ARM Holdings expects its 64-bit v8 architecture to make it not only into servers or similar applications, but also to power traditional mobile products like smartphones and tablets. In fact, the first devices based on the new architecture may be released as early as next year.
"We have signed up our lead licensees for the ARMv8 implementations, which will be announced later in the year. We expect to ramp [volume ARMv8 products] into silicon in 2014, so a little while to wait before the silicon reaches significant volume," said Warren East, chief executive officer of ARM, during the latest conference call with financial analysts.
The ARMv8 architecture consists of two main execution states, AArch64 and AArch32. The AArch64 execution state introduces a new instruction set, A64 for 64-bit processing. The AArch32 state supports the existing ARM instruction set. The key features of the current ARMv7 architecture, including TrustZone, virtualization and NEON advanced SIMD, are maintained or extended in the ARMv8 architecture.
The ARMv8 architecture will enable the development of ARM architecture compatible devices that can be designed to maximize the benefits across both 32-bit and 64-bit application areas. This will bring the advantages of energy-efficient 64-bit computing to new applications, like servers, but will also make difference for traditional ARM-based devices, e.g., tablets and smartphones. With ARMv8 chips incoming already this year, it is likely that the first actual products will become available sometimes in 2013.
"Atlas and Apollo are the codenames for the first ARM version 8 microprocessors that we will be launching later in the year. The aim there is to target the high end of the computing spectrum, servers and high-end smartphones," added Mr. East.