U.K.-based semiconductor designer ARM Holdings is currently hosting its TechCon event in Santa Clara, California, where the company's new chipset architecture for the Internet of Things (IoT) has been unveiled. ARM announced two chipset designs for IoT, namely the ARM Cortex-M23 and ARM Cortex-M33, representing the company's interest in the growing IoT computing segment.
The ARM Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 designs are part of a new family of chips based on ARMv8-M architecture, and according to Michael Horne, VP of marketing and sales in ARM's IoT business, the new chips make use of ARM TrustZone technology for improved hardware security. Michael Horne says that "these devices are set to become the processor of choice for Internet of Things devices". He also added that the company aims to "have a comprehensive IoT offering which is efficient, scalable, and secure". While other chip designs seem to have trade-offs in terms of security, efficiency, performance, and cost, ARM aimed to find a balance between these aspects and deliver an architecture which can be used in various IoT areas, including but not limited to smart lighting and health monitoring. Both chipsets are based on 32-bit computing and use ARM TrustZone technology, allowing both the Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 to use the low-power CoreLink SIE-200 foundation for IoT nodes in order to provide inter-connectivity between the chipsets and peripherals. The ARM Cortex-M33 boasts a 20% increase in performance compared to the previous Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M3 architectures (the latter being used by the Pebble Time) , whereas the Cortex-M23 counterpart is designed for applications where power efficiency plays a bigger role. In any case, some of the most notable selling points include "secure access to and between clouds", a simplified firmware update procedure "across complex networks", and efficient connectivity "with standards-based approach".
ARM's Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 silicon designs will be licensed to customers who want to use the company's architecture for IoT devices, and so far, ten world-renowned microcontroller manufacturers – including Analog Devices, Microchip, NXP, Nuvoton, Renesas, Silicon Labs, and STMicroelectronics – have already licensed the new products. ARM Holdings is headquartered in Cambridge, U.K. and as a reminder, the company has been acquired by Japan's SoftBank Group in September 2016 for the sum of $32 billion.