ARM recently announced that it had licensed processor and security IP to Atmel for use in devices requiring image, video and display capabilities. The license includes the ARM Cortex®-A7 processor, ARM Mali™-V500 video accelerator, Mali-DP500 display processor and ARM TrustZone® technology, which can now be integrated into a variety of wearable devices, toys and even automated factory tasks reliant on image processing.
The energy efficiency and small die area of the ARM Mali-V500 and Mali-DP500 enables full HD 1080p60 resolution capabilities on a single core, reducing the cost for price-sensitive consumer applications. They also both incorporate ARM TrustZone technology for hardware-backed content security from download to display, which is becoming more important as more mobile devices are used for such content downloads.
Following the announcement, Chip Design Mag‘s Caroline Hayes had a chance to sit down with Jacko Wilbrink, Atmel Senior Product Marketing Director, to discuss what the adoption of ARM Mali means for both parties. The interview can be found below.
CH: What existing strengthens will Atmel bring in using the Mali IP?
JW: Low power will remain an important differentiator for Atmel MPUs including those embedding Mali IPs going forward. The Mali IPs will bring smartphone and tablet experience and applications to many products including power sensitive user interface centric wearable and battery operated products.
CH: What markets will the licensed IP address, e.g. wearables?
JW: With the cost of TFT displays coming down and the demand from consumers to improve the user interface/user experience of a fast growing range of products beyond smartphones and tablets, there is a growing need for MPUs with graphical processing and video capabilities. Industrial graded products with long life support, professional documentation and support are important benefits Atmel offers over alternative multi-core ASSPs designed for smartphones and tablets.
CH: What architectural features of Mali will be used in these areas?
JW: The licensed IPs allow Atmel to scale up their MPUs in performance and functionality including 3D graphics, HD video decoding and encoding and efficient memory bandwidth usage. The multi-core Cortex-A cores offer the ability to optimize the price performance point while maximizing software reuse across an Atmel MPU platform.
CH: What benefits of the Mali architecture will be exploited initially and how?
JW: Full compliance with video and graphics standards is critical for our customers. Power efficiency, Android support and efficient memory usage and bus bandwidth optimization are important benefits offered by the Mali IPs.
CH: When will the first Mali-based devices be rolled out?
JW: The first design is planned to sample to early customers by the end of 2015.
To learn more about the collaboration, you can find the original announcement here.