ARM is further pushing the Internet of Things (IoT) with a new hardware subsystem design that will make it easier for chipmakers to manufacture a complete ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) with optimal power consumption and cost to target sensors and other applications.
Available for licensing now, the ARM IoT subsystem can be combined with other ARM building blocks such as Cortex-M processor cores and Cordio wireless interfaces to form the basis of a complete chip design.
It is implemented with ARM's Artisan cell libraries, making the IoT subsystem optimised for silicon foundry TSMC's 55nm Ultra-Low Power process technology, ARM said.
In fact, the subsystem was developed in close collaboration with TSMC, which means that devices based on it should be able to run at less than one volt operation, thereby extending battery life.
The IoT market is expected to include billions of connected devices in the future, and ARM believes that its new subsystem will reduce the risk for chipmakers when producing devices and enable them to quickly create products that address opportunities in the smart homes and smart cities markets, for example.
"Creating a highly tailored SoC is complex. The ARM IoT subsystem for Cortex-M enables companies to simplify the process and improve time to market," said James McNiven, ARM's general manager for systems and software.
"It enables our partners to focus finite design resources on the system functionality that differentiates them in their market."
The ARM IoT subsystem (see diagram) fulfils a similar function to the motherboard chipset in PC designs, interfacing the processor to memory and other components and providing a range of peripherals and functions.
It includes an interface for TSMC's embedded flash memory, enabling chipmakers to integrate this into their designs.
The subsystem is optimised for Cortex-M processors and Cordio Bluetooth Smart radio, but it is possible to integrate other radios and wireless networking standards such as WiFi and 802.15.4, ARM said.
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