The next palmtop or mobile phone you buy just might have a significantly better battery life thanks to work being done by ARM in conjunction with Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, IBM, and Samsung.
The companies have joined forces to develop the next-generation of 'system-on-a-chip' devices for mobile computing, and the tech is already shaping up to look pretty impressive. Based around 32nm and 28nm gate lengths built on high-k metal gate fabrication that's a generation or two smaller than Intel's current 45nm, the SoC devices will allow for major power savings over existing ARM-based chips while still offering impressive performance.
The SoCs designed by ARM are based on the Common Platform, a manufacturing collaboration between IBM, Chartered, and Samsung. Thanks to ARM's involvement with the Common Platform development, the Cambridge-based company has an edge over its competitors in developing technologies to take advantage of the model, which allows the manufacturing of devices in multiple 300mm-based foundries with a minimum of custom design work.
The company isn't thinking of production quite yet, however: Warren East, ARM's chief executive officer, has said that his company is hoping to “[create] the foundation for designing power-efficient ARM SoCs for customers of the Common Platform.
Having been a huge fan of RISC-based systems like the ARM processors for quite some time, I'm anxious to see what future generations of transistor gate lengths can achieve, combined with new energy saving and performance enhancing features will bring to mobile devices. Although the system is very much at the design stages, with the companies concentrating on building up the intellectual property required to develop the next-gen SoC hardware, it's not impossible to imagine these developments making their way into ARM's Cortex range of chips in the non-too-disant future.
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