TSMC, Arm join to develop next-generation mobile chips

TSMC will get access to Arm's libraries, IP and processor designs

Arm and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced a partnership to enable the design of smaller chips for devices like smartphones and tablets, the companies said on Tuesday.

The partnership calls for mutual customers to be offered tools to design smaller Arm-based chips optimized for TSMC's 28-nanometer and 20-nm chip manufacturing technologies. Chip designer Arm will provide TSMC access to libraries, intellectual property and processor designs.

The companies will collaborate on designing and optimizing chips that could ultimately be used in mobile phones, portable computers, tablets or high-performance computers, according to the companies. Chips with Arm processors go into most of today's smartphones, including Apple's popular iPhone.

"One of the key challenges in delivering advanced devices is achieving the performance gains we have come to expect while also achieving battery life improvements and making devices smaller and sleeker. This collaboration is designed to help our partners achieve exactly that," wrote John Heinlein, vice president of marketing of Arm's physical IP division, in a blog entry.

Under the partnership, Arm will also provide TSMC access to intellectual property surrounding the Cortex family of processors, which are being adopted by chip makers for use in tablets and smartphones. Nvidia has already announced the Tegra 2 processor for tablets based on the Cortex-A9 design.

Neither Arm nor TSMC officials were immediately available for comment on when mobile chips with Arm processors would reach the production phase. The collaboration was announced just a few days after TSMC broke ground on a US$9.3 billion chip factory on Friday in Taichung, Taiwan. TSMC in the future will make chips using some of its most advanced production technology at 40-nanometer and 28-nanometer scales at the factory.

TSMC and Arm have collaborated in the past, but this is a broader agreement, Heinlein wrote in the blog entry.

Chip companies are consistently trying to etch smaller patterns on chip surfaces to boost performance while reducing power consumption. To assemble and fabricate the smaller chips, chip makers use advanced manufacturing processes. The manufacturing of chips based on Arm designs has been consistently moving to smaller nodes.

Arm licenses its processor technology to companies manufacturing chips and working on chip designs, such as Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Freescale, IBM and Samsung Electronics. Arm is already partnering with TSMC's competitor, GlobalFoundries, in an agreement in which mutual customers are offered tools to design Arm-based chips optimized for GlobalFoundries' 28-nanometer technology. GlobalFoundries recently said it hopes to start making chips using the 28-nm process starting in the fourth quarter.

Arm's main competitor is Intel, which has already announced its Moorestown mobile chips for tablets and smartphones. Moorestown chips are based on the Atom processor core.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesArmpc componentsComponentsTaiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.Arm Holdings

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?