in power consumption will also be a welcome improvement, since it will help reduce one of the biggest problems amongst mobile units, namely the battery life.
These improvements will help ARM defend the company's market share in the smartphone and tablet market, both of which Intel and AMD are trying to penetrate. Intel hopes to move to 14 nm by the end of 2014 and AMD might do the same, if GlobalFoundries manages to keep its promise about moving to 14 nm by the end of 2014.