UEFI to make its way into mobile and non-PC markets

UEFI — the BIOS replacement that bought the Secure Boot technology to Windows 8 PCs — is set to appear in a wide range of devices, from smartphones to servers.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), the next-generation replacement for the BIOS, is set to make an appearance in mobile devices and other non-PC applications.

UEFI technology was designed from the ground up to work across a range of platforms to enable cross-functionality between devices, software, and systems. While its usage thus far has been limited to PC — UEFI provides the backbone for the Secure Boot feature that is mandatory on certified Windows 8 hardware — the technology is equally at home on all kinds of platforms.

To help the adoption of UEFI beyond the PC, The UEFI Forum, a world-class, nonprofit industry standards body, has released updated specifications, including new versions of UEFI Self-Certification Test (SCT) suites, which helps provide the computing industry with a test suite to verify the existence of protocols, as well as input and output parameters.

"The UEFI specification supports a boot loader that is able to launch a wide variety of operating systems," said Andrew Sloss, senior principal engineer, ARM and UEFI ARM Bindings Sub-Team leader, in a statement to ZDNet. "This technology has clear advantages for equipment manufacturers who need cost-effective, standardized solutions to create compelling new products that are compatible with the exponential growth of mobile and non-PC applications."

ARM now recommends UEFI as the preferred boot loader for its 64-bit processors that are based on the ARMv8 AArch64 architecture, silicon that is finding its way into all sorts of devices, from smartphones to servers, and introduced a new raft of features, including a larger register file, enhanced addressing range and support for cryptography instructions.

"UEFI Secure Boot isn't just for Windows; as more people use mobile devices, the need to protect those devices increases," said Mark Doran, president, UEFI Forum in another statement to ZDNet. "Along with that, we are seeing an increased reliance on firmware innovation across non-traditional market segments. The expansion of UEFI technologies addresses the growing demand for security across the mobile and non-PC application continuum."

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