Epson puts ARM into European GSM phone

Epson puts ARM into European GSM phone
Richard Ball Seiko Epson is to develop GSM cellular phones for the European market based on a low voltage ARM processor. The Japanese semiconductor firm is the latest licensee of Advanced Risc Machines’ ARM7TDMI processor. Kenji Kawagai, general manager of Epson’s IC design department in Japan, told EW that the company will use the core in cellular phones, “not only in the Japanese market but also in Europe”. Epson will use a normal semiconductor process initially, but will shift to its proprietary low voltage ‘Energy Saving’ process. “We will provide some special low voltage process,” confirmed Kawagai. Its 0.9V process, developed for wristwatches ICs, dramatically cuts power consumption. Used in mobile phones it will extend standby and talk times by up to four times compared with today’s leading handsets. The ARM7 in the low voltage process will be used by Epson in other products. “We are also thinking to use the processor in portable applications,” said Kawagai. These could include digital cameras and other multimedia products. Seiko’s latest product, the Ruputer computer-in-a-watch, went on sale in Japan last week. The ARM7TDMI features the Thumb instruction set which packs 32-bit instructions into 16-bit memory, thereby reducing the flash memory required. The 16-bit code is decompressed during program execution with no time penalty.


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