© alexandr malyshev Components | February 27, 2013

Freescale and ARM extend relationship

Freescale Semiconductor is licensing the ARM Cortex-A50 series of microprocessors (MPUs) for future versions of its i.MX applications processor and QorIQ communications processor product lines.
This agreement is part of a new multiyear subscription license with ARM that demonstrates Freescale’s commitment to the ARM architecture and its intent to further expand its ARM Powered® portfolio – one of the industry’s broadest range of solutions built on ARM technology.

“Freescale is pleased to announce a subscription licensing model with ARM, beginning with the ARM Cortex-A50 processor series,” said Geoff Lees, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Microcontroller business. “This agreement expands Freescale’s long-term strategic technology partnership with ARM and gives us access to the latest ARM technology for future generations of our i.MX applications processors.”

ARM recently announced the Cortex-A50 series which is based on the ARMv8 architecture and is capable of 64- and 32-bit execution. The series initially includes the Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors. The Cortex-A57 processor is ARM’s most advanced high-performance processor, while the Cortex-A53 processor is the most power-efficient ARM applications processor, as well as the world’s smallest 64-bit processor.

The Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 processors can operate independently or be combined into an ARM big.LITTLE™ processor configuration, combining high performance with power efficiency. In big.LITTLE processing, a system-on-chip (SoC) leverages two different, but compatible, processing engines within the same device, allowing the power management software to seamlessly select the right processor for the task.

The Cortex-A53 processor provides an optimized balance of power consumption and performance, making it an excellent fit for feature-rich applications, such as auto infotainment systems, medical equipment, eReaders, and the next generation of Internet of Things running i.MX apps processors. The Cortex-A53 processor also delivers hardware virtualization and enhanced security features in half the size of previous cores.

The Cortex-A57 is designed to further extend the capabilities of future mobile and enterprise computing applications, including compute-intensive 64-bit applications. The Cortex-A57 processor is ideal for markets Freescale will target with its forthcoming QorIQ communications processors based on the core-agnostic Layerscape architecture, including the enterprise, data center and wired/wireless communications equipment spaces. By leveraging the processing power of the Cortex-A57 processor, future generations of QorIQ products can continue to deliver industry-leading performance/power ratios.

“Freescale’s license of highly advanced 64-bit ARM processors is a clear and logical step toward the proliferation of our core-agnostic Layerscape architecture across the QorIQ portfolio,” said Tareq Bustami, vice president of product management for Freescale’s Digital Networking business. “Leveraging world-class ARM and Power Architecture® technologies as appropriate, products based on the Layerscape architecture will deliver unique acceleration, interconnect and other advanced IP to help our customers differentiate and win in highly competitive markets.”

“Freescale offers one of the industry’s most comprehensive portfolios of solutions based on ARM technology,” said Simon Segars, president, ARM. “The ARM Cortex-A50 series processors will drive the next era in high-performance, energy-efficient mobile and enterprise applications. As a result of this new license we can look forward to a seeing a wide range of new and innovative ARM architecture-based designs from Freescale.”


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