LONDON -- ARM Holdings plc has cut a deal with Imagination Technologies Group plc of Kings Langley, England, whereby ARM will integrate Imagination's PowerVR graphics technology with its own RISC processor cores and license the combination to customers.
The companies said the integrated cores will initially be marketed for such applications as mobile phones, personal digital appliances, digital set-top boxes, tethered Internet appliances and portable gaming systems.
The agreement with ARM is a boost for Imagination Technologies, formerly VideoLogic Ltd., which despite a collaboration with NEC Corp. in March 1994 and a licensing deal with STMicroelectronics in April 1999 has fewer licensing arrangements than ARM.
ARM Holdings decided to sign a deal with Imagination though there are numerous graphics technology startups, and it could also have developing graphics technology in-house.
Past PowerVR design wins have involved Sega's Dreamcast gaming console and the Naomi arcade gaming system.
Under the terms of the latest agreement, ARM will market and license the PowerVR graphics and video cores to its customer base for use with current and future ARM processor families. Both companies will receive revenues from the license agreements.
"This is a significant strategic agreement that brings together the strongest patented technologies available for embedded RISC processing and advanced graphic rendering," said Hossein Yassaie, chief executive officer of Imagination Technologies. "The combined ARM and PowerVR architectures have the potential to become the standard technology across these markets enabling devices that far surpass the current generation."
Robin Saxby, chairman and chief executive officer of ARM, said, "The combination of market-leading ARM microprocessor technology with Imagination Technologies' unique 3-D graphics technology will further enable a n ew breed of exciting media-rich consumer products."
Other companies in the portable and tethered equipment spaces have voiced their support for the ARM-Imagination partnership. "The combination of ARM and Imagination Technologies has the potential to transform the capabilities of consumer electronics devices, delivering substantially improved content over current generation products," said Andy Trott, director of technology and strategic development at Pace Micro Technology Ltd., a set-top box maker in Saltley, England. "We are impressed with the potential of their united technologies."