ARM today announced licensing agreements for its new ARMv6 architecture with Intel Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc., two companies that plan to utilize the microprocessor technology in competing wireless handset implementations.
The ARMv6 is a next-generation implementation of the ARM processor architecture designed to provide improved video and audio functionality, said Robin Saxby, chairman and chief executive of ARM. Details of the new architecture will be released in October, he said.
ARM is the mostly widely used microprocessor core in wireless handset designs. TI utilizes ARM cores in combination with its DSP in its handset platform, and Intel has announced plans to use the ARM-based XScale processor along with its Micro Signal Architecture DSP in future handset designs.
The ARMv6 was developed with cooperation of key ARM licensees, including TI, Intel, and Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Product Sector (SPS), although Motorola and ARM have not announced a specific licensing agreement as yet, Saxby said.
Intel plans to integrate ARMv6 technology within its XScale processor family beginning late next year, said Peter Green, general manager of Intel's Handheld Computing Group. XScale implementations based on the ARMv5 generation are expected early next year, he said.
"The relationship between ARM and Intel is one that is very strategic and I think we have very close relationship, both strategically and collaboratively, in developing products together," he said.
"This is a natural extension to our existing agreement and goes to the next level in terms including both architectural derivatives and product derivatives that will extend over a significant period of time."
In addition to the ARMv6, Intel has also obtained licenses to the ARM7DMI and ARM946E-S microprocessor cores.
Two years of collaborative work between TI and ARM will allow for improved integration between TI's DSP technology and the ARM processor architecture, said Saxby. The companies' cooperation led to new features to improve data synchronization, shared memory management, and the efficient operation of operating systems, he said.
"By seamlessly combining TI's next-generation DSP technology with the first microprocessor core based on the ARMv6 architecture, we will extend this standard in 2.5 and 3G wireless devices, including TI's OMAP architecture," said Gilles Delfassy, senior vice president and general manager of TI's Wireless Business Unit.
TI also announced the licensing of the ARM9E Jazelle extensions, which provide improved performance of Java-based applications.