LG looks for mobile expansion with ARM licenses

LG signs licenses for the Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A9 application processors, though it is not clear if it will design a chip

LG Electronics on Tuesday announced it had signed a license for ARM's upcoming application and graphics processors, opening a path for the device maker to design a new chip and expand in the market of smartphones and tablets.

LG currently offers the Optimus 2X smartphone and G-Slate tablet, both of which run on Nvidia's Tegra 2 chip, which include ARM processors. A license for ARM's upcoming Cortex-A15 processor gives LG intellectual property to make its own ARM-based chip for smartphones and tablets.

LG in a statement did not comment on particular plans for the processor. But the company said the new processor technology would allow the company to "maintain leadership" in areas such as smartphones and digital TVs, as well as other Web-connected devices.

ARM last year announced its latest Cortex-A15 design, which will go into mobile devices, PCs and servers. The processor design could stretch to run at up to 2.5GHz and include up to 16 CPU cores. An ARM official last week said the company expects smartphones and tablets to be the first devices with the processor, which may start trickling out to shelves in late 2012. ARM licenses processor designs to chip makers including Samsung, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.

Beyond hardware makers, software vendors are also acquiring ARM licenses. Microsoft in July last year acquired a license for the Arm microprocessor architecture, which forms the basis of ARM processors. Microsoft showed a version of Windows working on devices with ARM processors at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

LG also said it had signed a license for ARM's current Cortex-A9 chip design, which is also used in Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor. LG also acquired a license for ARM's Mali T604 graphics processor design.

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