ARM continues to lend a hand to mobile computing

ARM Ltd. strengthened its position in the small computing device market Monday, signing deals with Texas Instruments Inc. and Intel Corp that could help increase battery life and performance for mobile computing products based on the company's chip designs.

ARM produces chip designs that other companies like TI modify and then use in their own products. The U.K.-based company makes a variety of designs and has found a niche in the device market, seeing its processor cores used in handhelds and cell phones. Intel, for example, makes a StrongARM processor based on ARM designs that runs in Compaq Computer Corp.'s iPAQ handheld device.

TI now has agreed to license and develop products around the ARMv6 processor architecture, designed to increase battery life and chip performance levels in wireless handsets connecting to 3G networks. The two companies collaborated on work around the new design, and TI claimed Monday it will be the first to release products based on the technology. TI will also use the ARM9E Jazelle extensions from ARM that help improve the speed of Java-based applications running on mobile devices.

Developers working on either ARM-based processor cores or on Java applications could now use these technologies to build software that has more features but that sucks less of the battery life from a handheld device.

Intel similarly agreed to extend its existing licenses with ARM to include the ARMv6 architecture as part of Intel's XScale design for low-power processors. Intel will also license the ARM7TDMI and ARM946E-S cores in order to give customers more selection with ARM-based designs.

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