ARM touts Internet of Things-ready Cortex M0+

Cambridge-based chip company ARM has announced its Cortex -M0+ processor, which it claims is the world’s most energy efficient and will lead the charge on making the Internet of Things a reality.

The M0+, ARM says, has been made in mind for ultra low power, low cost MCUs for sensors and smart controls, and will find its way into home appliances, medical monitoring, lighting, motor control, power, and metering. It runs a 32 bit architecture and consumes 9µA/MHz on a 90nm LP process. ARM says this beats the competition by miles – at a third of any 8- or 16-bit processors while comparatively being a powerhouse in performance.

ARM says the processor is a ground-up redesign of the Cortex-M0, with addead features like single-cycle IO, improved debugging and trace capability, and a two stage pipline which reduces the number of cycles per instruction. It’s binary compatible with Cortex-M0 processor tools.

ARM is certain that this technology will entice partners with the right designs to roll out the Internet of Things – where smart microcontrollers are embedded into wireless devices that can communicate with each other. The potential applications open up a whole new world of contract wins for ARM and its partners.

Early licencees include Freescale and NXP. In a statement, senior VP of Freescales automotive, industrial and multi-market group, Reza Kazerounian, said ARM’s processor will make the company’s Kinetis MCU “one of the industry’s most scalable portfolios based on the ARM Cortex architecture.” Thanks to higher performance and lower power, other designers are expected to make the leap from 8-bit and 16-bit “proprietary architectures” to 32 bit.

ARM’s processor divison general manager, Mike Inglis, said the Cortex-M0+ is “yet another” demonstration of the company’s leadership in lower power.