Concept art for the ARM Cortex-M7 processor

ARM unveils new Internet of Things chip

Mobile processor expert ARM has unveiled a new chip to bring computing power to embedded applications and Internet of Things devices.

According to the British firm, the new 32-bit Cortex-M7 processor will allow manufacturers to combine different computing processes on to a single chip doing away with the need for separate processors for connecting the device to a network.

Potential applications for the new processor include smart control systems employed in a range of applications such as motor control, industrial automation, advanced audio and image processing, as well as a variety of connected vehicle applications and other IoT uses, such as smart home devices.

"The addition of the Cortex-M7 processor to the Cortex-M series allows ARM and its partners to offer the most scalable and software-compatible solutions possible for the connected world," said Noel Hurley, general manager of ARM’s CPU group.

"The versatility and new memory features of the Cortex-M7 enable more powerful, smarter and reliable microcontrollers that can be used across a multitude of embedded applications."

The device delivers double the compute and digital signal processing (DSP) power of today's most powerful ARM-based microcontroller units (MCUs), according to the firm, and also provides the same C-friendly programmer's model. It is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors making migration from an existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7 simple.

Early licensees of the Cortex-M7 processor include Atmel, Freescale and STMicroelectronics.

Reza Kazerounian, senior vice-president and general manager for microcontroller business unit at Atmel, said: "Customers using the Cortex-M-based MCU will be able to scale-up performance and system functionality, while keeping the Cortex-M class ease-of-use and maximising software reuse.

“We see the ARM Cortex-M7 addressing high-growth markets like IoT and wearables, as well as automotive and industrial applications that can leverage its performance and power efficiency."

"Offering customers more intelligence and processing power on our STM32 microcontrollers is a major objective for ST, and the Cortex-M7 delivers that impressively," said Daniel Colonna, microcontrollers marketing director at STMicroelectronics.

"The Cortex-M7 core supports upwardly-scalable compatibility with our existing wide range of 500 Cortex-M STM32 microcontrollers, associated tools and software ecosystem, allowing developers to rapidly adopt our next-generation STM32 Cortex-M7-based MCUs."

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