Wireless Systems Design

Batteries Look Forward To Longer Lives


Wireless entertainment is bringing a lot of excitement to the industry. In its applications, people see the potential for a rebirth in revenue and innovation. Yet they also overlook potential obstacles, like power consumption. To tackle this problem, National Semiconductor Corp. (www.national.com) and ARM (www.arm.com) have forged a strategic business relationship. Their plan is to develop and market power-efficient systems that will extend battery life in several stages from 25% to up to 400%.

To accomplish this goal, the companies plan to develop a technology that enables ARM Powered system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices to dynamically adjust performance and power consumption. They could then maximize energy conservation in portable devices. The companies' development efforts are rooted in National's PowerWise technology and ARM's Intelligent Energy Manager solution.

PowerWise is an umbrella solution that will be developed in several phases. At the center of it is a synthesizable AMBA methodology-compliant macrocell that works with ARM Powered processors. This macrocell communicates with external Power-Wise-compliant power-management chips. In doing so, it can reduce the system power supply to the minimum needed to meet the required level of performance.

The Intelligent Energy Manager solution implements advanced algorithms to balance processor workload and energy consumption. The ARM solution also maximizes system responsiveness to meet end-user performance expectations. The technology works with both the OS and the applications running on the phone. As a result, it can dynamically adjust the required CPU performance level through a standard programmer's model. The PowerWise on-chip macrocell then sets the minimum required power supply, which is delivered by the external power-management chip.

National and ARM will work with partners and third parties to standardize the software programmer's model and the PowerWise high-speed, low-power interface between the SoC and the external chip. The first phase of products should increase the efficiency of the digital baseband by 25% to 75%.

The companies also are collaborating with partners to create compatible OS support, design tools, and more. The joint solution will sample to key customers in the next quarter. Customers will be able to license the PowerWise synthesizable core from ARM. The external power-supply chips will be available from National. To find out more, visit powerwise.national.com or www.arm.com/powerwise.

TAGS: Intel
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