New processors herald 'internet of things'

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A new design of low-energy amd low-cost microprocessor is set to transform the way we live, according to the British company that has developed it.

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Arm Holdings claims that processors based on its new "flycatcher" architecture will usher in a new "internet of things" whereby we won't just have smartphones, but also smartfridges, smartlights and perhaps smart wine bottles.

The company, which also licenses the technology used in almost all smartphone chips, has already sold the right to use the new technology to two firms, NXP Semiconductors and Freescale.

Geoff Lees from Freescale told the BBC: "It opens up all devices to the potential of being connected all the time.

"It's allowing us to provide connectivity everywhere. So anything from consumer appliances, MP3-music audio docks, kitchen equipment with displays right through to remote sensors in rain monitoring equipment or personal medical devices - an area where ultra-long battery life allied to high performance and safety is becoming more and more important."

The new 32-bit processor cores can measure 1mm by 1mm in size and draw one third as much power as previous versions.

Arm described it as the world's most energy-efficient processor and said: "Low power connectivity has the potential to enable a range of energy-saving and life-enhancing applications from sensors to wirelessly analyse the performance and control of domestic or industrial buildings, to battery-operated body sensors wirelessly connected to health monitoring equipment."

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