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Imagination seeks to resurrect MIPS in the spotlight

Posted: 20 Jun 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MIPS? Imagination? processor? ARM?

Those who have never built IoT or cloud-connected devices should be able to get help from FlowCloud technology, according to Imagination. FlowCloud services include registration, authentication, association, security notification, updates, and report control.

As for developing IoT devices, Imagination's partners have created several reference platforms with full support for FlowCloud. For one, the chipKIT Wi-Fire development platform from Digilent uses a PIC32 microcontroller (MCU) with a MIPS microAptiv CPU and boasts on-board WiFi.

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Source: Imagination Technologies

Proverbial ecosystem

Doubters about the market momentum behind MIPS tend to point out the lack of "ecosystem" around MIPS.

As Jim McGregor, founder and principal analyst at Tirias Research, notes, "The most difficult challenge MIPS faces is overcoming the momentum and build-out of the ecosystem around other architectures, particularly ARM."

Imagination, when both MIPS CPUs and PowerVR GPUs are combined, does offer a pretty big ecosystem that includes tools, middleware, software, and apps. But when it comes to the ecosystem for CPUs in mobile, the story is different.

Says McGregor: "How do you overcome an ecosystem that is now driving the direction of technology all because of its success in the most important platformsmobile devices? Everyone from server vendors to embedded applications is now looking to leverage the success and breadth of the mobile ecosystem, and that is all built around ARM at this point."

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Imagination is in search of IP sockets in SoCs across many markets. Source: Imagination Technologies

Imagination's latest presentations have assured us that the company does have very competitive IP in a number of areas. Imagination also makes it clear that plugging MIPS into a mobile socket isn't the most important thing for Imagination. More important is for Imagination to win as many sockets as possible in a wide variety of product applicationsbeyond mobile.

But in the end, as McGregor points out (and many others agree), "What would help Imagination's messaging is some success stories."

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times

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