Arm partners with Philips on low-power processor

U.K. semiconductor design company Arm is teaming with a division of Philips Electronics to develop a self-timed processor that promises low-power consumption and easy integration for use in smart cards and consumer electronics.

Under a partnership announced Wednesday, Handshake Solutions -- a division within Philips that serves as a sort of technology incubator -- is being given a license to help develop the chips using its technology.

The asynchronous ARM chip cores will be licensed out to manufacturers as "black boxes" that can be easily adopted in standard chip manufacturing processes, according to Richard York, secure product manager for ARM.

The cores are expected to be ready by early next year, with the chips coming onto market later in the year, York said. ARM and Handshake Solutions have already been working on the technology and have some customers lined up for the chips, he added.

Handshake Solutions developed a low-power consumption, self-timed processor technology that works well for applications requiring low electromagnetic emissions to reduce interference problems. Using this self-timed or "clockless" technology, the new chips won't produce current spikes resulting in large electromagnetic emissions, York said.

"Handshake has developed some unique design methodology and tools," York said. "It's a significant next step."

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