ARM unveils 'ultra-efficient' Cortex-A32 processor for IoT applications

Microprocessor manufacturer claims new core to be 25 percent more efficient than current ARM models.
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer

ARM's new chip is designed for use in the smallest IoT connected devices.

Image: ARM

ARM has revealed what it is describing as an "ultra-efficient" processor for use in embedded applications and Internet of Things connected devices.

The new Cortex-A32 processor is ARM's smallest and most power-efficient core in its range, with the chip designed to be used inside products such as wearable devices, internet connected sensors, and small single-board computers.

The Cambridge, England-based company claims that the new processor brings the performance and efficiency of ARMv8-A architecture to small embedded and IoT systems.

"The Cortex-A32 processor builds on the trail blazed by the Cortex-A5 and Cortex-A7 processors in embedded applications such as single-board computing, IoT edge nodes, and wearables," said James McNiven, general manager of ARM's CPU group.

Built on the ARMv8-A architecture, the 32-bit Cortex-A32 is 25 per cent more efficient than ARM's current 32-bit core, the Cortex-A7, and the company claims that it delivers higher performance while using less power.

In its smallest configuration, the Cortex-A32 is tiny, occupying less than 0.25 mm squared of silicon area and consuming minimal power. This makes it handy for the smallest pieces of internet-connected kit such as industrial sensors and wearable devices, especially given that greater energy efficiency could improve battery life.

The Cortex-A32 is designed to be configurable in multiple ways, from single-core to quad-core, adding a level of scalability which allows it to be used for a range of Internet of Things applications.

ARM customers are seemingly excited about the processor's potential.

"IoT nodes have become increasingly diverse, with the more sophisticated nodes often requiring a rich OS," said Maarten Ectors, vice president of IoT at Canonical. "Combining Snappy Ubuntu Core and the highly-efficient processing and scalability of Cortex-A32 will enable developers to truly push the boundaries of edge devices for IoT."

Cortex-A processors are currently found in a range of applications across a number of industries, including automotives, industrial controllers, robots, and wearable devices.

It said the Cortex-A32 is equipped with ARM TrustZone technology in order to ensure the processors are as secure as possible with "banking-class trust capability".The Cortex-A processors were revealed at Embedded World 2016 in Nuremburg, Germany. At the same event, Dell touted its potential as a player in the industrial Internet of Things market.

Read more about Internet of things

Editorial standards