Imagination Technologies and Andes Technology have announced a partnership to combine the former’s Ensigma wireless intellectual property (IP) with the latter’s RISC-V N22 microcontroller IP in order to create an off-the-shelf product aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT) sector.
The collaboration between the two companies marks the first time Imagination has shown interest in the RISC-V market; previously, the company’s general purpose processing products had centred around the proprietary MIPS instruction set architecture (ISA) which it acquired in 2012 in a $100 million deal before selling it on for $65 million in 2017 – with eventual owner Wave Computing announcing it would make the ISA available royalty-free and with no licensing fee as the MIPS Open Initiative late last year.
The partnership will see Imagination providing low-power communications IP from its Ensigma division covering Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.15.4, and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS); Andes, meanwhile, will provide its latest N22 microcontroller IP, based on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture. The combined product will be made available as an off-the-shelf solution for home automation, health devices, location tracking, smart meters, security, wearables, and other IoT markets, the companies have confirmed.
“RISC-V is a compact, modular, and extensible architecture, which can be applied to many applications. The 2-stage pipeline N22 is the smallest RISC-V core in our V5 family but delivers an impressive performance of 3.93 CoreMark/MHz,” claims Andes’ president Frankwell Lin. “It also can reach over 750MHz at TSMC 28nm under worst case conditions. The combination of Andes’ industry leading RISC-V processor IPs with the wide range of connectivity IPs available from Ensigma, provides the ideal solution for many IoT markets.”
“By working with Andes, we are able to provide a comprehensive solution for customers creating connected RISC-V embedded devices,” adds Imagination chief Ron Black, “enabling them to get to market faster and with the knowledge that the solution is based on proven technology, already shipped in volume.”
The companies have not yet announced a launch date for their combined product.