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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Arm Holdingspc componentsArmsmartphonesComponentsTaiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?