Cortex-M0+ architecture revealed by ARM


If you are a techie, you would know for sure that ARM dominates the mobile processor market. Where do manufacturers of Smartphone CPU such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung, Texas Instruments, and Apple stand? These companies should comment on ARM’s dominance as CPU’s of most smartphones incorporate the ARM-developed architectures. Hence whether it is Qualcomm’s S3 and S4 chips, or Samsung’s Exynos, or Apple’s A5X SoC, ARM-developed units are deployed in all smartphones.

Many believe that Intel’s Medfield chip is an ideal competitor of ARM processors. However, stats reveal that the mobile chip market is completely under ARM’s dominance. This is because Intel’s Medfield chip is not yet out in the market. Until Intel’s Medfield chip comes in the market, ARM would continue to enjoy its foothold in the global market.
Let us understand the reason behind the success of ARM smartphone processors. General processors used in laptops and PCs are mostly Intel’s. It would be right to conclude that Intel and AMD produce the best general processors. In fact, in the year 2011, over 80% of the CPUs sold had the Intel processor. Where does Intel underperform? Power efficiency. This is where ARM has an edge over Intel.

ARM, under the Cortex-M0 name, produces the most power-efficient processors. The Cortex-M0 also boasts of the smallest ARM architecture. ARM has made its future safe and its dominance in the power-efficient processor domain intact by announcing that it would launch the Cortex-M0+, a more powerful version of the Cortex-M0. ARM says that the Cortex-M0+ would consume more than 30% less power than that consumed by 8-bit and 16-bit processors available today. The Cortex-M0+ would run on the 32-bit architecture, making it a powerful processor. The best thing about Cortex-M0+ is that it incorporates the code re-utilization concept, which would be useful to designers to upgrade from -bit and 16-bit architectures.

As the processing capabilities of the ARM Cortex-M0+ are not that great, we may not see them in future smartphones. However, the ARM Cortex-M0+ would surely be available in car systems, multi-sensor systems, as well as medical applications soon this year. The soon-to-be-released network of interconnected smart objects would also benefit from the Cortex-M0+.

Hence, electronic items like microwave ovens, cars, lighting bulbs and pacemakers would improve in functionality owing to the ARM Cortex-M0+. Like this, the Android @ Home incorporates the open source Arduino microcontroller as a hardware interface. In future, we may see the ARM Cortex-M0+ replace 8-bit Arduino, thanks to Cortex-M0+’s advanced features and higher power efficiency.

These chips would not be manufactured by ARM. ARM has announced that Freescale and NXP would be manufacturing the chips. We eagerly await the arrival of embedded systems based on new power-efficient CPU architecture.