Linaro at the launch of ARM’s new Cortex-A7 processor

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I was in San Francisco for the launch of ARM’s new Cortex-A7 processor last week. ARM invited me along to talk about Linaro’s involvement in enabling big.LITTLE support in new devices. Jeff Chu from ARM talked with me about this for YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8gnnf_kC6Y. This largely focused on power management and scheduling (what is officially being called “task migration”).

The launch of the Cortex-A7 processor and big.LITTLE technology was a dual event, with one event in London and one in San Francisco. The San Francisco event took place at the Lafitte restaurant on Pier 5 at the Embarcadero. Sight unseen, I wondered a bit about the choice of venue, but upon arriving, I stopped wondering. The waterfront venue was a great setting for the presentations, discussions and interviews (the airplane engine that interrupted my own notwithstanding :) ) The seemingly odd choice of a restaurant yielded a brighter alternative to the sterile atmosphere of a hotel or conference center.

The event crammed a lot into a couple of hours:

8:30 – 9:00 Arrival, coffee

9:00-9:10 Introduction by Simon Segars, president of ARM Inc. Video here

9:10-9:30 Presentation of Cortex A7 processor & big.LITTLE technology by Mike Inglis, EVP and GM of ARM’s processor division. Video here

9:30-10:00 Panel discussion. Video part 1 here and part 2 here

10:00-11:00 1 to 1′s with attending media (15min per interview ‘speed dating format’).

11:00 event ends

Rather than describe the presentations, I’ve provided links above. There was also a demo by Nandam Nayampally that was really compelling: video here

The panel discussion had me joining representatives from Nokia, Sprint, TI, and Freescale. There were a set of prepared questions from Simon that were largely handled in round-robin fashion followed by a couple of impromptu questions from the assembled media. The primary focus was power efficiency with some attention given to ease of integration: “the application does not need to worry about big.LITTLE – it will just work”. I was not tapped for any of the speed-dating interviews, but had a number of “hallway chats” with various attendees, both ARM and media. After the formal conclusion of the event, there were filmed interviews with each of the panelists; I’ve included links below for the ones of Linaro members Freescale and TI and also a video that Samsung contributed (searching for Cortex-A7 and big.LITTLE on youtube should yield more).

Interview with Glen Burchers of Freescale

Interview with Deepu Talla of TI

John Kalkman of Samsung talks about the launch

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