Chartered aims to ride ARM license to SoC
Chartered aims to ride ARM license to SoC
By Tony Santiago, EE Times
July 18, 2002 (5:45 a.m. EST)
SINGAPORE Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd. said it plans to license 32-bit RISC ARM microprocessors based on processes ranging from 0.25 micron to 90 nanometers.
By licensing the ARM7TDMI core and the ARM946E core, Chartered said it expects to gain an edge in rolling out the next wave of ARM technology, the ARM1022E core for future chip designs.
The deal is part of the ARM Foundry Program, a business model that enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in emerging markets to gain access to ARM processor technology and Chartered's supporting foundry for use in the design and manufacture of system-on-chip (SoC) solutions.
According to Jaydeep Gupta, a process-engineering consultant with STMicroelectronics, Chartered plans to integrate some of the ARM architecture into clients' devices that use a consolidated approach to develop SoC products. "Hence there is a combi nation of incorporating ARM cores as mainstream technology for mixed-signal process design kits. Chartered will have an advantage over the other foundries that have yet to use ARM technology for its multicore manufacturing needs," Gupta said.
Bryn Parry, general manager of IP Products for ARM, said Chartered would benefit directly by incorporating ARM cores into its multicore manufacturing program. "Chartered's expertise in mixed-signal manufacturing will be extremely valuable to our partners in key convergence application markets, which in turn has spawned a wide variety of key devices for the communications, computing and consumer electronics markets," Parry said.
Chartered has built designs around ARM cores using various process technologies for different customers based on its full ARM license. Adding ARM cores to its SoC product line "is an important step for Chartered's IP [intellectual-property] access strategy," said Michael Buehler-Garcia, vice president of business development at Ch artered.
The licensing agreement would in turn promote quick adoption of ARM microprocessor technology and provide the building blocks needed to develop SoC chips. ARM said it intends to license its RISC processors, peripherals and SoC designs to other companies besides Chartered to help push chip development in the consumer electronics and communications markets.
This announcement builds on IP initiatives signed by Chartered with the Virtual Component Exchange, Unive and Fujitsu Digital Technologies, which are focused on gaining access to "hardened" mixed-signal and analog IP.
40 percent revenue rise
Chartered recently announced second-quarter revenue and earnings, with revenue projected to increase by approximately 40 percent sequentially in the second quarter of 2002, compared with previous growth of 25 percent. Growth during previous quarters had been hammered by the struggling international semiconductor market and falling wafer prices.
Chia Song Hwee, who was named Chartered's new chief executive and president in June, said the improving financial results indicated overall improvement in sales from customers in the communications and computer segments. "A key contributor to this growth strategy is the higher shipments of 0.18-micron wafers where we expect revenues will more than double to over 20 percent of total revenues this quarter and will continue to grow significantly throughout the remainder of the year," he said.
The company also reported a lower compound net loss of about $10 million. The loss was significantly higher for the previous accounting period last year.
The licensing and foundry deal with ARM could help Chartered target future high-growth markets and help reverse its poor performance of the past year, company officials said.
"By incorporating the ARM multicore manufacturing technology in developing quicker-to-market SoC products, Chartered intends to forge ahead in the 32-bit RISC ARM microprocessor technology l andscape," Gupta said. Its goal is to become a leading foundry for the high-end embedded chip market, "as well as developing new strains of RISC ARM chips for the consumer electronics and communication devices," he added.
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