Arm launches new IoT processors

Arm's Cortex-M85 micro controller will support internet of things devices while the Corstone-1000 supports AI at the edge.

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Arm Holdings launched its latest micro controller design to provide high-performance computing at the edge as well as two new platforms to help reduce development time of internet of things (IoT) devices.

Normally, the Cortex-M line of controllers is used in small low-power devices, like smart watches, but the Cortex-M85 performs better than the rest of the line. It is designed to improve artificial-intelligence operations such as voice recognition on edge devices including smart-home products and drones.

“Developers drive the future of the IoT, but they face an ever-increasing demand for higher performance, increased security, and less complex development flows,” said Mohamed Awad, vice president of IoT and Embedded at Arm in a statement.

The Cortex-M85 is part of the Arm Total Solutions for IoT program, which Arm launched six months ago. It consists of pre-integrated subsystem designs offering a more turnkey experience and reducing the amount of work for chip designers to get their designs up and running.

The program also includes the Arm Virtual Hardware cloud service for testing Arm-based devices without needing many variations of physical silicon, along with machine learning (ML) models and tools to simplify development and accelerate product design.

Central to the Arm Total Solutions for IoT program is Corstone, a collection of pre-integrated designs that combines Arm's core CPU designs with other IP building blocks for rapid development and building of vertical processor designs.

As part of the announcement, Arm launched two new Corstone designs for devices with higher performance needs: The Corstone-310 for voice-recognition applications and Corstone-1000 for cloud-native edge devices.

Corstone-310 is part of Arm’s Total Solution for Voice Recognition. It is targeted at devices like smart speakers, thermostats, drones and factory robots, all of which could use voice control. The Corstone-310 design uses the Cortex-M85 core.

The Corstone-1000 is more high-end, and is what Arm has branded Total Solution for Cloud Native Edge Devices. Corstone-1000 is for application-class workloads that need high-performance hardware, and run on a full OS like Linux.

Because of this, Corstone-1000 is designed around the Cortex-A architecture, which is much higher performing than Cortex-M. Corstone-1000 is part of Arm's SystemReady certification program, which promises that the CPU and subsystems are fully integrated and work right out of the box. Cortex-1000 also supports Arm's Project Cassini, which is designed to simplify cloud-native software experiences for developers writing applications that run on Cortex-A-based processors.

Broader CPU-simulation support

CPU testing is almost always done first in simulators before creating test silicon as a way to keep expenses down, and Arm provides simulators via it's Arm Virtual Hardware (AVH) service.

AVH offers test platforms for developers to verify and validate embedded and IoT applications during the complete software design cycle without requiring actual physical hardware. Multiple modeling technologies are offered to remove or reduce the complexity of building and configuring board farms.

Now, Arm has expanded to support the two new Corstone subsystem designs as well as seven Cortex-M cores. This will allow independent software vendors and cloud service providers to test applications against the Cortex-M line.

Arm has expanded the service to include Arm-based hardware from partner companies like NXP Semiconductors and ST Microelectronics as well as the makers of Raspberry Pi.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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