SAN JOSE, Calif. Attempting to reach out to smaller chip companies, ARM Holdings on Thursday (Oct. 9) said it would offer discounts to customers that purchase its Java processor core and related intellectual property as part of the same package.
The starter kit includes the Java-ready ARM926EJ “Jazelle” core, a set of common peripherals and a real-time trace macrocell. The peripherals, which ARM calls its PrimeXsys platform, include memory controllers, UARTS, timers and other general-purpose devices.
ARM said the kit will benefit small, fabless companies by reducing the time it takes them to negotiate licenses. It should also speed the integration of intellectual property cores on one chip. “If you look at the core and real-time trace, that could be 10 to 20 percent of the chip,” said Jerry Ardizzone, ARM's vice president of sales.
The package offering is an extension of ARM's foundry partner program, which lets small and medium-size chip companies that can't afford a general processor license pay a lower one-time fee for a single use. Typically chip companies that opt for this program pay a higher royalty fees later if the device reaches production. ARM says 62 companies have joined the foundry program.
A general license could cost several million dollars, but the starter kit will be less than $1 million, Ardizzone said. ARM has started negotiating with several companies interested in taking a starter kit license, he added.
Customers that license the kit can have their chips manufactured either at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. or United Microelectronics Corp., both of which have been given permission to hold the GDSII files for ARM's processors. ARM will deliver the PrimeXsys RTL directly to customers, Ardizzone said.
ARM's announcement comes a week after a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a summary judgment declaring that ARM's Jazelle technology does not infringe on a paten t owned by Nazomi Communicaitons. The ruling gives ARM the green light to continue selling microprocessors incorporating its Jazelle Java accelerators. Nazomi said it will appeal the ruling.
Ardizzone said the court's decision was unrelated to the timing of the starter kit announcement. “It's coincidental. We've been gearing up for this for a long time,” he said.