ST-Ericsson collaborates with ARM to demonstrate the world's first Symmetric Multi Processing mobile platform technology on Symbian OS
ST-Ericsson and ARM fuel the next generation of highly responsive, feature-rich smartphones
Geneva, SWITZERLAND, February 16, 2009- ST-Ericsson today announced at the Mobile World Congress the world’s first Symmetric Multi Processing (SMP) -enabled mobile platform running on Symbian OS™. The technological breakthrough is the first of its kind and is based on the ARM® Cortex™-A9 multicore processor, which represents a significant leap from previous generations of baseband/application processor architectures by providing unprecedented levels of performance and power efficiency. With the ST-Ericsson mobile platform, Symbian OS will be capable of running more applications, more effectively, while also reducing overall power consumption.
The ubiquitous availability of high-speed Internet access is fuelling a growing demand for PC-like speeds on mobile terminals, which in turn signals the need for improved computing performance. ST-Ericsson’s new family of system-on-chip is capable of SMP which allows different processes to be split among several processors based on performance and power requirements. For example, a device running multiple applications simultaneously can spread applications across different processors, while individual computer-intensive applications can also exploit multiprocessing by means of software multi-threading, a well-known technique used for PC’s and high-performance computing.
“In anticipation of the growing demand for faster, feature-rich phones, ST-Ericsson has provided a highly optimized platform that can fully exploit the benefits offered by multi processing,” said Monica De Virgiliis, Vice President Wireless Multimedia, ST-Ericsson. The overall system performance is optimized by balancing the applications across the number of instantiated CPU’s and their operating frequencies for the best achievable MIPS/mW.
“Having multiple processing cores improves real-time performance and OS reactivity, creating much more responsive devices and a better user experience,” she added.
“The result of ST-Ericsson and ARM’s collaboration is increased performance for media-rich content and applications, such as fast web browsing, imaging, games and location based services, without compromising battery life,” said Lee Williams, Executive Director, Symbian Foundation. “We value the commitment shown by ST-Ericsson and ARM to mobile innovation. This announcement signals exciting developments for the Symbian platform.”
“This endorsement of the ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore multicore processor by ST-Ericsson demonstrates the rapid adoption of SMP by our partners, paving the way for a new category of mobile devices that deliver significantly more processing performance on demand,” said Ian Drew, EVP Marketing, ARM. “This milestone has been reached by close co-operation with our partners and it now offers the potential for device manufacturers to continue the trend of delivering a more personal mobile internet experience.”
FURTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION
The new platform also integrates ARM NEON® accelerators coupled to each of the two CortexA9 SMP processors, further boosting the achievable performance and offering unprecedented opportunities to integrate even more demanding features for the best mobile computing experience possible. Optimized multimedia firmware will further take advantage of the available hardware accelerators and multi-processing resources, while maintaining full compatibility with standard development and integration environments, such as OpenMax.
The system’s highly optimized power management adapts instantaneously to the wide variety of computational loads induced by mobile computing, while minimizing power consumption. Symbian OS exploits Dynamic Voltage and Frequency Scaling (DVFS) in order to determine the optimal processing power at any given moment, working to ensure consumption of resources without over-extending the system’s capabilities. The platform’s flexible power management also exploits Adaptive Voltage Scaling (AVS) which adapts the voltage to the different characteristics of each single chip, induced by silicon process variations.
Another big advantage of SMP in mobile applications is more efficient power consumption, and this benefit will be very visible to the end user. Multi processing uses lower voltages and will allow users to do much more on a single battery charge. Instead of a single processor running at full capacity to complete a task, multiple processors can work half as hard enabling the entire chip to run at a lower temperature, creating less leakage. This allows the SMP system to deliver the same level of CPU performance one might expect from a larger and faster uni-processor CPU, while using less power.
Next-generation 3G and LTE mobile phones will experience data downloads of up to 100Mbs, and a new breed of data-intensive Internet applications will demand never-before-seen levels of processing power from terminals. The highly optimized ST-Ericsson implementation of the ARM Cortex-A9 multicore processor delivers scalable and flexible performance on demand, with enough headroom to handle future applications and services on the horizon.
ST-Ericsson is a world leader in developing and delivering a complete portfolio of innovative mobile platforms and cutting-edge wireless semiconductor solutions across the broad spectrum of mobile technologies. The company is a leading supplier to the top handset manufacturers and ST-Ericsson’s products and technologies enable more than half of all phones in use today. The global company of 8,000 people generated pro-forma sales of about USD 3.6 billion in 2008. ST-Ericsson was established as a 50/50 joint venture by STMicroelectronics and Ericsson in February 2009, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. More information on ST-Ericsson is available at www.stericsson.com
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. More information on ARM is available at http://www.arm.com
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