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ARM Introduces Software Interface Standard for Cortex Processor-based Microcontrollers

12 November 2008

Standard provides a single, scalable interface standard across all Cortex-M series processor vendors enabling easier code sharing and re-use

CAMBRIDGE, UK – Nov. 12, 2008 – ARM [(LSE: ARM); (Nasdaq: ARMH)] today announced the availability of the ARM® Cortex™ Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS), a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for the Cortex-M processor series.  The CMSIS enables consistent and simple software interfaces to the processor for silicon vendors and middleware providers, simplifying software re-use, reducing the learning curve for new microcontroller developers and reducing the time to market for new devices.

Creation of software is acknowledged as a major cost factor by the embedded industry. By standardizing the software interfaces across all Cortex silicon vendor products, this cost is significantly reduced, especially when creating projects for new devices or migrating existing software to a Cortex processor-based microcontroller from other silicon vendors.

The creation of the CMSIS enables silicon vendors to focus their resources on the differentiating peripheral features of their product, and eliminates the need to maintain their own individual and incompatible standards for programming a microcontroller.

The CMSIS has been developed in close partnership with several key silicon and software vendors including Atmel®, IAR, KEIL, Luminary Micro, Micrium, NXP, SEGGER and STMicroelectronics. This collaboration, together with feedback from previous solutions, has resulted in an easy-to-use and easy-to-learn programming interface for Cortex processor-based devices.

The standard has been designed to be fully scalable to ensure that it is suitable for all Cortex-M processor series microcontrollers from the smallest 8KB device up to devices with sophisticated communication peripherals such as Ethernet or USB-OTG.  (The CMSIS memory requirement for the Core Peripheral Access Layer is less the 1KB code, less then 10 bytes RAM).

“The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard provides a common approach to interface peripherals, real-time operating systems, and middleware components which benefits silicon vendors and developers alike,” said Reinhard Keil, Director of MCU Tools, ARM. “The ARM Cortex processor architecture is rapidly becoming the architecture of choice for next generation, high-performance, low-power MCUs. By standardising across all silicon vendor products, the CMSIS will reduce the cost of developing new software, and further accelerate the development of new Cortex processor-based microcontrollers.”

ARM plans to extend the CMSIS with a Middleware Access Layer that provides standard software interfaces for Ethernet, SD/MMC, and a debug interface for consistent kernel-aware debugging of RTOS kernels. This extension to the CMSIS will simplify the deployment of standard middleware components on new Cortex processor-based microcontrollers.

Availability
Provided as a set of comprehensive documentation that is designed for integration into device user’s guides, the CMSIS is available for free download from www.onARM.com, a website providing a comprehensive resource for embedded developers. CMSIS documentation and maintenance of the software layer will be provided by ARM.

About ARM
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM’s comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company’s broad partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies.

ENDS

ARM is a registered trademark of ARM Limited. Cortex is a trademark of ARM Limited. “ARM” is used to represent ARM Holdings plc; its operating company ARM Limited; and the regional subsidiaries: ARM, Inc.; ARM KK; ARM Korea Ltd.; ARM Taiwan Limited; ARM France SAS; ARM Consulting (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.; ARM Belgium N.V.; AXYS Design Automation Inc.; ARM Germany GmbH; ARM Embedded Technologies Pvt. Ltd.; and ARM Norway, AS.


Partner quotes:
Atmel
Jacko Wilbrink, Atmel’s Marketing Director for ARM-based products, commented, “Simplifying the programming of ARM processor-based microcontrollers and microprocessors, and educating the market on how to develop portable code on ARM processor-based microcontrollers is a response to market demand and a joint responsibility for ARM, its licensees and ecosystem partners.”

IAR

“The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard will make the Cortex-M3 ecosystem the envy of the microcontroller world - helping engineers get their Cortex-M3 processor-based products to market faster and with fewer headaches,” said Mike Skrtic, ARM Strategic Account Manager, IAR Systems.  “IAR Systems has a tradition of enthusiastically supporting ARM standards initiatives and will continue to do so in the future.” 

Luminary Micro
“We based our award-winning Stellaris® microcontrollers on the Cortex-M3 processor to provide users with 32-bit performance while eliminating future architectural upgrades or software tool changes,” said Jean Anne Booth, CMO of Luminary Micro.  “The new CMSIS is a valuable software addition for users who have already chosen the open ARM architecture to enable common software reuse across multiple end-product platforms, bringing further improvements in time-to-market.”

Micrium
“Ease-of-use and a reduction of both learning curve and cost are at the forefront of Micrium's philosophy and its product offerings,” said Jean Labrosse, Micrium CEO. “We're dedicated to, and avidly in favor of, activities that simplify hardware driver reuse. The CMSIS is one of many important initiatives that Micrium supports to achieve this goal. ”

NXP
“Software reuse is becoming increasingly important for next generation microcontroller applications and is fundamental to NXP's strategy of integrating industry standard ARM MCU cores with class leading peripherals,” said Geoff Lees, vice president and general manager, microcontroller product line, NXP Semiconductors “We welcome the CMSIS release as we continue to roll-out the newly announced LPC1700 family of Cortex-M3 processor-based microcontrollers, capable of running at speeds up to 100MHz.”

SEGGER
“The Cortex-M3 processor has set a new standard for microcontrollers and the new hardware abstraction layer takes this one step further by enabling software development to be easier than ever before,” said Rolf Segger, founder and CEO of SEGGER Microcontroller. “SEGGER is committed to using the ARM CMSIS in our entire product line. We are convinced that it will not only shorten product development but also increase software reliability.”

STMicroelectronics   
“One of the prime intentions of our STM32 MCU family has been to offer a unified set of products and a tools ecosystem to satisfy the converging 16-bit and 32-bit developer’s needs,” said Daniel Colonna, Marketing Director for Microcontrollers at STMicroelectronics. “This new CMSIS initiative will further boost interest in ARM Cortex-M3 processor-based microcontrollers and we are fully supporting this project.” 

Contact Details:
ARM PRESS OFFICE: +44 208 846 0797

ARM PRESS OFFICE: +44 208 846 0797       

Alan Tringham
ARM
+44 1223 400947
alan.tringham@arm.com

Alexander Todd
Text 100
+44 (0)208 846 0720
Alexander.todd@text100.co.uk

Star Meza
Text 100
+1 415 593 8431
StarM@text100.com





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