ARM Lines Up a Warp Speed Future For Mobile Processors

ARM has solidified its position today as master of the mobile processor universe, announcing a deal with TSMC that will take smartphone chips all the way down to a 20nm process. That means: faster, better, more efficient.

Of course, 20nm is the long-term goal, and it's not clear how long a term that's going to be. But by partnering with TSMC, ARM's now officially got the silicon means to their superspeedy ends.

ARM and TSMC Sign Long-Term Strategic Agreement

Enables broad processor and Physical IP optimization on TSMC's most advanced technology nodes

Cambridge, UK and Hsinchu, Taiwan, R.O.C. – July 20, 2010 - ARM and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. (TWSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM) today jointly announced a long-term agreement that provides TSMC with access to a broad range of ARM processors and enables the development of ARM physical IP across TSMC technology nodes. This agreement supports the companies' mutual customers to achieve optimized Systems-On-Chip (SoC) based on ARM processors and covers a wide range of process nodes extending down to 20nm.

The agreement provides TSMC access to optimize the implementation of ARM® processors on TSMC process technologies, including ARM Cortex™ processor family and CoreLink™ interconnect fabric for AMBA® protocols. It also establishes a long-term relationship with ARM for the development of physical IP, including memory products and standard cell libraries targeting the most advanced TSMC 28nm and 20nm processes.

"The signing of this agreement is a significant semiconductor industry milestone because it formalizes a forward looking, long-term relationship between two of the industry's leading companies," explained Mike Inglis, executive vice president and general manager, ARM Processor Division. "I am pleased that ARM and TSMC will be working together to enable ARM processor based SoCs leveraging both companies' advanced technologies."

ARM and TSMC will collaborate on creating TSMC technology optimized processor core implementations for benchmarking of optimal power, performance and area. Typical implementations will target consumer-centric market segments including wireless, portable computing, tablet PCs and high performance computing.

"We believe this effort will enhance the value of our Open Innovation Platform that efficiently empowers innovation throughout the supply chain," said Dr. Fu-Chieh Hsu, Vice President of Design and Technology Platform and Deputy Head of R&D at TSMC. "The combination of ARM's industry leading IP and TSMC's world-class technology and manufacturing provides our mutual customers with compelling benefits for advanced semiconductor applications."

"Through our industry leadership in processor and physical IP and our strategic alliances with leading foundries and EDA companies, ARM is enabling faster time to volume production of SoCs," said Simon Segars, executive vice president and general manager, ARM, Physical IP division. "This new agreement assures the industry that ARM and TSMC will collectively provide IP development leadership for advanced process technologies well into the future."