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ARM Acquires Cadence Display Tech For Mobile Multimedia

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ARM buys display controller technology as it looks to beef up the media and display capabilities of mobile devices

ARM Holdings has acquired the PANTA display controller cores from Cadence Design Systems Inc, as the British chip designer seeks to improve its mobile chip offerings.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Display Cores

ARM revealed that Cadence is already its partner as ARM “co-developed Cadence’s PANTA family of high-resolution display processor and scaling coprocessor IP cores”, which are “targeted at advanced multimedia applications for high-end mobile devices with ultra-low power consumption.”

ARM-Cortex-A15-chip“Display technology is critical to the mobile consumer’s user experience,” said Pete Hutton, executive VP and general manager, media processing division at ARM. “The addition of the PANTA family of display cores to the ARM product portfolio will help our ecosystem of partners get to market quickly with high-end displays that are fully integrated with ARM’s leading Mali graphics and video solutions and protected with ARM TrustZone security.”

“ARM and Cadence work together closely on many levels, including IP integration, verification IP (VIP) for all ARM AMBA protocols, and high-performance design solutions optimized for ARM cores,” said Martin Lund, senior VP of Cadence’s IP group. “As a result, both companies offer more tightly integrated solutions to our mutual customers.”

Financial Clout

ARM doesn’t manufacture any hardware of course. Instead it develops processor technology and licenses it to others. This model allows it receive royalties from third party chip sales, and in the second quarter, manufacturers shipped 2.4 billion chips based on ARM designs, up 20 percent year-on-year. All of this has helped swell ARM’s coffers, which gives it the financial strength and flexibility to cherry pick the best technology for its portfolio.

Late last month for example, ARM acquired Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication software developer Sensinode for an undisclosed amount.

That Finnish company has contributed to a number of M2M standards based on Wi-Fi and cellular networks. However it will continue to offer its NanoStack and NanoService products under the ARM banner. The same products will be integrated into ARM’s open source ‘mbed’ project.

ARM’s acquisition was designed to improve its expertise in all matters concerning the Internet of Things (IoT) – a collection of technologies that introduce connectivity into everyday devices and appliances, through protocols referred to as M2M communication.

ARM quoted research which suggests that the IoT will connect 30 billion devices by 2020. However Ericsson and Cisco believe this number will be even higher – 50 billion devices in just seven years.

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