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ARM launches chip to power Internet of Things devices

Cortex-M7 processor comes with double the compute power, aimed at next generation of smart devices

ARM has revealed its latest processor targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The 32-bit Cortex-M processor claims to allow manufacturers to include more functionality and features into devices, such as next generation vehicles, connected devices, and smart homes and factories. 

The Cortex-M7 runs at 400MHz and has a 64-bit Advanced eXtensible Interface(AXI) interconnect with caches for instruction and data allowing access to large external memories and peripherals.

ARM said the chip had a "tightly coupled" memory interface for real-time response and offered twice the performance of its Cortex-M4 and can execute twice as many instructions simultaneously.

With the chip being able to deliver 2000 Coremarks, ARM said this would allow MCU silicon manfacturers to make devices with highly demanding applications while keeping development costs low.

"The addition of the Cortex-M7 processor to the Cortex-M series allows ARM and its partners to offer the most scalable and software-compatible solutions possible for the connected world," said Noel Hurley, general manager of the CPU group at ARM. "The versatility and new memory features of the Cortex-M7 enable more powerful, smarter and reliable microcontrollers that can be used across a multitude of embedded applications."

The chip designer said the update meant it was capable of faster processing of audio and image data and voice recognition which would be immediately apparent to users.

The core also provides the same C-friendly programmer's model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors, claimed the firm. "Ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration from any existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7. System designers can therefore take advantage of extensive code reuse which in turn offers lower development and maintenance costs."

The chip is available to ARM licensees such as Atmel, Freescale and ST Microelectronics and should find its way into devices by the end of 2015, the firm said.

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