Actions Semiconductor Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China), a fabless provider of applications processors for portable consumer electronics, has licensed the 64-bit capable Cortex-A50 family of processor cores from ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England).
Developers of application processors, having moved to "big-little" 32-bit quad- and octo-cores in 2013, are now looking to move to 64-bit capable processors. Apple has already deployed a 64-bit processor, the A7, in its iPhone 5S, which was introduced in September 2013. The next release of the Android operating system, the L edition to follow on from v4.4 known as KitKat, is expected to be 64-bit capable.
Actions' said it expects its first Cortex-A50 based SoC – intended for use in a tablet computer – to become available late in 2014. The company added that it would use the intellectual property license to address the tablet computer and set-top box markets.
The Cortex-A50 family is the name used to denote such processor cores as the Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53, which can be deployed in a so-called "big-little configuration, and others yet to be announced.
Actions highest specificiation processor for tablets to date is the ATM703X, which includes a quad-core Cortex-A9 and the PowerVR SGX544MP graphics processing unit licensed from Imagination Technologies plc.
Actions did not indicate what deployment of cores it is designing into the Cortex-A50 based SoC or whether Imagination will continue to be its GPU supplier.
"With the mobile industry rapidly migrating from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems, we expect our next generation SoCs utilizing this IP will allow us to compete more effectively in both the branded and whitebox segments of the tablet and OTT set top box markets," said Zhenyu Zhou, CEO of Actions Semiconductor, in a statement.
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