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ARM unveils ultra-efficient Cortex-M0+ processor for connected devices

Firm looks to create intelligent devices with 32-bit chip

ARM Cortex-M0+ chip

ARM has debuted the ultra-efficient and low-cost Cortex-M0+ processor as the manufacturer aims to kick-start the creation and adoption of connected devices.

The Cortex-M0+ is a 32-bit processor that will enable the creation of always-on "smarter" devices, control systems and intelligent sensors that share information via the internet, the firm said.

The chip builds on technology that was introduced in the Cortex-M0, with ARM adding functionality to increase performance and maximise power efficiency.

ARM expects the processor to be used in a variety of devices ranging from medical equipment to office lighting and household appliances such as fridges. The chip builds on technology that was introduced in the Cortex-M0, with ARM adding functionality to increase performance and maximise power efficiency.

ARM is keen to emphasise that the M0+ processor has the ability to deliver higher performance than commonly used 8-bit and 16-bit chips, whilst consuming 30 per cent less power.

Mike Inglis, executive vice president and general manager of Processor Division at ARM emphasised the firm's commitment to increasing the number of connected devices in use.

"[We] have worked closely with our partners on the definition of the new processor to ensure that it can enable the low-cost devices of today, while also unlocking the potential benefits delivered by the Internet of Things," he said.

The Cortex-M0+ processor has so far been licensed by two firms. The first is Freescale, a US-based manufacturer, which provides embedded hardware for the industrial, networking, automotive and consumer markets. Dutch-based firm, NXP Semiconductor, which serves multiple markets including industrial, lighting, mobile sectors has also signed on to use the chip.

The announcement of the Cortex-M0+ looks to be a significant step in the creation of a connected world. The preceeding M0 chip had 50 licensees and many of these are expected use the latest version of the processor.

Mobile industry body the GSMA has predicted that the total number of connected devices will explode, rising from nine billion in 2011 to more than 24 billion in the next decade.

ARM is also hoping that the Cortex-M0+ chipset will continue to provide a lucrative revenue stream as it faces increased competition from Intel in the smartphone and tablet market.

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