Qualcomm and Google are helping the alternative CPU ISA RISC-V make a big leap. The two US companies are jointly developing the first RISC-V-based processor that will be used in smartwatches with the Android-based Wear OS.
Qualcomm plans RISC-V chips for Wear OS Devices
As Qualcomm announced today in the form of a press release, the US chip giant is developing a RISC-V-based mobile CPU for the first time, thereby ensuring that the Android ecosystem has another mainstay. To date, Qualcomm has practically exclusively offered ARM-based CPUs for smartphones, tablets, wearables, and PCs.
Qualcomm and Google announced today that together they will ensure that RISC-V will soon gain a foothold in the Android world. The whole thing is of great importance in that RISC-V has so far been a marginal phenomenon and is likely to become significantly more popular with the commitment of the two large American corporations.
Qualcomm intends to offer a “RISC-V based solution for wearables running Google Wear OS.” This creates the conditions in the Android ecosystem to benefit from custom CPUs with low power consumption and high performance, it said. RISC-V is an open-source Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and basically allows any provider to develop completely customized computing cores.
RISC-V is an open-source alternative to ARM
Compared to ARM, this results in greater openness, flexibility, and scalability from which all participants in the ecosystem can benefit, says Qualcomm. This applies to the device manufacturers, the finished products, and ultimately also the consumers. When Qualcomm and Google plan to introduce the first RISC-V-based wearable products with Wear OS will only be announced at a later date, the companies said.
Qualcomm’s plans for a RISC-V-based wearable platform are also interesting as ARM is changing its licensing model as part of its IPO. The aim is to encourage licensees to pay higher fees in the future because the license fees will soon be calculated for each individual device instead of allowing flat-rate payments.
Qualcomm probably wants to save costs by partially moving away from ARM and at the same time put pressure on ARM. There has also been a legal dispute for some time because ARM has accused Qualcomm of violating licensing conditions by developing customized computing cores for ARM-based PCs.
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