Andes Technology has announced explosive demand for its proprietary processor cores based on the open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), highlighting the growing demand for alternatives to x86, Arm, MIPS, and other proprietary ISAs.

Born from the University of California at Berkeley in 2010, the open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) is as permissive as it gets: The licence under which the ISA is made available has no requirement that derivative products be made open-source in turn, and while many RISC-V cores are permissively licensed themselves there’s nothing to stop companies developing proprietary cores based on the open ISA – and that’s exactly what Andes Technology offers its customers, boasting of increasing demand that has seen 60 licensing agreements signed in the first half of 2019 alone.

“The growth of the RISC-V market is only in its infancy,” claims Andes’ president, Frankwell Jyh-Ming Lin, of the market’s growth. “Our customers’ applications are very diverse and include AI, IoT, ADAS, Netcom and consumer electronics. Customers choose Andes RISC-V solutions because of the technical support of its RISC-V products line, friendly interface and excellent products and solutions. Andes will continue to invest in developing RISC-V related products and environment, and work together with customers and partners to win new business opportunities.”

Just because Andes’ cores are themselves proprietary, however, doesn’t mean the company isn’t involved in the free and open source silicon movement in a positive manner. “Andes supports the technical and marketing committees of the RISC-V Foundation,” chief technology officer Charlie Hong-Men Su explains, his company having joined the Foundation in 2016. “In addition to contributing to the core technology and cooperating with the world’s major companies to develop the RISC-V architecture, Andes leads the latest trends in RISC-V technology.”

Andes has specifically called out China as an area of growth, with the government supporting the development of RISC-V applications in the region – thanks in no small part to an ongoing trade war with the US which has seen a major Chinese company, Huawei, cut off from Arm-based processor technologies.