SANTA CLARA, Calif.—There is an enormous amount of opportunity for electronics innovation in the coming years but trust and security loom as major challenges.

ARM CTO Mike Muller at ARM TechCon 2015That was the message from ARM CTO Mike Muller, who keynoted the first day of ARM TechCon 2015 here Tuesday (Nov. 10).

“There’s an awful lot of innovation in front of us,” Muller told a packed Mission City Ballroom audience here at the convention center.

“It’s not always about driving down to the smallest geometries to put more transistors on. There are some really innovative things to do when you tell guys you’ve got a hundred thousand transistors (and) that’s it. What are you going to do with a hundred thousand transistors?”

Muller’s 50-minute address spanned the electronics ecosystem from sensors and IoT-focused design all the way up to servers and the cloud. But he said there is a fundamental new way the industry needs to think about value. Muller noted that in the early days of computing, value was measured by performance per dollar. Then it became performance divided by power times dollar as we moved into the mobile age.

But today, “It is ultimately about who can trust what and what do you do when you don’t trust them,” Muller said. “So (the new equation is) performance divided by energy times trust.”

Muller also announced a number of new products and technologies during his address.

  • ARM.com is now running on ARM-based servers. Earlier in 2015, ARM collaborated with partners Canonical, HP, nginx, Accenture to deliver an enterprise-ready solution, Muller said, adding ARM.com has been running on ARM-based servers for the past four months.
  • ARM Cortex-A35. One billion entry-level smart phones are coming into existence, which is creating a need for new processing capabilities. ARM Cortex-A35 is a 64-bit device that is 32-bit compatible, offering 10 percent lower power and at the same time 6-40-percent better performance, Muller said. More detail is available at Android Authority.
  • ARMv8-M and TrustZone CryptoCell. ARMv8-M is the new architecture for ARM Cortex-M microprocessors. “ARM v8-M (is a) new architecture that brings instruction set improvements to enhance the efficiency of some of those embedded tasks you do,” Muller said. “Perhaps the most important part is it brings TrustZone … into that low-cost, embedded, real time, (Cortex-) M-class world. So it’s a whole new security foundation for Cortex-M processors.” TrustZone CryptoCell is a security subsystem and root of trust. You can read more detail here at Rob Coombs’ blog.
  • Mbed OS 3.0, the latest technology in an evolution that began at ARM TechCon 2014 when ARM and partners began creating a software ecosystem and new operating system for Internet-connected devices with standards support, low power and security as key goals. Read more detail here at Zach Shelby’s blog and also at Bee Hayes-Thakore’s blog.