By Bee Hayes-Thakore and thomasensergueix
Pervasive connectivity, largely spurred by mobile and tablet use is transforming the way we consume and interact with each other through cloud connectivity. The Internet of Things will expand this interaction further to a multitude of connected devices, influencing the connected city, home, healthcare and all aspects of embedded intelligence. This future demands embedded intelligence to be always-on, always-aware, always-connected, and demands more performance (particularly high Digital Signal Processing (DSP) performance) for local data pre-processing, voice and image processing, access to richer content and increased system reliability and fault tolerance.
It is with this future of embedded intelligence in mind that we announced today the new ARM Cortex-M7 processor, bringing a host of new features and capabilities to the Cortex-M family of low-power, 32-bit processors. Cortex-M7 introduces a number of micro-architectural features which enable our partners to build chips that can reach much higher levels of performance than existing microcontroller cores in terms of general-purpose code, DSP code and floating point code.
Three lead licensees: Atmel, Freescale and STMicroelectronics have been working with ARM since the very early stage of development on the Cortex-M7 processor – they will be bringing exciting new products to market over the coming months. The ARM Cortex-M7 processor is targeted at demanding embedded applications used in next generation vehicles, connected devices, and smart homes and factories Through these products, the benefits delivered by the Cortex-M7 processor will be apparent to users in our increasingly connected world.
For example domestic appliances (or white goods as they are referred to) would have previously had a simple user interface and be controlled by simple processors. But the next generation devices are getting smarter in order to operate more efficiently using minimal energy and resources. Next generation products are moving to more sophisticated displays, advanced touch screen panels, advanced control motors to include field oriented control algorithms in their motor driver control in order to operate more efficiently. Some of these also need to run communications software stacks to interface with other appliances and interface with the outside world to provide billing information, power usage and maintenance information.
All of these requirements demand more performance from the microcontroller, which lies at the heart of the appliance – Cortex-M7 based MCUs will deliver that performance. In addition to excellent performance, not only does the Cortex-M7 processor extend the low power DNA inherent in the Cortex-M family but it also provides the same C-friendly programmer's model and is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M processors. Ecosystem and software compatibility enables simple migration from any existing Cortex-M core to the new Cortex-M7 core. System designers can therefore take advantage of extensive code reuse which in turn offers lower development and maintenance costs. You can find more information on Cortex-M7 on arm.com.
ARM TechCon - the largest meeting of the ARM Partnership - is taking place in Santa Clara in just a few days. Dr Ian Johnson, Product Manager for the Cortex-M7, will talk in greater depth about the the features of this new processor in “The Future Direction of the ARM Cortex-M Processor Family” session (2pm-3.50pm, October 1st) along with invited speakers from lead licensees and additional guests. Free ARM Expo passes are available with ARMExp100 code.
But why wait, you can start discussing Cortex-M7 processors with embedded experts here today!
Related content and discussions also on:
What do you think is missing for you? What should ARM do to improve in the next one?
It may be a good processor, but not a great one.
None of the current Cortex-M processors have an MMU. This is not their purpose.
If you are looking to run Linux on a microcontroller, you could consider uClinux, or alternatively our Cortex-A series processors all have a dedicated MMU.
The big question will come from every developer contemplating using this with Linux:
Does it have an MMU?
The M7 is going to rock the traditional DSP industry. We have made very high end products that is running on a Sharc ($15-$20) that now can run on the M7 at a fraction of the cost. Think about what this could do the future products in IoT and wearable devices.