LG Electronics, the South Korean makers of phones, televisions, household appliances and a variety of other consumer devices, has licensed the ARM-based chip cores that can be found in devices from handsets to set-top boxes. The move illustrates the pressure in the ARM ecosystem as Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung and others all compete to offer the best CPUs for tablets and handsets, while also allowing the possibility of silicon to software link best exemplified by Apple. And once again, a vendor has forgotten to invite Intel to the mobile party.
LG will license the current ARM Cortex-A9 and the newer ARM Cortex-A15 cores, which Om covered back in September. LG will also license the Mali GPU cores from ARM, which have proven popular in televisions and may not be intended for the smartphone market. Although with more and more tablets and phones playing video, and Qualcomm and Nvidia both beefing up and bragging about their graphics capabilities, LG may have chosen to go with an ARM GPU to keep any mobile application processor it builds with its new ARM licenses in the running.
LG has licensed ARM cores since 1995, so this agreement represents a deepening of the commitment and ensures LG’s smart phones, televisions and other devices remain on the cutting edge. As the world goes mobile and gets more power constrained, it’s looking good for ARM. And this may be a shot in the “arm” for LG, which last year, saw the CEO of its flagging mobile division resign over poor sales in the handset market.