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Freescale undergoes "identity" makeover

Posted: 28 Jun 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:embedded processing? sensor technology? analog?

4.�Depth and breadth in processing technology
Freescale is armed with multiple processor architectures. They range from Power Architecture to ARM, and StarCore (DSP). Isn't it a huge burden to support all of them?

The breadth of processor architecture the company supports has never been a concern. It is what sets Freescale apart. In sticking with core markets like networking, automotive and industrial, "Our goal is to create the best fit for different applications," said Su.

At a time when ARM cores are readily available for license, one could argue that anybody could design ARM-based processors. Often overlooked is "the incredibly deep knowledge Freescale has in understanding processorsaccumulated through years of experiences in multiple processing cores, including Power Architecture," said the Linley Group's Byrne. "Who else in the industry has this [breadth and depth] these days?"

Further, Freescale's cumulative knowledge in multicores or multithreading is transferred from one processor architecture to another.

Take an example of QorIQ AMP, a new family of Power Architecture-based communications processors, and i.MX6, a series of advanced multimedia processors based on ARM cores (offering single-core, dual-core and quad-core solutions).

Su noted, "Multicores are no longer just for high-end devices." The knowledge base Freescale has accumulated in multicores in the networking space is now cascading into the consumer segment.

As more content is pushed to the cloud, "the edge of the network is pushed further out to consumer devices," observed Preet Virk, director of networking segment marketing at Freescale. The consumer deviceequipped with its own storage for saving filesroams the network hopping from WiFi to femto and pico cells. The network is aware when the device come home, it's ready to sync up information. In that scenario, that consumer device "is practically becoming the edge of the network," said Virk. As such, it needs a more powerful crypto engine for security acceleration, for instance.

The parallel between networking devices and consumer devices includes: a layout of cores; how a memory controller interacts with cores, and how best a security acceleration block talks to cores. In essence, such ideas as "how best you move data inside a multicore SoC; and how to create hooks on the hardware to make the chip software friendly," can be shared between consumer and networking devices, concluded Virk.

Freescale bets its success on embedded processing on several fronts. Topping the list is its ability to offer a full suite of embedded processors that leverage a mixture of proprietary and open processor architecture. The company is also scaling the architecture of their processors, scaling the knowledge, and it hopes to make the most of the scale of the market in which it plays.

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