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ST-Ericsson and ARM demonstrate first multi-core chip technology for mobile devices

ST-Ericsson and ARM announced today that they will demonstrate at this GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009, in Barcelona, ??the first mobile platform Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP), enabling the arrival of chips multi-core on portable devices. They will be ARM's first 32 nanometers for smartphones and netbooks.

The revolution based on ARM's Cortex-A9 multi-core processor, which represents a giant leap from other generations of processor architectures to basebands/ applications, thus providing levels of performance and efficiency from outside never recorded before.

ARM Cortex-A9 MP Core

A demonstration model will be presented at a private event by ST-Ericsson, running, on occasion, the Symbian OS. According to a company representative, the use of processors multi-core improve performance real-time on mobile devices, aiming at a greatly improved user experience.

The big question is that the same Cortex-A9 processor can be used as a CPU in the next generation of the iPhone. We even talked about the possibility of the device coming with a four-core chip; now, it remains to be seen whether ARM will be able to get the processors ready in time, as the initial schedule was for a launch in late 2009, perhaps only early 2010. Apple has been investing heavily in ARM chip design and development since acquired PA Semi.

On the same occasion, ARM spoke about a low-cost processor technology planned for 2011, code-named ?Sparrow?. It shares the same set of instructions as the current Cortex-A8, the chip used in the Palm Pre. With a power similar to that of the ARM11 chip (used in the iPhone and other smartphones), its biggest differential can be used in configurations multi-core, to multiply performance.

"When devices like Sparrow start appearing in 2011, the A8 and even the most powerful A9 chips will be widespread," said Laurence Bryant, ARM's mobile marketing manager.