NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Got an Android phone? Chances are pretty good that it's powered by a processor from ARM Holdings (ARMH), a company whose new strategy has made it a potentially viable investment target.The mobile market is growing at an astounding rate. According to a recent FCC report, 90% of Americans had at least one mobile device at the end of 2008. Mobile traffic increased by 157% between 2008 and 2009. And currently, smartphones account for more than 50% of all mobile sales. That figure was at just 29% of total mobile sales in the second quarter of 2008. AAPL - Get Report), which powers its mobile products with its own A4 processor, the vast majority of mobile devices run on ARM chips made by third-party vendors.
Dubbed Linaro, the not-for-profit organization streamlines the process of hardware vendors getting the software they want -- in most cases Google's Android OS -- onto devices running the processors they want. The organization will provide both software and hardware tools to get software running on partner chips sooner rather than later. According to the organization, such a strategy could help bring a glut of new Android smartphones and tablets to the market. "The existence of Linaro will significantly simplify the process of making Linux-based consumer devices available to market," Jane Silber, CEO of Linux supporter Canonical, said in a statement. "By standardizing many of the core software components, companies can focus on creating great user experiences on embedded devices through to smart phones." Linaro's formation could be extremely good news for Google. Although Apple's iPhone enjoys higher sales than any individual Android-based device, Android products are selling quite well. In fact, market-research firm NPD reported in May that during the first quarter of 2010, more Android-based devices were sold than iPhones. Granted, NPD's figures include a collection of smartphones against one, but it effectively illustrates a key point: Google and Android are coming on strong. That success has prompted hardware companies to use Google's operating system in the many mobile devices they have planned. And thanks to Linaro, those companies will no longer need to wait so long between hatching a mobile strategy and actually bringing a device to store shelves. Not only will that increase the sheer number of Android-based devices available, and thus, the number of processors that ARM's partners develop, but it will also increase Android sales. In other words, Google, ARM, and its many partners will benefit. And so too will savvy investors that see the mobile market is growing, and getting in on its burgeoning component industry is a smart move. --Written by Don Reisinger in New York