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Next-gen ARM core heads for Broadcom SoC

May 23, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

ARM Ltd.'s newest processor for mobile phones and other consumer devices has been licensed by Broadcom for use in unspecified SoCs (system-on-chip processors). Together with ARM's Cortex A8 core and associated IP (intellectual property), the SoCs will integrate 2D/3D graphics, imaging, and audiovisual processing IP from Broadcom's VideoCore product portfolio, ARM said.

The Cortex A8 succeeds the “ARM11” in ARM's processor roadmap. Designed to clock between 600MHz and 1GHz on 65nm or 90nm process technology, the core requires power similar to ARM11, while delivering double to triple the performance, ARM claims. The company announced the Cortex-A8 in October of 2005, along with customer wins that included Freescale, Matsushita (Panasonic), Samsung, and Texas Instruments.

Touted Cortex A8 features include:

  • TrustZone security technology
  • Jazelle-RCT technology for Java and .Net acceleration
  • Fault-tolerance, for use in networking equipment and other device types

The A8 processor is said to enjoy support from ARM's RealView Development Suite, which ARM claims developers can use to “provide end customers with highly responsive Linux devices that have an exceptionally long battery life.”

ARM uses Linux to test and optimize its processor cores, according to the company's Linux product manager, Philippe Robin. ARM's GM of processors, Graham Budd, stated, “The ARM ecosystem includes broad support of open operating systems and third party applications, enabling an advanced mobile Internet experience.”

Mark Casey, GM of Broadcom's mobile multimedia business unit, stated, “Mobile and consumer devices will be required to provide an astonishing user experience that spans Web2.0, gaming, picture taking, and long play audio/video.”

No availability dates for Broadcom chips based on ARM's Cortex A8 core were announced.

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