UK chipmaker ARM launched the Cortex A8 processor on Tuesday, claiming that its high performance and low power requirements would "revolutionise consumer and low-power mobile devices".
Texas Instruments (TI) also announced that it was the first customer for the new processors, which it plans to use across a range of products including low-power 3G devices.
The Cortex A8 uses a 65nm fabrication process and is proving popular with Matsushita (which trades as Panasonic), Samsung and Freescale, who have all joined TI as partners.
The A8 is the first applications processor based on the ARMv7 architecture and includes ARM's implementation of NEON — new signal processing extensions — that accelerates the processing of media codecs such H.264 and MP3. The A8 also includes an accelerator to optimise Java performance that will reduce memory footprint by as much as a factor of three, ARM claimed.
Also, acknowledging security worries in IT, the new processor features ARM's TrustZone technology for secure transactions as well as digital rights management.
According to Mike Inglis, a vice-president of marketing with ARM, the A8 acknowledges "the rapid convergence of digital entertainment and mobile communications technology" and "new levels of system performance and security within a tight cost and power footprint" that are required.
Much of the extra performance of the ARM A8 comes from pipelining, although the company did not specify how many individual pipes are supported. It is available with a size configurable level two cache which works in conjunction with fast 16K or 32K level one caches to minimise access time and maximise throughput.