| LONDON — In a conference call with financial analysts held Tuesday (Oct. 19) to discuss the company's third quarter financial results, Warren East, chief executive officer of ARM Holdings plc, set out the expected progress for ARM's next high-end processor core, codenamed 'Tiger'. |
Although Tiger, the core to follow ARM11 but not yet confirmed before the ARM community as ARM12, is likely to be making increasing amounts of news in 2005 as ARM delivers elements of the design to its customers, East warned analysts against expecting it to make much impact on the company's licensing revenues in 2005.
There is a hint that East was managing expectations in a downward direction after previous reports had suggested Tiger would become available for licensing by second-tier customers in 2005.
The next-generation processor has been in design for about 18 months as a superscalar machine targeted at the 65-nm manufacturing process node, although it will probably come out in a 90-nm process first. At the same time it is intended to let ARM break through the gigahertz clock frequency threshold that has until now has been the preserve of PC and server microprocessors.
Tiger is likely to be an implementation of the ARMv7 instruction set architecture, which ARM has recently started to discuss. When Silicon Strategies last looked at the processor, in October 2003, the core wasn't even called Tiger and went by the much less emotive name of ARMXX. At that time Mike Inglis, ARM's executive vice president of marketing, gave the hint that Tiger would be a new ISA implementation. "We need to go to the next level of performance in the ARM architecture for mobile applications," he said in an interview.
In Tuesday's conference call East said: "For Tiger we will be making our first deliveries to our first lead partners at the end of Q1 next year." He continued: "At that stage we expect to have a handful of lead partners and then we would expect not to be licensing Tiger very aggressively until we start to see some silicon. And that whole lead partner process happens during next year. So I don't expect we'll see a huge amount of Tiger licensing."
A year ago almost to the day Inglis said: "The core will come out with lead partners during 2005 and be more broadly available at the end of 2005." Elsewhere reports have suggested Tiger would not come into silicon implementation until 2006.