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ARM lowers cost of Big Little licensing to tempt customers

Offers single use licence for smaller chip firms
Thu Apr 18 2013, 16:44
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CHIP DESIGNER ARM has changed its licensing model for its Big Little architecture, which it says will be cheaper than its former perpetual licence.

ARM's Big Little architecture made its debut with the Cortex A15 processor that is most notably used in Google's Nexus 10 tablet that sports a Samsung Exynos chip. Now the chip designer has introduced a new licensing model for its Big Little architecture called a single use design licence (SUDL). ARM claims the licence makes the technology more accessible for firms that want to use the Big Little architecture.

While the ARM Cortex A15 is the first chip to make use of the firm's Big Little architecture, the idea of using small and large cores to lower overall chip power consumption is expected to become a key part of chips based on the upcoming 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set. ARM said that its SUDL will allow chip vendors that do not want a perpetual licence to have access to the Big Little architecture.

A spokesperson for ARM told The INQUIRER, "We've introduced the Big Little SUDL to enable partners who do not want a perpetual licence access to the Big Little components as a package, thus expanding the availability of the Big Little across our partner ecosystem."

The firm also said that its perpetual licence will be more expensive than the SUDL across all of its intellectual property, however the firm said it doesn't discuss specific licensing costs.

ARM's chip licensing model has served it exceedingly well as the firm has blossomed while rivals such as Intel have suffered. However it seems that even ARM realises that it must offer licensing flexibility to the many chip vendors that might want to use one particular technology rather than have access to the whole library. µ


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