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,