We're only 18 days into 2011, and ARM has already gotten off to a strong start. After being heralded as the darling of CES - and seeing its shares jump by almost 20 per cent on the LSE - the company has announced a major agreement with IBM that will see the pair working to develop future products all the way down to the 14nm node.
This is actually an extension of an existing agreement - in place since 2008 - that saw the companies working together on chips designed for the 32nm and 28nm nodes. By working with IBM's manufacturing division, ARM has been able to tune some of its SoC designs to help improve density and manufacturability, as well as optimising performance and power consumption.
Obviously these advanced processes are only just starting to hit the mainstream, but the collaboration has already produced 11 test chips, including a complete Cortex-A9 core built on 32nm High-K Metal Gate technology.
Moving forwards, the companies will continue this work by optimising ARM's designs for 20nm and 14nm manufacturing nodes. SoCs built on these processes will deliver the significant increases in performance and performance-per-watt that will be necessary in order to drive the next generation of mobile and portable devices.
The deal should help to minimise the risks associated with moving to smaller manufacturing processes and accelerate the pace at which this new generation of processors can make it to the marketplace.
IBM Microelectronics' Michael Cadigan noted that "we plan to continue working closely with ARM and our foundry customers to speed the momentum of ARM technology by delivering highly advanced, low-power semiconductor technology for a variety of new communications and computing devices".