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ARM chips get maths and Java

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ARM wrapped up recent announcements with news of a revamped co-processor for its ARM 9E-S family. The ARM VFP9-S floating point unit adds a third more transistors to the chip, but requires only a square millimetre and a half of extra die space.
ARM says the maths benchmarks run ten times faster than using software emulation using the ARM9-series co-processor, or twenty times faster on the ARM 10 co-processor.

The chip is aimed at embedded control systems in manufacturing. And that's where we hope it stays, quite selfishly. Beat-the-computer maths puzzles, such as the Channel 4 Countdown game, are hard enough to play already on ARM PDAs without FP units.

ARM also gave more details of its synthesizable Jazelle cores optimised for Java, beginning with the ARM926-EJ-S., at the Embedded Microprocessor Conference in San Jose, Ca. Jazelle adds Java byte code as a third instruction set alongside ARM set and the compressed, 16 bit Thumb instructions. It effectively drops a JVM into the hardware, with fifteen ARM registers reserved when in the chip's in a JVM state. ARM said the cores will be optimised for mobile devices running "the Symbian Platform, Linux, and Windows CE". Sanyo has already signed up as a licensee.

Java phones were in evidence at the recent JavaOne expo in San Francisco, and we have a pixelvision identity parade here. ®

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