ARM Holdings plc designs a range of inter-related intellectual property (IP), including microprocessors, physical IP and supporting software and tools. The company licenses and sells its technology and products to major international electronics companies, which in turn manufacture, market and sell microprocessors, application-specific integrated circuits (ICs), application-specific standard processors, and microcontrollers based on the company’s technology to systems companies for incorporation into various end products. The company has established its range of IP for use in many high-volume embedded microprocessor applications, including cellular phones, digital televisions, mobile computers and PC peripherals; and for potential use in many improving markets, including smart cards and microcontrollers. The company’s principal geographic markets are Europe, the U.S., and the Asia Pacific. Products and Services The company’s product offering includes microprocessor cores, including specific functions, such as video, graphics, display technology and Bluetooth radio IP; physical IP; development tools; enterprise software; and support and maintenance services. Processor Cores The company focuses on producing microprocessor cores that offer the higher performance that increasingly complex applications demand, yet operate within the power constraints of portable devices. The company’s microprocessors are designed to allow high performance at a low total system cost. Two key features that help achieve this are small die area (chip size), and high code density. ARM Architecture The foundation of the ARM family of processors is its efficient reduced instruction set computing (RISC) instruction set. The design of the instruction set has two aims, such as high code density and easy instruction decoding. Older complex instruction set computing (CISC) processors use complex instructions to reduce the number of instructions necessary to code a program, resulting in high code density, but also in complex, power-hungry processor designs. RISC processors, on the other hand, use simple instruction sets but usually code less densely than CISC processors. Architectural Extensions The company’s strategy is to develop products incorporating additional features and instruction set improvements appropriate to application needs, while maintaining a common, general purpose instruction set, which provides code compatibility. Architectural extensions are introduced in subsequent versions of the ARM architecture, building on the previous architectures, thus adding backwards code compatibility of new processor cores with older generations. The ARM Microprocessor Families ARM architecture processors offer a range of performance options in the ARM7 family, ARM9 family, ARM11 family, ARM Cortex family and ARM SecurCore family. Scalability, the ability to match processing power to the application, is an important consideration when designers select a microprocessor family. The ARM architecture gives systems designers a choice of processor cores at different performance/price points, yet all ARM microprocessors use the same instruction set and are capable of running the same software. This protects the investments that the company’s customers make in software development, software tools and staff training. ARM7 Family: The ARM7 family comprises low power, general purpose 32-bit microprocessor cores particularly suitable where strict die area and power constraints must be satisfied while maintaining reasonably high performance, as in portable telecommunications. It is used in embedded control applications and has been successful in the digital cellular telephone market. ARM9 Family: The ARM9 family comprises a range of microprocessors in the 150-250MHz range. Each processor has been designed for a specific application or function, such as an application processor for a feature phone or running a Wi-Fi protocol stack. ARM11 Family: The ARM11 family comprises a range of microprocessors in the 300-600MHz range. Each processor has been designed for a specific application or function, such as an application processor
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110 Fulbourn Road
Cambridge, CB1 9NJ
Phone: 44 12 2340 0400
Fax: 44 12 2340 0700www.arm.com
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