ARM, Imagination Boost Connectivity Options for IoT, Wearables
The new RPU cores are built specifically for such devices, with flexibility in the connectivity standards that are supported. Customers can decide to integrate 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth Smart or a combination of both standards, according to Imagination's Parvathaneni. Given the tens of billions of devices that make up the IoT, flexibility in the communications standards is important. The company later will add support for other protocols, such as 802.15.4, 802.11ah and LTE-CAT-0/1. "You need multi-standard cores," he told eWEEK. According to Parvathaneni, the Ensigma Whisper RPU architecture also offers a unique design that enables improved standby power, due to the tightly coupled modem and MIPS processor. Parvathaneni said that chips in IoT devices tend to be in standby mode as much as 95 percent of the time, so Imagination engineers in developing the PowerGearing technology worked to optimize power efficiency during that time as well as periods of dynamic power consumption. The tight coupling of the modem and MIPS processor also means that users can choose to get rid of the host processor or lessen the load on it, which helps in creating smaller systems and lowering power consumption.Imagination initially is rolling out three versions of Ensigma Whisper RPUs, including the C5400, which supports 802.11n WiFi for low-power devices used for audio and video streaming and enables customers to reach WiFi connectivity at Bluetooth Classic power levels while offering better performance-per-MHz. The C5300 RPU includes Bluetooth Smart technology for such devices as sensor hubs, wearable technology and home automation systems, while the C5401—with a combination of 802.11n and Bluetooth Smart supports—is aimed at wearables. The new RPUs can be licensed immediately. Imagination continues to expand its IoT capabilities. Most recently, the company earlier this year launched a low-power PowerVR GPU for IoT and wearable devices.
The Whisper cores can work with the x86 architecture used by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices as well as ARM's architecture, but they work best with Imagination's own MIPS chips via the company's Connected Processor IP Platform.