Freescale tackles automotive infotainment, mobile devices with combination of ARM Cortex-A7 and Cortex-A15

October 20, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Freescale Semiconductor has licensed the new, ultra-efficient ARM Cortex-A7 MPCore processor in conjunction with the previously licensed Cortex-A15 processor. The company plans to leverage the energy efficiency and performance of the two ARM cores to develop future generations of its rapidly expanding portfolio of i.MX applications processors.

With the combination of the two cores in next-gen i.MX devices the company intends to attract customers in the automotive infotainment and smart mobile application markets. For less performance-hungry tasks, the high-performance Cortex-A15 processor can power down, while the Cortex-A7 processor handles lighter-duty processing. By employing this approach, which ARM calls “Big.LITTLE processing,” a system-on-chip (SoC) leverages two different, but compatible, processing engines within the same device, allowing the power management software to seamlessly select the right processor for the task. This approach helps reduce overall system power consumption and extends battery life for mobile devices.

“The high-performance Cortex-A15 processor and ultra-efficient Cortex-A7 processor will play a key role in offering our customers the 'just-right' blend of performance, power consumption and price they've come to expect from our i.MX portfolio,” said Bernd Lienhard, vice president and general manager of Freescale's Multimedia Applications Division.

Freescale products based on ARM technology have established strong positions in a broad range of markets. Freescale is the world’s No. 3 provider of ARM architecture-based applications processors, as well as the No. 1 supplier of applications processors to the growing eReader market. Freescale products built on ARM technology also have established a strong presence in growing markets such as healthcare/patient monitoring, factory automation and automotive infotainment.

According to Freescale, future i.MX offerings based on the ARM cores will be designed to feature the same compatibility and power management benefits that are the hallmark of Freescale’s i.MX portfolio. Common SoC IP building blocks enable portfolio-wide software and development tool compatibility, while integrated power management capabilities, a broad range of integrated I/Os and pin compatibility within package families reduce complexity and development costs. These benefits help customers rapidly create comprehensive product portfolios that can adjust and scale to meet evolving market demands and requirements.

For more information about i.MX applications processors, visit www.freescale.com/imx