New Technologies Will Quadruple Battery Life for Portable Electronics

National Semiconductor and ARM Jointly Develop Power Efficient Systems for Handheld Devices

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, Nov. 11 National Semiconductor Corp. and ARM, today announced a strategic business relationship to jointly develop and market power efficient systems that will increase the battery life of handheld portable devices in several stages from 25 percent up to 400 percent.

This relationship is focused on developing an advanced technology that enables ARM Powered system-on-chip (SoC) devices to dynamically adjust performance and power consumption to maximize energy conservation in portable devices.

Users Want Longer Battery Life

"Every time you add a new capability such as multimedia systems or digital photography, it takes more power and reduces the lifetime of your battery." said Peter Henry, vice president for portable power products at National. "The only way to give consumers what they want -- more features and longer battery life -- is to improve the management of power consumption in portable devices. That is what National and ARM want to accomplish."

Joint Solution Benefits OEMs and Consumers

In current practice, processor vendors and power management IC manufacturers develop their technologies separately. Despite many improvements, power efficiencies are reaching levels where only minimal gains can be achieved through conventional approaches. National and ARM intend to change this paradigm by developing a holistic system-level approach that intelligently manages performance and power consumption within an embedded system. The first phase of products will increase the efficiency of the digital baseband by 25 to 75 percent. This collaboration, benefiting handset manufacturers and consumers, is the first of its kind to address system-level power management for an expanding and demanding portable market.

"Innovative energy conservation for mobile and handheld applications is essential for the development and proliferation of advanced multi-media capable devices," said Mike Muller, chief technology officer of ARM. "By combining National's industry-leading PowerWise technology with ARM's low power CPU cores and Intelligent Energy Manager technology, we can enable OEMs to deliver enhanced functionality to end users in ultra compact and light weight form factors."

"Because of its leadership in developing low-power cores and software, ARM is the ideal partner to launch National's new PowerWise technology in the handheld market, where reliance on batteries makes energy conservation increasingly important," said Suneil V. Parulekar, senior vice president and general manager of National Semiconductor's Analog Products Group. "In addition to sharing technology, ARM and National also have highly compatible business and engineering objectives to serve our customers in their current voice-centric and future multimedia-rich designs."

Radical New Technology Uses Synthesizable Core

National's PowerWise technology is an umbrella solution that will be developed in several phases, with the first phase targeting embedded SoC devices in mobile phones. The heart of the solution is a synthesizable AMBA methodology-compliant macrocell that works together with ARM Powered processors. It communicates with external PowerWise compliant power management chips using a PowerWise interface to reduce the system power supply to the absolute minimum necessary to meet the required level of performance.

ARM's Intelligent Energy Manager solution implements advanced algorithms to optimally balance processor workload and energy consumption, while maximizing system responsiveness to meet end-user performance expectations. The Intelligent Energy Manager technology works with the operating system and applications running on the mobile phone to dynamically adjust the required CPU performance level through a standard programmer's model. National's PowerWise on-chip macrocell then adaptively sets the minimum required power supply delivered by the external compliant power management chip.

New Solution Creates an Open Standard

National and ARM are working jointly with lead Partners and third parties to standardize the software programmer's model and the PowerWise high-speed, low-power interface between the SoC device and the external power management chip. Long sought by the market, these kinds of open standards will ensure supply-chain flexibility for manufacturers of personal electronic devices.

Products Available in 2003

National and ARM are also collaborating with other Partners to develop compatible OS support, design tools, and other necessary technologies. The joint solution will sample to key customers in the second quarter of 2003. Customers will be able to license the PowerWise synthesizable core directly from ARM and the external power supply chips from National. For additional information, visit or


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