Digital and ARM Announce Agreement to Develop High-Speed, Low-Power, ARM-Compliant Processors
World's Performance Leader Teams with Power-Efficiency Leader
Maynard MA and Cambridge UK -- February 6, 1995 -- Digital Equipment Corporation and Advanced RISC Machines Ltd (ARM) today announced the licensing of the ARM RISC architecture to Digital Semiconductor for the development of high-performance, low power microprocessors. The StrongARM family of 32-bit RISC products to be developed under the agreement is intended to complement and broaden the existing ARM product line for performance critical applications such as:
Combining Digital's proven leadership in high performance microprocessor design and manufacture with ARM's expertise in low power design, will result in processors that set a new standard for high performance while meeting the low power, space and cost requirements of products such as handheld devices. The StrongARM family will offer full software compatibility with the ARM6, 7 and 8 chip families, which will help accelerate market acceptance of the new products.
Strengthens Merchant Vendor and Performance Commitment
For Digital Semiconductor, this is a strategic agreement that both reinforces our merchant vendor role and demonstrates performance leadership, said Ed Caldwell, vice president and general manager of Digital Semiconductor. "Today, our Alpha products provide unmatched performance for desktop and server applications. The StrongARM product line will complement this strategy with its focus on enhancing performance for mass market applications in which very low power dissipation is critical."
"This agreement with ARM also gives us early entry into rapidly growing, high volume markets" Caldwell added. Industry analysts estimate that the market for 32-bit RISC embedded consumer applications will grow 75 percent year over year to more than 10.5 million in 1998 (InStat October 1994).
Performance is Key
According to Robin Saxby, Managing Director & CEO of ARM: "Having Digital Semiconductor jointly design and build new processors compliant with the ARM architecture will add momentum to ARM's acceptance as the volume RISC standard for 32-bit applications. ARM processors already have the best ratios of performance to power consumption and cost (MIPS/Watt and MIPS/$). The agreement with Digital will maintain our lead in these areas while allowing us to pursue applications demanding very high absolute performance."
Shane Robison, vice president and general manager of Apple Computer, Inc's Personal Interactive Electronics Division, said Apple was an early adopter of ARM microprocessor technology and had incorporated the ARM 610 processor into its market-leading Newton MessagePad PDA. "Apple's Newton engineering team has been working closely with Digital Semiconductor and ARM in defining the first StrongARM microprocessor. This design looks to significantly boost compute performance while retaining the low power characteristic of ARM microprocessors, both of which are critical in designing high performance PDAs."
Sam Wauchope, the Acorn Computer Group Managing Director commented that "Acorn was the first personal computer manufacturer to move to RISC in 1987 after it developed the original ARM processor. The announcement of StrongARM ensures that our powerful, low-cost multimedia workstations for education, the home and professional use will continue to have the leading performance to deliver to our customers the innovative solutions they are demanding."
The Chief Executive of interactive TV set-top box designer Online Media, Malcolm Bird, said "The ARM processor was the obvious choice for our digital set-top products. The new StrongARM devices will offer exciting new possibilities for performance and in hardware/software trade-offs. We already have set-top products in production and will be able to rapidly benefit from the new devices."
"This relationship looks to be a perfect strategic fit," said Jerry Banks, Director/Principal Analyst, Dataquest. "ARM gains access to high performance microprocessor design and process technology, while Digital gains ARM's expertise in low power design, as well as access to high volume markets with significant potential. The resulting products could have a far-reaching effect on many emerging consumer applications like PDAs, interactive TV, and games."
First product in development today
The first product in the StrongARM family is currently under development at Digital Semiconductor's Palo Alto, California, and Austin, Texas, research centres and ARM's Cambridge, UK headquarters. Digital expects the device to be among the first products manufactured at its new FAB 6 state-of-the-art chip fabrication facility in Hudson, Massachusetts. The products developed under the agreement will be sold through Digital Semiconductor's sales channels. In addition, processors and processor cores developed under this agreement will be available for licensing to other semiconductor partners. Saxby added "This is consistent with our strategy of making the ARM architecture an open standard for performance oriented, power-efficient and cost-effective applications."
Advanced RISC Machines Limited (ARM )
ARM designs, licenses and markets fast, low cost, low power consumption RISC processors for embedded control, consumer/educational multimedia, DSP and portable applications. ARM licenses its enabling technology to semiconductor partner companies, who focus on manufacturing, applications and marketing. Each partner offers unique ARM related technologies and services, which together satisfy a wide range of end-user application needs. ARM also designs and licenses peripherals, supporting software and hardware tools and offers design services, feasibility studies and training. This results in a global partnership committed to making the ARM architecture the volume RISC standard. ARM's partners include: VLSI Technology, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, Sharp Corporation, Texas Instruments, Cirrus Logic, Samsung, AKM and Digital Equipment Corporation. ARM was formed in 1990 by Acorn Computers, Apple Computer and VLSI Technology with Nippon Investment and Finance (a Daiwa Securities subsidiary) investing in 1992.
Digital Semiconductor, a Digital Equipment Corporation business headquartered in Hudson, Massachusetts, designs, manufactures and markets semiconductor products including Alpha microprocessors and PCI-based peripheral chips. PCI products include networking chips, bridge chips, and graphics/multimedia accelerators that offer industry leading performance and functionality for all major platforms, both CISC and RISC. Digital Semiconductor operates design centres in Hudson, Palo Alto, California; Austin, Texas; and Jerusalem, Israel. Semiconductor products are manufactured at facilities in Hudson and South Queensferry, Scotland. Digital Semiconductor sells its products worldwide through its direct sales force and semiconductor distribution channels.
Digital Equipment Corporation is the world's leader in open client/server solutions from personal computing to integrated worldwide information systems. Digital's scalable Alpha platforms, storage, networking, software and services, together with industry-focused solutions from business partners, help organisations compete and win in today's global marketplace.
Digital and the Digital logo are trademarks of Digital Equipment Corporation.
ARM, StrongARM and the ARM Powered logo are trademarks of Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.
Apple, the Apple logo and Newton are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.