Nordic Semiconductor to ship its billionth Arm Cortex-M based wireless SoC in October

Written by Mike Benson

October 22, 2020


Nordic Semiconductor’s partnership with Arm began in the summer of 2012 when Nordic re-defined the Bluetooth Low Energy market with the launch of its nRF51 Series of Systems-on-Chips (SoCs). For the first time, these chips uniquely separated the wireless protocol stack from the application software and included a 32-bit Arm Cortex-M based processor and enough embedded memory to run Bluetooth LE and proprietary 2.4GHz or ANT wireless technologies, enabling connected IoT products from a single chip

Nordic Semiconductor will reach a major new commercial milestone in early October this year, having shipped more than one billion Arm® Cortex®-M based ultra-low power wireless SoCs in just eight years.
Arm Cortex-M processors and Nordic Semiconductor wireless SoCs deliver unrivalled levels of ultra-low-power performance in battery-powered applications. In combination, this enables end-product battery lifetimes ranging from several months to up to 10-15 years; from sophisticated applications requiring significant data processing and wireless communication to the smallest, lowest-duty form factors running on tiny batteries. 

Nordic’s first Arm Cortex-M based SoC was launched in 2012 with the introduction of Nordic’s nRF51 Series. Since then, each successive ultra-low power Nordic SoC has included an Arm Cortex-M processor, allowing Nordic chips to support every major ultra-low power wireless standard including Bluetooth, Thread, Zigbee, ANT, 2.4GHz proprietary, and NFC wireless technologies from a single chip.

Compared to Nordic’s original nRF51 Series, the Nordic nRF52 Series added a more powerful Arm processor and greater Flash and RAM memory capacity, while Nordic’s latest nRF53 Series includes two user-accessible Arm Cortex-M33 processor cores.
Nordic’s collaboration with Arm has proven so popular with Nordic’s customers that Nordic chose to include a powerful Arm Cortex-M processor in its second game-changing product line introduced in 2019: the nRF91 Series of multi-protocol (LTE-M and NB-IoT) cellular IoT System-in-Packages (SiPs). 
The nRF91 is significantly smaller, lower power, and more secure than any other competing cellular IoT module launched to date. It has a host of unique IoT-targeted features, it is module-certified for global networks and is dramatically easier to design in.
“Nordic Semiconductor expanded the application-range of Bluetooth by abstracting away from the designer all unnecessary technical complexity,” comments Nordic CEO, Svenn-Tore Larsen. “And the pre-certified, ready-to-drop-in LTE-M/NB-IoT nRF91 SiP promises to do the same for cellular IoT. An extremely important part of us achieving that is our on-going, long-term partnership with Arm.”
“Nordic has proven to be a leading innovator in embedded intelligence running on Arm technology; from its first Cortex-M Bluetooth SoC, which led to a step-change in single-chip battery-powered solutions, through to its current generation of advanced products,” said Simon Segars, CEO of Arm. “The first billion Arm-based SoCs from Nordic forms a significant part of the foundation of a more secure and connected future that will continue to grow as technology revolutionizes how we interact and communicate with the world around us.”
Nordic’s partnership with Arm also extends to adopting state-of-the-art Arm TrustZone® technology and Arm CryptoCell™ platform security on its nRF53 Series SoCs and nRF91 Series SiPs. 

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