Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Touch screen chip maker licenses ARM M0

Melfas, a Korean chipmaker, has licensed ARM's Coretex M-0 32bit core to upgrade from its 8bit 8051 core in a capacitive-sensing touch input chip.
Melfas has many years’ expertise in designing turnkey touch screen module solutions including controller IC, circuitry, driver software, and patterned ITO panel with window lens and test system. It has shipped over 40 million controller ICs since 2006. According to market research firm, DisplaySearch, the total touch screen module market will grow from $3.6 billion in 2008 to $9 billion by 2015, with a CAGR of 14 per cent.
"Our engineers were already familiar with the Keil software development tools, which support both 8051 and ARM Cortex-M0 processor-based devices," said D.J. Min, VP Engineering, Melfas. "We were able to quickly and easily evaluate the new processor using our existing 8051 code base. The results demonstrated that we could halve the flash memory requirement using the Cortex-M0 processor, and reduce the MHz requirement by 5x, saving power.”

The deal is a good one for ARM as it drives high volume royalties.
“The use of touch screen controllers in products ranging from mobile phones, personal media players, digital cameras, navigation devices, to home appliances is rapidly increasing. The Cortex-M0 processor’s energy efficiency and small size make it particularly suited for these applications,” said Eric Schorn, VP marketing, Processor Division, ARM. “The agreement with Melfas is a further endorsement of the Cortex-M family of low power processors and ARM physical IP, and demonstrates ARM’s low power leadership.”

The Cortex-M0 processor is the lowest power and smallest 32-bit ARM processor. It offers an optimal blend of ultra low-power, energy efficiency and low gate count, with binary upwards compatibility with the higher performance ARM Cortex-M3. This makes it an ideal next step for embedded applications that outgrow legacy 8-bit microcontrollers, skipping the need for 16-bit devices.
Based in Seoul, Korea, Melfas was set up in 2000 with a mission to make electronics friendly and smart. Melfas developed its first semiconductor fingerprint sensor in 2003 and its first touch sensor chip in 2005, and early this year announced it had shipped 40 million touch sensor chips.

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