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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New 32bit architecture takes on ARM in home automation

New 32bit architecture takes on ARM in home automation

The FT32 core was developed for the FT900 family of controllers and at 2.93 MIPS/MHz FTDI claims this provides higher performance and ARM's A8 and A9 cores.
The RISC architecture provides true zero wait state operation up to 100MHz and supports 256k Flash with 256k Shadow RAM and 64k Data RAM. The FT900 chip also includes 10/100 Ethernet, two CAN 2.0 controllers, USB2.0 Hi-Speed support, SD host controller, parallel camera interface, IS master / slave interface, 10 bit DAC (2) and 10 bit ADC, integrated hardware debugger and USB DFU boot-loader.

"We saw an opportunity to do not just a microcontroller for performance but one that had the right connectivity for the markets that we see developing," said Dave Sroka, global product director at FTDI. The company has a range of USB interfaces based around an 8051 core and last year launched its FT800 EVE video processor.

By Nick Flaherty

Ada comes to ARM Linux

Ada comes to ARM Linux 

AdaCore has developed a cross-development environment for the latest 2012 version of the Ada language for ARM processors running Linux. 
GNAT Pro 7.2 provides a complete Ada development environment oriented towards embedded systems that require the flexibility and services provided by Linux. Developers of such systems can now exploit the software engineering benefits of the Ada language, including reliability, maintainability, and portability.

By Nick Flaherty

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Apple extends deal for Imagination video and graphics cores

Imagination Technology is relaxed about ARM as Apple extends its multi-year agreement to use its graphics and video cores.
The deal gives Apple access to Imagination's wide range of current and future PowerVR graphics and video IP cores that sit alongside the ARM processor cores. ARM this week also revealed it now owns nearly 500 patents covering the MIPS technology that Imagination acquired last year.
"This deal is very important," said John Metcalfe, chief operating officer of Imagination. "Clearly we have had tremendous success with Apple with multiple generations of their devices and we feel its very significant that they have extended the current agreement. This is a multi-year agreement across multiple IP, both existing and future IP."
Under the terms of the above licensing arrangement, Imagination will receive on-going license fees, and royalty revenues on shipment of SoCs (Systems on Chip) incorporating Imagination's IP.
With the acquisition of the MIPS processor cores last year Imagination is now a major competitor to ARM, whose cores are also used in Apple designs. "What we do as a matter of course is offer our customers a range of bus interfaces, whether that an internal bus, AXI or OCP," said Metcalfe. "Many people will look to AXI as the hardware interface and we support all our licensees with the interfaces to MIPS, Intel or ARM. ON the software side we deliver device drivers to our licensees that are targeting these three processor families."
This week it emerged that ARM has acquired 498 patents from the MIPS acquisition. "There was nothing too surprising in the ARM results this week except the write off on the patent pool," said Metcalfe. "We think its neutral. Obviously that was one of the key areas to assure ourselves of when we acquired MIPS that we had the freedom to develop the architecture without being bound by legacy patents."

Related stories:
ARM tops $1bn

Apple extends deal for Imagination IP  By Nick Flaherty

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

ARM tops $1bn - analysis

If you thought ARM had exhausted most of the potential licensees for its processor cores, think again - with revenues over $1bn, over $1bn cash to hand and a pool of 3,500 patents, the company is continuing to sign up new companies.
The company saw revenues of over $1bn for the first time, up 22% on last year, with 121 new licensees.
Over half the 22 companies that signed licenses with ARM in the last quarter were new customers, with 15 taking the Cortex-M embedded cores. ARM has now signed more than 200 Cortex‐M licences with over 150 companies, making it the largest product line in the company with 30% of unit shipments. Half of the 10bn devices shipped last year were outside of its traditional mobile market as microcontrollers and the Internet of Things starts to take off and its high end smartphone business slows. Embedded now makes up 32% of the business, compared to 46% for mobile.
The fallout from the splitting up of MIPS Technologies last year is also apparent.
AMR has bought the MIPS pool of 498 patents for $4m from the Bridge Crossing consortium, creating a library of 3,500 patents. ARM had originally paid $167m to form the consortium with Allied Security Trust to license the patents to third parties but the consortium decided not to go ahead with that licensing. ARM is now taking a £59.5m charge as a result. Imagination Technologies acquired the remaining 80 patents relating directly to the MIPS processors.

ARM tops $1bn By Nick Flaherty

Five lessons from Lenovo’s Motorola deal

Lenovo’s $2.9bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google highlights some key lessons in the industry:
  1. Manufacturing still matters
  2. The consumer market is not enough for smartphones
  3. Watch out Nes
  4. Partners are as important as patents 
  5. Google is an information company
See the Five lessons from Lenovo’s Motorola deal 

By Nick Flaherty